34 comments

  1. I am excited to finally see this site up and at the very same time my National Anarchist chapter becomes active no less!

  2. You have an N-A chapter? Tell me about. What sort of activities are you involved in?

    It really does look like the Alternative Right is growing and that “alternative anarchists” are growing right along with it.

  3. I do have a National Anarchist chapter-FVNA, or Fox Valley National Anarchists, which I am hoping to make an affiliate of BANA (i’ve been discussing this with Yeoman recently.) As of now, we have only ten members, culled from the ranks of my personal friends (“the usual gang of idiots” as the saying goes.) I want to recruit more members before I establish a website, which, given the inordinate number of beer-guzzling proles I know aleinated by both political correctness and our political establishment, should not be too difficult. The group is still in its infancy, so our proclivites are largely restricted to weekly discussion groups. We are hoping to pool our money together and open a comunity center in downtown Appleton, featuring pool tables, dart boards, refreshments, etc. It’s odd because although I’ve always been on the far right (i’m generally where the american old right meets the european new one) this is the very first time I’ve ever claimed the NA title for myself.

  4. It’s great to see so many non-PC anarchist groups starting to emerge. I’ve been wanting this for 20 years. Movements like N-A, the Alternative Right, ENR, paleoism, and others are lot like the radical left of the late 19th century or the radicalisms that came out of the 60s like Rothbard’s libertarianism or the early SDS. They’re fresh, dynamic, original. They haven’t yet ossified into a system of orthodoxy. I hope they never do.

  5. Exactly how many non-PC anarchist groups are starting to emerge? The majortiy of so-called “anarchists” in my area are still mired deeply in pc leftardation. Do you see the emerging alternative right as eventually achieving the same status as the 60’s counterculture and subsequently enjoying a similar place in history? Could they reach the same size and level of attention? And if so, would you see yourself as an intellectual guru of it, the way Marcuse was with the New Left?

  6. “Exactly how many non-PC anarchist groups are starting to emerge?”

    I’m starting to see more N-A, An-cap, paleo, and other similar websites pop up than there ever were before. It’s hard to gauge how many active groups there are. Anybody can set up a website or blog. But I would assume that an increased presence online means a greater number of sympathizers and more activists as well. I do agree, though, that the non-leftoidals have a ways to got before they overrun the leftoidals. That should be the long-range goal.

    “Do you see the emerging alternative right as eventually achieving the same status as the 60’s counterculture and subsequently enjoying a similar place in history?”

    Potentially, but I have no guess as to whether that will actually happen. Something will eventually emerge as a new radicalism as the legacy of the 60s becomes increasingly status quo (if it’s not already).

    “And if so, would you see yourself as an intellectual guru of it, the way Marcuse was with the New Left?”

    I’m not into that level of self-flattery. I’m not so sure anything I’ve done to date quite places me on that level.

  7. In a way, the alt-right’s rebellion against the mores of political correctness parrallels the sixities radical’s rejection of social conservatism. They’re taking the status quo at the time-and its attendant sacred cows-and demolishing them. Personally, I consider my critique of political correctness to be a modern day version of Neitzsche’s attack on Christianity, which I feel is the best way of seeing it. If Fred was alive today, he’d be attacking political correctness the same way he attacked Christianity. Marcuse is dead, and we have killed him…

  8. It’s amazing how radical Nietzsche was for his time. It’s Nietzsche, not Marx, who was the truly great radical thinker of the nineteenth century.

    Keep in mind that Nietzsche wasn’t simply attacking Christianity, though he obviously did plenty of that. He was also attacking the various pieties of the 19th c. held by intellectuals and educated people who had already rejected theological orthodoxy. For instance, he was attacking Hegel’s historicism and, by extension, the entire idea of a progressive view of history that dominates Enlightenment, Christian, and even classical Aristotelian views of history. He also attacked metaphysical notions of justice, morality, ethics, virtue, etc. of the kind that are traceable to at least Plato and continues through the Stoics, Christianity, Locke, Kant, etc. In other words, Nietzsche was demolishing Western philosophy since the time of Heraclitus and the pre-Socratics.

    He was also attacking 19th c. ideas like utopianism, egalitarianism, liberal humanism, universalism, Marxism, mass society, democracy, and nationalism and racism (which were considered “progressive” or modernist ideologies in their time). This is illustrated by the parable in “Thus Spake Zarathustra” where the madman enters the town village asks “Where is God?” and the villagers respond that “God is dead and we have killed him!” and the madman questions whether they have really killed God. (I’m writing from memory here, so I might be getting some details of the story confused.) Anyway, the point is that the progressive intellectuals of the late 19th c. who thought they had killed God had really just invented new gods to believe in like progress, the developmental view of human and social evolution, Marxism and utopianism, etc.

    So you are absolutely correct in your analogy of the attacks on PC as comparable to Nietzsche’s debunking of the sacred cows of the day.

    “Marcuse is dead, and we have killed him…”

    Oh, I love that. I’m definitely going to have to use that at some point.

  9. “It’s Nietzsche, not Marx, who was the truly great radical thinker of the nineteenth century.” I agree with this wholeheartedly. For all his rants against Christianity and capitalism, his own philosophy was closely wedded to the same bacis assumptions as those ideologies. He also owed far too much to the Enlightenment philosophy (itself largely a secularized version of Christianity) that formed the status quo at the time. The most troubling aspect of his philosophy, for me, is his belief in an abstract “humanity” ; which all too many people today use as a reification. Do all human individuals comprise some kind of universal collective, with a common mind and soul, linked together by some universal essence? I think not, and I think this leads to ridiculous logical fallacies.

  10. I don’t agree that the Enlightenment thinkers (by which I mean Voltaire and his camp as opposed to guys like Rousseau and Kant) were neo-Christians. In fact, I believe the opposite is true. I agree with Peter Gay that Voltaire and co. were modern pagans.

    I agree that Marx is a neo-Christian, but, as can be surmised from the paragraph above, I don’t see him coming out of the Enlightenment. Romanticism was a Christian and neo-Christian backlash against the Enlightenment. If I recall my lectures on tape correctly, Marx came out of that. Certainly Hegel was a counter Enlightenment figure, and we know Marx was very much influenced by him (as Gay says, the Voltairians were individualists and, as we know, Hegel worshiped the State).

    I also agree that good old Fred would be attacking political correctness. Maybe an intellectual project for attackers of the system is to claim Nietzsche as an attacker of the system.

    Lastly, I agree that empty abstractions are a tool of the court intellectuals. There are real communities, which we should cherish and fight to preserve, and then there are abstract, i.e., fake, communities, which we are told to love and sacrifice for–and many dumb dumbs fall for it. It really does take a village (i.e., a local, actual, real community) to raise a child but not a fake village (the State).

  11. Yes, I agree with Peter Gay’s arguments that the Enlightenment thinkers around Voltaire represented a genuine neo-pagan movement. Voltaire is one of my personal heroes. I think Gay established that pretty conclusively. However, Nietzsche attacked a great deal of pagan intellectual tradition as well. He believed Western thought had gone downhill since the Socratics, or at least he regarded the Dionysian tendency in classical thought to have been submerged by the tendency towards rational criticism developed by the followers of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Nietzsche was a sharp critic of the idea of “progress” which is represented by the linear view of history. The linear view is certainly a core component of Christian philosophy but it doesn’t begin with them. It’s probably traceable to at least Aristotle. Also, a core contribution of Nietzsche is his refutation of metaphysical notions of justice which go back to at least Plato.

    I regard Hegel, Kant, and Marx as counter-Enlightenment figures as well. Kant and Hegel were a retreat from Enlightenment rationalism back into Platonic/Christian idealism. Marx was a rationalist and materialist, but he adopted the determinism of orthodox Christianity. Marx was a heavily influenced by Hegel obviously, though he is something of an inversion of Hegel. I think Hegel’s historicism is the most important contribution of Hegelianism to Marxism.

    To a great degree, I regard Nietzsche as being a continuation of the intellectual trends that began with the Enlightenment neo-pagans. The early neo-pagans largely debunked theology in a literal, supernatural sense (though some of them retained belief in a deistic clockmaker god). Nietzsche took that a step further and debunked metaphysical or idealist notions of morality and justice that some of the post-Enlightenment thinkers like those of the German Idealist school tried to maintain. Then Nietzsche went still further and attacked the pieties of elite intellectuals from the 19th c. I think his critique of the ideological movements that emerged in the 19th c. like socialism, communism, nationalism, racism, utopianism, utilitarianism, etc. as efforts to erect new gods after the old gods had been killed by advancements in human knowledge is key to understanding Nietzsche’s philosophy.

  12. In a comment above, I mistakenly identified Nietzsche’s parable of the madman as originating from “Thus Spake Zarahustra.” It’s actually from “The Gay Science.”

  13. Voltaire is one my personal heroes too. One characteristic of his that made him great was that he knew his limitations, that is, he knew his strength (making people laugh or get outraged over ridiculous and unjust institutions and actions) and his weakness (thoroughly understanding and coming up with deep answers to the perennial philosophical questions). E.g., clearly the doctrine of the trinity is incomprehensible, a fact any intellectually honest person will acknowledge, and he mocked it to break through to people just on the verge of acknowledging that it makes no sense. But deeper writing he left to the hardcore intellectuals.

    I relate to Voltaire’s approach. I assume this computer I’m typing on exists but I’m not prepared to debate the issue. On assessing some of Nietzche’s views I may just have to throw up my hands and say, “I’ll leave that to someone else.” I don’t agree with the Objectivists that you need a fully fleshed out philosophy before you can turn to political matters, which are what I am most interested in. I am satisfied, for example, that murder is wrong and that forcibly keeping lifesaving drugs from someone is murder. Therefore, if the government does it, it has murdered someone and this is despicable, even though the sleeping masses don’t acknowledge the crime, choosing to believe instead the comforting myth that the government protects us. My job then becomes to wake up as many of the sleepers as possible to the truth. To do this, I don’t need to be able to recite a proof of the proposition that A is A.

    I would like to try to understand Nietzsche as best I can, however. Maybe he was on to something about the Apollonian turn in Greek though being an unfortunate event.

    What I’m most interested in is: how does Nietzsche fit into Rothbard’s concept of the court intellectual? My understanding of Nietzsche is that he was anti-Reason, and as the Objectivists point out, a clever tyrant wants the people he rules over to be distrustful of their rational faculties, because it makes them more likely to swallow the tyrant’s bullshit. Was he really anti-Reason, or anti-something called Reason? And if he was anti-Reason, was he ultimately an unwitting court intellectual?

  14. “The State is the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it tells lies too; and this lie crawls out of its mouth: “I, the state, am the people.” That is a lie! It was creators who created peoples and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life.”

    I highly doubt this guy could ever be a court intellectual, witting or unwitting.

    I also agree with him that the human capacity for reason and rational thought has been grossly exaggerated.

  15. I think Nietzsche was responding to the tendency of some thinkers to deify reason. For instance, the Jacobins’ celebrating the “Goddess of Reason” in Notre Dame Cathedral would obviously be an extreme example of this. I don’t see Nietzsche as “anti-reason” in the sense that a theologian or modern irrationalist might be. I think he was more concerned with the limitations of reason (like Hobbes or Burke would have been) and with recognition that the capacity for reason is only one side of the human personality. For instance, Nietzsche contrasted the Renaissance with the Enlightenment, regarding the former as Dionysian (passion-oriented) and the latter as Apollonian (rational-oriented). Still, Nietzsche is clearly within the rationalist tradition of the Enlightenment in terms of his overall thinking as an atheist and materialist. He’s somewhat comparable to Hobbes as a skeptic of religion and the supernatural who is also cautious about the limitations of human rational faculties.

    Nietzsche clearly was not an egalitarian who advocated a hierarchical organization of society, but I don’t see how he could be considered a court intellectual. As I understand Rothbard’s concept of the court intellectual, such as person is someone who serves to legitimize the existing ruling class and inculcate pro-ruling class ideology in the masses. It’s hard to see how Nietzsche could fall into that category. I think that’s more Harvey Mansfield, Kissinger, “the best and brightest” from the Kennedy era, the Kristols, Arthur Schlesinger, or someone like that.

  16. There have been court intellectuals throughout history, the high priests perhaps being the first. Nietzsche charges the priests with creating slave morality, and with its emphasis on obedience and self-sacrifice, this helped keep the rulers in power. I think Rothbard would acknowledge the existence of unwitting court intellectuals, but he probably would not expand the term, as I do, to include people who get nothing from the State in exchange for promoting ideas the support the ruling class. I call Jesus a court intellectual and the State crucified him. Many of his apostles, who promoted his ideas, suffered a similar fate. Nevertheless, their brand of anti-this world, anti-human, anti-Reason, pro-self-sacrifice religion went on to chain the masses for centuries. So if Neitzche’s form of skepticism weakens the ability of people to challenge authority, he helped the State, even though he railed against the State.

  17. Interesting you raise the Jesus question. Nietzsche considered Jesus to have been the purveyor of a “master morality” remarking: “The last Christian died on the cross.”
    But he considered Paul to have been the purveyor of a “slave morality.”

    I’m not so sure Nietzsche weakened the ability to challenge the state (or any other authority). He regarded all values as mere human constructs. The implication of this is that my values are just as legitimate as those who may be ruling over me at the present moment. In fact, if I were to aspire to a “master morality” of my own, I would then assert my own values against those that presently dominate. Some people have argued that Nietzsche heavily plagiarized Stirner. I’m skeptical of that, but there is a great deal of similarity between their thinking.

    Where Nietzsche (or Stirner, for that matter) would conflict with Rothbard (or the Objectivist tradition you seem somewhat influenced by) is on the question of “natural rights” and “natural law.” Moral relativists like Nietzsche and Stirner would maintain there is no “right” other than might. Any other claims of “right” are merely human value judgements. But Rothbard and Rand were in the Lockean tradition that regards “the inalienable rights of man” to be rooted in nature itself. I don’t really buy the Lockean view. I think it’s a quasi-religious doctrine that carries over from some earlier systems of thought. However, it is a useful bit of Sorelian mythology and a helpful cultural tradition, however subjective and arbitrary it may be. “Natural rights” makes for a nice Platonic noble lie. One reason I have argued in the past that a radical anti-statist movement in the U.S. should appeal heavily to the American revolutionary tradition is because of the helpful myths generated by the ideology of the founding generation and the way many Americans regard the Founders as apostolic figures.

  18. I view “rights” as largely social constructs that people devise to protect and advance their own interests.

  19. Yes, I agree with that. Hence, the endless debate we hear nowadays about “rights”: right to life, abortion rights, property rights, right to health care, civil rights, human rights, gay rights, constitutional rights, etc. I agree that these are just constructs that reflect custom, convention, individual and collective interests, not things that are decreed by God or “nature.”

    How do others here regard utilitarianism of the kind advanced by Bentham and the Mills? Is it a counter to the individualism and, by extension, elitism of the neo-pagan Enlightenment? Is it merely a predecessor to Marxist radical egalitarianism? Or is it an extension of the Lockean philosophy applied in a more pragmatic way with less reliance on naturalistic ethics?

    Years ago, when I used to read the debates between libertarian scholars on the proper philosophical foundations for libertarianism, I remember being intriqued by these discrepancies. So many different thinkers seemed to be getting the same political philosophy out of natural law theory, utilitarianism, egoism, Hobbesianism, various religious beliefs, Aristotelianism, and even Nietzsche or Stirner.

    Nowadays, I don’t really think in those terms. I tend to begin with thinkers like Nietzsche, Stirner, Foucault, etc. and the idea that all values are mere subjective human constructs, and the view that because different people individually and collectively create different value systems, conflict is inevitable and, ultimately, the fittest will survive. Not necessarily the “fittest”, in the sense of the strongest or biggest guns. If that were the case, the U.S. would have done better in some of its more recent military performances. But “fittest” in the genuinely Darwinian sense of adaptability. For instance, the fourth generation military forces are winning (over the long haul) because of their greater adaptability.

    Beyond that, I tend to be interested in thinkers who address man as he (or she, if we want to be PC, which most of us here probably don’t) actually is, not as what someone wishes him to be or wishes human existence to be. For instance, thinkers in the Machiavellian tradition like Niccolo himself, Hobbes, Michels, Pareto, Sorel, and Schmitt.

  20. I think utilitarianism can be used a justification for nearly anything, and as such is a slippery slope. Just look at Peter Singer.

    I was alreeady thinking in the Stirnerite traiditon long before I’d ever heard of Stirner, regarding such things as rights, laws, and justice as mere “spooks” that don’t exist independently of human invention. I also agree with him (and Margaret Thatcher, oddly enough) that “society” is a meaningless abstraction.

    Philosophically, it is most crucial that we draw a disctinct line between the natural and the man-made. Nature does not give you “rights”; it only gives you biological imperatives.

    With your last statement, I assume you are referring to the view of humans as antagonists in a darwinian state of nature, as opposed to members of an idealized universal collective. I largely agree with this, and I feel that this provides a much firmer footing for analyzing human social and political behavior than the latter.

    What do you think of this theory? It is a proven law of nature that all systems are in the constant process of breaking down and falling apart. This is called entropy. Meanwhile, people tend to view “man” and nature as separate and distinct, a common binary opposition. However, everything we have and use is taken from nature and when we die we return to the ground and become fertilizer. Hence, I think it makes far more sense to say that man is just another part of nature. It would then naturally follow that human civilization is also subject to the law of entropy, and is also in a state of constant decay. I call it the regressive (as opposed to progressive) view of history.

  21. “With your last statement, I assume you are referring to the view of humans as antagonists in a darwinian state of nature, as opposed to members of an idealized universal collective. I largely agree with this, and I feel that this provides a much firmer footing for analyzing human social and political behavior than the latter.”

    Yes, you understood me correctly.

    “Hence, I think it makes far more sense to say that man is just another part of nature. It would then naturally follow that human civilization is also subject to the law of entropy, and is also in a state of constant decay. I call it the regressive (as opposed to progressive) view of history.”

    What you’ve outlined here is more or less the same idea as Spengler’s interpretation of history.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Decline_of_the_West

  22. “Nietzsche considered Jesus to have been the purveyor of a ‘master morality'”

    I disagree with Neitzsche. Jesus was a revolutionary in terms of slave morality, even if he didn’t come up with the doctrine of original sin. To quote George Walsh, “According to rabbinical Judaism, there are two basic inclinations in man, the evil inclination (yetzer ha-r’a) and the good inclination (yetzer ha-tov). Both inclinations is present from birth and the good inclination from about the age of thirteen. Were it not for the evil inclination, nobody would build a house, marry and beget children” (The Role of Religion in History, pp. 69-70). In other words, the “evil” inclination (lust, anger), is, under rabbinical Judaism, ultimately good, because it spurs humans to thrive in this world. For Jesus, however, lust and anger were evil, period. Paraphrasing the gospels, while the elders have said thou shalt not kill and thou shalt not commit adultery, Jesus says, he who has lust in his heart has already committed adultery, he with anger in his heart has already sinned. According to Walsh, Jesus had antecedent Jewish thinkers who said similar things, but he certain popularized the idea. What he did was to declare normal human reactions to be evil. This represents a sharp break from the ultimately pro-human worldview of Judaism, which, while uneasy about our baser emotions, reluctantly embraced them at the end of the day. His teaching also gave support down the road to the doctrine of original sin. If our normal inclinations are evil, that shows how corrupted we are.

    “Where Nietzsche (or Stirner, for that matter) would conflict with Rothbard (or the Objectivist tradition you seem somewhat influenced by) is on the question of ‘natural rights’ and “‘natural law.'”

    My overall point of view has Rothbardian and Objectivist elements. I like the idea of natural rights and natural law but I haven’t fully fleshed out my position on them. I do disagree with Rothbard’s rigid application of the idea of natural rights. I’m ready to make exceptions (pushing someone to catch a falling baby, using a stranger’s dock in a storm), and see as silly his attempt to apply the homesteading principle to rights to parts of the ocean.

  23. Yeah, Rothbard had a way of overstating his case in his application of natural rights theory, to say the least. I think “natural justice” is as sound a basis for common law as anything else. But it’s simply a question of “Who got hurt, and how do we make it right?” and not something decreed by God or the Cosmos.

    I’m a Stirnerite egoist mostly on the grounds of “What else is there?”

  24. Btw, do you consider Jesus to have been an actual historical person? I’m inclined towards the view that the Jesus character depicted in the Gospels is simply a fictional one. Once those aspects of the Gospels are removed that are obvious borrowings from pre-existing pagan myths about dying and rising gods, reworkings of the Old Testament in an obviously fabricated way, lifts from popular legends of the time, contradictions, parables and allegories that serve purposes of indoctrination and so forth, not much is really left. There may have been a religious figure named Jesus or something similar in Palestine around that time that the biblical character is very, very loosely based on. But I think that’s about it as far as authenticity goes.

  25. “For Jesus, however, lust and anger were evil, period.”

    Except when drop-kicking moneylenders out of his “dad'”s temple.

    As the Family Guy writers put it: “let he who is without sin kick the first ass.”

  26. I’ve heard the Bible Geek guy before on a podcast with the Infidel Guy explaining why he believes Jesus didn’t exist. I wasn’t convinced. I think there was an actual guy who wandered around and preached, and that scholars have a grasp on the gist of what he had to say. I’ve listened to a number of lectures on tape by Bart Ehrman. He comes across as very credible and I accept his view that there was a historical Jesus who predicted an imminent apocalypse. George Walsh believed he actually existed too, and had a unique message that was quite revolutionary. Now, do I believe people grafted onto the Jesus story all sorts of myths and legends that were already in the air regarding other purported divine entities? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a noteworthy historical figure who actually existed.

  27. Yes, your view is certainly more compatible with the mainstream of historical scholarship that the alternative theory outlined by scholars like Price. Price’s thesis is still interesting, though.

  28. Keith, do you see Nietzsche and Stirner as opposed in fundamental ways, what with the former positing a new, overarching standard in the face of the abyss (the Übermensch) and Stirner essentially saying: “Fuck it! Do what thou wilt!”?

  29. Perhaps, though I think the two are similar in their militant assertion that all human values are mere constructs that we create for ourselves.

  30. I was thinking primarily of his disdain for Wagner’s anti-Semitism, for his sister Elizabeth’s racialist views, and for German nationalism as it was in Nietzsche’s day.

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