Malcolm Meldahl, American Renaissance, December 1993
Since we are friends from way back, and with an old school tie as well, I think you’re due an explanation for why I’m dropping American Renaissance when my subscription expires.
My reasons for taking your pamphlet have always had more to do with curiosity about you than with racialism’s interest for me. I have always had some discomfort with the subject but I welcomed the challenge of your ideas to my complacent liberalism. I also admired your courage in taking on this touchiest of subjects. God knows it needs honest discussion in this age of politically correct hysteria. But having been a subscriber since its inception, I am tired of American Renaissance. You have heard most of my objections one way or another before, but I am in the mood to recapitulate them:
- AR is hopelessly utopian. It dreams of a state or society that will never be. Historical processes have already overrun the racialist’s hour.
- Therefore AR is inutile. It articulates a point of view that, however “realistic” in terms of historical human nature, is nevertheless of no help when it comes to reinventing life on earth in the next epoch. The big mix is here already, ethnically and economically. The pertinent problems are in the mix, not in lamenting it.
What’s the use of trying to push back the tide, reossify old prejudices, encourage the tribalization of a human community that is headed for further amalgamation? Like it or not, we will have to face it. Publicizing unfairness and the tyrannies of liberalism is fine, but AR goes further than that.
As you know, I have never been able to come to terms with a certain animus motivating AR, sometimes naked, mostly veiled, which I am afraid really does lend to hurting people or at least saying “Well, it’s better this way.” And this leads me to an objection that takes objection into another dimension:
- I do not see the religious possibilities in the AR point of view. It is a tract self-limited to the biological, the social, the political. I think that at the “end of all our exploring,” whether we get there or not, is some kind of religious understanding. Something deep says that the AR perspective is inimical to this. Whether or not it is possible for one to hold to a racialist viewpoint or social philosophy with a clean and faithful heart, I know that I could not. I doubt it would be possible today, even if it were possible in the past, for Lincoln, say. I would be troubled by the worry that my race philosophy had been or could be misused as a vehicle for the expression of hatred and malice — or had, at best, been a means to look the other way. This leads me to my last point, the most troubling of all.
- I do not detect the will nor perceive the means to resist excesses possible to commit in the name of AR’s ideology. Indeed the validation that could be given to ethnic cleansing by the kind of cogent, calm arguments put forth in AR chill the soul. There is no set of crampons sufficiently sharp and strong to keep you guys from sliding to the bottom of the philosophical slippery slope into a bloodbath. I do not detect the strength of will to resist the barbarism that could be committed in the name of your ideas. I fear that should your racialist ideas prevail politically, you would become a Goebbels at worst, at best an editor of Pravda. I’d like to see the fervor with which you militate against liberalism and its obvious excesses matched by the fervor to preserve what’s good and admirable in its sympathies and republican spirit. Your “hard truths” are all arranged on one vector, and a wrongheaded one at that.
You offer a rationalist rediscovery of human differences and suggest, by implication, concomitant social policies. But a visceral sense of human differences precedes and goes way deeper than any rationalistic appraisal. What any racialism does is immediately take those visceral reactions, make sense of them, codify them, make a veritable rosary, an unthinking incantation of them. I know what it is like to give way to a sense of repugnance. Some deep-seated appetite in one’s nature answers to it. It cries out for an answer.
Racialism organizes much of this feeling (mostly fear and guilt), makes of it a construct energized by the viscera but justified by the mind. This is your Mephistophelian business with AR. It is persuasive. I feel myself lured by it but that doesn’t make it right. It is the easy way out. It is the reptile leading the better angels of our nature.
I wholly approve of the war on cant and duplicity. We all have to fight it for our selves and for our souls. But I guess it has seeped into me that I shouldn’t give money to promote ideas that have at best no future, at worst could help recapitulate the greatest horrors of the past. Ultimately I worry that AR attacks that which can give a human life its highest form of understanding. Times have changed. What Jefferson said then and what he might say now are unlikely to be mutually recognizable. You are talking last year’s language and peddling a dangerous nostalgia.
Which is why I will not renew my subscription when it expires.