Robert S. Griffin, American Renaissance, October 2001
During the past several years, while working on a book about white nationalist William Pierce, I became acquainted with a number of white couples who are rearing their children in a racially conscious manner. I have noticed a pattern in the way these parents bring up children, and I believe their approach would interest those who align themselves with the views expressed in American Renaissance.
What links these parents is a conviction that they are bringing up their children in hostile territory. As they see it, their kind has been hammered relentlessly in the culture wars waged against whites in this country for decades. Their heritage — Western history and traditions — has been denigrated, their race linked to oppression and racism, and their racial consciousness, pride, and commitment demonized. The shallowness and egoism of modern life run counter to their values of dignity, discipline, and responsibility.
These parents are right to worry. For example, just after interviewing a racially conscious couple who spoke of their concern about the influence of popular music and the youth culture, I found an article in Talk magazine about rap music impresario, Dr. Dre (real name, Andre Young). “Dre,” the article reported, “watched from the stage of a concert as blacks and whites chanted the lyrics in a single voice and moved to the music as one. He has seen the races become a single happy entity as surely as if they had been on turntables and run through a mixer. The music is what blends the races together as decades of preaching never did.”
Rap music does bring black outlooks and values to young white people. Indeed, it blends the races, as does pop music generally. Clearly, to Talk magazine as well as most others in America, this is a good thing, but for whites who want to maintain their racial and cultural identity, what happened at that concert was not a good thing at all. They will do everything they can to keep their children out of Dr. Dre’s audience.
Greg and Kathryn, as I will call this couple, have concluded that the best way for them to deal with a society that runs counter to what they most treasure is to withdraw from it. Morris Berman in his recent book The Twilight of American Culture writes about what he calls the “monastic option.” Professor Berman writes of monks who lived in the disintegrating landscape of the Roman Empire, and who saw themselves as strangers in a strange land. What the culture saw as worthwhile, the monks saw as stupid and destructive. As the lights of their own culture faded, they turned their backs on what was taking its place and took upon themselves the task of preserving the treasures of Greco-Roman civilization.
Although the parents I have met would not use the term “monastic option,” this essentially describes what they are doing. They are distancing themselves and their children from the dominant culture and trying to preserve their race and its heritage.
How do they insulate their children from a poisonous world? Through their basic approach to being parents, and through their stance towards the media, schooling, and their children’s relations with peers.
They believe that to be effective as parents they must be authoritarian. They are not lenient or indulgent. They do not hold to the currently fashionable idea that children are basically good, and that a parent’s job is to support a child’s inclinations. They see all human beings as having the potential for both good and bad, and their view is that, ideally, parents and society should share the job of ensuring that children realize their positive potential.
These parents know that children are strongly influenced by the forces that surround them: primarily the mass media, the peer group, and the school. Since they disdain the direction in which these influences push their children, they want to be the most powerful forces in their children’s lives, and to protect them from what will hurt them. They are hands-on parents, who do not turn their children over to the influences of others.
As these parents see it, the major task of childhood is to pave the way to a responsible and productive adulthood, and they don’t hesitate to direct that process. They assert power and control. They set standards and limits. They transmit their fundamental values and what they consider to be the overall purpose of their children’s lives, which is to carry forward the best of their heritage and race. These parents teach their children that they are not isolated beings, but rather a continuous part of what their people represent and have accomplished over the course of history, and that they are responsible to their people as a whole, not just to themselves and their own happiness and well-being.
Although they are the authorities in their children’s lives, these parents are not harsh or cold. They can be stern, but they are affirming and loving. They exercise firm control, but also encourage curiosity and creativity. They encourage hardness and toughness, but also gentleness and compassion.
These parents think the media-television, movies, popular music, video games-promote everything they don’t want for their children: baseness, vulgarity, multi-racialism, egalitarianism, cosmopolitanism, materialism, rudeness, passivity and vicariousness. Perhaps there is a History or Discovery Channel program parents and children watch together, or a classic film; but no Nickelodeon, no MTV, no Disney films (or at least no recent Disney films — the old ones, when Walt was still around, are OK), no mind-infecting video games, and no Internet-surfing.
The first contact I had with parents of this sort was with a German couple, Frank and Hanna. They invited me to dinner at their home with their two boys, Marius, age thirteen, and Dirk, sixteen. After dinner, we all went into the living room. Contrary to my expectation, the boys did not immediately head for their rooms or out the door. Dirk sat ready to talk with the adults. Marius picked up a book and began reading. Later, after the boys excused themselves, I mentioned to Frank I had noticed that the children didn’t sit in front of the television or play a video game.
“Oh, I forbid those things,” Frank responded. “Forbid” — that is not a word I expect to hear these days.
“But you have to offer them other things to do,” he quickly added. “We read together and play chess, and we cross-country ski, and the boys and I work in my workshop in the basement.”
Since that time, I have witnessed the same control of the media in the United States. “Our television has a numerical code for activating the set so the kids can’t simply switch it on or off,” reports Keith, a parent of three. “We put a cap on television time. There are some decent programs, but even in those cases we mute out the advertisements. We do not buy video games. We filter everything that comes in — music, radio, everything. We believe it is a parent’s responsibility to do this. Raised right, children will make the right — and for us, that means the racially responsible — choices.”
Ken and Elizabeth live in New Hampshire and have four children ranging in age from five to thirteen. This New Hampshire family has, in effect, seceded from the mass culture. There is a television set in the home, but I have never seen it on except a few times when the family watched a classic film. I have not heard any popular music. I asked ten-year-old Helen whether she ever wanted to watch television, go to the movies, or buy a popular music CD. She responded to the effect that those things are low and not worth her time.
“It is inconceivable to us,” Ken told me, “that people actually sit in front of the television — videos included — hour upon hour, letting this degrading material into their homes. Something either inspires the soul or destroys it. For music, we listen to classical music. Our children read good books, play chess and backgammon, draw, paint, and sew. We take hikes as a family, go on picnics, cycle, and go to museums and concerts. We do things together in order to cement our bonds as a family.”
Just as significant is what the children do not do in this home: they take no interest in the personae and careers of pop musicians; they do not press their parents for cash for the latest video game; they are not preoccupied with the plot of a Fox television show; they do not stew over the fate of a professional sports team, or chatter on about a summer blockbuster film.
As far as I can tell, these parents have successfully embargoed the mass media. Before meeting people like this, I would have said that whatever the merits of getting the popular media out of the lives of children, as a practical matter it was impossible. Now I think if parents are committed, Hollywood, pop music, television, and websites can be kept out of children’s lives.
Another pattern I see in racially conscious white parents is homeschooling. If they are not now educating their children at home, it is because of their present circumstances, and they hope to do so in the future.
Elizabeth, the New Hampshire parent, interrupted a career in investments to take over the education of her four children. “There is nothing more important I could be doing with my life than what I am doing now,” she explains.
I asked her what she wants most for her children. “Honor,” she immediately answered. “I want them to live honorable lives.”
“Your honor means everything,” Ken, who was sitting nearby, added. “Today, too few people understand that.”
“There is an old concept of wanting more for your children than you, yourself, had,” Elizabeth told me. “And part of that is you want them to have better educations than you did, or at least as good. With today’s schools that isn’t going to happen. Standards have been lowered. Kids aren’t being pushed in school. When Ken and I were going through school, you would fail if you didn’t do your work. But now everyone passes. There is a leveling going on in the schools. They operate so that no one is lower and no one is higher. The gifted children aren’t really encouraged to excel. The students don’t spend enough time reading, and they aren’t taught to think and analyze.”
“The worst kind of child abuse is to deny a child a decent education,” Ken added. “One of the strengths of this country used to be our public school system, but not now. We’ve lost something terribly important. Today’s graduates couldn’t compete with the graduates of the turn of the last century. And I think integration of the schools and immigration patterns since the 1960s have had something to do with that. Our schools are reflecting the needs and styles of a new clientele, and people like us are paying the price for it.
“You aren’t going to understand what is going on in education if you don’t take race into account — the direction federal programs take, the problems with city schools, what content is stressed, testing, whatever you are talking about. The schools are providing what amounts to an education for menials, not a great people.
“We point out more things to our children than the schools would. The schools are producing clones, everybody the same. A superior educational system promotes difference, not sameness. This whole egalitarian push that is the current fashion works against the advancement of the race. It is anti-selection. It keeps everybody at the level of the mediocre.”
“The problem from a racial standpoint,” Elizabeth offered, “is that we aren’t, as we once were, with our own. I want my kids to be in a stable environment, not one where there are various factions. Kids need stability. We used to have pride in our race and our heritage. We were proud of our forefathers. Now, if a white child says he is proud of his lines, proud of his race, he is considered a racist.”
“Before, Washington and Jefferson were our heroes,” Ken added. “Now, our idols are being wiped out and replaced by people like Martin Luther King. If you want to bring down a people, you rewrite its history and teach that to its children. You cut off children’s roots so they have nothing to tie into. They have abolished the study of Latin in the schools. Knowledge of Latin is essential to an educated person, and it is part of our racial and cultural roots. Over eighty percent of English words are derived from Latin. The Latin language has greatly influenced the development of the West. We make sure our children study Latin. There has been more than just a dumbing down in the schools. There has been a twisting down. The story of our race is being twisted. It is being perverted.”
I talked to James, their 13-year-old, about what he is reading. He said he is learning about Alexander the Great, whom he greatly admires — “He made history. I want to do that.” He told me he recently read Quo Vadis, Thomas Jefferson and His World, a book about John Paul Jones, some books about explorers, the Hobbit series, Alice in Wonderland, Arundel, by the historical novelist Kenneth Roberts, and some of the writings of Dostoevsky, Chekhov and Joseph C. Lincoln. He recommended that I read Roberts’ book, The Northwest Passage, and gave me his copy to take with me. What I gather from James is that he is on a quest: he is reaching out to learn; he is studying things. So many other youngsters his age go to class and do assignments, but do not actually study anything.
“We teach our children about their heritage,” says Ken, “the heritage of Western man. We give them the best our civilization has produced. The public schools aren’t doing that. We don’t get into every culture and subculture, because we don’t think those things are important. The schools impose doctrinaire opinions about the irrelevance of race. They push a concept of the role of women that in our view is unnatural. They promote internationalism. Schools are brainwashing white children to feel guilty about their heritage and turn away from it. Our children’s heritage includes Homer, Plato, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, and Beethoven. They have every right to be overwhelmingly proud of their people, but schools are molding them into raceless, historyless, malleable citizens of the world.”
It is true that teachers believe they have a responsibility to teach students new truths in the face of reactionary forces. This view is best articulated by the teaching profession’s most revered figure, John Dewey, who wrote, “Children must be conditioned, through gradual indoctrination, to reject the thought processes transmitted by their parents and churches, so that they may be prepared for the new world social order.”
Although Ken and Elizabeth are Catholic, they would not consider sending their children to parochial schools. In their view, Catholic schools reflect the same raceless view of man as the public schools, but add a religious aura that demands even more acquiescence.
Moreover, schools are where children congregate, all day, every day, year after year, and this has a big influence on them. School is where teenagers, especially, come to see themselves as a tribe apart, separate from their parents, from the larger culture, from the past and the future. The youth culture stresses what is happening now, with us, with our age group. The peer group has become so central, so consuming that the writer Judith Harris argues in her book The Nurture Assumption that culture is now being transmitted to a greater extent by peers than by parents and teachers. According to Mrs. Harris, the members of the older generation who most influence cultural transmission are those who have the attention of the peer group: product marketers and celebrities.
Ken and Elizabeth believe children are like sponges: absorbent and easily shaped. They want their children to have friends their own ages, but they chart directions and impose controls. They approve and disapprove of activities and associations. They want to know, at every moment, where their children are, whom they are with, and what they are doing. They screen the families with whom their children associate.
Elizabeth says her son James has become naturally selective in his friends: “He says there are a lot of children he has no interest in. He has nothing in common with them. He likes history and math, and all they want to talk about are CDs and sports.”
For people like Ken and Elizabeth, physical activity tends to be things like boating, hiking and swimming, or perhaps tennis or golf. They believe school and professional sports, television networks, and athletic shoe manufacturers make something trivial — team sports — appear vitally important. One parent described the physical activities for his children: “The great outdoors: hiking and camping and climbing. With us, there is no emphasis on organized sports.”
Elizabeth points out that there is no need to get along with everyone. “Unless you want to be a life insurance salesman,” adds Ken. “We want our children to make friends,” he continues, “but we want them to do it honestly and with integrity, and without losing their souls, which could easily happen. Life can be very unforgiving. Getting in with the wrong people can ruin someone’s life forever. That is why we set up protected environments and train our children from the beginning on correct socialization, correct interaction, and correct activities, so that when we are no longer there they can be proud of themselves and carry on their heritage and their race.”
As time went along, I noticed that the two girls in the New Hampshire family, ten-year-old Helen and eight-year-old Suzanna, always wore dresses. Ken explains that it underscores what he and his wife believe to be natural and healthy differences between boys and girls. “We teach our girls that the most important thing they can possibly do is be good mothers. We believe that the careers being pushed on girls by the feminists and the schools and the entertainment industry are a dead end. For our boys, we promote the manly virtues: responsibility, courage, hard work, and leadership.”
The last time I visited the New Hampshire family I spent a good amount of time with Helen. She has the bearing of a twelve- or thirteen-year-old, and I had to keep reminding myself she is only ten. She showed me some stories she had written, along with the illustrations she had drawn to accompany them, and I read aloud from her stories. She told me of the impressive list of books she had read and was reading, and of her love for horses. Throughout our time together, Helen was steady-eyed, positive, considerate, confident, unthreatened, respectful, self-expressive, and interested in me-and just ten years old.
At one point, I asked the question adults invariably ask: “I know it’s a long time off, Helen, but have you thought about college and what you want to do when you are older?” It has been my experience that most girls these days aspire to college and a career such as pilot, lawyer, or business executive. Not Helen. She matter-of-factly replied, “No, I don’t want to go to college. I want to train and board horses. I want a family.”
James says he plans to be a mathematician, and perhaps take over his father’s business providing actuarial advice to insurance companies. Like Helen, James seems older than other children his age. He has the bearing of a fifteen-year-old. My contact with Helen and James, as well as other children in similar families, has made me wonder whether today’s parents, schools, the media, and their peers keep children unduly immature.
James strikes me as a proud and independent young man. I mentioned to him that my students at the university assume that since he hasn’t been part of a school-based group he lacks social skills. “That’s ridiculous,” he quickly and forcefully replied. “If you’re congenial you can get along with anyone.” I found myself trying to remember the last time I heard a thirteen-year-old use the word “congenial.”
Keith, the father of three, describes his overall perspective on being a parent in a way that seems to speak for all the racially-conscious parents I have met. He says he and his wife are meeting what they consider to be their fundamental responsibility to rear children properly. They cannot count on the rest of society — schools, media, politicians, churches, journalists, intellectuals; none of them — to help. They are doing everything they can to pass on to their children, in his words, “racial idealism, the difference between right and wrong, personal responsibility, and strength of character — all the things our ancestors cherished and passed on to their children. We teach our children they belong to a great race of people. We teach them they should learn their own history, heritage, and culture before studying the ways of others. We teach them that their genetic inheritance and traditions must be protected and preserved and extended, and that they have a personal responsibility to do this.”