Spencer Quinn: My Top Three Non-Alt Right Books

My Top Three Non-Alt Right Books

2,480 words

Sharing books, in my opinion, does more than almost anything to keep cultures vibrant. Thanks in part to the ascendancy of Donald Trump, we on the Alt Right are at present experiencing an uptick of culture which is both exciting and a bit daunting. Several years ago, I had written off many of the goals of white nationalism, but now, I am not so sure. It’s a good time to be on the Alt Right. 

As we all know, a wide range exists on the Alt Right regarding opinions or beliefs on important matters. This is how it should be. On the other hand, unanimity prevails when it comes to our three core issues: 1) race differences are real and significant, 2) whites need to attain a positive racial identity, and 3) whites must reclaim ethnocentric homelands for ourselves if we wish to survive in the long run. For us, this is clearly not just the best way forward, but the only way forward. Reading material, of course, helps keep us on the same page regardless of whether we agree or disagree on certain issues. Many Alt Right websites publish books, and, of course, many of us are familiar with them. Further, many sites like this one publish historical authors and reviews of historical works whose perspectives jibe well with the current Alt Right zeitgeist.

But what about books that don’t fall into these categories? Are there any books relevant to the Alt Right which were written by authors who could never be considered to be aligned with us? I think this is an intriguing question in its own right, but it also has a greater value. What better way to shore up our common knowledge than with meaningful literature we may not have an obvious connection to? Also, we proselytize. Such books may also prove to be excellent introductory texts for those who are not yet sold on the idea of white nationalism. Ideally, these books should have mainstream publishers and be written by “respectable” authors. They should also address race in some way or another yet deny (or at least not affirm) what those on the Alt Right know to be true.

Before listing my top three non-Alt Right books, I should explain what should be disqualified. Obviously, anything published by Arktos, American Renaissance, VDARE, The Occidental Quarterly, or sites like this one. That is, any work which is self-consciously Alt Right, white nationalist, or white identitarian. Also, any historical work that promotes or even acknowledges racial differences or white identity should be excluded. That means anything by Madison Grant, Thomas Nelson Page, and others like them would not make it. Paleocon literature should be discounted for the same reason. Even psychometric texts such The Bell Curve or popular scientific volumes such as A Troublesome Inheritance should be excluded since the authors draw clear racial conclusions even if they fail to ascribe any political importance to these conclusions. Finally, scholarly tomes on conservative thought (like Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind) or popular volumes on conservative politics (such as anything by Rush Limbaugh) should also be excluded since they would appeal to the broader Right rather than specifically the Alt Right.

So here are my top three, in no particular order . . .

Victor Davis Hanson
Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Culture
First Anchor Books, 2001

Victor Davis Hanson all but admits to the martial superiority of white Europeans in this endlessly useful and thrilling account of military history. He proposes that the cultural forces which made Western Civilization great, such as freedom, democracy, accountability, inquiry, etc., were also those which made Western armed forces the most successful of all time. In his words:

In this regard, there must be some common strand that explains why Darius III had Greeks in his employment, why the Ottomans transferred their capital city to the newly conquered European Constantinople, why Zulus used Martini-Henry rifles at Rorke’s Drift, why the Soryu looked something like the Enterprise at Midway, and why an AK-47 and M-16 appear almost identical.

Of course, most folks reading this article know what this “common strand” is, and it isn’t something as downstream as “culture” as Hanson would have us believe. Rather, there is a racial element which makes Europeans so effective at war and many other things. Hanson sweeps this idea neatly into the closet early in his work: “Europeans were not by any mean naturally smarter than Asians, Africans, or the natives of the New World,” he tells us. Then again, he never explains why it was whites and only whites who repeatedly developed the cultural underpinnings necessary for successful war-making. He seems to assume that any group of people can develop this culture, but proceeds to belie this assumption on every single page of his book.

Despite this glaring racial blind spot, however, Carnage and Culture is magnificent. No one can say VDH doesn’t know his military history. In each one of the nine battles he analyzes, he gives us not only the blow-by-blow, but the on-the-fly thinking that went behind much of it. My favorite was when the European allies decided at the last minute to ditch their battering rams during the great naval battle of Lepanto against the Ottoman Empire in 1571. The result was a resounding victory for the Europeans. But even before that, VDH elaborates how the European way of life, which was more open, rational, democratic, and capitalistic than that of the Ottomans’, led to more efficient military bureaucracy, more expansive fund-raising, greater mass production of firearms, better use of foreign and domestic talent, and other advantages. He also points out how the Ottomans relied tremendously on slavery, from their ship galleys up to their military leadership. For years, the Ottomans had used their speedy corsairs to pirate the Mediterranean for slaves and booty. They bullied smaller states or innocent commercial vessels whenever they could, and, of course, were merciless to those poor souls they captured. When confronted on even terms with an organized navy of determined white people, however, they did what most other non-white forces did. They lost.

Victor Davis Hanson takes us from Salamis in Ancient Greece to Tet in modern-day Vietnam, and from Midway in the Pacific to Tenochtitlán in the New World. Many of the details change, but his point never wavers: Western civilization has produced the most successful and deadly fighting forces throughout history. It’s up to us to connect this fact to its unstated cause: the genetic excellence of European whites.

Lawrence Keeley
War Before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage
Oxford University Press, 1996

Early on in his work, Keeley, an anthropologist, establishes an ideological dichotomy which one could say has been keeping whites divided for centuries. One one hand, there are the tenets of Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), who famously stated that in his primal, uncivilized condition, Man’s existence was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Without an overarching government to encode ethics and ensure covenants with each other, men are in a constant state of “warre.” Modern followers of Hobbes tend to distrust human nature and despise savagery. They also tend to promote civilization’s efforts to uplift Mankind. One the other hand, there are the ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1788), who invented the “noble savage” myth. Essentially, Man is at his best in the state of nature when not corrupted by civilization. “Unnatural” concepts such as monogamy and private property tend to do this, according to Rousseau. Keeley states that Rousseau “claimed that the savage, except when hungry, was the friend of all creation and the enemy of none.” Modern-day followers of Rousseau tend to fetishize less-civilized peoples and make excuses for them when they misbehave.

Keeley does better than anyone to explode the noble savage myth in War Before Civilization. Relying mostly on archaeological data (but with some historical records), Keeley describes how life in savage places such as pre-colonial Africa, Australia, and America resembled Hobbes’ vision much more closely than Rousseau’s. He doesn’t go much further than that. For example, he never extrapolates racial differences from this or claims that some races are genetically more suitable for civilized societies than others. In fact, in his chapter dealing with Social Darwinism, he bemoans those of us who do.

This aside, however, War Before Civilization is devastating. He finds that the rates of war and murder among uncivilized peoples always and everywhere dwarf those in civilized societies. And these uncivilized people are always non-white. From the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, to the Kung of Southern Africa, to the Netsilik Eskimo in Northern Canada, to the Yaghan canoe nomads of Tierra del Fuego, life tends to be mean and brutal. And this is only based on data collected from the late-nineteenth century into the mid-twentieth. War Before Civilization includes data from ancient history and pre-history as well. One could almost close one’s eyes and drop a finger anywhere in this book and come up with money quotes like this one: “Moreover, in one Copper Eskimo camp of fifteen families first contacted early in this century, every adult male had been involved in a homicide.”

Keeley delves into how savage societies made war and why civilized soldiers were more likely to defeat primitive warriors in combat. He also provides clear graphs comparing civilized and uncivilized societies in terms of war and violence. For example, one covers “Annual War Deaths as % of Population” and finds such deaths to be far more common in primitive societies. Twentieth century Germany, Russia, and Japan appear at the bottom of this chart, contrary to the prevailing opinion of the day. This, of course, makes sense when all available data shows that primitive, tribal societies—when not controlled by colonial or imperialist forces—typically war with each other several times per year, losing three-to-five per cent of their population each time. The death count is small per society because the populations are small to begin with. But the proportions are higher, and there are a lot of primitive societies spread over huge geographic areas such as Africa or South America. As Keeley eloquently demonstrates, this happens everywhere.

Most importantly, Lawrence Keeley is linguistically fearless. He draws a clear line between what is “civilized” and what is “uncivilized” or “primitive” and uses these terms freely. The core of modern leftism is to erase such lines and insist on racial equality in spite of them. From this stems the current— and clandestinely anti-white—speech codes. Lawrence Keeley, thankfully, has none of that. Armed with War Before Civilization, someone on the Alt Right could debate Leftists all day on the topic of race and racial differences from a historical standpoint and not give an inch.

Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom
America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible
Simon and Schuster, 1997

Skip part one of this book as it lovingly chronicles the Civil Rights Movement. The authors reveal an almost cloying sympathy for black people in this comprehensive study of black-white race relations in America. They truly exert themselves lionizing Martin Luther King, Jr. and his ilk. The Thernstroms are liberals, basically, with their reality visors firmly in place. At the same time, however, they respect objective data, the same data which would lead wayward conservatives and libertarians into the race-realist realms of the Alt Right. Late in the book, this discrepancy forces the authors to court embarrassment as they are forced to conclude that blacks have failed to live up to the optimism of the Civil Rights Movement, both morally and intellectually. While they refuse to consider genetic racial differences to explain this, they also refuse to play Twister with the Truth and blame white people it. They best they can do is say that they are “stumped.”

Lame, I know. However, you are not going to find a better laid out argument for racial differences in a mainstream work than the latter half of America in Black and White. The authors provide unflinching looks at black crime, black illegitimacy rates, black poverty, and the desire of whites not to be a part of all that. For example, in chapter 9, they state:

. . . the employment prospects of even those young black men free of any entanglement with the law may suffer as a result of the highly negative image of the whole group that has developed because of the criminal activity of so many.

Hence, according to the Thernstroms, it is reasonable to discriminate against blacks.

Dealing with educational and psychometric data, however, is where America in Black and White poses its greatest threat to the mainstream racial narrative. Sure, they discuss the conspicuous discrepancies in testing results between black and white. For example, one chart demonstrates how, in 1995, white students from families making less than $10,000 per year scored higher on the SATs than black students from families which made more than $70,000. This is just the thing to refute the pedestrian notion that poverty or oppression are the main causes for black academic failure.

The Thernstroms also provide excellent anecdotal data. My favorite is the story of the Kansas City school system, which, in the 1980s, attempted to fix the problem of black academic failure through determination and lavish educational spending to the tune of $1.3 billion. This, they hoped, would not only provide obvious benefits for black students but would also entice whites not to flee public schools for private ones. The was results were incredible . . . if you’re a liberal.

. . . the money financed a Central High School with one computer per every three pupils, a $5 million swimming pool, a six-lane indoor track, a weight-training room, and fencing courses taught by an eminent coach. Other amenities in the system included air-conditioned classrooms, movie-editing and -screening rooms, a 2,000-square-foot planetarium, greenhouses and vivariums, a twenty-five acre farm, a model United Nations wired for language translation, radio and television studios, huge elementary school animal rooms for use in zoo projects.

. . . White enrollment did not increase over the 1985-1995 decade; it fell further. Nor did the academic performance of African-American students improve. All these frills did nothing to raise the test scores of students who needed help learning basic skills.

This is a snippet of history which I think everyone on the Alt Right should know. Further, it is such a comprehensive affirmation of what we believe in, we should lead with it any time we wish to argue with liberals and Leftists about the academic failure of blacks.

Stephen and Abigail Thernstrom are, beyond all else, responsible academics. Better than any other book I am aware of, America in Black and White could serve as stealth indoctrination to a race-realist perspective. It begins by making the appropriate obeisance to mainstream concepts on race, but ends by challenging these concepts to the point that even the authors cannot save them.

If anyone cares to share other non-Alt Right books that may be of some worth, please mention them in the comments. Thanks!

 

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