Author and translator Timo Hännikäinen recently interviewed me for the Finnish site Sarastus (“Dawn”)
For curious anglophones, here is the English transcript of the interview, with questions in bold.
Transcript: Jack Donovan Interview with Sarastus, conducted by Timo Hännikäinen
In “The Way of Men” you say that the only way to reclaim masculinity and return to honor and manly virtue is to start a gang. And in your essay “Anarcho-fascism” you say that only new warrior-gangs can rise effectively against “the corrupt, feminist, anti-tribal, degraded institutions of the established order.” Are you aware that this solution may be far too extreme to most men? Especially men with families tend to value organized society higher than tribalism. In some African civil wars (in Liberia in 1990’s for example) armed male gangs have replaced the rule of government and law, but life there is really nasty, brutish and short. Do you think that there is any other way to revolt against the modern world than anarchic gang warfare?
There are no moderate solutions to the problems presented by global capitalism, multiculturalism and feminism. Pan-secession into tribal groups within a failing state is the only alternative I see within most nations.
Half-measures and “sensible” solutions merely slow the progression of these phenomena as international corporations and wealthy individuals consolidate power and control.
Warrior-gangs can include families. Part of the reason why they exist in the first place is often to protect loved ones from external threats. However, if you have only your family and no network of men to rely on for protection and support, you are ultimately dependent on corporations and the State for protection and support. You can see how states and corporations would prefer it this way. The bourgeois dependence on order and safety is how they get you. We’re all used to that, and we’ll have to learn to think differently or suffer the inevitable consequences of totalitarian control.
You don’t have to have a Liberian-style gang. That’s not the only option. It’s definitely not a “starter” option. Think of the Yakuza or the Mafia, or as I’ve said recently, underground networks of immigrants. I don’t think many of us are ready to be Liberians, and I don’t think many of us would want to behave as they do. There are shades of gray between being a complete slave to the State and 8-year olds shooting each other with AK-47s.
In your recent speech “Becoming the New Barbarians” you talk about forming small close-knit communities of people working together to become less dependent on the State and more dependent on each other. That’s what also I have had in mind. In many European cities immigrants are forming their own enclaves, so why shouldn’t white Europeans do the same? Could that be some kind of positive solution?
Yes, absolutely. Become insular, interdependent and interconnected. Become more local and less global. Fade mass culture out of your lives and focus on developing subcultures unique to your group.
An American writer Waller R. Newell has written many books about the history of manly ideals in the West. His conclusion is that the western civilization has always valued men who are good in both active and contemplative virtues. (This is also the ideal of Japanese Bushido.) An ideal man is strong and intelligent. I think that something has happened to that balance. There are men of action and men of ideas, but in this age of expertise fewer and fewer men even try to combine these two. Why is that, and do you think that it is still possible and desirable to be whole man in this classical sense?
I respect strong, smart men more than strong, dumb ones and agree that this should be the ideal whether it is Western or not. However, as you mentioned, things are out of balance now.
Men need a firm push in the other direction. The pendulum eventually swings back the other way, and this is how things always happen. There is no perfect balance that lasts forever. We are always moving one way or the other.
I also think that this criticism tends to come from writers most often. I am myself a writer and an artist more than anything else — I am no seasoned warrior or street-fighter. But I wonder if this is not because as men of words and ideas, writers and artists worry that they will become less valued themselves in a hierarchy of virtues that places strength and courage above intellect. It is natural for men to sing their own praises and argue that their own talents are the most valuable. It’s a tendency I am wary of in myself and others.
Yukio Mishima also contemplated this conflict between the world of words and the world of action in Sun & Steel.
One essential part of masculinity has always been the struggle against nature. Farmer, hunter, fisherman, explorer, gold miner and other male archetypes have always waged war against hostile natural conditions. Now man controls nature with his technology, and the virtues useful in the struggle against nature are no more needed. Is the decline of manliness a result of too successful fight?
Yes. In so many ways men are the worst threat to masculinity. Our inventiveness makes us obsolete. Or rather, the inventiveness of one man often makes many men obsolete. If we were inventing our own solutions to deal with nature, I think we’d be happier, but because we rely so heavily on the inventions of others, there is often very little for us to do ourselves.
Anthropologist Lionel Tiger speaks of “bureaugamy”. It’s a new kinship system featuring a mother, a baby, and a government official. Man is left out of this pattern, and partly for that reason men are the outsiders of the modern society. Bureaugamy is possible only in very wealthy societies. Do you think that the current economical crisis in America and Europe can collapse it?
Feminism and bureaugamy are expensive because they demand an inefficient distribution of labor in the service of an idealistic, feminine vision. In her 1978 book, Masculine, Feminine or Human?, feminist sociologist Janet Saltzman Chafetz anticipated the need for the creation of make-work jobs to occupy everyone and realize her ideal of an equitable feminist (or “humanist”) State.
I’m not an economist and I’m not going to try to assess the current economic situation, but it does seem that the inefficiency or modern bourgeois societies that consume more than they produce are economically unsustainable. And, for a variety of reasons, some discussed by Swiss author Piero San Giorgio in a recent talk and in his book Survive the Economic Collapse, it seems as though it is just a matter of time before America and many European countries see a dramatically reduced standard of living for all but their wealthiest citizens.
When that happens, I doubt there will be enough money to go around to pay for all of these inefficient programs and make-work jobs and massive police states and prisons that make a feminist society possible.
When women can no longer depend on the State for protection and sustenance, they will have to depend on men, as they always have.
You have written much about the concept of honor. In traditional societies the concept was connected to both sexes. What is the difference between masculine and feminine honor?
Feminine honor has traditionally been about chastity and loyalty to husbands, fathers, and brothers. Women have the great responsibility of bearing and caring for children, and female sexual adventuring before the age of cheap and effective birth control was a major betrayal of trust because of the potential to create paternity disputes, or to force a man to care for a child that wasn’t even his.
Because of the way the laws handle paternity today, that is still often the case. A man who raises a child that isn’t his for a certain period of time can be legally forced to pay child support even if he can later prove by genetic testing that his wife betrayed him.
A woman who is known to have been extremely promiscuous will be difficult for a man to trust as a wife, so while it is unreasonable in today’s world to expect women to be virgins when married, a woman who has had indiscriminate or casual sex with numerous men can be seen as potentially disloyal and therefore dishonorable.
An honorable woman is a woman who demonstrates loyalty to her chosen man, to her family, and to her tribal group.
There is no need to project masculine ideals of honor onto women, because masculine ideas about honor have to do with the male sex role. Making women accountable to masculine ideas about honor is a feminist project.
I think that there are two important communities in man’s life. One is family and the other is Männerbund (or gang) of other men. With other men he pursues his ideals and with family he pursues safety and reproduction. There is always some tension between these two communities, but most men need both of them. You have written quite a lot about male groups but almost nothing about family. Is that a conscious choice?
Yes, it is a conscious choice. I understand that fatherhood is an important part of many men’s lives. I don’t have children, so while I feel comfortable writing about the experience of maleness, I don’t think it is appropriate for me to write extensively about what it means to be a father. That’s an area of men’s studies best left to fathers.
I can, however, address the relationship between Männerbund and family in a more theoretical manner.
I concluded my upcoming book, A Sky Without Eagles, with an essay about my ideal society. I came up three primary values: “The Brotherhood,” family and ancestry — in that order of importance.
“The Brotherhood,” as a cultural feature, grows from the initial and enduring alliance between men that creates a society and makes its continuation possible. The primary values of The Brotherhood are the manly, tactical virtues of Strength, Courage, Mastery and Honor.
However, without women and family, The Brotherhood has no future. Family life is therefore the second most sacred part of any right-thinking patriarchy.
The third part has to do with reverence for ancestors, because even if you don’t believe in gods or souls, it makes sense to honor the memory of the dead. Everyone wants to be remembered, and our past is an important part of our identity — both as individuals and as a society.
When I talk to men who are frustrated with the modern world, they tell me they are angry because nothing makes sense to them. Everything seems wrong.
Everything seems wrong to men because in modern bourgeois society there is no Brotherhood, and all actions and values are subservient to the values of women — to the values of the womb and of family life.
The majority of women naturally seek security and comfort. They want to build safe, happy nests. Many modern women do not even have or want children, but as women they still focus on the same kinds of values that facilitate child-rearing. They want warm, inviting homes and good food and peacefulness and social affirmation and they want to be surrounded by nice comforting things.
The role of men has been reduced to helping them purchase and build and remodel these nests, and on the weekends you’ll find most average American men driving back and forth to the hardware store to buy things to fix or improve the home. That’s the modern male sex role.
This focus on nesting — on the world of The Womb — means orienting society around the buying and selling of things to create comfort. Everything possible is done to avoid violence, insecurity and strife, even at the expense of personal freedom and dignity.
People complain that modern men are nothing but overgrown boys, but the current system rarely allows men to break out of this protective womb and become men among men. The activities of men are always supervised by women, and there are fewer and fewer spaces where women are not allowed. How can a boy become a man with all of these mommies always looking over his shoulder?
The only brotherhoods permitted in the context of the modern State — the police and military — exist to protect this safe, emasculated merchant society from interruption by any means necessary. Women are being forcefully integrated into all of these brotherhoods, too.
Mussolini said that fascism meant, “everything in The State, nothing outside of The State, and nothing against The State.” The modern police state is not fascist, because there is no Brotherhood, no masculine idealism. Fascism is a masculine totalitarianism. What we have today is a tyranny of feminine values. Everything is about safety and comfort and consumption and emotional affirmation. Everything in The Womb, nothing outside of The Womb, and nothing against The Womb.
Family life is essential to my vision of a properly ordered society. The role of women is sacred and beautiful, and women are charged with the important task of raising children to become adults who can sustain and continue The Brotherhood.
Perceiving their demographic doom, many “awakened” white men are panicking and they want to put women on pedestals and put family life before other concerns. I sympathize with this, and it seems logical, but putting family life and feminine values above all other things is how white men ended up in the situation we have now. You have to start with The Brotherhood, and place The Womb in the service of that Brotherhood, instead of putting The Brotherhood in the service of The Womb. If you don’t, you’ll end up with the very same kinds of problems and frustrations men are facing today.
You are planning to publish a new collection of essays. Can you tell me more about it?
Yes. I will be publishing a book of essays titled A Sky Without Eagles in hardcover and as an audiobook in early March, 2014. It contains my most popular essays collected from various web sites and online magazines over the past three or four years. It also includes two transcripts of recent public speeches and three new essays I wrote specifically for the book. It will also be available in paperback, probably in April, but I saw no reason to put together an e-book since several of the essays can already be read online. Many of my readers have asked me to put together a collection like this, and given the semi-temporary nature of online magazines and web sites, it seemed like a very good idea to get the best stuff out on paper so it can’t just “disappear.” I encourage other prolific bloggers to online writers to do this — if for no other reason than to document your writing and give people an easy way to pay you for all of this hard work you do online for free. Collecting your best writing is also educational. You find the common themes and it brings your work into sharper focus. You also see what works, what stands the test of time, and what doesn’t.