On the Use and Abuse of Identity
One of my favorite memes to come out of the more shitlordy corners of the Internet is WE WUZ KANGZ. The meme is an expression, used mockingly, towards Afrocentrists who subscribe to the (now disproven) hypothesis which asserted that ancient Egypt was a Black civilization.
Despite modern day Egyptians bearing little to no resemblance to Sub-Saharans— assuming that a large-scale genetic drift did indeed occur during the Arab invasion which in some way blanched the gene pool of the Nile Delta— or even that African-Americans had their ethnogenesis in West Africa and not Egypt, the idea that Egypt in its ancient history was predominately Negrid still heavily persists among Black nationalists in the United States.
However, the propensity towards “Wewuzing” as it were, is not found exclusively among Blacks. Nordicists, like their African counterparts, tend to culturally appropriate (if you will) the achievements of the ancient Mediterranean from their latter-day descendants. Again, genetics has disproven the idea developed in the 19th Century, that the civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome were founded by Nordic peoples.
The question, then, is why do nationalists of all colors and stripes look to the remote past for justifications of supposed racial superiority? Part of the answer can be chalked up to the human longing to feel good about oneself. This is especially true if the individual in question has little or no personal achievements of their own which leads them to vicariously live off the achievements of long distant (sometimes mythical) ancestors to convince themselves, as well as their personal opponents, that they are in fact unique, special, “chosen.”
Now, the human need to want to take pride in ourselves, our culture, heritage and people is a healthy, normal and in fact morally good desire to have. And, if we in fact consider ourselves to be nationalists, then we should do everything within our means to encourage this healthy human need to the best of our ability. Keeping this in mind, however, is the understanding that playing identity politics can be a very dangerous game.
Identity itself is very neutral. Everyone has an identity by virtue of being born to a pair of parents in a particular country or ethnic group at a given time in the earth’s history. Race, as should be noted, is the foundation of all forms of identity, if only because it is the most obvious aspect of one’s understanding of oneself. Second to this is culture, which often times is reinforced, and in some cases grounded in, a religion or Sacred Tradition.
There is a reason why, in the United States for example, the demonym “Irish” always precedes the religious affiliation “Catholic.” The same also applies to the ethnonym “WASP” with White (i.e. race) preceding the ethnic identity (Anglo-Saxon) before ending with the denomination “Protestant.” Sometimes ethnicity and religion go hand in hand, complimenting and reinforcing one another’s existence. Take for example the Yezidi of Iraq, the Sikh of the Punjab region of northern India, the Amish of the Mid-Atlantic or, giving a much more well-known example, the Jews. Need I say more?
Because identity is fundamentally neutral, much like technology or religion, its consequences can either be good or ill, depending how one approaches one’s own identity. Once one accepts that identity is an inescapable part of human existence—and indeed the very thing that constitutes our Being in this life— the next step comes with acknowledging that there are both positive and negative forms of identity.
Positive forms of identity are those that align the individual’s sense of self in a way that connects to him to his past. The past is most clearly represented to oneself in the form of one’s parents and grandparents, going back to time immemorial. This is the biological or racial foundation of identity.
After this is the enculturation process where one gradually learns the language and alphabet of one’s people, its folklore, gestures and motifs, learning the proper ways in which to interact with members of one’s own community, its taboos and so on. Included among these are also forms of art, literature, dress, ways of courtship and marriage, traditional holidays, religious customs and attitudes relating towards death. All of this, it can be said, is the bare minimum for what constitutes a human life.
Negative forms of identity typically stem from the need to find meaning in one’s own life when one’s personal needs or desires for validation aren’t being readily met. Some on the Right have postulated that this realization applied to politics is the origin of Bioleninism. Negative forms of identity, much like heresy applied to religion, are those kinds of self-expression that take one little aspect or trait pertaining to one’s constitution and blowing it up to make it the only aspect of one’s personal identity.
Far from being an affirmation of one’s sense of self, this effectively becomes, quite literally, a form of LARPing. The thing about LARPing is that for a few hours one gets to pretend to be a knight of the realm or an elven spellcaster, one is essentially “playing a role.” Eventually the sun goes down, it’s time to say goodbye and one puts away the tinfoil armor and wooden swords and goes back home to get ready for work the next morning. This is all well and good.
Wewuzing, on the other hand, says “No! I want the game to continue.”
Because one is playing a role, one is essentially pretending to be someone who they are not. A young White man, alienated by our multicultural hellscape with no real sense of identity to turn too, can at least pretend online that he’s StormWolf88, son of Odin. It’s easy to fall back on the achievements of one’s ancestors than to direct one’s energies towards making sure their memories are properly honored through the success of their descendants.
To say that we were Vikings (or perhaps, VIKANGZ?), crusaders or Romans means we are essentially making an appeal to the past to justify our present inadequacies. This has to do with both the cultural alienation caused by multiculturalism and the social atomization caused by modernity.
With the former, by flooding a relatively homogenous society with massive waves of foreign peoples, naturally demands that the native inhabitants adopt, conform and accept the cultural practices and customs of the new arrivals, thus causing a disconnect between the local traditions of the natives and creating ethnic tension between the native population and the new inhabitants. Naturally, the natives in this scenario will take symbols of that nation or ethnic group’s past and inflate them to the point where they become the sole, defining feature of that population’s identity. In the United States for example, being the original “melting pot” of cultures, it’s not surprising for young disenchanted White youth to look toward a mythical, Nordic past as presented in the Eddas and the Sagas to identify with as the basis of their identity.
With the latter example, viz., the social alienation caused by modernity, one can find nations with ancient and storied histories all over the Mediterranean which have since fallen on hard times. Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal were once the centers of world-empires in days gone by. Currently, they are home to an ocean of debt-servitors around whose collared necks leashes extend back into the hands of Brussels and Berlin.
Italians, Greeks and Spaniards can reminisce all they want about how they were once Romans, Spartans and conquistadors as their respective parliaments force on them deeper austerity cuts at the behest of international financiers and their countries become hiking trails, trod underfoot by legions of Middle Eastern and African migrants destined for the rich welfare states of Northern Europe. It doesn’t change the reality that past glories are simply that, in the past. However, this isn’t to say to that a little LARPing can’t bear good fruit. In fact, it might even be necessary to stave off invasion by other means. If pretending to be a Viking or a crusader somehow leads to the revival of Asatru or Traditional Catholicism across Europe, all the better.
Overall, one could say that one of the positive things about Wewuzing is that that it leads to a kind of fraternity between the members who participate in the LARP. Contemporary folkish Heathens for example have set up support networks in the form of kindreds that could potentially serve as an alternative to reliance on the State for security and support. The Benedict Option, too, is becoming increasing popular, not just with Traditionalist Catholics, but with Traditionalist Christians in general.
Contrary to the survival strategies advocated by that Arch-Wewuzer, Varg Vikernes, Westerners needn’t return to the land in order to have thriving, all White, traditionalist communities. While there is certainly no harm in doing so, one can imagine a scenario where— by means of radical gentrification— all White neighborhoods and apartment blocks spring up where once low income, low status, non-White projects once existed.
Hispanics retook the Southwest in less than a century without firing a single shot by laying down barrios and holding onto them. The same can be said about the influx of Saracens, Turks and Moors whom, by essentially establishing “no-go” zones, have created miniature Islamic Republics within Europe in no more than a generation or so. Conceivably, by voluntarily establishing White neighborhoods and communities and making it clear that these are our no-go zones, we would be retaking our lands for ourselves while also minimizing the possibility for violence.
So how does LARPing play into this? I can remember, as I’m sure some of you reading this can as well, that back during the interregnum before the Traditionalist Youth Network became the Traditionalist Worker Party, a very odd plan was hatched by the two Matt’s to create “Avalonian societies” which would serve as small, secessionist communities of White nationalists centered around an “Avalonian identity” which consisted of a return to a supposed pre-schismatic Western Orthodox Christianity epitomized in mythology by Arthurian legend.
If the idea sounds as ridiculous to you reading this as it does to me writing about it, I’m sure you the reader will be unsurprised to learn that the project itself was (understandably) short lived.
Despite the creation of “Avalon” being not just an act of Wewuzing, but LARPing par excellence, the motivations behind the goofiness of that project were not all that ridiculous. Pan-secessionism has serious support among some of us on the Right and the concept has been expanded upon considerably by National Anarchists such as Troy Southgate and Keith Preston.
One of the things about identity is that it is not historically set in stone and, in fact, mutable. The Chatti, Cherusci, Franks, Visigoths and Lombards of yesteryear are now the Germans, French, Spaniards and Italians of today. Contemporaneously, modern identities which never existed have popped out of nowhere in the previous century: Pakistan was founded as a homeland for Indian Muslims and remains the only modern sovereign state to have been created in the name of Islam. Likewise, the State of Israel was founded as a homeland exclusively for Jews and, in the following decades, kibbutzim were established, folksongs created and the Hebrew language was revived from de facto extinction. Before its destruction, Rhodesia was a British colony in Southern Africa that went it alone against the world by having a truly unique understanding of what it meant to be the descendants of pioneers and explorers, not mere British subjects. We have even seen in this decade, the 2010s, an attempt by Russian-speaking separatists to create a new, “Novorossiyan” identity and State out of the eastern Ukraine.
These identitarian movements, admittedly, were born-out or succeeded in some way with a little LARPing. However, their founders weren’t looking to past archaisms to justify their already existing ethnic chauvinisms, no— they were creating symbols, flags, poetry, folksongs and folk art, propaganda and literature to give form to already existing conceptions of what it meant to be who they already were.
If the Modern Era has taught us anything about identity it is that identities and nations can be born out of seemingly nothing in times of crisis. I say seemingly because it would be a misnomer to say that the undercurrents that create the conception of “We” and “They” are already present in a people’s mind. No amount of self-hatred and xenophilia can change this, the conditions are already there if not unconsciously. The differences between the various races, ethnicities, languages and nations on this planet are too numerous and too obvious to be denied in toto. Eventually reality wins out, and unfortunately not without lives having been lost in the process.
Identity isn’t something we can escape from. We can’t take a hot shower and hope that the color of our skin has been washed off in the process. Everyone: from a triracial Brazilian to a Finnish Laplander or a Trobriand Islander to an Alaskan Inuit is the result of untold milennias worth of biological history, each gene telling the story of some long-forgotten ancestor only half-remembered in some mythmoteur or in the yellowing pages of a family photo album.
Our identity becomes positive when it is truly lived, not role-played. Sometimes this requires that old stocks take on new shapes and forms of expression. We should never forget that race is just the “stuff” out of which peoples are born, and it is these peoples that give reality and meaning to what can only be described as lived experience.