October 23, 2019
In 2019, two books demanding more censorship have each devoted a chapter to portraying me as a historic villain.
In the first, Angela Saini’s Superior: The Return of Race Science, I was cast as a bad guy along with Sir Francis Galton, James D. Watson, David Reich, Morrissey, and Albert Einstein, which, I must say, is pretty cool company.
Sadly, in New Yorker writer Andrew Marantz’s new Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation, the chapter about me (“The Sailer Strategy”) is folded in amidst interminable profiles of right-wing nutrition supplement hucksters like that Ape Brain guy, which I found less edifying than being included on Saini’s list of evil great white men.
Both authors are convinced that I helped hijack something big, although they disagree about whether it was science or politics. (I’ve been busy, apparently.)
Marantz has a noticeably higher IQ than Saini, but his book is vastly longer. Its 380 pages are printed in a tiny typeface with an even teenier font used for the many footnotes. It should have come with a magnifying glass.
Another irritation: Antisocial has no index, presumably to encourage people who might be mentioned in the book to buy it rather than to just look up the bits about themselves while standing in the bookstore.
And while Saini’s book climaxes wonderfully when she blunders into a humiliating interview with superstar geneticist Reich, who, hilariously, demolishes her book’s thesis that Race Does Not Exist, Marantz mostly hangs out endlessly with callow rightist micro-celebrities whose earnest attempts at arguing the issues with him he sidesteps.
But Marantz’s Ctrl-Left thesis is much the same as Saini’s: Something must be done about all the bad people, like me, who have been “hijacking the American conversation” with our control of the media.
(By the way, have you noticed lately that anything referencing “the conversation” is almost inevitably lame? “The conversation” is an embarrassing schoolmarmish term that has come to mean Shut Up and Listen to Me Talk. I wonder who cajoled Marantz into this embarrassing subtitle.)
In The New York Times recently, Marantz proclaimed, “Free Speech Is Killing Us.”
And in his book, Marantz worries: How can underdog media outlets like The New Yorker, The New York Times, and National Review stand up to the might of the Sailersphere?
Sailer and other far-right heretics, many of whom Buckley had banished to the fringes of the movement years earlier, now reconvened online. They built their own publications (The American Conservative, Taki’s Magazine, VDARE), and promoted them using new tools such as WordPress and Twitter and Reddit. These were more powerful distribution mechanisms than fifty-year-old print magazines….
For example, Marantz has persuaded himself that my extremely obscure political philosophy of “citizenism” represents the kind of hideous idea that naturally flourishes like a weed on the internet with no WFB around to shut me down:
William F. Buckley, the last singular arbiter of conservative opinion, died in 2008…. He had no comparable successor, no conservative panjandrum who could dictate which ideas deserved to flourish and which did not…. Many decisions about the spread of information were now made algorithmically. The algorithms were not designed to gauge whether an idea was true or false, prosocial or antisocial; they were designed to measure whether a meme was causing a spike of activating emotion in a large number of people. And Sailer’s citizenism—more colloquially known as intellectualized white nationalism—was just such a meme.
Where to begin?
First, I’m not aware of much evidence that the late Mr. Buckley was even cognizant of my existence, so Marantz’s regret that he’s not around anymore to silence me seems…odd.
Second, Marantz’s assertion that citizenism is “intellectualized white nationalism” perfectly suited to memehood is amusingly clueless.
Citizenism calls upon Americans to favor the well-being, even at some cost to ourselves, of our current fellow citizens over that of foreigners and internal factions. Among American citizens, it calls for individuals to be treated equally by the state, no matter what their race.
The citizenist sees little need for politically correct racial browbeating. Today’s omnipresent demand to lie about social realities in the name of “celebrating diversity” becomes ethically irrelevant under citizenism, where the duty toward patriotic solidarity means that the old saying “he’s a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch” turns into a moral precept.
More ironically, for Marantz to use my concept of citizenism as an example of how my insidious ideas have spread like wildfire through the internet is just bizarre. In the fifteen years I’ve been promoting citizenism, it has barely had any impact. Do an online search of the word and see.
For whatever reasons, my coinages almost never go viral. Even my “Invade the World/Invite the World” as the grand strategy of the Washington establishment has hardly made a dent. Yet “citizenism” stands out even among my many stillborn neologisms for getting perhaps the least traction ever. Heck, my theories on golf course architecture have probably proven more influential.
Perhaps nobody talks about citizenism because citizenism is simply the default ideology of sensible, busy Americans, as open-borders advocate Bryan Caplan complains. For example, it’s the underlying basis of the Preamble to the Constitution:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
But who can remember the Preamble these days, what with all that racist-sounding rhetoric about “our posterity”?
Chapter ten in Antisocial is devoted to how I wouldn’t go along with the bipartisan consensus that the only way the Republicans could possibly win another presidential election was via amnesty for illegal aliens and other immigration-boosting devices.
As Karl Rove’s Republican Brain Trust, egged on by their Democratic and media friends, repeatedly explained: Sure, the GOP would lose votes with every immigrant let in, but the Republicans would make up for it on volume.
Anyway, the Establishment’s point was that you wouldn’t want to be like California Republican governor Pete Wilson in 1994 (who came from twenty points behind in the polls to win by fifteen by campaigning against subsidizing illegal immigration) and actually win, now, would you?
A dozen years earlier, Steve Sailer, a prolific opinion columnist with a small but passionate online audience, had reached the opposite conclusion.
To Marantz, my looking at the numbers skeptically is more “intellectualized white nationalism.” But in reality, what I’ve been trying to do is preserve two-party competitive democracy in a rapidly diversifying country. We’ve already seen what immigration has done to the two-party system in Chicago and California.
The Democrats’ plan has been to achieve one-party rule by using immigration to juice their vote totals while ginning up hatred of white men to keep their unwieldy Coalition of the Margins from collapsing in internecine strife. Leaving aside its shameful ethics, the Democrats’ plan to take control of the White House forever deserved to be taken seriously.
Unfortunately, Marantz’s reporting on me is tendentious:
Sailer, then a forty-one-year-old living in Southern California, had retired early from a successful career in marketing in order to write full time.
This makes it sound like I was some kind of genius at manipulating the public who made so much money I could retire at age 41. In reality, I was largely in marketing research, which is different from marketing, in the way that, say, accounting is different from entrepreneurship. I was a nerdy numbers guy who analyzed other people’s marketing brainstorms.
And the one 16-month stretch when I was VP of Marketing at a start-up was definitely not successful: The company went out of business. That wasn’t wholly my fault, but the experience definitely underlined for me that I do not have a knack for coming up with what the public is dying to hear right now (e.g., “citizenism”).
Instead, my brain tends to generate a lot of ideas orthogonal to what everybody else is thinking at present. Most of my new ideas are quickly forgotten (often for valid reasons), but a few have proven prescient.
Marantz stumbles onward:
On November 28, 2000, while the Bush and Gore campaigns were still arguing over hanging chads in Florida, Sailer wrote a blog post.
No, my “GOP Future Depends on Winning Larger Share of the White Vote” didn’t appear on my iSteve blog, which didn’t exist yet. It was in my VDARE.com column:
Citing exit-poll data, he demonstrated that if Bush had increased his share of the white vote by just 3 percent—if 57 percent of white Americans had voted for him, rather than 54 percent—he would have won in a landslide.
In the Electoral College, to be precise. In 2000, Bush lost narrowly in a number of northern Rust Belt states like Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, so if he had only performed three percentage points better among whites in every state, he would have cruised to an Electoral College landslide of 367 to 171 instead of squeaking to his notoriously thin edge.
In contrast, the burgeoning Mexican-American vote was concentrated in California, which a GOP presidential candidate couldn’t win after 1988 (although Rove wasted $20 million advertising in California in 2000 anyway), and in Texas, which a GOP candidate couldn’t lose for at least a decade or two.
And Florida’s Hispanic voters are mostly Cubans and Puerto Ricans who don’t care about the plight of Mexicans.
In all the articles about what a genius strategist Karl Rove was in pushing immigration, nobody could explain how his ploy would pay off in any important Electoral College states.
So the electoral vote value of promoting illegal immigration, even assuming Mexican-American citizens would reward the GOP for doing that (and there was little evidence that they even much cared), was highly limited.
Marantz then announces:
By Sailer’s lights, this meant that Republicans should drop their disingenuous platitudes and campaign openly as a white-identity party.
No. I wrote in 2000:
So where could Bush have picked up an additional 3 percent of the white vote? The most obvious source: white union families.
To appeal to Rust Belt blue-collar voters, I theorized back then, the GOP would need to be more moderate on economics as well as on cultural issues that appeal more to Southern Baptists than to Northern Catholics (such as not teaching evolution in public schools). But that struck me as a reasonable price to pay for the electoral votes of the big Northern states. In contrast, immigration was an issue where the GOP could help themselves while helping working-class Americans simultaneously. I went on:
What could persuade more white union families to vote Republican when the current AFL-CIO leadership is so leftist? Here’s a suggestion.
The labor bosses are selling out their old time members’ interests in order to try to pad their membership with immigrants, legal and illegal. That’s why the AFL-CIO supremos recently called for another amnesty for illegal immigrants. Immigration should be the perfect issue for the GOP to use to split the rank and file from their Democratic bosses.
Since union efforts cost Bush Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (at a minimum), you’d think that the GOP would be hot to win back the Reagan Democrats.
Don’t count on it, though. It’s just so much more fashionable to continue to chase futilely after Hispanics.
My immigration policy recommendations have always been lifted from Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, a black lesbian Democrat whom Bill Clinton appointed chairwoman of the commission on immigration reform. She came back with a smart plan for cracking down on illegal immigration and cutting down on legal immigration. But then she died of cancer in early 1996 and her findings have since been memory-holed.
Recall that the New York Times editorial board was also against amnesty as late as 2000, not switching until George W. Bush got to the left of them in 2001. Young Marantz’s naive assumption that immigration was always as sacrosanct in American politics as it’s treated today is due to the massive retconning by the left made politically feasible by Bush and Rove’s disastrous stratagem.
Of course, winning Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin with a patriotic immigration (plus trade) platform is precisely what Donald Trump did sixteen years after I proposed it.
Did Trump consciously follow what my editor Peter Brimelow had insisted upon calling the Sailer Strategy?
I can’t imagine Trump has any idea who I am. And it’s not as if I was the only person in America capable of noticing that the most plausible Republican road to 270 electoral votes led through the Northern white working class. What else could Trump—or, for that matter, any winning Republican candidate—have done after all these decades of the Democrats rigging the electorate through immigration?
He knew the mainstream counterarguments, which all seemed to boil down to the same thing: White people shouldn’t organize in their own interest, because that would be racist, and racism is bad. That argument didn’t matter to Sailer.
If it is fine for Mexican-American voters to organize in the interest of illegal aliens from Mexico, how is it bad for white Americans to organize in their own interest?
I suppose you could say: “Whites are the majority and majority rule is bad.” But then you really shouldn’t turn around and exult, as so many do: “And whites will soon be a minority, and then they’ll get what’s coming to them, good and hard!”
Essentially, the conventional wisdom increasingly boils down to: “White man bad.” But this growing racist hatred, which is more and more promoted by The New Yorker and The New York Times, bodes poorly for our future.
Sailer felt confident that no part of the Sailer Strategy was unconstitutional or illegal. In more than a decade, no one had been able to point out any serious mistakes in his arithmetic or his logic. The real problem, as far as he could tell, was that his ideas made powerful people uncomfortable.
For example, when I spoke to Marantz for several hours in 2017 over the phone, my impression was that he was most disappointed by my answer to his question about which historical event was the dividing point between establishment and antiestablishment conservatives.
I answered: “The Iraq War.”
Bush’s decision to invade Iraq for no good reason was when conservatives distinctly divided up over the administration’s grand strategy of Invade the World/Invite the World into the triumphant globalists versus the despised nationalists. For example, The American Conservative magazine was founded in 2002 by Taki, Pat Buchanan, and Scott McConnell, with me as movie reviewer, to oppose Bush’s horrible plan for war.
I could sense Marantz’s hope for an acclaimed New Yorker article suddenly deflating as he realized my fundamental explanation of the history of the 21st-century right was correct. But, clearly, his editor David Remnick was not going to greenlight a lengthy profile of somebody like me who could calmly document how today’s Reviled Right came together in opposition to Bush’s dreadful war.
Ruling-class Republicans like Bush and Rove worked for invasion abroad and at home. In contrast, we outcast conservatives made ourselves unpopular by speaking up for peace and rule of law. We were denounced by mainstream Republicans as racists for not believing that American conquest would turn Iraq into Germany or Japan.
But we were right.