Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
William Luther Pierce
William Luther Pierce (1933–2002) was an associate of the American Nazi Party (ANP), founder of the National Alliance and one of the most prominent ideologues of the white nationalist movement. Educated as a physicist, he rose to prominence in the white separatist movement following the assassination of George Lincoln Rockwell, the original founder of the ANP.  He gained fame and notoriety as the author of The Turner Diaries, which he wrote under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald. He founded the religion of Cosmotheism, an admixture of pantheism and racialist views.
Background and education
Pierce was born on September 11 1933 in Atlanta, Georgia, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in physics from Rice University in 1951. He worked at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory before attending graduate school, first at Caltech and then the University of Colorado, at Boulder, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1962.
The Turner Diaries
After earning his Ph.D., he soon lost interest in physics and joined various white nationalist groups, forming his own group, the National Alliance, in 1974. Pierce came to public attention following the Oklahoma City bombing. The perpetrator, Timothy McVeigh, was alleged to have been influenced by The Turner Diaries (1978), a novel written by Pierce under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald. The book is a graphically violent depiction of a future race war in the United States as told through the perspective of Earl Turner, an active member of the white separatist revolutionary underground. Early on, the book's main character is put in charge of bombing the FBI headquarters. Some have drawn parallels from the book to the actual bombing strikingly similar to the Oklahoma City bombing that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and killed 168 people in 1995. Although The Turner Diaries was originally only available by mail order and at special events (events where booths could be easily reserved for independent sellers, such as gun shows), it is believed to have sold half a million copies.
The Turner Diaries is also believed to have been the inspiration behind a small group of militant white nationalists in the early 1980s who called themselves the Brüder Schweigen, or sometimes simply The Order. The Order was connected to numerous crimes, including counterfeiting and bank robbery. The Order's leader, Robert Jay Matthews, died in a shoot out with police and federal agents on Whidbey Island in Washington. Other Order members, most notably David Lane, were captured and sent to federal prisons, where they continue to voice their support for white nationalism.
Other titles by Pierce include Hunter (1984), which reads more like a survival manual for individual militants than a blueprint for revolution, and New World Order Comix # 1:The Saga of White Will!! (1993), which is directed at white youth.
Pierce adopted Cosmotheism as his religion in 1978. In effect it is a form of pantheism, the belief that God and the Universe are equivalent, although few pantheists would agree with Pierce's racialist views, and there are few contacts between other pantheist organizations and Cosmotheism.
Cosmotheism asserts that "all is within God and God is within all". It considers the nature of reality and of existence to be mutable and destined to co-evolve towards a complete "universal consciousness", or godhood. Etymologically, cosmotheism differs from pantheism in that "pan" is Classical Greek for all, while the Greek word cosmos means an orderly and harmonious universe. Cosmotheists take this as meaning the divine is tantamount to reality and consciousness, an inseparable part of an orderly, harmonious, and whole universal system.
In his speech "Our Cause", Pierce said:
- "All we require is that you share with us a commitment to the simple, but great, truth which I have explained to you here, that you understand that you are a part of the whole, which is the creator, that you understand that your purpose, the purpose of mankind and the purpose of every other part of creation, is the creator's purpose, that this purpose is the never-ending ascent of the path of creation, the path of life symbolized by our life rune, that you understand that this path leads ever upward toward the creator's self-realization, and that the destiny of those who follow this path is godhood."
His interpretation of cosmotheism developed from several disparate sources: interpretations of George Bernard Shaw's play Man and Superman; strains of German Romanticism; Darwinian concepts of natural selection and of survival of the fittest, mixed with the related early 20th century eugenic ideals; and Ernst Haeckel's version of monism.
Pierce described his form of pantheism as being based on "[t]he idea of an evolutionary universe ... with an evolution toward ever higher and higher states of self-consciousness," and his political ideas were centered on racial purity and eugenics as the means of advancing the white race first towards a superhuman state, and then towards godhood. In his view, the white race represented the pinnacle of human evolution thus far and therefore should be kept genetically separate from all other races in order to achieve its destined perfection in Godhood.
Pierce believed in a hierarchical society governed by what he saw as the essential principles of nature, including the survival of the fittest. In his social schema, the best-adapted genetic stock, which he believed to be the white race, should remain separated from other races; and within an all-white society, the most fit individuals should lead the rest. He thought that extensive programs of "racial cleansing" and of eugenics, both in Europe and in the U.S., would be necessary to achieve this socio-political program.
The National Alliance which he founded was to be the political vanguard and the spiritual priesthood of this program, which was designed ultimately to bring about a "white racial redemption". His Cosmotheist Community Church, which was to be the next step of this plan, was set up in the mid-1970s, alongside Pierce's other political projects - the National Alliance, National Vanguard Books, and the weekly broadcast American Dissident Voices - all from his mountain retreat headquarters in Mill Point, West Virginia .
Pierce's views have been characterized as a version of early twentieth century racial anthropology, but driven by spiritual, as well as scientific, beliefs. This area of his belief was likely influenced by his early association with George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party. Others have noted the German Romantic roots that Pierce's ideas shared with Nazism and have observed similarities between the two ideologies: Pierce's plan for white divinity was similar to Adolf Hitler's vision for the Herrenvolk; also, his attacks against Jews as parasites on white society, who would prevent the white race from reaching its destined godhood by replacing the white elite with their own kind, echoed previous Nazi descriptions of Jewish traits and character (source: []).
Other criticisms have been harsher; for example, the Southern Poverty Law Center has characterized Pierce's religion as "an unsuccessful tax dodge". One defence against this has been that it is in fact a successful tax dodge.
Pierce spent his final years in relative seclusion in West Virginia, where he hosted a weekly radio show, American Dissident Voices, and oversaw his publishing and record companies devoted to the promotion of his white nationalist political ideology and Cosmotheist religion. He died on July 23 2002.
- Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism, by Mattias Gardell (ISBN 0822330717)
- The Turner Diaries and Cosmotheism: William Pierce's Theology of Revolution, by Brad Whitsel; published in Nova Religio Vol.1, No.2, April 1998.
- The Fame of a Dead Man's Deeds (biography of William Pierce), by Robert S. Griffin, 2001 (ISBN 0759609330) online text (large PDF)
- Review of The Fame of a Dead Man's Deeds (Southern Poverty Law Center)
- Archive of Pierce speeches
- News articles by Pierce
- The Turner Diaries and Cosmotheism: William Pierce's Theology of Revolution by Brad Whitsel (Nova Religio)
- A Blemish on the Blossom: Pantheism and White-Supremacist Hate Groups by Esther Hugenholtz (Pantheist Index)
- Website of the National Alliance
- National Vanguard News Portal
- Text of The Turner Diaries (PDF file)
- Critical biography of William Pierce
- Cosmotheism Community Church
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