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Unz’s scholarship

Editor’s note: The October 2020 article by Ron Unz is worth reading, ‘White Racialism in America, Then and Now: An Intellectual History of the Last One Hundred Years’ of which I’ll quote only a passage:

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The overwhelming majority of the world’s leading academics and intellectuals from one hundred years ago—whether left, right, or centre—held many views that would surely have gotten them branded as ‘White Nationalists’ in today’s severely constricted ideological climate.

But whereas today’s WNs are an extremely vilified and marginalised group, with their ranks therefore necessarily skewed towards eccentrics and misfits, the situation was entirely different back then. Their counterparts of the past included many of the foremost academic scholars and public intellectuals of that era, who openly discussed their views in leading opinion journals rather than by pseudonymous postings in dark corners of the Internet. Partly for this reason, such individuals tended to approach the same issues with far greater sophistication.

Until the early 2000s, nearly all these names would have been almost unknown to me, either rating a sentence or two in my introductory history textbooks, or else being entirely omitted. But I spent most of that decade building a content-archiving system that provided convenient access to over a million articles from more than 200 of our leading periodicals since the mid-19th century, and was stunned by the severe distortions and enormous lacunae in my knowledge which this revealed. As I wrote a couple of years ago on related matters:

I sometimes imagined myself a little like an earnest young Soviet researcher of the 1970s who began digging into the musty files of long-forgotten Kremlin archives and made some stunning discoveries. Trotsky was apparently not the notorious Nazi spy and traitor portrayed in all the textbooks, but instead had been the right-hand man of the sainted Lenin himself during the glorious days of the great Bolshevik Revolution, and for some years afterward had remained in the topmost ranks of the Party elite. And who were these other figures—Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Rykov—who also spent those early years at the very top of the Communist hierarchy? In history courses, they had barely rated a few mentions, as minor Capitalist agents who were quickly unmasked and paid for their treachery with their lives…

As I gradually discovered, large portions of America’s entire intellectual past had been hidden or altered beyond recognition, and racial beliefs constituted a major portion of this transformation. The ongoing ‘cancel-culture’ of today’s elite-backed Black Lives Matter movement represents merely the latest iteration of this long process.

1 Reply on “Unz’s scholarship

  1. Do you share the idea that the Internet has changed things? Maybe I’m too young to testify either way, but I don’t think so. I look at the cold hard facts. And I see a true anti-Christian revolution in the 19-20th centuries. Not now. I see violence and vigour then. Not now. The Bible was discussed and critiqued in wide public circles as a relevant topic. Now even the radicals are afraid to apostasise.

    I have reread Axe of Perun’s entries that you once linked, and that is the part where I definitely disagree. I swear, if the USSR had fallen 10 years later, everyone and their mother would have been praising the Internet for it. The truth is, we’re in a much worse state than before; yet I won’t blame the Internet for it.

    The revolutionaries of old used to muster without Telegram, the messages spread without digital media. And Christianity metastasises just fine no matter the age.