Evil in Charlottesville: White supremacists assembled
Evil in Charlottesville: White supremacists assembled

Editor’s Note: This is part four of a four-part series on the white suprema­cist text Might Is Right and the his­to­ry of Amer­i­can fas­cism. This series looks at how ideas stat­ed out­right in that late nine­teenth cen­tu­ry text have con­tin­ued to have influ­ence into the present day, from Satanists and Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ists to pale­o­con­ser­v­a­tives and right-wing terrorists.

Jump to Part One | Two | Three | Four

In Might Is Right, the author asserts that those who have things deserve them; those with­out deserve noth­ing. In the pre­vi­ous install­ment of this series, I said that Anton LaVey only hint­ed at the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for ego­ism and mis­treat­ment of oth­ers in his adap­tion for The Satan­ic Bible; in the orig­i­nal, the explic­it rea­son oth­ers deserve noth­ing is that they are subhuman.

In fact, whole class­es of peo­ple are found fun­da­men­tal­ly want­i­ng; the book is quite trans­par­ent about this. Some are this way from birth such as all women, all Black, East Asian, South Asian, and Jew­ish people.

Peo­ple can be degrad­ed fur­ther, such as women get­ting divorced, but the taint can claim even Anglo-Sax­on white men if they believe in encour­ag­ing equal­i­ty or empa­thy in pol­i­tics or reli­gion; or they become over­ly learned; or they seek solu­tions on a basis oth­er than naked force.

With the pos­si­ble excep­tion of white teenage boys and their equiv­a­lents of emo­tion­al intel­li­gence, a mod­ern per­son will imme­di­ate­ly notice the absolute dis­dain the author has for any­one who is not a rich, white, non-Jew­ish man.

“Are all men real­ly brethren? — Negro and Indi­an, Black­fel­low, Kalmuck, and Coolie?” asks the author of Might Is Right. This is ulti­mate­ly more hon­est than what we got out of the Dec­la­ra­tion of Inde­pen­dence or out of the phi­los­o­phy that is foun­da­tion­al to the Enlight­en­ment but elid­ed now.

In writ­ing, “He who is with­out wealth amidst unlim­it­ed quan­ti­ties of it, is either a cow­ard, a born slave or a lunatic,” the author pro­vides direct jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for set­tler colo­nial­ism as well as con­tem­po­rary cap­i­tal­ism. “If you have seized it and no one can seize it back, it is yours.” The rich cer­tain­ly believe it’s their virtue that jus­ti­fies their hoard, and they finance an unbe­liev­able amount of media to con­vince us to ignore our lying eyes, rot­ting teeth, and depression.

“A woman is two-thirds womb. The oth­er third is a net­work of nerves and sen­ti­men­tal­i­ty,” the author declares elsewhere.

Con­tem­po­rary “gen­der essen­tial­ism” and oppo­si­tion to the Equal Rights Amend­ment are ful­ly sum­ma­rized with con­ci­sion in those two sentences.

In Might Is Right, our author has a clear audi­ence; his “you” only applies to white male read­ers, just as his use of “man” and male pro­nouns are not arti­facts of an old­er gram­mar but mean exact­ly what they say.

The book prob­a­bly is not writ­ten for peo­ple who actu­al­ly are wealthy but cer­tain­ly for peo­ple who imag­ine they one day might be and whose class inter­ests align accord­ing to their future fan­tasies rather than their present circumstances.

Now, because lib­er­als and left­ists share a deep desire to be cor­rect, because we have a deep need to be intel­lec­tu­al­ly coher­ent often at the expense of more use­ful mate­r­i­al results, we there­fore can be dis­tract­ed into think­ing this is an effec­tive line of attack against con­ser­v­a­tives, Repub­li­cans, and the right.

It is not.

In part this is because they’re valu­ing nat­ur­al instinct and sense; that is, “gut play­ers” in the George W. Bush mold. Or “Let estab­lished sophisms be dethroned, root­ed out, burnt and destroyed, for they are a stand­ing men­ace to all true nobil­i­ty of thought and action,” as the author of Might Is Right says.

“A cult of action for action’s sake,” as Umber­to Eco would diag­nose.

But main­ly it’s because peo­ple with right wing pol­i­tics aren’t real­ly prac­tic­ing any hypocrisy; you can take them at their word once you decode their mean­ing by get­ting away from the euphemisms back to the roots.

Their world­view is whol­ly coher­ent so long as you real­ize only some of us count as peo­ple. The rest are subhuman.

At first glance, this can sound over­ly harsh as if this is an expla­na­tion unfair­ly demo­niz­ing a group of peo­ple you sin­cere­ly dis­agree with on some fun­da­men­tal issues but have oth­er areas of agree­ment, too.

“My con­ser­v­a­tive friend just has a dif­fer­ent view on for­eign pol­i­cy than I do”; “my lib­er­tar­i­an cowork­er has a dif­fer­ent idea on fis­cal respon­si­bil­i­ty”; “my evan­gel­i­cal neigh­bor has a good heart, we just can’t see eye-to-eye on reli­gious issues.”

And to be clear, not every per­son on the right is a fascist.

But when you talk to such peo­ple and probe for the con­tra­dic­tions in their rhetoric, often stem­ming from their use of euphemism, what you’ll find is that at some point, they set aside whole groups of peo­ple as not count­ing ful­ly as people.

You will be con­fused about why armed, mask­less white men and women scream­ing at cops over hair­cuts was okay, but that peo­ple choked to death on the street, or shot in the head with maim­ing rounds protest­ing peo­ple being choked to death on the street, had it coming.

You will find it curi­ous Ruby Ridge and Waco are bywords for gov­ern­ment over­reach among so-called patri­ots but not the assas­si­na­tion of Fred Hamp­ton by Chica­go police and MOVE bomb­ing in Philadelphia.

It is not hypocrisy; they are just count­ing peo­ple and injuries done to them dif­fer­ent­ly from those they don’t con­sid­er people.

This is why Patrick Hen­ry, a slaver who traf­ficked chil­dren in chains, felt no shame in say­ing, “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be pur­chased at the price of chains and slav­ery?” Those chil­dren did not count as people.

Hen­ry was aware of them, sup­pos­ed­ly ago­nized over them in pri­vate moments, but they did not count in the equa­tion of liberty.

They were, how­ev­er, a reminder of what the Found­ing slavers feared the most.

Though not from the Unit­ed States, the author of Might Is Right is obsessed with slav­ery; he blends the poet­ic hyper­bole into the lit­er­al ante­bel­lum expe­ri­ence so often it’s not clear if that dis­tinc­tion actu­al­ly holds any mean­ing for him.

He is obsessed with hier­ar­chy. The world exists to him only in terms of peo­ple who can abuse oth­ers with­out con­se­quences and those who are help­less to stop abuse, so in a very sin­cere way, if you ain’t first, you’re last.

In the video essay, “There’s Always A Big­ger Fish” from Ian Dan­skin’s Alt-Right Play­book series, Dan­skin lands on the core dis­tin­guish­ing issue of the right that makes oth­er­wise cen­trist con­ser­v­a­tives so will­ing to hold their nose and work with fas­cists over even ano­dyne Social Democrats.

When you view soci­ety as a pyra­mid, improve­ments for those at the bot­tom is ter­ri­fy­ing because you can only see it hap­pen­ing by anoth­er group — yours —replac­ing them there. As the title of Dan­skin’s essay alludes, their fun­da­men­tal belief is that no improve­ment in inequal­i­ty is pos­si­ble, just a replace­ment of who is the big­ger fish and ben­e­fits more.

“What­ev­er the Marx­ists, the Social­ists, the Black Lives Mat­ter activists, or Democ­rats say when they talk about greater equal­i­ty, they mean they will be mas­ters and you the slave.” This is how peo­ple on the right hear such messages.

It’s the same rea­son why the Unit­ed States was able to work with Fran­co’s Spain and South Kore­a’s Japan­ese col­lab­o­ra­tors after the Sec­ond World War, or push Pinochet to remove Sal­vador Allende from elect­ed office in a coup.

And this why see­ing a Black pres­i­dent deeply fright­ened so many white Amer­i­cans, and why most could sup­port Trump in 2016.

The author of Might Is Right says:

Social­ism, Chris­tian­ism, Democ­ra­tism, Equal­i­ty­ism, are real­ly the whin­ing yelp­ings of base-bred mon­grel-mul­ti­tudes. They howl aloud for State inter­ven­tion — “pro­tec­tion for suf­fer­ing humanity”

Any­thing that mix­es up the, as they see it, inher­ent, nat­ur­al hier­ar­chy of peo­ple is anath­e­ma. For a fas­cist, force is para­mount but simul­ta­ne­ous­ly ideas have the poten­tial to upset the nat­ur­al order and must be stamped out.

Note that word “mon­grel”: the most dan­ger­ous chal­lenge is around breed­ing, puri­ty of stock, sanc­ti­ty of blood.

White fragili­ty isn’t just about indi­vid­u­als respond­ing to prob­lems, it’s also the con­cept of white­ness, which in Louisiana at the time Might Is Right was pub­lished, all the way until 1983, defined a per­son as Black if their ances­try was 1/32nd so. Homer Plessy of the famous 1896 Supreme Court seg­re­ga­tion case had only one non-white great-grand­par­ent. Yet this was enough.

The author reduces wom­an­hood to breed­ing poten­tial, and the dan­ger of let­ting a per­son who can become preg­nant choose their own part­ner is that they might choose wrong and give birth to off­spring with bad, non-white genes.

The Nazis picked up their eugen­ics pro­gram from extant ones in the Unit­ed States, par­tic­u­lar­ly Cal­i­for­nia. We forcibly ster­il­ized those who were insti­tu­tion­al­ized and oth­er­wise “unde­sir­able”, which in the Unit­ed States meant tar­get­ing non­white peo­ple who could become pregnant.

Today, white suprema­cists have a four­teen-word slo­gan based entire­ly around this obses­sion with breed­ing and puri­ty, and for that, those they view as women have a cen­tral role. Usu­al­ly, it’s dressed up in kinder lan­guage of dis­tinct but equal spheres of influ­ence and the like.

Might Is Right does not even attempt such pleas­antries at any moment.

It has such sim­ple views on gen­der that sug­gest the author had few con­ver­sa­tions with women that involved him lis­ten­ing to them. But his writ­ing demon­strates how patri­archy is inex­tri­ca­bly wound around white suprema­cy, even as sub­or­di­nate white women are inte­gral to sup­port­ing white supremacy.

For the wel­fare of the breed, and the secu­ri­ty of descent, [women] must be held in thor­ough sub­jec­tion. … Woe unto him, woe unto them, and woe unto our Race, if ever these lov­able crea­tures should break loose from mas­ter­ship, and become the rulers or equals of Man. (But that is impossible.)

The best fight­ers are the best race-pro­duc­ers. This is the ver­dict of Biol­o­gy and the instinc­tive belief of the whole Fem­i­nine world in general.

The author specif­i­cal­ly ref­er­ences French women in 1871 throw­ing them­selves at what he describes clear­ly phys­i­cal­ly supe­ri­or, less cul­tur­al­ly effete spec­i­mens of con­quer­ing Ger­mans. This is indis­tin­guish­able from sim­i­lar rants today by Cana­di­an Neo-Nazi Felix Lace claim­ing that French women in the Sec­ond World War threw them­selves at con­quer­ing Ger­mans.

So the ide­ol­o­gy will simul­ta­ne­ous­ly argue that women are drawn toward the nat­u­ral­ly supe­ri­or traits of strong white men but also the puri­ty of blood is in con­stant­ly in dan­ger from too much race-mix­ing. Ide­olo­gies of “free love” and repro­duc­tive auton­o­my for women endan­ger the future secu­ri­ty of the white race.

This mix­ing up of hier­ar­chy is as much an anx­i­ety in Might Is Right as with Lace.

How­ev­er, more respectable white suprema­cists like Ste­fan Molyneaux or more dis­tant fas­cist-laun­der­ers like Jor­dan Peter­son will make the same argu­ments about “enforced monogamy” so that lib­er­al insti­tu­tions like The New York Times will hear them out.

The basis of the incel (“invol­un­tar­i­ly celi­bate”) reac­tionary cul­ture and its result­ing ter­ror­is­tic vio­lence is not that these men are upset they can­not have sex.

It’s not even that they’re upset they’re unable to have sex with the women who meet their stan­dard of attractiveness.

They will in fact go out of their way to sab­o­tage sex work­ers who could pro­vide that for them. They do this because they are not frus­trat­ed by their own lack of sex­u­al grat­i­fi­ca­tion; they’re frus­trat­ed by the self-mas­tery of women.

More than a cen­tu­ry before, Might Is Right expressed the exact same impulse but more pretentiously:

Pros­ti­tu­tion (for hire) is also the direct out­come of unnat­ur­al con­di­tions… If our mod­ern Sodoms were all razed to the ground, how Nature in all her peren­ni­al puri­ty would rejoice exultantly?

Incels are upset that women are not forced to have sex with them because, for them, that is what the nat­ur­al hier­ar­chy is sup­posed to be. The con­tra­dic­tion between what their ide­ol­o­gy tells them they should expect and what the world actu­al­ly is can only be resolved by vio­lence and destruc­tion, not introspection.

In the next install­ment of this series, which will be pub­lished tomor­row, we’ll look at why con­spir­a­cy, specif­i­cal­ly anti­se­mit­ic con­spir­a­cy, is the cor­ner­stone of fas­cis­m’s belief sys­tem to avoid that introspection.

Jump to Part One | Two | Three | Four

Adjacent posts