Chapter 3: The Nature of the Universe and Human History

William Pierce constructed an encompassing worldview that was unusual in the white supremacist movement both for its complexity and its comprehensiveness. This discussion will, for the sake of clarity, be divided into three chapters. The first (chapter three) will deal with Pierce’s understanding of the nature of the universe, and how human history has fit into it. The second (chapter four) will describe Pierce’s understanding of the contemporary Western world, and his strong objections to its mores. The third (chapter five) will describe Pierce’s proposed methods to purify the corruptions of the modern world, and the utopian existence he foresaw for the white race after this purification had been achieved.
The basis for all of Pierce’s ideological concepts can be traced back to his self-created religion, Cosmotheism. Cosmotheism, as previously mentioned, was based to a large extent on a play by George Bernard Shaw, and its tenets were set down in writing by Pierce in the 1970’s and 1980’s (though he had been developing its concepts since at least the mid-1960’s). It is a pantheist religion, holding that an animating force connects all life in the universe, and that that force has a definite purpose. There is no external God in the universe, only this force. Pierce wrote in one of Cosmotheism’s holy texts: “There is but one Reality, and that Reality is the Whole. It is the Creator, Self-created. The Material manifestation of the Creator is the tangible Universe, with all its non-living and living things, including man. The spiritual manifestation of the Creator is the Urge towards the One Purpose. The Urge lies at the root of all things and is manifested in the relations between all things” (qtd. in Cosmotheist 1 1). In this religion, evolution is not an accidental occurrence; the development of progressively more advanced forms of life serves a deliberate purpose. Pierce described that purpose in a speech given at a NA meeting in 1976: “ is the task, the one task, assigned to us by the creator. That is the task of achieving full consciousness and oneness with the whole, achieving full consciousness that we are part of the creator and our destiny is to achieve the single purpose for which the universe exists—the self-realization of the creator” (qtd. in ADV 7/27/02 9).
So the entire universe exists to fulfill this one purpose, the self-realization of the Creator. Pierce believed that the white race has shown itself, through its technological advances and cultural complexity, to be the most advanced species on earth. Therefore, it is the pinnacle of evolutionary progress, and the only race on earth capable of advancing to the next stage in the process (Griffin 2001 196). When the white race, through purification and education, becomes fully aware of its oneness with the Creator, the Creator itself will become self-aware. At that point, the white race will transcend its physical form and become gods (Whitsel 186). Hence the Cosmotheist affirmation:
My purpose is the Creator’s purpose. My path is the Path of the Creator’s self-realization. My path is the Path of Divine Consciousness. My destiny is Godhood (qtd. in Cosmotheist 1 13).
Cosmotheism remains a somewhat vague religion. Pierce wrote only three short pamphlets on the faith, and dedicated a few speeches to the subject. We are therefore left little material from which to gain a deeper understanding of the religion. This vagueness may have been at least partially intentional. Pierce apparently did not see himself as a religious prophet privy to great spiritual enlightenment; rather, he formed his Cosmotheist believe system from his readings of George Bernard Shaw and his own logical deductions regarding the nature of the universe (Griffin 2001 202). Although clearly reflecting a spiritual view of the world, Cosmotheism existed in Pierce’s mind primarily as an ethical basis for his political beliefs. Thinking of himself as a political theorist rather than a religious leader, Pierce may have felt that his time was better spent organizing the NA rather than attempting to launch a religious movement.
At this point, it might be useful to try to determine to what extent Pierce actually subscribed to these religious beliefs. Pierce at one time attempted to claim the entire NA compound as church, thus gaining tax-exempt status for the property. The government rejected the claim (CNC 8). This has led some to speculate that the entire Cosmotheist religion was designed as a tax shelter (Kaplan 249). It is the position of this paper that Pierce was in fact a devoted believer in his self-created faith. If one examines Pierce’s writings as a whole, one sees the tenants of Cosmotheism often expressed, though sometimes not explicitly. For instance, in The Turner Diaries, the title character is inducted into and elite group of white revolutionaries called the Order. As a part of this induction, Turner is given a religious text to read that is simply called “The Book”. After reading it Turner is awestruck, and comments that “We are truly instruments of God in the fulfillment of His Grand Design” (Macdonald 1990 71). Although here the word “God” is substituted for “Creator”, the underlining theology of Cosmotheism is quite apparent. And although Pierce produced no significant Cosmotheist writings after the mid 1980’s, the NA continues to maintain the Cosmotheist Community Church website, and in 1998 Pierce expressed interest in writing a book on the subject of Cosmotheist theology (Griffin 249).
Despite his apparent adherence to Cosmotheism, Pierce downplayed the religious elements of his belief systems when composing his political writings, and never mentioned Cosmotheism by name in them. There are probably several reasons for this. Many of the persons Pierce wanted to attract to the NA were Christians, and he probably saw no reason to offend their religious sensibilities and risk alienating potential members. As he put it, he did not want “a war with the Christians” (qtd. in Griffin 143). Also, if the NA was known as a religious organization, it might have taken on the appearance of a cult to outsiders. It was safer to portray the NA as a secular political organization rather than one based on strong religious teachings. Pierce apparently believed that after the success of the social revolution (which did not necessitate the conversion of the masses to his religion), the tenants of Cosmotheism could be more successfully transmitted to the white population.
If we look at William Pierce as not just a political man, but as a religious one as well, we can better understand the extremism and rigidity of his ideology. Pierce did not believe that the political platform of the NA was the best one by default; he believed in fact that it was the only one that could fulfill the purpose of the universe. This belief system, monism, is characteristic of extremist ideologies (Lipset and Rabb 12). If Pierce had thought that there might be more than one way to serve the Creator’s purpose, he might have been more willing to work with other like-minded persons or organizations. He might have even been willing to moderate his own positions in the interests of gaining some additional converts. But Pierce was a fanatically religious man. He felt that any deviation from his core system of beliefs would have been a betrayal of the purpose of the universe itself.
This monism extended into Pierce’s political writings as well. The Cosmotheist website features a question and answer section that contains the following exchange: “Q: With what single aim should men who are members of the Cosmotheist Community shape their institutions and structure their society? A: Their single aim should be service of the Creator’s purpose. Every other thing which men may consider desirable in their society—justice, tranquility, security, happiness, wealth, liberty—must all be subordinated to this aim” (qtd. in Cosmotheism Q&A 1). This total abandonment of a moral code outside the satisfaction of the Creator’s purpose gave Pierce an ethical license to commit any atrocity, no matter how egregious, in its pursuit.
Pierce’s monism also gave his writings a very high level of internal consistency, making his core beliefs relatively easy to grasp once the tenants of Cosmotheism are understood. Political theorist Michael Freeden noted that all political ideologies incorporate both rational and non-rational elements, reflecting the mental processes of the humans who created them (Freeden 29). Cosmotheism, with its faith-based promise of Godhood, is clearly based on emotional, non-rational appeals. From this non-rational base, Pierce was able to construct a logical and comprehensive description of the past, present, and possible future of the human race.
We might also note that like many extremist ideologies, Cosmotheism (which functions here both as a religion and a program for political action) promises a utopian world after the old one has been burned away. The fictional character of Earl Turner describes the post-revolutionary world as being idyllic:
My most profound impression comes from the fact that every face I saw in the fields was White: no Chicanos, no Orientals, no Blacks, no mongrels. The air seems cleaner, the sun brighter, life more joyous. What a wonderful difference this single accomplishment of our revolution has made!
All the workers feel different too, whether they are ideologically with us or not. There is a new feeling of solidarity among them, of kinship, of unselfish cooperation to complete a common task. (Macdonald 1990 171).
And beyond the end of strife and petty selfishness, Cosmotheism offers a final reward that few other utopian ideologies can match: Godhood itself.
As should be obvious by now, Pierce believed that racial differences among humans were much more than skin deep. In opposition to contemporary scientific research findings, he held that the various ethnic groups of humanity constituted sub-species, with vastly different characteristics and talents: “Only the fool or the mischief-maker can claim that the same soul dwells in the breast of the Negro, the White, and the Jew. Body and soul are interdependent, and the face more often than not reveals the essence of the inner nature. Every man instinctively knows this, but the false propaganda of racial equality has confused and misled many Americans” (qtd. in Strom 157). Pierce felt that these racial differences were unalterable: “One fundamental [truth] is that people do not change their nature, any more than the leopard changes its spots” (Resistance 16 24). Given these inherent differences, people will naturally choose to associate with others of their own kind, only mixing with other ethnic groups if they are forced to (Griffin 2001 326).
In Pierce’s worldview, miscegenation (inter-racial sexual relations) is the greatest crime a human being is capable of committing. The reason is two-fold. First, as described above, the purpose of the Creator can only be achieved by the continuing evolution of the white race. An impure, racially corrupted white population will be unable to make the transition (Cosmotheist 1 12). Secondly, each of the racial variants of humanity constitutes a separate, unique species. When one disappears, it is a tragedy: “There are no worse bigots than the advocates of miscegenation. It is ironic that these are the very bigots who raise the cry of ‘genocide’ whenever any proposal is made for dealing more strictly with Negro rioters or even for cutting back on welfare handouts. What could be more genocidal than interracial marriage?” (Attack! 20 6). However, Pierce clearly believed that the preservation of the white race was of the up most importance, and the welfare of the other races was a secondary consideration at best.
This obsession with racial defilement and the maintaining of the purity of the race can of course be traced back to the writings of Hitler himself: “Blood sin and desecration of the race are the original sin in this world and the end of a humanity that surrenders to it” (Hitler 249). Political ideology aside, there may be deeper psychological issues involved. Researcher Abby Ferber has suggested that the unusual amount of attention given by white supremacists to this topic may be a reflection of their own fear of the sexual potency of black males. She observes that in almost all of the negative depictions of interracial sex given by these groups, the image is of a black male “defiling” a white female. The subject of white men having sex with black woman is rarely, if ever discussed (Ferber 103). The reasons for this are two-fold. First, white woman are considered to be the most attractive females on earth to these groups. Women of other races are not as alluring, and therefore it is logical that more black men will be drawn to white women than vice-versa (Ibid. 108). Second, the image of the potent, muscular, and overall more anatomically impressive black male is a threatening image to many white men, and their pathological fear may be expressed in a rage towards this perceived violation of “their” women.
In considering the phenomena of racism in general, we might note that persons who become involved in racist groups always seem to be members of that organization’s perceived master race. Even if the NA allowed Jews to join its group, it is difficult to imagine they would (except perhaps in a few cases involving mental illness). The reason is obvious: It would be quite detrimental to one’s self-esteem to belong to a group that preached your own wretchedness. Whether consciously or not, groups such as the NA probably play a self-affirming role in their members’ lives. No matter how bad life seems to have become, one can still be proud of being a member of the only race destined for Godhood.
In their model of political extremism, Seymour Lipset and Earl Raab suggest that in addition to monism, one of the key elements of any extremist doctrine is the perceived existence of a an evil, worldwide conspiracy (Lipset and Raab 14). The identity of the persons behind the conspiracy varies from one extremist group to the next. For some it is the Bavarian Illuminati, for others, the Catholic Church. In more recent times many American far right groups have placed the blame for societies’ ills on a vast Communist conspiracy. For William Pierce, the great villains of the world are undoubtedly the Jews. He sees their influence in almost every part of Western society. They are the great enemy of the white race, and therefore the enemy of the Creator himself. It is the Jews that Pierce described as his main adversaries, and he saw their destruction as the key to fulfilling the white races’ destiny.
Pierce used the same evolutionary approach to describe the origins of the Jews as he did the other races of the earth. According to Pierce, the Jews were originally a large tribe of nomads, roaming the deserts of the Middle East, with no set home of their own. They mixed with the other tribes they came into contact with, giving them an unsavory mongrel bloodline (ADV 11/30/02 2). They also came to have a bad reputation among the other tribes in the region on account of their dishonest business practices. The Jewish people were driven out of many areas by other tribes because of their duplicity. When the ancient nation of Israel was founded, the Jews for the first time possessed their own country. It was here, Pierce claimed, that the Jews developed the one trait that guaranteed their survival as a people: Their strong sense of racial pride, along with its accompanying refusal to mix with other tribes and the urge to support one another regardless of the circumstances (Ibid. 3). Even after the Roman Diaspora, the Jews kept this strong sense of identity. They continued to work for the interests of their own race, though now they relied on guile and manipulation rather than military force to achieve this end (Ibid. 4).
Given the above description of the Jewish people, one might think that Pierce would have had at least a grudging respect for them. After all, they embody much of what Pierce aspired to: They have a strong sense of racial loyalty, do not engage in miscegenation, and put the welfare of their own people above all else. Pierce’s hatred of the Jews stemmed from the way in which they sought to forward their interests, not those interests themselves. In an article published in Attack!, Pierce described the Jews as being analogous to the parasites found in the insect world:
Thus, one never sees a Jewish bricklayer or a Jewish pipefitter, a Jewish lumberjack or a Jewish dirt farmer. Jews do not create—they consume; they manipulate; they buy and sell; they pander; they peddle pills; they mimic; they scheme and shuffle their papers; they sit in their office and give advice (for a price); they advertise; they strut and prate before the TV camera (their TV cameras); they scribble lies for the newspapers; they flood our libraries and book stores with worthless or poisonous books (which we foolishly praise to the skies); they sicken our children’s minds in the schools; they whisper advice into the ears of the politicians; they incite riots and lead demonstrations for “equality”; they judge us in our courts; they reveal our military secrets to our enemies; they own; they rent; they lead; they undermine; they subvert; they destroy (qtd. in Strom 81).
So the Jews do not honorably seek to forward their interests by competing fairly with other groups; they survive only through the manipulation and exploitation of other races.
This need for an overreaching conspiracy theory also explains why Pierce (and other American white supremacists) chose to make the Jews the main focus of their criticisms, rather than a more obvious target such as African-Americans. White Americans might be more personally afraid of blacks than Jews, but it would be much more difficult to construct massive conspiracy theory which claimed the black population secretly controls the functioning of the United States government.
Although he believed the white race still has the potential to achieve a higher state of evolutionary development, Pierce felt that the race as a whole has been in decline for quite some time. A part of this decline can be traced to the elimination of the process of natural selection that occurred as civilization emerged:
I think we reached our peak sometime around 10,000 B.C. when we moved into the Neolithic Age and lived a settled existence and farming became the basis of our subsistence rather than hunting and gathering...[Then] we built more permanent dwellings and started living in settled communities and there was a much more elaborate division of labor and we began to see large-scale social and governmental structures and we accumulated surpluses. The result of all of that was that those who simply would not have survived in Paleolithic times could now stay alive and breed. So I think that we began to see some dysgenics around that time, and evolution slowed down (qtd. in Griffin 2001 351-352).
Pierce believed that a system of eugenics implemented by the state would ultimately be required to speed the evolutionary process back up again (Ibid.).
In addition to the detrimental effects of modern civilization in general, Pierce saw Christianity as being one of the key historical factors that has stood in the way of the progress of the white race. One of his objections was the perceived non-Aryan origin of the religion. In a critique of the American conservative movement, he wrote: “The root of the that the religion of the Moral Majority is of alien origin. It grew out of a Jewish sect, and it was exported to Europe and Asia” (qtd. in Strom 203). Given Pierce’s belief in the parasitic and manipulative nature of the Jewish race in general, it is easy to understand why he would be distrustful of any faith that sprang from Judaism. It is safe to assume that Pierce would have also objected to whites practicing any religion that was not Aryan in origin; he would for example have likely criticized any white person who adhered to Buddhism or Islam.
In addition to its suspect origin, Pierce objected to Christianity on the basis of its theological precepts as well. Pierce, being a supporter of eugenics, found Christianity’s acceptance of the weak to be distasteful. He noted this disturbing element of the faith in his description of the Allied liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau:
To be sure however, in addition to the effects of the specific anti-SS propaganda concocted for indoctrinating the troops, there was a certain predisposition on the part of the Americans to identify with the inmates at Dachau rather than with the SS guards; both democracy and Judeo-Christianity inclined them that way...those who have taken to heart the Sermon on the Mount...are bound to value the homely and botched over the handsome and fit, the petty and mediocre above the noble and accomplished, the mongrel above the purebred, the mean-spirited above the idealistic (qtd. in Resistance 12 27).
The Biblical prediction of the last being first in the final days did not appeal to Pierce; in his worldview the strong will rule the earth, and the weak will disappear under the strict law of eugenics.
Pierce also felt that Christian theology contained elements that were inherently anti-racist:
And then there is the universalistic message of Christianity. That we are all alike, that fundamentally there is no difference among people, that the only thing that counts is whether you are in or out of Jesus’ flock. It’s the “we are all one in Christ Jesus” [sic] idea—man and woman, white and black, Greek and Jew...All of that is fundamentally opposed to the evolutionary view that I have and which I think is necessary to progress (qtd. in Griffin 2001 261).
Pierce, being a pantheist, also disagreed with the monotheist conception of reality. In Pierce’s view, we are all connected to the universe itself, and therefore have a responsibility to try to improve the great whole we are a part of. Pierce believed that monotheism, with its separate God and its promise of a great reward in the afterlife, encouraged persons to withdraw from the physical world and prepare themselves for heaven (Ibid.). This clearly contradicted Pierce’s activist ideology, which stresses action to change the world, rather than waiting for the Almighty to set things right in the final days.
Although Pierce was clearly quite anti-Christian in his views, he downplayed the issue in his writings and speeches. He did not dedicate entire columns to the dangers of the Christian faith, as he did for issues such as liberalism or democracy. One can only assume that Pierce realized that a large number of Americans still consider themselves to be Christians, and that he would only succeed in alienating them immediately if he strongly attacked their faith. In fact, Christians are allowed to join the NA. Pierce claimed that approximately twenty to twenty-five percent of NA members are Christians (Swain and Nieli 273). If this is true, one can only assume that these members are unaware (or perhaps willing to excuse) Pierce’s obvious anti-Christian bias.
Pierce held that with the modernization of Western society and the increased luxury that came along with it, another defect emerged in the white race: individualism. As he put it: “...whereas 50 years ago most persons at least felt obligated to accept and pay lip service to society-centered, nation-centered, or race-centered mores, today there is often no comprehension or even awareness of any viewpoint but one of extreme individualism. Society, in the eyes of far too large a portion of the current generations of Westerners, exists to serve the needs of the individual, and that is all” (qtd. in Strom 191). Pierce further believed that this trend was not only damaging to society, but showed a lack of maturity on the part of the person in question: “There is in each of us a combination of infantile urges and more mature desires and needs. The infant seeks only to gratify himself and avoid pain. The well-developed man or woman has a more inclusive concept of ‘self’ than that of the infant. He is concerned not only about his own needs but also about the needs of his family, his community, his clan, his nation, and his race” (qtd. in Free Speech 2). Given the tenants of Cosmotheism and the political demands of National Socialism, it is perhaps not surprising that Pierce would strongly reject individualism. In his post-revolutionary world, there would be no room for self-gratification at the expense of the needs of the Creator.
Those who favor the simple left/right dichotomy as a means of classifying political ideologies might be surprised to learn that William Pierce was a strong critic of the capitalist system. Pierce acknowledged that capitalism had done much to forward the technological advancement of the West (Strom 14). But he suggested that capitalism would be an unsuitable economic system in a post-revolutionary world, given that it placed the self-interest of the individual businessperson above the well being of the race: “The butcher, the baker, and the candlestick-maker, of course, also have the all-too-human tendency of viewing the world in the light of their own parochial interests. The butcher’s feelings about what the price of pork chops ought to be are not half as likely to be based on what’s good for the community as they are on what’s good for his own pocketbook” (Ibid.). Pierce was of course also a rabid anti-Communist, but not out of economic concerns:
The evil in communism was not that it took property away from those who had earned it or inherited it and gave it to those who had not; the evil was not that it discouraged individual initiative or that it eventually made an economic basket case out of every nation on which it was imposed. The evil of communism was that it preached egalitarianism. It denied the differences in human quality among individuals and among races. Worse, it inverted the natural rankings of human beings. It appealed to the worst to bring down the best (qtd. in ADV 7/14/01 5).
Although Pierce (consistent with his fascist roots) considered a corporatist system to be ideal (Strom 15), he clearly believed that any economic system would suffice so long as it was made to serve the interests of the white race. He was not so much concerned with the material well being of the population, but with creating an economy that would be conducive to their racial purification and spiritual awakening.
Given Pierce’s adoration of Hitler, whom he once referred to as “the greatest man of our era” (qtd. in Resistance 11 23), it should come as little surprise to discover that he felt the Second World War had been won by the wrong side. The Third Reich, Pierce believed, had offered humanity its best hope for achieving the purpose of the Creator (Ibid.). Pierce saw the destruction of Nazi Germany as a turning point in human history. After the war, racial ideologies in general fell into disrepute, and National Socialism in particular was received with almost universal repugnance. Despite this defeat, Pierce felt that Hitler’s memory would live on to provided a positive role model for future whites: “...what will count in the long run in determining Adolph Hitler’s stature is not whether he won or lost the war, but whether it was he or his adversaries who were on the side of the Life Force, whether it was he or they who served the cause of Truth and human progress. We only have to look around us today to see that it was not they” (Ibid. 27).
Clearly, Pierce felt that the current state of human affairs was not tenable, and that the Third Reich’s political and racial policies would some day be vindicated.
In the world of the American far right, extreme patriotism is still the norm. Across the spectrum of the movement, from the Ku Klux Klan to the John Birch Society, the American flag is waved proudly, and America is held up as being the greatest of the word’s nations. Pierce set himself apart from most of his far right contemporaries by rejecting the historical image of America as being a paragon of moral virtue. He took the risk of alienating many potential supporters when he made statements such as the following, which described America’s involvement in the Second World War:
There were a lot of decent Americans who fought in the war in Europe, anti-Communist Americans, and many of them don’t want to think about the fact that they fought on the wrong side...I believe that knowing the far more important than protecting our carefully nurtured belief that we were on the side of righteousness. I believe that understanding how we were deceived in the past is necessary if we are to avoid being deceived in the future (qtd. in Griffin 2001 274-275).
Pierce did not see the U.S. as being the potential leader of a new, bright future, but looked to the white race worldwide for his inspiration.
While he may have differed with many of his far right colleagues on the issue of patriotism, Pierce agreed with them on a point of historical interpretation that is almost universally accepted in the movement: Holocaust denial. Pierce acknowledged that large numbers of Jews were executed during WWII by the Nazi regime in retaliation for acts of sabotage or insurrection. But he steadfastly denied that there had been any organized program to systematically murder the Jews of Europe (Griffin 2001 282). He wrote extensive articles explaining how the labor camp of Auschwitz was designed to process oil and rubber from coal, and that the deaths among the prisoners that did occur there were mainly caused by disease (Strom 158). Pierce also alleged that The Diary of Ann Frank was a forgery, and in fact had been written by the girl’s father after the war (Ibid. 198). Pierce believed that the false account of the Holocaust had been concocted by the Jews for three reasons. First, it helped to provide a moral rationale for the formation of the state of Israel. Second, it gave the Jews grounds to request large reparation payments from governments and companies who were allegedly involved in the atrocities committed against them. And finally, the memory of the Holocaust could be used to grant the Jewish people a victim’s status, deflecting attention away from their dishonest and manipulative practices (Griffin 2001 284).
Of course, the great irony in Pierce’s denial of the Holocaust is that even if he had acknowledged it to be a historical fact, he would have had no moral objection to it. Pierce believed that any act, no matter how horrific, was morally correct if it was necessary to forward the purpose of the Creator. Pierce saw the Jews as being the main impediment to the white race’s progress in modern times; their extermination would have therefore been quite permissible. Writing about the concentration camp at Dachau (which confined Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and other “undesirables”), Pierce noted:
It is to be regretted that Dachau was not really the “extermination camp” Jewish propaganda claimed it to be, and that the staff had not exterminated the 32,000 vermin incarcerated there before the Americans arrived to turn them lose on the world again (qtd. in Resistance 12 27).
In William Pierce’s mind, traditional history and morality were inverted. The Holocaust did not happen. But it should have.


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