The Nationalist Community of today is comprised of many newcomers, many of whom (myself included), came from a Libertarian background. The Trump phenomenon of 2016, propelled by a newfound awareness of the severity of the migrant crisis, caused many of us to reconsider our lofty and often impractical Libertarian ideals due to their incompatibility with a non-White supermajority. Although my views have shifted significantly because of this, I still believe there is a great deal of good that can be gained from the Objectivist philosophy of people like Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff and Nathaniel Branden.
An unfortunate reality of philosophy is that very few people have the ability to “take the good and leave the bad”. To most people, everything is either black or white, good or bad, when life is much more complex than that. Many people read Rand, fall in love with her and accept everything she says as gospel. This is obviously destructive and unphilosophical. Others read her (or more often hear something about her) and totally reject every word she ever wrote. This is equally as bad.
Ayn Rand described her philosophy of Objectivism as follows:
“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”
Rand was very clear on emphasizing that “pursuing one’s own happiness” does not mean doing harm to others as a means of achieving those ends nor does it mean participating in hedonistic and trivial pursuits. As someone who lived through the horrors of the Soviet Union, her philosophy focused on the morality of value and a disdain for the concept of self-sacrifice. She saw with her own eyes that the proselytizers of this dogma of self-sacrifice were the most wicked and selfish people on Earth. Much confusion and outright anger has erupted over her condemnation of altruism and self-sacrifice. As a moral philosopher and epistemologist, her definitions are precise and any attempt to understand Objectivism must be made with her definitions in mind. Many would call her selfish for her views and she would accept this as a badge of honor, not because she accepted their definition of selfishness, but because she accepted her own.
On the question of self-sacrifice she wrote:
“If you exchange a penny for a dollar, it is not a sacrifice; if you exchange a dollar for a penny, it is. If you achieve the career you wanted, after years of struggle, it is not a sacrifice; if you then renounce it for the sake of a rival, it is. If you own a bottle of milk and give it to your starving child, it is not a sacrifice; if you give it to your neighbor’s child and let your own die, it is.”
I believe we can apply her philosophy to the immigration crisis in a way that is compatible with Nationalist views.
Western nations are sacrificing our safety and prosperity for the sake of third-world migrants who are not only ungrateful, but are openly hostile towards us. By subsidizing third-worlders with billions in foreign aid and by encouraging parasitic behavior in the form of welfare and taxpayer funded social entitlements we are hurting everyone of all races! The rest of the world is dependent upon White nations and by sacrificing ourselves on the altar of political correctness, pathological altruism and neurotic self-loathing, we are allowing the destruction of the entire species! These parasitic migrants might receive some short-term gain in the form of free “gimmies”, but even that hurts them long-term because it disincentivizes hard work and productivity, which is overall detrimental to their self-esteem and self-efficacy because it makes them dependent upon another race for their very survival.
This madness cannot go on forever, eventually it will reach a point where we have nothing left to sacrifice. Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged is a prophetic portrayal of what happens when the producers, builders and inventors in society are forced by the lazy, weak and wicked to sacrifice everything for the “collective good”; civilization collapses and the world in thrust into chaos and upheaval!
Ayn Rand has received a tremendous amount of criticism from both the Far Left and the Far Right because of her criticisms of Collectivism. While I don’t fully agree with her conclusions, I tend to think that the “Individualism vs Collectivism” debate is a false dichotomy that can be easily resolved when reframed in the context of “Microcosm vs Macrocosm”. The old “secure your own oxygen mask before securing the masks of those around you” airplane analogy is my go-to when simplifying this unnecessarily complex philosophical misunderstanding. It is not evil to put on your own mask before helping those who are unable. You do not wish for them to suffocate, you simply understand that if you, as an able-bodied adult want to save both yourself as well as those who are unable to save themselves, you must take care of your own immediate interests first!
Now apply this to the question of immigration and foreign aid. I do not wish for the third world to perish. I do not laugh at their misfortune. I do not wish to see these people suffer. I want them to get their act together! They are suffering because we made them dependent on our help! Whites cured most deadly diseases that afflicted the third world and globally we give them hundreds of billions of dollars every year! This has caused their population to skyrocket to unsustainable levels. Because of the shortage of resources, skills and infrastructure needed to maintain their exploding population, their nations break out in crime, war, famine and political instability. Then, the media shows pictures of poor starving Africans and it makes Whites feel guilty for having prosperity. These Whites then go on to donate their money and enact policy that gives aide to these countries which continues the vicious cycle of misguided altruism and self-sacrifice. We are giving these people the rope to hang themselves with, and in the process, we are bankrupting our own nations which inevitably turns our own homelands into third world nightmares!
The results of generations of these destructive policies are proof of why they don’t work and why we need to build two walls, stop all immigration and cut all foreign aid to these unsustainable nations. I have written about this extensively elsewhere, but suffice to say, we have our own problems and we need to take care of those first before we even consider helping anyone else. In the meantime, we need to deeply contemplate what “helping” really means and what it should look like in practice.
Sometimes the right thing to do isn’t always the “nice” thing to do. For Rand, Objectivism was all about doing away with the niceties, social stigmas and philosophical fallacies of “the crowd” and getting to the root of what is and is not ethical. Her pioneering, abrasive and argumentative Aquarian personality didn’t make her many friends but did make her plenty of enemies on all sides of the political spectrum. She was often characterized as an “enemy of the worker” and “pro-cronyism” but ironically, her books were most popular with blue-collar workers and least popular with stuffy, establishment, white-collar academics.
A specific gripe I have with Rand was her love for Capitalism. As someone who grew up in the Soviet Union where the motto of the worker was: “we pretend to work, they pretend to pay us”, I can see how she was attracted to Capitalism when she moved to New York. . Obviously, we know that Capitalism has many problems, she was not unaware of this. Her novel Atlas Shrugged is full of examples of corrupt Capitalists working behind closed doors with government to stifle competition through monopolization and legislative regulation. To be fair, I believe as a moral philosopher, her love was with the concept of Capitalism as fair exchange of value for value. It is, however, important to highlight the fact that it doesn’t work that way in practice. It is, in fact, many of these wealthy Capitalists who went on to become the biggest supporters and financiers of Communism, as she depicted in Atlas Shrugged with the character James Taggart.
Where I fault Rand the most was for her inability to take these lofty principles of moral philosophy and apply them to the individual. As much of an “Individualist” as she was, her biggest failure in my opinion was in taking these concepts that she portrayed in a fictional macrocosm or an intangible philosophical non-fiction and not making them practical and implementable for the individual in the microcosm.
This is where the work of Nathaniel Branden comes in. Branden, a psychologist, former student, colleague and lover of Ayn Rand, highlights the epidemic lack of self-esteem that plagues mankind. Those without self-esteem will be inclined to seek power over others, to steal from others, to disrespect others and to force their neurotic will upon others. The modern Left is an extreme example of a lack of self-esteem. Rather than holding themselves accountable for their lack of skills, intelligence, work ethic, fortitude, ambition and ethics, they blame everyone else (particularly a certain orange-skinned father-figure) for all of their failures. Rather than shrugging off name-calling and teasing, they demand “safe spaces”, “acceptance” and immunity from criticism. Rather than working hard to earn a living like the rest of us, they demand wealth redistribution, Universal Basic Income and social entitlements that keep them in a state of complete dependency on others. This dependency decreases their sense of self-esteem and proportionally increases their sense of self-loathing, which fuels their anger, vitriol and “social activism” that enslaves us in the clown-world that they are creating in their own wretched self-image.
“Self-esteem is the reputation we acquire with ourselves.”
― Nathaniel Branden, Six Pillars of Self-Esteem
In Atlas Shrugged, Dagni’s brother James is the epitome of a man who is deficient in self-esteem. He is incompetent, insecure and corrupt. He feels undeserving of his title of CEO of Taggart Transcontinental and overcompensates for his ineptitude by turning his business (upon which millions of people rely) into a vessel for his self-destructive, virtue signaling social agenda. He takes credit for all of his sister’s triumphs and blames her for all of his failures. It is this kind of mentality that has so viciously afflicted mankind today. Rather than working hard to become our very best and develop the self-esteem that is so vital to our psychological well-being, people will make excuses for why they can’t do this or that. They will point fingers over who is to blame for their plight and while these may be valid in some cases, it is a slippery slope that results in the disempowerment of the individual. When the individual makes a habit of abdicating personal responsibility, they fail to learn the lessons from the personal shortcomings that are within their control. It is crucial that you take responsibility for your failures and develop the emotional honesty to hold yourself accountable when you make mistakes. It is, however, much easier to place blame on others or depend on others to rescue you from the prison that you caged yourself in! The danger of this mentality on the macrocosmic level comes when an entire society believes itself always just one law, one election, one purge away from the absolute resolution of all their problems. This is extremely dangerous for everyone as the consensus trance of the crowd serves as judge, jury and executioner for the innocent, as we saw in the case of James Fields and many other pro-White activists. The “court of public opinion” and the political pressure for prosecution it creates is the product of the perpetual uninformed outrage of the masses who are seeking villains to blame for all the problems of the world. Again, many of these problems are external in nature, we are all surely aware and vaguely in agreement as to who or what creates these problems. I am not absolving these bad actors of their misdeeds, nor do I think they deserve to get away with their crimes. I am simply saying that we must hold ourselves equally as responsible for our actions as they are for theirs. You can’t criticize the corrupt media and then continue to watch CNN every day. They have power because we give them power. I’m not saying “don’t place blame” I’m saying “place blame where blame is due”. The problem we have now is no one is being held accountable for their actions. The evil-doers in government, finance, media and business are never held accountable for their actions and the individual never holds themselves accountable for the plethora of ways that they empower these evil-doers.
Another important disagreement I have with both Branden and Rand was their rejection of race. I believe Whites are suffering because we have developed racial self-loathing due to being indoctrinated with anti-White propaganda. Self-esteem is important, I think we would all agree on that, but a part of self-esteem is being proud of your race. Ultimately, you are who you are because of your race, not solely because of it, but it is a major factor that contributes to why you are who you are. I think their failure to mention race was due to their emphasis on the individual’s ethics rather than the collective and from the perspective of a moral philosopher this makes sense. A major problem we have within the Nationalist Community today is the belief that race is the sole factor that determines your greatness. You are the “Ubermensch” because you are White and everyone who isn’t White is automatically an “Untermensch”. The Ubermensch is something you become, not something you magically are. Granted, genetics helps, but it won’t take you 100% of the way. That kind of magical thinking disincentivizes individual achievement and moral responsibility and places the emphasis on the achievement and morality of the race as a given, rather than the product, of hard work and dedication. The greatness of the race is a secondary outcome of individual achievement, not the primary. Mozart didn’t create such beautiful music because he wanted to show how great the White Race is. He did it because he was passionate about it and dedicated his life to making music that would stand the test of time. We are at a place now where we are lacking in modern examples of White achievement and greatness. We tend to look at White greatness as an anachronism and because of this, we become stuck in a desire to go back to a caricature of the 1950’s. We have idealized fantasies of a time that we never knew. It is impossible to base your philosophy on returning to a foggy memory. You must play the hand you were dealt, move forward and build something better. At some point we forgot that and we stopped building. Because the individuals stopped building, so did the race. Microcosm, Macrocosm.
We must bear in mind that most people will never live the heroic, creative and productive existence of a Dagni Taggart or a John Galt. The Untermensch of all races are too traumatized and neurotic to escape their own “mind-forged manacles”, it is these people who are waiting on a “savior”. Politically, we can provide them with such a “savior” as well as a nationalistic culture of morals, tradition and hierarchy to preserve the stability of society and prevent the collapse into absolute chaos and mayhem (which will surely ensue if we continue down our current trajectory). However, we must also allow enough freedom and space for the Ubermensch to reach their intellectual and productive heights without being weighed down by the envious and self-destructive “looters”. For our nations to flourish we must have an intellectual, moral and productive aristocracy. A hierarchy of merit and virtue, not of theft, corruption and deception. We need to get back to what made the White Race great: Innovation, productivity, courage, honor and justice. It is because we abandoned these principles in favor of whatever the meek, poor and downtrodden hordes of foreigners demanded of us that we lost control of our destiny. We need to return to a rule of the strong over the weak, not the weak over the strong as we have today. Strength is not about hurting others and it certainly is not about sacrificing your people’s interests for those of another people. Strength is about commanding respect, not demanding it. We forfeited our personal responsibility in hopes that a new leader, a new law or a new movement would come along and save us. We adopted a passive approach to life rather than an active one. Because of this, foreign interests, unethical individuals and groups were more than happy to take advantage of our weaknesses and exploit our misguided virtues for their own self-interest.
As much as we have been wronged by others, as reprehensible as these actions were, we must never forget that responsibility is a two-way street. We cannot blame others for what they’ve done to us if we refuse to accept our complicity and passivity that enabled them to hurt us for so long. Only when man frees himself from the chains he willfully places upon himself can we ever remove the chains placed upon us by others. With freedom comes responsibility. Objectivism teaches you to free yourself so that you may be empowered to fight for the freedom of all.
As Nathaniel Branden said:
“We must become what we wish to teach.”