Melinda Jelliby, American Renaissance, April 2000
I am a liberal. I am also a white woman committed to my race and civilization. I am in favor of much of what is called “big government,” I think the Second Amendment is an anachronism, and I have been reading American Renaissance for more than five years. This may appear to be a shocking contradiction but, as I will show, it is not. Nor am I alone in my views. Admittedly, there are not very many of us liberals-cum-white advocates, but I predict there will be more. The white consciousness movement needs friends — from across the political spectrum — if it is to succeed, and it should not structure itself in a way that needlessly discourages potential allies.
To read AR is to get the impression that racial consciousness is a package deal based mostly on opposition: to welfare, gun control, big government, women’s liberation, homosexuals, the United Nations, free trade, and maybe even public schools and social security. There is no logical reason racial consciousness has to be tied to that set of ideas, and to do so as explicitly as AR does risks failing to be — dare I say it? — inclusive. It is true that a clear understanding of race is today more likely to be found among people who also take certain positions generally called “conservative,” but there is nothing inherent or inevitable about this.
The Historical Perspective
As AR is fond of pointing out, until just a few decades ago, virtually every aspect of what is today called “racism” was part of the fabric of American society. It should not be necessary to note that that fabric has always been made up of competing schools of thought, many of which were “liberal” by today’s standards. “Liberalism,” in that sense, was perfectly compatible with a healthy understanding of the meaning of race.
Although it probably saddens the hearts of most AR readers, it is possible to view American history as the steady triumph of “liberalism,” defined as the steady dismantling of tradition, hierarchy, and inequality in the search for equality. The very establishment of the country as a republic rather than a monarchy was in this sense liberal, as were a long list of Constitutional and legal changes: abolition of the property qualification for voters, direct election of senators, abolition of slavery, voting rights for women, compulsory education, the income tax, social security, organized labor, inheritance taxes, etc., etc., all the way up to the Americans With Disabilities Act and homosexual marriage.
Whether one sees this as the march of progress or the march of folly, my point is that however bitter the debates may have been over these policies, up until just a few decades ago neither side doubted that America was a European nation that could not survive if it ceased to be European. The suffragettes, for example, wanted votes for women — a radical idea at the time — but they were not “liberal” about race. And of course, many abolitionists, including Abraham Lincoln, wanted to free the slaves and then expel them from the country. In that sense, he was more “conservative” on race than the supporters of slavery; he didn’t want blacks in the country under any circumstances. My point is that ever since the founding, it has been possible to work for far-reaching, even revolutionary change without upsetting race relations or losing sight of the racial identity of the nation.
It is easy to find “liberals” from America’s past who were also “racists.” Take William Jennings Bryan (1860 — 1925), certainly no reactionary. He thought blacks should be prevented from voting “on the ground that civilization has a right to preserve itself.” At the 1924 Democratic convention he spoke strongly against a motion to condemn the Ku Klux Klan, and helped defeat it. His Populist Party running mate in 1886, Tom Watson (1856 — 1924), went even further, calling blacks a “hideous, ominous, national menace.” In 1908 Watson ran for public office “standing squarely for white supremacy.” “Lynch law is a good sign,” he wrote. “It shows that a sense of justice yet lives among the people.” When he died, the leader of the American Socialist Party Eugene Debs (1855 — 1926) — certainly no conservative — wrote, “he was a great man, a heroic soul who fought for power over evil his whole life long in the interest of the common people, and they loved and honored him.”
The common people, certainly as represented by the Socialist Party, were not liberal on race. The socialists reached the height of their power during the early part of this century and at one time could claim 2,000 elected officials. They were split on the Negro question, but the anti-black faction was probably stronger. The party organ, Social Democratic Herald, argued on Sept. 14, 1901 that blacks were inferior, depraved degenerates who went “around raping women and children.” The socialist press dismissed any white woman who consorted with blacks as “depraved.”
In 1903, the Second International criticized American socialists for not speaking out against lynching and other violence against blacks. The Socialist National Quorum explained that Americans were silent on the subject because only the abolition of capitalism and the triumph of socialism could prevent the further procreation of black “lynchable human degenerates.” At the 1910 Socialist Party Congress, the Committee on Immigration called for the “unconditional exclusion” of Chinese and Japanese on the grounds that America already had problems enough dealing with Negroes. There was a strong view within the party that it was capitalism that forced the races to live and work together, and that under Socialism the race problem would be solved for good by complete segregation.
In their racial views, American socialists were in complete agreement with Karl Marx. He and Friedrich Engels both despised blacks and used the English word “nigger” in private correspondence even though they wrote in German. Marx called his rival for leadership of the German socialism movement, Ferdinand Lassalle, “the Jewish nigger,” and described him thus, in a letter to Engels:
It is now entirely clear to me, that, as his cranial structure and hair type prove, Lassalle is descended from the Negroes, who joined Moses’ flight from Egypt (that is, assuming his mother, or his paternal grandmother, did not cross with a nigger) . . . The officiousness of the fellow is also nigger-like.
Samuel Gompers (1850 — 1924) epitomizes old-school American liberalism. He was a Jewish immigrant who founded the American Federation of Labor and worked constantly for “progressive” causes, but when it came to race, he was firmly in the white man’s corner.
In a 1921 letter to the president of Haverford College explaining the AFL’s position on immigration, he wrote: “Those who believe in unrestricted immigration want this country Chinaized. But I firmly believe that there are too many right-thinking people in our country to permit such an evil.” In an AFL monograph entitled “Meat vs. Rice: American Manhood Against Asiatic Coolieism,” he wrote, “It must be clear to every thinking man and woman that while there is hardly a single reason for the admission of Asiatics, there are hundreds of good and strong reasons for their absolute exclusion.”
The author Jack London (1876 — 1916) was, in his day, the best known, most highly paid, and popular author in the world. He was a committed socialist but also a white supremacist. He wrote that socialism was “devised for the happiness of certain kindred races. It is devised so as to give more strength to these certain kindred favored races so that they may survive and inherit the earth to the extinction of the lesser, weaker races.” There were, however, some races that were not going to go quietly extinct. In a little essay called “The Yellow Peril,” London worried about what would happen if the 400 million Chinese were ever taken in hand by the 45 million Japanese and led on a crusade against the white man:
Four hundred million indefatigable workers (deft, intelligent, and unafraid to die), aroused and rejuvenescent, managed and guided by forty-five million additional human beings who are splendid fighting animals, scientific and modern, constitute that menace to the Western world which has been well named the ‘Yellow Peril.’
The English philosopher Bertrand Russell, (1872–1970) was another well-known socialist free-thinker, and eternal gadfly to all things conservatives hold dear — well, almost all things. On the race question he was entirely on Jack London’s side. In a 1923 book called Prospects of Industrial Civilization he wrote:
[The] white population of the world will soon cease to increase. The Asiatic races will be longer, and the Negroes still longer, before their birth rate falls sufficiently to make their numbers stable without help of war and pestilence . . . Until that happens, the benefits aimed at by socialism can only be partially realized, and the less prolific races will have to defend themselves against the more prolific by methods which are disgusting even if they are necessary.
These people were socialists, but that did not blind them to race. They were for socialism and progress but whites came first.
It is also worth noting that a certain central European politician who had considerable influence on mid-century events was a National Socialist. The most famous racist in world history was no libertarian friend of big business. He was a typical rabble-rousing lefty who got his start in beerhalls, not in boardrooms.
Woodrow Wilson is on the enemies list of many conservatives who see his love affair with the League of Nations as a precursor to national capitulation and One World Government. But he, too, was a committed racialist who kept Princeton University all white when he was in charge, and made sure, as President, that white bureaucrats did not have to sit next to blacks. After a private showing of D.W. Griffith’s movie, Birth of a Nation, attended by selected senators, congressmen, and Supreme Court chief justice Edward White, he remarked admiringly that the film wrote “history with lightening.”
Not even feminism, which is today closely associated with anti-racism, had origins of which it can today be entirely proud. Margaret Sanger (1883 — 1966) was an early advocate of women’s liberation and was the founder of what is now Planned Parenthood. She was a militant advocate for female suffrage, published articles on sexuality in a socialist magazine named The Call, and in 1914 founded her own feminist journal, The Woman Rebel. Sanger was a revolutionary — but not when it came to race. She liked the racial hierarchy exactly as it was, and was friends with Lothrop Stoddard, who contributed to her publication.
There is nothing illogical or inconsistent about any of these examples of liberal “racism.” The natural human perspective is that of the tribe. Within the tribe there can be libertarians, socialists, Christians, atheists, and any number of antagonists who are nevertheless loyal tribesmen. Politics is supposed to end at the water’s edge, meaning that whatever differences Americans have among ourselves are set aside when we face the outside world. Although it never became a catch-phrase, it used to be that politics ended at the race’s edge too.
There is no reason why it should not continue to do so. There is no contradiction between virtually every traditionally liberal position and racial consciousness. In fact, many liberal policies require an understanding of racial differences. For example, I think government has an important role in helping look after people who cannot look after themselves. But I also think people support welfare programs only when there is a shared feeling of social obligation, which cannot be felt across racial lines. Just as Americans resent it when aliens go on welfare, they resent it when people who are visibly not their kin — but happen to be citizens — take public charity. As well they should. And no one should pretend that it is only whites who feel this way. If it turned out that whites were getting scholarships from the United Negro College Fund the black outcry would be deafening — even though most of the funding comes from whites.
I think welfare benefits at a certain level are a natural reflection of the way whites build societies. Every white nation, without exception, has moved in this direction. If the nanny state goes too far, as it did in Scandinavia, voters will rein it in, but the record suggests that welfare programs are inherent to white societies. It is only when non-whites who do not feel the same reciprocal web of obligations to society are included in welfare that we get abuse and degeneracy so flagrant that we are tempted to throw out the whole system. But it is silly to think that just because blacks and Hispanics make a mess of welfare that welfare itself is wrong.
The emancipation of women and the loosening of sexual restraints must also be understood in a racial context. It has opened up opportunities for many white women but has condemned huge numbers of black and Hispanic women to wretched single-motherhood. Here again we see racial traits that do — or do not — make “liberalism” possible, and it would be a mistake to condemn liberalism itself because of the havoc it has wrought on certain groups.
It is true that in Scandinavian countries illegitimacy rates are high — 65 percent in Iceland, 49 percent in Norway, and 54 percent in Sweden — but this does not mean for the Nordics what it means for Harlem. Swedes may not be marrying but they are cohabiting in exactly the kind of stable relationship that is necessary for children and which marriage is designed to ensure. High rates of black bastardy and its attendant horrors are the price Americans pay for “liberalism,” but in Sweden high rates of bastardy are essentially benign.
There are many “liberal” movements — animal rights, environmentalism, ecumenicism, homosexual rights — that have virtually no following among non-whites, and that unmask liberalism’s best-kept and most embarrassing secret: only whites can really be liberals (the verdict is still out on north Asians). Try explaining women’s liberation to Africans, or telling Honduran millionaires there should be income redistribution, or arguing for religious freedom with Muslims, or telling Japanese to be nice to homosexuals, or even asking American blacks to recycle beer cans.
To repeat: A far-reaching liberalism involving redistribution of wealth requires, first of all, a homogeneous society in which people think of their nation as an extended family. Those feelings do not easily cross the racial divide. Second, liberalism succeeds only with whites. Although they refuse to admit it, the frustration of so many of today’s liberals comes from trying to make their policies work in a multi-racial society like our own and from trying to export them to places like Haiti. A dedicated liberal with any sense of the practical should be a dedicated separatist.
Liberalism is no different from so many other practices and institutions that sprang up among whites and are not appropriate for others. Our country keeps mindlessly trying to push democracy, rule of law, freedom of the press, etc. onto people for whom these things are meaningless. But it would be a mistake to note the racial aspect of the mismatch only when a “conservative” idea or institution fails to take root among non-whites. Liberalism deserves the same analysis.
Let me explain. It seems to me that AR has come very close to suggesting that private ownership of firearms is appropriate for whites but not for blacks. In effect it is saying it is superficial to conclude, as liberals do, that guns are to blame for our rates of violence. AR loves to go the NRA one better and argue that not only do people rather than guns kill people, it is certain people who kill people. Don’t throw out the Second Amendment, says AR; wake up to race.
Likewise, in the November 1999 issue there is an “O Tempora” item about the disproportionate number of non-whites who fall afoul of the University of Virginia honor code. AR writes that if non-whites succeed in junking the honor code, “one more institution built by whites for whites will have been set aside because non-whites could not meet its demands.” Once again, the AR argument is that we must not consider institutions or ideologies to be failures just because non-whites wreck them.
AR should judge liberalism by the same standards. It should be open to the argument that, like private ownership of weapons and the UVA honor code, liberalism is perfectly sound when practiced by the people among whom it originated and for which it was designed. To expand distinctively white institutions to include others is like putting a saddle on a cow. Do not be unfairly selective in this insight and apply it only when non-whites destroy “conservative” ideals. They destroy “liberal” ideals, too.
It is racial nuttiness that is our enemy, not liberalism, and they are not the same thing. You may disagree all you like with Margaret Sanger, Jack London, Tom Watson, and the turn-of-the-century socialists, but they had no illusions about race. The fatal mistake was when liberalism jumped the tracks and went soft-headed about blacks. Two very important things happened as a result. First, liberalism became hated as never before. To be sure, there were fights over women’s suffrage, the League of Nations, the New Deal, and all the rest, but only in recent times have large numbers of Americans thought something called “liberalism” was pure poison.
They hate liberalism because of its association with affirmative action and non-white immigration but also because of liberalism’s very evident failure when applied to non-whites, particularly blacks. Liberalism became associated — unnecessarily and illogically in my view — with racial idiocy, and at the same time, because its programs were being applied to non-whites for whom they could not possibly work, liberalism appeared to be inherently defective.
People also hate liberalism because it was only when racial equality became one of its central goals that liberalism grew spiteful and incapable of gentlemanly disagreement. It was only when anti-racism became its central project that liberalism started using police-state psychology and began to excommunicate opponents. There were no jokes about the tyranny of “political correctness” until liberalism was poisoned by racial idiocy and became snarling and sanctimonious. It should be possible to mount a reasoned, libertarian attack on the welfare state without being called a Nazi and driven from respectable society. One should be able to argue for indirect election of senators, raising the voting age, restoring the property qualification for voters, or even establishing a monarchy without being considered much more than an eccentric. However, as soon as any of these ideas can be seen as hurting non-whites today’s liberalism requires that their advocates be banished to outer darkness. Racial foolishness has made liberalism so small-minded and intolerant that it can no longer muster wide support for the genuine benefits it has to offer.
The second thing that happened was that when liberalism and then the country lost its nerve on race and set in motion trends that could reduce whites to a minority, it meant that liberals had written their own death sentence. If the country really does become an Afro-Caribbean-Hispanic mishmash it is not going to meet either the racial or economic requirements for liberalism. You cannot have European-style welfare in a country with a Third-World population or a Third-World economy. It is all very well to pass laws that guarantee universal medical care, but if large parts of the economy are off the books, everyone cheats on taxes, and the doctors are on the take, you end up with private medicine anyway. In its new, anti-white incarnation, liberalism will destroy liberalism. In order to survive, liberalism must reverse course on race. Believe it or not, some of us liberals understand this.
Was Anti-Racism Inevitable?
In objection to everything I have written so far, some would argue that “anti-racism” is inherent to liberalism, that it was only a matter of time before the leveling impulse that characterizes so much of liberalism would eventually get around to race. This may sound plausible but it is wrong. Turn once again to the historical record. Marx, Engels, and the rest of the most determined levelers drew the line at race, as did virtually every historical figure who was “liberal” by today’s standards. They were not cleverly hiding an anti-racist agenda; like everyone else, they knew that politics stops at the race’s edge.
What’s more, liberalism always draws lines and will always be beaten back when it fails to draw lines. The greatest defeat of the leveling impulse was, of course, the collapse of Communism, but there have been other defeats: The states refused to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The hippie movement, communes, and Israeli kibbutzes have come and gone. Everyone now recognizes that capitalism creates wealth and competition stimulates efficiency. No one thinks foreign aid will cure the world’s problems.
But perhaps the most powerful argument against the view that anti-racism is inherent to liberalism is that not even passionate liberals are true anti-racists. There is no end to liberal hypocrisy about race. The judge who orders school busing but sends his children to private school, the “diversity” advocate who lives in a white neighborhood — these are now stock figures in the American comedy. Not one college official or corporate executive has ever offered his own job to an under-qualified non-white in the name of “diversity.” And this, of course, is why two aspects of the anti-racist movement — affirmative action and school busing — are on the ropes. Not even liberals are willing to send their children to school with blacks or be elbowed out of jobs.
I would add that it is only on race that liberalism is so offensively hypocritical. The people who want stronger gun laws, no tariff barriers, world government, high taxes, and more government look forward to living in the world they wish to legislate into existence. They genuinely don’t want gun laws for everyone else but concealed carry for themselves. There can still be honest, sincere liberalism — except when it comes to race.
I wish I could say that liberals were soon going to wake up from this anti-racist nightmare, and that Democrats will eventually become so ashamed of saying one thing and doing another that they will stop saying anything at all about race. Alas, not so. At one level my liberal friends know that they and their associates are hypocrites, but it doesn’t bother them. They are like Christians who thrill to the gospel of charity and humility but ignore it in their daily lives — and who still consider themselves strong Christians. When everyone is a hypocrite there are no penalties for hypocrisy, and when there are no penalties there is no pressure to change.
At the same time, most liberals make the same mistake about race that AR does: They think anti-racism is inseparable from liberalism. Their commitment to “social justice” (within the tribe) is far stronger than their commitment to non-whites, but they think they must give up the former if they abandon the latter.
Finally, liberals have so great an investment in anti-racism they cannot possibly write it off now. It is hard enough to change intellectual course in middle age; for most people it is impossible if it means conceding that people they hate were right after all. Can you imagine a Kennedy or a Clinton making even the slightest concession if it meant he agreed — if only in part — with David Duke? Not even the most overwhelming proof can drive men to that kind of humiliation. The battles over race have been too vicious for liberals to admit gracefully that they were wrong.
So what are we to do? First of all, it can be useful simply to understand that liberalism and anti-racism are not permanently linked, and to bear in mind which is the real enemy. Just because you meet someone who is “liberal” on some issue, do not assume he could never be an ally. If we are trying to build a movement for our people, it is counterproductive and wrong to think it must be exclusively conservative. If this is to be a larger movement, we should not tie racial consciousness to any political positions. We need all the friends and help we can get, and dear though they may be to the hearts of conservatives, the Second Amendment, outlawing abortion, and prayer in the schools count for nothing compared to a common position on race.
For the time being, it is undoubtedly true that our allies are more likely to read National Review than Nation or New Republic, but there is no logical reason why race cannot eventually become like the war in Kosovo, opinions on which cut across the usual divide. I predict that some day this will happen, and AR and other “conservative” whites should not prevent or delay this. In order for racial consciousness to reach anything like the critical mass necessary for us to change this country we need a lot more people who are willing to take a stand as whites. The people who make that happen are not all going to be gun-toting government-haters. They are not all going to be members of the Council of Conservative Citizens. They are going to be proud, healthy-minded white people who disagree on a lot of things, but who see eye to eye on the only thing that really matters now, and that is race.
A Final Note on Homosexuals
There is one liberal project AR readers would endorse if they were intellectually consistent: Sympathy for homosexuals. AR has frequently reported data suggesting that everything from religious affiliation to personality to choice of hobbies is largely genetically determined. If it is so easy to believe that whites are naturally more intelligent than blacks and men are naturally more aggressive than women — and that these differences are biological — it should be very difficult to believe that something as basic as erotic orientation is freely chosen and therefore perverse and blameworthy. The best current evidence suggests that homosexuals cannot help the desires they feel. If so, they should not be despised for feeling them.
I am opposed to glorification of homosexuals and to special laws to protect them, but their lusts are no less real and no more easily stifled than those of heterosexuals. Homosexuality is nothing to be proud of; it is an affliction like deafness or Down’s Syndrome. But it is as graceless to torment homosexuals as it is to torment the dim-witted. Besides, with their trim houses, well-kept lawns, and social-climbing tastes, it would be hard to think of a group less compatible with blacks. They are potential allies; don’t chase them away out of pure prejudice.