I am just recovering from a splendid weekend in Seattle, a conference organized by my good friend Guy Wolf, editor of an alternative-right blog.
(You never know how people will react to having their names publicized in this context. To be on the very safe side, I have substituted pseudonyms of my own devising for all the actual persons at the conference, except for one I have identified by her blog.)
So there we were at a hotel in Seattle, thirty-odd adherents of the politically incorrect, race-realist, diversity-skeptical, alternative right: some academics, some blog proprietors, and some interested citizens.
It was a very warming and encouraging experience. I tend to think of the alternative right as an impotent splinter group, like those of the Trotskyites I used to hang out with in my London college days. Some individual Trots ended up in senior political positions, but Britain never had a Trotskyist government.
The Seattle crowd’s vigor, conviction, and sheer intelligence had me rethinking that. There were no dopey Trot-type ideologues here chewing over arcane points of political philosophy or the minutiae of old Politburo debates. (I mean the alternative-right equivalents thereof, which would be…oh, I don’t know: what Giovanni Gentile said to vex Benedetto Croce in 1925, perhaps.) These were thoughtful, very smart people, but they were practical-minded, by no means pettily ideological, and well up to date on US political developments. I came away thinking that the alternative right is a real thing, with real prospects for broader influence.
The presentations were very good. One of the academics, anthropologist Tom Clout, gave us a brilliant overview of current controversies about kinship recognition and its origins in natural selection, embellished with colorful anecdotes from his field work in Africa.
Another academic, who prefers complete, non-pseudonymous anonymity, brought us up to date on the latest researches in psychometry. S/he displayed complete mastery of the subject matter, firing right back at questions with comprehensive answers after no pause for thought at all. This always impresses the heck out of me. I like my lecturers to show the iceberg effect: to give me the impression that the matter in their presentation is the merest visible fraction of what they know.
Blogger Rob Przybykov broadened the scope with an excellent talk—I see he’s posted it on his blog—on parallels between obesity and addiction to pornography, with side trips into evolutionary biology, brain metabolism, and the “manosphere.”
A learned political scientist spoke on the uses and abuses of the term “fascism,” the subject of his next book.
Historian (mainly of science) Doug Fosnow called for the USA’s “red” counties to secede from the “blue” ones, forming a new federation. This was greeted with much skepticism by the audience, who noted that the “red” federation would get practically no seacoast. Did Doug really think such a secession was likely to happen? No, he admitted cheerfully, but anything would be better than the race war he does think is likely to happen, and it is intellectuals’ duty to come up with less horrific possibilities.
And so we went on: informative and thought-provoking presentations, hearty debate in the Q&As afterwards, hotel food no worse than the average, and lively gossip around the dinner tables and bars.
I made the opening presentation myself, speaking on the history of, and prospects for, thinking about human biodiversity (HBD). Zack Duncan, who runs a prominent immigration-restrictionist website, said he would post my talk as an article if I could de-PowerPoint it down to ordinary text, which I have tried to do. (It’s harder than you’d think: There’s a mighty quantity of words in a 40-minute talk, way too many for a normal Web posting.)
Outside the main conference business, I got to meet the lovely and charming lady who blogs as “HBD Chick.” I cleared up matters with Mingus Quinn, who runs one of the oldest and best of the race-realist websites, and with whom I have been engaged in some sparring over miscegenation on Zack’s site.
I also renewed my acquaintance with Bob Zungo, the great-grandfather of HBD blogging, who is a fellow survivor of lymphoma. We compared chemo notes:
Derb: “How long did it take you to get back to normal after you were through with chemo?”
Bob: “Well, I finished chemo around Memorial Day that year. Took the summer off—three full months. Went back to my job after Labor Day. Got to my office, sat down at my desk, put in two hours’ work, fell asleep.”
Derb: “Oh, dear. So three months is not enough, then.”
Bob: “Figure six.”
This was my first time ever in Seattle. With the help of Jim Lucid, a local gent who was attending the conference, I did a little sightseeing. (Thanks, Jim!) The main event here was a trip to Lake View Cemetery to pay respects to an old acquaintance.
Later all of us took a walking tour of the downtown market area—very nice, though I could have done without the white-guilt murals reminding us how beastly we had been to the West Coast Japanese-American farmers in WWII. Don’t blame me, pal—I was the merest twinkle in my Dad’s eye on a different continent.
For the return trip to New York the organizers had checked me in to a red-eye flight: Depart at 11PM and arrive at 7:30AM. My usual strategy for a red-eye is to get likkered-up beforehand. It’s the only way I can ever sleep on a plane. Here the aforementioned Zack Duncan came to the rescue.
I had to quit my room at noon, but I knew Zack was staying over another night, so I trundled over to his room and threw myself on his hospitality for the afternoon.
Come evening, Zack suggested dinner in the hotel restaurant. The food was the usual mediocre stuff, but we knocked back two bottles of wine and, oh, a couple, perhaps more, of bourbon nightcaps. I figured I was primed for the red-eye.
Somehow I found the right plane and staggered aboard. I couldn’t sleep, though, so I asked the steward if he could sell me any bourbon. He certainly could: one of those little miniature bottles for $7 on the credit card.
I still couldn’t sleep. When the steward came in sight again, I asked for more bourbon. He went away and came back with another miniature, but when I offered my credit card, he waved it away. “This one’s on the house,” he said.
Those must be the best ones: I slept like a babe thereafter, all the way to JFK. Sleepless from Seattle? Not me.
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