Out of the Darkness
by Dr. William L. Pierce
General Convention speech, 1983, recorded and transcribed by Kevin Alfred Strom
TWO THOUSAND years ago the poet Ovid wrote that night is a sadder time than day. I know that’s always been true for me. When discouraging thoughts come, it’s usually at night.
Actually, I’m pretty cheerful most of the time. But it used to be that, occasionally, when I was working alone in the National Office late at night, a black thought would come into my mind — always the same thought. It was that there’s not enough time to do what I must do. It was that something will happen to me before the Alliance is strong enough to survive and continue growing without me.
Then a feeling of desperation would come over me and I would have to fight off an almost overpowering urge to do whatever I could to speed things up — to go back to the quick and dirty methods that I had tried in past years. Now, I didn’t yield to that urge because I had already found out the hard way that the quick and dirty methods don’t yield lasting results. I knew that we had only one shot at winning this war we’re in, and it has to be a good shot. We can’t miss. We can’t build something that is flimsy or false. We have to do it exactly right, or it won’t work. But doing it right sometimes seems painfully slow. And it would be futile, self-defeating, if in my care to do it right I didn’t get enough of it done so that others could carry on before I was overtaken by disease, or by an accident, or even by an assassin.
Now, in a sense, this black thought which used to creep up on me late at night, was the thought of death, the fear of death. We’re all mortal. We all know that we have to die — though no one wants to. The way we’ve dealt with this fear of death in the past has been to identify ourselves with something immortal, to think of ourselves as part of something in which we can continue to live after our bodies are gone. Patriots have identified themselves with their countries — often so strongly that they were almost eager to die in order to advance the interests of their fatherland: the land of their forefathers. It was easier to be patriotic, of course, when our country still belonged to us, when we were able to associate a particular village, or farmstead, with our ancestors for several generations back; when the graves of our fathers, and grandfathers, and great great great grandfathers, were around us — and so were their works: the fields that they had cleared, the buildings that they had built, the trophies they gathered in their lifetimes, the records they left behind them. We could easily fit ourselves into the pattern of generations and centuries, and be content in the knowledge that our own works, and trophies, and records, would also be preserved, and would become part of the lives of our descendants. We would fight anyone who threatened that pattern. We would die in order to preserve it, so that we wouldn’t be forgotten, so that we would always have a little niche in the memory of all the generations which were to come.
Today the whole pattern has been smashed to bits and ground into the mud. We’ve lost our roots, our sense of belonging, our connection with the past and with the future. We can’t count on being remembered. In fact, if current trends continue for a few more years, and Martin Luther King’s dream of “full equality” is realized, then our grandchildren won’t even know who their fathers are, much less their grandfathers. So patriotism provides little comfort for mortals these days.
And it’s no wonder that many people are searching for something else, besides their countries, to identify with. For me that something has long been the whole universe. My life is part of its life and I know that the larger life of the evolving universe will go on no matter what. That’s my religion, or part of it. But it’s a rather impersonal religion, and on dark, lonely nights at the office, it does not by itself provide enough comfort to keep dark moods away. There is in all of us, I believe, a need for a more personal identification with something immortal. We need more than merely the knowledge that each of us is a momentarily glowing spark of individual consciousness in a conscious cosmos — a cosmos which, even as its overall brightness grows, witnesses the winking on and then out again of billions of individual sparks.
We need, in addition to that, the knowledge that we as individuals make a difference. We need the knowledge that we can make a mark on the world through our own efforts, and that the mark we make will last. We need to know that our personal contribution to the life of the universe will be remembered after we are gone — that others will add to it and help it grow — so that ten generations from now, or even a hundred generations, the record will still be there. There will be someone then who will be able to say: Back during the great struggle, ages ago, when the race nearly perished, there were a few men and women who were on the right side; a few who did what had to be done; a few who made the difference; and even today, centuries later, we remember their names and their works.
That’s the sort of knowledge which is able to overcome the fear of death, the sort of knowledge which gives each of us a personal connection to the infinite. It’s true that the self-consciously evolving cosmos, of which I am a part, is the ultimate reality. But it’s also true that the Alliance provides my personal connection with that ultimate reality. The Alliance is the means by which I, and many others, can make individual contributions to the future. The Alliance not only magnifies our efforts — gives us leverage that we wouldn’t have if we were working on our own — but it also provides a safe repository for our contributions, makes them into lasting contributions. And as it keeps them from being washed away in the growing tide of chaos on the outside, it keeps them in place long enough for another member to add his own contribution on top of ours, and then for another to build on top of both, and so on.
For example, if one of our members writes a book which is a valuable contribution to our overall effort — say, member William Simpson and his Which Way Western Man? — then he doesn’t have to worry that it will immediately disappear into oblivion when he dies, or is no longer able to promote it himself. He knows that even after he is gone, the Alliance will remain to continue distributing his book, continue reprinting it, magnifying its effect, until another member is able to build on that work with a book of his own, which advances the Cause still further.
That, of course, is the theory. The trouble is it has been a pretty shaky theory in the past, primarily because far too much was dependent on a single individual: me. Who could be sure whether I would last from one month to the next? Who could know whether or not all of the hard work, and money, and time, he was putting into the Alliance would be wasted? Because I might, at any minute, give up and announce that I was tired of butting my head against the wall, and that would be the end of it.
From my own viewpoint things were a little different, but still not particularly encouraging. I knew that I wouldn’t give up, but I could see others giving up all around me. It seemed that every time we would manage to struggle ahead a step, we would slide three quarters of a step back again. And I knew that we were not strong enough to keep going at all if I quit, which meant that I had to hang on and keep on pushing things forward until we reached a critical point where I could stand aside and things would keep moving without me, because there would be the right people, ready and able to take over all of my responsibilities. My concern was that nothing must happen to me before we reached that point. From a purely selfish standpoint, I didn’t want my spark to wink out without making a difference, and the black thought that kept coming to me late at night was that I was losing the race, that I couldn’t reach that critical point soon enough.
It was never a matter of quitting. I never worried that all of my hard work was being wasted in the sense that I could have been spending my time more enjoyably. From the time I started, there was only one thing that I could do — even if there were no hope at all of winning. I couldn’t stop even if I had wanted to. Nevertheless, whether I was working willingly or unwillingly, the occasional late-night feeling that it was all for nothing was quite distressing.
Fortunately, daylight generally had the effect of dispelling my gloom, and so I was able to present a cheerful face to the world. Now, the only reason that I’m making this confession to you is that my black thoughts are a thing of the past. If I still had them, I certainly wouldn’t tell you about them. But the fact is that I have not been gloomy about our prospects for at least the last year– and I still work late, alone, in the National Office at night. What’s made the difference is the results of our recruiting during the past year.
For the task that the Alliance must accomplish, quality is everything. In the last year we have been winning commitments from people who have what it takes to get the job done. Attendance at our convention this year may be up only forty per cent. over last year, but the number of people in the Alliance who have what it takes has doubled. We’re finally getting the good ones now substantially faster than we’re losing them — and, really, we’ve just started.
For years, we were bogged down in the childishness — the make believe — the buffoonery — the stupidity — of the right wing. That’s no one’s fault but my own, of course — because I knew nothing else but the right wing approach. I really thought that populism, an appeal to the dispossessed, an appeal to the so-called White masses, was the way to proceed, the way to gain strength.
And I was often in despair, when I finally realized that it wasn’t; when I saw how few people we were winning in whom I could have any confidence at all. Changing our approach was difficult. It meant breaking some bad habits that we had acquired. It meant alienating a certain clientele that we had attracted, whose continued support I was then convinced that we really needed.
But we did change. And, within the first six months, I could begin to see a real improvement. The right wing kooks stopped coming around, and in their place came people that I could be proud of — people in whom I could have confidence. That’s when the late night despair disappeared.
We have a long, a difficult, and a dangerous road ahead of us yet. There will be many casualties along the way. We’ll make more mistakes, certainly, and we’ll have to correct ourselves many times. We may yet be overwhelmed by the enemy, or we may be too slow and be overtaken by circumstances — but I’m now convinced that we can reach our goal.
I can foresee the time now when it will no longer make any difference what happens to me, because there will be others who will keep the spark glowing, and will make it grow brighter and brighter with each passing year. I foresee immortality for all of those who have nourished the spark and who will nourish it in the future. I see more people — like you who are here with me tonight — joining our Cause every month, and every week. I foresee a growth, and a strength, and a capability for the Alliance, much greater than we have ever known before. I foresee it not in the distant future any longer, but in the time immediately ahead of us, as you go forth tomorrow and recruit for our Cause other men and women like yourselves. Thank you.