Who Is Gregory Hood?
Hubert Collins, American Renaissance, February 23, 2018
When AmRen editor Jared Taylor was asked to write a blurb for a collection of Gregory Hood’s essays, he wrote: “In our movement, Gregory Hood is unquestionably the best writer of his generation. Heck, he could be the best writer in the entire movement.”
We are pleased to announce that Mr. Hood is now a full-time staff writer for American Renaissance. We would like to introduce him to our readers through an interview conducted by another talented writer, Hubert Collins.
Since I am interviewing you largely because you are so admired by dissidents across the web, let’s start there. What do you make of your fame?
I’m not sure there’s much in the way of “fame,” nor do I want any. I am pleased the brand seems to have a good reputation among the people whose opinions I value. I definitely enjoy being read. But the work is more important to me than the name; I could sign every article with “by X” and it would mean the same to me. I just hope I have an impact on readers.
We’re a decentralized movement and much of our power lies in anonymity. When you are fighting a top-down media establishment, it’s best to be loose, ill-defined, and free-floating. Obviously, we need some public faces. We need certain institutions, and we need resources to support those institutions. But the public faces aren’t the sum total of the movement. Our progress is best measured by how many anonymous people agree with our ideas, and our support is always understated. If that anonymous group grows sufficiently large, and if it financially supports our open activists, eventually we will reach a point where there is no downside to being a white advocate publicly.
For now, we should think of ourselves more as ideological guerrillas, not as people who want to line up and get mowed down. It’s a war over the Narrative, and the main enemy is the media. My job is to win converts and provide the best arguments I can. As an individual, I’m insignificant.
Where does your pen name come from? Is it a reference to the old radio show, “The Casebook of Gregory Hood”? Are you a fan? Or was it just a coincidence?
It’s essentially a coincidence. Why that name originally came to mind I’m not really sure, and it’s been so long I don’t remember the original inspiration. Of course, at this point I’m aware of “The Casebook of Gregory Hood,” and I’ll probably do a review of it at some point.
How did you develop a “sense of race.”
Like most white people of a certain generation, it was forced on me. I always noticed racial differences, just like I noticed sexual differences or, for that matter, the existence of gravity. It was simply a basic phenomenon of the world. But it didn’t really become important until the doctrine of “white privilege” became mainstream. Once you think through that concept, and everything it entails, race really has to become central to any political, social, or cultural effort.
It’s a weak intellectual argument, but it’s a very strong practical argument to say that “white privilege” essentially gives the Left unlimited justification for social engineering and government intervention. Property rights, freedom of speech, and even basic social relations like the nuclear family are all secondary to this newly created goal of overcoming “privilege.”
Like so many others, I didn’t like hard-left activists (what we now call the SJWs) telling me what I could and could not read, say, and think. But unlike many others, I took their philosophy seriously and gradually came to understand why even the most extreme or ludicrous actions of a typical leftist flow inexorably from their ideological premises. And because their premises — especially race denial — don’t describe reality, violence and repression are inevitable. Racial realism is essential to the creation and maintenance of a successful society — as necessary as having supplies of food and water.
The modern conservative movement gives you hundreds of pages on how some obscure regulation will distort the economy and lead to all sorts of problems, but it somehow pretends that ignoring this huge scientific and social reality won’t lead to negative consequences. We have only to look around us to see those consequences.
It’s also important on an individual level. You can’t escape from race, just as you can’t escape from any other part of your genetic makeup or the natural laws that govern physical existence. To deny race is to deny yourself and to live by an unsustainable lie. After all, if you look at egalitarians today you can see how living by lies can quite literally drive you crazy. They’re tearing themselves apart, creating ever more expansive definitions of privilege and ever more blatant double standards. And all of them seem utterly miserable and poisonous. I’d rather be flayed than have to speak with a Twitter-verified journalist for five minutes.
Many have written essays dealing with the question “Why I Write” — could you give us a paragraph? (and maybe an essay soon, eh?) Would you consider it an addiction?
There’s a famous part of the Bhagavad Gita in which Arjuna is told he must fight, because that is his nature. Being a writer is my nature. It’s what I do. Aside from any genetic legacy and any institutions I help to create, my work is what I will leave behind. I couldn’t stop doing it even if I wanted to. It’s more than an addiction. I need it like I need oxygen.
While your opinions/ideology do not seem to have changed much since you started writing (for the record, that is not a bad thing), there has been a very distinct evolution from a very activist mindset in your early writing at American Renaissance and elsewhere to much more theory and analysis at Radix and Counter-Currents.
Trying to push back against the Narrative is one of the most important “activist” things we can do, especially in a media-dominated society where most people get their news from online sources. Even activism is partially about creating the best “optics” and images that will inspire future action. Making sure we are pushing back, day by day, is critically important. It’s a meme war, after all.
But there’s also some more in-depth theoretical work that’s been drawing me in over the last few years. Every once in a while, I start to get glimpses of the larger patterns at work and start to think I can understand them. It’s hard to explain; the best way I can describe it would be the “feeling” a campaign worker gets when he’s backing a winning candidate — when he starts to understand how the data and the intangibles are somehow adding up to victory. Sam Francis was the closest our movement came to systematizing a method of analysis for us, and he was taken from us far too soon. If I could aspire to anything, it would be to complete his theoretical work.
Your byline on AmRen notes that you have been involved in American right-wing politics, and the vitriol you direct at the artificial negativity of the Republican Party seems too heartfelt to have come from someone who never spent time in the Beltway. Can you describe your journey in and out of it? What was the absolute last straw for you as a man of the Beltway? Is there an incident you think of that always makes you think “never again” whenever you think of going back?
It’s an ongoing process. Certainly, the Trump Administration has made it difficult to break psychologically from Washington politics. And the idea that we are going to “win” (however you define that) without at least impacting mainstream politics strikes me as naïve. I’ll never totally break with it.
I certainly have psychologically, though. The conservative movement is sick, something you really understand only once you’ve seen it from the inside. The best way to put it is that I saw how it chews people up and spits them out. It takes its most dedicated and principled activists, fund-raises off them, and then throws them to the wolves at the first sign of trouble. The people who “make it” in conservatism are the ones who are the most cynical, the most opportunistic, the people who deliberately prevent themselves from taking ideas seriously or becoming truly committed to the political struggle.
Or, as Joe Sobran summarized his experiences in the conservative movement long ago, “It’s a game, a way of making a living.” The cowardice conservatives show in dealing with the Left is matched by how utterly ruthless they are when it comes to purging the intellectually curious within their own ranks. What you end up with is a movement composed of either sociopaths or morons. No wonder Donald Trump crushed them so easily during the primaries.
The tragedy is how many young people I’ve seen just be destroyed by conservatism. They always warn you, “Don’t get involved with white identity politics, it will destroy your life.” But I’ve never seen people destroyed as thoroughly as those who throw themselves into the conservative movement, who risk beatings and hostile press, who make financial sacrifices, and who put everything on the line, only so that some Beltway consultant can scam naïve donors and make money off a campaign he doesn’t believe in anyway. If you are a racial realist, at least you have your self-respect. No matter how bad things get, you have comrades who will stand by you to the end. Conservatives can’t say that. Everyone is disposable.
There are con artists in white advocacy, just as there are in socialist movements or in the corporate world. But conservatism is unique because it is itself a con.
Why so much publication jumping? Most writers tend to stick to one or two regular outlets, but you bounce around quite a bit, and seem to go through “phases” of sorts where you become the marquee writer for one website for a year or so, and then move on.
I think different websites are best for talking about certain things. Each site has certain themes that it focuses on, that it does better than other places. And some of the things I want to write about just don’t “fit” with a certain site. Tactically, I tend to believe that we are going to need a variety of approaches, even mutually contradictory approaches, to get to where we need to be.
And then there’s just the insufferable artist part of me that just doesn’t like being told what to do or being tied down to one place. If someone put a gun to my head and said you have to write for only this one place, I’d probably start an anonymous blog under another name within the hour, even if no one read it.
In my interview with you on “neo-reaction,” I asked you what books you considered essential (as an Identitarian) for neo-reactionaries to read. You were a bit vague, but highly recommended Sam Francis and James C. Russell. Now I’m curious what five books were essential to getting you where you are today.
The five books that got me to where I am today and the five books I would recommend reading are two very different questions. Indeed, some of the books that got me where I am today are not really books I agree with anymore, or ever totally did. They were just steps on the journey.
The Cousins’ Wars by Kevin Phillips – Kevin Phillips was the man who first identified the “emerging Republican majority” that gave Richard Nixon his electoral victories, and I’ve always found him worth reading, even his more leftist stuff. The Cousins’ Wars shows how ideology and identity feed off each other, not just to create immediate conflicts but to set down historical patterns that shape centuries to come. This was the book that really broke me away from the movement conservative conception of politics as just a “marketplace of ideas.”
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – I’m not an Objectivist or even a libertarian. And being into Ayn Rand is practically a meme. But I think Rand’s work is highly relevant to white advocates. I laid out some of the reasons in a successful contest entry in the Spring 2011 edition of The Occidental Quarterly, later reprinted in Counter-Currents. And I haven’t said my last about her work.
Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt by Paul Gottfried – The system of hegemonic liberalism we live under is never really analyzed from an outsider’s perspective, most likely because the university professors who normally deconstruct such things are a part of that system. Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt shows how the ideology of “diversity” has co-opted the Christian ideas at the center of Western Civilization. Prof. Gottfried also shows how such an ideology gives a whole new meaning to progressivism, which today is less about fighting income inequality or owning the means of production and more about indoctrinating the population with the correct social views. His previous work, After Liberalism, is also worth reading. I’d say these books are utterly necessary when it comes to breaking people away from this idea of a classical liberal “free world” which so many conservatives are wedded to.
The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity by James Russell – Whether you are a pagan, a Kinist, a traditionalist Catholic, or simply a European interested in white racial survival, this is a book you can’t ignore. Russell shows how the Catholic faith that conquered Europe not only transformed the European people but was transformed by it, becoming a life-affirming, conquering faith. I think many of the pointless religious arguments that tear apart white advocates could be avoided by carefully studying this book. And it certainly annihilates the race-blind “tradcons” who believe some deracinated “Christian civilization” will survive the death of the white race.
The Suicide of the West by James Burnham. Apparently, Jonah Goldberg is co-opting the title for a new book. I can’t help but think it’s to try to deliberately steer people away from Burnham, but we will have to see. Sam Francis was our movement’s greatest theorist, but he built on Burnham’s analysis. The Suicide of the West is not Burnham’s most important theoretical work, but it’s perhaps his most forceful. Obviously a bit dated with its Cold War references, it’s a great way to break people away from believing “liberalism” will somehow be sufficient to combat totalitarianism. He gets inside liberalism in a more scientific and systematic way, as befits a former Marxist. It’s somehow both deeper theoretically and more practical than other “classics” of the conservative movement, many of which seem to have been written because the authors liked to hear themselves talk. It’s a book the conservative movement wants to make disappear — and I suspect Goldberg’s plagiarism is designed to help make that happen.
Sometimes I think one-fourth of all dissident essays are, unfortunately, book reviews, but you rarely write them, and when you do they tend to be of novels, which is unusual for political writers. However, you have reviewed plenty of television and film — why is this?
Politics is downstream from culture, as Andrew Breitbart always said. Today though, it seems that “culture” has become more of a top-down product, dominated by a blunt political viewpoint as crude as anything that existed in East Germany. We interpret reality mostly through what we see in electronic media. It has taken the place of religion and myth in the minds of most Americans. Even in deadly situations, the metaphor most often used by survivors is “it was like a movie.” Unpacking the ideological premises behind these products is necessary for white advocates. (If I was a leftist, I’d be doing this for a living as a well-paid “Film Studies” professor.)
You also seem to have read an incredible number of books. How do you do it? Not only do you keep up with day-to-day reporting and analysis from dissident heavy weights like James Kirkpatrick and John Derbyshire, you also know your Baron Evola backwards and forwards. You display niche knowledge on a wide variety of subjects from George Lincoln Rockwell, to Pagan sects, to Ayn Rand’s life and work, and so on. I would have imagined you were a 300-pound nerd, but when I met you in person, it was clear you are no stranger to the gym.
It’s not discipline or any kind of special dedication. I just can’t be in any kind of quiet environment without a book. If I’m in a waiting room, my Kindle is with me; if I’m driving, I have an audiobook going. I’m afraid I’m like that guy from the Twilight Zone episode — if the world were nuked, there’d be a part of me that thinks, “Oh good, at least I have time to read everything now.” The downside of course is that I tend to be a bit disrespectful with other people; someone will be talking to me and then he’ll turn and find I’m reading a book rather than paying attention. I have a great memory for things I’ve read, but I’ll sometimes have entire conversations with people that I’ll forget because I was reading or thinking about a book rather than paying attention.
Have you ever read Culture of Critique, or like so many of us do you just know the gist of it? What do you make of dissident Jews? Your writings are often quite hard on Jews, but Lawrence Auster and Paul Gottfried seem to have influenced you immensely.
I’ve read it as well as the author’s other works. Truth is truth, regardless of who says it, and that works both ways when it comes to this question. So I don’t think knowing this work means you therefore can’t read or use the work of Auster or Gottfried.
Of course, we always have to be aware that authors may have dual meanings for their work — they want the general audience to think one thing, while those in the know are supposed to think something else. Sometimes, writing may just be a way deliberately to muddle the truth. I always keep that in mind, but I reject the idea that we therefore must avoid work from entire categories of people. After all, we certainly don’t apply that standard to reading the work of political opponents.
As we all know, White people love learning languages, and the smartest among us generally know a few — do you? Do you figure you’ll ever bother learning another? Which tongue would you learn if you could do so with the touch of a button?
I can read and write Spanish passably, but speaking it is still a challenge. Learning it is my main goal right now. I’d also like to learn Afrikaans, partially because it is supposedly the easiest language for an English speaker to learn, partially because then it’s a short step to learning Dutch.
How do the ladies treat you? You seem a fan of “game” and the “pick-up artist” scene, but do you have any luck? And what of family, love, legacy — the stuff of tradition and continuing on the race? Any advice on the matter?
I’m spoken for on that front, and very happy with my current relationship. I’m in one of those situations where you honestly welcome every disappointment, pain, and mistake you made in your romantic life because it got you to where you are now. Things could not be better.
I’m pretty bourgeois when it comes to family and children. I believe large families are important, that men and women have different roles, and that a strong family unit is the foundation of a strong nation and a strong people. Like a lot of people, I think I learned the truth of social conservatism the hard way.
I’m interested (or was interested) in that scene because I’m interested in human social dynamics and power relationships. We all have this kind of evolutionary program running in the background and when you begin to notice how you can actually take control of that, it’s startling. It can even be somewhat depressing. But it’s real. And understanding it is critical, not just when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex, but in dealing with everyone.
That said, my intellectual interest in it was always stronger than my practical interest. I was never one for hitting the clubs, but I also never really had to worry about being “forever alone.” I think I was pretty typical on that front.
Which way Western adolescent?
Fight or cuck.
In other words — there’s not much of a middle ground anymore. You either have to become Identitarian or become a replaceable consumer drone spouting whatever the likes of Vice tells you to. You can try to split the difference, but it’s getting increasingly hard, given that we’re approaching an almost totalitarian media culture. It’s one or the other, kid. Make your choice.
Which historical figures do you most admire, or whose spirit you wish to return to the modern era?
The hard part about that question is we have this idea that prior elites would somehow automatically be on our side. Obviously, as Jared Taylor has shown, the Founding Fathers all were more or less “white nationalists,” as was pretty much any great man of the West until quite recently. But if all you had were extraordinarily capable personalities fanatically pursuing high status in the context of their time, you don’t want to just snatch up their ideology and apply it to the present. Otherwise it’s like one of these alternate histories where you say something like, “What if Napoleon had an A-10 at the Battle of Waterloo?”
I greatly admire someone like Frederick the Great, but I don’t know if he’d be “on our side” today — he might just be a successful financier or something, because that’s the new way to achieve status and power. At the risk of being a bit Marxist, you really do need to understand the System before you can understand a personality.
Therefore, I have complicated feelings on a number of people and societies. There are certain principles and a certain Tradition some people and societies exemplified or championed, but I don’t think we can simply revive them in the modern era. Old ideals will take a new form that will reflect certain eternal truths.
As far as some people whom I feel to be the most compelling, at the top of the list is probably Bonaparte. A clichéd answer, I know, but here’s a man who grew up utterly despising the French and became arguably their greatest leader. His Empire contained so many contradictions and was so internally complex that it would take a lifetime of study to make it coherent. I can never get tired of reading about his life and every time I start to write something about him, I change my mind about something important. That’s so unusual for me, I want to keep reading.
Hobby or interest you think readers might be most surprised by?
Probably theology. I take religion extremely seriously and am deeply interested in the interaction between identity and belief. That said, I think it’s a mistake simply to seek a social explanation for certain dogmas or tenets of a faith. There’s something deeper going on, whether it’s metaphysically, psychologically, or just something in our biological nature.
I’m a sucker for Warhammer 40K and grand strategy games, but that’s pretty common.
A final interest (really a flaw) is a morbid obsession with reading about the latest treatments for various diseases. Partially this is because I love reading about biology and medicine. If I could somehow be prevented from writing, I’d be a research scientist, dedicating my life to curing some horrible disease. It’s also very inspirational — the human mind seeking to understand itself, to overcome mortality, to unlock the secrets of Nature. It’s very fitting with the Faustian nature of our civilization. But it also comes out of what is clearly a mild case of hypochondria, which, as Mencken said, seems to be characteristic of all writers.
You have an impressive knowledge of Christianity, (and I could swear every fifth essay you write has a link to the “Sign of Contradiction” page on Wikipedia) does this come from your upbringing? A flirtation with belief? Past conversion? Pure curiosity?
It comes from a number of different factors. Like almost everyone in this movement, I was raised Christian and took it very seriously. I still do. The spiritual and emotional collapse of the West following the “death of God” suggests that there is a void at the heart of our civilization. How to confront that is really the first step to dealing with everything. After all, the main problem with whites today is that they somehow feel unjustified in acting to ensure their own survival.
Intellectually, the structure of belief is a deeply important question. Obviously, what really fascinates me today is how modern egalitarianism has become a religious faith, a faith held far more strongly and defended far more fanatically than the tame Christianity of a typical priest or pastor. Understanding how that occurred, how it functions, and how it can be broken down is a critical question for this movement.
What is the closest you have come to giving up and walking away from it all?
There have been several times, mostly when the infighting becomes especially tiresome. It never lasts long. Again, there’s a need to write, and I’d be doing that even if no one were reading. This need is so primal I can’t even explain it, so there’s not really anything that can stop it.
A quick note on infighting — it is a constant in any political movement. The main advice I would give people who become dispirited is that there’s something to be said for simply remaining indifferent, as much as possible, to personal politics. I’m not one of these people who gets off on being hated. But I have this weird ability to remain utterly ignorant about those people who do hate my guts. I don’t have the attention span to hold a grudge or have a mortal enemy. And I think that’s actually something psychologically helpful. I care deeply about what certain people think of me, but other than those people, not only do I not care, I don’t even know.
Occasionally, a certain pessimism pops out in you. Do we have a chance? What are we to do about our increasingly disappointing President Trump?
If President Trump’s election has shown anything, it’s that the future is unwritten. My historical judgement is that we don’t have a chance unless the System and its current ideological hegemony is fundamentally destabilized. Obviously, that is happening now at a faster pace than any of us can remember. Of course, it could also go the other way, as you see the media, the government, NGO’s, and tech companies working to impose a kind of “official Narrative” on the West. And once you are de-platformed, it becomes very difficult to combat that.
I’d say the odds are against us, and that President Trump has blown an incredible opportunity to remake the Republican Party into the “workers’ party” he promised, a party capable of winning elections. As of this writing, I think the electoral coalition he assembled will not be put together again. I’m not going to lie and say we are destined to win. We aren’t. We may lose.
That said, we are in a tremendously unstable situation and, for those in our position, that is a good thing. As Peter Brimelow always says, there are theological injunctions against pessimism.
More importantly, there are things you can do to improve your own life, to surrounded yourself with like-minded people, to build a family and a community. Some of the most important activism is being done away from the headlines and the commissar/reporters, with white people organizing themselves from the ground up. We now have communities large enough that you can always find someone, wherever you live in this country. Organize with people you care about, tribe out, become anti-fragile, do your best to build a family, create multiple sources of income, and support those activists, writers, and institutions you think are making a positive impact.
I’m a pessimist by nature, but I’m far more optimistic than I was even three years ago.