Opponents of identity politics claim that individuals can only take pride in their achievements, and not the work of others.
But this omits that people can enjoy gifts, regardless of if they’ve earned them. In many ways, one’s ancestral background is a gift, as civilization is a pact between the dead, living and those yet to be born. Said Roger Scruton; “The dead and the unborn are as many members of society as the living. To dishonor the dead is to reject the relation on which society is built- the relation of obligation between generations.” Michael Polignano superbly outlines this gift-based conception of group pride in their below piece, and how we can become worthy of it.
Further, the basis of any individual celebrating an identity group’s achievements: be its football clubs, religions, countries, or ethnicities, requires substantive shared similarities. And that we share a common genealogy with our ancestors, firmly establishes our place within their wider legacies. It is, therefore, appropriate to possess group pride, as is natural and customary for every people on Earth. In fact, to downplay our ancestor’s relevance as individualists and anti-whites seek only serves to diminish our past and constrain meaningful identities for the present. As put by Alexander Solzhenitzyn; “To destroy a people, you must first sever their roots.”
“White Pride and White Guilt”, Counter Currents, by Michael Polignano, October 9, 2004:
Today in the United States and most of the White world, as soon as a White child is old enough to understand language, he is told that he should feel guilt for the crimes of his ancestors. Guilt for finding, conquering, enslaving, and killing off non-Whites around the globe . . . and littering in the process. Guilt, not for his own crimes, but for the crimes of other people of the same race.
But he is also told that he should feel no pride in the amazing achievements of his race. No pride in the pyramids and the Parthenon, no pride in the arch and the dome, no pride in White science and technology and medicine, no pride in the glories of European painting and sculpture and music, no pride in Plato and Shakespeare and Dostoevsky, no pride in the exploration of the globe and the conquest of space. Pride, not in his own achievements, but in the achievements of other people of the same race.
But if it is reasonable to feel White guilt, then it is reasonable to feel White pride.
This is a subversive thought, for if one does a balance sheet comparing reasons for White guilt and White pride, Whites might discover that they have far more to be proud of than guilty of. Then they might decide to resist their dispossession.
Faced with that prospect, the advocates of White dispossession will retreat to the last refuge of ethno-political scoundrels and cowards: individualism. They will piously lecture us that there are no groups, only individuals—that even if the White race has produced more creative individuals than the other races combined, only the individuals, not the race, should be honored—that the only person entitled to feel proud of Edison’s achievements was Edison, because he earned it—that nobody has the right to a pride that he has not earned by his own efforts—that people who do feel pride in the achievements of their racial brethren are losers who need to derive self-esteem from the achievements of others because they have no achievements of their own—and so forth.
The individualist argument goes as follows: The only pride we have a right to is pride in our own achievements. Racial pride is pride in the achievements of others. Therefore, we have no right to racial pride.
I will grant that we have not, strictly speaking, “earned” the pride we feel in the achievements of others. But the false premise of the individualist argument is that we have no right to things that we have not earned. We call something of value that we receive from others without earning it a “gift.”
But does it make sense to describe the goods passed on by long-dead ancestors and kinsmen as “gifts”?
I think so. It certainly makes no sense to call it an exchange relationship, since there is no way to repay benefactors who are dead or anonymous. Moreover, one of the functions of the Last Will and Testament is to confer gifts after one’s death when there can be no possibility of exchange. One can even give gifts to complete strangers and distant future generations.
A creative genius might take money in exchange for his works during his lifetime. But after he is dead, his collected works become a gift to future generations. We certainly cannot return anything to Aristotle or Galileo or Mozart of value equal to what they have given us. They have given us too much and are not around to receive payment.
There is no question that we have a “right” to things that we receive as gifts. If racial pride can be understood as a gift, then we have a right to that feeling.
But when someone gives us a gift, we naturally want to transform it into an exchange. Receiving a gift puts us in someone’s debt, which is not a pleasant feeling. But exchange puts us on equal footing, which is more consistent with our sense of dignity and desire for independence. So we satisfy ourselves with the mere pretense of an exchange by repaying our benefactors with thanks.
But how do I thank people who are anonymous or long-dead: my distant forebears and the racial kinsmen who make me proud?
Certainly not by resting on their laurels or by making their achievements a substitute for mine, which is the puerile individualist accusation.
First, we can become worthy recipients of what they have given us by learning to appreciate our history and culture.
Second, since it is impossible to return their patrimony to them, we can at least pass it on to future generations, so that they can continue to live on through their works.
Third, we can thank them by making ourselves worthy of the pride they have given us, by achieving something of greatness ourselves.
Fourth, we can work to preserve and pass on the genetic heritage that has made the cultural heritage possible.
In this time of racial peril, the highest and noblest thing any of us can do is work together to ensure the survival and flourishing of the White race, so it can give birth to new Leonardos and Newtons and Teslas.
But if we have a right to White pride, then do we not also deserve White guilt?
I think “guilt” is the wrong concept, for guilt implies responsibility, and racial guilt implies collective responsibility. A group of people acting together may be responsible for an act. But it is not just to punish an innocent person for a misdeed committed by another member of his race or community.
The proper concept here is “shame,” not guilt, for I can feel ashamed of the misdeeds of others without being responsible for those misdeeds.
We have all felt shame at the misbehavior of other people. It is easy to understand when the culprit is a relative or friend and his actions reflect badly on us. But we also feel shame at the misbehavior of complete strangers. Yet I feel this only when their actions are “all too human,” meaning that they reflect badly on me simply because, as a human being, I could have made the exact same mistake. They point out our universal human weaknesses and failings.
In the same way, I feel shame for the crimes and follies of other White people, but only if their failings are typical of Whites and thus reflect negatively on me, making me self-conscious of my own racial weaknesses and potential follies.
As for the usual charges against the White race—racism, slavery, colonialism, environmental destruction—I feel no shame for these at all simply as a White man, and no White person should.
Racism—properly defined as a natural preference for and solidarity with one’s own kind, not as hatred for others “just because they are different”—is nothing to be ashamed of at all.
Slavery, imperialism, colonialism, genocide, environmental destruction, and the like are all shameful things, and I wish that none of them had happened. But these crimes have been committed by members of all races whenever they have had the means and opportunity. They are all too human, and all human beings should feel ashamed of them.
The only reason these crimes are lodged against the White race in particular is that we were better at them than the others. We defended Europe from the Huns, the Moors, the Mongols, and the Turks and eventually went forth and conquered most of the globe. The other races are probably more ruthless, cunning, and cruel. But we beat them because of our superior inventiveness, superior social organization, and questing, adventurous spirit.
So when Whites are singled out for blame, we are being attacked not for our crimes, but for our virtues—for being winners rather than losers in the brutal struggle between different races for dominion over this planet.
That struggle has not disappeared just because Whites have abandoned their conquests and gone home.