“Nasty, Brutish and Short” – Should Racial Nationalists support ‘Freedom’?

While we prepared the May-June 2020 edition of Heritage and Destiny, every day seemed to bring further news of disorder on Anglo-American streets, usually involving either ethnic minorities or ‘antifa’ anarchists, or both. These events were not in themselves surprising: what came as a shock was the reaction of police officers and their political masters. The guardians of law and order seem to have abdicated.

During these weeks, with most forms of political activity impossible, experienced nationalist observers on both sides of the Atlantic have discussed possible reasons for this transformation, and for the passivity of White communities in the face of this existential threat.

Is there something in British character that predisposes us against civil disobedience? Have centuries of liberalism and individualism prepared us for racial suicide?

London police ‘take a knee’ in obeisance to ‘Black Lives Matter’ and Antifa

Even more uncomfortable questions have been raised by the Covid-19 crisis. Setting aside the obsession with conspiracy theory that has diverted many movement activists during lockdown, the essential questions of nationalist political principle – raised both by multiracial disorder and pandemic crisis – are ones that were classically addressed in 17th century England by two of the greatest political philosophers in history, Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and John Locke (1632-1704).

By far the most famous quotation from Hobbes’ Leviathan (1651) describes the anarchic “state of nature” which is the apparent objective of the ‘antifa’ mob, and from which the ancestors of today’s ‘oppressed’ blacks were rescued:
“In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently no culture of the earth, no navigation nor the use of commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

To escape from this unenviable “natural” condition of chaotic “war of all against all”, Hobbes recognised that civilised men – even though they “naturally love liberty, and dominion over others”, instead accept “restraint upon themselves, in which we see them live in Commonwealths”, i.e. under the control of a powerful central state.

They do this not in pursuit of some abstract greatest good, but rather to avoid a greatest evil (summum malum). Civilised men (in contrast to savages) have “foresight of their own preservation, and of a more contented life thereby; that is to say, of getting themselves out from that miserable condition of war which is necessarily consequent, as hath been shown, to the natural passions of men when there is no visible power to keep them in awe, and tie them by fear of punishment to the performance of their covenants.”

Writing in mid-17th century Paris and London, Hobbes had very limited experience of non-Whites, but experience has shown that self-restraint and foresight are not the best known attributes of Africans and their descendants. It has therefore been all the more necessary to exercise “visible power to keep them in awe”, whether in the days of the British Empire, the ‘Jim Crow’ Southern states of the USA, or many other ‘White oppressors’. Well-meaning liberal Whites (including police officers) have backed down from exercising this “visible power”: BLM mobs have rampaged without “fear of punishment”. The consequences have not been limited to statue desecrations and city centre riots. Even the lowest IQs in ethnic ghettos have got the message – they can now defy the law with impunity – and political establishments now struggle to redraw the lines of acceptable conduct.

H&D readers would probably have no difficulty coming down on the Hobbes side of this philosophical argument when it comes to antifa and multiracial disorder. Concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, matters become far more tricky, and White racial nationalists (perhaps more in the USA than in Europe) begin to consider the counter-arguments of Hobbes’ great rival John Locke.

As many generations of students have discovered, Hobbes and Locke often contradicted themselves in the course of long lives as philosophical writers and framers of practical political blueprints. However, for our purposes and at the risk of caricature, we may simplify their respective positions as on the one hand, the benefits of a strong central authority; and on the other, the benefits of individual liberty and the ‘rights’ of citizens.

Whereas Hobbes described the “state of nature” as a hypothetical nightmare and justified the exercise of absolutist power to protect against the evils of anarchy, Locke placed a more positive emphasis on the virtues of free industrious citizens whose consent was required before any government imposed those restrictions necessary to preserve property and guarantee lawful trade.

John Locke

Hobbes and Locke were not diametrically opposed, and indeed their similarities have been stressed by some 20th century commentators such as Leo Strauss, who described Locke as “Hobbes in sheep’s clothing”. However, since they began from different first principles, Hobbes and Locke ended up placing different emphases on order and freedom.

The parallel with today’s debates among liberals, conservatives and racial nationalists, regarding appropriate responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, is obvious. This crisis has also highlighted a fundamental difference of principle between racial nationalists and many leading Brexiteers.

To understand questions of political principle involved here, we must turn the clock back again – not all the way to the 17th century, but to the Thatcherite ascendency of the 1980s. During that decade, traditional Toryism was abandoned in favour of economic liberalism – a blind faith in the virtues of the ‘free’ market. Central government’s job (outside the sphere of national defence) was to get out of the way and allow industrious citizens to generate prosperity.

Among the many problems with this market fundamentalism is that (though our more conservative readers would hate to admit it) Karl Marx was partly right in his analysis of capitalism’s historical development. Today’s multinational businesses are part of a ruthless profit-seeking machine that knows no racial distinctions and no national boundaries. Work is ‘outsourced’ to the other side of the globe; cheap labour is imported – without any regard for the environment or for indigenous communities.

For the likes of Nigel Farage (and for many Conservative politicians whose outlook was formed by hegemonic Thatcherism) the ‘free market’ can do no wrong. From their perspective, the main purpose of Brexit was not to regain national sovereignty, but for ‘British’ businesses to escape from European Union regulations. (Hence the ongoing dispute over whether a ‘sovereign’ United Kingdom should drop any objection to importing chlorinated chicken from the USA.)

Home Secretary Priti Patel

Naturally this capitalist logic is colour blind. In 2012 five Brexiteer ‘right-wing’ Conservatives – then young backbenchers but now influential in the highest tier of government – wrote the treatise Britannia Unchained: Global Lessons for Growth and Prosperity. They included Priti Patel (now Home Secretary), daughter of Indian Hindu immigrants from Uganda; Kwasi Kwarteng (now Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth), son of Ghanaian immigrants; and Dominic Raab (now Foreign Secretary), son of a Czech Jewish immigrant.

This motley crew attacked the UK’s political structure (even post-Thatcher) for having a “bloated state, high taxes and excessive regulation”. They also took aim at British workers: “The British are among the worst idlers in the world. We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor. Whereas Indian children aspire to be doctors or businessmen, the British are more interested in football and pop music.”

In rejecting the European Union these Brexiteer Tories (in common with Farage and his ilk) wanted to take the UK in the direction of deregulated societies such as the USA and India. Their ideal scenario was summed up by critics as “Singapore-on-Thames”. To some extent in the early 2010s non-Brexiteer Tories in David Cameron’s government shared some of these objectives. In other words they were socially and economically liberal. While not wishing to leave the EU, Cameron-era Tories constantly dragged their feet and sought exemptions from European regulations.

Under both Theresa May and Boris Johnson, there have been hints that some leading Conservatives had a different vision – both more statist, more illiberal and more nationalist – in a word, more conservative! (In the American sense, paleo-conservative.) It was this agenda that helped the Conservative Party win swathes of formerly safe Labour seats in White working-class areas of England at the December 2019 General Election.

Even before the pandemic struck, obvious faultlines had emerged on the conservative right. Old fashioned fiscal conservatives have been marginalised (as in Trump’s Washington), and perhaps the most important division is between those who want to establish high standards and boost British agriculture, versus the advocates of ‘free’ trade, deregulation and ever-cheaper food.

Radical racial nationalists would tend to support the former strategy – taking environmental policies seriously and favouring a quasi-autarchic revival of British farming, even if this means higher food prices. But with the onset of Covid-19, even our own ranks have been thrown into political confusion.

Given the novelty of this virus and the developing state of knowledge, racial nationalists can’t be expected to reach definite conclusions on the topic, but our reactions have revealed some surprising political instincts. Many in our movement – who might be expected instinctively to favour ‘authoritarian’ solutions, have been found on the libertarian side of the argument.

This is only partly based on eugenics. Undoubtedly some racial nationalists have found the apparent racial bias of the virus interesting, though it’s very early days to draw any conclusions. Some instinctively favoured the ‘herd immunity’ argument that seemed to be finding favour in UK Government circles at the start of the pandemic in March, only to be abandoned in favour of a confused form of lockdown. Perhaps this is rooted in a particular English variant of racial nationalism, instinctively resistant to over-regulation, and reflected for example in G.K. Chesterton’s The Rolling English Road (see H&D 91). However if we are serious about racial renaissance, we must admit that a nationalist government would have to impose an extreme version of what is often derided as a ‘nanny state’ with unprecedented levels of state intervention to raise standards of public health, education and training.

In this context it’s arguable that a racial nationalist government would have imposed – rather than ‘herd immunity’ – an earlier and much stricter form of ‘lockdown’, backed up by far more widespread and rigorous testing. Moreover, though I’m not qualified to express an informed opinion on the subject of vaccination, it has often seemed strange to me that so many people in our movement are such passionate ‘anti-vaxxers’. What is the connection between racial nationalism and what so often looks like ‘fringe science’? Especially when the fundamental basis of our movement – racial reality – is so obviously and sensibly grounded in genuine scientific fact.
Racial nationalist governments in the past have often adopted interventionist policies on public health. The most often quoted example is National Socialist Germany’s anti-smoking policy, though this was more complicated and nuanced than is sometimes portrayed. Adolf Hitler himself was famously hostile to smoking, but he allowed different regions of the Third Reich to pursue divergent policies. The central German state of Thuringia had a very strong anti-smoking policy for example, with its famous university city of Jena becoming the first university in the world to introduce a complete ban on smoking. By contrast in most parts of Germany the policy went little further than anti-smoking posters and propaganda, often related to public health measures to boost the German birth rate and protect the health of expectant mothers.

A Third Reich anti-smoking ad published in 1941 entitled “The chain-smoker” and reading: “He does not devour it, it devours him”

Smoking bans were also introduced in party offices, in the Luftwaffe and the SS, although some German smoking laws were more lenient than their British and American equivalents (for example minors were allowed to purchase and – in private – smoke tobacco).

Whatever we might think of the pandemic in terms of science, personal instinct or ideological tendency, the political facts are obvious. A tiny group of online nationalist activists are radically hostile to all Covid regulations. Similarly a section of Conservative and Brexit Party opinion, typified by editorial writers and commentators on the Telegraph, are outspokenly critical of the entire lockdown approach, adopting a libertarian fundamentalist call to reopen everything as soon as possible.

However, among the general public this outlook is mainly confined to the feckless underclass. The vast majority of ordinary Britons – well beyond the ranks of the elderly and sick who are genuinely at risk from Covid-19 – seem to be both scared of the virus and respectful of authority. Racial nationalists would in my opinion be very foolish to focus their campaigning activity on anti-lockdown protests: there simply isn’t much political capital in it for us.

A combination of economic chaos, revulsion at ‘Black Lives Matter’ antics, and general disillusionment will create much political potential for racial nationalists once ‘normal electoral business’ resumes – which for the UK will be 2021. But we should steer well clear of Covid-related conspiracy theory and anti-lockdown rebellion.

Peter Rushton, Manchester, England

Note: This article was first published in the May-June 2020 issue # 97, of Heritage and Destiny magazine, copies are available for £5.00/$10.00 each, email – heritageanddestiny@yahoo.com – for full details.

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