This is James Kirkpatrick’s speech to the Second VDARE Castle Conference. Read or listen in MP3 below:
You’ve all heard the saying, if youth only knew, if age only could. I think the problem with the American Right that those who know, can’t; and those who can, don’t know.
The history of the American Right is a history of missed opportunities—where it had massive public opinion on its side, institutional support, and lot of the problems we have now could have been snuffed out very quickly; but its leaders chose not to act.
Certainly for social conservatives in the room, you may remember that George W. Bush was reelected on the main campaign promise, which drove out white evangelicals to the polls, that he was going pass a Constitutional Amendment to ensure one-man-one-woman as the definition of marriage. And I remember a lot of my friends in Conservatism Inc. saying, well, we shouldn’t do that because it’ll never be necessary.
Well, here we are.
I’ve given a lot of thought as to why this is true. The first talk I ever listened to when I started working conservative politics was by a guy named Mike Rothfeld. I don’t know what he’s up to now, but it was called “The Real Nature of Politics.” And it was this very structured as a tough-minded thing that death for a politician is not getting reelected. Life is staying in office. Pain is political damage, bad public relations, negative news stories, etc. And so the point is not to try to convince the politicians but to inflict political harm. or threaten to inflict political harm, and then they’ll do what you want.
This is not true. I have come to conclude that politicians of the American Right not only do not care about political victory, I don’t even think they particularly care about staying in office. If the Republican Party just did what they needed to do to win, if they just cared about being popular, we would be in an infinitely better position.
But the fact is that, to them, how you lose is far more important than actually staying in office. Many of the guys who have been driven out, say Eric Cantor, have landed on their feet with multimillion dollar jobs. Many conservatives who are driven out, or who lose an election even after a long career, are essentially thrown to the wolves.
Money and institutions are far more important to them than survival within the government itself. And I think the public-private distinction, which is so beloved of classical liberalism, is a complete fabrication. And perhaps it always was.
The revolving door between Big Business, the military, the government, the bureaucracy, makes all of these distinctions meaningless. And any political theory that focuses on division of powers, or what one branch of government does or doesn’t do, is also meaningless. Politics is about who—it’s not about what. The structure is less important than who is wielding power.
The State is a hammer. And while the American Right has got all sorts of wonderful theories about what the hammer looks like, what the hammer should look like, how we can make a better hammer, take the hammer away—no, none of this matters. What matters is who’s holding it. And that’s it. That’s the only thing we should be asking ourselves.
The paradox of the Right is that so many of the issues that drive people to the polls are cultural and identity issues—immigration, a white backlash to black crime, what’s happening in education and curriculum—but then that energy is transformed into frankly stupid things like fighting over the debt ceiling or how we can make sure that George Soros gets an extra tax cut. That’s the only result of driving these people out to the polls.
Peter [Brimelow, Editor of VDARE.com] was talking yesterday about Donald Trump and the hold he has on the white working class and in particular how communities that have been destroyed, quite deliberately, have rallied to him as a kind of champion. Well, what was his major legislative accomplishment? A tax cut passed with Tim Scott. That’s what happened. That’s what 2016 led to.
What is this leading towards?
Well, what we have is a regime where the Political Class depends entirely on exploiting the working masses of this country and it has done this with an ideology that justifies this domination. For what the end result is, I would say look at modern South Africa, where only about twelve percent of the population pays income taxes, 62% of the blacks get state grants and about half the population as a whole gets state grants; and both those trends are moving in opposite directions.
Now, is anything going to change about this? No, why? Because it would be “racist” if you did anything about this.
The genius of the “racism” accusation is that it is the ultimate justification for the system of elite dominance we have now.
And there’s big money behind the kinds of things that are happening. When you have an illegal immigrant brought into Europe, for example, brought in by one of these NGOs that ships people in, every single one of those illegals is worth thousands of dollars to people who can then get jobs managing how racism can be suppressed among host communities or making sure “migrants” learn the language, or how they can get access to government services. You have an entire group of people, an entire class, that profits deliberately from the destruction of existing countries. So it’s not just ideology, there’s also a financial motive.
And it’s also a mistake to think of these things as different. They tend to go together. People tend to believe that what they’re doing is morally right. And they also tend to believe that they’re getting a paycheck, not just because they’re getting a paycheck, but because they’re somehow on the side of the angels. That’s what we’re facing.
I think the most based take in modern American politics ironically came from Mitt Romney. When speaking to a group of donors, he admitted that basically half the population is not going to vote for him no matter what, because ultimately they pay no taxes and they’re always going to support infinite government.
But what did he do in response to that? He ran on a conventional Republican platform, lost, then moved to a whiter state where he could mouth conservative platitudes and get away with it for a bit longer. And now he spends his days lecturing Republicans, until Utah goes the way of California and then he won’t be able to win there either.
But what does he care? He’s got his car elevator, he’s got his. And that’s the story of American Conservatism.
We have a system that not only enables unhappiness among the mass population—it’s just an objective fact that probably the most unhappy mass constituency in American politics are single liberal women, if you look at antidepressant usage, self-reported unhappiness, and dissatisfaction—but they’re also the best political soldiers the Left has. So it’s actually a mistake, from the point of view of political victory, we’re going to create a happier population. The Left has shown that the more miserable your activists are, the more effective they are. So why is that gonna be turned around?
Ultimately, I think we have to think of ourselves as a people under occupation. Peter talked about America versus Anti-America. The Coalition of the Fringes is united, not just by hatred of the existing Historic American Nation. but because they profit from its destruction.
That may be also the one thing we have going for us.
They need us, we don’t need them. The parasite needs the host. The host does not need the parasite.
A book that I was reading recently, it was actually from Shotwell Publishing, whom you heard from this morning, was Dixie Rising, which was talking about things from a States’ Rights perspective and a Southern Rights perspective. And without getting too much into the book, one of the things that I thought was interesting as a concept was this idea of provisional governments as a sort of political base for organizing certain initiatives.
I’m not saying that in itself is a good idea one way or the other, but I think it’s important to have a shift in mindset. When you’re living under a system that not just—it’s not that it doesn’t give you anything, it’s that the worse things are for you, the more power it has and the better things are for it.
I don’t know what it’s like to live under a government that deliberately doesn’t try to make my life worse.
It’s not like, when somebody stands up and says, oh today we’re going to talk about defending Human Rights, I say, “Oh good, this is great, I’m going get more rights!”
No, every time somebody says something like that, I know a disaster is about to ensue.
But it’s not just because they’re misguided, it’s because there’s a real system behind this that they profit from.
But this gives us a certain clarity, because it gives us some ideas about what we can do about it. So very quickly I want to talk about a couple things that are happening now.
One that may sound extreme, and perhaps beyond the Overton Window, but is actually happening in some states: the Number One thing in politics that matters most, other than the media, is the education system. I think that by itself can explain a lot of recent social changes. If you want talk about the Quiet Revolution, why socially conservative Quebec turned into a hotbed of Leftism, it’s because education was taken out of the hands of the Church, put into the hands of the government, that simple.
Youthful rebellion is a myth. Most people believe what they’re told, and they conform.
Biggest thing you can do, is forming homeschooling co-ops and getting your kids out of the public schools.
But legislatively there are now bills where you will directly fund students for their own education so that parents don’t have to send their kids to public schools. These are initiatives that are underway in 21 states. And in some states, they’ve already passed. So this may sound incredibly extreme, the idea of a free market in education. That’s pretty radical. But it’s already happening. The fact that conservatives aren’t monolithically focused on this is incredible to me.
The second thing is: We are nearing a confrontation on Identity issues whether we like it or not, because the Supreme Court may scrap Affirmative Action.
Let’s look at the polling on this real quick.
NBC said 62% of people, this is a poll from this year, 62% of people support continuing to use Affirmative Action in college admissions. It’s pretty grim.
But then another poll from this year said 62% oppose the use of race in college admissions.
We do still have a slim majority in freedom of association if you advocate ditching race in all job preferences, education, government contracts. And this would be, I think, a death blow to a lot of the Left’s efforts.
Because the things that scare me are, not the laws so much, but the fact that these bureaucracies are then set up which pay for permanent employment for all these Leftist activists. Those are the things we have to attack.
And if we can’t get rid of those things, then frankly we’ve got to use the weapons that are out there and try to expand those bureaucracies so that we have our own people getting permanent jobs.
Now I don’t know if that’s possible with something like race. But we have to think in these ways, because right now conservatives are propping up a system that is hostile to them.
I think the debt fight is a perfect example. I don’t care if you triple the debt, what difference does it make? And if you want to limit government spending, you’re going to have to figure out a way to get rid of democracy. Absent that, you’re never going to do it, because the people are always going to vote for more money.
So you have to use the existing system or opt out of it. And I think we can do more with the existing system right now.
The last thing is Civil Rights.
Now there is, much to my astonishment, acceptance within the conservative movement that the Civil Rights Act—this is within Con Inc.—has now replaced the Constitution, and that if you wanted to restore a lot of these things, you would have to ditch the Civil Rights Act. That’s probably a non-starter. But there are certain things that we can do within the existing Civil Rights bureaucracy that can serve our interests, perhaps gum up the machine so much that they won’t be able to use it anymore.
For example, a couple years ago, you may have remembered a controversy where a white woman at a Starbucks, I believe near Philadelphia, told a couple of black gentlemen that they needed to buy something to use the restrooms, and this became the biggest injustice since World War II and everything else. She lost her job, journalists had a field day.
Well, she just won I think $11 million in a lawsuit against Starbucks [Audience member: ”$25 million”]. Yeah, $11 million after the lawyers get their cut, right?
But these are things that can be done now.
That said, we shouldn’t underestimate how bad it’s going to be. I think there was a judge yesterday in Massachusetts [named Indira Talwani] who ruled that a student who wore a shirt saying “There are two genders,” had committed real harm to other students. The concept of “harm” being linked to speech will be used 100% to shut down Dissident outlets.
So we have to start thinking of ways to weaponize this for our own ends, otherwise it will be used against us.
And the last thing, and then I’ll close, is that everything is ultimately about media. The most serious thing that’s happening right now is when you see people wiped out from YouTube. Google is practically unusable now in terms of what you’re looking for. What we’ve learned over the last few years, and this is pretty rough, because it has disturbing implications about democracy, is that public opinion can be dictated.
Since 2016, journalists concluded was that the most important thing is to deplatform anyone they don’t agree with—because if they give platforms only to those people they agree with, they will get the policy outcomes that they want.
They have an incredibly contemptuous view of ordinary people, that they’re not capable of independent judgment or even consciousness, and they just repeat what they’re told.
And the sick thing is they may be right.
If there is to be democracy, if there is to be free speech, if there is to be independent thought, if there is to be self-government, if there is to be anything other than slavery, the Regime Media has to be brought down.
Free speech has to be mandated.
And one of the other few things that we have going for us right now is that Big Business has decisively broken with the American Right. There is nothing, not even campaign contributions, to be gained by supporting them. So that means we can do whatever we want to them if we get the chance. They’re not our friends, they never were.
There are a lot of tactics we can use and, as far as I’m concerned, the means are unlimited. So let’s do what needs to be done. Thank you.
James Kirkpatrick [Email him | Tweet him @VDAREJamesK] is a Beltway veteran and a refugee from Conservatism Inc. His latest book is Conservatism Inc.: The Battle for the American Right. Read VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow’s Preface here.