Greg Johnson, Ph.D., is editor-in-chief of Counter-Currents Publishing, and editor of North American New Right. He is the author nine books, including Confessions of a Reluctant Hater; New Right vs. Old Right; Truth, Justice, and a Nice White Country; In Defense of Prejudice; You Asked for It; The White Nationalist Manifesto; and the soon-to-be-released Toward a New Nationalism. He is also the editor of many volumes; the latest is a comprehensive anthology called The Alternative Right. The following conversation was first published on American Renaissance, in a slightly abridged version.
Grégoire Canlorbe: How do you move from traditionalist nationalism (i.e., restoring the Indo-European warlike and sacerdotal order) to white nationalism (i.e., protecting white identity)?
Greg Johnson: I am more of an archeofuturist than a traditionalist on these sorts of matters. I think we need to bring back certain archaic values—ethnocentrism and a warrior rather than bourgeois ethos—and infuse them into modern institutions, such as the Westphalian sovereign ethnostate.
But I am not really interested in restoring an old warlike and sacerdotal order. What would that even entail? Restoring monarchies and state churches? At best, those are only approximations—images or symbols—of larger truths about society and the cosmos. They are certainly not viable political solutions for the problems facing white peoples today.
All white peoples around the world are threatened by simple biological extinction due to loss of homelands where we can securely live and breed, competition from non-white invaders, hybridization with non-whites, and outright predation by non-whites.
All of these problems are caused by political policies implemented by the present system. They can be solved by replacing our current system and implementing new, pro-white, pro-natal policies. Whites need to regain control over our homelands. We need to erect barriers to immigration and miscegenation and repatriate non-whites within our borders.
I believe that the best state is both racially and ethnically homogeneous. I am an ethnonationalist, meaning that I believe that every people has the right to maximum autonomy, should they desire to exercise it. That autonomy can take the form of ethnic reservations for primitive tribal peoples and sovereign ethnostates for larger nations. I speak of a right to autonomy, because some people might not wish to exercise it. But when a people chooses to exercise this right, nobody else has the right to stand in their way.
Different peoples will choose different systems of government to suit them. Some of them might choose to keep monarchies, aristocracies, and established churches. Others might opt for republics.
But there are some general principles of political philosophy that should be accepted by all societies. First and foremost, there is the idea of sovereignty—a sovereign state does not answer to any higher power, and all sovereign states are equal in matters of international law. Ethnonationalists, of course, wish to link sovereignty to particular peoples. Thus we are opposed to empires of all kinds.
The purpose of each state is to pursue the common good of the people, which entails at minimum protecting its sovereignty and promoting its flourishing on into the future.
There is a broad consensus that the best way to pursue the common good is to have a mixed regime, with monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic elements that relate according to a fundamental law or constitution.
There is also a broad consensus that there need to be distinct realms of the family, civil society—including the market economy—and the state.
Grégoire Canlorbe: It is not uncommon to conceive of free-market economy as a cosmopolitan acid—on the grounds that the development of the market would both require and engender a world made of amoral, miscegenated, egocentric, emasculated, and deculturized individuals. Do you agree with this line of thought?
Greg Johnson: Yes, I agree with it. The market economy, left to its own devices, is inherently global and globalizing. Thus we need to regulate the economy so it does not undermine national sovereignty. Nothing too grandiose. We simply need borders and protectionist trade measures. Alain de Benoist made a valid distinction between a society with markets and a market society. A market society’s highest aim is maximizing opportunities for private gain. A society with markets has private property and entrepreneurship but subordinates them to higher aims, namely the preservation and flourishing of its people.
Grégoire Canlorbe: While the sixties saw hippie cosmopolitanism emerging in all its hideousness, they were also the era of decisive breakthroughs in the arts—let one think of the album Beggars Banquet by the Rolling Stones, or 2001: A Space Odyssey—and in political philosophy, with the works of Robert Ardrey dedicated to territory, hierarchy, and group selection. How do you account for this tension?
Greg Johnson: There’s only a tension if one thinks that the 1960s are a unified thing, as opposed to a timespan in which a lot of different things happened. If by the 1960s, you specifically mean the hippie counter-culture, it was a mixed bag. It was heavily infused with Marxist subversion, but a lot of it was about recovering authentic European folkways and healthier, more natural forms of life, as opposed to the crazed, synthetic Cheez Whiz modernism of the post-War years. Ultimately, Tolkien was a bigger influence than the Frankfurt School.
Grégoire Canlorbe: Both a compagnon de route and a disappointed critic of the nationalist movements of the thirties, Julius Evola contended that Nazism or Fascism were ultimately symptomatic of the plebeian and materialist mentality of the Kali Yuga. In your eyes, would he say the same thing of the Trump – Bolsonaro wave?
Greg Johnson: Yes, Evola would say the same thing about Trump and Bolsonaro. But there’s nothing wrong with modern populism. White Nationalism as I envision it belongs solidly in the tradition of Nationalist Populism. I think Evola’s political preferences are pretty much irrelevant to modern White Nationalism. My thinking is much more in keeping with Plato and Aristotle, particularly the latter’s concept of the mixed regime, as well as modern political philosophers like Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Hegel.
I think that the only meaningful concept of political legitimacy is the “common good” of a society. I also think that the best way to ensure that governing elites pursue the common good is to give a great deal of power to the people. So in principle and in practice, I am a populist. And since I believe the natural political unit is the nation state, I am a national populist.
Grégoire Canlorbe: Friedrich Nietzsche’s thesis that Christianity emerged as the poisoned chalice from Jews to Romans—and spread an inversion of values that led to intoxicate and humiliate the noble and powerful men—inspired the whole twentieth century’s tradition of right-wing neo-pagan anti-Semitism. Yet Nietzsche proved an ardent philo-Semitic at the same time, hence the following extract from The Dawn of Day.
“Amongst all the inhabitants of Europe it is the Jews least of all who try to escape from any deep distress by recourse to drink or to suicide, as other less gifted people are so prone to do. Every Jew can find in the history of his own family and of his ancestors a long record of instances of the greatest coolness and perseverance amid difficulties and dreadful situations, an artful cunning in fighting with misfortune and hazard. And above all it is their bravery under the cloak of wretched submission, their heroic spernere se sperni that surpasses the virtues of all the saints. […] In their manners we can still see that they have never been inspired by chivalric and noble feelings, or that their bodies have ever been girt with fine weapons: a certain obtrusiveness alternates with a submissiveness which is often tender and almost always painful.
Now, however, that they unavoidably inter-marry more and more year after year with the noblest blood of Europe, they will soon have a considerable heritage of good intellectual and physical manners, so that in another hundred years they will have a sufficiently noble aspect not to render themselves, as masters, ridiculous to those whom they will have subdued. […] some day or other Europe may, like a ripe fruit, fall into their hands, if they do not clutch at it too eagerly. In the meantime, it is necessary for them to distinguish themselves in all departments of European distinction and to stand in the front rank: until they shall have advanced so far as to determine themselves what distinction shall mean. Then they will be called the pioneers and guides of the Europeans whose modesty they will no longer offend.
And then where shall an outlet be found for this abundant wealth of great impressions accumulated during such an extended period and representing Jewish history for every Jewish family, this wealth of passions, virtues, resolutions, resignations, struggles, and conquests of all kinds where can it find an outlet but in great intellectual men and works! On the day when the Jews will be able to exhibit to us as their own work such jewels and golden vessels as no European nation, with its shorter and less profound experience, can or could produce, when Israel shall have changed its eternal vengeance into an eternal benediction for Europe: then that seventh day will once more appear when old Jehovah may rejoice in Himself, in His creation, in His chosen people and all, all of us, will rejoice with Him!”
How do you think René Guénon and Julius Evola would answer Nietzsche on this issue?
Greg Johnson: I don’t know how Guénon and Evola would respond to that. I just want to vomit when I read this sort of swill. There are some things in Nietzsche’s philosophy that I regard as of enduring value. First, there is the philosophy of culture found in the second of the Untimely Meditations. Second, there is his account of how Christian values arose from the inversion of healthy Greco-Roman pagan values in On the Genealogy of Morals. (One could make the same argument that Jewish values arose from the inversion of healthy Egyptian and Canaanite values.) Third, there are his general insights into the psychology of modern nihilism and its relationship to the self-negating values of Christianity (the death of God, etc.). But I see nothing of value in his metaphysical and epistemological opinions and vast tracts of his cultural commentary like the above. I would have blue-penciled three-fourths of Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
Nietzsche was a twisted, neurotic character long before his mental breakdown, and much of what he says is vitiated by his lack of objectivity. This first became clear to me when I read his late writings on Wagner. They simply cannot be taken seriously as truth claims. They are just embittered neurotic rants. As for Nietzsche’s philosemitism, it is based on his hatred of Wagner, as well as of his sister and brother-in-law, all of them anti-Semites; his hatred of his own German heritage, which led him, among other things, to claim a false Polish heritage and to advocate pan-Europeanism; and his friendships with Paul Rée and Lou Salomé. Nietzsche’s proposals to the effect that Europe should be ruled by the Mischlinge of Jews and Prussian aristocrats should not be taken seriously. They were merely provocations directed at people like me. So perhaps vomiting really is the most appropriate commentary on such passages.
Grégoire Canlorbe: A common argument to deny the reality of human races is that the genetic variability between the individuals within a same population proves more important than the average genetic variability between the different populations; and that besides this, 99.9% of humans turn out to share 99.9% of their genes—which entitles scientists to speak of “groups” and “populations,” but not of “races.” As for innate differences in average IQ among races, it has often been advanced that those differences in average IQ are not only overestimated but caused by cultural and economic factors.
What do you reply to this set of arguments doubting the scientific pertinence of the concept of race?
Greg Johnson: The first argument, which is now known as Lewontin’s Fallacy, is just a non-sequitur. The fact that there might be 100 IQ points variance between a very smart and a very dumb white person does not refute or entitle us to ignore the 30-point average IQ difference between Africans and Europeans. Both variations are objective facts. Both are true. Neither truth is incompatible with the other. Furthermore, the differences between the group averages, not the differences between individual outliers, need to be taken into account when weighing the question of whether radically different racial groups can exist harmoniously within the same society.
As for the fact that blacks and whites share most of their genes in common, this proves nothing. Whites and chimpanzees also share most of their genes in common. Which simply proves that even small genetic differences have momentous consequences.
The claim that there are no “races” only “populations” is just verbal slight of hand, since the major human “populations” are basically identical to the continental “races.”
As for the claim that IQ differences are primarily matters of nurture rather than nature, that is not supported by science. See J. Philippe Rushton and Arthur R. Jensen’s ingeniously argued and meticulously researched “Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences in Cognitive Ability,” Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, vol. 11, no. 2 (2005): pp. 235-94
Grégoire Canlorbe: Race consciousness seems to be an intrinsic feature of Orthodox Christianity: this is actually why one speaks of “Slavo-Orthodox” values. As for Catholicism and its Protestant rival, which of the two of them seems to you to be the more hostile to migratory subversion and to biocultural replacement—and the less hermetic to a sense of racial identity? Might the Catholic-Latino invasion strengthen race consciousness among those we call “White-American-Protestants”?
Greg Johnson: Racism is the sin of “phyletism” according to the Orthodox churches. Christianity is like Marxism, capitalism, and liberalism: a universal and universalizing ideology that if left to its own devices undermines national identities and boundaries. Thus the church needs a concordat with nationalist states, an agreement to practice Christianity in a way that does not to subvert national differences.
Early on, Protestantism was more nationalist than the Catholic (Universal) Church. But today Catholicism in Poland and Ireland has a more markedly national character than Protestantism in any European country. Most Anglicans would angrily denounce you if you accused them of belonging to the Church of England, as opposed to the Church of Desmond Tutu. In the 19th century, when religion was a much more powerful force in America, I think that many Protestants would have seen the Latin invasion as a Catholic invasion as well. But maybe one in a thousand American Protestants would think that way today.
Grégoire Canlorbe: It appears that the European Union was built on the idea to dissolve the national intra-European identities—not only in promoting an “European consciousness” stronger than the consciousness of being French, German, or Italian, but in organizing the great replacement of the white man (i.e., the European Caucasoid) through mass immigration from Africa and the Middle-East into Europe. Seen from the New Continent, do you think the European Union may nonetheless be saved and repurposed according to the principles of White Nationalism?
Greg Johnson: The European Union needs to be destroyed. Its aims are ethnocide (the destruction of different European national identities) and ultimately genocide (blending the white race out of existence). These aims can only be achieved by tyranny, which the EU has been stealthily but steadily pursuing through treaties abrogating the sovereignty of its member states. No intelligent person believes that the EU army floated by Macron would be used to protect Europe’s borders. Instead, it would be used to enforce open borders and race-replacement immigration on European states that currently oppose them.
European identitarians are in a trench war against the globalist establishment. The EU is a massive gun emplacement pouring fire and death down upon us. In such a situation, if one of our officers seriously suggested that perhaps we should not destroy the weapon that is killing us right now because he dreams of controlling it someday, you would have to question his judgment, sanity, intelligence, and even his loyalty. If a mother came to her husband with credible evidence that the nanny was sexually abusing their children, and his response is to do nothing because, after all, the concept of a nanny is philosophically defensible, you would again question his judgment, sanity, intelligence, etc.
The European Union was sold as a way to prevent another European-wide war. But as bad as the World Wars were, Europe recovered from them. Europe will not recover from EU mandated race-replacement. Therefore, the EU must be destroyed.
Grégoire Canlorbe: Promoting state eugenics seems to be a common feature between the Old and the New Right. For my part, I hardly see how central planning can work better in the field of eugenics than it does in the industrial, monetary, or medical field. No human brain or computer can compete with the ingenuity and complexity of the decentralized processes of natural selection. Neither Leonardo da Vinci nor Michelangelo were born in test tubes. Human societies must not seek to engender and “plan” geniuses; they must know how to recognize them, and they must let their ascent take its course.
How do you react to the above?
Greg Johnson: I think you are looking at this the wrong way. The choice is not between planned versus unplanned eugenics. The choice is between dysgenics and eugenics. Modern society is inherently dysgenic.
For instance, opportunities for higher education and well-paying jobs cause intelligent people to delay childbearing—in the case of women, often to the point that it is dangerous, if not impossible. Late-born children also tend to be inferior to the children of younger parents.
Moreover, the existence of voluntary birth control means that people with the intelligence, impulse control, and social responsibility to limit their reproduction have fewer children than people who lack intelligence, impulse control, and responsibility. These two trends alone will seriously depress intelligence and other desirable traits, with the predictable consequences on civilization.
Even if we bracket for the moment the feasibility or desirability of the state pursuing a society with more Leonardos and Michelangelos, at the very least, the state needs to create policies that counter-balance existing dysgenic trends. For instance, one could give a year of free higher education for every child produced by a woman of high intelligence, if she agrees to put off college until her children are in elementary school. One could also give incentives for people with bad genetic traits to have few if any children.
This is not eugenics as genetic maximization. It is eugenics as genetic de-minimization.
Imagine if each subsequent generation had fewer depressives, fewer sociopaths, fewer narcissists, fewer drunkards and drug addicts. We could easily accomplish that simply by denying conjugal visits to criminals and offering them reduced sentences if they are sterilized. We could give people licenses to be drug addicts if they agree to sterilization.
Look into becoming a sperm or egg donor. The questionnaires that one needs to fill out clearly indicate that the process is massively eugenic—one of the few genuinely eugenic trends today. Yet laws protecting the privacy of sperm and egg donors vary widely. This is one place where state action—namely giving gamete donors complete privacy—would have immense eugenic effects.
One does not need god-like knowledge to engage in sensible eugenics. That is a straw man. We have ample and growing knowledge of the fine-grained genetic determination of positive and negative human traits. One can simply give incentives for people with better genes to have more children than people with bad genes.
Also, the critique of central planning presupposes that economic efficiency is the greatest value. But what if people value equality, community, and national sovereignty more that economic efficiency? Then the Hayekian critique of planning seems less compelling. Even if Hayek were right about how markets work, there are other values besides efficient markets.
Grégoire Canlorbe: Thank you for your time.
Greg Johnson: Thank you for the stimulating questions.