In Defense of the Lost Cause 2

Recently, on another blog, a somewhat well-known figure in the “left-libertarian” milieu attacked the circle around the Ludwig von Mises Institute for their association with so-called “neo-Confederates”. I don’t like to attack other radicals/libertarians/anarchists publicly unless they attack me first (like ChuckO Munson and Daniel Owen), so I’m not going to name any names, but these comments raise some important questions.

You’re right, neo-confederates don’t have to be racists. They just have to be tribalists who care a great deal about their blood-and-soil attachment to a particular mythologised collective of molding ancestors. And they have to be specifically attached to a cultural nationalism which happens to be a particularly patriarchal and conservative, order-and-rank closed society. And in order to do that, they have to hop evasive rings around the hideous and widely publicised historical consequences of that kind of society.”

Most human beings are tribalists of some sort, including cultural leftists. The specific sets of rituals and taboos may be different, but the capacity for herdthink, groupthink and intolerance of the Other is the same. For instance, liberals and leftists frequently speak of poor whites in the same manner as racists speak of blacks.  And what is so wrong with an attachment to “blood and soil”? As opposed to what? Impersonal and remote abstractions like “humanity”, “the world”, “society”, etc.? How are these any more legitimate than “blood and soil”? As for patriarchy, ever spent any time around urban black males, Latino, Arab, or Asian immigrants? The average Joe White Guy is a committed feminist compared to some of these. And what about the “hideous historical consequences” of Lincoln’s war to “save the Union”? Six hundred thousand or so dead, for starters? The end of the federal republic in favor of a centralized nationalist regime, followed by the growth of the American empire, US entry into WW2, Versailles, Nazism, WW2, the Holocaust, the Stalinist seizure of Eastern Europe, the Cold War, the arms race, present day American foreign policy and other minor details of history?

“No, neo-confederatism isn’t essentially about racism- it’s about anti-thinking tribalist romanticism of America’s most closed society in the face of mountains of real-world evidence as to the nature of this kind of culture.”

Yeah, as opposed to the PC hysterics in your typical university sociology department.

 “Some leftists just will not face the reality of atrocities which occur in non-Western cultures, because it affronts a certain naive picture of the world which they wish to believe in disregard of all facts. Neo-Confederates do the same- but without any possibly equivalent excuse of ignorant idealism or good intentions.”

So leftists who gloss over clitoridectomies, honor killings, or, presumably, human sacrifice are merely misguided idealists while southerners who claim pride in their heritage while overlooking the brutality of slavery or the maliciousness of Jim Crow are sinister monsters.

“Why would anyone who believes in the free spirit and the creative original mind ever get involved with this kind of movement? What kind of mentality would you have to adopt in order to feel a deep, fundamental attachment to the legacy of Dixie? What kind of individualist could care this much about any traditional, inherited identity instead of who they might be and ought to be as an individual?”

What about all the supposed freethinking leftoids who idealize Third World tyrants like Castro or Mugabe? What about the leftoid obsession with identity politics?

“And of course, most neo-confederates are in fact racists, and everyone knows this. One obvious reason for this is the brazen fact that slavery and racism were defining structural features of antebellum Southern society, and that anyone who truly holds these evils in the proper horrified contempt would never desire to sanction a movement even partially infected by that kind of taint.”

Why is this any special sin as opposed to, say, Enlightened Liberal Christopher Hitchens’ support for aggressive war, or Black Liberal Charlie Rangel’s support for the draft, or racism-hating but drug war-loving Liberal Democrats Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer?

“In the long run the only cure for racism and other forms of prejudice is to learn to see people as choosing, thinking, independent, individuals. Neo-confederates revolt deeply against a broader American society with at least some respect for this “I” in the name of a particularly nasty “we”; ugly persecution of anyone who won’t go along with maintaining fake self-esteem which is the purpose of that “we” is just a consequence. Deeply racist societies are deeply racist because they are anti-individualist; anyone who tries to romanticise anti-individualist cultures while denying that racism has anything to do with it is either dreaming or just plain lying.”

This is a joke. Individualism is a dirty word to many leftoids and liberals. How are “neo-Confederates” any kind of special offenders?

“Then there’s the practical point: what do you think a revived Confederate States of America would mean for black people. gays and lesbians, women, non-Christians, etc. trapped in the South? An independent South would ban abortion and reinstate state persecution of homosexuals on the second day after independence. I doubt they’d re-establish slavery, but some how I doubt life would improve for human beings of the browner variety.”

What about Enlightened Liberal California with its huge prison industry and where the Prison Guards Union practically runs the state government? Somehow I doubt California’s prison system is filled with Capitalist Pigs and Reactionary Enemies of the Peoples’ Revolution. What about Enlightened Liberal New York with its Rockefeller drug laws? What about the Upholder of our Sacred Constitutional Rights US federal government with its massive police state the components of which are too numerous to list? What about the US empire and the mere million or two people it has killed in Iraq over the last couple decades?

“especially given that an independent South would be one ruled even more thoroughly ruled by the class-based old-boy networks who form the South’s real power structure.”

As opposed to the models of government with integrity that reign in the blue states and in Washington, D.C.?

“The only good thing I can imagine coming out this situation is that it might allow the rest of the United States to recover the institutions of the open society (might, being the key word; the South is far from the only thing devouring the soul of “the land of the free” right now). But it would not justify abandoning every women, queer, young-person, and non-white to the fate which would be in store for them behind the closed doors (or the iron curtain) of the Mason-Dixon line.”

Yes, it’s those damn southern hillbillies who are responsible for turning the federal government into the fascist monstrosity it’s become. And all this time I thought they were busy trying to find a job and feed themselves. And all those black city officials I see here in the capital of the old Confederacy are just an illusion, and the thriving gay counterculture that exists in my city is a figment of my imagination. And I guess it’s just the federal government and the Enlightened Example of the Yankee and West Coast Bolsheviks that keeps all those young female college students who run up and down my block in shorts and halter tops out of the burkhas and veils.

“Neo-confederates, in short, are not white hats. The principles of 1789 and 1968 just do not mix with the mythology of the Lost Cause.”

Yes, those great liberators and anti-authoritarians, the Jacobins and their favorite invention, the guillotine, and the Trotsky, Mao and Castro loving Paris rioters.

Isn’t it amazing that those who talk the loudest about “tolerance” have least amount of it? “Tolerance” Fascists are just the Moral Majority of the Left.

Why Pan-Secessionism? 2

Most Americans agree that the political system in the United States is incompetent, corrupt and not likely to be reformed in any meaningful way. More and more Americans are getting fed up with the Tweedle Dee vs. Tweedle Dum so-called “electoral process”. The problem is that while Americans frequently agree that “the system” is no good, there is virtually no agreement as to what should be done about it or what an alternative system might be. Enter the idea of pan-secessionism.

Secession, of course, involves the idea of regions or localities separating themselves from larger political units, such as the secession of the thirteen American colonies from the British empire in 1776, the secession of the Confederate states from the Union in 1861, the secession of Norway from Sweden in the early twentieth century, or the secession of the various Warsaw Pact nations or Soviet republics from the Soviet empire in the late 1980s.

As the American economy continues to decline due to America’s massive trade deficits, falling currency, rising fuel costs, unemployment, fiscal extravagance, military overstretch, mass immigration, rising health care and housing costs, American society and American politics will become increasingly polarized along the lines of social class, as is the case in many Latin American or Middle Eastern nations, and as was the case in Europe prior to the mid-20th century.

Americans are divided among themselves along cultural, regional, religious, racial, ethnic and political lines. Yet most Americans agree that the system as it stands is no good. And all Americans have a stake in resisting the corporate oligarchy that presently runs the system.  Pan-secessionism provides a way for all Americans to unite against the common enemy (“the system”) and manage their differences at the same time. Simply put, we should all work together to attack our common enemy, and then go our separate ways.

Pan-secessionism provides the framework whereby social conservatives and counterculturalists, religious fundamentalists and feminists or gays, blacks and whites, Christians and Muslims, conservatives and liberals, anarchists and socialists, communists and fascists, libertarians and communitarians, family values advocates and proponents of alternative lifestyles, yuppies and punk rockers, homeschoolers and drug users, militiamen and gangbangers, skinheads and illegal immigrants, vegetarians and pro-lifers can all achieve self-determination for themselves within the context of communities specifically designed to meet their own cultural or philosophical standards or desires. The “system” uses these differences as a means of dividing and conquering all of us who are under their boot. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan once remarked, “If we can’t get along, then we need to separate.”

Already there are over three dozen secessionist organizations in North America. Imagine if they all grew to where they had thousands of members and then tens of thousands and then hundreds of thousands and then entire towns, counties, cities, metro areas, states and regions started declaring their independence from Washington, D.C., and began creating their own intentional communities and intentional states with their own schools, health care systems, businesses, labor organizations, social services, cultural organizations, protection services, courts and militias. Dissenting political forces have done just this in many other countries, and we can do it in America as well. So let’s get to it.

Barack Obama, You Really Blew It!! 6

It seems as if Barack Obama has continued in the tradition of Howard Dean insofar as being unable to resist the impulse to insult the working class. Dean, some will recall, said he wanted to reach out to those folks with Confederate flags on their pick-up trucks, and then turned around and lambasted social conservatives for their supposed obsession with “guns, gays, and God” or something to that effect.

Now, Obama steps in with a similar gaffe, making derisive remarks about working class people and their attachment to guns and religion and their hostility to “those who are different” and to “trade”. Read all about it.

That a politician as otherwise savvy as Obama could fuck up so royally is indicative of the contempt that liberals and leftists secretly (and often not so secretly) hold for working class Americans, particularly those of the infamous “white” species. Some writers have wondered why the Republican scam of combining social populism and plutocracy could have lasted as long as it did (since Kevin Phillips designed Nixon’s “southern strategy” in 1968). In comments like these from the likes of Dean or Obama, we have our answer. The Republican scam works, because the Democratic scam of combining plutocracy and counterculturalism is even more ridiculous.

More…

Paradoxically, Ron Paul’s Success Proving Irrelevance of (Establishment) Libertarianism 2

British emigre and paleoconservative John Derbyshire has an interesting discussion of Ron Paul, Libertarian and Classical Anarchism on today’s VDARE.com:

http://www.vdare.com

Some responses to Mr. Derbyshire’s critique:

“The libertarian Establishment has disdain for Ron Paul‘s presidential campaign. The geeky idealists of Reason and the Cato Institute failed to warm to him; or, having warmed to him, have quickly cooled again, finding that he fails to meet their standards of ideological purity. “

Agreed, and this is a shameful blight on substantial sectors of the libertarian milieu.

“Not only does Paul want to defend the America’s borders, he has been running TV ads against birthright citizenship!—as if a genuine libertarian gives a fig for such antique concepts as “citizenship”. He is also willing to let the welfare state wind down, fulfilling its current commitments to senior citizens. “

The idea behind traditional anarchism was to replace the state with voluntary communities. Presumably, each of these would maintain their own standards of citizenship which prospective members would be free to accept or reject. An Anarchist federation might well include many different kinds of communities with widely divergent standards of citizenship.

On the welfare state question, as the man is who by far the leading Anarchist economist suggests, it is important to eliminate the state’s functions in the right order, beginning with the apparatus of imperialism, and the corporate state. As the wider welfare state becomes superfluous, it can be phased out.

http://www.attackthesystem.com/ppa.html

“Worse yet, Paul seems to have associated with people, fifteen or twenty years ago, who thought that we were all better off when homosexuals had to be discreet, and that black Americans are prone to civil disorder, and that Martin Luther King was a philandering plagiarist, and that the Confederacy had a right to secede from the Union, and that the Korean storekeepers of Los Angeles behaved in true American spirit when they defended their property with guns against rioters. “

Well, I would consider myself to be pro-gay rights in the sense of believing gay people should be free of persecution by the state or from private vigilantes but opposed to the totalitarian PC agenda of the modern “gay rights” movement. I’m pro-black rights in the sense of favoring reparations for previous generations of unpaid labor, establishing self-governing black separatist states, amnesty for black prisoners, but I oppose the abridgement of freedom of association generated by coercive integration policies and affirmative action. I could care less whether King was a philanderer or plagiarist. I respect him as a critic of Jim Crow and the Vietnam War, but view him as irrelevant to the anarchist struggle given his affinities for coercive integration and state-socialism. I agree the Southern secession was legitimate. In fact, I wish they would secede again. And I’m certainly pro-right to bear arms and pro-self-defense.

“There is of course a difference of sensibility between the anarchist and the libertarian, resting mainly in the anarchist being hostile to money, private property, and markets, while the libertarian does not object to those things, but only wants them freed from state interference. Your anarchist believes that private property is the enemy of liberty; your libertarian, that it is liberty’s guarantor.

I’m in the middle on this. I’m for property and markets, but against corporatism and state-capitalism. For the peaceful co-existence of anarcho-syndicalist unions, cooperatives, municipal enterprises, land trusts, mutual banks, kibbutzes, individual and family proprieterships, and partnerships!

“Going down a level, anarchism belongs on the Left because it posits human perfectibility—the notion that if only the human personality were not deformed by the need to submit to authority, and to practice acquisitiveness for survival, it would be nothing but sweetness and light, nothing but selfless forbearance and a willingness to cooperate with others.”

I’m actually a cynic. I agree with Michels’ “Iron Law of Oligarchy”, Pareto’s 80/20 principle and Mosca’s theory of the circulation of elites.

“Or check in with the open-borders über-libertarians at The Wall Street Journal. Borders? Nation-states? Race? Ethnicity? Tribe? Faith? Pfui! Just open up those borders and let economics work its magic! We’ll all get on just fine!—like, you know, Hutus and Tutsis, Sunnis and Shias, Prods and Taigs. Right. These guys make Prince Kropotkin look like a hard-boiled cynic.”

I suppose I could be called an anarcho-tribalist. I’m in favor of devolving the state in organic communities organized on the basis of cultural, religious, ethnic, linguistic, commercial, sexual or aesthetic identity with their own indigenous natural aristocracy.

“And yet, of course, both anarchists and libertarians have got hold of an essential truth: too much government is bad for ya. It is only that they have put that truth in the service of false ideas about human nature.”

Agreed. I’m one of the anarchists who is trying to correct for this.

“Both groups are disciples of Jean-Jacques Rousseau – all-time winner, in my opinion, of the title “Person We Should Most Wish Had Been Strangled In His Cradle.”

You won’t get any argument from me on that one.

“And so libertarianism marches forward with its band playing (“Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart,” perhaps) and its banners held high, all blazoned with images of Reason’s heroes—Larry Flynt! Madonna! Dennis Rodman! —and affirmations of undying political correctness… straight into the Swamp of Irrelevance, just like the anarchists of old.”

The war against the state will no doubt have to be waged by those outside the official Libertarian or official Anarchist milieus. But, Mr. Derbyshire, we are not all alike. Some of us may surprise you:

http://rosenoire.org
http://revolutioninternational.blogspot.com
http://radian-born.blogspot.com
http://www.newrightausnz.com/

The Next Radicalism: Rightism without Jingoism, Leftism without Political Correctness Reply

Martin Van Creveld’s masterful work “The Rise and Decline of the State” argues that the nation-state system as it has been known since the time of the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia is on its way out. As the twenty-first century progresses, conventional states of the kind that began to emerge several centuries ago and fully established themselves in the 19th and 20th centuries will be challenged by regional autonomist movements, transnational federations, separatist breakaway movements and “fourth generation” private armies and sources of authority outside the state.

If this is true, then the next wave of political radicalism will be the precise opposite of the radicalisms that arose in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries-liberalism, socialism and nationalism-all of which aimed towards more concentrated political authority. More than a century and a half since Proudhon first proclaimed himself an anarchist, it is time for anarchism to achieve its moment in the sun. What would a 21st century revolutionary anarchism look like?

1. It would draw on the history of classical anarchism and other pre-existing forms of anarchism, but modify these to make them more compatible with the times.
2. It would attack the Left, i.e., Liberalism and Marxism, as its primary enemies, particularly in North America, given that North America has no historical attachment to the Ancien Regime and the traditional Right. Instead, the enemy to be assaulted is modern bourgeoise liberalism (internationalist, social democratic, corporatist, multiculturalist, therapeutist, managerialist)
3. It would specifically embrace movements, causes and groups ignored by the Left establishment, focusing primarily on the lumpenproletariat, petite bourgeoise, rural agricultural population and the declasse elements from all class backgrounds.
4. It would crossover to the radical Middle with a populist-decentralist economic outlook standing in opposition to both Big Government and Big Business.
5. It would crossover to the vast culture of right-wing populism recognizing the many economic, foreign policy, civil liberties, decentralist and cultural rights issues raised by these milieus.
6. Its primary strategy would be the creation of alliance of local and regional secession movements spanning the cultural and ideological spectrum but united against the common enemies of State, Capital and Empire.
7. The leadership corps of such movements should ideally be hardline revolutionaries with a committment to radical action and an understanding of the major issues.
8. Aside from a populist-decentralist economic platform, such a movement would assemble coalitions of consituent groups at the local and regional level with grievances against the state and in favor of the decentralization of power.
9. Such a movement would seek to establish alternative infrastructure so as to reduce dependency on state services and to transfer responsibility to non-state services following the demise of the state.
10. Such a movement would recognize the legitimacy of armed self-defense against the ruling class, and so seek to establish private defense forces independently of the state.

So what would the endgame be?

1. Limited, decentralized and federative political institutions and the elimination of the gargantuan states of modernity.
2. Cooperative, decentralist economics outside the modern fiefdoms of State-Capitalism.
3. Non-interventionist foreign policy in opposition to both neoconservative “global democratic revolution” or leftist “human rights internationalism”.
4. Defense of civil liberties and individual freedom across the board, whether on seemingly right-wing populist issues like the right to bear arms or seemingly left-wing counterculture issues like drug decriminalization.
5. An authentically pluralist approach to social and cultural matters, where the basis of social organization is autonomous ethnic, religious, cultural, familial, linguistic, sexual, commercial, aesthetic or other such particularist enclaves.

So how do we get started?

To some degree, we see the beginnings of such a movement in the Ron Paul campaign, a grassroots revolt against the Neocons’ foreign policy agenda, Kirkpatrick Sale’s and Michael Hill’s alliance of neo-secessionist factions, the emergence of the New Right as a genuine intellectual challenge to Liberalism and Marxism, the resolutions local communities have issued against the Iraq war, the Patriot Act and other abominations of the present system, the success of popular referendums in favor of medical marijuana, the rise of the militia movement in defense of the 2nd Amendment in the 1990s, the rise of the anti-globalization movement a few years later, the economic scholarship advanced by Kevin Carson and other contemporary decentralists, and many other things that serve as prototypes for what might be done in the future.

I favor a trickle-down/trickle-up, inside/outside strategy. This means at the top level we need a new generation of scholars to emerge that challenge the hegemony of neoconservatism and reactionary leftism in the cultural and intellectual realms. At the bottom level, we need streetfighting radical activists devoted to the kinds of ideas that have thus far been outlined.
We need those who work on the outside (like citizens militias confronting agents of the state when necessary or feasible) and on the inside (lawyers and lobbyists fighting the system on its own turf like the ACLU or the NRA).

Obviously, there is much work to be done.