Augustus Invictus: Interview with Rachel Janik of the SPLC 10

An interesting Right vs. Left “interview” that is closer to being a debate.

I tend to view political ideologies in the same way that I view religions in the sense that I don’t think any of them are “true.” Instead, these are collections of myths and archetypes that people use to order their own psyche, and as common bonds with which to form community with others.

I would approach political conflict in a way that was fairly similar to that of Hobbes, who was concerned about the constant warfare between rival religious sects and royal dynasties during his own time. He didn’t really believe any of these had “truth” on their side, but simply that they were contending interests struggling for power. We have a very similar situation today where various ideologies, cultural and ethnic groups, economic interests, and perspectives on contentious issues are struggling for power in a similar way, leading to the various conflicts we see in our own society. Like Hobbes before me, I really don’t care who is “right” in most of these conflicts, and doubt that anyone has “truth” (as opposed to self-interest) on their side. The Wikipedia entry on the “Left-Right political spectrum” defines the various ideological divisions in this way:

Generally, the left wing is characterized by an emphasis on “ideas such as equality, fraternity, rights, progress, reform, and internationalism,” while the right wing is characterized by an emphasis on “notions such as authority, hierarchy, order, duty, tradition, reaction and nationalism.”

Political scientists and other analysts regard the Left as including anarchists,communists, socialists and social democrats, left-libertarians, progressives, and social liberals.Movements for racial equality are also usually linked with left-wing organizations. Trade unionism is also associated with the left.

Political scientists and other analysts regard the Right as including Christian democrats, conservatives, right-libertarians, neoconservatives, imperialists, monarchists, fascists, reactionaries, and traditionalists.

A number of significant political movements—including feminism and regionalism—do not fit precisely into the left-right spectrum. Nationalism is often regarded as characteristic of the right, although nationalism is also sometimes present in the left. Populism is regarded as having both left-wing and right-wing manifestations (see left-wing populism, right-wing populism). Green politics is often regarded as a movement of the left, but in some ways the green movement is difficult to definitively categorize as left or right.

This is a pretty good definition of the various divisions, and if there had been such a thing as Wikipedia four hundred years ago, the divisions might have been defined in terms of dynastic loyalties and sectarian religious rivalries. Hobbes’ primary concern involved the question of how to achieve civil peace in the face of such conflict. He ultimately favored an absolute monarch that would rule in the manner of a Saddam Hussein-like figure on the presumption that it would be within the cracks in tyranny that civilization would emerge. The thought of Hobbes opened the door for the development of classical liberalism, which essentially amounts to the idea that “order is not enough, humanity also needs freedom.” In the modern world, ideological and interest group rivalries have replaced religious and dynastic rivalries, and the managerial plutocratic state has replaced the absolute monarchy. Consequently, the principle question asked by Hobbes and the early Enlightenment thinkers remains, “How does civilization achieve order plus freedom?”

10 comments

  1. “The thought of Hobbes opened the door for the development of classical liberalism, which essentially amounts to the idea that “order is not enough, humanity also needs freedom.” In the modern world, ideological and interest group rivalries have replaced religious and dynastic rivalries, and the managerial plutocratic state has replaced the absolute monarchy. Consequently, the principle question asked by Hobbes and the early Enlightenment thinkers remains, “How does civilization achieve order plus freedom?””

    Freedom grew out of a context in which identity was homogenous enough for ideas to be a paramount political division. The former always trumps the latter as it is an existential thing that cannot be altered (sans sci-fi gene editing). Ending identity politics and liberalizing society is as simple as separating these feuding identity groups and giving them their own space to quarrel among themselves.

    • How do you envision these separatist homelands coming into being? I have yet to see a proposal being put forth along these lines that very many people would potentially find reasonable, other than the ones offered years ago by Michael Hart or by Jeff Anderson. And neither of these have ever seemed to catch on in the wider WN milieu.

      I tend to think the National-Anarchists are right in that we should have total freedom of association in matters of religion, race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, etc in the same way we now have freedom of association among Star Trek and Star Wars fans, or Yankees or Red Sox, but is there any evidence that all that many people of any color really want to go so far as to carve out separatist ethnostates of their own? I have never sensed that in my own day to day interaction with people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

      • “How do you envision these separatist homelands coming into being?”

        Oh I don’t have the faintest glimmer of hope that it will. I’m just noting that was what gave rise to liberalism and the ability to transcend ethnic identity politics. What comes next is incomprehensible to someone who understands the world in liberal terms and isn’t acquainted with how the rest of the world has worked all the while.

        “is there any evidence that all that many people of any color really want to go so far as to carve out separatist ethnostates of their own?”

        Of course not. Everyone has freedom of association except white people so there’s really no reason for them to agitate for it. Most minorities have a homeland they could return to if they want to be around their own community as well, so it makes little sense to advocate for such a thing in the US.

        • My view is that Orania-like communities would probably be the best bet for those who have “conservative” values (of whatever kind) and who wish to resist what they perceive as the encroachment of liberalism, multiculturalism, or the state. This is something they might have in common with others across the political, cultural, religious, or racial spectrum that also reject the prevailing ethos for whatever reason.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orania,_Northern_Cape

          • Progressive liberalism, like current Bantu tribalism, does not allow for Orania-like communities to exist for very long.

            • I tend to agree. I suspect that you and I would agree that progressive liberalism is the primary ideological enemy we face at the present time. The neocons are just progressive liberals who are hyper hawkish on foreign policy. But what do you see as the most viable alternative to progressive liberalism?

              • Yes, Neoliberalism encompasses modern progressivism and neoconservatism. Viable alternatives don’t seem obvious at the moment, but I think they will be largely proscribed by demography and external pressure.

                • Well, building an alternative to the neoconservative/progressive liberal paradigm is what this blogsite is all about, lol. Some of us are working on the idea of forging society wide consensus towards pan-decentralization: http://www.wum.land/ism/#

                  What I find interesting is how threatening the totalitarian Communist Left finds our positions to be. Here is a case in point: This is how we have been described by a guy who serves as a kind of intellectual for the Antifa:

                  “National-Anarchists have not had a significant presence in the Alternative Right since BANA disbanded in 2011, but self-described anarcho-pluralist Keith Preston has continued to participate in Alt Right forums, for example speaking at National Policy Institute conferences and on The Right Stuff podcasts. Preston is a former left-wing anarchist who moved to the Right in the 1990s and then founded the group American Revolutionary Vanguard, which is better known today by the name of its website, Attack the System.67 ATS brings together a number of right-wing currents, including National-Anarchist, libertarian, White nationalist, Duginist, and others, among it editors and contributors, but Preston’s own ideology is distinct from all of these.68

                  Like the National-Anarchists, Preston advocates a decentralized, diverse network of self-governing communities, while rejecting left-wing anarchism’s commitment to dismantle social hierarchy and oppression. Authoritarian and supremacist systems would be fully compatible with the anarcho-pluralist model, as long as they operated on a small scale. But unlike National-Anarchists, Preston frames his decentralist ideal in terms of individual free choice rather than tribalism, and he is not a White nationalist.69 Although Preston has echoed some racist ideas such as the claim that non-European immigrants threaten to destroy Western civilization, his underlying philosophy is based not on race but rather a generic, Nietzschean elitism that is not ethnically specific.70 While Preston himself is White, several of his closest associates in the Attack the System inner circle are people of color.

                  Preston has offered several reasons for his involvement in the Alternative Right. He sees the movement as an important counterweight to what he calls “totalitarian humanism” (supposedly state-enforced progressive values, i.e., political correctness), he regards the Alt Right’s foreign policy non-interventionism and economic nationalism as superior to what the Republican or Democratic parties advocate, and he shares many Alt Rightists’ interest in earlier European “critics of liberal capitalism and mass democracy,”71 meaning people like Julius Evola, Carl Schmitt, and Ernst Jünger. In addition, the Alt Right allows Preston to avoid political isolation, as his efforts to reach out to left-wing anarchists have been almost completely rejected.

                  Preston is a respected figure within the Alternative Right, and his anti-statist vision appeals to some White nationalists in the movement. For example, Counter-Currents author Francisco Albanese has argued that it provides “the best and most viable option for the ethnic and racial survival” of Whites in regions where they form a minority of the population. In addition, “it is only outside the state that whites can come to understand the true essence of community and construction of a common destiny.”72 At the same time, anarcho-pluralism offers potential common ground between White nationalists and other critics of the existing order, such as anarcho-capitalists and other “market anarchists,” whose ideas are regularly featured on Attack the System, as well as the “libertarian theocrats” of the Christian Reconstructionist movement.73

                  Preston’s approach to political strategy takes this bridge-building further. Echoing Third Position fascists, who denounce both communism and capitalism, Preston and ATS call for a broad revolutionary alliance of all those who want to destroy U.S. imperialism and the federal government. Within U.S. borders, this would involve a “pan-secessionist” strategy uniting groups across the political spectrum that want to carve out self-governing enclaves free of federal government control.74 As a step in this direction, ATS supported a series of North American secessionist conventions, which brought together representatives of the neo-Confederate group League of the South, the Reconstructionist-influenced Christian Exodus, the libertarian Free State Project, advocates of Hawaiian independence, the left-leaning Second Vermont Republic, and others.”

                  It’s amazing how these characters have this deathly fear that someone, somewhere might be doing something un-progressive. Kind of like Mencken’s quip that a puritan is someone who is terrified someone might actually be having a good time.

                  • “It’s amazing how these characters have this deathly fear that someone, somewhere might be doing something un-progressive.”

                    Quite true and incidentally, that appears to be the glue that holds the neoliberal coalition together. Un-progressive means many things to the many constituent parts of that cluster. To the ethno-political minorities it is oppression. To the capitalists, it is denial of their access to unlimited labor exploitation. To the ideological egalitarians, it is an explicit denial of their leveler instincts.

                    Incidentally, I think the alt-right still needs to hear more decentralist voices in their midsts. You really ought to do another podcast with Masonius Rufus. He is a well respected figure on the alt-right and someone whom I believe can be a counter-weight to the more reactionary populist tendencies you criticize therein.

                    • It seems to me that’s the main obstacle anyone from the Right faces. The dominant neoliberal coalition has a majority at present. Trump lost the popular vote, and won largely because of his unique appeal in the Rust Belt. How would the Right reverse this so that the Right can create a dominant coalition of its own? I think this would be difficult for even the mainstream conservatives, and even more so for a Right that represents a de jour or de facto white nationalism, particularly given the ongoing demographic shift and cultural changes. Or do you envision a white nationalism that is not about building a dominant coalition but one that is a militant minority that works form its own separatist movement, like an ethno-state or something to that effect?

                      Of course, the Left will likely become increasingly fractious over time as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s