This article first appeared in Dispatches from The Last Ditch, no. 19, in 1997.


Repatriating the West



"For it is not an open enemy that hath done me this dishonour; for then I could have borne it;

"Neither was it mine adversary that did magnify himself against me; for then peradventure I would have hid myself from him;

"But it was even thou, my companion, my guide, and mine own familiar friend.

"We took sweet counsel together, and walked in the house of God as friends."

Psalm 55:12-15


Within the political Right, there is a faction that is concerned primarily with racial and immigration issues. [1] For purposes of this essay, I will be assuming that that faction is correct: there is a race problem and an immigration problem in the United States. On that assumption, I will be discussing proposed solutions to those problems.

The problem can be stated quickly: to borrow from Jared Taylor, "We have a right to be us; and only we can be us." The "we" in this context is white Westerners; and what he and others have pointed out is that white Westerners cannot expect to live in ever-decreasing proportions with Negroes, Hispanics, Orientals, and Third Worlders without its having some effect on our culture — specifically, without its weakening white Western culture, as our folkways, our art, our mores, indeed our very personality are first overshadowed then displaced by those of nonwhite non-Westerners. [2] In other words, multiculturalism means, essentially, the dilution and probable extinction of Western culture.

This weakness of Western culture vis-à-vis the others flows not from anything intrinsic to it, but rather from a modern complaisance on the part of whites and a reluctance to defend their distinctive culture or to identify with it.

In various forums where those concerns can be voiced, some of its spokesmen — though not Taylor or Peter Brimelow themselves — have proposed two solutions for the problems of multiculturalism: repatriating all nonwhites to their countries of origin (or just away, without any particular concern for where they go) and partitioning the United State into at least three distinct nations — one all white, one all Negro (or perhaps "colored"), and one white and colored.

Claims that repatriation can be accomplished without violence by paying Negroes and other nonwhites to leave (presumably by extorting the funds from whites) or that partition can be accomplished upon initiative from Congress are merely delusional. I realize that "delusional" is not exactly an inference rule, but the matter seems so self-evident that I cannot believe that even the solutions' adherents seriously believe that their programs can be accomplished by such means.

Rather, it should be clear that these so-called solutions can be put into effect only by a dictatorship, or, failing that, by a state such as our own, which purports to reject dictatorship but which in fact asserts and wields dictatorial power over the minutiæ of our lives. Even if all welfare programs were swept away, surely some number of Negroes will be clear-headed enough to realize that accepting any amount of payment to leave North America for any part of Africa or Haiti would just be nuts. [3]

And, indeed, why should they leave? For better or worse, blacks and whites — to say nothing of Hispanics and Indians — have lived on this continent virtually all its recorded history. The just claim of any Negro is either at least as strong or at least as weak as that of any given white. I shall no doubt be reminded that welfare payments and displacement programs that move Negroes out of the projects and provide them with a stake to purchase property in the suburbs undermine the legitimacy of their claims. [4] I agree, and I reply that plenty of whites have gotten their share of wealth from land grants (especially grants in the West to Lincoln's conscripts and volunteers), monopoly grants, Social Security payments, union thuggery, pensions, subsidies (including mortgage subsidies), GI bills, participation in farm programs, and a myriad of other extortionate actions in which the state has played either a leading or a collaborative part. I think that any line of argument that dives into that morass promises only to drown in detail.

We must accept that very many non-whites — never mind what percentage — have a just and proper claim to live where they live and to work where they work, and that the only way to make them leave is by violence, terror, or other criminal or dishonorable behavior.


The life of the West

The problem of attempting to solve social problems by admitting a form of government that can only be dictatorial or must become dictatorial is not confined to the advocates of repatriation or partition. Indeed, they are making the same mistake as socialists, feminists, the pederast lobby, and Christian policy wonks. They are willing to "sacrifice" a little bit (as they suppose) of liberty to achieve some end advertised as noble. They are wrong: the only ends to be achieved with that sacrifice are not noble; they are dictatorship and slavery, and there is no possibility that they will be anything else.

I should think that by now it would be clear that dictatorship and Western culture are incompatible. Every country that has tried it is a place in which Western values and traditions have been discarded in favor of some social engineer's ambitions. Human lives have been subordinated to political goals, and the result has been a collapse of honor, justice, self-responsibility, and ordinary fellow-feeling. What passes for morality in such countries would scarcely be recognizable to the Christians of the Renaissance as lands in which they or their descendants had lived.

It is true that the West grew up under the sway of polities that were the Renaissance equivalent of dictatorships. That will not surprise a libertarian, who will readily stipulate that the deadly corruption of the West dates much further back than 1933 or 1914 or 1861. Nor will it surprise a Christian or a sympathizer with Christendom, who will readily stipulate that Western man, whatever his virtues, has never succeeded in building the City of God in this world. (The Western libertarian and the sympathizer with Christendom may go on to propose that less-sympathetic students of civilizational corruption compare the record of Christendom with that of the other great civilizations and with that of the peoples who have been unable to build any civilization.)

The date conventionally given for the start of "modern" times in the West, A.D. 1500, can be seen also — and not coincidentally — as a date when the West was taking a crucially wrong turn. A libertarian would label as despotic the regime of the typical Italian city-state as it existed before the invasions and wrecking of Italy; but its despotism pales in the hellish light of the invading and wrecking states that were emerging outside Italy. [5]

It was around the turn of the 16th century that the unitary nation-state became the bloody cutting edge of political development in the West. And in adopting the nation-state, as Bruce Porter notes in War and the Rise of the State, most Western peoples were ipso facto rejecting the more-benign alternatives that existed — the city-state and the Swiss confederation. [6] The French and the Spanish, who built the first great unitary nation-states in Western Christendom, rejected also what Porter calls the "constitutional path" that the English, with their established middle class, were able to follow, "in which the bureaucratic and centralizing effects of war were muted, and no revolution in taxation occurred." (p. 39)

The virtuous elements of Western culture survived for centuries; they shriveled slowly. But they also shriveled steadily, poisoned by the state and, on a more fundamental level, by the wickedness and weakness that made the state attractive. In the searing light of our modern experience with dictators and our modern civilizational collapse, we see, surely, that we cannot continue traveling the path down which Christendom turned 500 years ago. Having learned at agonizing cost that there is a contradiction between that kind of polity and the supreme value of the individual, we cannot now ignore the contradiction. If we Westerners are to recapture our Westernness, we must blaze a new trail, or we must rediscover an old one and make it straight. Such old paths certainly exist: the great Western thinkers whom libertarians most esteem have, paradoxically enough, extended and widened the paths of liberty and individualism throughout the very Age of the State in which we have lived for five centuries. (Conflicting trends, each of great importance, can coexist in a civilization; that has certainly been the case with the West. The question is, What will be the defining trend?)

None of the ethical standards of the West were ever as widespread in practice as they might have been, except as lived by the saints. What must be understood, however, is that those standards were the ones by which Westerners measured their own lives. Men who did not live up to them at least did not attempt to replace them; they recognized the claim of those standards on their lives to the extent that they concealed (and were often ashamed of) their departures from them.

It is attempts to replace virtues — of charity, of chastity, and of justice, with their implicit high regard for the impregnable dignity and value of the individual and the love of liberty to which that high regard gave birth — that have degraded the West. Apparently, Westerners are just not very good at living without those virtues and their fruits.

Those ideals arose in the West, and not just because we are the sort of people who come up with such ideas, perhaps owing to a genetic inheritance that has not yet been fully understood. They arose also because ethics are what make it possible for a people to survive. Westerners developed those ways of living because they are the ways by which Westerners survive best. The life of adherence to those virtues is what we are somehow suited to and require.

Take away the culture that is appropriate to us, and we wither. We must attempt to live according to what we are, and to make full use of our forebears' discoveries about what we should be. [7]

When any man tries to live in opposition to the natural laws of human nature, when any race or culture attempts it, the result can only be disaster. But we should not expect that disaster to take the same form across cultures and peoples or to have precisely the same causes.

Different men are prone to different temptations; each has his own besetting sins. Just as each one flourishing in virtue will differ from every other one, so each one sinking in crime or personal sin will be afflicted in a manner peculiar to his personality. If each culture has its distinctive strengths and weaknesses, it may be that each has its distinctive evils as well. It is my hope that statism is not inherent in the West — as we have sometimes wondered in these pages — but, rather, that it is the evil to which the West's unique personality is prone. If the West's regard for the supreme value of each individual soul is one of its trademarks, it makes sense that the distinctive evil into which it should sink would be collectivism, and in particular the collectivism of the nation-state. Optima corrupta pessima sunt.


In this essay, I make many contentions for consideration, contentions that I am not prepared to argue for; I offer them for consideration, both regarding their own truth and for the consequences that may be implicit in them. One such contention is this: Western culture is a great culture, so great that although it is subject to whatever laws of culture there may be, including the possibility of a limited life span, it cannot be conquered by any other known to us.

Certainly nothing of recent history disputes this: the West is not being destroyed by Negroes and their street subculture; it is not being destroyed by Hispanics and their Cinco de Mayo parades; it is not being destroyed by Orientals who with their inscrutable ways of imitation yet remain so alien; and it is not being destroyed by Jews with Talmudic and European-statist baggage. Though any of them may contribute an unwitting mite or even strike a deliberately treacherous blow toward our destruction, not one of those groups — nor any of them in combination — is sufficiently strong to destroy or even undermine the West without the free, undeceived complicity of Westerners themselves, men who have willingly rejected the core of the West. [8]

Moreover, whatever cultural dissonances are created by the cohabitation of so many nonwhites in this outpost of the West, they can hardly be the cause of the feminist or homosexual agendas. Those two are homemade perversions, and they are doing more — more than coerced association ("affirmative action" is the euphemism) and welfare and immigration policies — to make American society unrecognizable by those who grew up here even 40 years ago. [9]

Other cultural corruptions set in at the same time as these dissonances, and whites embraced them without a second thought: there was no Negro interest group that forced white children to listen to "rap" anti-music and prefer it to Brahms or even to Grainger. There was never any intrinsic attraction in their becoming either Calvin Klein androgyns or pimpwalking thugs that could overwhelm the culture Western children are best suited for. There are no police vandals who burst into homes in the middle of the night to arrest white parents who do not ignore their children in favor of "have-it-all" careerism. No one is forced by occupying troops to put his retirement funds into securities that finance the destruction of his liberty. Teachers' unions are made up mostly of white people and are supported by white people, and it is they — not the slaves of Body Snatcher invaders — who teach white children about premarital sex and abortion, and distribute condoms to them.


The hand of Tyr

The only principles that seem to hold any sway anymore qua principles — whether they are held in a quest for power or in an intellectual confusion or in a lusty embrace of falsehood — are ones that have been articulated as ideals relatively recently in the West and are alien to its spirit: egalitarianism and pragmatism. Each of them has proved in one way or the other to be incompatible with the traditional culture of the West: egalitarianism has proved itself the enemy of justice and the supreme value and dignity of the individual; pragmatism has proved itself the enemy of honor, of far-sighted loyalty to principle, and of adherence to goodness. The West is being destroyed by Westerners who no longer love, indeed have come to hate, their achingly beautiful creations.

I am not speaking of a minority of Westerners, either. The ubiquity of rock anti-music savagery is ample evidence of that. That not one father in a thousand can affect the immodesty of his daughter's dress at the beach is more. That chastity's only role in modern society is as a sanctimonious, self-serving tool to embarrass and destroy one's political foes is yet more. And that what passes for justice is driven by passion (as in the first Simpson trial, the McVeigh trial, and most recently the British-nanny trial) should count as final proof.

In libertarian circles, objections to egalitarianism are fairly easy to come by, so I will not belabor that point. [10] Pragmatism, however, has not come under such extensive scrutiny.

Politically, Westerners have accepted completely and utterly the notion that the state is not merely an organization for defending them from predator nations — which is what the state has claimed to be whenever its legitimacy has been called into question. Rather, Westerners have accepted the notion that the state should be a predator nation and that financing its predations, getting in on its predations, and benefiting from its predations, especially against one's neighbors, is smart. That is, Westerners have allowed a notion of "the practical" to defeat their loyalty to principle.

"The practical" is invariably a short-term solution, and it is invariably short-sighted. Perhaps the lure of the short-term solution is another of the temptations that a people with the physics of the West must be expected to face. It is certainly familiar to our history as a temptation.

Even in our mythology, we see the gods forever favoring "practical" solutions rather than remaining true to their ideals. In one of their worst missteps, they attempt to bind the Fenris wolf with a cord spun with magic. Fenrir, suspecting treachery and knowing full well that the gods are lying when they promise they will release him if he is unable to break the cord, demands that someone put a hand in his mouth during his attempt to break the cord. Only Tyr, the god of war, has courage enough to accede to the wolf's demand, but Fenrir insists that it be not Tyr's left hand, but his sword hand. The cord holds, and Tyr's hand is snapped off.

On Ragnarok, Fenrir will finally break the cord and join the battle against the gods. Tyr's hand, however, will still be gone, and he will be defeated and killed precisely because he cannot fight as effectively left-handed.

Politically, the most disastrous short-sighted trade we Westerners can make is to expect dictatorship to serve as a guardian of the West. We cannot treat Negroes, Hispanics, Indians, and Orientals in a manner contrary to our own sense of honor, justice, or fairness. That sense is not some disadvantage or weakness in us; it is one of the things that makes us what we are.

Justice is not just a quaint notion for us; once we place it in the mouth of Fenris tyranny, whatever temporary advantage we enjoy will be ... temporary. We cannot purchase our survival with it, because without it, it is not we who survive, but some degraded corruption of ourselves. Perhaps they will be white; but they will not be Western.


Statism and stupidity

Statism in general, not just dictatorship, does not merely deprive us of our sense of honor and justice; it also makes us stupid: people are literally unable to picture solutions to problems that do not involve the state.

Anyone who has ever been asked, How would roads get built in a libertarian society? has brushed against this phenomenon. But it is much wider than that. Statism doesn't just make individual people stupider; it undermines the R&D departments of society.

Libertarians are often accused of not caring about social problems, of caring only about economics. But during the most creative years of the libertarian movement in this century, its opponents formulated virtually all their objections to free societies in terms of economics. So completely had intellectuals been captivated by collectivist economic planning that the primary weaknesses they thought they saw in free societies lay in the economic sphere. Libertarians spent much of their intellectual capital and much of their time refuting those objections — over and over. And their reward today is to be accused of caring only about economics.

There is, however, the larger fact that economics in general — and the discoveries of the Austrian economists in particular — has insights that are applicable to social problems in spheres beyond the economic. One remembers that Mises's "praxeology" was the study of human action and that economics was merely one branch of that study.

What is clear now, thanks largely to Mises, is that social planners — and that includes the would-be policy wonks who construct plans to repatriate nonwhites or to partition North America — do not solve social problems. The interlinking network of free people going about their ordinary business and seeking to better themselves is the laboratory in which such problems as exist will be solved. Economists don't figure out how to solve distribution problems; policymakers don't work out how to solve problems involving supply or capital formation (such as how to run a free-market post office). Entrepreneurs solve them. Surgeons general and medical-textbook editors don't make biological discoveries; practitioners and research guys make discoveries.

Free minds interacting in free community with other free minds solve problems.

The only way that there will ever be a distinctively Western solution to the problems that repatriation and partition are put forward to solve is for Westerners to live in their distinctive way. We must be true to our distinctive notions of honor and justice, which are completely alien to any notion of putting strength in the service of pushing others around. The great moral insight of the West — to borrow from King Arthur in "Camelot" — is might for right, might in the service of right. As long as we are at best half-Western, isolated, and not living in Western communities, we must recognize that the solution to certain problems will elude us.

In other words, our culture must be substantially recovered before certain problems can be solved. Perhaps I will be told that there is not time for that: we must act now or lose all forever. The same objection is often offered by people who are worried about supposed environmental problems — there is not time to put into place a legal system that respects and protects property rights in the oceans or the atmosphere; there is not time to put into place a free market in which property rights will eventually solve the problems of ozone depletion.

And I give the same answer: We know that the state cannot plan a modern industrial economy. Similarly, a state cannot plan an ecology. And similarly, a state cannot plan a race or a culture. If there is not time for freedom to solve the problems we face, then there is not time for them to be solved.


You cannot solve a problem — or even know what counts as a solution — in a society when you do not let its R&D departments function. And social engineers do not work in R&D departments; they work in politicians' offices — or they are the little friends of the state, clamoring for attention, basking in what little public light is cast on them when someone powerful pats them on the head, or is photographed at some function of theirs, or has quoted a news release of theirs in the Wall Street Journal. Such problems as immigration and multiculturalism represent have become an inextricable part of the dynamic of the predator state and its delusions of central-planning competence. We cannot hope to solve them in distinctive Western ways as long as they remain part of a dynamic that is characteristic of Oriental despotism.

The problems of immigration and multiculturalism are exacerbated in this outpost of the West because it is an outpost, where cultures typically meet, overlap, and interpenetrate. And because, in yet another paradox of history, it is also the capital of the West, it has managed to export its own corruptions and folly to the rest of the West. And that means that there is nowhere for Westerners to go, no fortress from which to defend our culture.

All the more necessary, then, for Westerners to stop being the enemy of the West, even in little matters. To that end, there is another picture that we have to embrace and perhaps to hold closer than all the others: it is better — as even the Norse gods understood — to die with our backs to the wall, true to the Western vision, than to attempt to rewin it by betraying it. As it is, we are dying with our backs to the wall anyway, betraying ourselves. And even if those are our only options, it should be an easy choice to make.

There should be nothing surprising in any of this. All I am contending is that only by being Westerners can we have even a glimmer of hope of saving the West; we cannot hope to save it or ourselves by pragmatically first accomplishing this goal or that (make the country secure from Communists or Negroes or Third Worlders) and then tending to the business of being ourselves. What! can people actually think they can save themselves by being something other than themselves? Being ourselves is not a luxury; it is the essence of our survival. There is no point in surviving as someone else. To enlarge on Taylor's Law: We have a right to be us; only we can be us; and we can't be anyone but us.


Who were we? What were we up to?

It is a simple historical fact that the West grew up and thrived so closely knit to Christianity that it cannot be imagined without it. The West without cathedrals? without its religious art and music? without its distinctive codes of law?

It may be that the whites of Western Europe could have developed a distinctive civilization without Christianity, but there is no guarantee that it would be anything we could recognize. Certainly the whites of Persia built nothing like it. As a matter of empirical fact, we can also say that it was not the Norse warrior ethic or devotion to gods of the forest that made the West great. And the only empirical evidence that philosophical atheism can build a civilization is not such as to inspire confidence. (In that connection, and given the subject of this article, we may recall that Stalin the atheist outdid even Hitler the apostate in brutally uprooting and forcibly repatriating entire peoples.)

Empirically speaking, then, there is no evidence whatever that there could be a West or anything like it without Christianity. [11]

That does not count as an argument for the truth of the doctrines of Christianity, but it should give pause to those Westerners who have departed from those doctrines. Since the empirical evidence is to the contrary, what evidence can there be that the whites of America or Europe can ever thrive without reclaiming them, or rather without being reclaimed by them?

Moreover, as a matter of historical fact, it is only in the embrace of Christianity that we have ever seen a people acknowledge the supreme dignity and value of the individual. And it is surely only once that acknowledgement is made that we ever see an advancement toward liberty.

That advancement, too, is part of our heritage. We cannot go back to being whatever it was we were before the monks of Lindisfarne christianized Europe. For better or worse, it was we who lit the flame of liberty and became its guardians. We cannot let it be extinguished in response to the cry that survival is the first law. If we don't guard that flame, we don't survive.

Nicholas Strakon contributed some material to this essay.

Posted January 7, 2002.

Published by WTM Enterprises, 1997/2002.

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To the editor ...

"Moreover, as a matter of historical fact, it is only in the embrace of Christianity that we have ever seen a people acknowledge the supreme dignity and value of the individual."

You should stop pretending that you have any connection to or any appreciation for libertarian philosophy and values. As a matter of fact you are freedom's worst enemies.

April 20, 2017

Mr. Neff replies.

Interesting. Please explain why you think that.

Ronn Neff
Senior editor, TLD
April 20, 2017


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