A Reply to Matthew Lyons, Part Three: Sheep, Wolves, and Owls 55

This is the final in a series of essays in response to Matthew Lyons’ critique “Rising Above the Herd: Keith Preston’s Authoritarian Anti-Statism.” And here is the transcript of a recent lecture by Lyons where yours truly gets a couple of mentions. Part One may be viewed here. Part Two may be seen here.

By Keith Preston

“‘As long as the sun shall shine upon man’s misfortunes, the sheep will be eaten by the wolf.’ All that is left is, for those who know and can, to avoid becoming sheep.” –

-Vilfredo Pareto, The Rise & Fall of Elites

“(There is) a perpetual struggle between ‘freedom’ and ‘authority’; neither one of which will be annihilated. It appears, indeed, that we are left with a politics of perpetual protest. There cannot be any point at which those dedicated to liberty can sit back in security and assume the world is in peace, harmony and freedom…(E)ven if anarchy were to be achieved, eternal vigilance would be the bare minimum price for a modicum of success…(T)here is no final battle. The battle is forever.”

-Harold Barclay, Anarchist anthropologist

“What the common man longs for in this world, before and above all his other longings, is the simplest and most ignominious sort of peace — the peace of a trusty in a well-managed penitentiary. He is willing to sacrifice everything else to it. He puts it above his dignity and he puts it above his pride. Above all, he puts it above his liberty. The fact, perhaps, explains his veneration for policemen, in all the forms they take — his belief that there is a mysterious sanctity in law, however absurd it may be in fact. A policeman is a charlatan who offers, in return for obedience, to protect him (a) from his superiors, (b) from his equals, and (c) from himself. “

H. L. Mencken

“…a series of fundamental misconceptions…which prevented (man) from learning the lessons of the past, and…now put his survival in question. The first of these..is putting the blame for man’s predicament on his selfishness, greed, etc.; in a word, on the aggressive, self-assertive tendencies of the individual…I would like to suggest that the integrative tendencies of the individual are incomparably more dangerous than his self-assertive tendencies.”

Arthur Koestler

Matthew Lyons depicts the philosophical foundations that inform my political views in this way:

Preston’s opposition to the state is based on a radically anti-humanistic philosophy of elitism, ruthless struggle, and contempt for most people.

Preston embraces “a philosophical conservatism regarding human nature and the nature of society,” whose tenets include “natural inequality of persons at both the individual and collective levels, [and] the inevitability and legitimacy of otherness…”He is harshly critical of the left’s egalitarianism and universalism. Instead, he offers an elitist, anti-humanist philosophy that echoes Friedrich Nietzsche, Ernst Jünger, and Ayn Rand:

those who obtain the upper hand in the ongoing power struggle will almost always be the most ruthless, cunning and merciless of the competitors. The wolves will always win out over the sheep. Within the bleak framework of a perpetual war of each against all, there from time to time arises the exceedingly rare individual whom Nietzsche referred to as the “ubermensch.” This is the individual of superior will, strength, mind, spirit, discipline, intelligence, intuition, perceptiveness, shrewdness, wisdom, creativity, inventiveness, generosity and other such characteristics that set the human species a half step above the other animals. It is this individual who becomes the “anarch,” the “egoist,” the one who rises above the perpetual fog in which both the sheepish people and their vicious masters dwell…. It is persons such as these who carry with them the seeds of cultural and civilizational growth. For any sort of human existence to emerge beyond that of the merely animalistic, this type of individual must thrive…

Preston argues further that “the first purpose of any politics or ethics beyond the purely material or defensive” must be to protect and foster these rare, superior individuals, the anarchs. “It is apparent that the political framework most conducive to the advancement of the anarch is some sort of anarchism.” In other words, the main reason Preston supports anarchism is not to liberate all people — but to help a handful of superior individuals rise above the bestial mass of humanity.

This is a generally accurate portrayal of my view of human nature and the nature of human societies, as the extensive quotations from me in the above passages from Lyons’ essay would indicate. Just as Lyons’ critique of my economic outlook provides, on a general level, an illustration of the historic differences between the Marxist and Anarchist approaches to political economy, so does his critique also exemplify one of the most crucial philosophical conflicts in the history of modern Western political philosophy. This is the battle between egalitarianism and non-egalitarianism. This conflict is not necessarily a struggle between the Left and Right. As no less a man of the Right than Richard Spencer has observed:

 

…in my fantasyland, there would still be a Left and a Right—and granolas and libertarians and animal rights activists and Mormons, et al.—but they would operate within Western unity and natural hierarchy.

Some, no doubt, might counter that you can’t have a “non-egalitarian Left.” But I don’t agree with this at all. Jack London was a collectivist; HL Mencken, an anarchist; both were “leftists,” of sorts, and both rejected egalitarianism. And they both operated on a different planet than the whole spectrum of contemporary Leftists and Rightists, from Glenn Beck to Cornell West.

To this list of anti-egalitarian liberals and leftists could be added the socialist George Bernard Shaw, the anarchist Pierre Joseph Proudhon, and the classical liberal John Stuart Mill, all of whom expressed skepticism of the tendency of modern democracy towards ochlocracy. In his discussions of the conflicting visions of humanity and society found in traditional Western thought, Thomas Sowell has identified Plato as a proto-typical utopian radical and Aristotle as a proto-typical conservative realist. Yet it is interesting to note that neither of these two of the greatest thinkers from antiquity were egalitarians.

It should be a matter of common understanding that human beings are not “equal” on either an innate or behavioral level. Wide variation exists among human types with regards to both intellectual ability and physical or psychological fitness. It is therefore obvious that any sort of prosperous civilization with functional institutions must rank the intelligent over the stupid, the healthy over the diseased, the physically fit over the disabled, and the psychologically stable over the mentally disturbed. Persons with Down’s syndrome are not going to be neurosurgeons. Stratification must also exist whereby the wise are ranked over the foolish, the competent over the incompetent, the sober over drunks and addicts, the productive over the lazy, and so forth. Not even the most ideologically rigid leftist-anarchist commune could survive for very long and tolerate freeloaders, moochers, predators, or perpetually destructive or disruptive individuals, no matter how fervently committed the communards were to their egalitarian ideals.

More…

A Reply to Matthew Lyons, Part Two: The Subjectivity of Authoritarianism and Special Pleading as Ideology 28

This is the second in a series of essays in response to Matthew Lyons’ critique “Rising Above the Herd: Keith Preston’s Authoritarian Anti-Statism.” And here is the transcript of a recent lecture by Lyons where yours truly gets a couple of mentions. Part One may be viewed here.

by Keith Preston

“If the individual cannot get along with the community, and the community cannot tolerate the individual, what real good will state intervention produce—wouldn’t separation be, in any world, the rational, noncoercive, nonviolent solution? Yes, it might be possible to contrive a state process that would force a Jewish Community to accept the Nazi Individual, or a White Community the despised Black, or a Fundamentalist Community the threatening Atheist. But it needs only for the principle of free travel to be observed—to the advantage of both the leavers and the stayers—and the Nazi, the Black, the Atheist can all find congenial communities of their own. The virtue of a multi-communitied world would be precisely that there would be within its multitude of varieties a home for everyone.”

Kirkpatrick Sale

“Adolf Hitler as chancellor of Germany is a horror; Adolf Hitler at a town meeting would be an asshole.”

–Karl Hess

“When a previously disadvantaged group rises to power, it exploits its new position just as did the group or groups it has displaced.”

-Mark A. Schneider, American sociologist

“The ultimate aim of multiculturalism is the creation of a totalitarian state ordered as a type of caste system where individual privilege is assigned on the basis of group identity and group privilege is assigned on the basis of the position of the group in the pantheon of the oppressed.”

-Keith Preston

The core aspects of Lyons’ objections to my own outlook are fairly well summarized in the following passages from his critique, and these comments from Lyons are also fairly representative of the most common arguments against my views offered by Leftists:

Preston only acknowledges oppression along lines of race, gender, sexuality, or other factors to the extent that these are directly promoted by the state, particularly through formal, legal discrimination against specific groups of people. Arguing that “the state is a unique force for destruction,” Preston ignores or trivializes the dense network of oppressive institutions and relationships that exist outside of, and sometimes in opposition to, the state. It is these societally based systems of oppression, not state intervention, that perpetuate dramatic wealth disparities between whites and people of color, widespread domestic violence that overwhelmingly target women, and suicide rates much higher among LGBT teens than heterosexual teens, among many other examples.

Preston portrays secession as a voluntary process, in which many varied groups of people decide to go their own separate ways and coexist peaceably side by side. But what does “voluntary” mean in a context where wives are expected to submit to the authority of their husbands, workers to obey their bosses, or homosexuality is regarded as a perversion and a crime? And how long would peaceable coexistence last in the face of absolutist ideologies that are inherently expansionist? The leaders of a Christian Right statelet would believe that homosexuality and feminism are wrong not only within the statelet’s borders, but everywhere, and they would feel a religious duty to enforce this belief as widely as possible.

The bottom line is that the primary objection to anarcho-pluralism, pan-secessionism, national-anarchism, anarcho-libertarianism and overlapping perspectives raised by leftists such as Lyons is their fear that some individuals, institutions, organizations, or communities is such a meta-political framework will practice values disapproved of by leftists or engage in discrimination against groups favored by leftists. The selective and arbitrary nature of such criticism is easy enough to identify. Imagine if a right-wing critic of anarcho-pluralism were to make comments such as the following:

Preston only acknowledges oppression resulting from liberalism and the Left to the extent that these are directly promoted by the state, particularly through formal, legal discrimination against specific groups of people. Arguing that “the state is a unique force for destruction,” Preston ignores or trivializes the dense network of oppressive institutions and relationships that exist outside of, and sometimes in opposition to, the state. It is these societally based systems of oppression, not state intervention, that perpetuate dramatic disparities in  the rate of violent crimes perpetrated against whites by blacks and Hispanics, widespread dissemination of pornography that contributes to sex crimes and social decay, and the promotion of drug use, sexual promiscuity and homosexuality leading to teen pregnancy, illegitimacy, drug abuse, broken families, child neglect, venereal diseases, crime, welfare dependency and other social pathologies .

Preston portrays secession as a voluntary process, in which many varied groups of people decide to go their own separate ways and coexist peaceably side by side. But what does “voluntary” mean in a context where leftist localities have the option of banning private firearms and private property, where urban white families have to live among and send their children to schools with violent black youth, or where Christianity is regarded as a backward superstition and a dangerous threat to freedom and progress? And how long would peaceable coexistence last in the face of absolutist ideologies that are inherently expansionist? The leaders of a Marxist statelet would believe that Christianity and private property are wrong not only within the statelet’s borders, but everywhere, and they would feel an ideological duty to enforce this belief as widely as possible.

Such criticisms would correctly be dismissed as special pleading on behalf of right-wing ideological values, political interest groups and favorite causes. One of the principal ideas behind anarcho-pluralism is the recognition that irreconcilable differences between different political factions and population groups will always exist, and the need to establish societal institutions that are capable of accommodating such differences in a way that avoids both bloodshed and the subjugation of some groups by others. With regards to the “authoritarianism” question, it is necessary to point out that abstract notions like “freedom,” “liberty,” and so forth are understood in radically different ways by different kinds of people. Lyons gives no evidence that his own ideological preferences are somehow decreed by the cosmos, by some divine creator, or by natural law. The bottom line is that the political and social preferences of leftists like Lyons reflect the subjective value judgments of individuals and groups in the same manner as any other kind of assertion of ideological principles. Leftism is ultimately just another tribe like Christianity, Islam, fascism, libertarianism, Satanism, or veganism.

The selectivity of Lyons’ criticisms is further illustrated by his choice of which groups to attack from the list of potential constituents for anarcho-pluralism that I have identified. He focuses on three of these: the League of the South, Christian Exodus, and believers in Christian Identity. He chooses not offer any criticism of “Marxist-Leninists,” “Islamic rightists,” “people of color nationalist movements,” “militant environmentalists,” and so forth. It is only those tendencies that claim to speak for the interests of white Christians that he seems particularly concerned about. This raises the question of whether it is really “authoritarianism” that Lyons is worried about or whether it is merely white Christians as a general population group whom he regards as the problem with political “authoritarianism” not really being all that important if it is controlled by leftists and their allies or constituents.

More…

Left and Right Contrasted: A Reply to Larry Gambone 4

I recently commented on Larry Gambone’s explanation for “conservative support among ordinary people.” See the earlier post which includes a link to Larry’s initial comments. Larry’s critique of the Right provoked a lot of negative comments from our readers, even among those who lean leftward in many ways. I was actually somewhat surprised by that. Larry has since added some follow up comments to his original post, in particular a response to our colleague Quagmire. Read the thread here. Here are some observations of my own in reply to some of Larry’s arguments:

Working people have been under attack from right-wing and right-wing ideology-influenced governments for the past 30 years. Living standards and working conditions have declined because of this.

No disagreement here. Neoliberalism is a class war against the bottom layers.

Right-wingers don’t believe in freedom from the government, they are hypocrites in this regard. State capitalism is fine as long as it serves THEIR interests. The biggest aspect of out of control government spending is the military, but they are not for cutting that. The biggest form of government interference on the populace has to do with the War For Drugs, they are not for abolishing this and ceasing to treat addiction as a crime. The contrary here in Canada, they wish to do away with the previous government’s baby steps toward a rational policy re drugs.

This is certainly true of the mainstream neocon-led, Republican-oriented Right. I’ve written a substantial amount of material over the years attacking all of this. But these criticisms do not necessarily apply to all factions of the Right. There are plenty of dissident rightists-libertarians, palecons, alternative rightists-who oppose some or all of these.

The left does not wish to force people to have an abortion, or to make everyone smoke pot, nor does it try to stuff religion down everyones throat – but the right does.

I’ve encountered plenty of liberals and leftists, at least in the U.S., who support drug prohibition, though I agree such sentiments are more prevalent among “conservatives.” But it’s also true that liberals and leftists have plenty of statist preferences of their own. They may favor legal abortion, but they want to ban private firearms. Many of them wish to ban smoking in pubs and other forms of statist intrusiveness. In areas of the US that are the most leftward leaning, there have been efforts to ban foods not conforming to the therapeutic values of the Left. San Francisco tried to enact a ban on giving away toys with fast food. There are plenty of feminists who wish to censor pornography and criminalize sex workers or their clients. There are plenty of leftists who wish to ban literature or other forms of media deemed racist or sexist. In areas of the US where secularism is the strongest, children can be punished in school for saying a prayer before a meal or possessing a Bible, crucifix or other religious artifacts.

Jemmy Hope said: And they have Fox News and the rest of Murdoch’s propaganda machine to do it. What have we got? Money talks, spouts lies.

Neocon mouthpieces like FOX and talk radio are a minority  among the mainstream US media. The bulk of the American media reflects the standard corporate liberal outlook, e.g. CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.

Take the economic effects of immigration – they are minimal and if people were really interested in having people stay home rather than immigrate they would be front and centre in helping to overcome the problems that cause the immigration in the first place.

If the economic effects of mass immigration are minimal, why do neoliberal mouthpieces like the Wall Street Journal push open borders so fervently? Mass immigration is about creating a helot class in North America that replaces the traditional working class in the emerging Brasillianized/McDonaldized economy. The Left goes along with this because they see immigrants as prospective political constituents and  allies in the culture/race war.

Where are the right-wingers fighting against NAFTA or the US meddling in the affairs of Mexico and Central America? No, they blame and attack the immigrants instead.

Again, that’s true of the mainstream Right, not necessarily the dissident Right. I’ve been attacking corporate imperialism and US military interventionism for twenty-five years.

As for abortion, the anti-abortion types cry copiously over a match-head size fetus, but 20,000,000 REAL children dying every year of malnutrition and lack of potable water?

That’s true of some pro-lifers, but not all. You find a greater interest in “social justice,” for lack of a better term, among younger pro-lifers and evangelical Christians, for instance.

And it IS sexism to deny a woman’s right to chose. If anti-abortionists were only against abortions for themselves, no one would complain, yet they wish to impose their views on other women. Also the anti-abortionist ideology stems from patriarchal religion, which by its very nature is misogynist.

The problem with this is that there are plenty of women, probably as many as there are men, in the pro-life movement. And conservative religious denominations, at least in the US, typically have more female participants than male ones.

In other words, even though some leftists might be a bit extreme with these claims from time to time, in general the analysis bears up, and thus the left is rational and the right based upon prejudice and fear.

That’s a fairly presumptuous statement. What about the lengthy history of bloody terrorism and repression sponsored by leftist movements and regimes?

The left has been successful in changing the language, but not necessarily the underlying feelings. At one time people were proud to declare themselves racists and spiced their conversation with racial and ethnic slurs. Same goes with women or gays. Few men would declare that women are inferior or that gays are criminal and should be persecuted.

Well, nowadays people can be criminally prosecuted for criticizing Islam or homosexuality. So things have come full circle. In a nation where only 13% of the population is black, a black man was elected head of state. That would have been unthinkable back in the 1950s. The bottom line is that the culture war is over, and the Left has scored a knock out victory.

One attempts to cover ones prejudices with seeming rational or moral claims. Code words are used, such as “crime”, which refers to Blacks. It now becomes the task of the critical thinker to extricate the prejudice from within the mass of polite verbiage and supposed economic and moral reasons.

In some instances, but violent street crime among minority groups is a genuinely serious problem in US society. It’s not just racist whites who are concerned about this. Blacks and other racial minorities are among the primary victims of this kind of crime. For instance, many blacks who wish to live in a white neighborhood will cite fear of crime in black neighborhoods as their motivation.

A standard principle of conflict theory is that former outgroups become just as abusive and oppressive as whatever they replaced upon gaining power. We’re seeing that now with the Left that has gained power since the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

The Tribal Bubble Reply

Article by Jack Donovan.
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We cannot really love ‘in the abstract;’ we can love only those whom we know. Thus the appeal even to our best emotions, love and compassion, can only tend to divide mankind into different categories. And this will be more true if the appeal is made to lesser emotions and passions. Our ‘natural’ reaction will be to divide mankind into friend and foe; into those who belong to our tribe, to our emotional community, and those who stand outside it; into believers and unbelievers; into compatriots and aliens; into class comrades and class enemies; and into leaders and led.
Karl Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies (1945)

MoveOn.org President Eli Pariser recently gave a TED talk based on his book, The Filter Bubble.

Pariser has discovered that search engines, social networks and various content providers are filtering out news and ideas that may not appeal to us, based on our individual search histories. This is happening and it is not making us more “well rounded.”

Interestingly, Pariser is concerned that partly because we are becoming more isolated within these “filter bubbles” of friendly data, we are losing our sense of national identity, our sense of civic responsibility and our connection to each other. We only see the kind of information we “like,” and we aren’t likely to be challenged. He says we’re back in the early 20th century again, back when newspapers were the gatekeepers of information and they slanted the news as they saw fit.

For a moment, somewhere in the mid-20th, journalists appointed themselves as guardians of Truth and Objectivity—but they were never truly objective. Who ever is?

Pariser appeals naively to Google and other companies to engineer a new kind of “journalistic integrity” into their search engines, for the national good. The problem is that these massive companies have a global clientele, with global interests. They are not rooted in blood or soil or culture. Globocorp’s sole responsibility is to its bottom line, and it must follow profit wherever it may lead. A company like IKEA, Panasonic, or Coca-Cola takes an interest in many, many nations, and is loyal to no people or place. Corporations make calculated gestures when necessary, but Pariser is not appealing to a Hearst, he’s appealing to an international legal machine.

In lieu of corporate benevolence, Pariser offers 10 ways for concerned readers to control their filter bubbles. Most people won’t bother. Most people simply don’t care. As Mark Zuckerberg said, “A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.”

Pariser mentioned in passing that the Internet’s “founding mythology” promised a world of people who were more connected to one another, but he complained that this hasn’t actually happened.  It hasn’t happened because that’s only what people publicly say they want. What they privately, or subconsciously, desire is what these companies are giving them: new ways to separate themselves from others and form competing identity groups. Marketing people are better psychologists than psychologists.

Like Patrick Bateman, people say they care about “ending hunger” and genocide and so forth, but they don’t really care about people dying in Africa. Not in any personal, emotionally connected way. The concern they express is a social affectation. If Robin Dunbar is to be believed,we can’t care about people in Africa. Not really. It’s been found that, even on Facebook, most of us can only maintain a meaningful friendship with 150 or so people. Everyone else is a virtual friend—or a virtual stranger. Our brains are wired for small communities, not “one world tribe.”

We seek out ways to create in-groups and out-groups. Sometimes we do this playfully, as with sporting rivalries, though it is not unusual for sports fans to become violent or angry on behalf of their teams. Often we do it politically, ideologically, socially, racially, nationally. We form philosophical cliques and movements. East coast vs. West coast, South side vs. North side, Greeks vs.Trojans, boys against the girls, Democrats vs. Republicans, MoveOn vs. The Tea Party, Christians vs. Muslims vs. Jews, hip-hop vs. punk rock vs. emo, dog lovers vs. cat lovers, Ford vs. Chevy, and Mac vs. PC.

Online social networks have also created a pathway for otherwise average people to separate themselves from the social norms of their geographical location. The chubby check-out girl with the dark eyeliner at a Midwestern Wal-Mart is a Wiccan priestess by night. The guy stocking shoes is “kind of a big deal” on a video game message board. The Mexican buying wife-beaters is an illegal immigrant who “likes” La Raza on Facebook. The guy buying bullets is in a militia, or at least he wants to be. The couple buying soda might be furries.

The growth of the Internet has given heterodox ideologies a far bigger platform than a soap box, and it has spared the haranguing man a face full of rotten tomatoes—and a punch in the nose.

People want to feel different and special, but they also want to feel embattled. They want a compelling conflict narrative that gives their lives meaning, whether they are standing up for the “oppressed” or standing against the tide of unwanted change. Few want what Pariser called a “balanced diet” of information. They may not want junk food, but they know what they “like.” And they know what they “dislike.” They know who and what they want to “hide.”

It’s not just companies who create filter bubbles. We create them ourselves. We pick sides, we exclude, and we do it on purpose.

We choose to read news that appeals to our interests, caters to our biases and reaffirms our sense of group belonging. The carefully pruned newsfeed can become a self-reinforcing reality. A recent Fast Company article called it the “Balkanization of information.” Most of us want to hear voices that “sound very much like our own.” We want to hear the refrains, we want to recite The Law. (Are we not men?) When we venture outside our tribal bubbles on patrol, we don’t go to learn—like chimpanzees, we look for weak, easy targets to pick off. No one on the far right reads The Huffington Post to learn. People on the far left don’t read Alternative Right to understand.

The “uniters” of the world wring their hands because they think this divisiveness is dangerous. They’re right. It is dangerous. They think it robs us of our “humanity.” I disagree. I say it reveals our humanity. It reveals what we are and what we have always been—competing contingents of naked apes with interests of our own.

The mechanized slaughter of the world wars and the advent of the atomic age inspired the hymns of multiculturalists who believed that we could all live together as noble savages in peace and harmony. We sung the hymns, but nothing happened. It’s the same as it ever was. Multiculturalism has failed.

The future is tribal. The time has come to start choosing sides again. And with our allies, far and wide, we will live in our information bubbles, and we will bump against others who are living in theirs.

What is culture, anyway, if not a tribal bubble?

Apocalypse Now? Reply

Article by Justin Raimondo.

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The Republican congressional leadership was in a panic: their covering for the Obama administration’s unconstitutional and unnecessary war in Libya was rapidly unraveling as a resolution by Rep. Dennis Kucinich calling for an end to it gained momentum – among Republicans. Kucinich’s bill gave the administration 15 days to withdraw all US forces and support from NATO’s war, which had never been authorized by Congress.

At the last minute, House Speaker John “Crybaby” Boehner cobbled together a non-binding resolution giving the President an extension of the 60 days provided by the War Powers Resolution, asking for documents detailing our political and strategic goals, and slamming the administration for not providing “a compelling rationale” for military action. The resolution passed, 268-145, with 45 Democrats crossing the aisle and voting with the Republicans. More significantly, however, the Kucinich resolution – which would have cut off appropriations for the Libyan intervention – garnered more Republican votes (87) than Democratic “ayes” (61).

What’s going on here?

As The Hill reported, “one Democrat called it ‘the sign of the apocalypse.’” And while that may be overstating the case just a bit, the vote was indeed a sign of Something Big in the making.

It was more than mere partisan opportunism, although there’s no doubt some of that was a factor: this vote represents a sea change in the way Republicans, and conservatives generally, view the conduct of US foreign policy. For the first time since the Kosovo war, a significant faction within the GOP congressional caucus is challenging our bipartisan foreign policy of global intervention – of which the Libyan war is an exemplar.

Context is everything, and the economic crisis that has gripped the nation in recent months – underscored by an unemployment rate over 9 percent and a disastrous housing market – has driven home the point anti-interventionists have been making for years: we’re “nation-building” abroad while our own country is falling to pieces. This is something that everyone – even a Republican – can readily understand, and the freshman “tea party” class of 2010 is learning very quickly the lesson their elders refused to absorb during the Bush era: we can’t afford to police the world.

As for the Democrats, it’s not only party loyalty – and the threat of political retaliation – that’s keeping them in line. Minority leader Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor pleading with members of her own party to stay the course:

“As I have said before, the NATO-led efforts in Libya will be strengthened by continued consultation with the Congress. The resolutions by Speaker Boehner and Congressman Kucinich, as currently drafted, do not advance our efforts in the region and send the wrong message to our NATO partners.”

Pelosi was answered by Rep. Walter B. Jones, a North Carolina Republican whose district encompasses more military bases than any in the country:

“NATO’s feelings. NATO’s feelings. Well, how about the feelings of the American people? Isn’t it time that their feelings come first?”

That the American people overwhelmingly oppose US intervention in Libya matters not at all to the Pelosi-crats, and their Republican allies like Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois), who inexplicably declared: “This war, this action in Libya, I believe sells itself.”

The reality is that the public isn’t buying this bill of goods and the Pelosi-Kinzinger alliance of knaves and fools knows it.

On Saving America from the Horrors of Liberty and Community 10

“Preston’s vision emphasizes individuals choosing the communities they want and not bothering other people…”

A “watchdog” critic from the Left wants to save America from such a horrifying fate.  Read the whole thing at the New Politics site.

This critique by Lyons is actually quite good, and is light years ahead of previous efforts by leftists to critique my own work. I get the impression he is making an honest, serious, and intelligent effort to understand my own views and interpret them correctly. This is considerably different from the usual habit of my critics of either misrepresenting my work in a seemingly deliberate manner, or of simply lacking the level of skill, knowledge, or ability required to interpret my work correctly. There are not many actual quibbles I would have with this piece regarding facts alone, ideological differences aside. I do see some problems with matters of focus, emphasis, or proportionality. These problems affect the “big picture” analysis of my work by zeroing in on peripheral matters that are inconsequential to the most substantive aspects of my work. Lyons’ interpretation of the broader philosophical framework I adhere to is a bit crude, and he greatly oversimplifies some of my economic views. There are a few seeming contradictions in places. But all in all, it’s a good effort. I’ll have a thorough reply forthcoming relatively soon.

In Defense of Royalty 16

Article by Jef Costello.
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In recent months, when I would think ruefully of the peculiar life I lead, I took some solace in the thought that soon my invitation to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding would arrive.

Alas it did not, and I am writing these words hours after the nuptials ended – apparently without a hitch (if we don’t count the fashion disaster that was Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie of York). For weeks prior I was deliberately shocking everyone I know by telling them of my excitement about the Royal Wedding. Americans are all knee-jerk anti-monarchists. I am a knee-jerk pro-monarchist partly because I am a knee-jerk anti-American. My enthusiasm was always met with disbelief. “Who cares?” they would ask, grimacing at me. This question was often followed by the usual ignorant claims about the Royal Family being parasites and nitwits. (The biggest idiots are always the ones who make an exception for Princess Diana.)

Sadly, it’s becoming difficult to find a Brit who seems to think differently. Every time I meet one over here I always find a way to ask what they think about the Royal Family. “Oh, they’re all parasites and nitwits. Except for Diana,” they’ll say. Finding an Englishman who admits to liking the Royals is becoming about as hard as finding a German who admits to liking Wagner. And yet all the polls show the majority of the British public against the abolition of the monarchy. (Just as every summer Bayreuth is full of Germans.)

So, why do I like the British Royal Family so much? Well, partly it just has to do with the fact that I am pro-monarchy – and I am pro-monarchy because I am a Radical Traditionalist. That it is the British monarchy I am so passionate about is no mystery. My ancestry is English and my mother was a staunch Anglophile. She worshiped the Royals and imbued me with a respect for them, and for my English heritage.

Voting as a Sacrament in the State Religion Reply

Article by MRDA.
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For all the time Minchin spends ripping into religion, it’s tragicomic to see him endorsing one of his own; then again, it seems part and parcel of his sociopolitical outlook: supposedly irreligious Leftists haven’t disposed with God—simply replaced him. Why go to church when you can pop to the polling station, instead?

His obsession with ‘civic duty’, coupled with his evangelistic rhetoric (“Democracy require all voices.”), marks Minchin as a firm ‘n’ true believin’ democratard…

…and his enthusiastic endorsement of forcing the citizenry to the electoral Eucharist elevates (?) him to the status of democraturd.

Facebook friend, and Minchin’s fellow countryman, Schoma offers up an explanation for Tim’s turdiness…

I’ll bet his only reason is that he’s Australian, he’s grown up with compulsory voting and, just at a guess, he draws a false correlation between this country’s relatively good living standards/freedoms and compulsory voting.

…which sounds like the common fallacy amongst Western folk to equate democracy with civil liberty, even in instances where the former blatantly runs roughshod over the latter. A glance at how the non-Western world does democracy would surely be a bitchslap to their conceited conceptions; as Mupetblast said about the 2009 Iranian elections…

The vast majority of Iranian respondents, across the income spectrum (wherein higher income is associated with higher education), thought that abortion was never justifiable; that homosexuality was never justifiable; and that “men should have more right to job than women.”

In sum, what is it that Facebook fans of the Iranian uprising think will happen over there if their pleas are successful? … It seems to me that a perception that liberal, youthful, lovers of substantive freedom and a progressive ethos are up against a stodgy reactionary establishment is what motivates this enthusiasm. But if in fact the people they are supporting are even less liberal in orientation than a right-wing Republican (ooh, double shot!), and it appears that this is the case, what’s to get so excited about?

But then again, for a Western nation, Australia hasn’t been doing so well at the civil liberties itself, has it? With its overreaching defamation laws; proposed internet censorship; bans on porn, videogames, and suicide literature; and this-here elephant in the room known as compulsory voting, the nation of Oz sounds almost like an open-air version of its fictional “correctional facility” namesake.

It’s understandable how being raised in such a culture might contribute to moulding a mindset like Minchin’s…

…yet it doesn’t change the fact that ‘liberal’ remains a downright deceptive description of those who would subscribe to it.

Red Guards on Tofu Reply

My most recent column at Alternative Right. I analyze the stormtroopers on granola.
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The ultimate outcome of totalitarian humanism taken to its logical conclusion would be a totalitarian state organized as a kind of caste system whereby individual rights are assigned on the basis of group identity and group rights are assigned on the basis of the position of the group in the pantheon of the oppressed or on the victimological family tree.

Given these considerations, it might be apt to compare our present day lefto-fascist, stormtroopers-on-granola with the Red Guards of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The Red Guards were, of course, bands of youthful vigilantes who scurried about China during the 1960s smashing up cultural artifacts deemed “old” (e.g. conservative, traditional) and engaging in vigilante violence against persons deemed “reactionary” (mostly dissident intellectuals and those labeled “bourgeois” or originating from politically incorrect cultural or class backgrounds.) We see a similar though milder version of this today in the West today with attacks on expressions of traditional culture (like Christmas celebrations), historical artifacts considered to be reactionary (like Confederate Civil War monuments or streets named after Confederate generals), and vigilante actions against people given labels like “racist,” “fascist,” “sexist,” or “classist.”

I suspect that these “antifa” types, these Red Guards-on-tofu, would be every bit as murderous and destructive if the authorities would sanction it, as Chairman Mao did during the Cultural Revolution. We’ve seen hints at this already with the nonchalant attitude of the authorities towards threats of murder and arson against innocent people made by the Antifa in response to American Renaissance’s planned gathering in 2010. Plenty of other incidents have occurred where destructive or violent behavior by those claiming to act in the name of noble causes like “anti-racism” and “anti-fascism” have been overlooked or dealt with leniently by authorities convinced of the purity of their motives or restrained by political pressure.

The great irony presented by the Antifa is that despite all of their posturing as radicals and revolutionaries, they’re essentially doing the establishment’s bidding. The attitudes they subscribe to are not fundamentally different from those of the liberal elite overlords of the wider society. The Red Guards-on-tofu are simply a smellier, more ill-mannered, undisciplined, more in-a-hurry version of the liberal establishment itself. Wouldn’t it be an even greater irony if indeed the growing counterculture of the alternative right were to grow into a large influential movement as the leftist counterculture and antiwar movements did in the 1960s, with the Antifa and their ilk assuming the role of the “hardhats”?

Reply to a Cultural Marxist Critic 8

A Leftist who uses the name of “Equus” has posted a limited critique of ATS on Royce Christian’s blog. Read it here.

My response:

Equus begins his rebuttal by offering a concise and helpful summary of the points of his refutation. I repeat it in full:

My objection to Third Positionism is that it first and foremost has an ahistorical approach inasmuch as it is leftist and only retroactively places itself there, using ideas and attitudes not formulated at the time of the conception of the left/right political spectrum. It claims to be neither left nor right and claims to be a synthesis of right and left ideas while rejecting the sole premise of left-wing ideology. Furthermore, it understands being anti-state as an ideological characteristic instead of a tactical characteristic; it would claim Anarchists and anti-government fascists are ideologically similar instead of correctly placing Anarchism as an ideology that opposes the state in the context of leftist politics. While it co-opts much of Anarchist rhetoric, it dismisses two key concepts: solidarity and community. Finally, it may not be an exclusively right-wing idea, but it provides an arena for people who oppose what Anarchists stand for to enter the conversation as legitimate actors and gives nothing back. I know little of Preston’s personal political background, and it is both irrelevant and hard to make the case that he is knowingly undermining Anarchism with his support of the Third Position. Regardless, his ideas have only provided a dangerous utility to the right that must be understood.

More…

Paul Gottfried and Me: An Exchange on Left and Right and Anarchism 10

Recently, there was an interesting exchange between Paul Gottfried and myself at AlternativeRight.Com. It began when I posted a  recommended reading list in response to similar lists posted by James Kalb and Richard Spencer. Paul Gottfried expressed puzzlement regarding the eclectic nature of the collection of readings I suggested as well as the incongruity of some of the influences I claim. I posted a response here and here.  Gottfried responded briefly here.

An understandable mistake that Gottfried continues to make is to presume that I am an orthodox modern libertarian of the kind identified with the Mises-Hayek-Rand-Friedman-Rothbard axis. While modern American libertarianism of this type is certainly an influence on my thinking, and I agree with libertarians of both the right and left variety on a good number of issues, this hardly represents the full body of my outlook. Gottfried also continues to be perplexed that I can be an admirer of right-wing critics of liberal democratic states like Carl Schmitt and Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn without endorsing the full body of their work, and taking their criticisms of the liberal democratic state in a radically different direction from what they intended (at least with Schmitt, Kuehnelt-Leddihn is more ambiguous).  The best analogy I can think of right now to explain this intellectual dilemma is to point out that many, probably most, leftists implicitly or explicitly endorse the Marxist critique of capitalism, without necessarily endorsing Marx’s prescription of communist revolution, much less outright Bolshevism. Likewise, it is possible to recognize the validity of Schmitt’s insights into the contradictions and theoretical errors in liberal democratic theory and the inadequacies of its practice, or Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s characterization of mass democracy as a prelude to totalitarianism, without endorsing their specific prescriptions of a Hobbesian state in the case of Schmitt or a traditional monarchy in the case of Kuehnelt-Leddihn.

This gets us to the question of the relationship of political anarchism to wider philosophical and metapolitical concepts.  I generally regard a Nietzschean general philosophical framework, a metapolitical outlook of the kind developed by the European New Right (while recognizing the multiple tendencies to be found within the ENR-see here), and a philosophical conservatism regarding human nature and the nature of society to be the best intellectual foundation for a modern political anarchism. On the latter question,  I described this particular type of philosophical conservatism at AltRight: ” natural inequality of persons at both the individual and collective levels, the inevitability and legitimacy of otherness, the superiority of organic forms of human organization over social engineering, rejection of vulgar economism, and a tragic view of life.”

However, I do not consider such an intellectual framework to be mandatory or necessary for a viable political anarchism, only preferable. Indeed, most anarchists at present would no doubt reject such an outlook. One could likewise be a committed anarchist revolutionary and hold to a Lockean natural rights position, a utilitarian outlook, a simple pragmatic philosophy in the style of William James, some kind of religious outlook, or even a Rousseau-inspired utopian-egalitarian-humanism. After all, I was an anarchist long before I developed the broader intellectual framework to which I now subscribe. Whatever the broader philosophical beliefs we may subscribe to, it remains true that one of the most important of all human questions is the matter of how society is to be organized, and the first question regarding social organization is the matter of statecraft, or the political question.

Until a few centuries ago, political rule was justified and legitimized by religion in virtually all societies. This outlook was demolished by the Enlightenment, and this particular aspect of Enlightenment thinking which began as a European project has now spread to much of the world.  Modern political philosophy is derivative of the ideas of Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Voltaire, Hegel, Mill, Marx, and some others. All of these systems would seem to be efforts to legitimize and retain the state while denying its traditional source of legitimization, i.e. its supposed divine origin. As I’ve mentioned recently, anarchism is to political theory what atheism is to theology (not that political anarchism necessitates atheism per se as there are also religious anarchists). There is in the anarchist canon a huge body of literature that demolishes the conventional intellectual arguments used to justify the state, and from a wide range of philosophical or theoretical perspectives, including socialists and individualists, religionists and atheists, philosophical liberals and philosophical conservatives, utilitarians, rights-theorists, moral skeptics, and nihilists. I regard all of these approaches as complementary rather than contradictory with one another.

The question that I have for anarchists is this: If we reject the legitimacy of the state, then how exactly do we go about getting rid of the damn thing? I have focused much of my own efforts on the question of anarchist strategy for the reason that I consider this to be one of the most important yet most neglected aspects of anarchist thinking. How can anarchism come to dominate Western civilization (or other civilizations for that matter) in the same way that Christianity was dominant for 1500 years and in the same way that Enlightenment liberalism has dominated for two centuries?

A major problem for anarchists is the one has also been a problem for Christians, particularly Protestants, and that is the question of sectarianism. Most anarchists have held to some kind of hyphenated brand of anarchism, e.g. anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-communism, anarcho-capitalism, anarcha-feminism, national-anarchism, etc. Many of these sects of anarchism do not recognize many of the others as legitimate. I have tried to compensate for this problem by developing an “anarcho-pluralist” (a term I lifted from the late Sam Dolgoff) framework, and which is really just a re-working of older ideas like “anarchism without adjectives” and the “synthesist” outlook developed by the French anarchist movement in the pre-World War Two period. What would be the irreducible minimum of ideas one would have to accept to be reasonably considered to be an anarchist? I’d suggest that one would have to advocate abolition of the present system of rule by corporative entities commonly described as “the state” that hold a monopoly on the legal use of violence, rule-making, and physical coercion within a geographical territory, and whose members collectively form an identifiable political class who social role is differentiated from that of other people, e.g., whose purpose is simply “to rule.” This would mean opposing not only the corporative form of the state familiar to modern societies, but also systems of personal rule that were common in older societies, e.g. emperors, kings, etc.

It is also necessary to have an irreducible minimum of ideas concerning what the state is to be replaced with. The guiding principles for anarchists on this question have been voluntarism, mutualism, decentralism, and federalism. In other words, the state is to be replaced with federations of autonomous or semi-autonomous communities with a strong emphasis on voluntary associations and mutual aid, i.e., the general framework outlined by Proudhon, Bakunin, and Kropotkin (the “holy trinity” of the founding fathers of modern anarchism).  Presumably, the economic and cultural variations of such arrangements could be immensely different from one another. This seems to be where most of the difficulty concerning sectarianism among anarchists emerges. Conflicts regarding different economic and cultural values lead to different sects of anarchists attempting to exclude one another. A historic example of this was the rivalry between the anarcho-communist Johann Most and the individualist-anarchist Benjamin Tucker.

If we take political anarchism as our starting point, we can then branch out into other areas of political philosophy and identify tendencies, ideologies, and movements with which we have considerable overlap. These include paleoconservatism, populism, Catholic distributism, the traditional Jeffersonian philosophy that American political theory is ostensibly rooted in, and modern libertarianism from the Right. These also include varying strands of socialism, the various Green philosophies, black nationalism, indigenous peoples’ movements, neotribalism, and the anti-globalization movement from the Left. These are the areas where we can branch out into other movements and form strategic alliances and an enhanced theoretical framework.  At present, I would identify the main weaknesses in the anarchist milieu as these:

1) A failure to recognize that the absence of a centralized coercive authority in the form of the state automatically suggests pluralism in all sorts of matters, including perspectives that radically disagree with one another, even among self-proclaimed anarchists. This necessitates that anarchists recognize the inevitability and legitimacy of “otherness,” as opposed to some kind of abstract universalism. One reason why I endorse a Nietzschean philosophical framework for anarchism is its ethical subjectivism. Moral objectivism strikes me at least as holding the door open for authoritarianism of the kind associated with both traditional theocracy and modern forms of statism. There is no greater tyrant than one who possesses moral certainty. As H.L. Mencken said: ” The worst government is often the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.

2) A failure to develop a viable strategic outlook concerning how the state is to be abolished. Ideas are worthless if they can’t be translated into real-world action. If other anarchists don’t like my ideas on this question, then they are welcome to come up with their own, of course. But the question of strategy is one that is severely neglected among anarchists.

3) The tendency of anarchists to get sucked into “culture war” politics that serve as a distraction from the broader struggle against the forces of State, Capital, and Empire. I’ve said plenty about this in the past and my views on this question are already well-known.

4) A failure to identify who the enemy actually is. In the Western world today, the primary enemy is the state’s legitimating ideology of totalitarian humanism (whether in its neoconservative or conventional left-liberal variations). The failure of anarchists to recognize totalitarian humanism for what it is severely limits their ability to form a viable movement of any kind. One of the most pathetic activities anarchists engage in at present is to waste time focusing on irrelevant fringe groups like the neo-Nazis or the Fred Phelps cult. The real enemy is those who actually hold state power, not exotic cults despised by the wider society. As for movements that are currently out of power, the greatest potential threat in posed by an insurgent Islam made possible by demographic change in the West. This the primary reason why I endorse the European New Right as the best available metapolitical framework for present day anarchists. More than any other contemporary intellectual current, the ENR has developed a critique of the philosophical underpinnings of totalitarian humanism, as well as a rational response to the question of threats posed by demographic transformation.

Until contemporary anarchists develop a serious and concentrated effort to overcome the weaknesses I have identified here, I regrettably see no prospects for anarchists to become an effective or even relevant movement.

Can’t We All Just Not Get Along? Reply

Kevin Carson on the real Obama.

Yeah, Obama’s been imposing a regular Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution on the country, all right.  A continuation of the Bush version of TARP, a doubling down on the war in Afghanistan, a scorched earth battle to defend Bush era war criminals against their rightful punishment, new claims of plenary Executive power….  The most “progressive” thing he’s done is a national version of Romneycare (you can almost hear the insurance CEOs crying “Please don’t fling me in that briar patch!”).

Obama’s even more of a managerial centrist than he let on during the campaign.  He was entirely truthful when he called himself a moderate. The real lie is the ideology of  moderation itself.

Obama lied when he said, “There is not a rich America, and a poor America….  We are one nation, one people.”

No, we’re not.  As Howard Zinn said, the U.S. political leadership talks as if there was some single “national interest” that “applied equally to all of us, colored or white, rich or poor, as if General Motors and Halliburton have the same interests as the rest of us, as if George Bush has the same interest as the young man or woman he sends to war.”  But it’s a lie…

…The idea that Obama is “hard-Left” is utterly laughable.  There is no Left in mainstream American politics.  Nancy Pelosi’s husband is an investment banker.  Joe Biden was the Senator from MBNA, and now he’s the Vice President from the MPAA.

The genuine Left was virtually destroyed, as a major political force, during Woodrow Wilson’s War Hysteria and Red Scare.  Since then, popular anger has been pretty effectively distorted and channeled by the myth of America as a “middle class country” with a common “national interest.”

"They’re Inhuman and They Don’t Need to Be Loved…" 5

This is a great bit of commentary from ATS contributor MRDA.

This is a particularly good comment:

I wonder: does Morrissey’s little outburst offer a snapshot of what could happen if the Left acknowledge that their favoured folk aren’t always as innocent, victimized and enlightened as they portray them? Would these universal uplifters react venomously, out of a sense of “betrayal”, upon staring reality straight in its pockmarked face? Does the type of of white Leftist I describe here assign bigotry to his breed in order to avoid acknowledging it in himself? Like the rector who yearns to take it up the rectum, does his socially-sanctioned superego shield a malignant Morrisseyan id, itching to smash the slanty, swarthy “subspecies” into submission?

This reminds me of what Tom Sunic observed about the former hard-line Communists in Yugoslavia who managed to somehow convert themselves into uber-capitalists overnight as the Communist meal ticket suddenly became invalid.  Sunic has said before that the liberal-multiculturalist elites would likely reinvent themselves as hard line racialists or nationalists if the multicultural system proved to be no longer viable. In other words, how many liberals would lose their pretentious humanitarian gloss and become fascists if the latter offered a better deal? To quote myself:

It should also be pointed out that the old-guard Marxists, even the Stalinists, only took their egalitarianism so far. Their professed aims were limited to the ostensible equality of wealth among the social classes and, in some instances, political equality of racial and ethnic groups. They did not nearly go so far as to attack the long list of “isms,” “archies” and “phobias” (for instance, “looksism,” “phallocracy” or “transphobia”) so reviled by today’s leftoids, nor did they typically advocate equality of looks, weight, ability, intelligence or even species (hence, the modern leftist infatuation with concepts ranging from “grade inflation” to virtual prohibition of so-called “fatty foods” to giving animals legal rights approximating those of humans). Nor did they advocate ending race and gender oppression by simply abolishing races and genders. Indeed, the contemporary leftist obsession with both race and health under the banner of multiculturalism and the therapeutic state calls to mind the other great totalitarian ideology of the twentieth century. One shudders to think what will happen when these elements gain control of a more fully developed genetic engineering technology and subsequently combine this with emerging surveillance technologies. An increasing popular concept in leftist academic circles is the notion of “whiteness” which, as might be expected, is typically used as a term of opprobrium. Indeed, one of the more extreme proponents of “whiteness” theory maintains a website whose masthead reads “treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity.” To understand the implications of this slogan, one need only remove the term “whiteness” and replace it with “Jewishness.”

On Creating an Intellectual Counter-Elite 6

by David Heleniak

I read through your piece on demographics. One group that’s not on the list and is important despite in terms of quality as opposed to quantity is non-PC intellectuals like evolutionary psychologists, who, because they have not focused on it, are not tuned into the problems of the State are conventional in their politics, but would be open to our ideas if we pitch them in an appealing way. Some Objectivists could become more radical anti-statists, maybe some cognitive psychologists, which, since the discipline is pretty good, would be open to truth.

More…

What Separates Left from Right? 4

Paul Gottfried argues that what separates Left from Right is not equality vs liberty but equality vs inequality. Thomas Sowell argues that the difference is a constrained vision vs an unconstrained vision of humanity, human society, human potential, and so forth. Others have argued the difference is one of universalism vs particularism, or a linear view of history vs the view that history is either cyclical or simply a series of events with no discernible pattern. Still others say the difference is one of tradition vs the experimental. So which one is it, or is it all of these?

American Renaissance Conference Canceled Due to Threats of Violence 16

Read about it on David Yeagley’s blog.

Isn’t it ironic that leftoids who are always complaining about their opponents’ alleged efforts to “silence” the voices of their favorite groups (minorities, feminists, gays, transexuals, etc.) do not see any need to extend what they hypocritically demand for themselves to those who do not share their own ideological biases?

The American Renaissance conference was repeatedly relocated and then canceled due to threats of violence against the employees of the hotel hosting the conference. So much for these leftoids’ commitment to “workers’ rights.” We already know how much they value freedom of speech. Theirs is the standard Communist line of support for free speech only when out of power. Now that cultural leftism is becoming the mainstream social norm, they have no qualms about showing their true colors. It should also be remembered that violent intimidation of opponents was a tactic of the German Nazi movement  even before it took power and overthrew the Weimar regime. This kind of behavior by lefto-fascist “anti-racists” is even more common in Europe.

It should also be pointed out that American Renaissance is not a fascist nor neo-Nazi organization. Its founder and leader, Jared Taylor, has taken only two public positions on race: repeal of antidiscrimination laws which many libertarians view as an abridgement of private property rights and freedom of association, and a moratorium on Third World immigration, whose critics have included such prominent neo-Nazis as Ralph Nader, the late African-American politician Barbara Jordan, and the black writer Carol Swain, who has written critically but objectively on the white nationalist movement in the U.S. Past American Renaissance conferences have featured Jewish speakers like Paul Gottfried, Michael Hart, Michael Levin, Rabbi Mayer Schiller, and even anarchists like Joe Sobran. David Yeagley, an American Indian, was scheduled to appear at this year’s conference.

What the lefto-fascists object to is the mere fact that some people are holding a meeting to discuss or promote conservative views on racial issues.  Whatever one thinks about these questions, if the lefto-fascists are successful in these kinds of effort to silence opponents through violent and random threats, it is quite likely they will start using similar tactics against other ideological opponents as well. If they can deny freedom of speech and association to racial conservatives, why not pro-lifers, conservative Christians, opponents of gay marriage, Second Amendment advocates, critics of environmentalism, economic conservatives, men’s or fathers’ rights groups or anyone else who is outside the totalitarian humanist paradigm.

It is also likely that as totalitarian humanism/political correctness/Cultural Marxism becomes ever more deeply entrenched into institutions that “law enforcement,” law and order liberals like the SPLC, and extra-legal, lefto-fascist, Communist and anarcho-leftoid hoodlums will start bending towards one another and establish a more cooperative relationship. Be prepared.

Why the Radical Left Should Consider Secession 26

Kirkpatrick Sale of the Middlebury Institute recently observed that there is presently “more attention being paid to secession than any time since 1865” and predicts that “one of the American states will vote for its independence in the next 10 years.” Neo-secessionist sentiments are frequently stereotyped as a characteristic exhibited primarily by “right-wing extremists.” Yet there are serious reasons why genuine progressives should consider secession. Among the most compelling reasons why the Left should consider dissolving the U.S. into multiple nations, regions, or city-states are:

-Break-up of the U.S.A. means an end to the American empire that has killed millions of people throughout the world over the last sixty-five years, including perhaps two million Iraqis, three million Southeast Asians, hundreds of thousands of Central Americans, half a million Timorese, thousands of Afghanis, and many, many more.

-Without the support of the U.S., international capitalist organizations such as the IMF, World Bank, WTO, etc. would be much less powerful and influential.

-The demise of the federal regime would mean an end to U.S. aid to Israel, and a fighting chance for the Palestinians.

-The collapse of the U.S. federal system would mean an end to federal corporate-welfare, bank-welfare, and, above all, the death of the military-industrial complex.

-No more federal regime means no more DHS, FBI, CIA, DEA, BATF, Bureau of Prisons, Bureau of Indian Affairs, federal drug war, federal mandatory minimums, or the national police state built up around the war on terrorism. What could be more successful at overturning the “terror war” legislation of the last eight years than complete disintegration of the federal government itself?

-An end to federal corporate welfare means a severe weakening of Big Pharma, agribusiness, or local developers utilizing federal money in efforts at gentrification.

-The disintegration of the U.S. means not only the end of federal drug prohibition but an end to U.S. support for the international drug war and the America-centric structure of international drug prohibition, thereby allowing other nations to develop more progressive policies on this matter.

Some may object that progressives have at times appealed to federal power against local reactionaries (for instance, in cases of civil rights, abortion rights, and church/state separation issues) and that dissolution of the federal regime may also weaken gains in this area. However, it should be considered that the majority of the U.S. population resides in the 75 to 100 largest urban, metropolitian areas. If these areas-New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, Miami-were all independent city-states or micronations along the lines of Monaco, Luxemborg, or Singapore, genuine progressives would be in a much superior political position than at present. The major U.S. urban areas tend to be the most diverse culturally, racially, ethnically, and religiously. It is also in these areas where the majority of racial minorities, LGBT people, persons with countercultural values, and those with left-leaning political views tend to be concentrated. The majority of the underclass persons fed into the prison-industrial complex also originate from the large cities. It is in the major cities where most abortion services are located and where most abortions take place.

If these larger urban areas were separated from the states in which they are presently located and from the federal system, urban progressives would no longer need to share space politically with rural, small-town, or suburban reactionaries, conservatives, or religious fundamentalists. Therefore, it would be immensely easier for independent city-states of this kind to enact, for instance, single-payer health care, same-sex marriage, stem cell research or a living wage. It would also be easier to protect abortion rights from the influence of current state legislatures or the federal government. Likewise, it would be much more possible to decriminalize drugs, prostitution, gambling and other “consensual crimes” along the lines of New Zealand, Portugal, or the Netherlands at present. Such changes would severely weaken and undermine the police state and prison-industrial complex. The likely weakening of corporate power following the demise of federal and state corporate welfare would also provide a more level playing field for activists to take on landlords, developers, bankers, and other plutocratic interests on a municipal and regional level, and perhaps initiate economic alternatives like cooperatives, collectives, communes, LETS, mutuals, land trusts, and so forth. Meanwhile, social conservatives and other non-progressives who dissented from this prevailing liberal-libertarian-left paradigm could likewise achieve sovereignty for themselves in their exclusionary suburban enclaves, homogenous rural counties and towns, or sparsely populated red zones. Surely, this would be a better state of political affairs than the present system. If indeed secessionist sentiments are likely to grow in the years and decades ahead, why should progressives be left out?

On Paleocons and Pagans 4

The following brainstorming session between Keith Preston and David Heleniak was pulled, with slight editing, from the discussion page of AttacktheSystem.com.

KP: Have you seen this latest from Gottfried?

http://www.takimag.com/article/christian_heresies/

How would you reply?

DH: I disagree with him that Peter Gay’s book on the modern pagans of the Enlightenment is incorrect.  Rather, Gay is correct: the Enlightenment was fundamentally anti-Christian.

More…

Forty Years in the Wilderness? 12

For some years  now, I have advocated for the anarchist movement in North America a change in direction from the course it has followed since the 1960s. Essentially, the general flavor of the anarchist milieu is one that expresses the same set of primary values as Marxists, social democrats and left-liberal Democratic Party activists, with the added qualification of “by the way, we’re also against the state as well.” A principal problem with such an approach is that it fails to distinguish political anarchism from run of the mill leftism. Furthermore, anarchism exists primarily as a kind of youth culture/subculture which focuses on a very narrow ultra-leftism and hyper-counterculturalism that inevitably has the effect of relegating political anarchism into a fringe ideological ghetto.

This is a situation that I have sought to change. I have done so by advocating a broader, more expansive approach for political anarchism than what the current mainstream of the movement will allow for. This effort has won me many highly sympathetic friends within the anarchist milieu, and many bitter enemies as well. In a recent and highly controversial essay, I argued for a “revolution within anarchism.” What I was calling for is the future advent of a “non-leftoidal” anarchist movement, meaning one that is more substantive, comprehensive and original in its approach, rather than simply championing the run-of-the-mill causes and issues favored by leftists and post-60s counterculturalists.

If one surveys most of the contemporary anarchist websites and publications, one typically sees persistent and predictable references to things like the evils of racism, sexism and homophobia, the villainy of pollution and cutting down trees, the need to be kinder to animals, the championing of unions and worker-related causes, the need for better health care and other things that any little old lady at a Democratic Party precinct meeting, liberal Methodist pastor or high school social studies teacher might be interested in. Added to this might be standard countercultural causes like publishing “zines,” alternative media projects, squatting, “Food Not Bombs,” vegetarianism or veganism, neo-pagan or New Age religions, transsexualism, hippie communes,  or punk music. Many of these are no doubt good causes or perfectly harmless activities, but it is questionable as to how much they really do to subvert “the System.” After all, the radicals from the 60s have for the most part been victorious on most of the issues that emerged during that time. But what has been the result? The military-industrial complex is larger and more expansive than ever before, and the empire more far-reaching and more overtly aggressive. The state is more expansive and repressive, and the police state and prison-industrial complex have emerged as major growth industries. The plutocracy has become ever more exploitive, and the socio-economic classes ever more polarized. And the “culture wars” have degenerated into battles within the middle class over symbolic issues like same-sex marriage.

I submit that anarchists in North America should strive to break the grip that the “60s model” of radicalism has on their own milieu and begin looking for new directions. In my previous writings, I have called for the development of an anarchist-led pan-secessionist movement with a strong populist orientation, and oriented towards the lower socio-economic orders, e.g., the lumpenproletariat, neo-peasantry, declasse’ sectors, lower petite bourgeoisie, respectable poor, sinking middle and so forth. Such a movement would champion “third way” economic tendencies beyond socialism or capitalism, with an emphasis on decentralization and the voluntary sector. There would be an across-the-board defense of civil liberties (defending both drug decriminalization and the right to bear arms, for instance) and irreconcilable cultural differences would be handled according to the model of “peace through separatism,” meaning groups like the feminist/gay Left or the Religious Right would have their own separate institutions, associations, communities, and, if necessary, entirely separate regions, with explosive cultural matters like the definition of marriage, abortion, capital punishment, the rights of children against their parents, educational practices, and immigration being determined according to local community standards. The emergence of such a movement would involve a situation where the independent Left, populist Right, radical Middle, underclass, lumpenproletariat, declasse’ sectors, radical ecologists, and racial-nationalists among the minority groups would naturally bend towards one another against the neoconservative/left-liberal establishment.

My own ideological perspective is, for all practical purposes, virtually identical to what one might find at a website like Infoshop.Org , with several important differences. One of these is my rejection of abstract internationalism in favor old-fashioned foreign policy isolationism. A similar policy has worked quite well for the Swiss and Swedes for generations, and an emphasis on strict neutrality in international relations is even more important in an era where “humanitarianism” is used as a justification and cover for imperialism. Second, the phenomena of what is called “political correctness” needs to be effectively and comprehensively challenged, given that this is the ideological superstructure of an emerging form of totalitarianism. Lastly, I wish to end the “culture war/race war” mentality common to many Leftists and Rightists alike, and deal with differences of religion, culture, race, ethnicity, language and so forth according to the principles of individual liberty, voluntary association, pluralism, meritocracy and peaceful co-existence where possible, otherwise decentralism, localism, secessionism, separatism, self-determination and mutual self-segregation. For holding such positions, I have gained many enemies, but I have also brought in new friends, allies, and ideological tendencies whose tenants overlap to a great degree with those of traditional anarchism. Just as those of us who opposed the Cold War were often accused of fueling Communism, so are those of us who today oppose the Culture War accused of fueling Nazism, fascism, racism and theocracy but, as has been said, “this too shall pass.”

A question that emerges from this discussion involves the issue of what sort of time frame we are looking at.  I prefer to use the “forty years in the wilderness” analogy, a reference to the biblical legend whereby the escaped Israelite slaves wandered in the wilderness for forty years before reaching the Promised Land. I will explain the relevance of this analogy shortly, but when considering such a matter it is important to recognize identifiable trends in U.S. politics. These include:

1) The two-party system has proven to be extraordinarily durable, and has survived for 200+ years since the founding of the Republic, with no significant alterations and in spite of many subsequent changes in American society of a monumental nature.

2) The state has persistently grown throughout U.S. history, with no significant rollback at any point, and will likely continue to do so in the forseeable future, particularly given the economic troubles that lie ahead. Depending on whose estimates one relies on, the U.S. state now consumes 35 to 40 percent of the GDP, and is capable of consuming still more, as the European social democracies demonstrate. Further, there is no real evidence that the public at large objects to this. Opinion research indicates that anti-statist ideologies like libertarianism and paleoconservatism are the least popular so far as ideologies somewhat connected to the political mainstream are concerned.

3) Demographic, cultural and generational trends indicate that the center-left and, consequently, the Democratic Party, will be the dominant force in American national politics in the decades ahead. It is also true that American domestic partisan cycles tend to run at 35 to 40 year intervals. The Democrats recently emerged victorious after Republican dominance since the late 1960s. The Nixon Republicans displaced the Democrats who had been dominant since the election of FDR in 1932, and FDR ended the Republican reign that had begun in the 1890s (with the exception of the disastrous Wilson presidency). If this trend has any meaning for the future, the current Democrat-dominated partisan cycle should begin to expire sometime in the 2040s, precisely the decade when Americans of non-European ancestry are expected to collectively become a demographic majority.

In other words, we should count on the center-left being dominant for the next 40 years or so, and we should plan on using that time to build up a revolutionary movement that will eventually displace the current center-left coalition that has emerged victorious with the election of President Obama. Of course, there are a lot of people who wish to unseat the present center-left ruling coalition from the Right, ranging from right-wing neocon Frumites to paleocon Buchananites to the “grassroots Republican” Palinites to the Religious Right, Libertarians, and so forth. However, it is unlikely that any of these elements will ever achieve anything more than marginal or temporary victories, as all of them represent forces that were once dominant in American society but are in a serious state of decline. Neoconservatism, for instance, is a degenerated form of Cold War liberalism and the Paleocon/Religious Right program of turning back the clock to the 1950s is something of a joke. That mainstream “conservatives” have found no one better than Sarah Palin to be their leader demonstrates what a joke their perspective is as well. The purpose of present day “conservatism” is not to gain political power but to attract listeners and viewers to talk-radio or FOX News (itself a product of the “dumbing down” of American culture) and to sell books by barely literate right-wing polemicists.

It is of the utmost importance that a genuine revolutionary movement identify the present and future center-left ruling coalition as the primary enemy. To focus on “right-wing conservatives” is foolish given that these represent the losing forces of history, e.g., the right-wing of the old-monied elite, proponents of archaic nation-state based nationalism, religious fundamentalists, opponents of the sexual revolution, the declining white middle class and so forth. Yes, Rush Limbaugh may be a fat-assed windbag who peddles jingoism in its crudest form, and Ann Coulter may be a sniveling cunt, but there is no evidence that the movement they represent will ever achieve comprehensive or enduring political power in the United States. Indeed, the Bush administration, with its grotesque ineptness, may well have been their last gasp. Even more foolish is the tendency of some in the anarchist movement to devote inordinate amounts of attention to “right-wing extremist” groups, e.g., the Ku Klux Klan, neo-nazis, skinheads, et.al. Nothing is more marginalized and irrelevant to the mainstream of American politics than these. Persistent battles between “racists” and “anti-racists” are as socially and politically productive as wars between one-percenter motorcycle clubs or crack-dealing, inner-city street gangs.

The correct historical model to draw on in the development of a 21st century revolutionary movement in North America is not the battle between the Left and classical Fascism in the 1920s and 1930s but the historic rivalry between the anarchists and the Communists, with the center-left and its ideology of political correctness now playing the role of the “new totalitarianism.” I submit that the anarchist movement in North America should adopt as its primary objective the development of a revolutionary movement to challenge the center-left from the left, with the goal of obtaining political pre-eminence once the center-left expires its historical utility. In other words, there should be an anarchist-led revolution in the United States sometime during the 2040s, and the interim decades should be a build-up period to that point.

American history informs us of how we might proceed. Given the historic durability of the two-party system, it is worth noting that the only disruptions of that system were the replacement of the Federalists with the Whigs, and the subsequent replacement of the Whigs with the Republicans prior to the U.S. Civil War. Given that the Democrats are likely to be the ruling party over the next few decades, the aim of the revolutionaries should be to eventually replace the Republican Party with a yet to be named or thoroughly defined revolutionary coalition/organization/federation of some kind.

It is also worth noting and rather ironic that the only “near miss” as far as rolling back the perpetual expansion of the Leviathan state in U.S. history was the attempted Southern secession of 1861, which the Republican Party was formed primarily to prevent. Given that the two largest revolutionary events in U.S. history were the secession by the 13 colonies from Britain and the attempted Southern secession from the Union, it makes sense that a continuation of the American secessionist tradition should be our primary strategic tool. There is also the question of how to best go about formulating propaganda whose purpose is to shift popular opinion in our direction. As anarchists, we can quote Bakunin, Kropotkin, Goldman, Proudhon, Spooner, Tolstoy, Stirner, Nock, Rothbard, Bookchin or Chomksy within our own circles all we wish. The fact that remains is that most Americans don’t know and don’t care about such things. What they do know is the American populist revolutionary tradition that extends back to Jefferson and the Declaration Independence. In other words, we anarchists should follow the lead of Voltairine de Cleyre and work to fuse anarchism with American radical traditions in a way that makes sense to the ordinary person.

The need to abandon conventional “culture war/race war” psychology cannot be emphasized strongly enough. This does not mean that anarchists, the majority of whom identify with the left on social and cultural matters, should abandon their own ideals, interests or preferences. For instance, the majority of anarchists probably take a favorable view of the “immigrants’ rights” cause. Because immigration is a highly divisive social issue within the ranks of the poor and working class, I have advocated simply decentralizing immigration policy to the local level. This means that some localities might have the ultra-liberal immigration policies of contemporary “sanctuary cities” and others might take a position more like the contemporary Minutemen. In a community where the prevailing opinion on immigration was rather “conservative” in nature, left-wing anarchists could still agitate for an alternative point of view if they wished, vote against an anti-immigration referendum, etc. Nevertheless, it remains true that a wide assortment of demographic groups commonly identified with the “cultural right” will likely come under increasingly severe attacks from the state in the decades ahead. What we anarchists should say to the Right is this: “You rightists will get a better deal from us than with the totalitarian Left. We will defend you against attacks from the state. We will uphold the right to bear arms, free speech, educational freedom, freedom of association, and freedom of religion. We will shut down the police state. We will recognize your political sovereignty in those communities where your perspective is the prevailing sentiment. We will uphold the economic interests that you share in common with others.”  It should not be difficult to connect and form alliances with a wide variety of rightist factions against the common enemy in the central government given that states’ rights and local sovereignty are venerable American traditions of the kind which conservatives are the ostensible champions.

The center-left will eventually collapse as it begins to fracture along various lines. As political correctness becomes more deeply entrenched in American society, it will have fewer and fewer inhibitions about showing its fangs. As the role of the Israel lobby in U.S. foreign policy becomes increasingly exposed, the center-left will fracture along pro-Zionist  and anti-Zionist lines. As the immigrant and non-white population expands and becomes more powerful, racial and ethnic divisions on the Left will become more obvious. Other contributing factors to the eventual demise of the center-left ruling coalition will be growing class divisions, ideological differences among the left (multicultural vs universalism), the incompatibility of some of the left’s constituent groups (socially conservative blacks and homosexuals, for instance), the decline of the traditional Right as a common enemy and unifying force for the center-left, and the economic bankruptcy of the welfare state. Ultimately, the greatest fault line will be between upper middle class, white, liberals mostly concerned with social issues like gay rights, abortion rights, environmentalism and secularism, and lower class, mostly black and Hispanic, radicals concerned with class and economic issues, framed as racial and ethnic issues.

Over the next twenty years or so, anarchists should work to re-orient their movement away from a narrowly focused ultra-leftism and towards the broader pan-secessionist, decentralist populism I have outlined here. This will be achieved by those anarchists who already hold a similar position agitating for such ideas in the anarchist milieu and eventually gaining positions of leadership as the older ways become increasingly archaic. Once again, this does not mean that anarchists should necessarily abandon many of the projects with which they are currently involved. It means simply expanding the horizons of the anarchist milieu, appealing to a wider variety and larger number of people, and tackling a wider assortment of issues.

Once the project of re-orienting the anarchist movement towards becoming a more effective fighting force is achieved, the next step will be to work to gain political preeminence at the local and regional level for the ultimate purpose of overturning the present and future center-left ruling coalition, and doing so in a way that involves radical decentralization of power to the lowest possible level. This does not mean that decentralization is the only value. There are currently many worthwhile projects that anarchists are involved with ranging from assisting the homeless, to agitating for the living wage, to prisoners’ rights, to alternative schools, to solidarity with the Palestinians, Tibetans and oppressed people in other parts of the world. This does not mean that any particular set of anarchists needs to abandon their preferred set of cultural values. What I am simply proposing is that irreconcilable cultural differences be handled according to the model of “peace through separatism” as opposed to civil war, persecution, subjugation or oppression. Some rural counties may not allow abortion and some liberal enclaves may not allow handguns or smoking in bars. Some science academies may discriminate against creationists, and some churches may discriminate against feminists and homosexuals. Some schools may teach Afro-centrism and some may teach Euro-centrism. Some neighborhoods may exclude outspoken racists and others may exclude drug dealers or vice merchants. Such is an inevitability in a highly diverse civilization of hundreds of millions of people.

As to where those anarchists already committed to an outlook such as the one I’ve outlined here should begin, I would suggest that anarchists of this type begin infiltrating larger organizations for the purpose of gaining leadership positions. For instance, most of the current “third party” organizations are politically worthless, and there has never been a genuinely successful third party in U.S. history. However, these parties might well be captured by the anarchist movement and combined into a federation of more authentically revolutionary organizations, with their own infrastructure, social services, schools, media, militia and so forth, perhaps on the model of Fourth Generation entities like Hezbollah. It is these institutions and organizations that should replace the state once the present ruling class crumbles.