Sam T. Francis, American Renaissance, November/December 1996
Jared Taylor’s essay on the character of the white race offers many perceptive and even brilliant insights into the qualities that distinguish whites from other peoples. Nevertheless, reading his essay, it seemed to me that someone not familiar with American Renaissance would come away from it thinking that whites are simply natural liberals, genetically disposed to support or exhibit “freedom of speech, rule of law, sportsmanship, republican government, high regard for women, concern for animals and the environment.”
One problem with Mr. Taylor’s catalogue of white racial traits is that they strike me as being largely modern, and while they may indeed be characteristic of whites, I believe they derive from deeper traits that the white race has exhibited throughout its history and in almost all the cultures it has developed. In modern times, these characteristics have often become exaggerated or contorted far beyond their original meaning and functions, so that today these same racial characteristics often contribute significantly to the weakness and decline that now threaten to destroy the white race and its civilization.
My purpose in writing this response to Mr. Taylor’s article is not to fault him but rather to try to move the discussion to a higher or at least a different and less localized plane. By looking at the deep racial-cultural history of whites since ancient times, we discover more profoundly who we are, where we come from, and where we may be going. We may also learn how to control those traits that are now contributing to our destruction and to make use of them and other, more fundamental ones that can help place us back on the path toward what should be our racial destiny.
When speaking of “whites,” I mean the branch of the Caucasian race now generally called “Indo-Europeans,” or what used to be known as “Aryans,” whose descendants today constitute the main part of the populations of Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. The term “Aryan” has, for obvious reasons, gone out of fashion, but prior to the rise of German National Socialism, it was a widely accepted anthropological label, and the great archaeologist V. Gordon Ghilde wrote a book entitled The Aryans (1926), which remains a useful survey of what was then known of the origins and early history of the ancestors of European Man.
Whether we employ the term “Aryan” or “Indo-European,” however, most anthropologists today use these terms merely as linguistic or at most cultural labels and insist that they do not refer to race. Yet this usage seems artificial. The early Indo-Europeans, no matter where they lived or where their remains have been found, were white, and their physical remains, art, and languages reflect their essential racial unity, regardless of the diversity of the subracial stocks into which they eventually divided in various parts of the world and the mixtures with other stocks and races that eventually absorbed many of them.
The Indo-Europeans are thought to have originated in the steppes of Russia and began to move out of that area into what is now eastern and northern Europe, the Near East, and India in the third or second millennium B.C. The earliest known written Indo-European language is the Linear B script of the Greek city-state of Mycenae around 1500 B.C., and it was around this time also that the Aryans invaded India and displaced the dying Dravidian civilizations of the Indus Valley.
In Europe, the Aryan invaders conquered and displaced the non-Indo-European peoples of the archaic megalithic civilization that built Stonehenge and similar colossal monuments. In the Near East and India, the Indo-Europeans conquered many peoples who had created literate, urban civilizations. In some cases, the Aryans were, to a greater or lesser degree, absorbed into the larger populations that they had conquered.
Of particular interst to us are the common features of archaic Indo-European peoples, which continue to shape modern Indo-European-derived beliefs and institutions. As the French folklorist Georges Dumézil has pointed out, one of the principal characteristics of early Indo-European societies is a hierarchical, three-tiered or “tripartite” class structure of priests, warriors, and herder-cultivators. This structure appears to be racially rooted and prefigures many of the societal characteristics we now think of as typically Western or European.
The Indo-Europeanist J.P. Mallory has pointed out one of the central elements of this Indo-European three-class society:
[O]ne of the more obvious symbols of social tripartition is colour, emphasized by the fact that both ancient India and Iran expressed the concept of caste with the word for colour (varna). A survey of the social significance of different colours is fairly clear cut, at least for the first two functions. Indo-Iranian, Hittite, Celtic and Latin ritual all assign white to priests and red to the warrior. The third would appear to have been marked by a darker colour such as black or blue.1
The racial symbolism of such caste colors is obvious, with the higher ranks of society being symbolized by the color associated with the lighter-skinned Aryans and the lower ranks symbolized by the darker hues of the conquered non-Aryan races.
Indeed, racial consciousness among the early Aryans was commonplace. Romila Thapar, a modern Indian scholar, writes, “The first step in the direction of caste (as distinct from class) was taken when the Aryans treated the Dasas [non-Aryans] as beyond the social pale, probably owing to a fear of the Dasas and the even greater fear that assimilation with them would lead to a loss of Aryan identity. Ostensibly the distinction was largely that of colour, the Dasas being darker and of an alien culture . . . The colour-element of caste was emphasized, throughout this period, and was eventually to become deep-rooted in north-Indian Aryan culture. Initially, therefore, the division was between the Aryans and the non-Aryans.”2
The Laws of Manu, the ancient Sanskrit code of social obligations for Hinduism, is very explicit about the consequences of interracial marriage:
An unknown man, of no (visible) class but born of a defiled womb and no Aryan, may seem to have the form of an Aryan, but he can be discovered by his own innate activities. Un-Aryan behaviour, harshness, cruelty, and habitual failure to perform the rituals are the manifestations in this world indicating that a man is born of a defiled womb . . . But the kingdom in which these degraded bastards are born, defiling the classes, quickly perishes, together with the people who live there.3
Whatever modern scholars may say about the old Aryans being merely a language group and not a race, that does not seem to be the way the old Aryans themselves looked upon the question.
Dumézil’s “tripartition thesis” shows that the archaic Indo-Europeans throughout the world possessed a remarkably similar social structure and common culture extending well beyond language and including the ordering of society and religion. One of Dumézil’s leading students, C. Scott Littleton, points out a crucial way in which Indo-European societies differed from those of non-Indo-Europeans. “The food-producing class, while distinct from that of the warriors, was nevertheless a much more integral part of the total society . . . The ancient I-E [Indo-European] herdsmen and cultivators — and perhaps the artisans as well — would seem to have played a part in the total ritual and social life of their communities undreamed of by the ancestors of the Egyptian fellahin and their counterparts in Mesopotamia.”4
The subordinate but distinct social and political role for the “third class” ensured a level of participation in the community unknown to the wholly dominated peasants of the Asiatic non-Aryan peoples. This may help account for the eventual appearance of participatory and representative (republican and democratic) political systems among the Aryan peoples.
Moreover, the separation of the military and religious functions into distinct classes points to an early Indo-European tendency toward a distinction between the sacred and the secular that seems to be entirely unique to the Indo-European peoples and which may be the foundation of the later differentiation of science and philosophy from religion in European society, as well as the source of the conflict between secular and ecclesiastical authority in European history.
Finally, this ordering of society and social function was conceived as having supernatural or cosmic sanction and was held to be in accord with the order of nature. Some scholars believe that the tripartite structure of Indo-European society survived into medieval Europe with the division of society into “those who work, those who fight, and those who pray,” and it may also be reflected in the division of political functions into executive, judicial, and legislative in the U.S. Constitution, and even in the Christian idea of the Trinity.
It is possible to extract from the mythology of the Aryans and from the remains of their cultures and literature certain more abstract concepts that seem to be common to most or all Aryan societies and continue to characterize those of their descendants. Perhaps in unconscious accord with the quaint Aryan custom of tripartition, I will try to identify three such traits and to elaborate on their significance. I am fully aware of the speculative nature of these reflections, and welcome any criticisms and comments that might correct or supplement them.
(1) The Cosmic Order: It is a widespread feature of early Aryan thought that there exists an objective order that is independent of what we believe or want to believe — in other words, truth. The Rig Veda calls this order rta, a term that may be linked with the word Arya itself, which seems to mean “noble” in The Laws of Manu. The word “Aryan” comes from “Arya” and a number of other Indo-European words seem to be connected — the Greek arete (virtue, the quality of acting like a man, from which we derive “aristocracy”); the Latin ara (altar) and the name “Arthur”. But regardless of the linguistic linkages, the Aryan concept of Cosmic Order contrasts with ideas of the universe found among ancient non-Aryans. For the latter, Cosmic Order is merely the product of will, a creature of magic, and it can change if those who know how to change it wish to do so. If the priests or the divine king did not perform the proper magical rituals, the sun literally would not rise, the Nile would not flood, and food would not grow. In this non-Aryan, magical view of nature, order does not exist as an externally independent and objective arrangement of nature and its functioning.
While early Aryans did believe in and practice magic, theirs was not a world-view in which nature and the universe were dependent on magic. Magic could be used to influence nature (through love potions or ointments to make weapons stronger and the like), but nature itself exists apart from the tricks of the magicians and sorcerers. Indeed, throughout Western history, magicians and sorcerers almost always come from pre-Aryan Mother Goddess figures or from the non-Aryan Orient — from Egypt, Babylonia, or the “Magi” of pre-Aryan Persia from whom we get the word “magic.”
Moreover, Indo-European gods are considerably less powerful than the deities adored by the non-Aryans. Zeus, Apollo, Odin, Thor, and the rest did not create the universe and are in fact subject to most of its rules. The subordination of Aryan gods to the regularities of the universe itself points toward a deep Indo-European belief in Cosmic Order, a belief that has major philosophical and ethical implications.
It follows from recognition of the Cosmic Order that some things are true and some aren’t, no matter what you prefer to think, that some things will always and always have been true or false, regardless of your wishes, and that some things will happen or will not happen, whether you like it or not. Hence, the Greek and Nordic ideas of “Fate” or “Destiny,” that some things are beyond the control of the human will and are inevitable because of the very fabric of the universe. The concept of Fate is probably the origin of the principle of causality and the ancestor of such Indo-European ideas as logic, mathematics, philosophy, science, and theology.
While Egyptians and Babylonians collected a great deal of information about mathematics and astronomy and practiced impressive engineering on a grand scale, their “sciences” never had a really scientific basis. Their knowledge existed either as the lore collected by the priests or as the products of practical trial-and-error. Only the Indo-European Greeks actually systematized scientific and mathematical knowledge, and they were able to construct it into a system because the system itself was their concept of a Cosmic Order in which all events and phenomena were related through causality and its inexorable linkages of one event and phenomenon to another.
It is notable that Christian theology itself, as developed under the Scholastic theologians of the Middle Ages and under the influence of rationalistic Greek philosophy, reflects this underlying Indo-European belief, that even God behaves according to certain principles, just as Zeus and Odin did, and it is also interesting that today even Christian fundamentalists who wish to disprove the theory of evolution on behalf of their religious beliefs try to do so through “creation science.” Among Indo-Europeans, even religion and the supernatural are subordinate to the ancient Aryan perception of a Cosmic Order that governs the universe from the remotest galaxies to the life-cycles of insects.
“It is no accident,” wrote V. Gordon Childe, “that the first great advances towards abstract natural science were made by the Aryan Greeks and the Hindus, not by the Babylonians or the Egyptians, despite their great material resources and their surprising progress in techniques — in astronomical observation for example. In the moralization of religion too Aryans have played a prominent role. The first great world religions which addressed their appeal to all men irrespective of race or nationality, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism, were the works of Aryans, propagated in Aryan speech . . . It is certain that the great concept of the Divine Law or Cosmic Order is associated with the first Aryan peoples who emerge upon the stage of history some 3,500 years ago.”5
It is from the Aryan concept of a Cosmic Order that modern white men derive their mental inclinations both to universalism, a tendency to think in terms of generalizations and abstractions that apply universally rather than in terms of the specific, local, and temporary, and to objectivity, the tendency to evaluate events and phenomena with reference to the general and the abstract, rather than to judge them subjectively, as they relate to themselves. While these traits account for many of the achievements of European Man, they also, as we shall see, help to explain many of his racial problems in more recent times.
The concept of the Cosmic Order also has important ethical implications, and it was as an ethical system that the ancient Aryans mainly seem to have understood it. Recognition of a Cosmic Order implies that human action has consequences — that you cannot do whatever you please and expect nothing to come of it — and also that sometimes no matter what you do, you will not be able to avoid the consequences of your Fate, what the Greeks and Norsemen respectively called your moira or wyrd. Thus, the central concept of Greek tragedy is that the tragic hero suffers as a consequence of a “tragic flaw” that may not be the result of his will or intent but that his fate is unavoidable. Oedipus was doomed to commit the sacrileges of patricide and incest through his very virtue, and there are many heroes in Greek mythology that encounter similar fates.
The ethical implication that Indo-Europeans drew from this belief is not that man should surrender or fecklessly seek to avoid his fate but rather that he should accept it courageously. Achilles in the Iliad knows that he is fated to die young but, as horrid as death is to Achilles, he readily prefers the glory of his brief heroic life to the obscurity of a long and safe existence. By contrast Gilgamesh, in the Mesopotamian epic, seeks only to avoid death and resorts to all sorts of magic and sorcery to prevent it.
In her survey of Norse myth, H.R. Ellis Davidson notes similar connections between fate, Cosmic Order, and the heroism of both Gods and men:
In spite of this awareness of fate, indeed perhaps because of it, the picture of man’s qualities which emerges from the myths is a noble one. The gods are heroic figures, men writ large, who led dangerous, individualistic lives, yet at the same time were part of a closely-knit small group, with a firm sense of values and certain intense loyalties. They would give up their lives rather than surrender these values, but they would fight on as long as they could, since life was well worth while. Men knew that the gods whom they served could not give them freedom from danger and calamity, and they did not demand that they should. We find in the myths no sense of bitterness at the harshness and unfairness of life, but rather a spirit of heroic resignation: humanity is born to trouble, but courage, adventure, and the wonders of life are matters of thankfulness, to be enjoyed while life is still granted to us. The great gifts of the gods were readiness to face the world as it was, the luck that sustains men in tight places, and the opportunity to win that glory which alone can outlive death.6
The Norse gods know that their race and the world are doomed at the final battle of Ragnarok, but they go out to fight and to meet their fate regardless. The concept of the “Last Stand,” in which an outnumbered army of Aryan warriors face battle against overwhelming odds, usually without any realistic expectation of victory, recurs throughout Indo-European history and legend — at the battles of Marathon and Thermopylae, Horatius at the Bridge, in the Song of Roland, in the Arthurian legends, at Ragnarok itself, or in the fiery climax of Njal’s Saga, and at the Alamo, Rorke’s Drift, and the Little Big Horn.
Indeed, Indo-European scholars have recognized a distinctive Indo-European myth pattern called the “Final Battle.” As J.P. Mallory writes, “The epic traditions of a number of Indo-European peoples preserve an account of the ‘final battle,’ for example, Kurukshetra in the great Indian epic, the Mahabharata; the ‘Second Battle of Mag Tured’ among the early Irish; Ragnarok among the Norse; and several others.”7
Moreover, the Indo-European hero, fighting in single combat, often is killed by treachery or trickery concocted by a non-Aryan or un-Aryan “trickster” figure. Thus Achilles is killed by an arrow shot by the Trojan Paris, Hercules is killed by the trickery of a centaur, Theseus is pushed over a cliff from behind, Baldur is killed by the jealous trickery of Loki, Siegfried is killed by the treachery of his own brother-in-law, etc. It is interesting that in the biblical story of David and Goliath, the latter, a champion of the Aryan Philistines, is killed by the slingshot of David, and in the non-Aryan version recounted in the Old Testament, David’s conduct is portrayed as an act of prowess.
The Aryan concept of Cosmic Order is thus closely linked to the scientific and philosophical achievements of Indo-European Man as well as with his ethical ideas, especially with regard to Indo-European military behavior. The concept of Cosmic Order implied an essentially aristocratic obligation to carry out one’s duty regardless of the consequences but also a heroic recognition of what the consequences, including death and destruction, might be. While other races and cultures have certainly displayed and idealized courage, heroism, and struggle against odds, none has incorporated these ideals into its fundamental world-view and ethic as fully as Indo-European Man.
To say that belief in an external and objective cosmic order, independent of the human will and human action, is characteristic of the Aryan peoples is not to say that such an order actually exists, but rather that the Indo-European mind seems to be structured in such a way (perhaps due to neurological structures and processes peculiar to it), that it naturally thinks in terms of such an order and finds the world incomprehensible without it. In the absence of such a concept, we would be unable to make sense of the phenomena that we perceive; confronted by the mysteries of nature, life, and death, early Aryans sought to understand them by explaining them in terms of mythologies that reflected an underlying belief in a cosmic order and the duties it imposes on mortal men.
(2) Faustian dynamism: This is the quality that Oswald Spengler described as the unique trait of what he called the “Western Culture,” characterized by the “Faustian soul, whose prime-symbol is pure and limitless space, and whose ‘body’ is the Western Culture.”8 In a general sense, Spengler is referring to the innovative, aggressive, creative, mobile, aspiring, inventive, and daring qualities that have always characterized Indo-Europeans.
Spengler also sharply distinguished the Western Faustian Culture from the “Apollinian” and “Magian” Cultures of the classical age and the Near East, but in fact in the broader sense in which we are using the term here, the Greeks and Romans were also Faustian, and the Greek myth of Prometheus, the Titan who defied Zeus by giving mankind the gift of fire and was condemned to eternal torture because of his disobedience, is as much a Faustian myth as the Germanic legend of Faust himself, who dared to bargain with the Devil to gain knowledge and power and lost his soul because of his bargain.
Many Greek heroes exhibit similar traits of daring and eventually come to grief because of them, and these myths functioned not only as expressions of the Faustian tendencies of the Aryan people to push against limits and transgress established boundaries but also as cautionary tales that tried to warn men of the consequences of carrying their natural proclivities too far. While there is a superficial resemblance between these myths and the Hebraic story of Adam and Eve, there is also a significant difference. While Indo-European heroes often meet their doom because of or despite their heroism, Adam and Eve get kicked out of Eden merely because they disobeyed Yahweh. Neither one did anything particularly admirable or heroic, in contrast to Prometheus, Achilles, Hercules, Theseus, and many other Greek and Aryan heroes.
The dynamism of the Aryans is clear enough in their earliest and most obvious habit of invading other peoples’ territories and conquering them. All of these early Aryans were intensely warlike, and their gods, myths, and heroes reflect their devotion to the martial virtues of courage, discipline, honor, the goodness of conquest, and skill in arms and sports. Virtually everywhere they moved, they conquered, though their smaller numbers in comparison with the receiving populations usually meant that sooner or later they would be absorbed into the people they overcame in battle. This was certainly their eventual fate in India and the Near East, but in Europe, despite a certain amount of racial mixture and cultural assimilation of pre-Aryan beliefs and institutions, they survived largely intact, probably because the receiving population was smaller and not as different from the conquerors as in Asia.
The dynamism of the early Aryans is also clear in their interest in travel, maritime exploration, colonization, and discovery. The Semitic Phoenicians also displayed great skill in this regard, but the Greeks equalled or excelled them in establishing colonies throughout the Mediterranean, exploring the Atlantic and African coasts, and penetrating as far as the Indian Ocean and the Far East, perhaps even circumnavigating Africa. The most famous traveler of antiquity was the historian Herodotus, who traveled all over the Near East and Egypt and invented the very concept of history in his account of his travels and the conflict between Greece and Persia.
Alexander of Madecon was a living incarnation of Aryan dynamism, conquering wherever he led his army and penetrating where no Greek had ever gone before. The racial cousins of the Greeks in late medieval Europe and the Viking adventurers of the early middle ages surpassed the Greeks, discovering the Americas and in the case of the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, French, and British, conquering new empires in Africa, Asia, and North and South America. The conquistadors of South America and the pioneers and settlers of North America reveal the same dynamic restlessness as the Germanic tribes that descended upon the Roman Empire. Their descendants today in the Aryan nations of the West stand on the edge of transcending them in their expansion into outer space itself.
But Aryan dynamism is not confined to military conquest and geographical exploration. It is also clear in the Faustian demand to understand nature. Just as Aryan warrior nomads overturned whatever cities and peoples stood in their path, so Aryan scholars and scientists, beginning with the Ionian philosophers of early Greece, have conquered nature and its mysteries, discarding myths, religions, and superstitions when they presented obstacles to their knowledge, and systematizing their discoveries and thought according to the Cosmic Order. Alexander the Great’s solution of the Gordian Knot by simply slashing it to pieces with his sword is no less a racial trait of Aryans than the scientific achievements of Plato and Aristotle, Galileo and Newton, and hundreds of other scientists who were heirs of the ancient Aryans and who slashed through obscurantism and mythologies with their minds. Their descendants have cured diseases, shrunk distances, raised cities out of jungles and deserts, constructed technologies that replace and transcend human strength, restored lost languages, recovered forgotten histories, stared into the hearts of distant galaxies, and reached into the recesses of the atom. No other people has ever even dreamed of these achievements, and in so far as other peoples even know such things are possible, it is because they have learned about them from European Man.
Afrocentrists, in their resentful and pathetic bitterness against whites, today pretend that it was their ancestors who created European civilization. The irony of their pretense is that their claims inadvertently acknowledge the superiority of the very civilization they hate, even as they try to claim it as their own. As for other civilized peoples, the Faustian dynamism of the Aryan race and civilization stand in stark contrast to the static primitivism and never-changing dullness that characterize the “fellahin” peoples of Asia, immersed in the fatalism and world-denying religions of the East. In travelogues and National Geographic, we are treated to picturesque accounts of the almost animal existences of these peoples, whose lives, work, and minds are often described as being “just what their ancestors were a thousand years ago.” No phrase more accurately describes the differences between the perpetual passivity of the non-Aryan and the world-conquering activism and dynamism of the Aryans.
Critics of the Indo-Europeans often like to deflate Aryan contributions by pointing to the lateness of Aryan achievements in ancient times and by emphasizing that most of the basic inventions that made civilization possible were of non-Aryan origin. It is true that at the time the Aryans invaded Europe, the Near East, and India, literate, urban civilizations had flourished in those regions for some centuries or millennia and that the Aryans often merely destroyed whatever lay in their paths. It is also true that inventions like the wheel, the alphabet, the compass, the stirrup, gunpowder, and printing were not of Aryan origin.
But the point is that while other, non-Aryan civilizations may have invented these tools, only when they fell into the hands of the dynamic Aryans did they lead to enduring achievements. The Phoenicians invented the alphabet, but neither the Phoenician language nor its literature survives today. Egyptians and Sumerians built cities, empires, and great temples long before history knows of the Aryans, but today their cities, empires, and temples lie in ruins; their languages are known only to scholars, and only Indo-European scholars care about them. The Chinese may have invented the compass, gunpowder, printing, and the stirrup, but only Indo-Europeans have applied these inventions to the economic, political, and cultural conquest of the Earth. These achievements are due to the intrinsic dynamism, the Faustian creativeness, of the Indo-European mind and remain unparalleled by any other human race.
As for the lateness of Indo-European achievements, this is mainly a function of the geography of the “Aryan Homeland” in the Russian steppes, a region that furnishes few materials for building cities and lasting structures. What is striking about the Aryans, however, is that they did not remain in those regions; they conquered other, more desirable territories, took what they liked or needed from those they conquered, and over a period of about a millennium and a half after 1500 B.C. created a distinctively Aryan civilization that endures today. Those who repeat or swallow the cliche that “while white men were still running around in animal skins in northern Europe, non-Europeans were building cities and empires in Egypt and Asia” need to reflect that there were very few people at all in northern Europe at that time and that as soon as those who lived there or on the steppes became conscious of themselves as a people, they moved out of the north, conquered more comfortable climates, founded what we know today as Greece, Rome, Persia, and the Indo-Aryan civilization, and proved to be unstoppable by other, more civilized peoples who are now forgotten or remembered only because Indo-European scholarship has resurrected and preserved them.
It is also the dynamism of Indo-European man that accounts for the comparative absence of “Oriental despotism” in the political history of the Aryan peoples. Both Greece and Rome were originally ruled by kings, but the kings were never absolute monarchs and were elected or confirmed by the aristocratic warrior classes. Very early in their histories, the kings were dethroned, and republics, also originally aristocratic, were established. The Roman historian Tacitus noted similar institutions among the warrior bands of the ancient Germans, whom he held up in part as models of virtue against whom the decadent Romans of his day fell short. The passive proclivities and static tendencies of non-Aryans render them easy to subjugate in such highly autocratic empires as those of Asia and ancient Egypt, imposed by slave armies often driven by whips and ruled by “god-kings” and colleges of priests armed with secret magical knowledge. It is almost impossible to dominate Aryans in this way for very long.
Greece not only gives us the word “democracy,” but also the term “tyranny,” which describes illegitimate rule. There is little in non-Indo-European thought similar to this concept. While Asiatic history is full of palace coups, harem intrigues, assassinations, and uprisings led by one minor potentate or another against a despot, all that ever happens, from the days of the Pharaoh Akhnaton to the assassination of Anwar Sadat, is the replacement of one autocrat by another. By contrast, the histories of Greece, Rome, and medieval and modern Europe are filled with acts of tyrannicide, political reforms, establishments of law codes and constitutions, baronial rebellions, peasants’ uprisings, and eventually full-scale revolutions in which a dynamic race seeks to resist being reduced to slavery. Those despots who have gained power over Aryan peoples usually never last very long, and those who overthrow or assassinate them usually become heroic figures. The individuality and dynamism of Indo-European man simply does not tolerate one man or institution monopolizing all the power and dictating to everyone else.
This is clear enough in the histories of Greece and Rome, but it is also true of the ancient Germans. Historian Francis Owen thus describes the ancient Germanic political institutions:
The state, if one may use that term, was composed of all the free men of the community. On certain occasions all the free men were called together, to give assent to certain projects which had already been considered by the council of elders and leaders. The assembly had the power to reject such proposals, and instances are known when such assemblies forced on the leaders a policy of war, because peace had become monotonous, and the hope of booty was a strong lure.
These assemblies also had the power to elect the leaders in time of war, who for the time being had almost dictatorial power.9
Already in prehistoric times, then, the Germanic peoples exhibited an archaic form of republicanism that was fundamentally aristocratic in nature. The “free men” of the community did not include all inhabitants but “the great mass of independent landowners and the wealthier or more aristocratic class of recognized families, which might be called the nobility.”10 The unfree, or “thralls,” had no vote or standing in the assembly. The free men were also those who bore arms, and Tacitus describes their assemblies and how they conducted them.
On matters of minor importance only the chiefs debate; on major affairs, the whole community. But even where the commons have the decision, the subject is considered in advance by the chiefs . . . It is a drawback of their independent spirit that they do not take a summons as a command; instead of coming to a meeting all together, they waste two or three days by their impunctuality. When the assembled crowd thinks fit, they take their seats fully armed . . . If a proposal displeases them, the people shout their dissent; if they approve, they clash their spears. To express approbation with their weapons is their most complimentary way of showing agreement.11
When the Framers of the American Constitution guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms, “being necessary to the security of a free State,” they were following this ancient Aryan custom of the assembly of armed free men, and much the same custom was observed among the early Greeks and Romans.
Owen points to the dynamic quality of the ancient Germans as the ultimate reason for their disunity as well as their liberty, which characterized the warring kingdoms of medieval as well as modern Europe:
But there were other more fundamental reasons why it was not possible to create a unified German state. These reasons are intimately connected with the inherent Germanic love of independence, the spirit of individualism and the respect for personality. These are all highly desirable qualities, but in an exaggerated form they do not facilitate the formation of political unity beyond a limited geographical area.12
The natural form of government among the Aryan peoples, then, appears to be this kind of aristocratic republic, tending toward democracy but with well-recognized rights and duties for non-aristocrats.
A limited democracy thus has deep racial and cultural roots among Europeans, but it properly derives from those roots, not from the rootless ideologies that today have grotesquely expanded it far beyond its natural role. The natural Aryan aristocratic republicanism is a form of government encouraged by the tripartite structure of Indo-European society; by its distinctions and balances between the warrior, priestly, and producer classes; by its tendency to separate the sacred from the secular; and by the apparently innate dynamism of the Aryan race itself, which resists and rebels against any effort to impose autocratic rule or to induce the passivity that allows despotism to flourish.
“Medized” (i.e., adopted the customs of the Medes or Persians and other Asians) as people who were alienated from their own institutions and who might harbor ambitions of enslaving their own people. In Rome the great model for despotism was Egypt, after Julius Caesar dallied with Cleopatra, and both Caligula and Nero tried to imitate Egyptian and Asiatic despotism (both were assassinated). Yet the Asiatic-Egyptian model of autocracy eventually triumphed, as Rome’s racial composition altered with the importation and emancipation of large masses of foreign slaves and immigrants, and it was from this model that the Roman Catholic Church developed its own ideas of papal absolutism, which in turn were copied by the monarchs of the medieval and early modern periods. Despotism, even in its European forms, is not naturally an Indo-European institution but derives ultimately from alien peoples.
(3) The third important characteristic is individuality. Indo-Europeans from their earliest history show signs of greater variation, in both physical appearance and individual behavior, than most other races. Some physical anthropologists have noted that there is more variety among Europeans than among Asiatics and Negroes. Whites exhibit more variation in skin pigmentation, hair and eye color, height, and facial features than Mongolians or Negroes, and this physical differentiation is paralleled and perhaps causally related to their behavioral differentiation as individuals, a trait that is closely related to their dynamism as a race.
Individuality or individuation in the sense I am using it is very different from “individualism,” a modern ideology that may have been encouraged by racial individuation but is not the same thing. Individualism as an ideology is the belief that the individual is sovereign, that the individual man is self-sufficient, exists only for himself and his interests, and has claims against the group (society, the race, the nation, class, religion, etc.) This ideology is in fact subversive of group loyalty and especially of racial consciousness and allegiances, and while people with a high degree of individuality may find it attractive, they need to remember that they, like every other human being, exist because of and within a group — the family and the community, as well as larger groups like nation, cult, class, and race.
Early Aryans, despite their tendency to individuate, were highly conscious of themselves as a distinct group. Both the Greeks and the Romans looked upon everyone else as “barbarians,” and we have already seen the high degree of racial consciousness that pertained among the Indo-Aryans. Aryans were also closely attached to family units, not only the nuclear family but also the clans in which their society was organized, and clan warfare in Ireland and Scotland, family-based political factionalism among the Romans, and conflicts among the many independent city-states of ancient Greece were notorious as forces that tended to keep these populations divided. It was groups like race, nationality, clan, community, class, and family that established the social fabric of early Aryan life, and individualism in the modern sense of a John Stuart Mill or Ayn Rand — as a belief that justifies the individual neglecting or betraying his social bonds — did not exist.
Nevertheless, the Aryans exhibited a high degree of individuation, and this is reflected in their mythology as well as in their art. The gods and heroes of the Greeks and the Norsemen have far more distinctive personalities than such Egyptian deities as Isis and Osiris, and the stories the Greeks and Norsemen told about their gods and heroes — the embittered and wrathful Achilles and the wily Odysseus, the imperious Zeus and the dashing Apollo, the angry Ares and the comic lame god Hephaestus, the jealous Hera and the lascivious Aphrodite — are far richer than the thin tales of Egypt and Babylonia. There is also a greater emotional and narrative range — adventure, humor, love, revenge, divine punishment, and even tragic failure — in the Greek myths than in the stories of the Old Testament, which mainly illustrate man’s obedience or disobedience to God and His laws.
With few exceptions, this range is also reflected in the art of the early Aryans in Europe — in the highly individuated and expressive statuary of the Greeks, as compared to the colossal but blank-faced images of the Egyptian pharaohs and Middle Eastern potentates — as well as in the highly developed literary and art forms of the later Europeans. European art and literature, far more than those of other peoples, give us the character, the individually distinctive human being, full of contradictory impulses but driven by some more than by others, characters we see in Greek drama, Homeric epic, Shakespearean plays, and the modern novel. Portraiture as well as statuary, dwelling on the individual external features to reveal the internal individual character, reflect much of the same trait, unlike the art forms of other races. Moreover, only in Western cultures has the lone hero become an ideal figure — not only the adventurer like Hercules or Theseus but also the lone explorer, the lone scientist, the lone scholar, thinker, poet, writer, often battling against daunting odds, persecution, or neglect. When Europeans invent things, they usually remember and honor the individuals who did it — the inventors who made the Industrial Revolution possible and those like Samuel Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers, and Henry Ford, who created the basic technologies of modern civilization working alone in their attics and basements.
Even the modern comic book and film and television heroes of popular culture reveal this inherent Aryan tendency to go it alone, in the Lone Ranger, Superman and Batman, the heroes created by John Wayne and Gary Cooper, as do the myths of the American West, whether fictional, in James Fenimore Cooper’s Natty Bumppo, or real in Daniel Boone, David Crockett, Wild Bill Hickock, and Wyatt Earp. The lone Aryan hero, like Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett, lives by the motto, “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead,” a counsel of individuality, and then proceeds to fight legions of dark-looking badmen (whose black hats may symbolize non-Aryan origins), Indians, accented foreigners, or other suspiciously non-Aryan types. His ancestors Siegfried and Theseus fought and conquered the Nibelungs and the Minotaur of non-Aryan Crete in the same way.
But the Aryan hero also pays a price for his heroic individuality. He stands as the perpetual outsider, whose distinctiveness usually forbids him from enjoying a normal life with wife and children or living to a ripe old age, and eventually, in the authentic myths as opposed to TV drama, he is slain, usually by treachery. The moral of Aryan individuality is that there is no escape from the laws of the Cosmic Order, even for heroes, whose heroic transcendence of the norms that bind more mediocre men does not exempt them from the iron regularities of the universe. Individuality is not for everybody, an important distinction between the Aryan ideal and that of modern universalist individualism, and only exceptional beings can excel despite the demands it imposes on them.
Aryan individuality, then, was supposed to be a supplement to, not an adversary of, the racial and social bond, and even then it was constrained by the price that those who developed it to its highest levels would have to pay. It was never supposed to be the kind of intellectual crutch for economic greed, social inadequacy, and personal alienation and resentment that modern individualism is. But the ineradicable tendency of Aryans to individualize themselves through singular personalities, achievements, thoughts, and expressions in art and literature no doubt lies at the root of modern individualism, despite the socially pathological and destructive forms the ideology has taken, and it is in part because of his innate proclivity to individuation and individual achievement and creativity that European Man has given birth to his distinctive and successful civilization.
Describing the contours of ancient history, the great American Egyptologist James Henry Breasted saw the ancient world in terms of an epochal struggle between “our ancestors,” the Indo-Europeans of Europe, Persia, and India, on the one hand, and the Semitic peoples of Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, the Hebrews and Assyrians, and Carthage, on the other.
“The history of the ancient world, as we are now to follow it, was largely made up of the struggle between this southern Semitic line, which issued from the southern grasslands, and the northern Indo-European line, which came forth from the northern grasslands to confront the older civilizations represented in the southern line. Thus . . . we see the two great races facing each other across the Mediterranean like two vast armies stretching from Western Asia westward to the Atlantic. The later wars between Rome and Carthage represent some of the operations on the Semitic left wing, while the triumph of Persia over Chaldea is a similar outcome on the Semitic right wing.
“The result of the long conflict was the complete triumph of our ancestors (the Indo-European line), who conquered along the center and both wings and finally, as represented by the Greeks and Romans, gained unchallenged supremacy throughout the Mediterranean world. This triumph was accompanied by a long struggle for mastery between the members of the northern line themselves. Among them the victory moved from the east end to the west end of the northern line, as first the Persians, then the Greeks, and finally the Romans gained control of the Mediterranean and oriental world.”13
In this passage, Breasted captured the grand sweep of the saga of European Man and his seemingly victorious, millennial conflict with his rivals. But what he does not say, and what perhaps was not apparent to him when he wrote in the early 20th century, was that the conflict is far from over. The Roman political and military victory was not the end of the story, because the very success of Roman imperialism made possible and perhaps inevitable the eventual inundation of their people and culture by those whom they had conquered. The importation of masses of alien slaves into Italy, their eventual emancipation, and the massive immigration of foreigners from the Asiatic parts of the empire meant that the Indo-European racial and cultural base of Rome would eventually die.
The Roman poet Juvenal’s famous line that “the Orontes [the main river of ancient Syria] empties its garbage into the Tiber” expresses what was happening (it is noteworthy he did not say the Rhine or the Thames empties its garbage into the Tiber). Not only the peoples but also the religions and the political forms of the non-Aryan East crept over the Aryan imperium. Eventually, then, the non-Aryan rivals and enemies of the Aryans triumphed through a backdoor attack that is comparable to the backhandedness by which non-Aryans overcome Aryan heroes in the old myths.
Today, despite the conquest of virtually the entire planet by Indo-Europeans by the end of the 19th century, the same fate appears to face modern European Man. Only the European nations of the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and Europe itself face hordes of non-white immigrants who threaten to engulf us and our civilization. Having conquered them through military combat and technological and economic progress, we nevertheless face racial and cultural extinction as the perversion of our strengths into weaknesses is exploited against us and our rivals seek victory through our back doors. European Man can survive today only if he begins to recognize that victory through honorable combat is not enough; he must also be prepared to meet the challenges on the level of cultural combat, and the only way he can do so is through recovery of his racial heritage, the roots of who we are and where we come from as a people.
The Aryan Legacy
Throughout this essay, I have emphasized the ancient, archaic, and prehistoric expressions of the Indo-European peoples for two reasons. In the first place, examining the ancient patterns of behavior and thought among Aryans helps to exclude influences on them from more modern forces that have been acquired through the historical environment or are perhaps less “natural” — forces such as Christianity, philosophical and ethical systems, capitalism, and the modern ideologies of romanticism, individualism, socialism, capitalism, and liberalism. Secondly, by looking at the patterns of thought and behavior that seem to have been common to all or most of the early Aryan peoples, we can find what whites have in common and what distinguishes them from other races. When Aryans in medieval Ireland exhibit myths and beliefs very similar to those of ancient India, when Greek poets express ideas similar to those of Viking sea rovers, we are transcending the extraneous influences of other cultures and races, those acquired from the social and historical environment, and the physical environment, and are coming close to fundamental racial characteristics.
This survey of the ancient Aryans may seem as though it merely recounts cultural ideas and practices rather than racial characteristics, but as Jared Taylor noted in his own essay, “there is increasing evidence that personality traits . . . are under genetic control,” and therefore we should expect to find that the deep cultural beliefs and practices that are common to members of a particular population that is descended from the same ancestors derive from genes carried by those ancestors. This claim cannot be proved, mainly because we obviously cannot conduct genetic analyses of ancient Aryans, but given what we now know and are increasingly learning about the role of genetic forces (and therefore race) in shaping personality (and therefore culture), it seems to follow.
In the light of what we know of the early history of the Aryan peoples, then, we should be able to distinguish between those traits that are characteristic of our race and those that are not, between those that contribute or have contributed to our success as a population and as a people and those that have been destructive, and between those that continue to serve our identity and destiny, our consciousness as a people acting in history, and those that have been distorted or exploited to thwart our identity and destiny.
In his essay, Mr. Taylor identified by my count about 15 distinct traits that he believes constitute or derive from “a common thread to the modern characteristics of European man.” In the light of what we know of early Aryan man, some of the characteristics that Mr. Taylor attributes to whites are valid, some are distortions of valid traits, and some, I believe, are merely acquisitions deriving from other forces (which is not to say that they are necessarily undesirable). But what is important is that any trait that is really a characteristic of whites must have existed long before modern culture and independently of cultural, historical, or local influences on white behavior.
Thus, several of the characteristics that Mr. Taylor attributes to whites appear to have their origin in the archaic, natural impulses of the early Aryan peoples, but it is highly misleading to say that the modern and especially American manifestations of these characteristics are distinctively Aryan, Indo-European, or white. Mr. Taylor is certainly correct that whites exhibit “an abiding sense of reciprocity, a conviction that others have rights that must be respected,” but the modern expression of this trait in such institutions as democracy, free speech, and the rule of law are grotesquely distorted or exaggerated versions of the original and natural impulses.
The “sense of reciprocity” as well as the rule of law are no doubt reflections of the Aryan concept of Cosmic Order, a view of the universe that holds that both nature and man behave according to universal, perpetual laws or regular patterns and in which rights and duties are in balance. But the concept of Cosmic Order did not imply an egalitarian or homogeneous social order in which everyone is equal and there are no distinctions between groups, classes, sexes, races, and nations. Indeed, early Aryan society was hierarchical, organic, and aristocratic; the natural form of Aryan government was an aristocratic republic in which distinct classes and social groups participated and expressed their views and interests freely, and a high level of political participation was necessary for such dynamic and restless populations of independent, armed free men as the early Aryans.
The mass democracies and homogenized, produce-and-consume cultures of modern times may ultimately derive from this Aryan social and political model, but they deviate from it in important ways. Free speech, for example, certainly seems to have pertained in the tribal assemblies, and it is doubtful if the early Aryans were such bluenoses as their Victorian descendants or such totalitarians as late 20th century academics. But free speech did not include the right to commit sacrilege, subversion, or obscenity and was circumscribed by custom and the high courtesy that is universal among warrior peoples.
As noted earlier, the Aryan concept of Cosmic Order accounts for the European mental habits of universalism and objectivity. While these habits help explain European successes in science, mathematics, philosophy, ethics, and the rule of law, they also, in a misapplied and degenerate form, suggest why Europeans have shown a tendency to neglect their own racial interests and why they find developing their own racial consciousness so difficult. As Jared Taylor noted in his essay, every other race tends to think in terms of its own race and group, and “Only whites pretend that pluralism and displacement are good things and that the measures necessary to ensure group survival may be immoral.” We tend to think that way because we are naturally prone to transcend subjective and particular interests and to idealize what is objective and universal. But this misapplication of a natural and healthy Aryan instinct is not in itself natural but rather the result of ethical and philosophical confusions that have arisen in modern times.
Mr. Taylor is also correct in his remarks about sportsmanship, noblesse oblige, respect for foes in war, and respect for women, all of which derive from Aryan ideas about the Cosmic Order and from the warlike and heroic character of the early Aryans. All these traits reflect the nature of early Aryan warcraft — the single combat of individual champions, the unwritten and commonly understood rules of conflict, and acceptance of the terms of defeat have deep roots in the ways Aryans waged war. The comparative absence of needless brutality in Western warfare, until the advent of 20th century democracy, may be thought to derive from Christian ethics, but long before Christianity pagan conquerors like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar showed far less brutality in their warfare than such paladins of non-Aryan combat as Tamerlane, Genghis Khan, the Assyrians, the Huns, or even the ancient Hebrews, for whom genocide was a regular practice.
In Aryan society women have always enjoyed more respect, more freedom, and more individuality than in non-Aryan society, and this probably from the structure of their society. The relative independence and freedom that characterized the structured Aryan society would have meant that women could not simply be captured and enslaved but had to be bargained for or won, if not as individuals then as the daughters of other competing warriors. Disrespect for or cruelty to a woman, like discourtesy or injury to a free man, could result in endless blood feuds. Women and goddesses in Greek and Norse myths and legends have far more personality and a far more important social role than in most non-Aryan mythologies. Certainly such practices as foot-binding, clitoridectomy, and suttee, as well as polygamy and the harem, are rare or unknown among the early Aryans. (The word “harem” has entered Western languages because Westerners lack their own word for it.)
But the natural Aryan respect for women does not mean that modern feminism is consistent with ancient Aryan views of womanhood, and despite the honor that Aryans have always paid women, they never confused honor with equality or sameness. The assumption of the Aryan honoring of women is that women are different from men and require or deserve different treatment. It is for that very reason that modern feminists, wedded to the illusion of sexual egalitarianism, despise, ridicule, and try to abolish the expressions of male chivalry, even though, like most egalitarians, they also like to have it both ways — to abolish inequality when it offers an impediment but to insist on it when it serves their interests.
Similarly, respect for animals no doubt derives from the reliance of the Aryans on hunting and war animals, especially dogs and horses. Horses play a central role in Aryan myth, and the Indo-Europeans apparently were the first to domesticate horses and develop their use in war. There are sacred horses, horse sacrifices, horse gods, and horse burials among the Indo-European peoples. Similarly, dogs and wolves play a major role in Aryan myth, from Cerberus the three-headed dog of Hades (one for each social class perhaps) to the wolves of Odin. The individuation of Aryans may lead them to personify their animals and invest them with personalities, names, and special attributes in a way that no other race usually does.
I do not see that such traits as missionary activity, the passion to improve or change the world, the elimination of hereditary class differences, competition according to individual ability, or concern for the natural environment are particularly characteristic of Aryans, however. Some of these may be desirable traits, though they have obviously gone far beyond what was really characteristic of early Aryans and what can be useful for white racial survival. Nevertheless, some of them, like missionary activities and crusading to change or reform society, may well ultimately derive from Aryan dynamism and expansionism, while competition according to individual merit may be a modern form of single combat and a reflection of Aryan individuality. The modern demand to eliminate hereditary class distinctions may be an exaggerated but not very healthy version of this instinct.
What is important to understand, however, is that Aryans, because of their Faustian dynamism and individuality, seem to be especially prone to misapplications of their most ennobling traits, and when the modern ideologies of egalitarianism, leveling, feminism, and universalism are joined to forces like modern capitalism and technology, the danger of losing contact with and understanding of the natural propensities of our own racial character and of misunderstanding their limits and proper functions is great.
I do not think there is any great mystery as to how this perversion of the Aryan legacy occurred. Aryans eventually constructed societies far more complex in their economies, technologies, and ideas than any other race, and the very complexity of their societies tended to confuse and derail traditional expressions of Aryan impulses. Ambitious leaders, Aryan or not, have often exploited these complexities, and the confusions that result, for their own advantage, and the disruptions of wars, revolutions, depressions, and new technologies and social organizations that periodically afflict Western society have added to the alienation of modern European Man from his natural inclinations and ancient heritage.
It ought to be obvious that we cannot expect to restore the warrior cultures of the early Aryans, their archaic religions and mythologies, and their social and political customs. But we can work to correct the misapplications of our talents and traits, to eradicate the confusions and degenerations of modern mass democracy and culture, and eventually to restore or create anew a social, political, and cultural order that incorporates and reflects the healthy and natural instincts of our race. What we can do is learn from these ancient and noble warriors and their courage, their irrepressible restlessness and dynamism, and their heroically relentless realism; from them we can remember who we are and where we come from, what our most natural inclinations are and how those inclinations can help us or harm us, and, most of all, how we can make the enduring characteristics of our race serve us again in our endless quest to meet the destiny of European Man.
1 J.P. Mallory, In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology and Myth (London: Thames and Hudson, 1989), 133.
2 Romila Thapar, A History of India (Baltimore, Md.: Penguin Books, 1966), 37-38.
3 The Laws of Manu, ed. and trans. Wendy Doniger (New York: Penguin Books, 1991), 10: 57-61
4 C. Scott Littleton, The New Comparative Mythology: An Anthropological Assessment of the Theories of Georges Dumézil (rev. ed., Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1973), 224.
5 V. Gordon Childe, The Aryans: A Study of Indo-European Origins (1926; reprint ed., New York: Dorset Press, 1987), 4-5.
6 H.R. Ellis Davidson, Gods and Myths of Northern Europe (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1964), 218.
7 Mallory, In Search of the Indo-Europeans, 129-30.
8 Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West (2 vols.; trans. Charles Francis Atkinson; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926), I, 183.
9 Francis Owen, The Germanic People: Their Origin, Expansion and Culture (New York: Dorset Press, 1990), p. 154.
10 Ibid., 153.
11 Tacitus, Germany, trans. H. Mattingly and S.A. Handford, ch. 11.
12 Owen, The Germanic People, 155.
13 James Henry Breasted, The Conquest of Civilization (New York: Literary Guild of America, 1938), 200-202.
Editor’s Note: A collection of Sam Francis’s most incisive writing about race, including this essay, is available here.