Left and Right

Thinkers Against Modernity: A New Book from Keith Preston

Available from Black House Publishing.

The prevailing sentiment of contemporary intellectuals is that the human condition has never been better. History is regarded as lengthy episode of oppression that human beings have gradually but steadily fought to overcome with considerable success. Evidence of these successes that are commonly offered include increased material consumption, better health and longer life expectancy, technological development and, above all, the ongoing triumph of “democracy” and “human rights.”

However, the nineteenth and twentieth century produced an array of dissident thinkers that expressed a great skepticism of modern civilization. Their individual critiques were often vastly different from one another. Yet the common idea that emerges from work of these genuine intellectual mavericks is one that laments the loss of traditional societies, and pessimism about the new world that modernity has brought. Instead, the modern project has been regarded by thinkers as different as Nietzsche, G.K. Chesterton and Alain De Benoist to have been a cultural and spiritual degeneration that diminished rather than elevated the nobility of man.

This work by Keith Preston examines the ideas of these thinkers, and considers the potential relevance of their insights in the postmodern age.

4 replies »

  1. Keith, may I ask you a question? You describe yourself as anarcho-pluralist. And, as far as I understand, you’re also a national-anarchist.

    So, what is the relation between your anarcho-pluralism and your national-anarchism? Are they much the same? Or are they two important, yet different parts of your worldview – this means, one can be anarcho-pluralist without being national-anarchist?

    • You have misunderstood my ideological position.

      I consider national-anarchism to be a legitimate branch of anarchism (unlike many other anarchists who maintain a visceral hostility to national-anarchism), and I find certain ideas within national anarchism to be interesting. I promote the works of national-anarchists, along with those of other types of anarchists. I’ve even contributed to various compilations of national-anarchist writings.

      However, I would consider myself merely a fellow traveler of national-anarchism just as I am a fellow traveler of many other types of anarchism. As an anarcho-pluralist, I certainly embrace national-anarchists as part of the struggle just as I embrace anarcho-syndicalists, anarcho-capitalists, anarcho-primitivists, anarcho-transhumanists, Christian anarchists, anarcho-pacificists, anarcho-insurrectionists, etc.

        • Here’s another way of looking at these questions: I consider the various schools of anarchism to be necessary counterparts to one another such anarcho-communism and anarcho-capitalism, anarcho-primitivism and anarcho-transhumanism, Christian anarchism and anti-clericalism anarchism, anarcho-pacificism, and insurrectionary anarchism, national-anarchism and anti-racist/anti-fascist anarchism, collectivist anarchism and individualist anarchism, etc. Each of these schools often raise questions or bring ideas to the table that the others might have missed.

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