Jim Webb’s Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America

Born Fighting
Jim Webb

Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America

New York: Broadway Books, 2004.

Former Virginia Senator (2007-2013), Secretary of the Navy (1988-1989), Marine, and unapologetic Vietnam War veteran Jim Webb launched a quixotic bid for the Democratic presidential nomination last year, withdrawing in a few months. He shared the stage with a “democratic socialist” and a third worldist in the earliest debate, offering a stark (and obsolete) contrast to his party rivals. To those of us on the Alt-Right, it was immediately obvious why he had to drop out—there is simply no place for patriotic White male leadership in the contemporary Democratic party.

Webb wrote a book in 2004 that I picked up only recently. When I finished, it was obvious to me why he became estranged from the Democratic party—he said earlier this year that he won’t  vote for Clinton but won’t rule out Trump—and left me wondering why it hadn’t happened sooner. Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America is a scholarly and personal mix of family autobiography, ethnography, popular history, Confederate apologia, revisionism, and anti-marxism. It’s a profoundly weird text, and I say that as someone who thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a polemic work and some of its claims are a bit of a stretch—see Albion’s Seed, which Webb cites, for a more scholarly take on the Scots-Irish—but it captures something about how at least one segment of White America conceives of itself or should conceive of itself, positively.

How was this father of five White children a Democrat if in his book he:

  • defends the maligned “redneck” from potshots fired from the ivory tower,
  • praises the expansion of the American frontier against the indigenous natives,
  • lionizes the sacrifice and valor of the Southern soldier,
  • denounces Reconstruction as “yankee colonialism” and calls Southern Whites its victims
  • condemns the left-wing takeover of academia,
  • and opposes affirmative action as a form of discrimination against lower-class Whites?

And how is someone so proud of his ethnic ancestry currently married to a Vietnamese woman? How do you even write a book praising one of history’s most xenoskeptic peoples and then go full racial exogamy? Again, this is a weird but enjoyable read.


Born Fighting almost feels like a paleoconservative wrote it, and yet the author would become an elected Democrat during the lame duck phase of the Bush presidency and the rise of Obama. His centering of a group that Democrats hate as the ethnic core of the United States that millions of immigrants have assimilated to, and as the source of its working-class culture and Jacksonian democracy is at complete and total odds with the prevailing historical narrative of the United States held by the left. Webb’s identitarian separation of the Scots-Irish from the broader “WASP” group as a disdained provincial working people of distinct ancestral and class origins from those of the East Coast elite and Southern slaver-aristocracy would be lost on any contemporary liberal, who believes all Whites are complicit in and benefit from “institutional racism.” The sweeping history Webb provides of his White subgroup, from Hadrian’s Wall to Bannockburn to Derry to Gettysburg to Vietnam, is totally irrelevant to the third worldist dichotomy of people of color versus White oppressors. His condemnation of the anti-war and anti-military leftists running academia is antithetical to the sensibilities of the left, who view his villains as their heroes. His defense of Southern Whites flying the Confederate flag is unjustifiable on the left (as well as the cuckservative right) given last year’s events.

And his idea that one of the country’s largest European ancestry groups deserves its own proud seat at the table of American multiculturalism and diversity would be considered viciously racist.

Ah, but what a time 2004 must have been. Or 2006 for that matter, when Webb was elected as one of Virginia’s senators. Ten  years down the line, with the polarization of the parties into White proles versus everyone else, it would seem the Democrats have hemorrhaged most White men like Webb and finally Webb himself. In fact, the views he expressed in Born Fighting would probably be considered impolite in most Republican company. If anything, people who voted for Pat Buchanan or Ross Perot in the 1990s, or Donald Trump in 2016 would be more comfortable with them.

And they are. I had a conversation recently at a bar with non-movement people that went from the Kaepernick national anthem false-controversy, to the role of the Scots-Irish in the American Revolution, to the Trump campaign. And I wasn’t even the one who even brought up the Scots-Irish. I’m not going to claim this level of historical background is typical to non-SWPL White bargoers, but there is definitely a White populism that borders on explicit advocacy that is up and coming among Trump supporters and people who think like Webb. When you have goyim who’d rather be shot dead than vote Democrat giving a Webb-esque interpretation of current events, you can really see that his narrative of a positive White role in American history and politics is something that’s been expunged from the left.

And Webb did abandon the Democratic ship. How could he not? In Born Fighting, Webb literally writes about cultural marxism (see pages 291-295 in the “expanded edition”), and calls New England liberal elites “brahmins” (322). He disaggregates the “White” demographic category to talk about income disparities between Jews and White Baptists in 1974, in order to show that the gap between them was larger than that between blacks and Whites in 1970 (323-324). It is astounding to me that he was ever a Democrat not only in 2004 but in the current year as well. At times I wondered if I was reading something from The Right Stuff or Social Matter. But how did he manage to hold together his liberalism with his illiberalism? That’s what constantly nagged me.

Born Fighting is a book that pleasantly defied expectations, but fell short of being a complete endorsement of White identity politics (though that it came anywhere near that was refreshing). It gives voice to a forgotten people who have few defenders in the power structure, but also expresses the author’s conflicted position as a liberal and what I would consider to be a pro-White author. Webb wants an integrated multicultural America to survive, and he wants the Scots-Irish to give up their fierce independence and think of themselves collectively to make sure they have a role in it. Webb is engaging in a post hoc rationalization of his own life and family history, and attempting to preserve them. And everyone does that. He takes an identitarian approach to understanding the White working class but then insists they can assimilate anyone (well his wife must be assimilable right?). He is justifying his location (and that of his people) in American history, and centering them as one of its most important blood donors. He praises their warrior ethos no matter the war in question, whether it was civil or imperial. He sees them as having lived through an on-going two thousand year journey of adversity and struggle, which continues in the face of their latest oppressors, elite “brahmin” liberals who have sided with blacks against them as “yankee colonizers.”

And he doesn’t want to play that game. He wants his slow march of social justice back, one where Whites are not enemies but partners. But it’s too late for that. The third worldists have triumphed on the left, and Clinton shared her stage at the Democratic National Convention with the blacklivesmatter movement. Only Trump is willing to defend the borders and national identity of the Empire that Webb and his Southern highlanders want to be the praetorians of. And all things considered, these are not unhealthy instincts; it’s just that they are being applied to an unhealthy state by people who’ve been mired in its sickness for too long to be fully against time.

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26 Responses to Jim Webb’s Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America

  1. Bar Tar says:

    The sooner, the better. More polarization. More explicitness. More rising consciousness.

    When Chinese historians write about 21st century America tbey will consistently note how the (((prevailing forces))) in American, and indeed Western, politics made their critical move about two decades too soon.

    I really don’t understand how these prominent Southern WN-esque types seem to so consistently fall to yellow wives.


  2. Rifleman III says:

    Reblogged this on .


  3. J James says:

    Before Trump picked Pence I thought that Webb would have made an interesting VP choice to help encourage the white working class male defection from the Democrats but perhaps with Trump’s own outsider Republican identity it would have been duplicate coverage of the same section of the electorate.


  4. simontmn says:

    I read this when it came out. Good analysis, I concur. I’d like to imagine Webb’s America was still possible, but if so it can only be through Trump. Decency on the Left is dead, has clearly been dead at least since 2012.


  5. Joe Putnam says:

    I had came across Webb’s book, but not purchased or read it. I did not realize that he has an Asian wife; now knowing this, I can cross his book off my list. I agree with you comm net pointing out hat he celebrate all wars the Scotts fought in, regardless of whether they were for volk and liberty or for the multicultural American empire.
    My family has been in America for over 150 years, with a few going back to pre-1700. I am a mixture of English, German, and Ulster-Scott. As such, I enjoy reading about my people. I do not think that my Ulster-Scott ancestor who served as a militia officer in Virginia during the America revolution and owned a few slaves would look kindly on Webb and his Asian wife!
    Thanks for the review; it saved me the time and money of reading his book.


    • I wouldn’t say not to read a book because of personal characteristics of the author. It’s still a fine work. But knowing that about the author really contextualizes the book’s desire for some sort of multiculturalism+whites.


  6. Robert the Bruce says:

    The Highland Clearances, the population of the Isle of Skye for example in the 18th century was 80,000 it’s now down to 8,000, the Elites wanted to get rid of the people because sheep was more profitable, my point being White Genocide isn’t new.


    • Anglos have always hated Gaels.


    • simontmn says:

      A very powerful Anglo technique was telling the Lairds “This land is your Property!” – they co-opted the local clan leaders by turning them into English landlords, with the prospect of far more wealth than they could ever have as merely primus-inter-pares leaders of a free people. With the land their property, they could then exclude surplus numbers of their own kinfolk – the clearances – and reduce the rest to the status of peasant crofters.

      A similar Lawfare approach is used when the expanding Anglos (I’m half Anglo half Gael) made treaties with eg Maori or Sioux (or even Boer) tribal leaders to cede territory, then used ‘breaches’ of those treaties as the pretext for war. The Anglo genius was to treat the local chiefs as ‘Heads of State’ with the legal power to cede territory, a status they certainly did not enjoy in their own system, in the view of their fellow tribesmen – who of course did not feel bound by such treaties and would therefore ‘violate’ them, creating the pretext for war. Thus Lockean concepts of ‘Property Rights’ & such become tools of aggression, morally legitimising war – and as Lind says, in war the moral level is the most important.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Robert the Bruce says:

        Ah yes, the old divide and conquer routine, what’s the old joke ? The Sun never set on the British Empire because God never trusted an Englishman in the dark !

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Brooklyn Dave says:

    If it weren’t for the Scotch-Irish, or Ulster Irish, the American Revolution would not have been won or fought a good few more years. These were folks not to be messed with.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Senatssekretär Freistaat Danzig says:

    Reblogged this on behindertvertriebentessarzblog.


  9. Thomas Jones says:

    As someone of Ulster Scots heritage I shall have to give this a read. Especially if Webb talks of ‘brahmins’ and how shitty academia is.

    Too bad he has an Asian wife. It holds him back from just totally denouncing multiculturalism and going full White populist.

    Liked by 2 people

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  11. Ed says:

    Webb has a Vietnamese wife, likely because he is a Vietnam war veteran. It isn’t unusual at all for a veteran of that war to marry an Asian woman, just as many Korean war vets married Asian women. I can’t guess why this is true, but I’ve seen it in enough vets to recognize that it’s a fact.

    I read Webb’s novel “Fields of Fire” in the early 80s but haven’t read his nonfiction work. No having paid much attention to his political career, I can’t say whether he’s one of the old Southern Blue Dog democrats, but maybe he is. In its earlier incarnation, the democrat party was the more conservative of the two.

    I have lots of ancestors who were staunch democrats, fought for the Confederacy (or had fathers who did), and held a deep antipathy toward republicans in general and toward New England Yankees in particular. Webb’s book is one that I will add to my reading list because I’d like to understand where his loyalties lie, but his having an Asian wife has no bearing, to me, on who or what he is, as a Southerner.


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