I think I would take the opinion of a guy who was wounded fighting with the anarchist militias in Spain over our present day “anti-fascists.”
I think I would take the opinion of a guy who was wounded fighting with the anarchist militias in Spain over our present day “anti-fascists.”
The Left as it should be.
In many ways it is defamatory of the historic Left to refer to the trash that passes for “leftism” today as actual “leftism.” Today’s “left” consists of two basic wings. One is the mainstream Democratic Party center-left. This “left” is rooted in late 19th/early 20th century “progressivism” (i.e. the public administration state and scientism). Let’s not forget that it was these folks that brought about such “genius” ideas as eugenics and Prohibition. It’s historic figures are Woodrow Wilson (of WW1, Red Scare, Jim Crow, and labor suppression fame), Franklin D. Roosevelt (who placed Japanese-Americans in concentration camps), Harry Truman (incinerator of cities), and Lyndon B. Johnson (Vietnam War). Fuck all that. The “radical left” of today consists of “identity politics” (tribalism), “no platforming” (mob action against unpopular people), and a Church lady-like phobia that someone, somewhere might be saying bad words or promoting bad ideas. Precisely the same characteristics that are traditionally identified with right-wing authoritarian states and movements. To concede the label of “left” to these cretins is really to dishonor the legacy and achievements of the historic Left.
The antiwar Left in the US is essentially non-existent with the exception of a handful of individuals, groups, and outlets such as Medea Benjamin, Counterpunch, the Greens, the old guard commie anti-imperialists, and journalists associated with foreign media outlets. The labor Left barely exists. Union membership is at an all-time low. The economic Left amounts to little more than “single payer health care.” The civil liberties Left seems to be very marginal. The “left” today is basically technocratic centrist progressivism and neoliberal economics in the mainstream, environmentalism and veganism, and these “left-fascist” tendencies on the margins.“Fascists are divided into two categories: the fascists and the anti-fascists.”– Ennio Flaiano.
We very much need a “new New Left” in the spirit of folks like Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, and Hunter S. Thompson, i..e a party of outlaws and heretics, not do-gooders.
By Ryan Blacketter
I occasionally despair of the loss of the 1960s rebellious left in American life. Many 60s writers refused a total allegiance to their politics. They found singular voices through dissonance, ambiguity, and contradiction—as individuals often do. It’s not surprising that Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, and Hunter S. Thompson explored free expression on so many of their pages.
What made these authors so attractive was their willingness to embrace ideology only so far. They kept plenty of room in their minds to pursue other beliefs. Also, they rejected certain ideas on the left, as they saw fit—and without drastic consequence. Outside of extreme cases, the 60s alternative culture allowed for such diversity of thought.
Dave Rubin is interviewed by Tom Woods. Listen here.
Rubin talks about how the Left has become a totalitarian monolith, while conservatives and libertarians are now the free speech/diversity of ideas camp. I’d argue that this is because the Left is an ascendant force, and the Right is shrinking demographically, culturally, and generationally. The groups who are out of power are usually the ones who are the most pro-freedom. During the period between the 1950s and 1980s, it was the Left that tended to be the pro-freedom forces. That started to change with the ascendancy of neoliberalism in the 1990s, and the rise of PC on the Left during the same period.
Dave Rubin, host of the hugely successful Rubin Report, alienated former colleagues (e.g., at The Young Turks Network, where he had been an on-air host) when he openly disapproved of what he saw as an authoritarian, anti-free-speech drift among the Left. Today his YouTube channel has nearly 567,000 subscribers and his show reaches an enormous audience.
Totalitarian humanism is only the latest manifestation of a more traditional enemy. Ultimately, our enemy is not any one ideology but the state itself, as Albert Jay Nock pointed out.
By Sean Gabb
Last month, I wrote a defence of Charlie Elphicke, my Member of Parliament. He had been suspended from the Conservative Party while the Police investigated him for an alleged sexual assault. He has still not been arrested or charged. He has still not been told the nature of the complaint against him. It may be that he is about to be unmasked as a serial sex-murderer. More likely, the sinister clowns who direct law enforcement in this country have found nothing that even they regard as an assault worth prosecuting. But, if the former of these possibilities might embarrass me, the general reflections I made on his case stand by themselves. What I wish now to do is to elaborate on these reflections.
I begin by granting that ideologies are in themselves important. They are sets of propositions about the world that are true or false in much the same way as a scientific hypothesis is true or false. They are true or false regardless of what motives people may have for adopting them. This being granted, every person is born with a set of dispositions that draws him to accepting a particular ideology. Some of us are born with a dislike of pushing others around. This will not invariably make us into free market libertarians. But it will incline us to less intrusive formulations of whatever ideology is accepted. There are liberal Catholics and liberal Moslems. There have even been liberal Marxists. Others are born with a will to dominate. These will gather round the most fashionable intolerant ideology on offer.
Last month, I used the examples of Calvinism and Cultural Marxism. These were and are legitimising ideologies. Each has different formal propositions. Each has different enemies. Each has different effects on the character. But their essential function, so far as they can be made hegemonic, is to justify the gaining and use of power by an authoritarian élite – or by “The Puritans.”
If you want to see this case made at greater length, I refer you to my earlier essay. The case briefly stated, I turn to what may follow from it.
This is to suggest that direct argument with the Puritans is of limited value. Our own Puritans are Cultural Marxists for reasons other than the truth or falsehood of Cultural Marxism. Because its surface claims about treating people as individuals, and not being rude to them, are broadly in line with public opinion, it is an ideal legitimising ideology. If our Puritans had, after about 1970, taken up traditional Calvinism, or Orthodox Marxism-Leninism, or National Socialism, they would have got nowhere. The social liberalism of the previous two decades would have rolled straight over them. Instead, there was the combination, in Britain and America, of a large cohort of those inclined to Puritanism and an ideology, or set of ideologies, that could be shaped into a powerful legitimising ideology. It may be that the universe as a whole is locked into a rigid scheme of cause and effect. In this case, what happened was inevitable. But looking only at those parts of the universe we can understand and control, I think there was an element of contingency here. We are where we are because of a largely accidental discovery by the Puritans of a legitimising ideology that worked for them.
I challenge any politically correct type among our readers to explain how this situation differs from the kind of inquisition one might expect to take place under a communist, fascist, or theocratic regime.
Lindsay Shepherd (Grad Student at Wilfrid Laurier University) joins Dave to discuss her free speech battle after coming under attack by University officials for presenting her class with a video of a Jordan Peterson lecture. *Subscribe to The Rubin Report: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c… Hear Lindsay’s audio recording of her meeting with university officials in this video.
Brendan O’Neill (Editor of Spiked Online) joins Dave to discuss issues surrounding the threat to free speech, free speech in relation to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, how the left has abandoned liberalism and shifted towards identity politics, the lefts movement against working class people, the hypocrisy of Antifa, finding allies on the right, and more.
Brendan O’Neill (Editor of Spiked Online) joins Dave to discuss why he defines himself as a ‘Marxist Libertarian,’ his views on the pursuit of happiness, self censorship in the U.S., the issue with Bill of Rights only existing in writing and not in the hearts of Americans, the debate surrounding tearing down monuments, and more.
“History repeats … first as tragedy, then as farce” … -Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon
By Keith Preston
The present era of globalization in the early 21st century is very similar to the era of industrialization in the early 19th century, in the sense of both the way that it is transforming the world, as well as the conflicts that it is generating.
The primary political conflict in the early to middle 19th century was the battle between the rising bourgeoisie and the Ancient Regime. The present day equivalent of that conflict is the emerging conflict between the “national bourgeoisie” (represented by, for example, the declining WASP elite in the United States), who are the contemporary equivalent of the throne and altar traditionalists of earlier times. This declining ruling class sector is pitted against the globalist techno-oligarchs, financiers, and information/managerial class professionals that comprise the New Elites (the present equivalent of the 19th century bourgeoisie). The populist-nationalist movements of the West who serve as the ground level constituency for the national bourgeoisie are comparable to the 19th century European peasants and petite bourgeoisie who supported the royalists against the rise of the classical bourgeoisie (and whose opposition to the global economy is somewhat comparable to the Luddites who opposed the advent of industrialization). For instance, to understand the presidency of Donald Trump, and the rise of the Trumpians, one needs only to read Marx’s The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, which describes how “how the class struggle..created circumstances and relationships that made it possible for a grotesque mediocrity to play a hero’s part.”
Louis Napoleon Bonaparte
The rise of the bourgeoisie in the 19th century, the subsequent institutionalization of the bourgeoisie as the new ruling class (replacing the monarchs, aristocrats, and clerics), the parallel growth of industrial capitalism, and the related class polarization, generated the rise of opposition to the bourgeoisie from the Left. This opposition took the form of the socialist, communist, anarchist, and labor movements of the 19th and early 20th century.
A great article from Sean Gabb.
The debate over whether PC has its roots in Marxism or in Christian puritanism/pietism is an interesting one. Bill Lind is a staunch proponent of the former position, and Sean and Paul Gotffried take the latter position. I tend to think its both in the sense that Marxism itself is a kind of secularized Christian messianism/millenarianism (as Stirner and Nietzsche observed in the 19th century). Paul has pointed out that while the Frankfurt School originated in Germany, it was in American universities that it really took root because the Puritan and (later) Progressive Christian cultural foundations of American intellectual culture provided fertile ground for this kind of secular fundamentalism, which was the re-exported to Europe. I tend to regard the Cromwellians as pre-Marxist Marxists, or the Marxists as neo-Cromwellians. Having been a fundamentalist Calvinist when I was a kid, as an adult I noticed PC was very similar to the climate of my upbringing. PC seems to me to be a hybrid of Calvinist moralism, pietism, zealotry and determinism with the Marxist emphasis on social conflict between the downtrodden suffering just and their supposed hegemonic oppressors.
My own anti-PC stance is merely a contemporary version of Bakunin’s anti-Marxist and anti-clericalism. If Bakunin were here today, he would be railing against the cultural Marxists just as fervently as he railed against the classical Marxists, and instead of writing a book title “God and the State,” he would have to write a book called “Social Justice and the State.”
The Puritan Hypothesis and Charlie Elphicke
5th November 2017
Charlie Elphicke is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Dover and Deal. This makes him my Member of Parliament. On Friday the 3rd November 2017, he discovered – via the media, he says, not from any official notification – that he was suspended from the Conservative Party, and that the Police had been asked to investigate him. No reason for this was given. However, Mr Elphicke’s name was on a confidential list, compiled by Central Office, and immediately leaked on social media, of politicians said to be unable to keep their hands to themselves.
Nothing more has been said about him in the news. Speaking for myself, I know him hardly at all, but find it unlikely that he has committed anything that would once have been thought a criminal offence. It is conceivable – and I have no private information on this point – that he has cast the occasional lewd glance at a member of the opposite sex. He may even have issued an invitation to more intimate contact. But I do not find it conceivable that he has taken part in any sexual act without the consent, as reasonably understood, of the other party. Assaults of any kind require a lack of forethought I have never detected in Mr Elphicke. I do not hold him in high political regard. On the other hand, he is the best representative my constituency has had in the past twenty years, and I look forward to his continuation in this role at least until 2022.
A classic from Paul Gottfried and one of the definitive works criticizing totalitarian humanism. Available at Amazon. The important point for anarchists and libertarians is that totalitarian humanists are not amoral, libertine, hedonists as their critics often claim. Instead, they are fanatical moral puritants (“secular theocrats”). They oppose religious fundamentalists, nativists, racists, reactionaries, right-wing authoritarians, etc not because they are pro-freedom but because they want to replace these with authoritarian state-centric moralisms of their own. Many anarchists and libertarians have trouble understanding this, because they sympathize with the rhetorical values of the totalitarian humanists. Most anarchists and libertarians are not religious conservatives, racists, nativists, etc (though some are). But many anarchists and libertarians do sympathize with leftist causes like anti-racism, anti-sexism, gay liberation, environmentalism, etc, and consequently remained blinkered regarding totalitarian humanism.
Todd Lewis and Keith Preston interview Shayne Hunter, an ex-Antifa organizer.
A recent interview. Listen here.
An anti-anarchist discusses what is perhaps the greatest challenge to state abolitionists.
Laci Green (YouTube Creator) joins Dave Rubin live in studio to discuss social justice warriors, politics and her recent awakening, gender, sex, and more. Subscribe: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c…
Sean Gabb has a timely article on the problem of censorship being outsourced from the state to state-allied institutions in present day society. This should motivate many right-leaning libertarians to rethink the overly neat and tidy “public vs. private” dichotomy that right-libertarians frequently embrace. Instead, we need to apply the insights of elite theory and recognize that governments, corporations, universities, and the mass media are all part of the same state/ruling class/power elite apparatus.
By Sean Gabb
Every age we have so far known has been one of censorship. This is not to say that opinion has been equally constrained in all times and places. Sometimes, as in the Soviet Union, it has been oppressive and omnipresent – even extending to an imposition of orthodoxy on the natural sciences. More often, it has been focussed on perceived criticisms of the established political and religious order. Sometimes, dissent has been permitted among the intellectual classes – especially when expressed in a language unknown to the people at large, and only punished when communicated to the people at large. Sometimes, a diversity of political orders has limited any particular censorship to an area of just a few square hundreds of miles. Sometimes it has been limited by a general belief in the right of free expression. But I can think of no time or place where publication has been absolutely unconstrained.
If I look at modern England, I cannot say that censorship is as oppressive and omnipresent as it was in the Soviet Union. I cannot think of any opinion that cannot somehow be expressed. For the avoidance of doubt, I do not wish to do any of these things. However, if I want to deny the holocaust, I can. If I want to argue for sex with children, I can. If I want to claim that the coloured races are intellectually or morally inferior, I can. If I want to say that homosexuality is a dreadful sin that will be punished by everlasting torments, I can. If I want to argue – in the abstract – for the rightness of shooting politicians, I can. The law punishes what are regarded as inflammatory expressions of such belief. It punishes expressions of such belief when they are regarded as affecting known individuals. But I am not aware of a law that makes it a crime to publish sober and abstract expressions of any opinion.
By Keith Preston
The State exists for the purpose of maintaining a monopoly over the legitimate use of violence within a particular geographical territory in order to more effectively control resources, exploit subjects, protect an artificially privileged ruling class, and expand its own power both internally and externally. The State does this while maintaining a self-legitimating ideological superstructure, and buying the loyalty of the middle class by suppressing the lower/underclass. The State is what you would get if the Mafia managed to eliminate all of its competitors, including the State itself, and consequently become a state of its own.
At times, the State will seek to maintain total control over every aspect of social life (e.g. the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, present day North Korea or Islamist regimes like ISIS, the Taliban, and Saudi Arabia, or Israel’s conduct in the occupied territories). However, most modern states allow for a fairly robust civil society to exist that may actually have the effect of affording the average person a fair amount of comfort. States of these kinds, so-called “liberal democracies,” may even encourage intense political debate within certain narrow parameters (or even fairly broad parameters). Some states will allow or even encourage a fair amount crime and disorder in order to legitimize the expansion of state power to an even greater degree (what the late paleconservative writer Samuel Francis called “anarcho-tyranny’‘). For example, isn’t it interesting that in spite of the massive police and prison systems that now exist in the United States, one third of all murders go unsolved?
However, no state can allow disorder to spiral too far out of control, or it will lose its legitimacy in the process. A state of this kind is a protection racket that continues to engage in extortion and exploitation, but can no longer offer actual protection. Hence, states tend to be very sensitive to perceived threats to their own legitimacy. At present, the violence that is taking place between the Antifa, Alt-Right, and their various allies certainly poses no threat to the state. America in 2017 is light years away from Weimar Germany in 1932. But the important question involves the issue of to what degree the State will continue allow such violence to persist, if indeed it does persist, which it may not. That remains to be seen.
From The Guardian.
German police have arrested two Chinese tourists for making illegal Hitler salutes in front of the Reichstag building that houses the German parliament.
Berlin police officers say they detained two men, aged 36 and 49, after they were seen striking the Nazi-era pose and photographing each other with their mobile phones.
They face charges for “using symbols of illegal organisations”, the police said in a statement, and were released after posting bail of €500 (£450) each.
Germany has strict laws on hate speech and symbols linked to Hitler and the Nazis, who ruled between 1933 and 1945.
The Reichstag is a powerful symbol in Germany. It was destroyed by fire in 1933 by an arsonist thought to have been paid by the Nazis, who then blamed the blaze on the Communists and used it as an excuse to severely restrict civil liberties.
By Napp Nazworth
Almost daily I encounter messages saying that conservative Christians should stop “pretending” to be victims of discrimination. I encounter these messages about as often as messages arguing in favor of discriminating against Christians. Why the cognitive dissonance?
“Christians haven’t been discriminated against like blacks, gays and Muslims, and they aren’t being persecuted like Christians in China or the Middle East,” I often hear in response, which is both true and beside the point. Discrimination doesn’t have to be the worst ever for it to still be a cause of concern.
Here are a few examples of Christian discrimination.
Christians who post biblical yet unpopular views on social media can be subject to business losses or unemployment. Steve Tennes posted a message consistent with his Christian views to his Facebook page and because of that his business was excluded from the East Lansing farmer’s market.
It’s acceptable to exclude Christians from governmental positions. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Chris Van Hollen voted against a Trump appointee due to his orthodox Christian beliefs. When the Department of Education recently hosted a panel discussion on fatherhood, LGBT groups protested its inclusion of conservative viewpoints.
An interesting discussion of the church/state separation issue. I generally agree with the arguments made by this author.
By Millennial Transmissions
Libertarianism Without Adjectives
I’m not a very “principled” person. I am in the sense that my actions are guided by a number of principles defined loosely and amorphously, but I’m not dogmatic, I don’t subscribe to Kant’s categorical imperative, I’m not a utopian or an idealist. I’m a realist and a pragmatist before I’m even a libertarian.
I was recently considering a conversation between Penn Jillette and Glenn Beck on the subject of libertarianism. If you haven’t watched it, I urge you to, it’s very good viewing. Penn Jillette was one of the guiding lights that lead me out of my socialist slumber, and Glenn Beck himself makes some great contributions too. They don’t just discuss libertarianism; a friendly conversation about atheism also takes place. Glenn Beck raises an example:
“In Pennsylvania, a mostly Catholic Italian town had to relocate their nativity scene…it was outside of city hall…because of an outside atheist group, the ‘Freedom from Religion Foundation’, they came in and threatened legal action. Thomas Jefferson, in his writings, was proud that city hall was being used for meetings, church meetings on Sundays, four different ones. He thought that was not a problem…it’s not freedom from religion it’s freedom of…if I can put a menorah and everything else on the town square, why do atheists get so pissy about this…as long as it’s not the endorsement of one religion?” (lightly paraphrased)
A review of “The Unique and Its Property” by Max Stirner. Translated with a new introduction by Wolfi Landstreicher. Underworld Amusements.
By Keith Preston
An apparently controversial publisher has issued a new translation of a controversial book. The original work in question is Max Stirner’s egoist classic, originally published in Germany in 1844 under the title Der Einzige und sein Eigentum. This book was later translated into English by the American individualist-anarchist writer Steven T. Byington, and published in 1907 by Benjamin R. Tucker, the most prominent of the American individualist-anarchists of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, under the title The Ego and His Own. All subsequent English editions of Stirner’s work have essentially been reprints of the 1907 translation. However, Underworld Amusements has released a new translation by Wolfi Landstreicher under the title The Unique and Its Property. Landstreicher has also provided an interesting introduction of his own to this new translation that touches on many of the most salient aspects of Stirner’s thought.
By Frances Lee
There is a particularly aggressive strand of social justice activism weaving in and out of my Seattle community that has troubled me, silenced my loved ones, and turned away potential allies. I believe in justice. I believe in liberation. I believe it is our duty to obliterate white supremacy, anti-blackness, cisheteropatriarchy, ableism, capitalism, and imperialism. And I also believe there should be openness around the tactics we use and ways our commitments are manifested over time. Beliefs and actions are too often conflated with each other, yet questioning the latter should not renege the former. As a Cultural Studies scholar, I am interested in the ways that culture does the work of power. What then, is the culture of activism, and in what ways are activists restrained by it? To be clear, I’m only one person who is trying to figure things out, and I’m open to revisions and learning. But as someone who has spent the last decade recovering from a forced conversion to evangelical Christianity, I’m seeing a disturbing parallel between religion and activism in the presence of dogma:
There is an underlying current of fear in my activist communities, and it is separate from the daily fear of police brutality, eviction, discrimination, and street harassment. It is the fear of appearing impure. Social death follows when being labeled a “bad” activist or simply “problematic” enough times. I’ve had countless hushed conversations with friends about this anxiety, and how it has led us to refrain from participation in activist events, conversations, and spaces because we feel inadequately radical. I actually don’t prefer to call myself an activist, because I don’t fit the traditional mold of the public figure marching in the streets and interrupting business as usual. When I was a Christian, all I could think about was being good, showing goodness, and proving to my parents and my spiritual leaders that I was on the right path to God. All the while, I believed I would never be good enough, so I had to strain for the rest of my life towards an impossible destination of perfection.