The Roots of the White Man, Part I
A Reply to Jared Taylor: The origins of our racial characteristics lie in the distant past.
by Edwin Clark
Jared Taylor’s two-part essay on the character of the white race offers many perceptive and even brilliant insights into the qualities that distinguish whites from other peoples. Nevertheless, reading his essay, it seemed to me that someone not familiar with American Renaissance would come away from it thinking that whites are simply natural liberals, genetically disposed to support or exhibit “freedom of speech, rule of law, sportsmanship, republican government, high regard for women, concern for animals and the environment.”
One problem with Mr. Taylor’s catalogue of white racial traits is that they strike me as being largely modern, and while they may indeed be characteristic of whites, I believe they derive from deeper traits that the white race has exhibited throughout its history and in almost all the cultures it has developed. In modern times, these characteristics have often become exaggerated or contorted far beyond their original meaning and functions, so that today these same racial characteristics often contribute significantly to the weakness and decline that now threaten to destroy the white race and its civilization.
My purpose in writing this response to Mr. Taylor’s article is not to fault him but rather to try to move the discussion to a higher or at least a different and less localized plane. By looking at the deep racial-cultural history of whites since ancient times, we discover more profoundly who we are, where we come from, and where we may be going. We may also learn how to control those traits that are now contributing to our destruction and to make use of them and other, more fundamental ones that can help place us back on the path toward what should be our racial destiny.
By looking at the deep racial-cultural history of whites from ancient times, we discover more profoundly who we are.
When speaking of “whites,” I mean the branch of the Caucasian race now generally called “Indo-Europeans,” or what used to be known as “Aryans,” whose descendants today constitute the main part of the populations of Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. The term “Aryan” has, for obvious reasons, gone out of fashion, but prior to the rise of German National Socialism, it was a widely accepted anthropological label, and the great archaeologist V. Gordon Ghilde wrote a book entitled The Aryans (1926), which remains a useful survey of what was then known of the origins and early history of the ancestors of European Man.
Whether we employ the term “Aryan” or “Indo-European,” however, most anthropologists today use these terms merely as linguistic or at most cultural labels and insist that they do not refer to race. Yet this usage seems artificial. The early Indo-Europeans, no matter where they lived or where their remains have been found, were white, and their physical remains, art, and languages reflect their essential racial unity, regardless of the diversity of the subracial stocks into which they eventually divided in various parts of the world and the mixtures with other stocks and races that eventually absorbed many of them.
The Indo-Europeans are thought to have originated in the steppes of Russia and began to move out of that area into what is now eastern and northern Europe, the Near East, and India in the third or second millennium B.C. The earliest known written Indo-European language is the Linear B script of the Greek city-state of Mycenae around 1500 B.C., and it was around this time also that the Aryans invaded India and displaced the dying Dravidian civilizations of the Indus Valley.
In Europe, the Aryan invaders conquered and displaced the non-Indo-European peoples of the archaic megalithic civilization that built Stonehenge and similar colossal monuments. In the Near East and India, the Indo-Europeans conquered many peoples who had created literate, urban civilizations. In some cases, the Aryans were, to a greater or lesser degree, absorbed into the larger populations that they had conquered.
Of particular interst to us are the common features of archaic Indo-European peoples, which continue to shape modern Indo-European-derived beliefs and institutions. As the French folklorist Georges Dumézil has pointed out, one of the principal characteristics of early Indo-European societies is a hierarchical, three-tiered or “tripartite” class structure of priests, warriors, and herder-cultivators. This structure appears to be racially rooted and prefigures many of the societal characteristics we now think of as typically Western or European.
The Indo-Europeanist J.P. Mallory has pointed out one of the central elements of this Indo-European three-class society:
ne of the more obvious symbols of social tripartition is colour, emphasized by the fact that both ancient India and Iran expressed the concept of caste with the word for colour (varna). A survey of the social significance of different colours is fairly clear cut, at least for the first two functions. Indo-Iranian, Hittite, Celtic and Latin ritual all assign white to priests and red to the warrior. The third would appear to have been marked by a darker colour such as black or blue.”1 The racial symbolism of such caste colors is obvious, with the higher ranks of society being symbolized by the color associated with the lighter-skinned Aryans and the lower ranks symbolized by the darker hues of the conquered non-Aryan races.
Indeed, racial consciousness among the early Aryans was commonplace. Romila Thapar, a modern Indian scholar, writes, “The first step in the direction of caste (as distinct from class) was taken when the Aryans treated the Dasas [non-Aryans] as beyond the social pale, probably owing to a fear of the Dasas and the even greater fear that assimilation with them would lead to a loss of Aryan identity. Ostensibly the distinction was largely that of colour, the Dasas being darker and of an alien culture ... The colour-element of caste was emphasized, throughout this period, and was eventually to become deep-rooted in north-Indian Aryan culture. Initially, therefore, the division was between the Aryans and the non-Aryans.”2
The Laws of Manu, the ancient Sanskrit code of social obligations for Hinduism, is very explicit about the consequences of interracial marriage:
“An unknown man, of no (visible) class but born of a defiled womb and no Aryan, may seem to have the form of an Aryan, but he can be discovered by his own innate activities. Un-Aryan behaviour, harshness, cruelty, and habitual failure to perform the rituals are the manifestations in this world indicating that a man is born of a defiled womb... But the kingdom in which these degraded bastards are born, defiling the classes, quickly perishes, together with the people who live there.”3
Whatever modern scholars may say about the old Aryans being merely a language group and not a race, that does not seem to be the way the old Aryans themselves looked upon the question.
Dumézil’s “tripartition thesis” shows that the archaic Indo-Europeans throughout the world possessed a remarkably similar social structure and common culture extending well beyond language and including the ordering of society and religion. One of Dumézil’s leading students, C. Scott Littleton, points out a crucial way in which Indo-European societies differed from those of non-Indo-Europeans. “The food-producing class, while distinct from that of the warriors, was nevertheless a much more integral part of the total society ... The ancient I-E [Indo-European] herdsmen and cultivators — and perhaps the artisans as well — would seem to have played a part in the total ritual and social life of their communities undreamed of by the ancestors of the Egyptian fellahin and their counterparts in Mesopotamia.”4
The subordinate but distinct social and political role for the “third class” ensured a level of participation in the community unknown to the wholly dominated peasants of the Asiatic non-Aryan peoples. This may help account for the eventual appearance of participatory and representative (republican and democratic) political systems among the Aryan peoples.
Moreover, the separation of the military and religious functions into distinct classes points to an early Indo-European tendency toward a distinction between the sacred and the secular that seems to be entirely unique to the Indo-European peoples and which may be the foundation of the later differentiation of science and philosophy from religion in European society, as well as the source of the conflict between secular and ecclesiastical authority in European history.
“Both ancient India and Iran expressed the concept of caste with the word for colour.”
Finally, this ordering of society and social function was conceived as having supernatural or cosmic sanction and was held to be in accord with the order of nature. Some scholars believe that the tripartite structure of Indo-European society survived into medieval Europe with the division of society into “those who work, those who fight, and those who pray,” and it may also be reflected in the division of political functions into executive, judicial, and legislative in the U.S. Constitution, and even in the Christian idea of the Trinity.
It is possible to extract from the mythology of the Aryans and from the remains of their cultures and literature certain more abstract concepts that seem to be common to most or all Aryan societies and continue to characterize those of their descendants. Perhaps in unconscious accord with the quaint Aryan custom of tripartition, I will try to identify three such traits and to elaborate on their significance. I am fully aware of the speculative nature of these reflections, and welcome any criticisms and comments that might correct or supplement them.
(1) The Cosmic Order: It is a widespread feature of early Aryan thought that there exists an objective order that is independent of what we believe or want to believe — in other words, truth. The Rig Veda calls this order rta, a term that may be linked with the word Arya itself, which seems to mean “noble” in The Laws of Manu. The word “Aryan” comes from “Arya” and a number of other Indo-European words seem to be connected — the Greek arete (virtue, the quality of acting like a man, from which we derive “aristocracy”); the Latin ara (altar) and the name “Arthur”. But regardless of the linguistic linkages, the Aryan concept of Cosmic Order contrasts with ideas of the universe found among ancient non-Aryans. For the latter, Cosmic Order is merely the product of will, a creature of magic, and it can change if those who know how to change it wish to do so. If the priests or the divine king did not perform the proper magical rituals, the sun literally would not rise, the Nile would not flood, and food would not grow. In this non-Aryan, magical view of nature, order does not exist as an externally independent and objective arrangement of nature and its functioning.
While early Aryans did believe in and practice magic, theirs was not a world-view in which nature and the universe were dependent on magic. Magic could be used to influence nature (through love potions or ointments to make weapons stronger and the like), but nature itself exists apart from the tricks of the magicians and sorcerers. Indeed, throughout Western history, magicians and sorcerers almost always come from pre-Aryan Mother Goddess figures or from the non-Aryan Orient — from Egypt, Babylonia, or the “Magi” of pre-Aryan Persia from whom we get the word “magic.”
Moreover, Indo-European gods are considerably less powerful than the deities adored by the non-Aryans. Zeus, Apollo, Odin, Thor, and the rest did not create the universe and are in fact subject to most of its rules. The subordination of Aryan gods to the regularities of the universe itself points toward a deep Indo-European belief in Cosmic Order, a belief that has major philosophical and ethical implications.
It follows from recognition of the Cosmic Order that some things are true and some aren’t, no matter what you prefer to think, that some things will always and always have been true or false, regardless of your wishes, and that some things will happen or will not happen, whether you like it or not. Hence, the Greek and Nordic ideas of “Fate” or “Destiny,” that some things are beyond the control of the human will and are inevitable because of the very fabric of the universe. The concept of Fate is probably the origin of the principle of causality and the ancestor of such Indo-European ideas as logic, mathematics, philosophy, science, and theology.
While Egyptians and Babylonians collected a great deal of information about mathematics and astronomy and practiced impressive engineering on a grand scale, their “sciences” never had a really scientific basis. Their knowledge existed either as the lore collected by the priests or as the products of practical trial-and-error. Only the Indo-European Greeks actually systematized scientific and mathematical knowledge, and they were able to construct it into a system because the system itself was their concept of a Cosmic Order in which all events and phenomena were related through causality and its inexorable linkages of one event and phenomenon to another.
It is notable that Christian theology itself, as developed under the Scholastic theologians of the Middle Ages and under the influence of rationalistic Greek philosophy, reflects this underlying Indo-European belief, that even God behaves according to certain principles, just as Zeus and Odin did, and it is also interesting that today even Christian fundamentalists who wish to disprove the theory of evolution on behalf of their religious beliefs try to do so through “creation science.” Among Indo-Europeans, even religion and the supernatural are subordinate to the ancient Aryan perception of a Cosmic Order that governs the universe from the remotest galaxies to the life-cycles of insects.
“It is no accident,” wrote V. Gordon Childe, “that the first great advances towards abstract natural science were made by the Aryan Greeks and the Hindus, not by the Babylonians or the Egyptians, despite their great material resources and their surprising progress in techniques — in astronomical observation for example. In the moralization of religion too Aryans have played a prominent role. The first great world religions which addressed their appeal to all men irrespective of race or nationality, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism, were the works of Aryans, propagated in Aryan speech ... It is certain that the great concept of the Divine Law or Cosmic Order is associated with the first Aryan peoples who emerge upon the stage of history some 3,500 years ago.”5
It is from the Aryan concept of a Cosmic Order that modern white men derive their mental inclinations both to universalism, a tendency to think in terms of generalizations and abstractions that apply universally rather than in terms of the specific, local, and temporary, and to objectivity, the tendency to evaluate events and phenomena with reference to the general and the abstract, rather than to judge them subjectively, as they relate to themselves. While these traits account for many of the achievements of European Man, they also, as we shall see, help to explain many of his racial problems in more recent times.
The concept of the Cosmic Order also has important ethical implications, and it was as an ethical system that the ancient Aryans mainly seem to have understood it. Recognition of a Cosmic Order implies that human action has consequences — that you cannot do whatever you please and expect nothing to come of it — and also that sometimes no matter what you do, you will not be able to avoid the consequences of your Fate, what the Greeks and Norsemen respectively called your moira or wyrd. Thus, the central concept of Greek tragedy is that the tragic hero suffers as a consequence of a “tragic flaw” that may not be the result of his will or intent but that his fate is unavoidable. Oedipus was doomed to commit the sacrileges of patricide and incest through his very virtue, and there are many heroes in Greek mythology that encounter similar fates.
But Aryan dynamism is not confined to military conquest and geographical exploration. It is also clear in the Faustian demand to understand nature. Just as Aryan warrior nomads overturned whatever cities and peoples stood in their path, so Aryan scholars and scientists, beginning with the Ionian philosophers of early Greece, have conquered nature and its mysteries, discarding myths, religions, and superstitions when they presented obstacles to their knowledge, and systematizing their discoveries and thought according to the Cosmic Order. Alexander the Great’s solution of the Gordian Knot by simply slashing it to pieces with his sword is no less a racial trait of Aryans than the scientific achievements of Plato and Aristotle, Galileo and Newton, and hundreds of other scientists who were heirs of the ancient Aryans and who slashed through obscurantism and mythologies with their minds. Their descendants have cured diseases, shrunk distances, raised cities out of jungles and deserts, constructed technologies that replace and transcend human strength, restored lost languages, recovered forgotten histories, stared into the hearts of distant galaxies, and reached into the recesses of the atom. No other people has ever even dreamed of these achievements, and in so far as other peoples even know such things are possible, it is because they have learned about them from European Man.
Afrocentrists, in their resentful and pathetic bitterness against whites, today pretend that it was their ancestors who created European civilization. The irony of their pretense is that their claims inadvertently acknowledge the superiority of the very civilization they hate, even as they try to claim it as their own. As for other civilized peoples, the Faustian dynamism of the Aryan race and civilization stand in stark contrast to the static primitivism and never-changing dullness that characterize the “fellahin” peoples of Asia, immersed in the fatalism and world-denying religions of the East. In travelogues and National Geographic, we are treated to picturesque accounts of the almost animal existences of these peoples, whose lives, work, and minds are often described as being “just what their ancestors were a thousand years ago.” No phrase more accurately describes the differences between the perpetual passivity of the non-Aryan and the world-conquering activism and dynamism of the Aryans.
Critics of the Indo-Europeans often like to deflate Aryan contributions by pointing to the lateness of Aryan achievements in ancient times and by emphasizing that most of the basic inventions that made civilization possible were of non-Aryan origin. It is true that at the time the Aryans invaded Europe, the Near East, and India, literate, urban civilizations had flourished in those regions for some centuries or millennia and that the Aryans often merely destroyed whatever lay in their paths. It is also true that inventions like the wheel, the alphabet, the compass, the stirrup, gunpowder, and printing were not of Aryan origin.
But the point is that while other, non-Aryan civilizations may have invented these tools, only when they fell into the hands of the dynamic Aryans did they lead to enduring achievements. The Phoenicians invented the alphabet, but neither the Phoenician language nor its literature survives today. Egyptians and Sumerians built cities, empires, and great temples long before history knows of the Aryans, but today their cities, empires, and temples lie in ruins; their languages are known only to scholars, and only Indo-European scholars care about them. The Chinese may have invented the compass, gunpowder, printing, and the stirrup, but only Indo-Europeans have applied these inventions to the economic, political, and cultural conquest of the Earth. These achievements are due to the intrinsic dynamism, the Faustian creativeness, of the Indo-European mind and remain unparalleled by any other human race.
As for the lateness of Indo-European achievements, this is mainly a function of the geography of the “Aryan Homeland” in the Russian steppes, a region that furnishes few materials for building cities and lasting structures. What is striking about the Aryans, however, is that they did not remain in those regions; they conquered other, more desirable territories, took what they liked or needed from those they conquered, and over a period of about a millennium and a half after 1500 B.C. created a distinctively Aryan civilization that endures today. Those who repeat or swallow the cliche that “while white men were still running around in animal skins in northern Europe, non-Europeans were building cities and empires in Egypt and Asia” need to reflect that there were very few people at all in northern Europe at that time and that as soon as those who lived there or on the steppes became conscious of themselves as a people, they moved out of the north, conquered more comfortable climates, founded what we know today as Greece, Rome, Persia, and the Indo-Aryan civilization, and proved to be unstoppable by other, more civilized peoples who are now forgotten or remembered only because Indo-European scholarship has resurrected and preserved them.
It is also the dynamism of Indo-European man that accounts for the comparative absence of “Oriental despotism” in the political history of the Aryan peoples. Both Greece and Rome were originally ruled by kings, but the kings were never absolute monarchs and were elected or confirmed by the aristocratic warrior classes. Very early in their histories, the kings were dethroned, and republics, also originally aristocratic, were established. The Roman historian Tacitus noted similar institutions among the warrior bands of the ancient Germans, whom he held up in part as models of virtue against whom the decadent Romans of his day fell short. The passive proclivities and static tendencies of non-Aryans render them easy to subjugate in such highly autocratic empires as those of Asia and ancient Egypt, imposed by slave armies often driven by whips and ruled by “god-kings” and colleges of priests armed with secret magical knowledge. It is almost impossible to dominate Aryans in this way for very long.
Greece not only gives us the word “democracy,” but also the term “tyranny,” which describes illegitimate rule. There is little in non-Indo-European thought similar to this concept. While Asiatic history is full of palace coups, harem intrigues, assassinations, and uprisings led by one minor potentate or another against a despot, all that ever happens, from the days of the Pharaoh Akhnaton to the assassination of Anwar Sadat, is the replacement of one autocrat by another. By contrast, the histories of Greece, Rome, and medieval and modern Europe are filled with acts of tyrannicide, political reforms, establishments of law codes and constitutions, baronial rebellions, peasants’ uprisings, and eventually full-scale revolutions in which a dynamic race seeks to resist being reduced to slavery. Those despots who have gained power over Aryan peoples usually never last very long, and those who overthrow or assassinate them usually become heroic figures. The individuality and dynamism of Indo-European man simply does not tolerate one man or institution monopolizing all the power and dictating to everyone else.
This is clear enough in the histories of Greece and Rome, but it is also true of the ancient Germans. Historian Francis Owen thus describes the ancient Germanic political institutions:
“The state, if one may use that term, was composed of all the free men of the community. On certain occasions all the free men were called together, to give assent to certain projects which had already been considered by the council of elders and leaders. The assembly had the power to reject such proposals, and instances are known when such assemblies forced on the leaders a policy of war, because peace had become monotonous, and the hope of booty was a strong lure.
“These assemblies also had the power to elect the leaders in time of war, who for the time being had almost dictatorial power.”9
Already in prehistoric times, then, the Germanic peoples exhibited an archaic form of republicanism that was fundamentally aristocratic in nature. The “free men” of the community did not include all inhabitants but “the great mass of independent landowners and the wealthier or more aristocratic class of recognized families, which might be called the nobility.”10 The unfree, or “thralls,” had no vote or standing in the assembly. The free men were also those who bore arms, and Tacitus describes their assemblies and how they conducted them.
“On matters of minor importance only the chiefs debate; on major affairs, the whole community. But even where the commons have the decision, the subject is considered in advance by the chiefs ... It is a drawback of their independent spirit that they do not take a summons as a command; instead of coming to a meeting all together, they waste two or three days by their impunctuality. When the assembled crowd thinks fit, they take their seats fully armed ... If a proposal displeases them, the people shout their dissent; if they approve, they clash their spears. To express approbation with their weapons is their most complimentary way of showing agreement.”11
When the Framers of the American Constitution guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms, “being necessary to the security of a free State,” they were following this ancient Aryan custom of the assembly of armed free men, and much the same custom was observed among the early Greeks and Romans.
Owen points to the dynamic quality of the ancient Germans as the ultimate reason for their disunity as well as their liberty, which characterized the warring kingdoms of medieval as well as modern Europe:
“But there were other more fundamental reasons why it was not possible to create a unified German state. These reasons are intimately connected with the inherent Germanic love of independence, the spirit of individualism and the respect for personality. These are all highly desirable qualities, but in an exaggerated form they do not facilitate the formation of political unity beyond a limited geographical area.”12
The natural form of government among the Aryan peoples, then, appears to be this kind of aristocratic republic, tending toward democracy but with well-recognized rights and duties for non-aristocrats.
A limited democracy thus has deep racial and cultural roots among Europeans, but it properly derives from those roots, not from the rootless ideologies that today have grotesquely expanded it far beyond its natural role. The natural Aryan aristocratic republicanism is a form of government encouraged by the tripartite structure of Indo-European society; by its distinctions and balances between the warrior, priestly, and producer classes; by its tendency to separate the sacred from the secular; and by the apparently innate dynamism of the Aryan race itself, which resists and rebels against any effort to impose autocratic rule or to induce the passivity that allows despotism to flourish.
The Aryan resists any effort to impose autocratic rule.
“Medized” (i.e., adopted the customs of the Medes or Persians and other Asians) as people who were alienated from their own institutions and who might harbor ambitions of enslaving their own people. In Rome the great model for despotism was Egypt, after Julius Caesar dallied with Cleopatra, and both Caligula and Nero tried to imitate Egyptian and Asiatic despotism (both were assassinated). Yet the Asiatic-Egyptian model of autocracy eventually triumphed, as Rome’s racial composition altered with the importation and emancipation of large masses of foreign slaves and immigrants, and it was from this model that the Roman Catholic Church developed its own ideas of papal absolutism, which in turn were copied by the monarchs of the medieval and early modern periods. Despotism, even in its European forms, is not naturally an Indo-European institution but derives ultimately from alien peoples.
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