Sam Dickson in His Own Words
Hubert Collins, American Renaissance, July 28, 2017
Interview by Hubert Collins
Sam G. Dickson has been a white activist for longer than many in our movement have been alive. On Sunday, July 30, as at every American Renaissance conference, he will be the closing speaker.
In this extended interview, Mr. Dickson reflects on his experiences and observations, and ends with advice for others who share his commitment to our people.
AmRen: To begin, tell us about your ancestors. In your public talks you often refer to your Southern heritage, and you seem to have a strong sense of inheritance from them.
Dickson: Virtually all people have illustrious ancestors, ordinary ancestors and scoundrel ancestors. I have some who were presentable, many more who fall into the ordinary and scoundrel departments. I’ll leave out the bail jumpers, ne’er do wells and trash.
Among the presentable ones: I am a descendant of Andrew Pickens who was a general in South Carolina during the War for Independence. I am also as closely related as one can be to John C. Calhoun (who has no living descendants) who was my cousin several times removed on my paternal side. I have cousins who were given first or second names of “Calhoun.” I wish I had been so lucky.
My advice to racial nationalists: Understand that you should see yourself as an ancestor and not as a descendant.
Jared Taylor, though claiming not to have developed much of a sense of race until his later years, has poignantly recalled feeling a sense of white identity for the first time after looking over the results of an interracial boxing match in the newspaper at age nine. Can you recall a similar moment in your childhood?
Unlike Jared I cannot recall a single incident that was my first sense of white identity. I cannot remember a moment of my life when I did not feel a vibrant sense of racial identity.
My father once told me that even as a very small child I had strong feelings about race. He said that he and my mother told me that Jesus did not like the way I felt but that their admonitions had no impact on me despite my usually being an obedient as well as religious child.
What was it like coming of age in the South as the Civil Rights movement came about and having such a strong sense of white identity? Those most have been trying times.
Coming of age during that period was like sitting in the movie hall watching Psycho and knowing that Norman Bates is going to kill the woman in the shower but being unable to do anything about it.
This was pre-cable, pre-internet America. The distribution of information was even more tightly controlled than it is today.
There were only three television networks — CBS, NBC and ABC, later joined by public television — but there might as well have been only one, because all were in lockstep. Even more strongly than today no dissenting voices were allowed.
Also, the psychological attitude toward television back then was different from what it is now. Television then was (relatively) new. People were fascinated with it. Anything on television was chic, up to date, the cutting edge. It had instant credibility. If you and your message were not on television, then people believed you obviously had nothing to say that was credible or worth hearing. If you appeared on television, even as someone sitting in the peanut gallery of the Howdy Doody Show you were something. If you didn’t appear on TV, you were a nobody.
Never was our side allowed to be heard on the television . . . not even a peep.
It was like this in the print media too. News distribution came in the form of connections of newspapers to news services such as United Press International or Associated Press. These agencies constantly ground out printed reports of events — grand or small, national or international, heartrending human interest stories, accounts of the marriages of movie stars and other celebrities. The local newspapers did nothing more than pick and choose which items to paste into the papers.
This was the most frustrating feature of watching the desegregation program and the changes in our immigration policies taking shape. No one on our side could be heard. It was like one of those dreams in which you fall down in front of a car. You are frozen and can barely move if at all. You have time in which to get out of the way but cannot do so.
It was like that.
And to a much lesser extent it is still like that.
In looking back at the end of legal segregation in the South, do you think it could have gone any differently? Do any defenders of the South stick out to you as particularly admirable, or uniquely culpable of ineffectual action: Lester Maddox, George Wallace, Strom Thurmond, et al?
Anything in history could have turned out differently. However, for the South to have won the battle to preserve segregated schools, things would have had to have been different far, far back in history.
The South has always been hobbled in defending itself. It has an anti-intellectual tradition. Southerners are far more concerned about cutting “la bella figura” than with books. They are focused on how they look, what clothes they wear, the image they project; not on books.
The Puritans’ Mayflower was scarcely bigger than a modern shrimp boat. About 120 settlers were crammed into its hold. They didn’t have enough food. Half of them starved to death the first winter. And yet…they brought a printing press! They brought the press because they intended to start writing books right away!
Nothing like this ever happened in the South.
The South was utterly unprepared to defend itself. It had emasculated itself by its contempt for learning, education, and ideas.
Another factor that hobbled the South was the desire to be kind. Manners are more important in the South than in the North and Southerners are proverbially well mannered people. Southerners did not want to hurt the feelings of black people by defending segregation on the basis of racial science.
The South was also distracted by the red herring of Communism. Many Southerners were so excited about the danger of the Soviets taking over Afghanistan that they didn’t notice the Mexicans taking over their own towns.
Communism and “The Red Peril” were huge distractions.
You asked about three figures: Lester Maddox, George Wallace and Strom Thurmond.
Maddox was the noblest of the three; in fact the only noble one among them.
Lester Maddox is one of the true American Horatio Alger stories. He was a man born into extreme poverty and suffering. When his father died, Maddox dropped out of high school and worked long hours for pitiful wages in a mill to support his mother and his brothers and sisters so they could graduate from high school.
Then he went to night school and got his high-school equivalency degree.
He started his own restaurant. He started out running a hot dog stand. Then he built the restaurant in which he ran his “Pickrick Cafeteria.”
When I say “he built” the building, I mean this literally. He built it himself. He didn’t hire contractors to do it. He personally handled the crane that set the support beams of the roof in place. Imagine: This was someone with no formal training who taught himself how to build a building from the foundations up.
Maddox was very winning. It was impossible not to like him.
Unlike Wallace and Thurmond Maddox was completely sincere in his opposition to race mixing.
As for Wallace and Thurmond I believe that neither of them was sincere.
Wallace ran as the liberal integrationist candidate for Governor of Alabama in 1958. It stands to reason that his first campaign probably reflected what he really thought.
Those who care about the destiny and triumph of the white race can safely drop Wallace into the refuse heap and move on.
Thurmond is a figure that deserves careful note and comment.
Thurmond’s story is a key to understanding one of the reasons why the South failed, one of the reasons that any serious reform effort (left or right, to use those worthless terms) will fail.
Before Thurmond ever sought public office he had sired an illegitimate mulatto daughter.
The so-called “leader of the thin gray line in the Senate” in fact could not offer genuine opposition to anything. He had no wiggle room. He was a fraud.
I have understood that your first political activity was involvement in Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. Honestly, I find this surprising, as you have never struck me as much of a conservative or even libertarian. What motivated you?
I supported Goldwater because of his opposition to the so-called Civil Rights Bill. This took real guts in a time of emotional hysteria dominated by vicious leftists manipulating public opinion behind a smoke screen of sob stories about “our late martyred President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.” Those who did not live through those times can scarcely imagine the hysterical atmosphere then and how cynically it was created and exploited.
Goldwater himself was an unusually attractive man in comparison with the ordinary fare in American politics.
As has been the case throughout my life, race was my primary concern. The liberal/left side of the political waterfront had completely jettisoned the sensible ideas of early liberals such as Margaret Sanger and Jack London. Liberalism had become simply a front for minority racism and anti-white hate. Little did I know that professional conservatism stood for the same thing.
Then as now there were many issues on which I agreed with the so-called “liberals” such as Medicare and federal aid to education.
The entire Left/Right or Liberal/Conservative divide is utterly meaningless and artificial. If white nationalism does not sever itself from the corpse of American “conservatism,” it is doomed.
After studying political science and history, you went on to become a lawyer. I and others have found that lawyers are over-represented among white advocates. Why do you think that is?
I can only speculate. My guess is that it is about the only profession open to a social sciences major. Since most white advocates are interested in things like history, political science, and languages. Law is the only path open to such people that offers some chance of financial independence.
That is why I chose law. I figured I could be independent in a few years by going solo.
It’s much harder now for a white Nationalist to survive as a lawyer. These guys deserve great admiration as they stand up for our people in the face of extreme vulnerability to bullies like Heidi and Company at the SPLC. I was made the target of a vicious, nasty, and lying smear by the SPLC which wrecked my law practice. I see that this matter is the subject of a question you have asked below and I will comment more on it in answering that question.
Law still offers opportunities to our people, opportunities outside the profession itself. Lawyers learn a lot about how other people make money. I did this. As a result I developed an independent financial base outside the law practice by buying tax deeds, foreclosure properties with title defects. This is still an area that white lawyers should consider.
There are some areas of the law that are relatively immune to SPLC-type attacks. These include criminal law, wills and estates, and tax law. It would be harder for Heidi & Company to destroy the practice of a lawyer who worked in these fields. They could do significant harm but they couldn’t shut such a lawyer down the way they can a real estate closing lawyer (dependent on banks approving him) or trial lawyers (exposed to judge hostility and in danger of jurors Googling him when they go home).
I really worry about the young lawyers in our ranks. We have to do all we can to look out for them.
Many have noted the lull of organized white advocacy between the collapse of the mass resistance to the Civil Rights movement in the mid-’70s and the rise of American Renaissance, paleoconservatism, and media interest in race/IQ correlation in the ‘90s. How did you keep yourself sane and active in those years?
“In the winter the farmer looks to his tools.” This proverb has enormous value in all areas of one’s life.
During this period I applied myself to personal improvement. I worked to acquire financial assets. I took courses and seminars, improved my command of foreign languages, read widely, wrote occasionally. I kept my nose to the grindstone with my law practice.
I attended and hosted small seminars. These seminars were focused on what could be done now and in the future for our race.
It was at one of these seminars held in Western North Carolina in the late 1980s that something momentous took place.
This was “The High Hampton Conference.” It was held in Cashiers, N.C., at the High Hampton Inn. The subject of the seminar was: “Breaking Out of the Right Wing Ghetto.”
There were about 30 participants. All participants were carefully vetted to screen out kooks and potential troublemakers and plants. It was not open to the public or advertised. A condition of attending The High Hampton Conference was that each participant had to read a paper making a concrete proposal on how white activists could bring our message to the mainstream.
There were many good ideas. Most never came to fruition. Some were implemented to a degree.
There was one proposal, however, presented by someone whom I had never met before that proved to be the seed that produced 100-fold.
This was a proposal to set up an institute to be ultimately headquartered in Washington, D.C., or its environs. The institute would publish a newsletter, print books, organize conferences, and provide a voice for white people in the media.
The presenter was a young fellow a few years younger than I was, a dignified, clean cut, well-mannered WASP of the old type. He had been suggested by a friend who had met him in Africa years ago. He was a Yale graduate. He was bilingual in Japanese. He had grown up in Japan as the son of a Presbyterian minister. Politically, he came from the Left. He had had ties to the SDS and had cut sugar cane in Cuba in support of Fidel Castro.
This youngster’s name was Jared Taylor. His institute was to be called “American Renaissance.”
The rest is history.
I also worked with Wilmot Robertson in support of Instauration.
Wilmot Robertson is the noblest person I have met in this cause.
During my last year in law school, I saw an advertisement for a book entitled The Dispossessed Majority. It sounded interesting and I ordered a copy.
I sat down and started reading. I read for hours and hours. I read virtually the whole book in one sitting. I had read hundreds perhaps even thousands of books in English and in other languages on our subjects. But The Dispossessed Majority was in a class all by itself. It presented our truths in a modern, up-to-date way.
I ordered 100 copies from Howard Allen Publishers to distribute to students I knew who gave promise of being successful in life and receptive to the message. I was a member and Student President of the University of the Gridiron Secret Society, which is the University of Georgia equivalent of Skull & Bones (conspiracy theorists: make what you will of that!). Through Gridiron and other groups I knew guys who were presidents of their fraternities, class officers, student body officers and so on. I put the books to good use.
What do you think of Christianity? I am under the impression that you are opposed to it, from a Spenglerian or Nietzschean perspective, but your talks are often sprinkled with Bible verse, and frequently strike a Biblical tone. Where do you fall on the “Christian Question”? How do you think your view was influenced by your father, the Presbyterian minister?
I am a lapsed atheist. I tried living without God and it did not work well for me. I don’t think it works well for others either, nor do I think that a society without religion will work.
I was marinated in Calvinistic Christianity — the harshest and most austere form of Christianity — from childhood until I left for college at age 18. It is unimaginable to most modern Americans what it was like to grow up in an observant Presbyterian home back then. Hymns, prayers, memorization of catechisms, systematic Bible reading and memorization, study of the history of the Church, instruction in the heresies of other denominations (especially Roman Catholicism), and so on. Prayers before meals. Prayers after meals. Prayers when you got up in the morning. Prayers when you went to bed at night. The “keeping of the Lord’s Day” — a dreary day of counting the weary hours when you were not allowed to play or work but could engage only in religious devotions and services. I memorized Psalms in English and Latin. I can still recite the 1st and 23rd Psalms in Latin.
I had a love/hate relationship with Christianity. I enjoyed the hymns and the services. However, I felt suffocated by Christianity and I disliked its universalism. I was relieved to escape to college.
The saving grace was that Presbyterians back then at heart did not believe in universalism. They believed that only a small minority — mostly themselves — had been predestined to eternal life.
Calvinism thus is open to the idea that some groups are favored and others are not.
Another good thing was the teaching that financial solvency and professional success are “the outward signs of God’s inner grace.” Other churches preached the virtues of poverty. This has never made sense to me. Whatever faults he may have had, secular experience proves that Calvin was right that poverty more often than not is the result of some sinful shortcoming. There is only merit and no shame in honest enterprise, thrift and success. I have never drifted from this teaching.
Presbyterians were also open to science in a way that Baptists and Roman Catholics seemingly are not.
We were told that anything that is scientifically true is theologically true. Belief in evolution was just fine. The Baptists cannot believe in evolution. I think the Pope as early as the 1930s said it was okay to believe in it.
Presbyterians also do not believe in biblical inerrancy like the Baptists (and apparently the Roman Catholics too, from what friends have told me). Calvin made a famous statement that one should study astronomy and not Genesis to understand the stars.
There are five critical doctrines Presbyterians are expected to believe. No need to recite them here. The one that gave me the most trouble and which I still reject today is the idea of “the utter depravity of man.” It was this doctrine that set in motion my alienation from religion as a child.
Early on I became an admirer of the ancient Greeks and Romans. I could not accept the idea that without Jesus and the Church a hero like Leonidas who died for Sparta at Thermopylae was “utterly depraved.” This was just false on its face.
As life wore on I became dissatisfied with the atheism I embraced in college. I could not live separated from God’s love. I believe that without some point of reference above oneself one can never be properly oriented.
So eventually I returned. I am proof of one of the other of the five critical doctrines: irresistible grace The Elect cannot avoid salvation even if they try. I did not want to believe. I did not choose it. It was forced upon me.
I have my own version of Christianity which is probably as offensive to Presbyterians as it is to Roman Catholics and other denominations.
In addition to Christianity, three other constants in your writing are: references to classical Greek writing and history, a proud and very historical sense of your Southern heritage, and the infamous Vladimir Lenin. The Greek influence isn’t surprising, as most educated Westerners are well-steeped in the classics, and our movement is filled with proud and historically literate Southerners. But your “right-racialist-Leninism” (if I may) is distinct. You have quoted Lenin in talks for American Renaissance and The Occidental Quarterly, and always in the context of desiring to emulate his revolutionist tactics and ethos. And although never explicitly, you often invoke the need for a Leninist vanguard for activists today, and in casual conversation you talk about “after the revolution.” Could you speak on how you came to be so interested in Lenin, and what value you see in the rest of us drawing from him?
I confess that you are right. I am fascinated by Lenin. I foresee a point at which the System will crack. The System’s collapse will be our opportunity. We will need a Lenin, in the sense of someone who is capable of thinking and acting radically. Someone who can create a completely new system, not a revision of historic American political theory of federalism, States’ Rights, the melting pot, rugged individualism, and the other false halcyon features of a Golden Age that never existed. While we learn from the example of Lenin’s determination, ruthlessness, dedication, and perspicacity in the Bolshevik Revolution, this does not mean that we will blindly mirror his cruelty and engage in a bloodbath.
Francis Yeats Brown
You have called for the creation of an ethnostate and declared the American nation to be a “god that failed.” What are we to do between the fall and the future?
What are we to do?
The immediate present superficially seems to be a time of gloom, suffering and despair. Actually, it is a period when we have time and opportunity for thinking, planning and preparing.
If and when an opportunity opens for us — as it did for Lenin in 1917 — we will not enjoy leisure time. Events will sweep down upon us like a hurricane.
We need to employ present time wisely, both in terms of our own personal development and in terms of the greater cause.
Each white activist owes it to his race to develop himself to the utmost, and he must embrace this task with enthusiasm, not with a deadening sense of “it must be done.”
The best soldier in the Army is of no use if his canteen has been empty for 24 hours.
White activists should regularly betake themselves of self-help books and tapes, especially those of straightforward, sensible instructors like Bryan Tracy, Dale Carnegie, and others.
Movement adherents should study marketing. They should not shun books like How to Win Friends and Influence People as beneath themselves, as pseudo-intellectuals do.
On a movement level we must empty ourselves of the facile and erroneous idea that conferences are “meet, eat, and retreat” wastes of time. On the contrary, such meetings are valuable and enriching on both the personal and the racial level.
We must network. We must think.
There is a very wise old saying: “Before there is something to be done there is something to be known.”
Action without intensive preparation will fail. A moment of planning saves an hour of execution.
As taught by corporate trainers we need to grasp — and actually implement in our lives — the truth that nothing succeeds without planning.
If you have no plan to go anywhere, you will successfully arrive at nowhere.
I find than most people have no plans at all. White activists should have carefully thought out plans of specific and attainable goals for their lives.
The plans should include specific commitments to movement support, such as $25.00 per month for American Renaissance or whatever your institution of choice may be. We can support those who are out in the open without exposing ourselves.
I hear people asking the question (alas, usually rhetorically), “Why isn’t someone doing something?” If we are unwilling to give steady, systematic and sustainable support to those who are full-time and open leaders of our race, the answer to that question is obvious.
On a larger level, our movement itself seems to have no long-range plans.
Our adherents should set their minds to long-range planning for our cause.
The most important thing is that we must break off a portion of the ruling class to our cause. Even if we get only tiny, single digit converts, they will pay off immensely over a long term.
We cannot prevail with the human resources at our disposal now. We have to be selfless enough to humble ourselves and seek those who are superior.
Long-range movement planning should include projects to seed groups like prep school seniors and National Merit Scholarship recipients with sensible, concise and persuasive propaganda.
The Jesuits operated through the subversion of the elites with great success. Ironically, for all its much ballyhooed egalitarianism, so did the Marxist movement in its penetration and capture of elite schools such as Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, and Columbia. We should study the successful and take pages from their books.
Finally, we must let go of old limitations and embrace the totality of opportunities.
The country and our race is in a state of flux and change far greater than observers realize. There are huge opportunities for us, greater than hitherto imaginable.
The tired old divisions of our race into “left vs. right” and “conservative vs. liberal” must come to an end and this seems to be happening — undirected, amorphous, spontaneous, but happening all the same.
In the contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for the presidential nomination, the Democratic Party split on almost perfect racial lines. The blacks, Hispanics and other minority racist blocs supported Hillary Clinton. The white Democrats voted for Bernie Sanders. I think the Sanders Democrats can be reached and can be awakened to a racial consciousness.
This requires the jettisoning of old, limited thinking about our somehow being “conservatives” but it’s way past time for us to drop that stuff.
We must embrace the tasks before us with joy and enthusiasm. As Goethe said, “Nothing succeeds without enthusiasm.” Let us march forth as happy warriors!