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Archie Munro, American Renaissance, December 15, 2017



A warning against romanticizing the East.
I’m a Western expat in Romania. What I’m about to say will no doubt
be considered a “black pill“—or even internecine race-baiting. Be assured,
however, that as a person intensely proud of his extended kinship with all
Europeans, I take no pleasure in this.
I’m writing mainly for Americans who are inexperienced in the realities
of Eastern Europe. This inexperience apparently extends even to the well
informed. Many Americans imagine that the Old Continent is inhabited
end to end by white people who are fundamentally like themselves. They
believe Eastern Europeans are relatively intelligent, that they maintain
high levels of social trust, that they exercise strong control over their
impulses and that they’re committed to universal morality. It’s sort
of like magic dirt theory in reverse: where there is European soil,
there too, ipso facto, are white people—who in turn are like Amer-
icans. But the truth is that with Romanians, anyway, you’re dealing
with people who are very unlike Americans. Romanians themselves
even call Western Europe Occidentul (“The Occident”).
It’s not my intention to defame Romania. In fact some of my best friends
are Romanians. So too is my wife. Naturally, there are all sorts of
individuals in this country, but it’s a cardinal intellectual virtue of the
illiberal right to make defensible generalizations.
First, a vignette:
I’m at a wedding in Iași—probably Romania’s most conservative big city.
The wedding party is fairly large—probably around 200. It’s well past
3:00 a.m., and all night the floor has been populated by couples dancing
to schmaltzy 1980s American pop. But for the last half hour or so, the
common will has been diverted to dancing the Hora, its bobbing and
turning circumference slowly colonizing any space left unoccupied.
Various peoples dance the Hora—Greeks, Armenians, Albanians, Turks,
Bulgars, Romanians, and Jews. To a Westerner, it gives the impression
of fierce communal commitment and stalwart unity in the face of
outsiders. I don’t know whether it’s because such healthy impulses
have been so thoroughly suppressed in the West or because the Hora
is really a product of a Near Eastern kulturbund, but there’s something
very un-Western about it. Tonight it’s executed with nonchalant facility,
as if everyone is in the habit of dancing it daily. The sense of brotherhood
and healthy heterosexuality is palpable. Drunk on whisky and sentiment,
and fancifully seeing in the linked arms and cyclical motion of the Hora
a symbol of the eternal wheel of national tradition, I join the circle.
Everyone cheers on seeing the foreigner inexpertly doing their dance.
The hired cameramen point their lenses towards me. The Hora turns
fraternally into the dawn.
Nice, right?
But here’s a second vignette:
Back on the outskirts of Bucharest after flying back from the very same
wedding, my wife and I stop at a restaurant beside the highway. In this
part of the country there’s an increasing, though furtive, Chinese presence,
and Chinese investment no doubt proceeds stealthily apace.
The restaurant is set in a courtyard around a walnut tree. A two-man
band, with some sort of infernal synthesizer, is playing frantically-paced
digi-folk. A small Hora has formed. In its midst is a shortish, rotund figure.
When the lights briefly illuminate the scene, I realize that it is a Chinaman.
The Hora turns around him, as if to honor his presence. Then the music
pauses, and the DJ makes an announcement:
“Trăiască prietenia dintre China și România!” (“Long live the friendship
between China and Romania!”)
So much for the cultural inviolability of the Hora.
Romania has serious problems. The conventional explanation for this—
to which many Romanians and free-market-worshiping others cling—
is the enduring effects of communism. I’m skeptical. I believe what
makes Romanians different from us may run deeper.
One day, when my wife was at the local supermarket and loaded
down by more groceries than she could carry, a middle-aged man—
a casual acquaintance who works nearby—kindly carried her shopping
out to the car and put it in the trunk. My wife was pleasantly shocked
at this, because such exhibitions of male chivalry have become rare.
She was 11 when communism ended, and she swears that before the
collapse and for a while afterwards, behavior like this was the norm.
The impression that Romania’s antisocial malaise dates from the end
of communism is reinforced by the fact that, in the service industries,
younger people (especially women) are by far the least cooperative:
vain, dead-eyed, obstructive, spiteful, indifferent androids. This is i
nconsistent with communism being the sole explanation for the radical
disdain with which Romanians generally treat each other.
Communism is said to explain Romanian failure just as slavery and
colonialism are said to explain African failure. But does any racially
conscious white person accept slavery and colonialism as a satisfactory
explanation of the shortcomings of black societies? Romania’s problems,
too, must be more than the cultural attrition brought about by communism.
I’m not trying to exonerate Communism for all the bad things it did.
Not least of them was the physical liquidation of the Romanian
intelligentsia and aristocracy, which were strongly identified with
each other. Even allowing for the exaggerations of Cold War—and
post-Cold War—propaganda, it seems reasonable to accept that
hundreds of thousands of anti-communist intellectuals died building
the Danube-Black Sea Canal. The aristocracy, whose pre-war cultural
accomplishments and refined lifestyle are described by
Patrick Leigh Fermor, was either forced into exile or murdered.
Their once-magnificent houses are now mostly abandoned and hollowed out,
sometimes inhabited by Gypsy squatters. In the cities, they have become
restaurants or the lugubrious offices of the unresponsive government bureaucracy.
Peles Castle in Sinaia, Romania, was once occupied by nobles.
The dining room in Peles Castle.
This destruction of Romania’s best people—and of the standards of taste and
social order they upheld—allowed the communists free reign to build a huge
number of hideous prefab apartment blocks in town and country, both as
monuments to the dogma of equality and because (perhaps mainly
because) they were cheap. There was also a much less practically motivated
demolition of the older parts of Bucharest and elsewhere and their redesign
on triumphal-brutalist lines (thought this also happened in parts of post-war
Western Europe). The result was the destruction of much of the architectural
patrimony that had been built by Romania’s aristocratic and cultural elite.
But the worst effects of the loss of Romania’s traditional ruling class have
become apparent since the end of communism: Romania is rapidly becoming
Gypsified—cognitively, culturally, genetically, and socially.
Statistics on European IQ from before the Second World War are hard to find,
but if you check maps such as the one below, derived from Lynn & Vanhanen’s
2012 book, you’ll see that today the average IQ of 91 in Romania is one of the
lowest in Europe. One wonders whether this figure includes Gypsies, who are
5 to 8 percent of the population and, owing to high fertility, rapidly increasing
in numbers. And does it include the large ethnic Hungarian minority? The
average inhabitant of Hungary is reportedly seven IQ points better off than
the average inhabitant of Romania. In short, was the Romanian population
fairly stratified for ethnicity in Lynn & Vanhanen’s IQ statistics?

Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia also have substantial Gypsy populations
but each comes out seven or eight points ahead of Romania. It’s also worth mentio-
ning that one measurement of Gypsy IQ in Romania found an average intelligence
of 60—comparable to that of Australian Aborigines. Average IQs for Gypsies
elsewhere are reportedly higher: 85 in Slovenia, 83 in Slovakia, and 70 in Serbia.
But whether Romania’s unusually low-IQ Gypsies drag down the national average
significantly, or its 1.2 million Hungarians substantially raise it, the fact remains
that the population of Romania is demonstrably among Europe’s dumbest.
Whatever the effect of the communists’ elimination of the Romanian elite, it
certainly can’t have helped the national IQ.
Perhaps this relative stupidity, combined with the absence of a tone-setting
cultural elite and the “liberating” effect of the free market, partly accounts
for the dominance of a Gypsified anti-culture. Gypsy musicians were tradi-
tionally held in high esteem in Romania, as a sort of caste with a distinct
place in the social hierarchy. However, in traditional society, there was no
social mixing at any level. These days it’s de rigueur that restaurants of
all standards play manele—the music of an emancipated and assertive
Gypsy cultural ascendancy, at conversation-precluding volume. Taxi
drivers play the same music on the radio. It’s not especially uncommon
to see peasants in their 60s whizzing by in their Dacia Logan automobiles
playing this kind of thing:
The blond hair of the first “singer” is a good example of Gypsification.
The hegemony of the creed of equality—first brought to bear under Comm-
unism and amplified by global capitalism—has freed no people to a greater
degree than it has the Gypsies. For one thing, they can now plague the cities
of Western Europe with well-organized gangs of welfare cheats, beggars and
pickpockets. For Romania itself, though, the most harmful expression of Gypsy
emancipation is the breakdown of traditional social barriers to intermarriage.
I would estimate, with admitted impressionistic roughness, that in the larger
towns up to 10 percent of Romanians under the age of 50 have recent Gypsy
ancestry. In Bucharest, I would say the figure approaches 20 percent for those
under the age of about 25. In the Romania of the global free market,
outmarriage is no longer widely considered taboo; I’m reliably informed
that it was more or less unknown under communism.
The communists, in an attempt to constrain the Gypsies and force integration
on the country’s various ethnicities through sheer physical proximity, undertook
extensive resettlement of this semi-nomadic minority. They brought families
wholesale into villages abandoned by the Transylvanian Saxons during and
after the Second World War. They built prefab apartment blocks to accom-
modate Gypsy clans in traditionally Romanian and Hungarian hamlets. As
you might expect, the result was once-unheard-of fraternization. Contrary
to what some on the American Right seem to believe, Romanians are (or
have become) some of the least racially conscious people in the world. While
most object to Gypsies, they do so not on grounds of race but of behavior; they
do not realize that the behavior they so dislike might be tied to race.
Romanian villages, with their large and anti-social Gypsy minorities, are
generally bereft of anything resembling a central square or even a pub.
There are locally infamous “birts,” which are degraded and tradition-free
places meant for hard drinking rather than socializing. The demographic
upheavals of the communist period, the post-communist property restitutions
(the property “restored” was in many cases located far away from the original
holdings) and the post-war rush to the big cities have severed people from their
agrarian roots. As a result, people have little connection with the past, either
in town or country. In Bucharest and other large cities, where so many are
newcomers, people struggle through horrifying traffic to work long hours
with unpaid overtime. The constant rush merely to catch up with the present
leaves little psychological or sentimental room for the past—or even the future.
Traffic in Bucharest.
In the villages, teenage Romanian and Gypsy girls walk hand in hand aimlessly
along the potholed roads, with the typical Romanian peasant’s disregard for
traffic bearing down behind them. Romanian and Gypsy boys stand sullenly
together on the shoulders, posturing and smoking cigarettes. Once, stopping
to take a photo of a Gypsy palace on the outskirts of Hunedoara—a city in
Transylvania near Corvin Castle—I had a scythe brandished at me. The
intent to use it was very real. It was in the hands of a blond, fair-skinned
Romanian with vividly blue eyes, protecting the domain of his Gypsy patron.
More likely than not, it had been built on the proceeds of the modern Gypsy
chief’s favorite types of exploitative crime: sex-trafficking and organ har-
vesting, begging and pickpocketing operations in Western Europe, running
hard drugs from Albania, and protection rackets in the villages.
Gypsy palace
Gypsies set the Romanian social tone in one especially subtle but critical way.
They are steeped in moral particularism and regard deceiving the members of
outgroups almost as an obligation. In the face of such morally particularistic
groups, social strategies based on high trust are doomed either to break down
or never develop. In post-communist Romania, social trust has either collapsed
or never taken root. Members of the Romanian majority have adopted, by
default, a low-trust approach to strangers, especially in one-off social and
commercial relationships. I suspect this is partly because, under conditions
of Gypsy emancipation and consequent genetic blurring, it is difficult to tell
whether one is dealing with a “white” Romanian or a Gypsy. Only a fool treats
a stranger as an honorable individual if there is any suspicion that he may
be a Gypsy.
The result is a generalized race to the moral sewer. Anyone who trusts and is
deceived is contemptuously referred to as a fraier: a “sucker” ( “freier” is used
in the same sense in Israel). He who does not trust, but deceives and benefits
from his deceit, is lauded—though not, in most cases, without a certain rueful
irony—as a șmecher. The zero-sum imperative to be a șmecher rather than a
fraier results in such things as stealing public property, breaking in line,
providing the shoddiest plumbing for the largest sum obtainable, and so on.
In short, the result of the emancipation of the Gypsies is that the Romanian
majority has assimilated Gypsy out-group morality in dealing with people they
don’t know. Romanians therefore treat non-kin who are nonetheless authen-
tically of their own kind in practically the same way they would treat a Gypsy.
Meanwhile, Gypsies themselves maintain their strong sense of in-group identity
and associated moral particularism. Contemporary Romania is thus, in its own
way, as atomised as any society in the developed world. Its culture is implicitly
shaped by an especially stupid and barbarous non-European minority to whose
mores the majority European population semi-consciously adapts, abando-
ning its shared genetic and cultural identity and, as a consequence, its in-group
cohesion.
Gypsies in public housing.
While not generally clannish, Romanians have developed no compensating sense
of themselves as belonging to a moral community. Public goods have little value in
a society where they may be stolen or vandalized by Gypsies or Gypsified Roma-
nians. There is little respect for the law in the abstract, which is instead regarded
as an impediment to be circumvented. When being a șmecher takes priority over
all else, one’s word and individual reputation count for little, even to oneself.
Putting aside the recent and deleterious effects of communism, the global free
market and Gypsification, would it be accurate to say that Romanians were
ever really much like Westerners? I’m not sure, but there are several profoun-
dly un-Western things about Romanians that I can’t attribute to anything other
than factors native to Romanians. I suspect that, by nature, they’re not very
much like Westerners.
First, there’s the way they drive. It’s so unnecessarily twitchy and dangerous
as to hint at some kind of collective neurosis. Here are examples of Roma-
nian driving. While I often find myself admiring the skill and daring of
Romanian drivers, this behavior, in combination with the low average
national IQ, suggests the kind of poor impulse control normally associated
with Africa. I know from experience that driving like this is common in Turkey
and the Arab world and, to a lesser extent, in Greece and parts of Italy, but it is
outside the Western norm.
Second, there is the insouciant disagreeableness of Romanians. They generally
make no attempt to accommodate other drivers, for example. They nonchalantly
park their cars (hazard lights flashing for the sake of “caution”) in the middle
of busy city streets. Even in designated “slow lanes” they tailgate aggressively,
flashing their high beams.
On a personal level, I find many Romanians are contrary. They often meet a
statement of near-fact with guarded skepticism: “Maybe . . . .” Often, people
respond to an uncontroversial remark with a flat “no,” and proceed to para-
phrase, as if it were their own idea, the very notion you yourself have just
expressed. They are in general poor communicators who frequently and know-
ingly miss the point of what you say.
Third, there’s the Romanian attitude to noise of all types—basically, the noisier
the location, the better they like it. If a place is not noisy when they arrive
(and it is almost always “they;” Romanians like to roam in packs and are by
nature hyper-sociable among people they trust) it’s guaranteed to become
so within a few minutes.
As I said, it’s very un-Western.
Might there be an evolutionary explanation for these manifestations of
Romanian “otherness”? Romania was under de facto Turkish suzerainty for
500 years—a period that, according to Cochran & Harpending, is long
enough to effect genetic change. Do Romanians have relatively poor
impulse control because impulsive, obstinate behavior increased the
fitness of Romanians who stayed in the mountains to avoid Turkish
rule? Did the threat of raids by Turks similarly select against patience
and conscientiousness among those who stayed in the lowlands? This
is pure speculation.
I have not set out to defame Romanians, but some sort of balance is in
order. Above all, I would note that they are extravagantly generous with
their often scant resources. They are great improvisers and good with
their hands. The men are generally manly, courageous and pugnacious;
the women are mostly feminine and spirited. They have a magnificent sense
of humor (“Pork is the best vegetable,” they say). They are willing and indefa-
tigable workers. In spite of my dislike of Western-style liberalism, I find
Romanians’ strenuous faith in it more than a bit touching. Since the “grand
narrative” ideologies of the 20th century have so signally failed them, Roma-
nians simply can’t afford to think that the free market will fail them in its turn.
The lack of any concept of a moral community and the general distrust of
formal ideology has its upside, too: Very few topics are considered out of
bounds. Questioning conventional history, denouncing immigration, or
speaking disparagingly of non-whites, for example, are quite acceptable
in most company. Moreover, many Romanians are casually—and, if
pushed, aggressively—hostile to Islam, feminism, and militant homo-
sexuality. The Orthodox Church is still basically respected as a national
faith, even though its prelacy is widely and justly mocked for its worldly
hypocrisy.
And so I come, like the Hora, full circle, back to the traditional dance
honoring the anonymous Chinaman. Is it any wonder, living as they
do in a country that is suffering a pretty severe case of cultural, genetic,
and social decline, that Romanians would be prepared to sell the farm
to the highest bidder, even if the buyer is an Asiatic, notionally com-
munist government? Is it any wonder that they have such desperate
faith in the global free market when all else has so spectacularly failed
them in the past? It may even be that the anti-ideology of the free
market is especially attractive to a country brought low in the last 80
or so years by establishment ideologies of both Right and Left.
It seems to me that many racially conscious whites, standing amidst
the cultural and demographic ruin of the West, are all too ready to
praise the people of Eastern Europe for their staunch traditionalism,
their hostility to Islam, and contempt for homosexuality. Desperate f
or good news, we imagine in the peoples of Eastern Europe a bulwark
against the fall of the West. But we must be careful, as we criticize our-
selves in our characteristically Western way, not to romanticize the East.
Romanians and other Eastern Europeans are not Westerners. Neither
are they noble savages. They are not, like the Germans of Tacitus, more
virtuous versions of our fallen selves. They are a subset of Europeans
quite different from us, and they have their own problems to solve.
Is it ungracious disparagement of fellow whites to argue that Romanians
are not Westerners, that they will never become Westerners, and that they
are in danger, via sexual and cultural miscegenation with Gypsies, of beco-
ming non-European? To make such arguments is to say that Romanians fail
to meet the standards of the West; it tacitly affirms the biological superiority
of West Europeans, or at the very least the superiority of West European
culture. Considering the state of contemporary Western Europe and its
New World settler colonies, I needn’t point out the irony of thinking Western
culture is superior.
Ricardo Duschene argues that the authentic metaphysic of the West is linear,
like an arrow flying targetless through unbounded space. Its origins, he be-
lieves, lie in the heroic-meritorious worldview now established as having
been genetically transmitted to Northern Europe by the migratory bearers
of the Corded Ware culture. I would say that the authentic metaphysic of
Romania is cyclical rather than linear; the “Westernization” of the country
has succeeded only in bending the Romanian circle into a very crooked line.
The cost of this “success” has been the further corruption of a society already
undermined by 50 years of communism.
Global capitalism, with its “Current Year” perversion of the linear metaphysic
of the West, has always—and will always—sit uneasily with Romanians. It’s
the urgent task of us Westerners to make the Western worldview work to
our advantage, rather than drive us into the void. It seems to me that the task
facing Romanians is to turn away from the chimera of free market “progress;”
they must find a way to reassert their own, cyclical metaphysic and make it
work for them. Any such transfiguration is theirs alone to accomplish. I hope
they don’t leave it until it’s too late. After all, In Romania they still dance the
Hora. Long may it turn

Archie Munro is of predominantly Scottish and German ancestry. He has lived in
Romania since 2015. He loves his family, the mountains, and the Saxon heritage,
which explain why he is in Romania in the first place.