…by Jonas E. Alexis and Chris Goj
The following article is a written dialogue between myself and a reader who has responded my “The Rise and Fall of the Alt-Right” article in Culture Wars, a magazine which is edited by E. Michael Jones. Jonas E. Alexis
Chris Goj: Rome burns; Jonas Alexis fiddles.
When the very future of Western civilisation is at stake, it would seem rather reckless to quibble about whether Richard Spencer understands the implications of Darwinism, or whether his attempts to justify his defense of his extended kinship group succeed philosophically or not. However far Spencer’s views fall short of a coherent world view, the pressing question is whether there is something of great value that he and his ilk are fighting for, and how might that enterprise be framed in a way that elicits support.
There is a second problem with Alexis’ article: the alt-right should not be identified with Spencer. Back in 2016 Theodore Beale, aka Vox Day, author, publisher, blogger, wrote a 16 point definition of what the alternative right is (https://voxday.blogspot.com/2016/08/what-alt-right-is.html) Since then he has commented frequently on Spencer’s antics, and in February this year wrote
“… it has become increasingly apparent that … Richard Spencer really is controlled opposition. That, or Spencer’s natural ability to surround himself with leftists and frauds while staggering from one … PR disaster to the next without losing the media spotlight is the most highly developed since Hillary Clinton’s. There is nothing … even remotely genuine about the Fake Right, and at this point you would almost have to be retarded to take them seriously. They are straw men set up in order to be taken down.” (http://voxday.blogspot.com/2018/02/fakes-on-fake-right.html)
Alexis himself notes that the oligarchs “saw that these violent protesters could be used to discredit the entire Alt-Right movement”. So Alexis’ take-down of the Spencer version of the alt-right serves the oligarchs very nicely, thank you, all the while ignoring the more serious, rational representatives of the movement, and leaving the burning question unanswered: is there something of great value in our European heritage which is under threat and worth fighing for?
Unfortunately, Alexis has wasted a great deal of space attacking a straw man. And not even that coherently. Alexis treats the alt-right as though it is attempting to construct a new metaphysical edifice, based on the concept of race, or the survival of race. That makes it an all-too-easy target. He quotes Spencer using Darwin to justify acting on behalf of ancestors and progeny, and then points out that the concepts of meaning and purpose have no place in a Darwinist universe. But contra Alexis, Spencer is not using Darwin to justify purpose and meaning, but to justify fighting on behalf of one’s kin.
Alexis also argues that by placing race at the foundation of identity, the alt-right is displacing morality from its rightful position. Really? Since when did anyone describe who they are by reference to their morals? Or more to the point, since when did any nation go into battle against a marauding enemy for the sake of preserving inviolate their moral system? Alexis interprets this displacement to mean that race is a biological factor that drives all action, and so imputes to Spencer the following argument: (1) race is the (biological/genetic) foundation of identify, (2) identity is the material cause of all action, therefore (3) action is caused by biology/genetic inheritance. He then heaps approprobium on this argument by asking how Trump’s various contradictory actions could be caused by his genetic makeup. Straw man.
The point, surely, is that throughout history people have acted to defend the interests of their own people, their families, clans, tribes, nations—is not Dr Jones’ critiques of Jewish behaviour based on that premise, that people have forever defended the own interests of their own kind at the expense of others—and the problem for the West at this point in its history is that vigorous self-defense has become by definition “racist”, or “white supremacist”, or “far right extremist”, or “Nazi” or some such sin in the liberal Malleus Maleficarum.
Alexis even acknowledges a number of examples of how groups have defended themselves, advanced their interests, from Goldmann Sachs to Israel, in some cases extremely violently. But bizarrely, he claims that Stalinism, Maoism, and Darwinism were all operating outside the moral order. What? Like lions killing zebras, which makes them morally unobjectionable?
While Westerners may not justifiably be lumped together under the rubric of “white” with any kind of historical or genetic justification, as Dr Jones cogently argues, it is worth noting that Vox Day also eschews the term, while defending the right “of a genetic nation to exist and govern itself in its own interests.” No other ethnic group on the planet at this moment seems to need any moral justification for defending itself. Unfortunately, Europeans as a whole are fast on their way to becoming propagandised into oblivion via the promotion of extreme atomised individualism and the destruction of any sense of identity with their own kind. No thanks to Jonas Alexis either.
Jonas E. Alexis: Chris Goj seems to concede or accept the point that “Spencer’s views fall short of a coherent world view,” but he moves on to postulate somewhat axiomatically at the end of his presentation that “No other ethnic group on the planet at this moment seems to need any moral justification for defending itself.” In other words, Goj seems to be saying that we need to give Spencer or the Alt-Right a chance.
I am quite puzzled here. If a view is not coherent, or if its ideological root borders on the edge of irrationality, are we supposed to embrace it anyway and pretend that contradiction doesn’t matter? What’s a rational person to do when he is confronted with a philosophically untenable position? Does he just ignore the fundamental flaws and blindly subscribe to the position?
Moreover, why doesn’t Goj do what Spencer and David Duke and even Kevin MacDonald have not been able to do: explain in a logical way the inherent and blatant contradiction that exists in their own system?
I have thoroughly pointed out what these people need to do in order for a rational person to take them seriously. They have either remained silent or repeated the same mantra as if constant repetition and fallacious arguments are somehow a substitute for logical consistency.
If Goj himself cannot explain the contradiction, then why does he appear to be defending a position which he knows is existentially unliveable? Are we dealing with another intellectual dishonesty here?
If Plato is right in saying that “having a grasp of the truth is having a belief that matches the way things are,” and if it is true that the Alt-Right position is not metaphysically true, then perhaps its proponents need to start thinking about a new position, one that would allow them to get a grip of logic and reason. Or perhaps they should become Catholics, which was what E. Michael Jones proposed to David Duke in Guadalajara, Mexico.
This brings us to our next point: what does Goj mean by “moral justification”? Are we talking about the fundamental ground upon which morality is based? Or are we dealing with another ideology which superficially appeals to “moral justification” but sneaks in detrimental and philosophically worthless ideas into the equation?
The fact that Goj brings in “moral justification” strengthens what I have said about the Alt-Right itself. If the movement has to survive, its leading lights and proponents have to embrace what Immanuel Kant calls the categorical imperative, which is another phrase for practical reason. What does the categorical imperative propose? Kant is pretty straightforward here:
“Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”
In other words, if an action can consistently and logically be willed to be valid universally, then that action is existentially permissible and philosophically defendable. Some have argued that Kant’s metaphysical move here is a philosophical reworking of the Golden Rule, which simply states: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Keep in mind that the categorical imperative, which is a universal law, does not depend on how you and I feel on a given day. It also is not contingent upon what we may think is right. This universal law is independent of our appetite and preference.
In other words, we obviously did not make this universal law. According to Kant, the categorical imperative is also a plumb line that allows human beings “to distinguish in every case that comes up what is good and what is evil, what is in conformity with duty or contrary to duty.”
The moral or universal law, says Kant, is what binds us all together as rational creatures. So any system that seeks to dismiss or disregard that moral and universal law must be wrong precisely because that system will inevitably be incoherent and therefore philosophically untenable. Kant continues to say that for an action to be good, “it is not enough that it should conform to the moral law—it must also be done for the sake of the moral law.”
Kant again puts the Alt-Right in a hot seat here. His categorical imperative is pregnant with meaning. It convincingly shows again and again that politicians, nations, thinkers, and policy makers must submit themselves to the moral law. There is no way around that. (And the fact that Goj is arguing with me about this subject inexorably proves my point as well. If there is no universal law, then why is he upset about my views on the Alt-Right or Spencer? Why is he trying to impose his views on me?)
Conversely, an intellectual or political project without the moral law is not really a serious project. It is a perversion of it. And that is exactly where the issue ends and begins. That is my frustration with Darwin, his intellectual children, and now Alt-Right advocates: they keep shooting themselves in the toes by implicitly and perhaps unintentionally perverting or subverting or inverting the moral law, but they always summon it whenever they get into trouble.
One can genuinely disagree about whether the Alt-Right should be identified with Spencer, but it is generally agreed that Spencer was the man who put the movement on the national spotlight way back in 2008. So it is useless to say that Theodore Beale beat Spencer to the punch in 2016 when Spencer was proposing Alt-Right ideas eight years earlier.
I was again taken aback when Goj declares: “So Alexis’ take-down of the Spencer version of the alt-right serves the oligarchs very nicely, thank you, all the while ignoring the more serious, rational representatives of the movement, and leaving the burning question unanswered: is there something of great value in our European heritage which is under threat and worth fighting for?”
We do not have much time to respond to the first part of the statement, but let us drill on his second contention, which Goj poses in the form of a question: “is there something of great value in our European heritage which is under threat and worth fighting for?” Well, if you ask people like Aristotle, he would explicitly tell you that the “great value” in the European heritage is that thinkers in the ancient world used to take Logos and practical wisdom (or reason) very seriously. (E. Michael Jones is writing a book on this very issue.)
Plato and his student Aristotle established the idea that human beings are living in a moral and comprehensive universe. This universe, they argued, can be understood by rational creatures like us. For them, rationality inexorably leads to practical reason, and practical reason is simply another word for morality. “Moral virtue,” says Aristotle in his The Nicomachean Ethics, “is a state of character concerned with choice,” and is therefore “practical.” Choice, Aristotle continues, “cannot exist without reason and intellect or without a moral state.”
People who can “see what is good for themselves and what is good for men in general” do possess something called “practical wisdom.” This practical wisdom “issues commands, since its end is what ought to be done or not to be done.” Wisdom, not just plain knowledge, “must plainly be the most finished of the forms of knowledge.”
Aristotle emphasizes again and again that “the work of man is achieved only in accordance with practical wisdom as well as with moral virtue.” In other words, if practical wisdom is banned, then man would quickly fall into irrationality and contradiction. He would be no better than a hyena or a lion when it comes to survival. Whatever is to be eaten or destroyed in order to survive must be eaten or destroyed, no matter how cruel or inhumane. For Aristotle, “it is not possible to be good in the strict sense without practical wisdom, or practically wise without moral virtue.”
Without practical wisdom, or practical reason, or telos, then everything becomes chaos. William Shakespeare knew this. This telos, in a nutshell, is what kept the West alive for the past millennia. But Darwin challenged that telos in the 19th century and unleashed an essentially irrational and wicked ideology onto the universe, which is still intellectually crippling its finest proponents. Without telos as a guiding principle, then one will eventually end up with strife or “survival of the fittest,” which, by the way, is arguably a tautology.
Telos, which logically leads to Logos and inexorably to “practical wisdom,” is the intellectual patrimony of the West, not “race” or “biology” or even the “Alt-Right.” Immanuel Kant picked that theme up and philosophically expanded it to the moral universe. In a nutshell, that is the central thesis of Kant’s The Critique of Practical Reason.
If that is what Goj is trying to preserve, then sign my name on the dotted line because it is philosophically and intellectually sustainable. But if Goj is defending something else, then I would like to know what he is actually proposing as a system.
I quoted Spencer saying that the Alt-Right hinges on race, but Goj simply responded by saying that it is a straw man! I don’t think Goj is familiar with the writings of leading lights of the Alternative Right at all. Even Jared Taylor agrees that the Alt-Right is universally united on the idea that race is foundational to the movement. In an essay entitled “What Is the Alt Right?”, Taylor writes:
“Given the loose nature of the movement, there are people who consider themselves ‘Alt Right’ but who disagree on one or more of these points–except one. The entire Alt Right is united in contempt for the idea that race is only a ‘social construct.’ This is an idea that is so wrong and stupid that only very intelligent people can convince themselves it is true.
“Race is a biological fact. Does anyone think that the differences between Danes and Pygmies are a sociological illusion? A barely socialized two-year-old can tell races apart at a glance. There are countless race differences in such things as skull structure, twinning rates, and susceptibility to disease. It is even possible to tell a person’s race from the varieties of bacteria that live in his mouth!”
So was I building a straw man and deconstructing it? Was I somehow misrepresenting the Alt-Right’s tenets on race? I don’t think so.
What’s so amazing about all this is that Goj later declared that “Spencer is not using Darwin to justify purpose and meaning, but to justify fighting on behalf of one’s kin.” I thought it wasn’t about “race” or skin color? I thought I was building a straw man? Moreover, why doesn’t Goj quote Darwin explaining how one ought to fight “on behalf of one’s kin”? Hasn’t he read On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection; Or, the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life and the Descent of Man?
If Goj is again trying to say that we ought to preserve the European heritage, which one? Kant and Aristotle? Or Michel Foucault and Jean Paul Sartre and the people who were responsible for disasters like the Irish Potato Famine? As E. Michael Jones put it to David Duke in Mexico in 2015: “Is Europe Nietzsche or St. Thomas Aquinas? Is it Mother Teresa or Lazar Kaganovich?” Can Goj unravel that dichotomy for us?
“Alexis also argues that by placing race at the foundation of identity, the alt-right is displacing morality from its rightful position. Really? Since when did anyone describe who they are by reference to their morals? Or more to the point, since when did any nation go into battle against a marauding enemy for the sake of preserving inviolate their moral system?”
My dear Goj, that is a straw man. I was not talking about whether a particular nation agrees on morality. I was not even talking about “a marauding enemy.” What I was attempting to show was that what sustained the West for thousands of years is its viable moral standard. I cannot take time again to discuss this here. I would encourage Goj to pick up Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason and then we’ll have a better discussion on this.
I simply do not get the feeling that Goj understands what I was saying even with respect to Trump. Perhaps he also needs to be familiar with what people like Duke and MacDonald have been saying with respect to race, biology, and genetics.
Goj then brings in E. Michael Jones to the discussion by saying: “The point, surely, is that throughout history people have acted to defend the interests of their own people, their families, clans, tribes, nations—is not Dr Jones’ critiques of Jewish behaviour based on that premise, that people have forever defended the own interests of their own kind at the expense of others—and the problem for the West at this point in its history is that vigorous self-defense has become by definition ‘racist,’ or ‘white supremacist,’ or ‘far right extremist,’ or ‘Nazi’ or some such sin in the liberal Malleus Maleficarum.”
Well, it seems that Goj hasn’t read much of what Jones has written on some of these issues. Of course, people have to defend their families and nations, but how? By appealing to “race” and “biology”? And where was Goj when the British Empire was invading one country after another in the 19th and early 20th centuries.? Has he ever heard of the phrase the empire on which the sun never sets? Moreover, has Goj seen Jones’ refutation of “white guys”?
Here is what Jones wrote in Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control:
“White culture was essentially secularized Protestanism….Catholicism was an internationalized Christianity in ways that Protestantism was not. And because it was international, it was not ‘white’ in the way that the Protestant sects were.
“The Protestant churches, by the facts associated with their inception, had become de facto national churches. The Church of England was a national and therefore ‘white’ church in the way that the Catholic Church in Spain was not and could never become.”
How should we fight the Zionist/Neocon/Jewish onslaught? Jones again writes:
“The intellectual life is a function of the moral life of the thinker. In order to apprehend the truth, which is the goal of the intellectual life, one must live a moral life. One can produce intellectual product, but to the extent that one prescinds from living the moral life, that product will be more a function of internal desire—wish fulfilment, if you will—than external reality. This is true of any intellectual field and any deeply held desire. In the intellectual life, one either conforms desire to truth or truth to desire.”
Goj continues to misrepresent what I said when he declares: “Alexis even acknowledges a number of examples of how groups have defended themselves, advanced their interests, from Goldmann Sachs to Israel, in some cases extremely violently. But bizarrely, he claims that Stalinism, Maoism, and Darwinism were all operating outside the moral order. What? Like lions killing zebras, which makes them morally unobjectionable?”
Is that what I actually said? Why couldn’t he quote me contextually in order to buttress his point? Talking about straw man! I said over and over that companies like Goldman Sachs defend their interest because they too are operating outside the moral law. This is what I said in plain English:
“If humans ‘need to do whatever they need to do in order to survive [I was responding to David Duke’s incoherent argument],’ how can these people [Duke and others] really say that companies like Goldman Sachs aren’t doing exactly that? Why are those people moaning and wailing virtually every single day saying that ‘Jewish supremacism’ is killing America and much of the world?
“If there is a ‘genetic drive for species and subspecies to preserve or even sacrifice themselves to survive,’ can we really say that Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t doing that? Hasn’t the Israeli regime been liquidating the Palestinians for more than sixty years in order for the state of Israel to survive? And aren’t these people implicitly supporting Darwin’s survival of the fittest?”
Perhaps Goj did not know about the fundamental issues. Now he has no excuse. If he can explain the contradictions we have pointed out, then we’ll take him seriously. If he cannot, then the discussion is over.
-  Plato, The Republic (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 116.
-  E. Michael Jones, “Ethnos Needs Logos: Or Why I Spent Three Days in Guadalajara Trying to Convince David Duke to Become a Catholic,” Culture Wars, June 2015.
-  Emmanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1959), 39.
-  See James Miller, Examined Lives: From Socrates to Nietzsche (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011), 274-276.
-  Emmanuel Kant, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (New York: Torchbooks, 1964), 390.
-  Richard Spencer, “The Conservative Write,” Taki’s Magazine, August 6, 2008; The White Nationalist Origins Of The Term ‘Alt-Right’ — And The Debate Around It,” National Public Radio, November 27, 2016; Graeme Wood, “His Kampf,” Atlantic, June 2017; “’Let’s party like it’s 1933′: Inside the alt-right world of Richard Spencer,” Chicago Tribune, November 22, 2016; “How the Alt-Right grew from an obscure racist cabal,” Wired, October 9, 2016.
-  Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 103.
-  Ibid.
-  Ibid., 106.
-  Ibid., 112.
-  Ibid., 106.
-  Ibid., 115.
-  Ibid., 117.
-  Jared Taylor, “What is the Alt Right?,” American Renaissance, October 11, 2016.
-  E. Michael Jones, “Ethnos Needs Logos: Or Why I Spent Three Days in Guadalajara Trying to Convince David Duke to Become a Catholic,” Culture Wars, June 2015.
-  E. Michael Jones, Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control (South Bend: St. Augustine’s Press, 2000), 347.
-  E. Michael Jones, Degenerate Moderns: Modernity as Rationalized Sexual Misbehavior (South Bend: Fidelity Press, 2012), 15.
Jonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the new book, Kevin MacDonald’s Metaphysical Failure: A Philosophical, Historical, and Moral Critique of Evolutionary Psychology, Sociobiology, and Identity Politics. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.