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The Bailey Podcast E036: White Right

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In this episode, we talk about white nationalism.

Participants: Yassine, Walt Bismarck, TracingWoodgrains.


Why I'm no longer a White Nationalist (The Walt Right)

The Virulently Unapologetic Racism of "Anti-Racism" (Yassine Meskhout)

Hajnal Line (Wikipedia)

Fall In Line Parody Song (Walt Bismarck)

Richard Spencer's post-Charlottesville tirade (Twitter)

The Metapolitics of Black-White Conflict (The Walt Right)

America Has Black Nationalism, Not Balkanization (Richard Hanania)

Recorded 2024-04-13 | Uploaded 2024-04-14

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I'm never going to ask someone to do a book report for free. What would you say are the main points that I would find relevant?

A comprehensive history of how European Americans have imagined themselves overtime, the social conditions preceding each shift, when Reaction happened and how it manifested, leading up to the present day US, UK, & Canada.

In the podcast a lot of your comments seemed focused on Why not sort for the Cultural Trait Directly (The high IQ Ugandan) as well as Why focus on this broadest possible identity group (proxy of a proxy of a proxy). He doesn't really address point 1, but the entire book is about the inevitable social patterns people display regarding point 2.

Kaufmann traces over time how ethnic shifts intensify otherwise dormant identifications (case studies in voting patterns & self identification in the same city at 5%, 10%, and then 30% Hispanic. How previously blase National Symbols become are suddenly realized to be Ethnic Distinction symbols once the population of an area sharply shifts. Tipping points movement patterns in the UK mirroring the US), distinguishes between ethnic stories of 'who are we' changes vs how intermarriage may create more colorism distinctions, uses mono-racial but multiethnic societies as case studies for what happens when societies experience massive shifts over a short amount of time (Northern Ireland, Antigua, Ivory Coast).

Briefly flipping through it again (it's been a few years) It's really a mostly empirical work. As far as I can tell Kaufmann's primary adversary is less the cultural right than the old economic focused left. I'd contrast it with Mark Blyth's "Angrynomics" which makes the old left case for economics as the primary driver of social forces as an explanation for Trumps victory in 2016 and the broader populist shift in Europe. Kaufmann hammers over and over that the cultural conflict over ethnicity explains far more of the data in self-identification, voting patterns, school choice, internal migration, de facto spatial segregation, and support for X or Y policy.

It's most salient chapters for the non-academic are the final fourth and final. Kaufmann both extrapolates what will happens and then also illustrates a few plausible near future scenarios depending on how society responds. His go to example for contrast is Mauritius vs Mexico, which stand in for a closed off society vs an open mixed one.

I appreciate the snippet. It sounds like the book's thesis is essentially about "here's how race and demographic changes influence people's political opinions". I fully acknowledge that people do form race-based identity groups while simultaneously believing it's not constructive or useful. Am I off base?

I'll steelman white nationalism for you even though I'm not and have never been a white nationalist.

One argument that Walt should have made was that tapping into white racial grievances is a good way to win elections (this might actually be false but you can at least make a decent argument that it's true). Look no further than the success of blacks voting as a racial bloc to see how successful the racialized voting strategy can be. Trump pandered to white identity and won, with a surprisingly diverse base, also implying that the strategy is viable. If he'd actually used the phrase "white people" maybe it wouldn't have gone the same way, but Overton windows and cultures can shift very quickly. Whether you like it or not, tribalism is a real and powerful human characteristic that can be harnessed to win elections. in the election-winning sense, White Nationalism is useful.

Whether it's constructive is obviously subjective, but I think even for centrists you could make the argument that it is. Racializing whites and then using that political power to implement policy could be constructive if you like the policy. Crime is a good example, and I think your discussion of the issue was kind of off the mark. White identity politics has a better chance of bringing about tough-on-crime policies than the kind of race-blind rhetoric you and Wood seem to favor. Black people are not going to vote for politicians that want to put people that look like them in jail. This is true despite the fact that the majority of the cost of black crime falls on black people. "Tough on crime" is a racist dogwhistle in the sense that everyone knows it means locking up a disproportionate number of black people. You sort of touch on this and this essay states it better: the effects of these policies will be racially disparate and voters can detect the dishonesty inherent in not addressing that. Walt should have argued that if you want tough-on-crime policies, it's much easier to motivate whites to vote by disseminating videos of gangs of black youths beating up defenseless white people and signal boosting egregious black-on-white crimes than by convincing black people that everyone'll be better off if we lock up more of their kids.

You repeatedly ask the question "what even are white interests?" which I'd answer by asking "what are black interests?" Is bail reform advancing black interests because it helps blacks spend less time in jail or is it harming black interests because it's letting out criminals that will victimize blacks? Obviously this doesn't have an objective answer but it doesn't follow that racial interests don't exist. Racial interests are just whatever the racial voting bloc wants. I think the majority of whites would support complete abolition of affirmative action, therefore it's a white interest even if the actual effects of that abolition aren't necessarily beneficial to whites. This doesn't even touch on governmental spending which is actually quite zero-sum and much more obviously in one or another groups' "interests". Voting as a racial bloc means a much better chance of implementing policies your group mostly agrees on, and forces politicians to pander to you. The black voting bloc has been pretty successful at doing this. I don't see why whites couldn't do the same thing, and I don't see any disqualifying difference between black interests as a concept and white interests.

Again, these aren't my politics, so maybe this doesn't match what wignats actually believe, I just felt Walt could have addressed your arguments better.

Racial interests are just whatever the racial voting bloc wants. I think the majority of whites would support complete abolition of affirmative action, therefore it's a white interest even if the actual effects of that abolition aren't necessarily beneficial to whites.

I appreciate the steelman. I don't claim that racial interests can't exist, it just that they get diluted and meaningless very quickly. A sunscreen subsidy could obviously be a "light-skinned racial interest" because it targets as close to the thing itself. Can you really say that affirmative action is against "white interest" when 29% of whites are in favor? It's probably more meaningful to say that ending affirmative action is a "republican interest" given the 14/74 approve/disapprove ratio compared to every other categorization. The more disagreement you have about an issue within a population category, the less useful the category is on that topic. With race categories, we seem to run out of issues that are rationally relevant very fast.