Friday, May 27, 2016

Beautiful Losers. The Intellectual Triumvirate.



Firstly, I think it is important to fix Sam Francis to a particular point in the Political spectrum in order to fully appreciate his ideas. Whilst Francis wrote for many publications, he did not agree with the editorial tone of some of them, even those who popularised his ideas. Francis's writing  offended a lot of people and he advocated positions which struck the sacred cows of political correctness at their very heart. As a result, he became persona non grata amongst "Respectable" publishing  and he ended up being banished amongst the the extreme. The practical effect of this exile was that his opinion have been associated with their and thus his reputation has been besmirched. I think this is unfair.

Had Francis been born in 1920's America he probably would have been considered a moderate, even a liberal, but the passage of time has seen society culturally so shifted to the Left that by the time of his death he was considered a member of the lunatic right. Yet this was not his natural intellectual home.  While he would of applauded Trump--and not for the reasons that most expect--I think he would have found the Stormfront Right abhorrent. He was a serious thinker and most of them are clowns.

Francis's proper positioning in the political spectrum is not within the Aryan Nation but within the Paleoconservative tradition, what Francis would call the Old Right.  He was fiercely opposed to Neoconservatism and regarded most of the "official right" with some disdain. For him, the United States was a "concrete" thing; a geography, a nation, a people, a history. It most emphatically was not a "proposition".  However unlike most of the traditionalists, Francis understood that many of the changes wrought to U.S. society were very unlikely to be undone:
If the Old Right stood for anything, it stood for the conservation of the "Old Republic" that flourished in the United States between the American War for Independence and the Great Depression and the civilizational antecedents of the American republic in the history and thought of Europe, and it is precisely that political construct that the managerial revolution overthrew and rendered all but impossible to restore. The Old Republic cannot be restored today because few Americans even remember it, let alone want it back, and even a realistic description of it would frighten and alienate most citizens. The essence of a republic, articulated by almost every theorist of republicanism from Cicero to Montesquieu, is the independence of the citizens who compose it and their commitment to a sustained active participation in its public affairs, the res publica. The very nature of the managerial revolution and the regime that developed from it promotes not independence, but dependency and not civic participation, but civic passivity. Today, almost the whole of American society encourages dependency and passivity—in the economy, through the continuing absorption of independent farms and businesses by multinational corporations, through ever more minute regulation by the state and through the dragooning of mass work forces in office and factory and mass consumption through advertising and public relations; in the culture, through the regimented and centralized manufacture and manipulation of thought taste, opinion, and emotion itself by the mass media and educational organizations; and in the state, through its management of more and more dimensions of private and social existence under the color of "therapy" that does not cure, "voluntary service" that is really mandatory, and periodic "wars," against poverty, illiteracy, drugs, or other fashionable monsters, that no one ever wins. The result is an economy that does not work, a democracy that does not vote, families without fathers, classes without property, a government that passes more and more laws, a people that is more and more lawless, and a culture that neither thinks nor feels except when and what it is told or tricked to think and feel.

To be sure, there are many Americans who resent and fear these trends, and sometimes they flex enough political muscle to gain a few more tax breaks, a handful of increased federal entitlements, or a tenuous and temporary relief from strangulation by the managerial octopus. Their discontents and fears, if properly mobilized, may revive an American Right and may eventually succeed in achieving some of its projects. But almost no one wants a republic or even knows what a republic is, and there can be no possibility of a republic in the United States again until Americans are willing to assume the burdens of civic responsibility and independence that republican life demands. The American Right—Old or New, Paleo or Neo—failed to persuade Americans to take up those burdens, as their ancestors took them up in Williamsburg and Boston, at Fort Sumter and Gettysburg, and those who identified with its cause are only a few of the Americans who will eventually pay the price of that failure. No matter how beautiful its ideas and theories, no matter how compelling a chart of the currents of history's river it drew, American conservatism was not enough to channel those currents into other courses. It is as a chronicle and an explanation of these beautiful losers in our history that these essays may serve.
Francis thought that many of the conservative intellectuals were too abstract and concerned with ideas more than the practical application of them. For Francis the most damning indictment of the conservative intellectuals was their ineffectiveness, and his aim in writing this book was too analyse this failure in order not to repeat the mistakes of the past.  For Francis, a large part of the Traditionalist failure stemmed from a failure to understand that the material, social and economic conditions bought about by progress were likely to be irreversible and that nostalgic efforts to turn the clock back were a waste of time.
But even if it has a future, the Right will not be riding in a conservative vehicle, at least not one that would be recognizable to most of those who have regarded themselves as conservatives since World War II [Ed]. That vehicle has pretty much ended up on the junk heap of history, and in retrospect it is hard to see where else it could have landed. The meaning of the world-historical change that Burnham called the managerial revolution is that what the Old Right, in any of its philosophical or political forms, represented and championed is defunct.
This something I want to dwell on a bit more in a later post, but what Francis is saying here is the changes wrought on society by impersonal forces such a capitalism, population growth, affluence and technology are in themselves transformative of society.  Traditional society wasn't just killed by choice, it was also killed by technology, specialisation and population growth. What Francis[and this blog] is saying is that traditionalists have failed to factor these "impersonal factors" into account in their visions of restoration. Reading the book, one gets the impression that while Francis values some of the thought of the old Right, he is dismissive of most of it because of it because it was ineffectual. Francis was extraordinarily well read and what I found interesting was his list of intellectuals who he felt offered a path to success for the conservative movement.
While the mainstream of Old Right thought continued to dwell on philosophical esoterica, the three Old Right conservatives considered in these essays—Burnham, Willmoore Kendall, and Whittaker Chambers—actually departed from the mainstream in formulating ideas by which a popularly based Right could mount effective challenges to managerialism and its liberal formulas. The thrust of Kendall's thought was toward what today would be called a populist strategy, and Burnham, though he seems in the 1950s to have advocated cooperation with what he regarded as the historically irreversible managerial revolution, followed a similar path from the late 1960s and 1970s. Chambers never showed any sympathy for the new managerial regime and recognized in it a domesticated form of communism that was less violent, but no less revolutionary, than its Soviet cousin. Unlike Burnham and Kendall, however, Chambers's response to the revolution was one of intensely personal religious withdrawal. Yet throughout Chambers's work, from his earliest essays and short stories, written in his communist period, through his last letters and articles, he dwelled on the material and psychic suffering of the common man, what he called in Witness "the plain men and women of the nation." Despite their differences, these three Old Rightists are perhaps the only major theorists of the first generation of the Old Right who made any significant contribution to the development of a body of ideas and a practical strategy that could bring the Right out of its philosophical clouds and political archaism and point toward a realistic and popularly based challenge to managerial power.
I had never heard of Kendall, knew a bit a Burnham and know Chambers very well and of the three Kendall seems the odd one out, however, nowhere is there a mention of Der Furher, Evola or Chamberlain. Francis was simply a cut above the rest. Of those three, the one with the most influence was by far James Burnham, whose studies into the nature of modern power provided both an analytical framework with regard to understanding the power of the Left and provided a intellectual tool by which strategies could be developed in order to combat it.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sam Francis: Beautiful Losers.


I've got to admit that while I had heard of Sam Francis before I really didn't delve much at all into his writings, and it was only a recent article and some commentary over at Radix which further piqued my interest in him, and I must admit, I've been mighty impressed. Over the last few weeks I've been reading some of his works and am of the opinion that the Dissident Right needs to pay much more attention to him.

It's a shame that Sam Francis died relatively recenetly, on the verge of the blogging revolution. Were he still alive, I imagine he would have carved his own niche in the Dissident Right and become a formidable force shaping it. I am of the impression that he didn't always agree with the tone or the official positions of many of the journals he wrote for, but given the state of affairs that existed prior to the widespread use of the internet, he was limited to writing for the increasingly few journals--on the margins--that would publish him.  Journals which, frankly, I don't think were up to his standards.

His banishment to the margins, by the forces of political correctness, I imagine was their way of denying him conventional legitimacy and smearing him as a unbalanced and someone not worthy of serious consideration. 

And yet he is.

Francis is different.

Unlike most conservative commentators who simply push for a reset to the past, Francis realises that this isn't going to happen, and if the Right wants to end it's near century losing streak its got to start doing things differently. Though coming from the Paleoconservative faction of American thought, Francis was heavily influenced by the writings of James Burnham, author of the Managerial Revolution, and this in turn influenced his analytic method when it came to understanding the sociological aspects of the liberal/conservative conflict. Burnham was an empiricist of power, both in an understanding how it was wielded and how it was gained. Francis took these ideas and placed them within the Paleoconservative context. He sought to apply these principles to analysis of the American conservative movement and his thoughts, I feel, are applicable to contemporary times.
However sophisticated and well expressed conservative intellectualism may have been in the years after World War II, its virtues did not assure it victory, mainly because there existed in American society and political culture no significant set of interests to which its ideas could attach themselves. Hence, post-World War II conservatism in its political efforts generally ignored the philosophical contributions of its highbrow exponents and fell back on the more mundane considerations of low taxes and small budgets, anticommunism and law and order; and the preoccupation of the Old Right mind in that era with an abstract and abstruse intellectualism helped ensure its eventual irrelevance. For the most part, any suggestion that the savants of the Right ought to have attended to the concrete social, regional, and ethnic dimensions of the human and American conditions rather than to their purely philosophical aspects was greeted with accusations of "determinism," though why it is less deterministic to say that ideas, rather than nonintellectual forces, are the major causal agents in human affairs has never been clear to me. The truth is that, for all their talk about social "roots," conservative intellectuals in the postwar era were often rootless men themselves, and the philosophical mystifications in which they enveloped themselves were frequently the only garments that fit them. 
Alienated from the prevailing intellectual and political currents as well as from traditional social forms that were ceasing to exist or cohere, the conservative intelligentsia was able to find explanations for and solutions to the civilizational crisis it perceived only in the most esoteric theory, and the "practical" applications of such theory often took the form of some species of romanticism or archaism--a pretentious medievalism, accompanied by antimodernist posturings and colored with a highly politicized religiosity; an attraction to archaic social and political forms such as the antebellum South, the ancien regime of eighteenth-century Europe, or the era of nineteenth-century laissez-faire; and a distaste for and often an ignorance of American history that derived from a mirror-image agreement with the Left-liberal understanding of America as an "experiment" dedicated to an egalitarian and progressivist proposition. If the intellectuals of the Right did not adhere to some form of archaism, they tended, like Whittaker Chambers, simply to withdraw from the world in despair and acknowledgment of defeat.
Sam Francis was not a Traditionalist. For Francis, the old ways did not work, the task was how to win, but before doing so, it was important to understand why the losses kept accumulating, hence his book Beautiful Losers, which is essentially  both an understanding of the failure of the Conservative movement and some ideas to get it out of the cycle of defeat.  The book is a collection of essays that he had penned for various journals with an accompanying introduction explaining his choice. Most of the essays are stand alone pieces but are unified in his "Burnhamite" analysis. Francis was acutely aware of the dissolution occurring about him and was convinced that the conservative approach had to change if there was to be any push-back.

Any objective look at the state of Western Society would show that there is not much further we can go in the slouch towards Gomorrah and given the relentless Left-ward drift of society. There's not really much more time left before the "right culture" of the West becomes a memory or effectively erased. New approaches are required.
It remains possible today to rectify that error by a radical alteration of the Right's strategy. Abandoning the illusion that it represents an establishment to be "conserved," a new American Right must recognize that its values and goals lie outside and against the establishment and that its natural allies are not in Manhattan, Yale, and Washington but in the increasingly alienated and threatened strata of Middle America. The strategy of the Right should be to enhance the polarization of Middle Americans from the incumbent regime, not to build coalitions with the regime's defenders and beneficiaries. Moreover, since "Middle America" consists of workers, farmers, suburbanites and other non- or post-bourgeois groups, as well as small businessmen, it is unlikely that a new Right will make much progress in mobilizing them if it simply repeats the ideological formulas of a now long-defunct bourgeois elite and its order. The more salient concerns of postbourgeois Middle Americans that a new Right can express are those of crime, educational collapse, the erosion of their economic status, and the calculated subversion of their social, cultural, and national identity by forces that serve the interests of the elite above them and the underclass below them, but at the expense of the middle class. A new Right, positioning itself in opposition to the elite and the elite's underclass ally, can assert its leadership of alienated Middle Americans and mobilize them in radical opposition to the regime.

A new, radical Middle American Right need not abandon political efforts, but, consistent with its recognition that it is laying siege to a hostile establishment, it ought to realize that political action in a cultural power vacuum will be largely futile. The main focus of a Middle American Right should be the reclamation of cultural power, the patient elaboration of an alternative culture within but against the regime—within the belly of the beast but indigestible by it. Instead of the uselessness of a Diogenes' search for an honest presidential candidate or a Fabian quest for a career in the bureaucracy, a Middle Amierican Right should begin working in and with schools, churches, clubs, women's groups, youth organizations, civic and professional associations, local government, the military and police forces, and even in the much-dreaded labor unions to create a radicalized Middle American consciousness that can perceive the ways in which exploitation of the middle classes is institutionalized and understand how it can be resisted. Only when this kind of infrastructure of cultural hegemony is developed can a Middle American Right seek meaningful political power without coalitions with the Left and bargaining with the regime.

Eliot may have been right that no cause is really lost because none is really won, but victory and defeat in the struggle for social dominance have little to do with whether the cause is right or wrong. Some ideas have more consequences than others, and those that attach themselves to declining social and political forces have the least consequences of all. By allowing itself to be assimilated by the regime of the Left, American conservatism became part of a social and political force that, if not on the decline, is at least confronted by a rising force that seeks to displace it, even as the regime of the Left displaced its predecessor. If the American Right can disengage from the Left and its regime, it can assume leadership of a cause that could be right as well as victorious. But it can do so only if it has the wit and the will to disabuse itself of the illusions that have distracted it almost since its birth. 
I imagine that Francis would have cheered the Donald Trump movement if not Donald Trump himself, though I image he would be more pessimistic of his success given contemporaneous circumstances in which his success is occurring.

I really both enjoyed and found this book thought provoking.  Over the next few weeks I plan to put up a commentary on some of the essays from the book and offer my opinion on some of his analysis

Once again, I'd recommend it and I feel that every Neoreactionary should have it on his bookshelf.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Potpourri.

Just a couple of interesting things I found on my blog travels this week.

Firstly, a good YouTube video by Black Pigeon on the subject of the negative effects of multiculturalism.

Unlike the usual slouch towards and trying to establish a racial hierarchy, Black Pigeon avoids the subject all together and simply concentrates on the societal problems of highly diverse populations groups. Bit long but worth a view.




Brett Stevens put up a very good post which I felt dealt with the subject of racial diversity quite well.
In the South — otherwise known as the part of North America with culture and honor — we settled this by having separate neighborhoods. Whites live in one place, Africans another, Mexicans another still, and Asians somewhere else. Balance is maintained because each group rules itself.

I always offer up the question: if you are African-American, and you get pulled over by a police officer, what type of face do you want to see? The answer is African-American. Same as whites want to see white police officers, Hispanics a Hispanic police officer, and Asians a (rare, but committed when it does occur) Asian police officer.

The fact is, that if we have control over our own communities, we are not enemies but distant friends. I like the “distant friends” idea because it enables me to enjoy people without insisting they be like me. White standards work for white people… for others, well, who knows — it’s up to them.
I'm not sure that the South "worked". To quote Roissy, Proximity and Diversity= War and even though there was state enforced segregation, the reality of running it resulted in a festering social wound. Still, what I like about Steven's article is that it doesn't aim at racial supremacism but simply the recognition that groups are different and that we can like people from other races whilst still wanting ethnic homogeneity.

Unlike most bloggers on the subject of the negative effects of multiculturalism, my criticism of it is not based upon racial superiority lines, rather its based upon an understanding of human nature and its hard wired cognitive biases for ingroup/outgroup distinctions. 

On the subject of the Alt-Right, West Coast Reactionaries have put up a fantastic post with lots of links expressing concern with the direction it is taking.
The reason why it is important to consider how the Alt. Right is being seen by the outside world is because what the outside world will see depends on who is being the loudest. And going by how increasing numbers of outsiders are viewing the Alt. Right, it is not looking good.
It is not all “just a joke”; there are various spheres which comprise the Alt. Right, and some may lean towards irony and the like more than others, of course, but the network in its totality is coming to only represent such spheres. Do not get me wrong, there will always be hardline intellectuals in any community of this sort, but ordinarily they exercise a deal of influence and prevent their community from moving beyond their confines. However, the Alt. Right is growing in size rather exponentially due to the Trump phenomenon and the migrant crisis in Europe, thus it is impossible to maintain a single orthodoxy over the masses of anti-SJW teenagers.
Andy Nowicki also puts up a good post dealing on the subject (bit long though) but worth listening to. The smarter guys seem to recognise that the dissident Right can't be a "big tent" which takes in everyone who opposes the left.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

The Left, White Nationalism and the 1488'ers


Perhaps the most interesting meta-political development over the past few years has been the rise of the dissident Right. It still in its early stages but it appears that several media outlets have begun to notice and no doubt, so enough, a concerted campaign will be mounted to to discredit it.

The traditional pragmatic approach of the Left, in dealing with it opponents, is to label them all as fascists or Nazi's wherever there is some doctrinal disagreement which they wish to emphasise. It needs to be understood that here the aim is not to logically justify that assertion as much it is to reinforce an association in the minds of cognitive misers, who are the majority in a democratic body politic.  As readers of this blog will note, cognitive misers, think in terms of associations so  Left psychops are intended to  primarily work through the limbus and not the mind itself.

As advertisers have long noted, positive associations with a product are far more effective in selling it than a logical explanation of its virtues.  What has hampered the Right in its battles against the Left is the traditionalist anthropological fallacy which saw people as rational actors instead of cognitive misers. The Right, in trying to combat the Left, has perused a strategy a logically refuting through data and argument on the assumption that ideas will prevail.

This assumption was wrong.

Sam Francis explains:
My conclusion that conservatism has transformed itself into virtual extinction will surprise and perhaps even anger those who favor the formalistic and normative approach, which does not easily stoop to considerations of social change and historical fluctuation and is reluctant to admit that some things, even ideas, fail. Regarding political events as the earthly manifestations of timeless abstractions, the intellectual mainstream of the "Old Right" from the end of World War II developed a highly sophisticated body of ideas and a highly articulate body of spokesmen to express them. Perhaps because they were too uxoriously wedded to Weaver's principle that "Ideas Have Consequences," most of the conservative intellectuals who subscribed to this body of thought always seemed to assume that it was only a matter of time before their own beliefs would creep up on the ideas of the Left, slit their throats in the dark, and stage an intellectual and cultural coup d'etat, after which truth would reign. [ED] I have never thought so, in part because I have less faith in the power of intellectual abstractions than most of my conservative colleagues. The historian Lewis Namier remarked that "new ideas are not nearly as potent as broken habits," and Burnham, describing Vilfredo Pareto's view of human rationality, wrote that "rational, deliberate, conscious belief does not, then, in general at any rate, determine what is going to happen to society; social man is not, as he has been defined for so many centuries, a primarily 'rational animal.' In the tradition of Namier (who briefly studied under Pareto) and Burnham, I place more emphasis on the concrete forces of elites, organization, and psychic and social forces such as class and regional and ethnic identity than on formal intellectual abstractions and their "logical" extrapolations as the determining forces of history. Ideas do have consequences, but some ideas have more consequences than others, and which consequences ensue from which ideas is settled not simply because the ideas serve human reason through their logical implications but also because some ideas serve human interests and emotions through their attachment to drives for political, economic, and social power, while other ideas do not.
The latest findings of cognitive science further buttress this view. The way to control the masses is not though the mind but through the primal limbic drives, and the Left, for all its talk of rationality, has recognised this fact, and pragmatically always concentrated its efforts on getting the proletariat to  "feel the strength" of its arguments instead of logically assessing them. Hence the aim of the Left has been to positively align its objectives with positive limbic sensations and hence the importance of its ideas and its causes being cool, hip, compassionate and trendy are more than them being factually correct. And its approach, I believe, has gone a long way towards its triumph over conservatism. Conditioning, not argument, is the way to sway the masses. Orwell's definition of "bellyfeel" in the Newspeak dictionary makes this same point.

Conditioning, however, requires the co-opting of pre-existing tendencies of the human psyche and associating them with the product. Goebbels for instance, ordered that depictions of the Jews in German propaganda to always be in the negative and to associate such depictions with other negative imagery such as rats and filth. The idea being that the negative associations be strengthened by such methods. However, there is a limit the power of such a technique and German propaganda was quite clear never to show the Jews being mistreated in any bestial form or manner because by doing so you generate sympathy for your victim and the intention to demonise him fails.

Conditioning is one of the most powerful mind control mechanisms since it operates at the level of the modus operandi  of the cognitive miser: Associative Cognition.

The Left has always recognised that for the average Westerner, the Nazi "brand" is associated with the worst forms of evil in the 20th Century and therefore it has always tried to smear its opponents as Nazis. The idea here being not to prove the logical connection but simply to reinforce the association so that whatever their opponent stands for, their idea becomes associated with the negative emotional state that comes with contemplation of Nazism. Of course sometimes the association is so out of kilter that the slur fails, but the failure rests on a clear ability to recognise the mismatch between the slur and the target. But what happens if the distinction is not so clear?

Suppose the target is actually quite sympathetic to Hitler, suppose when you Google the target quite a few Nazi images show up, suppose your obsessed with the evil of Jew's, how clear is target distinction then?

It isn't and the Lefts claim gains traction.

The terrible thing about the Nazi's, is apart from their terrible crimes, is that they seriously weakened the West's capability of withstanding Leftist attack by tarring all the elements of their ideology with the stench of evil through association.  Nationalism, did not produce the concentration camps in the First World War,  yet post war it has become associated with it.  Prussian Militiarism, which was honorable prior to the Second World War, through its association with Nazism degraded all further virile aggressive defence and the standing of the Military in the West. The Nazi's greatest legacy may be that they were able to weaken the good ideas of the West by association with the evil they wrought.

If, the dissident Right wants to bring back some of these ideas, things such as nationalism, ethnic homogeneity, virile masculinity etc, it needs to disassociate them from the associative links with Nazism that they have have established in Western Culture. The thing is that the Left wants you to think that all White Nationalists are Nazis and the the 1488'ers want you to think the same. They both have the same objective.


Sunday, May 01, 2016

Human Nature and Political Society.


I've been meaning to reply to commentator Tom for a while now with regard to a comment he left over at this post:
Of course, homophily exists, but given the massive harm it causes to humanity as a whole, I see no reason to mold society to it any more than I see a need to cater to other natural emotions such as violent jealousy[ED].

There are a ton of human impulses that society suppresses, and because man is a product of both nature and nurture, such impulses are heavily modified by experience. I'm sure that if I wasn't raised in Toronto, a heavily multicultural city, I'd be slightly discomfited by my workplace where there is no majority race, I hear Arabic, Hindi and Russian spoken around me, and the clothing styles, while majority jeans and polo shirt, also include Hijab/Abaya and the occasional sari.

Nobody here (a programming shop) blinks an eye because this is what you see every day on the street.

Yes, there are fewer cultural touchstones with my coworkers, so I exercise some cultural homophily with my personal friends (we're all hard-core computer geeks from a variety of races), but surely homophilic tendencies are no basis for the structure of society.

Or should I be agitating for a society where everyone must have read the science fiction greats before getting citizenship?
Whilst I respect Tom's comments, the comment above is in many ways akin to the argument pushed by feminists that a woman should be able to wear whatever she wants and not expect to get sexually assaulted.

Let me explain.

Traditional human anthropology tended to divide nature into its rational and irrational components. The irrational components being our appetites, desires, biases and other tendencies which overarching reason was mean to regulate for our own good.

Now the problem with this approach is that the concept of "reason" was rather vague. The implicit assumption was that the "reason" of the philosopher was also the same "reason" of the prole. The problem, as modern psychology and cognitive science has demonstrated, is that while everyone is capable of reason, the "quality" of everyone's reason is not the same.

An aspect of psychology that is relevant in this instance, is that of Kohlberg's theory of moral development. In essence, Kohlberg demonstrated that people's motivation for moral action is varied. At the lowest--and most populous level-- moral action is based on the avoidance of punishment and the promise of reward and its only that and only at the rarefied level of the enlightened few that it is motivated by considerations of higher ethical principle.  In other words, the reasoning of the bottom is different from the reasoning at the top yet the observed behaviour is the same.*

 
The other relevant dimension here are the latest findings from cognitive science which show that most people are "cognitive misers", even those with high I.Q., and that intuitive "logic" is default operating mode for most people.

When you meld these two findings together you find that most people's daily operations are intuitive in their nature and constrained by external factors such as punishment or shame rather than "considered behaviour modulated by rational deliberation". Sure, there are people like that, but they're in the minority.

It follows therefore that if you want the masses to behave properly, especially when asking them to act in ways which are profoundly counter-intuitive, pragmatically you need to have a strong policing force i.e. state retribution or strong cultural shaming mechanisms, i.e. institutionalised religion to keep people in line.

Expecting everyone to "reason" like a moral philosopher is based upon the assumption that everyone can. This of course is a rehash of the radical equality principle of all men and fails to recognise that some men are limited in reaching this level of cognition. (Note, it's one of the ways mainstream Christianity inadvertently laid the groundwork for Liberalism.) So anyone pushing this agenda is, in a way, furthering the intellectual supposition that all men are cognitively equal.

But suppose you do accept the fact that there is an inherent intellectual inequality amongst men, how then do you regulate public morality in such an environment, especially when asking men to act in a strongly counter-intuitive way? The only way to do so is by having a strong external apparatus, i.e. Church or State threatening to punish wayward behaviour. i.e. Big Brother.  Furthermore, with the collapse of "cultural constraints" the void for regulating behviour needs to be assumed by the state, thus,  radical liberalism necessitates a powerful state regulatory apparatus to provide a check against the intuitive tendencies of the masses.

This is a "high energy" state of affairs. The state needs to be constantly maintained and strong in order to keep society together, should the state falter the intuitive impulses of the masses will reassert themselves. In countries like the U.S., where there is greater degree of individualism and multiculturalism, when the lights go out and the police go on strike, anarchy starts brewing quite rapidly. On the other hand, in countries such as Japan, where there are strong cultural "policing" mechanisms, and more realistic understanding of human anthropology, failure of state does not necessitate a failing society.

The former Yugoslavia was a classic example of this. Comprised of six different ethnicities, most of which did not want to live with each other, the only way the state could be kept together was through a strong totalitarian regime. Interestingly, the people most able to "get along" where the educated "cognitive" types whilst the masses maintained their grudges.  The failure of the policing state meant that natural demographic forces could assert themselves,  the rest is history.  Yugoslavia failed because it needed a strong state to force Croats, Serbs and Slovenes to be Yugoslavs and it was an example of trying to fit men to the model instead of fitting the model to men.

Stable "low energy" states are those which intuitively coalesce, where human nature is not taxed by its membership of them. A state based upon the "intuitive" emotions,experience and morality of the people is far easier to maintain than one which is pushing against human nature all the time. Catering for homophily which is near universal is different from catering to violent jealousy which is exceptional. Equating the two is wrong. A society which pushes against violent jealousy is going to require less "policing" than a society that pushes against "homophily" and is thus more stable.

Stable societies are build on an understanding of human nature and not a rejection of it. Still,  there does need to be some regulation of its more primitive aspects but the approach should be one based on the minimal amount of intervention necessary, not wide scale social engineering. Incidentally, this is one of the reasons why Puritanical societies go feral once the thumbscrews are released. Human nature only stand so much deformation.

When the feminists argue that a woman should be able to walk down the street wearing whatever she wants without being molested, they're uttering both a moral truth and an anthropological lie. It's akin to saying men should be able to transcend homophilous instinct. The problem with both both statements is that the fail to acknowledge the reality of human nature and and the human capacities to transcend them. If, however, this state of affairs was able to be achieved would necessitate a strong police state which would need to be maintained in order for there not to be a lapse into anarchy.

Stable societies are based upon the  recognition of human nature as the foundation of them. Not asking too much of people means that when the pressure is put on society, it doesn't go bad. Furthermore, if you're going to police a society, you're better off doing it through culture rather than the police state. I'd rather a minister in a church hall than a policeman in my bedroom.

*Note, the relationship of demographics and Kohlberg's theory of moral development is complex. Since this is a blog and not a academic paper I've tried to keep things simple.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sam Francis, Bill Buckley, NRx.


One of the books I've finally got around to reading is Sam Francis's Beautiful Losers: Essays on the Failure of American Conservatism. It's a book I'd highly recommend, in fact, its a book I'd insist that neo-Reactionairies include in their cannon because of the insights that it gives. I hope to make a few comments about the book in the next few posts, particularly with its relevance to the NRx but today I just want to make a brief comment on William Buckely, especially because there has been a lot of Buckley hate coming from the Alt-Right.

I, like Francis, have a mixed opinion of Buckley. His purging of the "lunatic fringe" from the Right, in my mind was necessary for its survival in the post war period, but on the other hand, he was unable to successfully reinvigorate it during his stewardship of the National Review and led its drift towards NeoConservatism. Part of the problem, in my opinion, was due to his attempt to create a "broad church" Conservatism, but in doing so, he gutted the core elements of conservative beliefs. The other problem, as I saw it, was that Buckley enjoyed being an "intellectual" and felt that intellectual argument alone would save the day.  This as Francis points out, was a fatal error and contributed much to political neutralisation of conservatism. Still, given the broad front from which attacks were being waged upon it, Buckley should be praised for keeping any sort of conservative operation alive at all.

Francis recognises that whilst under Buckley's leadership all was not well with Conservatism but it also needs to be understood that Buckley was right in purging the conservative movement of it's more idiotic elements. Something NRx's should note.
[Buckley] forcefully rejected what he called "the popular and cliche-ridden appeal to the grass-roots" and strove instead to establish a journal which would reach intellectuals. Not all conservatives agreed with this approach, but the young editor-to-be was firm. It was the intellectuals, after all, "who have midwived and implemented the revolution. We have got to have allies among the intellectuals, and we propose to renovate conservatism and see if we can't win some of them around." 
Yet while Buckley seemed cognizant of the "revolution" that had transpired and was, in fact, successful in attracting a number of intellectuals, he failed to see that the new intellectual class as a whole, which had indeed "midwived and implemented the revolution," could not become conservative. It could not do so because its principal interest, social function, and occupational calling in the new order was to delegitimize the ideas and institutions of conservatism and provide legitimization for the new regime, and its power and rewards as a class depended upon the very bureaucratized cultural organizations that conservatives attacked. Only if conservatism were "renovated" to the point that it no longer rejected the cultural apparatus of the revolution could intellectuals be expected to sign up.

 Moreover, by focusing its efforts in Manhattan, Washington, and the major centers of the intelligentsia and other sectors of the new elite, Buckley and his conservative colleagues isolated themselves from their natural allies in the "grass roots." While there was clearly a need for intellectual sophistication on the Right, the result of Buckley's tactic was to generate a schism between Old Right intellectual cadres and the body of conservative supporters outside its north-eastern urban and academic headquarters. Among these supporters in the 1950s and 1960s there flourished an increasingly bizarre and deracinated wilderness of extremist, conspiratorialist, racialist, and even occultist ideologues who loudly rejected both the Old Right mainstream and the Old Right's new friends in the intellectual and cultural elite, but who failed to attract any but the most marginal and pathological elements in the country and exerted no cultural or political influence at all [ED]. At various times in its history, National Review has found it necessary to "purge" itself of such adherents, and each catharsis, no matter how prudent, has rendered its "renovated" conservatism less and less palatable to ordinary Americans and more and more acceptable to the Manhattanite intelligentsia it has always sought to attract. 
Here Francis teaches NRx an important lesson. Firstly, whilst NRx is not populist, it's going to be irrelevant if it's not popular.  Simply being an intellectual exercise is not enough. Francis has more to say on the subject which I will comment on in later posts. But the other thing Francis realises is that Buckley's purges were necessary since many of the those attracted to the conservative movement were actually hostile to the "Old Right".

Buckley's three huge mistakes were in;

1) Trying to conform to the establishment.
2) Not having an adequate enough yardstick by which to measure a Conservative's credentials.
3) Purging the obvious psychopaths whist missing the more cunning snakes. i.e Neoconservatives.

It's the latter two points which worry me the most with regard to current developments in the dissident Right.  Looks a bit like history repeating.




Wednesday, April 20, 2016

1488 and the Alt-Right.

Ramsey Paul put up a good video post a few weeks ago. It quite clearly explains the problems with the 1488 crowd and the Alt-Right.




Now some definitions according to me:

1) Dissident Right= All groups not represented by what is known as the mainstream Right. i.e. G.O.P, UK conservative Party, Australian Liberal party etc.
2) 1488= Supporters of the ideology of the Nazi party and its local variants.
3) NRx=NRx
4) Alt Right=?

Now, what I don't understand from the way the term seems to be used, is the Alt Right:

1) Alt Right = Dissident Right.
2) Alt Right = Dissident Right - NRx
3) Alt Right = Dissident Right - NRx - 1488
4) Alt Right = 1488 by another name?

From what I can see, in common usage amongst the Dissident Right, the term seems to be used interchangeably and without any specificity which I feel is a dangerous habit.  As Ramsey Paul points out, with the increasing mainstream acceptance of the "Alt Right" there seems to be a concerted effort by the 1488 crowd to co-opt that moniker.  In essence what the 1488 crowd are trying to do is associate themselves with the dissident right.

Cognitive misers--i.e. the average man--doesn't think in terms of concepts, rather, he "thinks" in terms of associations. And what matters for the hearts and minds of the proletariat is not what they think of you rather what they associate with you.  It's a simple principle of advertising and that's why when they're trying to sell you a product the actors in the commercials are always attractive or agreeable. On the other hand when they're trying to diss a product, the users are always hopeless and unattractive.

Whether the Dissident Right likes it or not, the infusion of quasi Nazi imagery into Alt-Right websites is going to associate the Alt-Right with Nazism. Not by any logical act but simply by the fact of human biology. It's how our brains work. Advertising 101. Furthermore, the use by the 1488 crowd of dissident Right memes serves to further conflate the the distinction between the two.

Why the 1488 crowd wants to call itself the Alt-Right is up for speculation. I imagine a section of it wants to gain political legitimacy for its ideas by repackaging itself in a form that doesn't trigger previous associations with Nazism but if that's the case, it's doing a very bad job.

My personal view, and it appears to be Ramsey Paul's as well, is that the the role of the 1488 crowd is to discredit the dissident Right. (Note, when Ramsey uses Alt-Right he uses it in a way that excludes the 1488 crowd.) And I don't think that this is a conspiracy theory that's too hard to swallow.

There are some really, really nasty people in the NeoNazi groups which the authorities would be wise to monitor. But there is considerable documentary evidence that many of the groups themselves may actually be heavily influenced by law enforcement officials. Some reading:

Records show Feds used ultra-Right radio host for years.

Neo Nazi Rally was organised by FBI informant.

COINTELPRO

FBI Nazi Bikers Bust FBI Nazi Group

From the FBI's own website.
"Domestic right-wing terrorist groups often adhere to the principles of racial supremacy and embrace antigovernment, antiregulatory beliefs. Generally, extremist right-wing groups engage in activity that is protected by constitutional guarantees of free speech and assembly. Law enforcement becomes involved when the volatile talk of these groups transgresses into unlawful action.
On the national level, formal right-wing hate groups, such as the National Alliance, the World Church of the Creator (WCOTC) and the Aryan Nations, represent a continuing terrorist threat. Although efforts have been made by some extremist groups to reduce openly racist rhetoric in order to appeal to a broader segment of the population and to focus increased attention on antigovernment sentiment, racism-based hatred remains an integral component of these groups’ core orientations."
Given the Leftward shift of society, and given the Government propensity to weaponise its agencies against its political rivals, and given that the current administration is very hostile to right wing views,  it is highly probably that many of the extremist Alt-Right-- in the 1488 sense--are either complete nut-jobs or agents provocateurs. It's also quite probable that there are attempts afoot to discredit the Dissident Right by association with the 1488 crowd.

THEY NEED TO BE PURGED.

I think it's a rather sad state of affairs that they've even been able to gain admission and illustrates just how poor the state of Rightist thought is at the moment. (Another reason why the Left always wins). As I've said before, how can socialism for white people only be considered Right Wing?

The task ahead is to delineate what is Dissident Right and what it is not, and to walk the tight-rope between the Mainstream Right and the Nazi Party.