by Keith Preston
The title of this review essay may well serve to get my name placed in yet another official file somewhere, but two works recently published by Andy Nowicki, a Catholic traditionalist author and one of my colleagues at AlternativeRight.Com, prompts one to give a little thought to these two literal matters of life and death. The first of these is a work that was issued in 2009 titled Considering Suicide. This work was previously reviewed by my colleague “MRDA” from AttacktheSystem.Com, and MRDA says much of what I would likewise be inclined to say about this book. MRDA and I share a similar philosophical outlook in that we largely embrace the Nietzschean nihilism that traditionalists despair of and simultaneously cannot help but appreciate the penetrating irreverence of the attacks offered by traditionalists like Nowicki on the pieties of the faithful worshippers in the church of the postmodern Left.
Nowicki’s novella is essentially an effort to answer Albert Camus’s suggestion that the most profound philosophical question is whether one should or should not commit suicide. In other words, is life worth the trouble of bothering to live it? The book has two parts. The first half contains the fictional diaries of a man contemplating his own upcoming suicide and his observations about the world of post-modernity. It is a world he ultimately rejects to the point of taking his own life. As MRDA and other reviewers have pointed out, there is some remarkably frank language in this work considering that its message is an appeal to faith. One thing that is remarkably refreshing about traditionalists like Nowicki is their recognition that the self-styled social and political rebels among the ranks of the piously politically correct are rebels in their own minds only. Nowicki’s soon to be suicide “victim” offers the following observation of the present day intellectual elite:
Is this what those highfalutin’ faggots mean when they talk about “postmodernism”? What a fucking bore. To them, it’s just parlor talk. A way to score in academia. A way to show yourself to be a thoughtful person. Faggot poseurs with goatees and black sweaters and cushy jobs sitting in an office jacking off during “office hours” and teaching useless beer-swilling bong-smoking brats another two hours a week. Faggot intellectuals. Smug, mediocre pussies. Fuck your postmodern ethos, with your futuristic architecture at your galleries and your unreadable academic essays about “semio” this and “meta” that. Fuck your trendy post-structuralist, solipsistic, opportunistic, sycophantic so-called theories. You all think you’re wild-eyed nihilists out to stick your dicks up the asses of Middle America, don’t you? You’re pathetic. You’re far more pathetic than the bourgeosie, the object of your ridicule. Their lives may be dull, and they may be stupid, but they aren’t full of themselves the way you are.
One has to admire a writer who boldly throws around the two “F-words” most likely to get bleeped on American network television. Conservatives are offended by one and liberals are offended by the other, so I of course prefer to see an avalanche of both terms in popular media and common language. Nowicki may be a devout Christian of the Catholic persuasion, but he panders to no one’s sensitivities whether puritanical religionists or equally puritanically secular egalitarians. Of the latter group, the future suicide says:
So “God is Not a Republican,” as you like to lecture us via your bumper stickers. Guess what, He ain’t a Democrat either; He’s nothing. He’s not on the side of your enemies, but He’s not on your side either; please don’t bother trying to find Him-He’s not there! So “Hate is Not a Family Value,” you declare, again via the rear of your fancy foreign cars. Well, dig this, hepcats, fudge-packing is not a noble endeavor either. If God doesn’t hate fags, He doesn’t stand in solidarity with cornholing, cunt-shunning, HIV-chasing, limpwristers either. God’s not going to help the fruits turned into vegetables thanks to the miracle of AIDS. He doesn’t care about you; He’s not around; He’s not your buddy; He’s not secretly and ironically your cultural ally against those close-minded meanies from Middle America who invoke His name while all the while hating you, boo hoo. God doesn’t care about them, but He cares even less about you. You have to exist to care and He just ain’t there. Face the music of your trendy nihilism, you smug, angry, little clones. Suck down your own HIV-positive spooge. Shut up and die.
And of modern egalitarian ideologies, the character remarks:
Where everyone invokes “the people,” in order to show how egalitarian and enlightened their thinking is-as if “the people” give a fuck. As if “the people” were a proper object of admiration-those drooling masses who sit around reading People magazine, watching reality TV and doing what they’re told; or worse, those drooling shitbrained elitist intellectuals, who sit around reading the Jew York Times and listening to NPR, and…doing what they’re told.
These magnificently Jim Goadian lines are as refreshingly close to blasphemy as one can get in a secular state with a prevailing secular ethos. Bravo!
In the second part of the book, Nowicki provides a very contemplative account of his own worldview, informed as it is by his Catholic traditionalist faith. I am often asked how I as an anarchist, atheist, and libertarian socialist with a Nietzschean philosophical bent, an admirer of Bakunin and H.L. Mencken and Bertrand Russell, can find so much of value in the works of reactionaries and anti-modernists ranging from traditionalists like Nowicki to old-school monarchists to the conservative revolutionaries of Weimar to even the writings of Islamists. I approach such works with appreciation or even enthusiasm as none are so adept at exposing the hypocrisies and idiocies of modern liberals than those reject who their values across the board. Consider the following gem concerning the “War on Hate”:
Of all bootless modern crusades, this “war” is perhaps the most pernicious because crusaders for “tolerance” are the most vicious and the most disingenuous of all cultural revolutionists. No one hates the way hate-haters hate; no one is more dishonest about his intentions or in his overall self-representation than one who loudly proclaims that his goal is to rid the world of “hate.” Those who profess to hate “hate,” who cannot tolerate “intolerance,” seem capable of anything. More on point, they are capable of justifying anything. If they are harsh, shrill, and mean, if they make accusations or commit outrageous slanders, if they ruin or destroy lives, they feel no shame or guilt. After all, even if they go too far sometimes or make mistakes, they can fall back on the noble crutch. Their hearts are in the right place. “We only want to stamp out hate!” they scream.
Of the nature of modern tyranny, Nowicki observes:
The tyrant need not be a disagreeable or unpopular person. Indeed, he may enjoy the support of the vast majority of the population. Most tyrants are not hated, but adored. After all, the tyrant had to have done something good for somebody in order to reach a position of ultimate power. Julius Caesar is said to have been fondly regarded by the commoners. This is unsurprising. The ascent of tyrants is nurtured through careful appeal to the resentments of the lower classes.
I cannot abide Nowicki’s conclusion that an embrace of traditional faith is the answer to the “question” posed by modern nihilism. Either Christianity is true or it is not. Every advancement in human knowledge and discovery over the past five centuries has detracted from the classical Christian worldview of the medieval era. Christians claim that all religions but one are false. We atheists agree with the first part of this but add one more religion to the list of those that are untrue. As for myself, I think that the Greeks had it right: If anything comes close to being a true religion, it is philosophy itself. When we look at the magnificent civilization created by our forebears from antiquity, why would we think we need anything more? Human beings engaged in cultural, military, religious, intellectual, athletic, scientific, artistic, philanthropic and other such pursuits long before Abrahamic monotheism came to dominate Western civilization. We will continue to do so even if the Abrahamic faiths eventually become no more than a distant memory, like the gods of Olympus.
Does the “crisis of faith” presented to modern people by the eclipsing of traditional Christianity by modernity really present any more intellectual or cultural challenges than those faced by the great thinkers of the classical world? For them, mankind was the measure of all things, and the civilization they established was decimated in part by the ascension to political and cultural dominance of the view of the Abrahamic faiths that mankind exists merely to function as slaves to a divine Other. Nowicki raises an interesting point regarding the seeming inability of modern people to sacrifice for anything beyond themselves. We may look around us in our Western nations and observe a population of slobs but it doesn’t have to be that way and, indeed, it wasn’t that way only a couple of generations ago. If the realization that one is the measure of all things is not reason enough for the embrace of life, then what would be? And if the pagan warrior ethos of an Ernst Junger is not an example of self-overcoming, an ethos where one finds self-actualization in mortal combat, then what would be? Nihilism may be a state of existence imposed on us by modern man’s discovery of the truth that there is no truth, at least with regard to the question of values, but despair is simply a state of mind. Those who despair about the ambiguity of the moral condition of modern man do so because that is what they choose for themselves. Yet some of us may indeed choose to boldly and courageously embrace the challenges presented by that ambiguity. That will be our choice.
But enough about suicide. Let’s think a bit about murder….Stayed tuned for Part Two