Men of Valor
THERE IS A PORTION of a letter on the next page of this issue which was written to us by a prisoner in a maximum-security Federal prison. He is a murderer. He is also a thoughtful man who has done a lot of thinking and writing about the world outside his prison walls. (ILLUSTRATION: Albrecht Duerer’s engraving The Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513))
Some of the conclusions in the letters he has written us are profoundly opposed to our own. But his comments on the lack of a White ruling class have an unmistakable ring of truth. He writes that there is no class of White men in America for whom valor is a distinguishing characteristic; without such a class the country cannot survive.
We do have a ruling class of sorts, of course; there is always a ruling class of some type. But the men who rule America today are certainly not men of valor. They are lawyers, bureaucrats, rich merchants, scribes and Pharisees .
They are men without ideology, men whose only fixed principle is “always do what is advantageous.” And, in a sense, they are the “best” of their type; that is, they have worked harder, been smarter and meaner, and hewed more closely to the party line — the established body of cant — than those who didn’t make it to the top. The “fittest” in any society survive and prosper.
But valor, unfortunately, does not seem to have survival value in 20th-century American society — at least, not the kind of valor which we remember fondly from bygone centuries. What would an old-fashioned Yankee — or a Southern gentleman — do in today’s America? How would he react upon encountering a Black buck swaggering down the sidewalk with a White woman on his arm and a couple of mulatto offspring toddling along behind?
Suppose he came face to face on the street with one of the filthy creatures who has made a career in politics, the media, or the pulpit by helping to bring about the state of affairs in which White women dare to be seen in public on the arms of Blacks. How long could he stay out of prison? The best men today know that they are living in enemy-occupied territory, and upon such an encounter they only grit their teeth and pass in silent rage, while the worst display an ingratiating smile. Life is, in fact, not possible for a truly valorous man in America, under present conditions. If one appeared by chance — a genetic throwback, perhaps — the public would react as if a wild tiger had been let loose in their midst: they would gang up on him, pull him down, and kill him. Valor and mass democracy are fundamentally incompatible.
The idea that the spiritual climate of a particular period in history favors the survival and proliferation of men with a particular inner orientation, while driving men with a different orientation out of existence, much in the way the physical environment favors or disfavors a particular somatic trait, is not new. Among others, Brooks Adams, the 19th-century American economist/historian, expressed it in his The Law of Civilization and Decay (1895).
Adams saw the ascendancy of one type of man — spiritual man, epitomized by the English yeomanry of the Middle Ages, freeholding farmer-warriors — during the period when a new civilization is being established; and of a different type — economic man, epitomized by the mercantile class which flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries — during the period of a civilization’s decadence and collapse. And he pinpointed democracy as an institution inimical to the existence of spiritual man. The entire Western world — not just America — has been spiritually dead since the Second World War. Economic man has swarmed over its putrefying corpse, fattening himself on its material remains and multiplying mightily. Physical collapse may not yet be imminent, but the decadence is profound and irreversible. Valor, sorely needed to see us through the coming night and hold us to a worthy purpose until the new dawn, is a memory growing fainter by the decade.
Our imprisoned correspondent suggests that valor may still be found in such groups as the Mafia. We recoil at the thought — yet, there are certain elements of valor in that criminal organization which give it a luster lacking in the society around it: hints of implacability, a few remaining traces of disciplined manliness, a vestigial and degraded concept of personal honor. Not much — not enough to make the authorities afraid to arrest them or put them on trial, in most cases but still more than can be found in America’s present ruling class. As the West continues its slide into chaos other “Mafias,” White and non-White, will rise to provide a modicum of order and security for their adherents. Some will not be much more than local motorcycle gangs; others will carve out regional or even national constituencies based on common economic interests, common ideologies, common ethnicities, or some combination of these. The members of the Sicilian-Italian Mafia, for example, are characterized both by ethnic solidarity and by a common economic interest.
In each case the leaders of these groups will be distinguished by valor — of a sort. They will be men who have proved themselves tougher, more energetic and aggressive, and cleverer than their rivals. They will command respect as well as obedience from the members of their groups — which is more than can be said for America’s present “leaders.” We will see more and more a return to leadership based on personal strength rather than institutional sanction — to natural leadership, the kind which existed among our people thousands of years ago, before we began building cities and writing laws, and which still exists among many non-White populations today. It has already happened in some still more-or-less civilized areas just outside the borders of the Western world: in Lebanon, for example, where the bonds holding men together in a hundred different tribal and/or religious sects, brotherhoods, and militias have grown stronger as the state and its institutions disintegrated. Latin America promises to provide many more examples in the near future.
That may be fine for Levantines and Latins, but we need more than a valor based only on toughness, cleverness, and ambition. The West has no shortage of tough, clever, ambitious men. And we still have many who are physically strong and courageous — although perhaps not so many these days as we would like .
The valor we remember — and the valor we must have again — depends at least as much on moral courage as on physical courage. Even more, it depends on the inner sense of direction which must guide the man of valor, if his courage and strength are to be used to a worthy end. Originally the word meant value, worth. A man’s worth was a measure not of what he owned or controlled, however — not of how many shares of General Motors he could buy in the stock market or how many votes he could collect at the polls — but of what he was. The ideal man of valor, like the knight of Duerer’s celebrated engraving, neither feared death nor heeded the devil. His inner compass guided him unerringly, and nothing else could change his course. He was imperturbable and implacable. His loyalty to his cause was his honor, and his actions were as unaffected by considerations of personal comfort or safety as by the opinions of lesser men. How can we have such men to lead us in this age of television, democracy, and the supremacy of the marketplace? A man does not acquire valor simply by making a resolution to act valorously; it is the: product of a lifetime of right living and right thinking by a man born with the right stuff in him.
Surely, men of our race are still being born with the right stuff. Thousands of them fell in the frozen horror that was Stalingrad, and thousands more in the burning hell of Berlin, while still other thousands perished under the fiendish tortures of their democratic/communist captors in Prague and Vienna. What was in our genes as little as 40 years ago must still be there; economic man may be forcing spiritual man out of existence generation by generation, but the process is not complete yet.
Our problem is to provide an environment which does not stunt or warp the spirits of our best men. The environment which prevails in America today produces from our best stock merely lawyers tricky enough to out-shyster the trickiest Jew, businessmen hard-driving enough to beat out the most grasping Levantine competitor, professionals in every field willing to jettison scruples and truckle to alien arbiters in order to stay ahead of the pack.
When the chaos in America has grown to the point that there is no longer steady work for lawyers and corporation executives, the same stock will yield merely gang leaders meaner and tougher than the meanest and toughest mafioso rival, if the spiritual climate remains unchanged.
What we must do, no matter what it takes, is devise a way to nurture the best seed that we have and to provide a regimen and a tutoring, an upbringing and an inculcation, for the yield of that seed which will give us men of the mettle of Duerer’s Ritter who are infused with a burning consciousness of their identity and mission as bearers and agents of the Creator’s purpose.
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