A Personal Tribute to Willis A. Carto

First written by Matthew Raphael Johnson in October of 2015




The old guard is almost gone. For many of them, its probably a good thing. However, where Willis Carto is concerned, its a terrible thing. His passing leaves a gaping hole in the nationalist idea (I hesitate to call it a “movement”). Willis was a businessman, a practical thinker, a financier – they’re in short supply. We’ve had enough of the dime-store Hegels and the suburban Schopenhauers. These are not in short supply, they are, to be charitable, superfluous. Willis Carto made it possible for many dissenters to earn a living doing what they love and, with luck, enlightening many. He took on the pain of administration, finance and legal tediousness so people like me can tell the truth without fear of bankruptcy.

Willis hired me right out of graduate school. The academic job market is terrible in the best of times, and affirmative action – especially for women – made the market a nightmare. Moving to DC for me was like a young man going to Hollywood to make it big. In my case, I had a young wife and, within a few months of arriving, a pregnant one. For whatever reason, something about my resume appealed to him. How he received it is a bit of mystery, but it became clear that he was building a think tank. He needed scholars and scholars, to be sure, need paychecks.

Along with John Tiffany and the endless work of Paul Angel, I was soon made editor of the Barnes Review by 2002. While Willis maintained editorial control, the position gave me freedom to pursue academic research into nationalism, post-Soviet Russia, and the reclamation of Europe. Unfortunately, the company’s financial struggles, totally out of Willis’ control, forced me to leave in 2005. I maintained excellent relations with the company during that time and continually published in TBR as well as AFP.

Willis made no claim to scholarship. Anytime he tried, we fought. I realized that standing up to him in these areas earned his respect; it was part of the reason why he needed us. Brash punks like Chris Petherick and myself were a means to keep Willis from getting totally out of touch with his younger readers. Our battles occasionally became nasty, but Willis always quickly forgave – it was never personal. Within an hour, he was back in my office with the latest “story of the century.”

I always had to remind myself that Willis is the reason why any political nationalism exists at all in the US. The Liberty Building was his. I was a temporary occupant. From a single desk at the Press Club, Carto created a publishing empire over several continents and angered almost every powerful interest in the cosmos. Willis could be difficult and stubborn, but I took it without too much complaint: he earned that right.

OK, I complained all the time, but still, the point remains.

Willis Carto built a publishing empire under the disapproving glare of every powerful lobby in the country. These, unfortunately, were not his worst enemies. Fellow nationalists and populists quickly became envious and betrayed him for the silliest of reasons. Like so many before them, they would rather live in the Gulag before taking orders from someone. Overcoming obstacles like these – impediments that would have killed several normal men – can only be the result of an extraordinary practical insight that few have. His reward was endless calumny, gold-digging, betrayal and hatred. Also, for some of us, a great deal of respect.

I always chuckle condescendingly when someone breathlessly tells me about “government infiltrators in the movement.” Buttressing their own delusions as well as their self-importance, these beliefs are almost always the result of rumor-mongering and envy. “Silly novice,” I think, shaking my head, “powerful people don’t get that way from throwing resources at non-problems. You’re not a threat; neither am I. Why would the government care about your little website?”

The misfit, populist-patriot bedwetters did nothing but project their own mental incapacity on events. Incapable of any concerted action, these Seroquel Spenglers were convinced that “agents” were after them for the threat they posed to the “unconstitutional gub’ment.” Getting the right men into Congress was the answer, of course. The lawless regime will certainly bow before a landmark court case or local election, we were told. To accomplish this, we were to send money to the International Headquarters of The National-White-Constitutional-Ayran-Truth-antiZionist-Jeffersonian-Federalist Movement for Constitutional Government Today, or the NWCATAJFMCGT.

That’ll show ’em.

Ignoring their call to arms, we then were called “agents” determined to stop their imminent rise to power over a new America.

Given the plethora of such tempting political opportunities, Willis instead focused on ensuring that sane, educated people put forth our program. What was once a ludicrous bunch of disaffected, polyester-clad, alienated bachelors was turned into a serious scholarly and journalistic force due to the focused work of the unflappable psyche of Willis Carto. It was not about vulgar elections or stump speeches, it was about delegitimizing the Regime.

This was Willis’ extraordinary accomplishment.

Willis showed me that nothing is ever as it seems: friends are often enemies, good intentions often mask pathological appetites, and politicians have no real power over the world. Hell, they have little power over their own lives. They are idiots – game show hosts who take the fall for more powerful economic forces. When the economy tanks, the banks blame politicians, a group of lawyers with a minimal knowledge of macroeconomics. Taking the heat off themselves, they have created the illusion that politicians control the economy and can be thus blamed for its condition. In exchange they get plenty of attractive interns, money, power and mainstream respectability.

I would have no career without him.


Now, a word to his enemies in the Establishment –

You mindless, conformist, groveling, cliche-spouting, superficial, shallow, TV-soaked, nihilistic, anti-social, brainwashed automatons have no idea what has begun here. Willis is not dead. Rather, the small army of scholars, writers, editors, activists and troublemakers that Willis trained has now been unleashed against your Soros-paycheck existence.

In your stupidity, you think that since one man is dead, the idea dies too. That is typical of your unreason and shallow pathology. The truth is that we are far tougher, more knowledgeable and more fearless than he. We have very little to lose while you’ve never heard the word “no” before. That’s a mix that will lead you to the rubber room.

I personally guarantee you that there is no way the debauched, corrupt, conformist university system can churn out the requisite number of self-esteem counselors to put you back together when we’re finished with you. You’re beneath us. Your sophomoric, shallow, pedestrian ideas need to be protected by university speech codes and “safe spaces.” You’re soft, entitled, overindulged and irresponsible and have long reached the peak of your mobilization.

We’re just beginning.

While mindless, groveling conformity might earn you a nice paycheck and plenty of Eastern European prostitutes shipped in from Camp Bondsteel, you are lickspittles and nothing more. You do what you’re told. Your departure from relevance will be absolutely unnoticed.

Willis Carto’s legacy is that he laid the groundwork for the Regime’s defeat. He started something that some said was impossible. He organized the unorganizable. No setback could stop him and no obstacle harmed him for long.

While he didn’t live to see victory, the victory will, in great measure, be his.

Matthew Raphael Johnson