Spencer J. Quinn, Counter Currents, January 10, 2018
Book Review: If We Do Nothing: Essays and Reviews from 25 Years of White Advocacy, Jared Taylor (Oakton, Va,: New Century Books, 2017), 254 pages.
Jared Taylor’s most recent book If We Do Nothing leaves us with many reminders of why he is the most important writer in the white advocacy movement today. In compiling this volume, Taylor selected thirty-seven essays from his twenty-five years as editor of American Renaissance, his race-realist publication and webzine. Despite being originally published years apart, many of these articles will strike the reader by their consistency in tone, language, and of course, content. Jared Taylor has never wavered from his focus on white advocacy, and as a writer he is as just as deft and insightful now as he was in 1992 when American Renaissance first appeared. If not for a few topical references and editor’s notes stating when and for whom each essay was published, these essays would flow seamlessly from one to the next.
From a white nationalist perspective, a perspective that is perhaps a bit harder than Taylor’s own, these essays represent both a return to fundamentals as well as a challenge to always look at the perpetual yet protean human condition with fresh eyes. While both of these are extremely important, it is in the latter case where we find the most value in If We Do Nothing since only Jared Taylor can think and write in the way he does. If we can aspire to equal his aristocratic reserve, his mordant wit, and his piercing acumen in the face of the tide of history which, at the very least, is threatening to make life very uncomfortable for the white race in the next few decades, then we will be better people for it, let alone better white nationalists.
Of course, like his other works, Paved with Good Intentions and White Identity, If We Do Nothing belongs on the bookshelf of any serious student of white racialist or identitarian causes. Jared Taylor’s reputation precedes him enough that If We Do Nothing should be snapped up by most of us sight unseen. However, for those who are unfamiliar with his work, not sure about this race thing, or are on the fence about how well Jared Taylor can still redpill the red-pilled, I will attempt in this review to break down the man’s considerable talents.
In my opinion, Jared Taylor’s most distinctive quality is his penchant to unmask double standards and hypocrisies through what I would call ‘clever absurdities.’ He is so adept at this that I imagine it would be a central part of his writing even if he lived in an all-white world and the topic of race never needed to come up. For example, in the book’s titular essay (from a speech he delivered at the first American Renaissance conference in 1994) Taylor underlines the true nature of racial diversity by pointing out that “No one is urging Howard University, which is overwhelmingly black, to recruit Hispanics or Asians so its students can benefit from racial diversity.” Kind of absurd to think about, but yes, Taylor is right. No one is doing that. It’s also absurd to imagine black Howard students wanting to ‘benefit’ from diversity of any kind at their school. In this one nimble sentence, Jared Taylor manages to tell two truths: one trivial (Howard is not under pressure to become racially diverse), and one profound (racial diversity is a weapon meant to attack only whites). And juxtaposing these twin truths is both funny and enlightening. If We Do Nothing is rife with quips like this.
Here is one more I’d like to share if only because it produced a true laugh-out-loud moment for me. In his 2002 essay dealing with the shameless money-grubbing of the Martin Luther King Jr. family, Taylor discusses how the Kings have copyrighted every word their patriarch ever wrote and charged exorbitant fees for any media outlet to reproduce them. In 1993, the family sued USA Today for reprinting King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, demanding $1,700 plus legal costs. USA Today caved, of course, and this is what Jared Taylor had to say about it:
In the current era of abasement, few were rude enough to point out that such punctilious insistence on intellectual property rights ill-becomes the family of a man who was, himself, a life-long plagiarist.
Another color in Jared Taylor’s vast palette is the thought experiment. He never calls it that, but that’s what this technique amounts to, and he uses it a lot. In “Noble Fiction – or Noxious Poison,” Taylor undresses the notion of closing the testing gap between white and black students by pointing out how insane and futile it would be to spend millions on closing a similar gap within a race. After all, who’s trying to make all white kids or all black kids get the same grades? So why would closing it between the races be any different? I have put a considerable amount thought into the topic of race for over twenty years now, and I have never come up with anything so elegant and pithy. And this is Jared Taylor’s bread and butter in If We Do Nothing.
My favorite thought experiment, however, appears in Taylor’s 2015 “An Open Letter to Conservatives” which was originally addressed to “Cuckservatives.” In it, he devastates conservative race blindness by proposing that conservatives test their principles beyond the white world for once:
Let’s consider your principles. Do you dream of a traditional, religious, free-market society with small government, low taxes, and no gun control, where same-sex marriage is illegal, and abortion, divorce, prostitution, and illegitimacy are scorned? There are such places: the tribal areas of Pakistan and Somalia.
And what about countries that violate your principles — with high taxes, huge government, clogged markets, a weak church, strict gun control, and sexual license of all kinds? There’s Scandinavia. And yet if you had to leave the United States you’d much rather live in Denmark than in Waziristan.
Do you see the pattern? Even when they violate your principles, white people build good societies. Even when they abide by your principles, non-whites usually don’t.
It is this kind of dialectic one-two combination that exposes how useless conservatism has become in the twenty-first century.
Another technique Taylor employs to great effect is what I call “The Catechism.” Basically, Taylor asks uncomfortable question after uncomfortable question until he leads the reader (by the nose, if need be) to an inescapable conclusion about the primacy of race. He employs this technique most effectively also in “An Open Letter to Conservatives”:
Do you stand for limited government and a balanced budget? Count your black and Hispanic allies. Do you admire Thomas Jefferson? He was a slave-holder who will end up on the dung heap with the Confederate flag. Do you care about stable families and the rights of the unborn? Look up illegitimacy, divorce, and abortion rates for blacks and Hispanics. Do you cherish the stillness at dawn in Bryce Canyon? When the park service manages to get blacks and Hispanics to go camping they play boom-boxes until 1:00 a.m. ‘Was Ronald Reagan your hero? He would not win a majority of today’s electorate.
Do you love Tchaikovsky? Count the non-whites in the concert hall. Do you yearn for neighborhoods where you can leave the keys in your car? There still are some; just don’t expect them to be “diverse.” Are hunting and firearms part of your heritage? Explain that to Barack Obama or Sonia Sotomayor. Are you a devout Christian? Muslim immigrants despise you and your faith. Do you support Israel? Mexicans, Haitians, Chinese, and Guatemalans don’t.
On top of these Taylorian flourishes, Jared Taylor furthermore demonstrates the thorough research and mental agility one would expect from a first-rate essayist. In one of his longest and most eye-opening chapters, “The Racial Ideology of Empire,” Taylor argues quite convincingly how whites have always been squeamish about race. He brings up the naïve evangelism of the Jamestown settlers as a great example, but also offers evidence from red-pilled historical figures such as the explorer David Livingstone, philanthropist Albert Schweitzer, and author and poet Rudyard Kipling. In a stroke of pure genius, he takes what was known as “the Natal formula,” which is a great example of such squeamishness, and shows how whites suffer from updated versions of it today. The Natal formula was a way for white people to act in a racist manner while officially opposing racism. At the end of the nineteenth century, white South Africans wanted to exclude Indians from emigrating there. But the colonial ministry in England overruled them since the Crown considered such crass racism to be a no-no, even back then. So, to get around this proscription, the South African authorities developed laws which effectively excluded Indians without ever mentioning race; that is, an Indian would have to offer a large sum of money and prove they are fluent in a European language before being allowed entry. All because whites, in the case, the British elites, could not bring themselves to admit that race is real. To do so would have been unseemly.
Today, as Taylor points out, whites reinvent the Natal formula whenever they flee cities due to ‘crime’ and ‘bad schools’ and set up suburbs where most blacks and Hispanics simply cannot afford to live. Therefore, one can act in a racist manner and still not have to call oneself racist.
Nor does If We Do Nothing do without Jared Taylor’s mordant wit. It may take some sophistication to appreciate, but at times it can approach Oscar Wilde levels of incisiveness. In his 2008 essay “The Rush for the Lifeboats” Taylor describes how the online magazine Slate published a series of articles on how IQ is at least partially heritable and then was forced to awkwardly backtrack in the ensuing weeks. When Slate’s ‘critique-at-large’ Stephen Metcalf denounced the article’s conclusions as both “flatly untrue” and “highly questionable,” Taylor responded, tongue-in-cheek, “Please make up your mind, Mr. Metcalf.” In his “Transition to Black Rule?”, written shortly after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, Taylor compares the liberal giddiness over America’s first black president to a similar giddiness over the end of South African Apartheid in 1994. He points out quite trenchantly how that giddiness had quickly evaporated due to black misrule. Specifically, he takes to task a pinhead Washington Post journalist named Mary McGrory who in 1994 gushed that dispatches from South Africa would soon resemble scripture “that cannot be read except through tears.” After a paragraph describing the disaster that post-Apartheid South Africa has become, Taylor then writes, “Surely, not even Mary McGrory would think that this sounds like the Book of Matthew.”
I do have a quibble, however. In his 2009 “Race and Literature: Why is it Always Liberal?” (in which he discusses Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird), Taylor provides a brief survey of racialist literature and states that are no great race-realist novels. He offers Thomas Dixon’s The Clansman, Pyotre Krassnoff’s From Double Eagle to Red Flag, Harold Covington’s Northwest Quartet, William Pierce’s novels, Mister by Alex Kurtagic, and White Apocalypse by Kyle Bristow as examples and concludes that these novels are either poor in quality, not really about race, or political tracts disguised as fiction. He may be right about this. But why no mention of Tito Perdue? Why no mention of Red Rock by Thomas Nelson Page, which was a best seller in the 1890s and dealt explicitly (and quite artfully) with race during the period of Reconstruction? As far as race-realist novels go, Red Rock may still set the standard today. I am sure I am not alone in wondering if Jared Taylor would agree.
Of course, I would be short-changing the Counter-Currents readership by not bringing up Jared Taylor’s treatment the Jewish Question. For him, as we all know, it is not really a question, and so he feels no need to address it as such. There is one passage in If We Do Nothing, however, which comes close. In his brilliant “The Ways of Our People” from 1996 he states:
“Some people likewise insist that Jews are to blame for the poisoned state of mind common among whites. There is no doubt Jews have taken the lead in promoting the forces of dispossession and attacking the bases for traditional distinctions. However, they have found more than willing accomplices among non-Jews, and to blame Jews for white capitulation is a little like blaming whites for all the failures of blacks. Without a doubt, many who encourage whites in their suicidal proclivities are Jews, but those proclivities had to exist before they could be encouraged.”
As objectionable as many might find this passage to be, it is not technically wrong. To blame only Jews for the straits whites are in today is letting a lot of evil, self-hating whites off the hook as well as millions of well-meaning, gullible ones. It is true that whites would end their troubles with Jews by adopting pro-white, racialist positions as Taylor prescribes in If We Do Nothing. Taylor’s argument resembles the one my father used to use on me when I complained about bullies at school. “Be strong, be tough, and be willing to fight, and the bullies won’t mess with you,” he said. And he was not wrong. In fact, his advice worked. However, like Taylor’s treatment of the Jewish Question, it leaves half of the problem unaddressed: that there are people out there who take an active role in harming whites in the first place. Are we not allowed to notice or act upon this knowledge? If all the bullies in school were black, Hispanic, or Arab then we can, but not if they were all Jewish? Why? Because they look white to Jared Taylor? Is that really a good enough reason?
By avoiding the Jewish Question, Jared Taylor reminds me of a boxer who fights not to lose rather than fights to win. There is a difference, and boxing fans know it. White nationalists and identitarians know it as well, and it is one reason why Jared Taylor and American Renaissance are criticized in certain circles of the movement. But I can understand Taylor’s trepidation over the Jews. Adapting a counter-Semitic world view is a little like playing with fire. It can consume you if you are not careful. It is one thing to discuss the Jews who deceitfully schemed to achieve the anti-white Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling in 1954 (as Taylor does in “Brown v. Board: the Real Story”). It is something else entirely to use this to support the stereotype of Jews being, well, deceitful schemers (as Taylor does not do). The former is playing not to lose while the latter is playing to win. The problem with playing to win, however, is that it requires greater risk which ultimately can make you lose. Surely, those who blame a layoff or their painful divorce on the (((Jooos))) fall into this category. But so do those who harbor deep distrust or hatred for people simply because one of their grandparents or great-grandparents was Jewish. That’s taking counter-Semitism in an unproductive direction in my opinion, and Jared Taylor, always the epitome of class, never does this.
If We Do Nothing runs the gamut of American Renaissance race realism and should be required reading for the uninitiated. There is a red pill on every page, and Jared Taylor’s research, wit, and insight will make them go down as easily as possible. However, to the already-initiated who crave more — especially on the Jewish Question — I will say this: someone has to hold the Judeo-neutral position in our movement. Someone has to provide that ballast. So why not Jared Taylor? It is only by comparing ourselves to such an absolute than we can measure how far into counter-Semitism we have come or need to go. Yes, in order for whites to solve their current troubles, a critical mass of them must lose their agnosticism towards Jews. Yes, a no-Jews policy in the future would help prevent debacles like Brown v. Board of Education from happening again. In fact, much of If We Do Nothing would be rendered moot if such a policy had been implemented across the white world in the first place. But with his careful neutrality on the Jewish Question, Jared Taylor should serve as a constant reminder that things can, indeed, be taken too far.