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mardi, 27 octobre 2020

Joe Scotchie: Recovering Authentic (= Politically Incorrect) Conservatism


Joe Scotchie: Recovering Authentic (= Politically Incorrect) Conservatism

Joe Scotchie’s recently published anthology Writing on the Southern Front: Authentic Conservatism For Our Times made me aware of the task that confronts every serious student of the Right—recovering what otherwise might slip down the Memory Hole. Both the American media and, more generally, American political culture have moved so far away from anything that looks even vaguely non-Left that we may soon need archeologists to rediscover what has been driven underground. American “conservatism” (yes the scare quotes here are very deliberate) is now represented by Jonah Goldberg, telling us how frighteningly homophobic, racist, anti-Semitic and sexist the 1950s were and Rich Lowry calling for the removal of all statues of Robert E. Lee, since they may offend American blacks.[Mothball the Confederate Monuments, National Review, August 15, 2017]. It is therefore comforting to read Scotchie’s latest effort to revive and defend an “authentic conservatism.”

41+ZcQXQVML._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgSimilarly, I’ve also been watching on Fox News the steady procession of “proud, Republican” homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, and “moderate” feminists and wonder whether I’ve tuned in by mistake to a multicultural festival. Recently, I heard the “conservative” Geraldo Rivera explaining on Fox News how truly blessed we are by having so many Latinos streaming across our borders and assimilating “at a rate that’s faster than any ethnic group” in US history. [Tom Brokaw’s Hispanic remarks were ‘shockingly uninformed,’ Geraldo Rivera says, by Joseph A. Wulfsohn, January 30, 2019] My cup runneth over with such “conservative” verities.

Scotchie, a native of Ashville NC who now works as a journalist in Queens NY, has returned to his task of recovering ideas and traditions that don’t pass the current PC litmus test. In books on paleoconservatism, the “Southern” history of Ashville, Richard Weaver and Pat Buchanan, (The Paleoconservatives, A Gallery of Ashevilleans, The Vision of Richard Weaver, and Street Corner Conservative) Scotchie has tried to bring to life what the American Right, when it still existed as part of the permissible political conversation, believed and revered.

Not all of his heroes, like Robert E. Lee, the Southern Agrarians, Thomas Wolfe, Sam Francis, M.E. Bradford, Douglas Southall Freeman, the biographer of Washington and Lee, and Patrick J. Buchanan, would necessarily have agreed on all basic moral and political questions.

But they all fit easily into a plausible Right, a position that I explore in an essay “Defining Right and Left” included in my 2017 anthology Revisions and Dissents. Scotchie associates the Right (even when he doesn’t use that term) with a strong sense of family and place, a settled authority structure, deep reservations about modernity, and the belief in a fixed human nature.

Scotchie is also intensely loyal to the historic South, which he understands as did one of his subjects Richard Weaver, as a premodern, hierarchical society. Throughout his essays and commentaries, including the ones on literature, it is hard to ignore Scotchie’s revulsion for globalism and uprooted anthropoids.

I was particularly struck in reading his anthology by how, in the last piece in the book, Scotchie eulogizes his recently deceased friend “Mark Royden Winchell, the Last of the Vanderbilt Greats.”[PDF]. Like Joe, I was moved by the early death of this brilliant essayist from Clemson University, who rarely expressed political opinions but whose sensibilities were apparent:

More than ever, Mark sided with the cause of the Old Right and the conservative South. He opposed the Iraq War, and on the pages of The American Conservative, offered up the America First foreign policy of his fellow Ohioan Robert Taft as a proper antidote to endless foreign meddling. Mark was also a member of the League of the South, for which he published an extensive critique of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. one that not only focused on King’s plagiarism, adultery, and support for leftist politics, but one that also mourned the passing of the George Washington—Abraham Lincoln America of Mark’s youth. [Links added].

Although I was hardly aware of Mark’s strong political statements until I read this eulogy, produced in 2008, I am delighted to discover that we were all on the same page regarding the Zeitgeist. It is also good to know that Mark came to the defense of the Southern Agrarians against the charge that they were (what else?) racists.

But I am even more pleased that Mark managed in his abbreviated life to expose the multiple shortcomings of that now exemplary conservative saint, Martin Luther King. [Canonizing Martin Luther King, League of The South Institute, via Archive.is, 2005] The cloying tributes to this glaringly flawed Leftist that come each year around January 19 from Heritage Foundation and other outlets of Conservatism, Inc. were particularly oppressive this year. It is gratifying to known that our fallen comrade weighed in against this mendacious hagiography, variously featuring King as a lover of family values, a traditional Christian theologian, and a martyr for conservative causes.

For clarification: I’ve never shared the deep disgust for King felt by my late friend Sam Francis and by other members of the Old Right. I just loathe the transparent lies told about him by phony conservative journalists and foundations. The fact that these contemptible fabrications don’t attract minority support is not at all surprising, given their nonsensical character and given the now fixed political identity of blacks and the white Left.

joescrevolt.jpgAmong Scotchie’s topics and personalities for discussion, another that especially interested me, given my preoccupation with modern European history, is the essay devoted to British statesman Enoch Powell. Scotchie approaches this British Tory opponent of immigration through Simon Heffer’s exhaustive biography, Like the Roman: The Life of Enoch Powell, which was published in 1999. Despite his lustrous careers as a classics professor, British officer during World War Two, and member of the Tory shadow cabinet in the late 1960s, Powell fell from grace after delivering what is misleadingly called the “Rivers of Blood” speech against unchecked immigration in 1968. The most offending line from that speech, about “the Tiber River foaming with much blood,” was drawn from Virgil’s Aeneid—a Latin epic that Powell had no doubt taught during his years as a classics professor in Sydney, Australia. Immediately after giving this oration, Powell was dropped by Tory leader Edward Heath from the shadow cabinet. Misnamed Conservatives then alternated with the Labourites in denouncing this moving target as a xenophobe.

Powell, one of the most learned and intelligent Englishman to enter national politics in the twentieth century, was destroyed socially and professionally (although VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow argues he in fact came much closer to returning as Tory leader than is generally realized) for expressing views on immigration that in 1954 his mentor Winston Churchill had stated far more boldly. [What Churchill said about Britain’s immigrants, by David Smith, Guardian, August 4, 2007] By the late 1960s the political pendulum on immigration and other social questions was moving rapidly Leftward; and so even slightly right-of-center celebrities were being hammered by the Leftward-moving media for stating what had been previously unexceptional views.

Scotchie notes in praising this fallen victim of PC:

Powellism lives, but not in England. Meanwhile the civilization he loved and honored may yet survive, but throughout Western Europe and North America, it is more imperiled than ever.

This judgment may be overly sanguine.

Paul Gottfried [email him] is a retired Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, PA. He is the author of After Liberalism, Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt and The Strange Death of Marxism His most recent book is Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America.

dimanche, 31 mars 2019

Reflecting on the Interwar Right


Reflecting on the Interwar Right

Please note this rightist opposition to war must be distinguished from the objections of Communist sympathizers or generic leftists to certain wars for ideological reasons. For example, George McGovern, who was a longtime Soviet apologist, protested the Vietnam War, while defending his own role in dropping bombs on helpless civilians in World War Two. For McGovern the “good war” was the one in which the US found itself on the same side as the Soviets and world Communism. Clearly McGovern did not object to American military engagements for rightist reasons.

My own list of interwar American Rightists would include predominantly men of letters, e.g., Wallace Stevens, H.L. Mencken, George Santayana (who was Stevens’s teacher at Harvard and longtime correspondent), Robert Lee Frost, the Southern Agrarians, and pro-fascist literati Ezra Pound and Lovecraft, (if accept these figures as part of a specifically American Right). Although Isabel Patterson and John T. Flynn may have regarded themselves as more libertarian than rightist, both these authors provide characteristically American rightist criticism of the progress of the democratic idea. The same is true of the novelist and founder of the libertarian movement Rose Wilder Lane, whose sympathetic portrayal of an older America in “House on the Prairie” has earned the disapproval of our present ruling class. Many of our rightist authors considered themselves to be literary modernists, e.g., Stevens, Pound and Jeffers. But as has been frequently observed, modernist writers were often political reactionaries, who combined literary innovations with decidedly rightist opinions about politics. Significantly, not only Mencken but also Stevens admired Nietzsche, although in Stevens’s case this admiration was motivated by aesthetic affinity rather than discernible political agreement.

This occasions the inevitable question why so many generation defining writers, particularly poets, in the interwar years took political and cultural positions that were diametrically opposed to those of our current literary and cultural elites. Allow me to provide one obvious answer that would cause me to be dismissed from an academic post if I were still unlucky enough to hold one. Some of the names I’ve been listing belonged to scions of long settled WASP families, e.g., Frost, Stevens, Jeffers, and, at least on one side, Santayana, and these figures cherished memories of an older American society that they considered in crisis.  Jeffers was the son of a Presbyterian minister from Pittsburgh, who was a well-known classical scholar. By the time he was twelve this future poet and precocious linguist knew German and French as well as English and later followed the example of his minister father by studying classics, in Europe as well as in the US.

Other figures of the literary Right despised egalitarianism, which was a defining attitude of the self-identified Nietzschean Mencken. The Sage of Baltimore typified what the Italian Marxist Domenico Losurdo describes as “aristocratic individualism” and which Losurdo and Mencken identified with the German philosopher Nietzsche. This anti-egalitarian individualism was easily detected in such figures as Mencken, Pound and the Jeffersonian libertarian, Albert J. Nock.

états-unis,droite américaine,conservatisme,conservatisme américain,littérature,lettres,lettres américaines,littérature américaine,histoire,paul gottfried,philosophie,nietzschéismeIt may be Nock’s “Memoirs of a Superfluous Man” (1943) with its laments against modern leveling tendencies, and Nock’s earlier work “Our Enemy, The State” (1935) which incorporated most persuasively for me this concept of aristocratic individualism. Nock opposed the modern state not principally because he disapproved of its economic policies (although he may not have liked them as well) but because he viewed it as an instrument of destroying valid human distinctions. His revisionist work Myth of a Guilty Nation, which I’m about to reread, has not lost its power since Nock’s attack on World War One Allied propaganda was first published in 1922. Even more than Mencken, whose antiwar fervor in 1914 may have reflected his strongly pro-German bias, Nock opposed American involvement in World War One for the proper moral reasons, namely that the Western world was devouring itself in a totally needless conflagration. Curiously the self-described Burkean Russell Kirk depicts his discovery of Nock’s Memoirs of a Superfluous Man on an isolated army base in Utah during World War Two as a spiritual awakening. Robert Nisbet recounts the same experience in the same way in very similar circumstances. 

Generational influence:

These interwar rightists of various stripes took advantage of a rich academic-educational as well as literary milieu that was still dominated by a WASP patrician class before its descendants sank into Jed Bushism or even worse. These men and women of letters were still living in a society featuring classes, gender roles, predominantly family owned factories, small town manners, and bourgeois decencies. Even those who like Jeffers, Nock and Mencken viewed themselves as iconoclasts, today may seem, even to our fake conservatives, to be thorough reactionary. The world has changed many times in many ways since these iconoclasts walked the Earth. I still recall attending a seminar of literary scholars as a graduate student in Yale in 1965, ten years after the death of Wallace Stevens, and being informed that although Stevens was a distinguished poet, it was rumored that he was a Republican. Someone else then chimed in that Stevens was supposed to have opposed the New Deal, something that caused consternation among those who were attending. At the times I had reservations about the same political development but kept my views to myself. One could only imagine what the acceptance price for a writer in a comparable academic circle at Yale would be at the present hour. Perhaps the advocacy of state-required transgendered restrooms spaced twenty feet apart from each other or some even more bizarre display of Political Correctness.  I shudder to think.

But arguably the signs of what was to come were already present back in the mid-1960s. What was even then fading was the academic society that still existed when Stevens attended Harvard, Frost Dartmouth, though only for a semester, or Nock the still recognizably traditional Episcopal Barth College. Our elite universities were not likely to produce even in the 1960s Pleiades of right-wing iconoclasts, as they had in the interwar years and even before the First World War.  And not incidentally the form of American conservatism that came out of Yale in the post-war years quickly degenerated into something far less appealing than what it replaced. It became a movement in which members were taught to march in lockstep while advocating far-flung American military entanglements. The step had already been taken that led from the interwar Right to what today is conservatism, inc. Somehow the interwar tradition looks better and better with the passage of time.

dimanche, 03 mars 2019

Yockey et la machine américaine à uniformiser


Yockey et la machine américaine à uniformiser

Les Carnets de Nicolas Bonnal

FPY-imp.jpgRené Girard a parlé de l’Amérique comme puissance mimétique. Sur cette planète de crétins en effet tout le monde veut devenir américain, y compris quand il s’agit de payer des études à quarante mille euros/an, des opérations à 200 000 euros, de devenir obèse et même abruti par la consommation de médias et d’opiacés...

L’affaire est déjà ancienne et René Guénon a bien évoqué après Tocqueville ou Beaumont la médiocrité industrielle de la vie ordinaire/américanisée qu’on nous impose depuis les bourgeoises révolutions...

Un des américains à avoir le mieux parlé de cette uniformisation, après Poe ou Hawthorne, fut Francis Parker Yockey. Je laisse de côté ses vues politiques totalement aberrantes et je prends en compte ses observations sociologiques qui, comme celles de Louis-Ferdinand Céline, sont souvent justes ou/et intéressantes. Voici ce qu’il observe à l’époque de Bogart, quand tout le monde là-bas mène une vie gris Hopper, clope sans arrêt, boit son whisky au petit-déjeuner, imite les criminels en se couvrant d’un chapeau et d’une ridicule gabardine :

« La technique pour éliminer la résistance américaine à la distorsion de la culture a été l'uniformité. Chaque Américain a été fait pour s'habiller de la même manière, vivant et discutant de la même façon, se comportant de la même manière et pensant aussi identiquement. Le principe de l'uniformité considère la personnalité comme un danger et aussi comme un fardeau. Ce grand principe a été appliqué à tous les domaines de la vie. La publicité d'un genre et à une échelle inconnue de l'Europe fait partie de cette méthode d'éradication de l’individualisme. On voit partout le même visage vide, souriant. »

La femme américaine fut plus facilement mécanisée que l’homme :

«  Ce principe a avant tout été appliqué à la femme américaine dans les vêtements, les cosmétiques et le comportement, elle a été privée de toute individualité. Une littérature, vaste et inclusive, s'est développée pour mécaniser et uniformiser tous les problèmes et toutes les situations de la vie. Des millions de livres sont vendus pour dire à l’Américain «Comment se faire des amis». D’autres livres lui expliquent comment écrire des lettres, se comporter en public, faire l’amour, jouer à des jeux, uniformiser sa vie intérieure, comment beaucoup d'enfants à avoir, comment s'habiller, même comment penser. »

FPY-lost.jpgLe cinéaste Tim Burton a bien moqué ce comportement homogénéisé/industriel dans plusieurs de ses films, par exemple Edouard aux mains d’argent. Kazan avait fait de même dans l’Arrangement. Aujourd’hui ce comportement monolithique/industriel s’applique à l’humanitaire, à la déviance, à la marginalité, au transsexualisme, au tatouage, au piercing, etc. 

Toujours dans Empire, Francis Parker Yockey ajoute :

« Un concours a récemment eu lieu en Amérique pour trouver «Mr. L'homme moyen». Des statistiques générales ont été utilisées pour trouver le centre/moyen de la population, les relations matrimoniales, la répartition de la population, le nombre de familles, la répartition rurale et urbaine, et ainsi de suite. Enfin, un homme et sa femme avec deux enfants dans une maison de taille moyenne en ville ont été choisis comme «famille moyenne». Ils ont ensuite fait un voyage à New York, ont été interviewés par la presse, fêtés, sollicités pour approuver les produits commerciaux... »

On pense aux films de Capra qui déclinaient jusqu’à l’écœurement ce modèle de l’homme moyen dont se moquent les Coen dans leur œuvre (revoyez Barton Fink ou l’Homme qui n’était pas là sous cet angle) :

Yockey : « Leurs habitudes à la maison, leurs ajustements de vie ont généralement fait l’objet d’une enquête, et puis de généraliser. Ayant trouvé l'homme moyen du haut vers le bas, les idées et les sentiments ont ensuite été généralisés sous la forme de pensées moyennes impératives et des sentiments. Dans les «universités» américaines, les maris et les femmes assistent à une conférence sur l'adaptation au mariage. L’individualisme ne doit même pas être accepté dans quelque chose d'aussi personnel que le mariage. L’uniforme civil est aussi rigoureux – pour chaque type d’occasion – en tant que vêtement militaire ou liturgique le plus strict. »

Notre rebelle dénonce la liquidation des arts : 

« Les arts ont été coordonnés dans le schéma directeur. Il n’y a en Amérique, avec ses 140 000 000 d’habitants, pas une seule compagnie d'opéra continue, ni un seul théâtre continu ; le théâtre n’y produit que des «revues» et des pièces de propagande journalistique. »

Comme Céline ou Duhamel, Yockey souligne le rôle du cinéma :

« Pour le reste, il n’y a que le cinéma et c’est, après tout, le moyen le plus puissant de l’uniformisation de l’Américain. »

La peinture et la musique sont remplacées :

« Dans un pays qui a produit West, Stuart et Copley, il n'y a pas un seul peintre de notoriété publique qui continue dans la tradition occidentale. Les «abstractions», la folie picturale et le souci de la laideur monopolisent l'art pictural.

FPY-flames.jpgLa musique est rarement entendue en Amérique, ayant été remplacée par le battement de tambour sans culture du noir. Comme le dit un musicologue américain: «Le rythme du jazz, tiré de tribus sauvages, est à la fois raffiné et élémentaire et correspond aux dispositions de notre âme moderne. Cela nous excite sans répit, comme le battement de tambour primitif du danseur de la prière. Mais il ne s'arrête pas là. Il doit en même temps tenir compte de l'excitabilité de la psyché moderne. Nous avons soif de stimuli rapides, excitants et en constante évolution. La musique est un excellent moyen d’excitation, syncopé, qui a fait ses preuves. »

Et la littérature aussi :

« La littérature américaine, qui a produit Irving, Emerson, Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau et Poe, est aujourd'hui entièrement représentée par des distorteurs de la culture qui transforment les motifs freudiens et marxistes en pièces de théâtre et en romans. »

Famille et religion n’existent déjà plus (années de la révolution sociétale Roosevelt) :

« La vie de famille américaine a été complètement désintégrée par le régime qui déforme la culture. Dans le foyer américain habituel, les parents ont en réalité moins d'autorité que les enfants. Les écoles n'appliquent aucune discipline, pas plus que les églises. La fonction de formation des esprits des jeunes a été abdiquée par tous en faveur du cinéma. Le mariage en Amérique a été remplacé par le divorce. Ceci est dit sans intention paradoxale. Les statistiques montrent que dans les grandes villes, un mariage sur deux se termine par un divorce. Le pays dans son ensemble, le chiffre est un sur trois. »

La presse sert à manipuler, à préparer la guerre (pensons à l’Iran, au Venezuela, à la Russie, à la Chine, gros morceaux pourtant, mais rien n’arrêtera nos couillons) :

« L'uniformité est la technique de l'excitation. La presse présente chaque jour de nouvelles sensations. Que ce soit un meurtre, un enlèvement, un scandale gouvernemental ou une alerte à la guerre, peu importe la raison. Mais, à des fins politiques particulières, ces dernières sensations sont les plus efficaces. Pour nous préparer à la Seconde Guerre mondiale, le facteur de distorsion a administré tous les jours une nouvelle "crise". Le processus a augmenté jusqu'à ce que la population soit prête à se féliciter du déclenchement de la guerre comme un soulagement de la constante tension nerveuse. Lorsque la guerre est apparue, le distorteur a immédiatement appelé une "guerre mondiale" malgré le fait que seulement trois puissances politiques étaient engagées, et les plus forts pouvoirs n'étaient pas impliqués. »

On tape souvent sur les Américains ou les Anglo-Saxons en oubliant, comme me disait Jean Parvulesco peu avant sa mort, qu’ils avaient d’abord perdu le combat chez eux…



Yockey, Imperium, world-outlook, pp. 502-506

dimanche, 30 décembre 2018

Grégoire Canlorbe interviewe Jared Taylor


Grégoire Canlorbe interviewe Jared Taylor

Jared Taylor

(traduction français par Chlodomir)

Samuel Jared Taylor est un défenseur américain de la race blanche, né au Japon. Il est le fondateur et le rédacteur du magazine online American Renaissance. Taylor est aussi le  président de l’organisation parente d’American RenaissanceNew Century Foundation.

Grégoire Canlorbe : Avec le bénéfice de la vision rétrospective, quel fut l’Age d’Or des relations raciales aux USA ? Cela aurait-il pu être la ségrégation ?

Jared Taylor : Il n’y a jamais eu d’Age d’Or des relations raciales. Je pense que c’est impossible d’avoir un Age d’Or des relations raciales, parce que les relations raciales sont intrinsèquement conflictuelles.

La ségrégation était meilleure au sens où quand les Noirs et les Blancs n’entrent pas en  contact, il y a moins de conflits. Elle était aussi meilleure à certain égards pour les Noirs parce qu’aujourd’hui, un Noir intelligent et travailleur peut sortir d’un quartier noir et vivre dans un quartier blanc. Pendant la ségrégation, les Noirs compétents et intelligents vivaient dans les quartiers noirs et ils pouvaient être des modèles. Pour cette raison, beaucoup de Noirs disent que la ségrégation était meilleure pour les Noirs parce qu’ils avaient une série complète de gens riches et pauvres, travailleurs et non-travailleurs, mariés et célibataires, alors qu’aujourd’hui les quartiers noirs ont souvent seulement les pires des Noirs. Beaucoup sont devenus des zones de grande dégénérescence, qui sont très mauvaises pour les Noirs et très mauvaises pour le pays.

Beaucoup de lecteurs ne le croiront pas, mais du moins dans le Sud, lorsqu’il y avait une claire hiérarchie avec les Blancs en haut et les Noirs en bas, il était plus facile d’avoir des relations d’affection authentiques. Personne n’ose en parler aujourd’hui, mais il y avait souvent un sentiment qui ne peut être décrit que comme de l’amour entre les Blancs et les Noirs qui travaillaient pour eux. Je crois que c’était possible seulement parce que la hiérarchie était claire – les gens des deux races savaient à quoi s’attendre les uns des autres. La description de Huck et Jim dans Huckleberry Finn donne une idée de ce genre d’affection. Il est beaucoup plus difficile d’avoir une amitié authentique qui traverse les lignes raciales dans notre actuelle ère d’égalité par décret en dépit de l’inégalité biologique et à une époque de politique identitaire noire insistante.

Grégoire Canlorbe : Thomas Jefferson dit qu’il était en faveur de l’affranchissement et de la déportation [= rapatriement] des esclaves afro-américains. Au vu de cela, pensez-vous qu’il serait en faveur de la remigration des colonisateurs congoïdes et arabes hors d’Europe ?

Jared Taylor : Certainement. Il aurait fortement soutenu cela. Thomas Jefferson n’était pas du tout le seul à vouloir rapatrier les Africains noirs. Beaucoup d’Américains éminents voulaient la même chose. Le président James Monroe fut très étroitement impliqué dans l’établissement du pays du Liberia. La capitale Monrovia est nommée d’après James Monroe parce qu’il aida à établir le Liberia. Même Abraham Lincoln – bien qu’il soit révéré aux Etats-Unis comme le Grand Emancipateur – voulait envoyer les Noirs affranchis en-dehors des Etats-Unis. Il ne voulait pas que les Etats-Unis soient composés de Noirs libres et de Blancs libres vivant ensemble. Il voulait que tous les Noirs quittent les Etats-Unis.

Ces gens n’auraient jamais pu imaginer une Europe où il y aurait beaucoup de Noirs, beaucoup d’Arabes, beaucoup d’Asiatiques. Ils auraient considéré cela comme une terrible  forme de suicide national, racial et culturel. 

Grégoire Canlorbe : Comparée à celle des Pères Fondateurs, la conscience de race est-elle une question politique importante pour le président Trump ?

Jared Taylor : Je ne pense pas que Donald Trump pense sérieusement à la race. Il est toujours accusé d’être raciste, mais, bien qu’il comprenne, par exemple, que les musulmans ne s’intègrent pas très bien aux Etats-Unis et qu’il n’aime pas les immigrants illégaux entrant aux Etats-Unis et bénéficiant de l’aide sociale, je ne pense pas que Donald Trump comprenne que pour que les Etats-Unis continuent de faire partie de la civilisation occidentale, ils doivent avoir une majorité blanche. Il comprend peut-être cela et il est peut-être simplement effrayé de le dire tout haut, mais je pense qu’il est plus probable qu’il ne le comprenne simplement pas.

Grégoire Canlorbe : On pense souvent à l’Amérique comme au pays calviniste par excellence. Pourtant les Pères Fondateurs étaient imprégnés de la culture païenne du vieux monde gréco-latin. De nos jours, que reste-t-il de cela dans le mode de vie américain ?

Jared Taylor : Il est vrai que les Etats-Unis furent fondés par des gens qui étaient nominalement protestants. Je ne suis pas sûr qu’on doive les appeler calvinistes. Ils étaient anglicans, ils étaient presbytériens, et ils étaient catholiques, même au début. L’Etat du  Maryland fut fondé par des catholiques, par exemple. Mais des parties de la Scandinavie et de l’Allemagne étaient aussi protestantes. Je ne suis pas sûr qu’il serait correct de dire que les Etats-Unis ont été davantage formés par ce genre de protestantisme que l’Allemagne ou la Scandinavie. Les Etats-Unis deviennent de moins en moins religieux.

Il serait incorrect, je pense, de dire que les Etats-Unis, culturellement ou politiquement, reflètent le calvinisme. Cela aurait pu être le cas dans certaines zones, certaines parties du pays. Quelqu’un comme le général Stonewall Jackson croyait en une forme sévère et punitive du presbytérisme. Donc, ce courant de pensée était certainement présent aux Etats-Unis jusqu’à une certaine période. Mais aujourd’hui, je ne dirais pas que les Etats-Unis soient calvinistes. Les Etats-Unis sont même de moins en moins chrétiens. Et beaucoup des gens qui prétendent être chrétiens sont tout aussi libéraux ou multiculturalistes, ou tout aussi pro-immigrants que les athées.

L’Américain ordinaire, je pense, est complètement détaché de tout ce qui pourrait être appelé gréco-latin. Bien sûr, les monuments de l’architecture américaine – le bâtiment du Capitole, ou le bâtiment des archives, ou même la Maison Blanche : tous reflètent l’architecture gréco-latine. Notre chambre haute est appelée le Sénat ; la littérature et la loi sont parsemées de phrases latines. Mais en termes d’appréciation de l’Iliade et de l’Odyssée, et des classiques de la littérature romaine, de la tragédie grecque, la plupart des Américains ont très peu de contact avec cela. Et s’ils ont un contact avec, c’est pendant une brève période à l’université. Je pense que si vous demandiez aux étudiants d’université : « Avez-vous déjà lu une pièce grecque ? » ou « Avez-vous déjà lu l’Iliade ou l’Odyssée ? », la plupart répondraient probablement non.

Grégoire Canlorbe : « Une autre chose qui m’a frappé [chez l’Américain] », écrivit le psychiatre et philosophe Carl Gustav Jung, « fut la grande influence du Nègre, une influence  psychologique naturellement, non due au mélange de sang. La manière émotionnelle dont un  Américain s’exprime, spécialement la manière dont il rit, peut être étudiée le mieux dans les suppléments illustrés des journaux américains ; l’inimitable rire de Teddy Roosevelt se trouve dans sa forme primordiale chez le Nègre américain. La démarche particulière décontractée, ou le déhanchement si fréquemment observé chez les Américains, vient aussi du Nègre. La musique américaine tire sa principale inspiration du Nègre, et la danse aussi. L’expression du  sentiment religieux, les meetings du revival, les Holy Rollers et autres anormalités sont fortement influencés par le Nègre. La vivacité de l’Américain moyen, qui apparaît non seulement dans les parties de base-ball mais tout particulièrement dans son extraordinaire amour du bavardage – l’incessant baratin des journaux américains en est un exemple éloquent – peut difficilement être attribué à ses ancêtres germaniques, mais ressemble bien plus au bavardage d’un village nègre. Le manque presque total d’intimité et la sociabilité de masse dévorant tout me rappellent la vie primitive dans des huttes, où il y a une identité complète avec tous les membres de la tribu ».

Comment évaluez-vous l’analyse de Jung, d’après laquelle les Américains blancs sont  psychologiquement mélanisés ?

Jared Taylor : Je pense que concernant la musique américaine, il y a une certaine vérité là-dedans. Et il y a une chose que Jung ne mentionne pas, c’est la cuisine américaine. Les Noirs ont contribué à une certaine sorte de cuisine sudiste. Mais l’idée que le comportement des Blancs – leur manière de rire ou de parler – est influencé par les Noirs, je ne suis pas d’accord avec cela. Je pense qu’en-dehors de la musique et de la cuisine – je ne sais pas quand cette citation a été écrite –, il y a certainement très peu de choses dans les habitudes et les activités quotidiennes des Américains qui doivent beaucoup à une influence africaine, à mon avis. Il y a un certain nombre de jeunes Blancs qui sont influencés par la musique rap, par exemple. Il y a des gens qui souhaitent agir comme des Noirs, mais ils ont un nom particulier : ils sont appelés « wiggers ». C’est une abréviation pour « white Niggers » [Nègres blancs]. Ce sont des Blancs qui pensent que c’est cool de parler et d’agir et de s’habiller d’une manière qui imite les Noirs. Mais ils forment un groupe distinct – un groupe très distinct – et ils ne sont pas représentatifs de la plupart des Américains.

Grégoire Canlorbe : On dit parfois qu’un individu est d’abord défini par sa caste (soi-disant naturelle), et seulement secondairement par sa race. En d’autres mots, un aristocrate guerrier blanc est – au niveau psychologique aussi bien que physiologique – plus proche d’un samouraï japonais et d’un kshatriya indien que d’un marchand blanc ou d’un travailleur blanc.  Un exemple souvent évoqué est celui de Jules Brunet, un officier de l’armée française qui vint au Japon pour aider l’empereur et qui finalement rejoignit la rébellion des samouraïs contre lui. Cet homme, qui devint un samouraï, fut accepté par les Japonais comme l’un des leurs. Le film avec Tom Cruise, bien qu’étant une fiction complète, a été basé sur cette histoire. Etes-vous d’accord avec cette vision des choses ?

Jared Taylor : C’est une question intéressante. Je ne suis pas sûr qu’on trouve toutes les mêmes castes dans toutes les différentes races. Je ne suis pas sûr qu’un pays africain ait produit le genre d’aristocratie – un genre d’aristocratie « noblesse oblige » – que nous pouvons trouver en Europe. Les Etats-Unis n’ont pas non plus produit tout à fait ce même genre d’aristocrate. Je suppose que si vous parlez d’un aristocrate européen médiéval, et que vous tentez de comparer cet état d’esprit à celui d’un samouraï japonais, vous trouverez certaines similarités, c’est vrai, mais ils seraient séparés par certaines choses très profondes. Ils seraient séparés par la religion. Ils seraient divisés par la culture. Ils pourraient avoir un sentiment similaire de supériorité inhérente. Ils pourraient avoir aussi un sentiment d’être responsables du gouvernement de leur pays. Mais je crois que le gouffre entre de tels groupes serait très grand. Auraient-ils assez de choses en commun pour les rendre plus similaires entre eux que vis-à-vis de la paysannerie environnante ? C’est une question à laquelle il est difficile de répondre.

Il est de plus en plus difficile de tracer des distinctions entre un aristocrate occidental et un Occidental ordinaire. Un sentiment de caste, d’être destiné par naissance à régner, a presque complètement disparu d’Occident. Nous avons : une classe ouvrière, une classe moyenne, une classe supérieure. Nous avons des intellectuels. Maintenant, diriez-vous qu’un intellectuel européen a beaucoup plus en commun avec un intellectuel asiatique au point que l’Européen serait plus à l’aise avec l’Asiatique qu’avec un Européen de la classe ouvrière ou même de la classe moyenne ? Selon les individus, cela pourrait être le cas. Des gens pourraient trouver une certaine communauté du fait de leurs intérêts particuliers, mais en fin de compte, sur le long terme, des gens qui partagent la même race, la même religion, la même culture auront probablement plus en commun que vis-à-vis de gens qui sont d’une race différente, d’une religion différente, et d’une culture différente, même si leur rôle dans la société est similaire.

Je n’ai jamais entendu parler de ce Français, Jules Brunet. Peut-être a-t-il existé. A-t-il vécu assez longtemps au Japon pour vraiment maîtriser la langue japonaise ? S’est-il converti au shintoïsme ou au bouddhisme ? A-t-il épousé une femme japonaise ? A quel point s’est-il vraiment immergé dans la culture japonaise ? Parce que, même aujourd’hui, à une époque où il est plus facile de traverser les frontières et les barrières, et où les gens acceptent beaucoup mieux les différences, il est très difficile pour un Européen, même s’il a maîtrisé le japonais, même s’il est marié à une femme japonaise, d’être accepté comme authentiquement japonais. Je connais un certain nombre d’Américains qui sont allés au Japon, et qui sont finalement tombés amoureux du Japon, mais qui à la fin ont compris que le Japon n’est pas tombé amoureux d’eux. Ils peuvent être ici pendant de nombreuses années, et ils comprennent l’étiquette, les manières, la culture, l’histoire et la langue japonaises, mais ils ne sont pas acceptés parce qu’ils ne sont pas biologiquement japonais. Donc, je soupçonne que l’expérience de ce Français, même s’il était techniquement parlant un samouraï – je serais très surpris s’il était considéré comme Japonais d’une manière fondamentale, parce que les Japonais ne considèrent pas les non-Japonais comme faisant vraiment partie de leur peuple.

Grégoire Canlorbe : Il n’est pas rare de mettre sur le même plan l’Empire du Japon (qui dura depuis la Restauration Meiji en 1868 jusqu’à la mise en œuvre de la Constitution du Japon moderne en 1947) et les entreprises impérialistes des régimes nazi et fasciste. Ayant passé votre enfance au Japon, et connaissant intimement la culture japonaise, pensez-vous que cette affirmation soit une comparaison honnête ?

Jared Taylor : Ils étaient alliés, mais seulement dans un sens minimal. Il n’y eut jamais de coopération ou de planification stratégique entre le Japon et l’Allemagne nazie, et l’impérialisme du Japon existait bien avant l’impérialisme national-socialiste. L’idée de l’Empire japonais était basée sur les empires européens. Les Japonais étaient furieux d’avoir été tenus à l’écart de la Chine, par exemple, ou d’Afrique. Ils n’avaient pas d’intérêt particulier pour l’Afrique, mais ils basaient leur empire colonial sur le modèle européen. Le Japon annexa Taiwan et la Corée après les guerres sino-japonaise et russo-japonaise en 1895 et 1905. C’était bien avant les débuts des nazis. Les annexions et la colonisation de la  Mandchourie, par exemple – cela fut fait au nom de l’expansion de l’empire japonais, pour s’assurer des matières premières. C’était bien plus une imitation des empires européens en Afrique que quelque chose de similaire à la conquête nazie.

Et durant ces périodes, les Japonais firent de gros efforts pour transformer les Coréens et les Taïwanais en locuteurs du japonais – pour les rendre culturellement japonais. Je ne pense pas que les Allemands aient eu l’idée de transformer les Russes ou les Polonais en germanophones. Ainsi, la mentalité des Japonais et de l’empire japonais ressemblait beaucoup plus à celle des Européens qui apprenaient aux Africains à parler leurs langues. Les Britanniques ne pensaient pas que les Indiens deviendraient un jour comme les Britanniques, mais ils leur enseignaient l’anglais. Ils leur enseignaient certaines coutumes britanniques. Mon impression est que la conquête allemande de l’Est fut, franchement, plus exploiteuse que la construction de l’empire japonais.

Grégoire Canlorbe : Concernant la quête de l’Amérique pour l’hégémonie, voyez-vous la politique étrangère de Trump comme une continuation de la stratégie classique visant à assurer une présence guerrière en Europe et à isoler la Russie ?

Jared Taylor : Je ne pense pas que Trump lui-même ait une grande vision stratégique. Je ne pense pas qu’il ait sérieusement réfléchi à ces questions. Il y a des gens autour de lui qui ont divers plans plus stratégiques et plus élaborés. Mon impression est certainement que quelqu’un comme John Bolton n’est pas favorable à un rapprochement avec la Russie. Steve Bannon était plus intéressé à rétablir des relations amicales avec la Russie, mais Bolton ne l’est pas. Et je ne pense pas que Donald Trump ait un contrôle suffisamment cohérent sur la politique étrangère américaine et une vision suffisamment cohérente pour établir le genre de rapprochement qui serait à mon avis souhaitable pour les Etats-Unis et la Russie. Instinctivement, il semble penser que la Russie pourrait être une amie, que Vladimir Poutine n’est pas un mauvais homme. Mais il y a beaucoup, beaucoup de gens dans l’establishment de la politique étrangère des Etats-Unis qui sont profondément soupçonneux envers la Russie, et à mon avis pour des raisons superficielles et erronées. Donald Trump a un sentiment instinctif que les Russes peuvent être et devraient être nos amis. Mais je ne pense pas qu’il ait la cohérence ou une personnalité assez forte pour imposer à lui seul une politique étrangère à un establishment qui est profondément soupçonneux envers la Russie.

Photo: Jared Taylor en compagnie de Grégoire Canlorbe, Paris, septembre 2018.

taylorcanblorbesept18.jpgGrégoire Canlorbe : Comment résumez-vous les conséquences à long terme de la tristement célèbre Guerre Civile américaine – décrite dans Autant en emporte le vent – sur le destin des Américains blancs et sur le visage de la société américaine ?

Jared Taylor : Eh bien, imaginons ce qui serait arrivé si les Etats Confédérés d’Amérique avaient réussi à devenir indépendants. Imaginons qu’Abraham Lincoln ait été incapable de vaincre la Confédération et qu’elle soit devenue indépendante. Il est clair que cela aurait réduit la puissance globale des Etats-Unis d’Amérique. L’Amérique serait loin d’être aussi dominante qu’aujourd’hui. Imaginons-la sans les 13 Etats confédérés. Elle serait une puissance importante, incontestablement, mais pas aussi dominante.

L’un des objectifs de la Confédération était d’importer encore plus d’esclaves noirs. La traite des esclaves avait pris fin en 1808. Les Etats Confédérés d’Amérique, s’ils avaient réussi, auraient importé encore plus de Noirs d’Afrique. Je pense que cela aurait été une catastrophe. L’esclavage n’aurait pas pu continuer, même dans le Sud. Il est impossible d’imaginer l’esclavage se poursuivre au XXe siècle. Et finalement il y aurait probablement eu une sorte de pression égalitaire sur le Sud. La Confédération serait-elle devenue comme l’Afrique du Sud d’aujourd’hui, avec une majorité noire aujourd’hui dominante et discriminant les Blancs ? Je ne sais pas. J’aimerais penser que la Confédération n’aurait pas été réduite à un tel Etat.

Il devient très difficile d’imaginer un futur pour une Confédération indépendante avec un grand nombre de Noirs. Combien de temps aurait survécu l’esclavage ? Quelle sorte d’organisation sociale y aurait-il eu entre les races après l’abolition de l’esclavage ? Y aurait-il une ségrégation ? Y aurait-il une sorte d’apartheid ? Combien de temps cela aurait-il duré ? Nous pouvons imaginer un futur – un présent – où la Confédération tenterait encore de maintenir une population hiérarchiquement ségrégée. Elle serait mise à l’écart. Elle serait expulsée des Nations Unies. Elle serait soumise à toutes sortes de sanctions commerciales. C’est une idée fascinante, si vous imaginez une Confédération victorieuse, mais il est impossible d’imaginer les détails.

Mais il n’y a pas de doute que s’il y avait eu deux nations anglophones en Amérique du Nord, la force combinée des Etats-Unis aurait été loin d’être aussi grande. Et si vous imaginez des Etats-Unis divisés, les Etats-Unis seraient-ils entrés en guerre – la Première Guerre mondiale – aux cotés de la France et de la Grande-Bretagne ? Peut-être pas. S’il y avait eu deux Etats-Unis, y aurait-il eu une grande puissance anglophone pour entrer en guerre contre l’Allemagne nazie ? Le Japon aurait-il attaqué les Etats-Unis ? Il est impossible de le savoir. Mais, si la Confédération avait été victorieuse, il est possible d’imaginer un futur où l’Allemagne aurait pu gagner la Première Guerre mondiale, ou bien où elle aurait pu gagner la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Il aurait pu y avoir d’immenses conséquences de ce genre. Maintenant, quelles auraient été les relations avec la Russie, il est impossible de le dire.

Grégoire Canlorbe : Merci pour votre temps. Y a-t-il quelque chose que vous aimeriez ajouter ?

Jared Taylor : Si les Européens doivent être remplacés, je préférerais de loin que nous soyons remplacés par des Asiatiques plutôt que par des Africains ou des Moyen-Orientaux et,  certainement, par des musulmans. J’espère bien sûr que la civilisation occidentale survivra,  que les Blancs conserveront leur civilisation et leur substrat biologique pour toujours dans le futur. J’espère que c’est ce qui arrivera. Mais si nous devons nous éteindre – si nous nous éteignons vraiment –, ou si nous ne nous reproduisons pas, si le continent de l’Europe devient non-blanc, si l’Amérique du Nord devient de plus en plus non-blanche, je préférerais qu’ils deviennent asiatiques plutôt qu’africains, moyen-orientaux, ou latinos.  Les Asiatiques sont un groupe à haut QI, et ils organiseraient des sociétés supérieures, alors que si les Etats-Unis devenaient peuplés par des gens comme les Guatémaltèques, les Haïtiens, les Syriens, alors les Etats-Unis deviendraient un fouillis du Tiers-Monde.

Cette conversation entre Jared Taylor et Grégoire Canlorbe, vice-président du Parti National-Libéral (nationaliste, archéofuturiste, et libre-échangiste) a eu lieu à Paris, en septembre 2018.



samedi, 21 avril 2018

Martin Lichtmesz: Die US-amerikanische Rechte unter Trump: Eine Bestandsaufnahme


Martin Lichtmesz:

Die US-amerikanische Rechte unter Trump: Eine Bestandsaufnahme

Martin Lichtmesz gibt eine kundige Einführung in den »Amerikanismus«.

dimanche, 31 décembre 2017

The Alt Right Perspective


The Alt Right Perspective

Mencken Club Address

By John Derbyshire

Ex: http://www.hlmenckenclub.org

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. My title is “The Alt Right Perspective.” I assume this means that I should tell you what the Alt Right is, and how Alt Righters see the world.

That’s unfortunate because I don’t actually know what the Alt Right is. Casual acquaintances—neighbors and such—sometimes ask me if I am Alt Right. I never know what to say. Am I? Pass.

Some of this is just temperamental. I’m not by nature a joiner. I don’t feel strong affinity with any sports team or church. I’m not an Elk or a Shriner. I’m just not a herd animal—not well-socialized. I’m the little boy calling out that the Emperor has no clothes. (Although I’ve always thought that story would be more true to life if the little boy had been chased down and lynched by a howling mob of well-socialized Goodthinkers.)

The rest is Englishness. We English don’t do ideology. We leave that stuff to our more erudite continental neighbors. In matters social and political, we default to compromise and muddle. The nearest thing I have to an ideological hero is George Orwell, whose ideological position could fairly be described as reactionary-Tory-patriotic-socialist.

There’s some overlap between the last two paragraphs. I have utmost difficulty following any kind of ideological script. Sooner or later I always bang my shins against the boundary fences of ideological orthodoxy.

On race, for example, I get incoming fire from both sides. Goodthinkers point’n’sputter at me for my negative comments about blacks; race purists snarl at me as a race traitor because of my marriage choice.

Has my email bag familiarized me with the expression “mail-order bride”? Oh yeah.

It doesn’t help that I’m a philosemite, although I don’t much like that word. It sounds a bit cucky and patronizing. I prefer “anti-antisemite.” On any terminology, though, many self-identified Alt Righters would consider me off-reservation on this point alone.

So it’s no use looking to me for exposition of an ideological program. To present my assigned topic honestly, I therefore thought it best to seek out someone who believes he does know what the Alt Right is, and who has spelled out his knowledge clearly but concisely.

I settled on the blogger Vox Day who, in August last year, put forth a 16-point Alternative Right manifesto that has been much discussed, and translated into umpteen languages.

Here are Vox Day’s 16 points, embroidered with my comments

1.    The Alt Right is of the political right in both the American and the European sense of the term. Socialists are not Alt Right. Progressives are not Alt Right. Liberals are not Alt Right. Communists, Marxists, Marxians, cultural Marxists, and neocons are not Alt Right. National Socialists are not Alt Right.

No argument from me on that, although I don’t know what a Marxian is. Typo for “Martian”?

2.    The Alt Right is an ALTERNATIVE to the mainstream conservative movement in the USA that is nominally encapsulated by Russell Kirk’s 10 Conservative Principles, but in reality has devolved towards progressivism. It is also an alternative to libertarianism.

I’m fine with that one, too; and I’m glad to have been prompted to re-read Kirk’s principles. He was big on prudence: the word, or its derivatives, occurs nine times in the ten points, which Kirk included in a book titled The Politics of Prudence. This inspired a section of my Radio Derb podcastlast week.

I liked Vox Day’s batting away of libertarianism, too, though I think at this point it’s kind of superfluous. My impression is that libertarianism has succumbed to an intellectual version of the Aspidistra Effect. That is to say, it has moved down-market. (The aspidistra is a potted plant that decorated wealthy households in Victorian England. By the time Orwell used it in the title of a novel a generation later it had been taken up by the lower-middle classes, and of course abandoned by the gentry.)


It used to be that if someone told you, “I am a libertarian,” it was at a gathering of conservative intellectuals, perhaps even at the Mencken club. You could then get into an interesting conversation about what kind of libertarian he was: Classical, Objectivist, Paleolibertarian, …

Nowadays if you hear those words it’s probably some smart high-schooler speaking; and if you try to drill down further he freezes.

3. The Alt Right is not a defensive attitude and rejects the concept of noble and principled defeat. It is a forward-thinking philosophy of offense, in every sense of that term. The Alt Right believes in victory through persistence and remaining in harmony with science, reality, cultural tradition, and the lessons of history.

That’s OK, except for the word “philosophy.” Let’s not get ideas above our station here. Aristotle had a philosophy. Descartes had a philosophy. Kant had a philosophy. What the Alt Right has is an attitude.

4. The Alt Right believes Western civilization is the pinnacle of human achievement and supports its three foundational pillars: Christianity, the European nations, and the Graeco-Roman legacy.

I think the Jews should have gotten a mention there, since half of the Christian Bible is about them. That’s a kind of fielder’s-choice point, though.

5. The Alt Right is openly and avowedly nationalist. It supports all nationalisms and the right of all nations to exist, homogeneous and unadulterated by foreign invasion and immigration.

No problem with that. We should, however, bear in mind what a knotty thing nationalism can be. There is a case to be made—a conservative case—for big, old, long-established nations resisting disaggregation. Does Catalan nationalism trump Spanish nationalism? Does it do so even if only half of Catalans wish to separate from Spain?

That kind of nitpicking doesn’t belong in a manifesto, though. For these purposes, Point 5 is fine.

6. The Alt Right is anti-globalist. It opposes all groups who work for globalist ideals or globalist objectives.

Again there are nits to pick, though again this isn’t the place to pick them. When the slave traders arrive from Alpha Centauri, or an asteroid hits, or a supervolcano pops, we shall all become globalists overnight.

7. The Alt Right is anti-equalitarian. It rejects the idea of equality for the same reason it rejects the ideas of unicorns and leprechauns, noting that human equality does not exist in any observable scientific, legal, material, intellectual, sexual, or spiritual form.



8. The Alt Right is scientodific. It presumptively accepts the current conclusions of the scientific method (scientody), while understanding a) these conclusions are liable to future revision, b) that scientistry is susceptible to corruption, and c) that the so-called scientific consensus is not based on scientody, but democracy, and is therefore intrinsically unscientific.

It’s what? The word “scientody” is not known to dictionary.com; nor is it in my 1971 OED with supplement; nor in my 1993 Webster’s.

I tried digging for etymologies, but got lost in a thicket of possibilities. Greek hodos, a path or way; so “the way of science”? Or perhaps eidos, a shape or form, giving us the “-oid” suffix (spheroid, rheumatoid); so “science-like”? Then there’s aoide, a song, giving … what? “Harmonizes like science”? Or maybe it’s the Latin root odor, a smell; “smells like science.”

In any case, all three of the “understandings” here are gibberish.

a) There is a large body of solidly-established scientific results that are not liable to future revision.

Saturn is further from the Sun at any point of its orbit than Jupiter is at any point of its. A water molecule has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Natural selection plays an important role in the evolution of life.

I promise Vox Day there will be no future revisions of these facts, at any rate not on any time span he or I need worry about. (I add that qualification because there are conceivable astronomical events that could alter the sequence of planetary orbits—a very close encounter with a rogue star, for example. Those are once-in-a-billion-year occurrences, though.)

b) “Scientistry”? Wha?

c) The scientific consensus is unscientific? Huh? And why is the consensus “so-called”? There usually—not always, but usually—is a scientific consensus. It occasionally turns out to have been wrong, but it’s a consensus none the less, not a “so-called” consensus.

9. The Alt Right believes identity > culture > politics.

Again, not bad as a first approximation, but this ignores a lot of feedback loops. Has politics not affected culture this past 72 years in North Korea? Did not North Korea and South Korea have the same culture a hundred years ago?

10. The Alt Right is opposed to the rule or domination of any native ethnic group by another, particularly in the sovereign homelands of the dominated peoples. The Alt Right is opposed to any non-native ethnic group obtaining excessive influence in any society through nepotism, tribalism, or any other means.

As several commenters pointed out, the Iroquois and the Sioux might have something to say about that. Bitching about historical injustices is such an SJW thing, though, I can’t bring myself to care. I’m fine with Point 10.


11. The Alt Right understands that diversity + proximity = war.

Again, there are nits to be picked. Diversity per se is neither good nor bad. Numbers are of the essence.

I’m a salt-in-the-stew diversitarian. I want to live in a society with a big fat racial and ethnic supermajority: somewhere north of ninety percent. Small minorities of Others can then be accommodated with friendly hospitality and accorded full equality under law. (I don’t say they necessarily will be; but they can be.)

That’s the kind of country I grew up in, 1950s England. It’s the kind of country the U.S.A. was in 1960, just barely: ninety percent European-white, ten percent black, others at trace levels.

Vox Day is using the word “diversity” in its current sense, though: as a code word for massive, deliberate racial replacement. In that sense his equation, and the embedding sentence, are both correct.

12. The Alt Right doesn’t care what you think of it.


13. The Alt Right rejects international free trade and the free movement of peoples that free trade requires. The benefits of intranational free trade is not evidence for the benefits of international free trade.

I’m an economic ignoramus, but I’d like to see a good logical proof of the proposition that free trade requires free movement of peoples. I am sincerely open to being enlightened on this point.

14. The Alt Right believes we must secure the existence of white people and a future for white children.

I doubt there is an existential threat to white people. I’d be content to secure the existence of a racially self-confident white race—one not addled by ethnomasochism—and by a future for white children free of schools, colleges, and authority figures telling them they are the scum of the earth.

15. The Alt Right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people, or sub-species. Every race, nation, people, and human sub-species has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and possesses the sovereign right to dwell unmolested in the native culture it prefers.

Hmm. That’s a bit kumbaya-ish (or “-oid”). No doubt the Bushmen of the Kalahari are much better at hunting with spears than are Norwegians or Japanese. As Greg Cochran points out, though: “innate superiority at obsolete tasks (a born buggy-whip maker?) doesn’t necessarily translate to modern superiority, or even adequacy.”

What do the “unique strengths” of the Bushmen, or of Australia’s aborigines, avail them in the world we actually live in? On the plain evidence it looks very much as though some “races, nations, peoples, or sub-species” are better able to cope with modernity than others. The less-able seem to agree. Great masses of them prefer not to dwell in their native culture, but in someone else’s. Boats crammed with such people have been crossing the Mediterranean from Africa for the past few years. The revealed preference of these people is not their native culture.


16. The Alt Right is a philosophy that values peace among the various nations of the world and opposes wars to impose the values of one nation upon another as well as efforts to exterminate individual nations through war, genocide, immigration, or genetic assimilation.

I get the point and agree with it; but again, reality is knottier than this allows. “If you desire peace, prepare for war,” said the Romans, who knew a thing or two about human affairs.

That’s Vox Day’s sixteen-point definition of the Alt Right. There have been other Alt Right manifestos from other quarters; here for example is Richard Spencer’s.

Supposing this is a fair picture of the Alt Right perspective, am I on board with it? Do I belong to the Alt Right?

As you can see from my comments, I have plenty of quibbles, and I’d prefer to get my manifesto from someone acquainted with the elementary principles of scientific inquiry.

Still, it’s not bad. I can sign up to most of Vox Day’s points.

Yes, I’m on board … until I bang my shins against a fence post.

samedi, 02 décembre 2017

The Alt Right Among Other Rights


The Alt Right Among Other Rights

This is the text of a lecture I gave to the H.L. Mencken Club on November 4, 2017.

By Keith Preston

Ex: https://www.attackthesystem.com

Speaking about the intricacies of different ideological tendencies can often be a bit tedious, and certainly a topic like the Alt-Right can get very complicated because there are so many currents that feed into the Alt-Right. I know that when I spoke here last year I was speaking on the right-wing anarchist tradition, which is a highly esoteric tradition, and one that is often very obscure with many undercurrents. The Alt-Right is similar in the sense of having many sub-tendencies that are fairly obscure in their own way, although some of these have become more familiar now that the Alt-Right has grown in fame, or infamy, in the eyes of its opponents. Some of the speakers we have heard at this conference so far have helped to clarify some of the potential definitions of what the Alt-Right actually is, but given the subject of my presentation I thought I might break it down a bit further, and clarify a few major distinctions.

What is the Alt-Right?

The Alt-Right can be broadly defined as a highly varied and loose collection of ideologies, movements, and tendencies that in some way dissent from the so-called “mainstream” conservative movement, or are in actual opposition to mainstream conservatism. Of course, this leaves us with the task of actually defining mainstream conservatism as well. I would define the conservative movement’s principal characteristics as being led by the neoconservatives, oriented towards the Republican Party, and as a movement for whom media outlets like Fox News, talk radio, and publications like National Review and the Weekly Standard are its leading voices. Outside of the framework of what some here appropriately call “Conservatism, Inc.,” we could say that there is an Alt-Right that can be broadly defined, and an Alt-Right that can be more narrowly defined.


The Alt-Right broadly defined would be anything on the Right that is in opposition to the neocon-led Republican alliance. This could include everything from many Donald Trump voters in the mainstream, to various tendencies that have been given such labels as the “alt-lite,” the new right, the radical right, the populist right, the dark enlightenment, the identitarians, the neo-reactionaries, the manosphere (or “men’s right advocates”), civic nationalists, economic nationalists, Southern nationalists, white nationalists, paleoconservatives, right-wing anarchists, right-leaning libertarians (or “paleolibertarians”), right-wing socialists, neo-monarchists, tendencies among Catholic or Eastern Orthodox traditionalists, neo-pagans, Satanists, adherents of the European New Right, Duginists, Eurasianists, National-Bolsheviks, conspiracy theorists, and, of course, actually self-identified Fascists and National Socialists. I have encountered all of these perspectives and others in Alt-Right circles.

Under this broad definition of the Alt-Right, anyone from Steve Bannon or Milo Yiannopolis all the way over to The Daily Sturmer or the Traditionalist Workers Party could be considered Alt-Right. In fact, ideological tendencies as diverse as these have actually embraced the Alt-Right label to describe themselves. For example, Steve Bannon said at one point during the Trump campaign in 2016 that he wanted to make Breitbart into the voice of the Alt-Right, but then I have also encountered people who are actual neo-Nazis using the Alt-Right label to describe themselves as well.

A narrower definition of the Alt-Right might be to characterize what is most distinctive about the Alt-Right. In this sense, the Alt-Right could be characterized as a collection of tendencies that is specifically oriented towards some of kind identification with European history and tradition, and regard Europe and, by extension, North America as part of a distinct Western civilization that was developed by European and, predominantly, Christian peoples. Consequently, the Alt-Right tends to be much more oriented towards criticizing ideas or policies like multiculturalism, mass immigration, and what is commonly called “political correctness,” than what is found among mainstream conservatism. This is in contrast to the Left’s views, which are increasingly the views of mainstream liberalism as well, and which regards the legacy of Western history and culture as nothing but an infinite string of oppressions such racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, patriarchy, hierarchy, nativism, cisgenderism, speciesism, and the usual laundry list of isms, archies, and phobias that the Left sees as permeating every aspect of Western civilization. Presumably, other civilizations have never featured any of these characteristics.


In this way, the Alt-Right is obviously in contrast to mainstream conservatism given that the so-called “conservative movement” is normally oriented towards what amounts to three basic ideas. One idea is that of the foreign policy “hawks,” or advocates of military interventionism for the ostensible purpose of spreading the Western model of liberal democracy throughout the world, whose greatest fear is isolationism in foreign policy, and which is a perspective that I would argue is also very convenient for the armaments manufacturers and the Pentagon budget. A second idea is a fixation on economic policy, such as a persistent advocacy of “tax cuts and deregulation,” which in reality amounts to merely advancing the business interests of the corporate class. And the third idea is a type of social conservatism that is primarily religion-driven, and has opposition to abortion or gay marriage as central issues of concern, but typically gives no thought to cultural or civilizational issues in any broader or historical sense. For example, it is now common in much of the evangelical Protestant milieu, as well as the Catholic milieu, to welcome mass immigration, as a source of potential converts, or as replacement members for churches that are losing their congregations due to the ongoing secularization of the wider society. In fact, the practice of adopting Third World children has become increasingly common within the evangelical Protestant subculture in the same way it has among celebrities and entertainers like Madonna or Angelina Jolie.

Predictably, there has been a great deal of conflict that has emerged between the Alt-Right and the mainstream conservative movement, with many movement conservatives and their fellow travelers going out of their way to attack or denounce the Alt-Right. In this sense, the attacks on the Alt-Right that have originated from mainstream conservatism essentially mirror those of the Left, or of the liberal class. For example, the Associated Press issued a description of the Alt-Right that was intended for writers’ guideline policy purposes, and which reads as follows:

The ‘alt-right’ or ‘alternative right’ is a name currently embraced by some white supremacists and white nationalists to refer to themselves and their ideology, which emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States in addition to, or over, other traditional conservative positions such as limited government, low taxes and strict law-and-order. The movement has been described as a mix of racism, white nationalism and populism … criticizes “multiculturalism” and more rights for non-whites, women, Jews, Muslims, gays, immigrants and other minorities. Its members reject the American democratic ideal that all should have equality under the law regardless of creed, gender, ethnic origin or race (John Daniszewski, Associated Press, November 26, 2016)


While the above quotation is from the Associated Press, I do not know that there is anything in it that could not have come from the pages of not only The New Yorker, The Atlantic, or the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report, but also from the pages of the National Review, Weekly Standard, the Federalist, or a Prager University video.

As for some specific examples, writing in The Federalist, conservative political scientist Nathanael Blake stated that “Christianity and Greco-Roman philosophy, rather than race, are the foundations upon which Western Civilization was built,” and suggested that the Alt-Right is actually attacking the legacy of Western Civilization rather than defending the Western cultural heritage. These questions have become a major point of contention between cultural conservatives and the racialist right-wing. Writing in National Review, David French (Bill Kristol’s one-time proposed presidential candidate), called Alt-Right adherents “wanna-be fascists” and denounced “their entry into the national political conversation.” I suppose the difference between the views of David French and the views of the Left would be that the Left would say that the Alt-Right are actual fascists, and not merely “wanna-be” fascists. Presumably, this is what separates the mainstream Right from the Left nowadays.

Writing for The Weekly Standard, Benjamin Welton has characterized the Alt-Right as a “highly heterogeneous force” that “turns the left’s moralism on its head and makes it a badge of honor to be called ‘racist,’ ‘homophobic,’ and ‘sexist'”. Based on my own experiences with the Alt-Right, I would say this assessment by Welton is largely true. In the National Review issue of April, 2016, Ian Tuttle wrote:

The Alt-Right has evangelized over the last several months primarily via a racist and anti-Semitic online presence. But for Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos, the Alt-Right consists of fun-loving provocateurs, valiant defenders of Western civilization, daring intellectuals—and a handful of neo-Nazis keen on a Final Solution 2.0, but there are only a few of them, and nobody likes them anyways.

Jeffrey Tucker, a libertarian writer affiliated with the Foundation for Economic Education, describes the Alt-Right as follows:

The Alt-Right “inherits a long and dreary tradition of thought from Friedrich Hegel to Thomas Carlyle to Oswald Spengler to Madison Grant to Othmar Spann to Giovanni Gentile to Trump’s speeches.” Tucker further asserts that Alt-Right adherents “look back to what they imagine to be a golden age when elites ruled and peons obeyed” and consider that “identity is everything and the loss of identity is the greatest crime against self anyone can imagine.”


Whatever one thinks of the Trump presidency, it is highly doubtful that Trump actually draws inspiration from Hegel.

Writing in The Federalist, a libertarian feminist named Cathy Young criticized a Radix Journal article on abortion that criticized the pro-life position as “‘dysgenic,” because it supposedly “encourages breeding by ‘the least intelligent and responsible’ women.” So apparently, it is not enough to simply favor abortion rights. Instead, one has to be “pro-choice” for what are apparently the “right reasons,” such as a “woman’s right to choose,” as opposed to “bad reasons,” such as eugenic practice. This line of thought is in keeping with the fairly standard leftist viewpoint which insists that motives and intentions rather than ideas and consequences are what matters, and the standard by which people ought to be morally judged.

Another interesting aspect of these criticisms is that the mainstream conservatives have attacked the Alt-Right by using leftist terminology, such as labeling the Alt-Right as racist, sexist, fascist, xenophobic, etc. But a parallel tactic that has been used by mainstream conservatism has been to denounce the Alt-Right as leftist. For example, at this year’s gathering of CPAC, or the Conservative Political Action committee, Dan Schneider, who is currently the executive director of the American Conservative Union, an organization that hosts the annual CPAC conference, criticized the Alt-Right as “a sinister organization that is trying to worm its way into our ranks,” insisting that, quote, “We must not be duped. We must not be deceived,” and said of the Alt-Right:

“They are nothing but garden-variety left-wing fascists..They are anti-Semites; they are racists; they are sexists. They hate the Constitution. They hate free markets. They hate pluralism. They despise everything we believe in.”

This sounds very similar to the rhetoric that often comes from the far left where dire warnings are issued concerning the supposed threat of fascist entryism into leftist organizations. For example, there is term called the “the fascist creep” that is used by some very far Left antifa and Maoist tendencies to describe what are supposedly ongoing nefarious plots by “fascists” to infiltrate and co-opt leftist movements, and steer these towards fascism. Ironically, this conspiracy theory is very similar to traditional anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about how Jews supposedly infiltrate and take over everything, and manipulate institutions in order to advance all sorts of supposed nefarious plots. It would appear that the far Left, and apparently increasingly mainstream conservatism, has developed its own rhetoric about the “fascist conspiracy” as a counterpart to far Right fantasies about the “Jewish conspiracy.” Perhaps we could characterize the former as the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Thule.”


Jeff Goldstein, writing in The Federalist on September 6, 2016, suggests that, quote, “the Alt-Right is the mirror image of the New Left,” and describes the Alt-Right “an identity movement on par with Black Lives Matter, La Raza, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and other products of cultural Marxism.” Goldstein further says of the Alt-Right:

The Alt-Right is a European-style right-wing movement that is at odds with the classical liberalism upon which our country was built, and which the Left has redefined as “Right.” That is to say, the European “Right” is mapped onto a political spectrum different than our own. Our “right” — conservatism or classical liberalism —is dead-center on our spectrum, no matter how persistently the Left tries to claim otherwise. It is constitutionalism, which incorporates federalism, republicanism, legal equity, and a separation of powers.

These comments are fairly representative of the rhetoric used by mainstream conservatives who attempt to either portray the Alt-Right as leftists, or label the Alt-Right as fascists and then claim fascism is really on the Left. The general argument that is made by mainstream conservatives in response to the Alt-Right is that “true” conservatism or the “true” Right is actually veneration for the Enlightenment-influenced ideas found in the Declaration of Independence, veneration of the Founding Fathers, and reverence for the Constitution as a kind of secular Bible. Parallel to these claims is the idea of America as a “propositional nation” that has no roots in any kind of history, culture, or tradition other than just a very vaguely defined “Judeo-Christianity.” This idea of what “conservatism” supposedly is basically amounts to being for so-called “limited government,” so-called “free enterprise,” “individualism,” and various other vaguely defined abstractions, plus policy preferences like a so-called “strong national defense” (which is often just a euphemism for the neoconservatives’ foreign policy agenda), and various center-right policy prescriptions like tax cuts, opposing Obamacare, opposing affirmative action, opposing gun control, opposing abortion, opposing gay marriage, supporting school vouchers, and other ideas we are all familiar with.

These policy preferences will often be accompanied by silly platitudes like “Democrats are the real racists,” or dubious and often flagrantly false claims like “Martin Luther King was a conservative,” or that foreign policy hawks are the real friends of feminists and gays because of their opposition to so-called “Islamo-fascism.” At times, Democrats will be labeled as fascists and anti-Semites because of their supposed pro-Islamic views, or because some on the far Left are pro-Palestinian. Taken to extremes, there are characters like Dinesh D’Souza who would probably claim that the Democrats crucified Jesus.

The representatives of “Conservatism, Inc.” will also give lip service to opposition to attacks on free speech and academic freedom in the name of political correctness, but they are very selective about this. For example, their defense of the politically incorrect does not extend to anti-Zionists like Norman Finkelstein. On the immigration issue, while there are some mainstream conservatives that are immigration restrictionists, it is just as common that the proposed method of reducing illegal immigration advanced by mainstream conservatives is to make legal immigration easier, on the assumption that the only problem with illegal immigration is its illegality. A defining characteristic of mainstream conservatism when contrasted with the Alt-Right is the total lack of seriousness, or any kind of solid philosophical or intellectual foundation that is displayed by mainstream conservatism.

The Alt-Right is more of a meta-political movement than a political one, and the specific policy proposals that are found among Alt-Rightists vary enormously. I do not know that it would even be possible to draft a platform for an Alt-Right political party because the Alt-Right contains so much diversity of ideas. However, the Alt-Right is far more serious about ideas than mainstream conservatism in the sense of having an understanding of the reality of demographic conflict, recognizing the difficulties that are associated with rapid demographic change, understanding the reality of class conflict as well as cultural and civilizational conflicts, understanding that Western liberal democracy is particular to the cultural foundations and historical circumstances of the West, and not something that can be easily transplanted elsewhere, and concerns that mainstream conservatives normally have no perception of, or do not take seriously.


I will end my presentation by pointing to an observation by Professor George Hawley of the University of Alabama, who suggested that the Alt-Right may pose a greater threat to progressivism than the mainstream conservative movement. I would agree that this is true, but only in the sense that the mainstream conservative movement poses no threat to progressivism at all. I would argue that far from being a threat to the Democratic Party, mainstream media, the corporate class and the cultural elite, the mainstream conservative movement is actually partners in crime with the progressives. The Alt-Right at least proposes ideas that are an ideological threat to progressivism even if this small size prevents the Alt-Right from being a political threat, at least at the present time.

vendredi, 30 mai 2014

Memory Holes in the American Right


Memory Holes in the American Right



Ex: http://www.lewrockwell.com

We all know about the memory hole. That was the unofficial name of a department of government in George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. It was devoted to re-writing history. It destroyed historical documents to make this re-writing easier. This was its motto: “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

Orwell used the Soviet Union as his model. The USSR was famous for using photo editing techniques to remove past leaders from old photos. These people became non-persons. Photoshop is simply a low-cost tool for modern media organizations to do similar sorts of things. They do it to sell more products. The USSR did it to maintain power.

These techniques are still being used inside what Mrs. Clinton calls the vast Right-wing conspiracy. Today’s leaders want to erase all traces of the earlier leaders.

Why? Because the time-servers who collect their salaries are nonentities. They do not want to be compared to the founders. They do not want the evidence of decline available for all to see. Max Weber had a phrase for this almost a century ago: the routinization of charisma. The bureaucrats inherit the earth.


One of the saddest aspects in the history of the post-World War II conservative movement is the fact that it is almost impossible to trace its history at the grass roots level.

Part of this problem is this: the little organizations used mimeograph machines to publish their message. This was a shoestring movement until at least the mid-1950′s. These materials were tossed out by survivors after the blue-haired ladies died. These women collected newspaper clippings, scoured the Congressional Record, published their newsletters, and had meetings. They left few traces.

The newsletters have disappeared. Think of the Dan Smoot Report. Think of the early years of Human Events. Think of Hilaire DuBarrier’s HduB Report. Think of Don Bell Report. They are gone with the wind.

I have a complete set of the HduB Report on a CD-ROM. I do not think it is possible to trace the history of the European Union without reading these reports. But they are not online. I do not know who owns the copyrights. Neither does the man who created the CD-ROM.

To construct the history of the conservative movement, the various organizations that published newsletters, magazines, and books should go into their files, send them to a specialist in producing searchable PDF’s, and then post all of that information online free of charge. This is the minimal commitment necessary to keep old ideas alive.

If an organization has spent decades asking for donations from its supporters in order to get out the message, and then it suppresses or ignores that message through the 80% of the history of the organization, then something is fundamentally wrong with the thinking of the present directors. Any organization that raises money for years to publish the true word, and then decides to deep-six the true word, has abandoned the true word.

All of that money was raised, all of that enthusiasm was generated, all of that information was published, yet the organization’s present salaried directors decide that it’s not worth preserving online free of charge.

Something is deeply wrong with any idea-based organization that does not post its entire body of published materials online.

I cannot imagine any ideological organization’s senior staff this shortsighted, yet I know it’s the case. I have seen it over and over. There is simply no strong commitment to preserving the legacy of the organization. The present directors implicitly dismiss all of the work of the previous directors, as if all that money, all those ideas, all that effort in publishing the material was not really worth it. It is as if all of this material is worthless today. The senior directors of the organization have self-consciously made a decision not to preserve this information for the present members of the organization.

I’m thinking of a particular organization. Let’s see if you can figure this out. It has been around for over 50 years. It published a great deal of material. It published a magazine every month. It published newsletters from the organization’s senior director. It raised money for years to try to get this information out to the public. It was one of the fundamental organizations in the history of the conservative movement. But its present directors have refused for over 15 years to put this information online.

I know a man who has put all of the material into PDF’s, and he even put it up on a website. But he doesn’t have the copyright to the publications, so he is not allowed by the organization to post this material publicly. I have seen it. I have used it. But you can’t find by searching for it online, because the individual has not posted it where the general public can get at it. The reason for this is simple: he does not own the copyright.

Could this be an organization that you have committed money to? Have you even asked this about the organizations that you do commit money to. Have you made sure that you are not donating a dime to any organization that has a body of material like this, but which has not put all of this material online, free of charge?

If the organization is self-consciously suppressing this, then you should not donate to it. If the organization is run by men who are so shortsighted that they want to ignore 50 years of publication, then why should you continue to send money to it? The publication can be scanned in and converted to PDFs for about 35 cents a page. “We just can’t afford this!” Some minimum-wage intern could run copies through a standard copy machine, which will convert pages to searchable PDF’s if it has Adobe Acrobat installed. But the senior decision-makers in the organization have no vision of the future, because they have no vision of the past. If they think the past is irrelevant, then they think the future is irrelevant. All they care about is this month’s “scare ‘em and skin ‘em” fundraising effort.

One organization that does things right is the Mises Institute. All of the old materials in the Austrian school movement are available free of charge here: https://mises.org/Literature

Years ago, I put up the money for the Mises Institute to post all of the issues of American Affairs online. It had been edited by Garet Garrett. It was long forgotten. No organization owned them. This was not a matter of dropping materials down the organization’s memory hole. There was no succession. The Mises Institute believes in preserving legacies like this. The Mises Institute understands the importance of the past in building the future.

My recommendation: do not donate a dime to any ideological outfit that has not posted all of its past publications online for free. Simple. “No searchable PDF’s online for free — no donation.” This should be an unbreakable rule.

I did this over 15 years ago with the publications of my Institute for Christian Economics. I shut it down in December 2001, because I realized that I no longer needed to raise money to publish books. I can publish a book in 90 seconds in PDF form. I keep these materials, 1975-2001, online for free here:http://www.garynorth.com/public/department78.cfm.


I understand the problem. Most people are not interested in history. Most people are not interested in the stories of how the movement or an organization got started. Most people care about the present mainly, and they barely care about the future. They surely do not care about the past.

The conservative movement is grounded philosophically on a vision of history that asserts the legitimacy of historical process. Conservatives believe that the past is important. They believe that preserving the memory of the past is important. They understand that the world today is the product of the past, and that he who does not understand the past is not going to have a coherent plan for shaping the future. But the leaders of the conservative movement have tended not to believe this. They have not been committed to preserving the past. They had been political activists, and the political activist has a vision not much longer than the next congressional election. This has been a deep-seated problem within the conservative movement ever since it began after World War II. It began mainly as anti-Communism, and interest in the past was limited to studies of how the communist infiltrated this or that organization. It was not in any way committed to pass conservative ideas, which had lost their power to persuade people by 1946.

So, the modern conservative movement began as an “anti-” movement. Such movements are inherently reactionary. They react to present crazies and present crises. They react to whatever the Establishment is doing, or plans to do, or might possibly do, in the near future. The conservative movement has always been 80% committed to putting out fires. You cannot build a movement, let alone a society, based on continual fire drills. But this is what the conservative movement has attempted to do.

Frankly, I don’t think it’s much different today. Conservatives may be worried about whether Hillary Clinton is going to run, or whether she can win, but they are not at all concerned about what the world will be like after one term of whoever is elected president in 2016. I call this a lack of 2020 vision.

People whose time perspective does not extend beyond the next presidential election are not concerned with building up a body of materials that can serve as a foundation for restoring liberty. They are unfamiliar with how the American Republic became the American Empire, and they are basically committed to extending the American Empire through military means. Then they want to make things better by a few reforms, none of which stands a political chance. They want clean up the mess in government. They want to sweep the bad guys out.

We know where this leads.

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation (Matthew 12:43-45).


If your favorite conservative organization does not have all of its previous magazines, newsletters, special reports, and so forth online, do not send it any more money.

Drop a note to the head of the organization. Explain your desire to get the organization’s old materials posted where Google can find them. Say that you are willing to make a donation to fund such a publication project.

If you get an explanation that “at the present time, we do not have the funds,” send your money elsewhere.

The Mises Institute is a good choice.

jeudi, 14 février 2013

The Right’s False Prophet

The Right’s False Prophet

Review of: Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America, Paul Gottfried, Cambridge University Press, 182 pages




When writing about the work of an academic historian or philosopher—as opposed to a polemicist, a politician, or a popularizer—there is an obvious threshold question with which to begin: is the writer’s work intrinsically interesting or compelling in some way? If this question is answered in the negative, then there is usually no reason to carry on.

The strange case of Leo Strauss, however, proves that there are definite exceptions to this rule. Strauss’s work is almost universally dismissed by philosophers and historians, yet he has attracted a following amongst political theorists (hybrid creatures most often associated with political science departments) and neoconservative political activists. So, while the verdict on the intellectual importance of Strauss’s historico-philosophical work has been that, like Gertrude Stein’s Oakland, there is no there there, the practical influence of Strauss, its manifestation as Straussianism, and Straussianism’s connection with neoconservatism still present themselves as intriguing problems in contemporary American intellectual history.

In Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America Paul Gottfried, the Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, offers an explanation of the Straussian phenomenon that is concise and compelling. While treating Strauss’s work with considerable respect, Gottfried concludes that the historians’ and philosophers’ rejection of Strauss is, for the most part, justified. However, unlike critics on the left who suggest that Strauss is illiberal and anti-modern, Gottfried argues that Strauss’s appeal consists largely in his creation of a mythical account of the rise of liberal democracy and its culmination in a creedal conception of the American polity.

According to Gottfried, Strauss and his followers have always been more concerned with practical questions about contemporary politics than with intellectual history or complex philosophical questions. Their primary purpose, which allies the neoconservatives with them, is to develop an abstract legend of American politics that supports a moderate welfare state domestically and a quasi-messianic internationalism in foreign policy.

Gottfried comes to these conclusions from several directions. First, he offers an engaging contextual account of Strauss’s intellectual formation. Gottfried argues that three biographical facts are central to understanding Strauss’s work: “he was born a Jew, in Germany, at the end of the nineteenth century.” Strauss’s most important early intellectual encounter was with the neo-Kantian Hermann Cohen, who attempted to make Kant safe for Judaism and vice versa. Strauss was also influenced by Cohen’s sharply critical reading of Spinoza as a proto-liberal intent on conceiving of political life in a secular way that would allow for the successful assimilation of the Jewish people. According to Gottfried, “a profound preoccupation with his Jewishness runs through Strauss’s life” and plays a major role in Strauss’s development into an apologist for an ideological and universalist version of liberal democracy.

Strauss was also influenced by the intellectual battles being waged in Germany at the turn of the century. The Methodenstreit that was taking place amongst economists was also occurring amongst historians and philosophers, and it resulted in a series of conceptual dichotomies that would appear throughout Strauss’s later writings. His trio of bêtes noires (positivism, relativism, and historicism) was at the heart of the conflicts about methodology in Germany, and the outcome of these debates set the terms of critique for Strauss’s youth and beyond.

Finally, there was the political situation in Germany, especially after the disastrous end of World War I. The attractions of fascism to someone like Strauss, whose early inclinations were in a more social-democratic direction, would have been obvious, given the instability of Weimar. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that Strauss’s admiration for Mussolini outlasted the mid-1930s. Instead, the lesson that Strauss took from the fall of the Weimar government and the rise of Hitler and National Socialism was that liberalism was not capable of withstanding the onslaught of historicism, positivism, and moral relativism without solid quasi-religious and quasi-mythical foundations—and that he would be the one to provide those. Gottfried is certainly correct in arguing that for Strauss and his acolytes it is always September 1938 and we are always in Munich.

The second direction from which Gottfried approaches Strauss leads through an examination of the Straussian method and its products. Gottfried provides a critical account of the method and also notes the ahistorical, quasi-legendary, and often hagiographic character of the interpretations that the method produces. The Straussian method consists of two distinct doctrines, neither of which is particularly clear or convincing. First, Strauss asserts that understanding the work of a philosopher involves the reproduction of the author’s intention. Unfortunately, and as Gottfried argues, Strauss never explains what he means by “intention,” nor does he explain how one might reproduce an author’s intention. The second doctrine, however, renders the first irrelevant. Strauss argues that authentic philosophers hide their teaching from the casual reader and only initiates into the true philosophic art can decode the esoteric meaning of such texts. For Strauss and the Straussians, this is not an historical claim but a theoretical one, and it yields an interpretative strategy both naïve and paranoid.

The results of the Straussian method read like they were written by the intellectual offspring of Madame Blavatsky and Edgar Bergen. It may seem difficult to distinguish between the oracular pronouncements and the intellectual ventriloquism, but that’s because there is no real distinction to be made. As Gottfried notes, there is uncanny similarity between the Straussian reading of texts and the postmodern deconstruction of language. The esoteric claims provide cover for Straussian interpretive preferences and shield against criticism from anyone outside the clique. Cleanth Brooks once imagined what postmodern literary critics could have made of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and it makes just as much sense to ask what the Straussians could do with the nursery rhyme.

The two primary conclusions associated with Strauss’s esoteric reading of past texts are that all philosophers from the time of Plato onward were atheistic hyper-rationalists and that the United States emerged fully formed from the forehead of John Locke. Both of these conclusions are historically false, but it is inaccurate to call Strauss or his epigones bad historians because they are not historians at all.

Gottfried suggests correctly that Strauss and his followers are, in fact, engaged not in historical scholarship but in offering an extended civics lesson. He writes that the “celebration of the American present, as opposed to any march into the past, is a defining characteristic of the Straussians’ hermeneutics.” The Straussian professor understands himself as a prophet, a preacher, and a proselytizer, and at least in this consideration there is a significant element of commonality with the academic left. The Straussian past is composed of a collection of heroes and villains, and the story describes a teleological development of political life culminating in a highly abstract and ideologized version of the United States. This legend of American politics has proven to be the most influential of Strauss’s various tales of the mighty dead.

In his third approach to Strauss, Gottfried offers an appraisal of the influence of Straussianism on American politics generally and on American conservatism specifically. It is here that Gottfried makes what will likely be considered his most controversial arguments. He suggests that Strauss and the Straussians are best understood not as conservatives but as Cold War liberals and that their natural allies are the so-called neoconservatives. There are two Strausses and Straussianisms here. There are the West Coast Straussians (Harry Jaffa, Charles Kesler, and the Claremont crew), who read the master as a true-believing liberal democrat, and there are the East Coasters (Harvey Mansfield, Allan Bloom, Thomas Pangle, et al.) who view him as liberal democrat faute de mieux. However, as Gottfried points out, the similar practical conclusions reached by the two schools make the differences between them unimportant.

Indeed, one of the implicit claims that Gottfried makes is that there is not that great of an ideological difference between the American political parties, and there is no difference between neoconservatives and Cold War liberals. Thus the influence of the Straussians derives in part because, despite their sometimes bombastic rhetoric, their politics are center or center-left and not much different from the politics of both of the mainstream warfare/welfare-state parties in America.

Gottfried notes that both the Straussians and the neoconservatives “assume a certain right-wing style without expressing a right-wing worldview.” Neoconservatives serve to popularize the Straussians’ mythical account of American politics by “drawing their rhetoric and heroic models from Straussian discourse.” Staussians, on the other hand, profit from neoconservative largesse. Gottfried writes that the Straussians “have benefited from the neoconservative ascendency by gaining access to neoconservative-controlled government resources and foundation money and by obtaining positions as government advisors.”

For Gottfried, the primary effect that both neoconservatives and Straussians have had on the American conservative movement is to suck all the air out of it and ensure that there is no one to the right of them, while their primary effect on American politics generally has been to reinforce the ideologically charged notion that America is some sort of propositional nation constituted like a vast pseudo-religion by a set of tenets needing constant promulgation. It is a story of America as armed doctrine, and Gottfried is assuredly right in arguing that there is nothing conservative about it.

Strauss was at best a mediocre scholar whose thought expressed a confused bipolarity between a very German and ahistorical Grecophilia on the one hand and a scattered, dogmatic, and unsophisticated apology for an American version of liberal universalism on the other. Amongst prominent European philosophers, Strauss was taken seriously only by Hans-Georg Gadamer, until Gadamer concluded that Strauss was a crank, and by Alexandre Kojève, whose work reads today as if it were a parody of trendy French Marxism. In Britain, neither Strauss nor the Straussians have ever been taken seriously.

Strauss’s argument about esotericism is both historically and philosophically incoherent and useless in any methodological sense. It calls to mind something that Umberto Eco called cogito interruptus:

cogito interruptus is typical of those who see the world inhabited by symbols or symptoms. Like someone who, for example, points to the little box of matches, stares hard into your eyes, and says, ‘You see, there are seven…,’ then gives you a meaningful look, waiting for you to perceive the meaning concealed in that unmistakable sign.


Finally, regarding the phenomenon of Straussianism, the cult took hold here for the same reasons that cults generally succeed in the U.S.: ignorance, inexperience, and a desire to have a simple answer to complex problems.

Kenneth B. McIntyre is assistant professor at Concordia University in Montreal and is the author of Herbert Butterfield: History, Providence, and Skeptical Politics.

jeudi, 14 octobre 2010

Dead Right : The Infantilization of American Conservatism

Dead Right

The Infantilization of American Conservatism

Dead Right

Commentaries published on this website, most notably by Richard Spencer and Elizabeth Wright, have underlined the problems with the Tea Party movement and its most prominent representatives. These pointed observations about Glenn Beck, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, and Christine O’ Donnell have all been true; and if I have more or less defended some of these figures in the past, I’ve done so, while conceding most of the argument made against them. I agree in particular with Elizabeth Wright’s brief against Rand Paul’s stuttering attempt to object to the public accommodations clause in the Civil Rights Act and her withering attack on Glenn Beck’s recent “carnival of repentance” in Washington.

Elizabeth concludes that such soi-disant critics of the Left cannot bring themselves to find fault with any excess in the Civil Rights movement -- and especially not with its far leftist icon Martin Luther King. “Conservatives” are so terrified of being called “racists” or for that matter, sexists or homophobes, that they devote themselves tirelessly to showing they are just as sensitive as the next PC robot. Indeed, they often go well beyond anyone on the left in genuflecting before leftist icons. This was the purpose of the Martin Luther King-adoration rally held by Beck in Washington.

And even more outrageously, such faux conservatives accuse long-dead Democratic presidents, who were well to the right of the current conservative movement, of being more radical than they actually were. It would be no exaggeration to say that Wilson and FDR were far more reactionary than any celebrity in the Tea Party movement. One could only imagine what such antediluvian Democrats would have said if they had heard last year’s “Conservative of the Year,” chosen by Human Events, Dick Cheney, weeping all over the floor about not allowing gays to marry each other. And what would that stern Presbyterian and Southern segregationist Wilson have thought about the cult of King or the attempts by Tea Party leaders Palin and McDonnell to impose feminist codes of behavior on business and educational establishments. Wilson had to be dragged even into supporting the extension of the franchise to women.

The Tea Party sounds so often like the Left because it is for the most part a product of the Left. Its people were educated in public schools, watch mass entertainment, and have absorbed most of the leftist values of the elite class, to whose rule they object only quite selectively. From the demonstrators’ perspective, that elite isn’t patriotic enough in backing America’s crusades for human rights and in looking after the marvelous welfare state we’ve already built. The Tea Party types are understandably upset that their entitlements may be imperiled, if the current administration continues to run up deficits. This is the essence of their anti-government rant. And above all they don’t want more illegals coming into the country who may benefit from the social net and who may be receiving tax-subsidized medical care.

But this, we are assured, has nothing to do with race or culture. In fact the Tea Party claims to be acting on behalf of blacks and legally resident Latinos, in the name of Martin Luther King and all the civil rights saints of the past. It just so happens that almost all these activists are white Christians. Nonetheless, they are also people, as Elizabeth perceptively notices, who would like us to think they’re acting in the name of other ethnic groups, even if those groups don’t much like them. As four “young conservatives” explained to the viewers of the Today show last week, the Right wishes to lower taxes, specifically “to make jobs available to black Americans.” Unfortunately black Americans loathe those reaching out to them, presumably as a gesture of repentance as well as in pursuit of votes.

Those “conservatives” who want a moderate but not excessive welfare state and who act in the name of blacks, Latinos and dead leftist heroes, are fully tuned in to the conservative establishment. According to polls, these folks love FOX-news and avidly read movement conservative publications. Palin, Sean Hannity and Karl Rove, all FOX contributors, are among their favored speakers; and the Tea Party’s likely candidate for president, Sarah Palin, is now surrounded by such predictable neocon advisors as Randy Scheuermann and Bill Kristol. Even with her insipid, ungrammatical phrases about reducing the size of government, Palin already looks like an updated, feminine and feminized version of what the GOP has been running for president for decades, with neocon approval.

Actually one shouldn’t expect anything else from the Tea Party. In the 1980s the conservative movement witnessed a monumental sea change, when the neoconservatives assumed full power and proceeded to kick out dissenters. This development shaped the future of the Right, and its effects are still with us. The neoconservatives not only neutralized any real Right but also managed to infantilize what they took over. An entire generation of serious conservative thinkers were bounced out and replaced by either lackeys or by those who were essentially recycled liberal Democrats. The latter had recoiled from the anti-Zionist stands of the leftwing of the Democratic Party and then were given as a consolation prize carte blanche to swallow up the conservative movement.

Afterwards the establishment Right began to move in the direction of the Left, and it did so while limiting the range of disagreement with its opponents to a few acceptable talking points. The emphasis was on Middle Eastern intervention, disciplining anti-Semitic nations, and spreading “democratic values.” Internally the neocon Herrenklasse had no real interest, except for being able to do favors for corporations that financed them and for the Religious Right, which is fervently Zionist. The notion the neocons bestowed depth on the conservative movement may be the most blatant lie ever told. What they brought was agitprop, of the kind practiced by Soviet bureaucrats, and armies of culturally illiterate adolescents to turn out their party propaganda.

In all fairness, it must be said that the master class tolerated other points of view, for example from Catholic Thomists or Evangelicals, as long as these religiously inspired positions didn’t interfere with what counted for the neocons. Those who called the shots would also occasionally demand from their dependents certain favors, in return for subsidies and publicity, e.g., stressing the compatibility of Christian theology with neocon policies. Freeloading intellectuals could only be tolerated for so long.

This hegemony had two noticeable effects on the current Right, aside from the unchanged role of the neocons as the main power-players. The rightwing activists shown on TV and those they support in elections include badly educated duds, and these are individuals who often don’t sound like anything an historian might recognize as conservative. Their yapping about human rights (supposedly there is now a human right to own a gun) and their outpouring of the politics of guilt, as noted by Elizabeth Wright, are just two of their weird characteristics. About ten years ago I gaped with astonishment when I read a commentary by Jonah Goldberg explaining that the Catholic counterrevolutionary Joseph de Maistre was really a far leftist. It seems that Maistre questioned the idea of universal human rights und dared to note that human beings were marked by different national and ethnic features. These quirks, according to Goldberg, belong exclusively to the left, like “liberal fascism.” When the intellectual Right can come up with such nonsense and then parley it into a fortune, it is hard to imagine any lower depths of cultural illiteracy to which it could sink.

The “conservative wars” of the 1980s, which involved mostly a mopping up operation, also led to a hard Right that is unrelated to any other American intellectual Right. Those associated with this Right wish to have nothing to do with the failed or decimated Old Right that was smashed decades ago. It has found its home among the thirty-some generation and even more, among younger conservatives who are not part of the DC neocon network. One finds among these militants an almost primitive counterrevolutionary mentality. It is one that has taken form as an impassioned reaction to the Left’s masquerading as the Right, which began with the neoconservatives’ ascendancy to total domination. Although I have my reservations about what I’m describing, it must be seen as a spirited response to a fraud as well as to something that is intellectually and aesthetically vulgar.

Clearly this youthful Right is in no way influenced by Russell Kirk or by other “cultural conservatives” of an earlier generation. Its advocates reject a Right that was co-opted by the neocons and by those who are thought to have failed to resist that fateful takeover. Nor would most of those in the “culturally conservative” camp (Jim Kalb may be the exception here) feel comfortable with the exuberant reactionaries of the rising generation. Many of them sound like neo-pagans because they are convinced that the Western religious tradition has given rise to what they condemn as “the pathology of egalitarianism.” The French New Right, Nietzsche, and Carl Schmitt have all shaped this still inchoate youthful American Right. In their case Europe has cast its shadow on the US, unlike the multicultural Left, which, as I have argued in several books, is our poisonous gift to the Europeans.

The emergence of this anti-egalitarian Right and the infantilization of movement conservatism indicate what can not be undone. The American Right has changed irreversibly because of what occurred during the Reagan years and in the ensuing decade. We shall continue to live with the consequences.