In preparing transcripts to be included in Set the World on Fire, the book about my campaigns, I realized that I had never published the transcript of my speech from the Make Men Great Again event in Huntington Beach, California last August.
Good evening, everyone. My name is Augustus Invictus. I am a Southerner, a husband, a father – and in a more mundane sense a publisher, an attorney, and a former candidate for the United States Senate. I am honored to have been invited to speak here this evening, as I think the question of masculinity is one crucial to our age.
I am 34 years old, as of this week; and when I shave I still look 18. Everywhere I have been in California this week, they have asked for my ID to make sure I am at least 21. But I am an old man. I have lived a long life at this young age. I have been around the world and to Hell and back; I have been homeless and a professional, a criminal and an officer of the court, a patriarch and a revolutionary. I have been married twice; I have eight children to worry about, including my five children, two step-children, and a baby brother. But my biography would take all weekend to recount. Suffice it to say that it is through these experiences that I would like to address the question tonight: What makes a man?
If you ask my sons that question, they will give you a one-word answer: Pain. I have taught them from the time they could understand words that we grow only through pain. But tonight I want to expand on this concept, to explain what it truly means.
Many of you here are young, certainly younger than me. Undoubtedly, many of you still consider yourselves invincible. I know I did ten years ago. I have undertaken many things without a second thought, simply for the adventure of the thing, or for the glory.
In Guadalajara, for instance, a gypsy fortune teller said to me that I had made the Pilgrimage to Mexico in order to make a decision. I had been born for a mission, he said, and it was at this moment that I was to accept or to decline. And of course I accepted – perhaps in part because I did not understand the burden, I did not foresee the sacrifices, the tortures, the heartbreak of the Path I chose.
Many years & many miles later, I understand. I thought in my youth that courage was the absence of fear – for I did not know fear until recently.
I fear for my sons. I fear that their rebellion will not be sex, drugs, and rock & roll, but a deliberate embrace of weakness, softness, and self-negation. I fear that they will shun fatherhood & war, that they will consider video games and television shows as more important than revolution & religion.
I fear for my daughters. I fear that their rebellion will not be elopements with strong, wild men who defy their father, but rather a rejection of all tradition & values, a wandering through the American wasteland without any sort of moral compass. I fear that they will shun motherhood & the family, that they will pursue mindless entertainment instead of a virtuous calling.
I fear for my descendants. I fear that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be born into a world devoid of meaning, a spiritual desert unmatched in the annals of humankind. America stands on the brink of collapse, as did Rome – and through what barren lands will our sons wander, with neither history nor future to guide them?
I fear for our homeland, for this Sacred Land of America, for our Western culture & the Faustian spirit that has been corrupted by the love of money.
What meager success I might have had as a younger man I earned by throwing caution to the wind & forging ahead without a second thought. I knew nothing of fear. Now I know that courage is not the absence of fear, but its overcoming.
How do we, as a people, whether as Southerners or as Americans or as Westerners or whatever group you identify with – how do we avoid such a fate? How do we ensure that our future and the future of our families will be a picture of devotion & sanctity?
The short answer is to reclaim the meaning of virtue, the root word of which is VIR, the Latin for “man.” The present state of America is not to be blamed on Russia or the Jews, on the banks or the media or anyone else. America is in its present state of degradation because its men have failed in their responsibility.
We retreated into football & ESPN. We took solace in strip clubs & bars instead of seeking our place of comfort in our families. We convinced ourselves that the meaning of life was the pursuit of money & amusement. We built altars to the twin gods of Commerce & Entertainment, we begged their blessing.
And look at us now. The concept of manhood has fallen so low that a man literally cuts off his own genitals and makes the cover of Sports Illustrated – and if you do not praise him for his courage, for his heroism, you are the one with a problem. You are transphobic, sexist, a monstrous agent of the fascistic patriarchy.
The concept of manhood has fallen so low that young men feel no shame in wasting their nights chasing skirt at the bars or wasting their days sharing cat memes on social media. Where once American masculinity meant frontiersmen & warriors, today it means nothing more than having testicles – and to many, that is already too offensive a statement.
So how, considering this dismal state of affairs, do we revive the notion of masculinity and restore the virtues of our forefathers? I humbly propose that we look to strengthening ourselves, our families, our tribes, and our nation, precisely in that order.
All values, all biases, all judgment, comes ultimately from the self. For those of you who think that is a hyper-individualistic statement, hear me out. I have found in my experience that those on the right-wing tend to be physically stronger than those on the left; they tend to place a higher value on strength, because they themselves are strong. Those on the left, in contrast, tend to be weaker.
The reason for embracing a left-wing ideology is weakness – and resentment for the stronger. Or did you think it was an accident that the radical left is manned (pun intended) by 90-pound weaklings in skinny jeans, fat women with beards, men who think they are women? They are physically and mentally unfit – and this is not some sort of trash talk by me, this is something they openly flaunt, as though it were a badge of honor.
Those who are weak will embrace an ideology that caters to their weakness. Those who are strong will seek to protect their families, their tribes, and their nations from aggressors. Those who are strong will create; those who are weak know only destruction, the slow gnawing of maggots on a wound.
This is what I mean when I say that all judgment comes ultimately from the self: We decide our view of the world by what we are inside. We embrace a political perspective not based on objective truth but on how we view the world as the sort of person we are.
If you are in this gathering tonight, then I assume you are all coming from a position of strength. The title of this event is “Making Men Great Again” – and I imagine we are all of the same realization that masculinity has become a dirty word in the modern West. I have been spammed for weeks on Twitter with responses to the flyer for this event:
“Oh look, these guys are so insecure they need to puff up their chests and tell themselves how special they are.”
“[The] Alt right is dripping with too much testosterone . . . an alarming amount of fragile masculinity. Get laid. Stop politicking.”
“I don’t see these chauvinistic men joining the [A]rmy to fight ISIS[.]”
Working in politics, you see a lot of stupidity. You think you see stupidity on Facebook – but you have no idea the nonsense I have to wade through on a daily basis. But this is perhaps the most depressing of it: Men saying that men are not real men because they are talking about what it means to be a real man – and they say this as a keyboard warrior, without the least sense of irony. Have men become so castrated by modern society that talking trash about other men at a keyboard is how they show how tough they are?
We could talk about what does not make a man all night long. Just turn on your television, go downtown, look around, you can see it for yourself. You don’t need me to point it out for you.
What I want to relay to you is what does make a man, and that is virtue. The word “virtue” derives from the Latin word virtus, meaning “moral strength, high character, goodness; manliness; valor, bravery, courage in war; excellence, worth.” As I mentioned, the root word of virtus was vir: Man. In other words, being a man was at the root of virtue, and being virtuous meant being a good, courageous man of high moral character who strove for excellence.
I am very fortunate to be surrounded by men I can trust with my life; and not just my life but the lives of my family members, as well. And I trust them so profoundly because they follow nine noble virtues, which I find best explained by my friend Stephen McNallen:
Courage: Without moral and physical courage to defend the right, the other virtues would be overwhelmed.
Truth: Truth is the pole-star, our guiding light, our unwavering recognition of the universe as it is.
Honor: It is good to strive for glory, acclaim, and the reputation that comes from great deeds.
Fidelity: The fulfillment of duties to friends, kin, and the Holy Powers is the very heart of Germanic morality.
Discipline: If we cannot command ourselves, we cannot command our lives, and still less can we command others.
Hospitality: The open-handed and hospitable lead the best lives, while the miserly and mean suffer from their closed hearts.
Industriousness: The happiest people are busily engaged in constructive work in harmony with their inner needs.
Self-reliance: Each of us should accept the aid of family and friends when needed but, likewise, each must do his or her share and avoid being a burden on others.
Perseverance: Often life’s victories are won by stubborn refusal to give up. We are beaten only when we quit trying.
Let us move on from talking of the self and speak now on family. I said that we must strengthen ourselves, our families, our tribes, and our nations. That is because I see these organizational structures as concentric circles, emanating outwards. The character of the individual is the foundation of the family; the integrity of the family is essential to the well-being of the tribe; the strength of the tribe is necessary for a strong nation. Certainly the nation influences the tribe, which influences the family, which affects the self: but it is within our power to master ourselves first, and then to work outward.
I want to read to you a passage from my favorite book of all time, Nietzsche’s Magnum Opus, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. It is about the purpose of marriage, and the purpose of raising children. Listen:
I have a question for you alone, my brother: like a sounding lead, I cast this question into your soul that I might know how deep it is.
You are young and wish for a child and marriage. But I ask you: Are you a man entitled to wish for a child? Are you the victorious one, the self-conqueror, the commander of your senses, the master of your virtues? This I ask you. Or is it the animal and need that speak out of your wish? Or loneliness? Or lack of peace with yourself?
Let your victory and your freedom long for a child. You shall build living monuments to your victory and your liberation. You shall build over and beyond yourself, but first you must be built yourself, perpendicular in body and soul. You shall not only reproduce yourself, but produce something higher. May the garden of marriage help you in that!
You shall create a higher body, a first movement, a self-propelled wheel—you shall create a creator.
Marriage: thus I name the will of two to create the one that is more than those who created it. Reverence for each other, as for those willing with such a will, is what I name marriage. Let this be the meaning and truth of your marriage. But that which the all-too-many, the superfluous, call marriage—alas, what shall I name that? Alas, this poverty of the soul in pair! Alas, this filth of the soul in pair! Alas, this wretched contentment in pair! Marriage they call this; and they say that their marriages are made in heaven. Well, I do not like it, this heaven of the superfluous. No, I do not like them—these animals entangled in the heavenly net. And let the God who limps near to bless what he never joined keep his distance from me! Do not laugh at such marriages! What child would not have cause to weep over its parents?
Worthy I deemed this man, and ripe for the sense of the earth; but when I saw his wife, the earth seemed to me a house for the senseless. Indeed, I wished that the earth might tremble in convulsions when a saint mates with a goose.
This one went out like a hero in quest of truths, and eventually he conquered a little dressed-up lie. His marriage he calls it.
That one was reserved and chose choosily. But all at once he spoiled his company forever: his marriage he calls it.
That one sought a maid with the virtues of an angel. But all at once he became the maid of a woman; and now he must turn himself into an angel.
Careful I have found all buyers now, and all of them have cunning eyes. But even the most cunning still buys his wife in a poke.
Many brief follies—that is what you call love. And your marriage concludes many brief follies, as a long stupidity. Your love of woman, and woman’s love of man—oh, that it were compassion for suffering, and shrouded gods! But, for the most part, two beasts find each other.
But even your best love is merely an ecstatic parable and a painful ardor. It is a torch that should light up higher paths for you. Over and beyond yourselves you shall love one day. Thus learn first to love. And for that you had to drain the bitter cup of your love. Bitterness lies in the cup of even the best love: thus it arouses longing for the Superman; thus it arouses your thirst, creator. Thirst for the creator, an arrow and longing for the Superman: tell me, my brother, is this your will to marriage? Holy I call such a will and such a marriage.
Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
Let me put it simply:
Be careful who you marry. Your marriage should not be undertaken out of some foolish romance, but out of a common goal for the future – and that goal should reflect your highest aims as man and woman.
Your child should be your greatest hope and your greatest love. Your child is not a plaything, or a mistake, or an inconvenience, but the entire point of your life and your life’s work.
As for the practical matter of raising children: Who am I to speak on that? My children are excellent in every possible way – but I will have no idea what sort of job I have done as a father until they are grown into adults. I am just now 34 myself, and I think it may only now be possible for my parents to know whether they raised me right or not. I suppose the best we can do is teach our children and hope they were listening.
But more important than any words with which you might lecture your children, you must lead by example. How many men want their daughters to end up with someone like them? You men need to ask yourself that and answer honestly, because your daughters will end up with someone like you.
No matter what you say or preach or lecture, what children pay attention to is action: Are my father’s actions consistent with what he says? Does my father advise me to do what he says and not what he does? Perhaps children do not usually think these things consciously, but subconsciously this is exactly the critique.
Words are cheap. Be a man of right action. Be the man you want your son to become; be the man you would want to take care of your daughter. That is the only advice I can give for raising children.
The third of the concentric circles is the tribe. You can call this a community, if that is more proper to your modern sensibilities. In any event, that would include, for those of us here, the people in this movement, at the very least.
So this is something that I shouldn’t even have to say, but I do have to say it: Be respectful to one another. There is a huge difference between challenging someone and disrespecting them. You can question a person’s position without calling them a cuck, a Nazi, a degenerate, or whatever your word of the day is.
Likewise, everyone in the right-wing, whether the Alt-Lite or the Alt-Right or somewhere in between: There has been much talk of traditional gender roles, of men taking the lead and women resuming their traditional functions. Let me tell you what that does not entail: It does not entail treating women as mere sandwich makers, or talking down to them, or acting as though they are stupid or uneducated about political matters simply for the fact of having breasts.
My friend, with whom I came here tonight, said to me she expects a man to treat her the way her grandfather treated her grandmother. Now I didn’t know her grandparents, but I can guarantee he wasn’t putting her down and telling her to get back in the kitchen and all the other bullshit that comes along with how our modern culture tells dominant males to act.
This notion that a man must be a loudmouth, aggro-alpha, disrespectful dick just to show how tough he is and how little he needs women is a disgusting caricature of masculinity. Do not buy into it. Your models in life should not be Dan Bilzerian and the rest of the Hollywood clowns but Jefferson Davis and the Southern gentlemen. Texting pictures of your genitals and acting like an animal with no manners, the rest of us are looking on wondering: “What the hell are you doing?”
It is not a show of strength to talk to every woman like chattel – (unless she is a prostitute, in which case she is chattel but it would be wiser not to speak to her at all); a true show of strength is kindness. As Nietzsche once wrote: “Of all evil I deem you capable: I therefore want good from you.”
Another note on tribe: Your choice of acquaintances is one of the most important choices you can make in life. This is a lesson I wish I had learned fifteen years ago. “Show me who your friends are, and I will show you who you are,” goes the old American proverb.
I want you to consider the five people in your life with whom you spend the most time. That is who you are. The people closest to you are not just your greatest influences, they are also a reflection on who you are as a person. So consider the people with whom you associate, and select your tribe on some criteria more than proximity.
I cannot tell you the number of clients I had working in criminal defense who fell into crime because of the people they were hanging out with; the girls I knew who became strippers or prostitutes because they had a stripper or prostitute friend;
Lawyers hang out with lawyers; doctors hang out with lawyers; weightlifters hang out with weightlifters; and if you think that formula is different for the weak, the hopeless, and the morally corrupt, you are fooling yourselves.
What you embrace is what you become. So decide what you want to be, and choose your tribe based on that.
The final sphere I want to address tonight is the nation. This is something far more abstract than the self, the family, or the tribe, because it involves people you do not know and cannot know. A nation is largely built upon an idea, even if it is bound by some common characteristic. This is not the time or the place for me to give a lecture on nationalism – you can watch any number of my speeches elsewhere for that. Suffice it to say that a man must fight for something greater than himself, or even his family. To fight for your nation, your country, your people, requires that you have vision and loyalty that extends beyond yourself and even your family.
In closing, I would like to say a word about faith, which I have deliberately avoided this entire address. It is no secret that I am, for my part, exceedingly religious. I am not going to fault those who are atheist or agnostic or who otherwise place less importance on religion than me. But I do want to point out that being a man requires having faith in something.
A man with nothing to believe in is a man lost. Whether it is at the level of the self, the family, the tribe, or the nation, your life cannot be functional without faith. If you want to be a great athlete or scholar, you must have faith in yourself. If you want your children to be successful in life, then you must have faith in your family. If you want your community to thrive, then you must have faith in your tribe. And if you want to restore the greatness of America and the West, then you must have faith in your nation.
Thank you very much for hosting me here tonight.