Imagine, if you will, a Martian sociologist who, having spent some months on Earth discreetly observing politics and society in contemporary North America, reported on his findings at an academic conference back home. The proceedings might go as follows:
“The humans have a bifurcated social structure that divides them into two major groups. The first group, the majority of the population, appears to do most of the productive work in their economy. With respect to the second, much smaller group, a tiny fraction owns almost all of the wealth and occupies most positions of economic and political authority at the highest, directorial levels; the rest occupy bureaucratic positions in the lower operational levels of their State, or positions in the judiciary and above all, the apparatuses of public education and communication.
“A striking feature of daily life among the humans is that the second group subjects the first to a campaign of concerted, continuous, and incessant humiliation and psychological terror. Day and night, carefully-crafted propaganda blares out from every apparatus of public instruction, and all of their many and ubiquitous types of communications media, derogating the first group (in Earth jargon, “straight White males”, or alternately, “the Right”) and collectively impugning it for a vast and seemingly infinite litany of crimes and outrages (many of which accusations appear to be transparently fabricated and wholly imaginary). A standing feature of this propaganda is that it ridicules, insults, and blasphemes the religion of the Rightists and desecrates the memory of their ancestors, for example in ritual public vandalism and destruction of monuments the White males built to honour those ancestors.
“In the face of this hectoring and abuse, which every citizen regardless of age or social standing is allowed and encouraged to commit, the White males are exhorted to “check your privilege and be quiet”. (“Privilege” refers to universal legal rights that, according to the official State doctrine, all humans enjoy by virtue of their species-being, but at the same time scandalously unjust when claimed or exercised by one of the White males) A strict public decorum requires them to not only acquiesce without any contest or objection to the accusations made against them, no matter how seemingly improbable, but to be deferential and apologize profusely and abjectly. Any objection they may raise, or defense they may make, is considered a crime of violence- and, notwithstanding the otherwise jealously guarded monopoly on the administration of justice accorded to the State at law, anybody may take it upon himself to avenge the outrage personally and physically or otherwise punish the offender with impunity. The offender is imprisoned if he resists, and in any case altogether dishabilitated and banned from social, economic, or political participation without any sort of legal procedure or possibility of appeal, notwithstanding the State cult of the “rule of law”.
“Perhaps most striking of all is that, notwithstanding a sentimental exaltation of marriage and family life at the level of popular culture, that the family is a central instrument of State policy, and that population growth has long been regarded as an especially urgent interest of the State, seemingly no effort is spared to undermine the White family, above all the authority of the father; the latter is “patriarchy” and deemed an especially heinous form of barbarism to be eradicated. The White father is exhaustively stripped of all of authority over his wife and children in a way that seems calculated to add insult to injury. The wife of a White male is not only allowed, but exhorted as a sort of duty of citizenship to divorce her husband, whereupon she is customarily awarded custody over their children and most of his present assets and future earnings, to be spent at her discretion.
“Whatever his marital status, his children are exhorted in the course of their education, and once again as highly commendable civic behaviour, to serial sexual delinquency if female, and to homosexuality and, more recently, self-castration and public repudiation of his sex if male. (The latter practice is incentivized in that it is attributed with a certain expiatory-redemptive efficacy by the State religion; it is deemed sufficient atonement for the congenital infamy of “Whiteness”, and entitles the youth who undergoes it to rights, opportunities, and status that would otherwise be denied him). Not only can any female elect to have her yet-unborn child murdered in the womb with impunity and without any consent from its father, much less hers, the State is required to subsidize the procedure, and the abortionist uniquely exempted from any regulatory scrutiny under the police power of the State, which is otherwise omnipotent and omniscient.
“Last but not least, a campaign is underway to strip the Rightists of their right to own small arms for sport and personal defense- even though juridically this right is considered “Constitutional”, viz. inviolate. To underscore the avowed intention of humiliating and emasculating the Rightist family men, the orchestrators of the campaign have opted to use minor children as the public face of the campaign.
“The second group are colloquially known as “Leftists”. The Leftists appear to occupy a status similar to the twice-born castes of the Hindus, the elect of the Calvinists, and strata that claim to regenerate status, and are socially recognized as such, in other religions that exist on Earth. The Leftists claim to possess, by a type of special grace, a special gnosis that elevates them to a singularly rarefied form of moral and ethical consciousness, a holy state known as being “woke”. The “woke” individual has a privileged ability to discern right from wrong and justice from injustice, and on the basis of this charisma “speaks truth to power” on behalf of “oppressed” peoples that the woke have determined to have suffered injustice, above all at the hands of the Rightists and White men. Since membership in the ranks of the woke is based in charisma, in a claim to special grace, there are no fixed criteria of entry into its ranks, although all White men who have not undergone the aforementioned expiatory castration are disqualified, as is any White woman or non-white man who is of Christian religion or otherwise accused of harboring Rightist thoughts.
“The Leftists stand out for being exquisitely sensitive in the extreme to any insult to their exalted social dignity. Since only a woke person is competent to distinguish justice from injustice, a woke person is the sole judge of whether or not she has been offended; for this reason, and also because no Rightist is suffered to dispute with a woke person in any case (something that in and of itself would give grave offense), there can be no legal procedure for disposing of any such case. The accusation- which is always specifically an accusation of a monstrous crime of violence even when it actually assumes the form of the pettiest real or imagined slight- is its own conviction, and anyone accused and convicted in this one stroke is forced to publicly grovel and apologize, and then dishabilitated and banished from society by an extra-judicial mob action. Notwithstanding its aforementioned cult of the “rule of law” and otherwise-jealously guarded monopoly on the administration of justice, the State indulges this practice, and more generally defers to the wishes of the Leftists in almost all matters- for the fiat privilege of being uniquely able to define injustice or “oppression” results in the (socially uncontested and incontestable) definition of oppression as any conceivable situation in which a Leftist does not get what she wants, when she wants it.”
At this point one of the senior Martian sociologists quite reasonably interjects:
“Aha, so clearly these North American humans are a conquered people, a race of slaves- and these, what is it, Leftists obviously an aristocracy descended from the conquerors. Nothing we haven’t seen a million times before in the history of that planet and others like it. The conquerors sure sound like a bunch of dicks, though. Who did the North Americans lose the war to? Was it that traditional enemy of theirs, France I think it is called?”
“Actually, the last time they last time they were at war in that theatre they liberated France from a conqueror, which they subjugated.”
“Well, who conquered them, then?”
“They’ve never been conquered; on the contrary, they are feared and despised across the planet as imperialists”.
“But these White men were purchased abroad as slaves, no? I seem to recall that having been an item in their history.”
“Actually, that was the Black population there, not the Whites. In any case, slavery was legally abolished there a long time ago- and the overwhelming majority of the Leftists are themselves as White as humans come.”
At this point the senior scholar starts getting a bit flabbergasted.
“I’ve never in my life even heard of any species amongst which it could be seriously proposed that children- girls, no less!- could legitimately disarm grown males with a legal right to arms. No free male human would just stand there and take that; all known facts about history and society on Earth show they’d rather drop dead first. Don’t tell me that these children aren’t exceptionally high-born, sons and daughters of the patented nobility humiliating some unfree peasants for sport, or for having pretensions above their class”.
“Some of the children indeed have rich parents- but not only is everybody legally equal, the State is forbidden by law to grant titles of nobility”.
“You mean that the Leftists aren’t even their nominal social superiors? What the hell is wrong with those people???”
“I have no idea. They just do whatever the Left tells them to. They gripe, grumble, and complain- but at the end of the day, they go along with it.”
The facts of the matter are at least as baffling for us Earthlings as they for our hypothetical Martians- and getting to the bottom of it all is for us no mere matter of intellectual curiosity, but one of especially urgent practical significance. For even as the Right talks a good game about Sovereignty, constantly extolling hierarchy, caste, and aristocracy over democracy and equality, it is the Left that actually acts like a self-confident Sovereign ruling class. This ruling class, just like any proper aristocracy, has absolutely no intention of sharing power with an opposition party in a pluralistic and democratic political system, but avowedly seeks the complete subjugation of all opposition– since it shares a traditional aristocratic understanding of “freedom” as the right to rule and not be ruled, that is to say, as Sovereignty.
The election of President Trump has not humbled the forces of the Left in the very least; they have indeed become even more cocksure and arrogant since then, boldly proclaiming their ambitions openly and without dissimulation like never before. They are not afraid of Trump; and Trump, who commands the Executive branch of government and the national army, and thus in a real sense is Sovereign, has so far given them no reason to be afraid, although he easily could. The same could be observed of Trump’s supporters, who own an awful lot of the nation’s stock of privately-owned firearms between them; they bluff and bluster about uniting in arms against the Left and throwing its members out of helicopters, although it never seems to occur to them to take the much easier and more reasonable preliminary step of simply saying “no” to the Left’s ever-increasingly bizarre and unaccommodable demands. These threats, then, are every bit as puerile and unserious as they sound- and the Left’s response to them has been to laugh and to dispatch a bunch of teenage girls in high school to disarm the keyboard warriors of the rather less than well-regulated militia in order to show the latter just who wears the pants in the American family.
If all this continues unabated, the Left will become exactly the ruling class it aspires to be, in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Man is an animal that lives in a social hierarchy everywhere we find him; and the great mass of men accordingly admires and follows the winner and despises and abandons the loser in any contest. More than anything, they despise with especial vehemence a man who surrenders to a social equal without even putting up a fight; in any human society, this dereliction of manhood carries an indelible stigma, and the one who bears the stigma of cowardice always condemned to some degree or other of social death.
The cognate form in politics is a dramatic collapse of one party or faction as the crowd abandons it and rallies around the other, which at that point enjoys incontrovertibly legitimate power in that its claim to rule, after all, is uncontested- the very definition of legitimacy.
A development that may with hindsight prove to be especially ominous in this respect is the recent ongoing trend of big business to bend over backwards en masse to pander and ingratiate itself to its Natural and erstwhile long-sworn enemy, the political Left. The simplest explanation of this phenomenon is that a central survival skill-set for the careerist executive-type guy consists of being able to pick winners and ingratiate himself to the winners. Additionally, the corporate Chads are alphas with an infamous, dog-like pack mentality; they are deferential and submissive in the face of a show of strength, while any sign of weakness arouses in them extreme contempt and an instinctual urge to pile on.
Should it eventually come to pass that the Right, having continued to allow itself to be stepped on, to impotently brandish on the Internet guns that everybody knows they aren’t going to use, and the signification of the word, “Rightist” accordingly comes to approximate that of “faggot”- the stigma, although well-earned, somewhat perversely won’t have been earned through cowardice per se. Cowardice as traditionally understood denotes refusal to fight out of visceral fear, viz. fear of physical privation, injury, or death. But it seems a bit preposterous to impute overwhelming fear of danger violent death to grown and healthy men against various catamites and shrill girl students, to the military against civilian authority, to the well-armed against the defenseless.
What we are dealing with, then, isn’t a moral failing, but a disease of the will- specifically, the will to power.
The disease is especially morbid in that its corresponding counterpart on the Left is an abnormal superabundance of will to power. Of diagnostic significance here was a very widespread misunderstanding within the ranks of the Right of the meaning of the infamous crying jags and histrionic emotional outbursts displayed by Leftists in the wake of Trump’s election. The Rightists ridiculed these displays as so many signs of the contemptible weakness and laughable fragility of all the pampered little special snowflakes. But there is an alternate interpretation: these outbursts are the visible index of just how strongly the average Leftist lusts after power. If Rightists find it ridiculous and incomprehensible that somebody could be frustrated to the point of utter psychological devastation by being thwarted in his political ambitions, their own, much more phlegmatic attitude to political defeat is arguably as much the sign of a relative lack of similarly burning ambition on their part as it is of the heroically Stoic strength of composure and hard-headed grown-up sensibilities they claim. Put simply, the Rightists just don’t want it as badly.
To be precise: The Left is overwhelmingly interested in acquiring power; the Right, in what can or should be done with power. Rightists are above all interested in questions concerning the details of public policy and administration, the optimal constitution of the State, the right ordering of social relations, and so on. In short, Rightists are oriented towards governing.
It is an altogether different story over on the Left. Notwithstanding the Left’s technocratic affectations, as Michel Foucault pointed out the Leftist intellectual tradition never produced a theory of governing. You won’t find a whole lot in the output of Marx, Lenin, or Gramsci concerning the optimal rate of interest or how to balance a public budget; on the contrary, these matters and others like them are scorned as so many “bourgeois” preoccupations and distractions. What you will find, though, is an enormous body of reflection on the nature of power in all its aspects, all of it animated by, and directed towards, one supreme overarching goal: seizing control of the State apparatus.
Consider that, in Marx’s entire and voluminous corpus, there are about three or four paragraphs dealing with how Communism was actually supposed to work; and how it was supposed to work, according to Marx, was that after the initial “dictatorship of the proletariat”, automated and seemingly self-administering means of production would just spit out goods and services while everyone would be left idle and free to do as they like while the State “withers away”.
Hence embracing or rejecting Utopianism has always been a key criterion differentiating the political Left and Right from one another and something definitive of the self-identity of each. If Marxist and other Leftist visions of the good life seem much sketchier than the average Rightist would like, if they never do seem to solve or even pose operational problems such as the famous “problem of economic calculation under Socialism”, it’s down to a matter of orientation: the Leftists just aren’t all that interested. And if they were interested- they wouldn’t be on the Left to begin with. Rather, they budget their time to thinking up ways to do things like march across the institutions, and reckon that they’ll figure out what to do with them once they’ve captured them, or more accurately, leave the detail-work to a benevolent Providence that will come into play at the end of History towards which they march today.
This all points to a much more general distinction: the historical origins of Leftism in the mentality of sectarian and antinomian revolutionary usurpers, and of Rightism in the mentality of a ruling patriciate: those traditionally tasked with a jurisdiction and a corresponding duty of care over the whole community (Sovereigns, magistrates, priests, etc.).
From the social position and function of the patriciate, we can deduce the contours of the mentality of power proper to this caste. Since this caste, in the traditional world, wields power that is hereditary or quasi-hereditary and legitimate, it follows that the patriciate:
- Is secure in its authority, and takes power as its rightful due, as something sanctioned by tradition, God, and the Natural order of things. Its authority isn’t subject to being constantly contested and challenged on a standing basis, but only in episodic cases of war, rebellions, and usurpations. Authority is often acquired through an inheritance, or alternately appointments with lifetime tenure. Power struggles generally assume the form of internecine rivalries and intrigues within the patriciate itself; and the practical know-how for dealing with all these eventualities *presumes* the possession of power, which it takes for granted. For example, navigating one’s way through the cut-throat environment of the court society entails a know-how very different from that needed to subvert and infiltrate, and ultimately seize, the State itself; and the conventional means of seizing the State apparatus, where it happens, is carried out by open war.
- Ostentatiously distinguishes its legitimate power from the illegitimate tyrannical power of usurpers by e.g. claiming to always exercise power justly and with just means; to conform to Divine and Natural law, and respect traditional rights; to keep its word and honour conventions and agreements it enters into (even when these can’t be enforced); to selflessly make sacrifices for the good of governed (even where power is a personal possession and its possessors under no actual obligation to do so). These boasts are to at least some extent serious, and making good on them both a matter of self-respect for the patricians and a way of earning and keeping the confidence of those under their care as well as those they have dealings with.
Since the patrician has care of a whole community, which he speaks for, and is responsible for keeping the peace, settling disputes, and generally maintaining social harmony therein, and also responsible for interfacing with the head men of other communities, it follows that the patrician is by vocation predisposed to:
- The arts of negotiation: diplomacy, cutting deals, buying potentially difficult or dangerous people off, finding accommodations between the multiplicity of competing interests under one’s watch, resolving disputes, knowing just how far people can be pushed and when it’s a good idea to back off, etc. These arts give rise to a pragmatic worldview that emphasizes the importance of give and take, of willingness to compromise and meet people half-way in good faith, and that generally looks at ruling as something that is more of “a matter of sitting, not hitting”.
- It follows that the patriciate sees itself as the embodiment of the principle of moderation– since moderating is a big part of what they do. And since they are tasked to serve as moderators and judges, impartial in that they tower above all the contending parties and represent the general interest vis-a-vis particulars, it follows that they value a capacity for dispassionate objectivity and define their own sense of self-respect in terms of this capacity. Objectivity means arriving at the truth by listening to all sides of a story, on the assumption that no one side of the story is telling the whole truth; it also means looking at things from the point of view of the good of the social whole, not just that of any particular interest. Impartial objectivity and moderating naturally go hand-in-hand with a tendency to regard the “golden mean” as an ideal and to adopt the principle of meden agan as a core value, and to accordingly as a matter of self-respect shun one-sided extremism, fanaticism, partisanship, etc. as beneath the dignity of a patrician and Statesman.
- Another meaning of the term, “objectivity” is that which is rational and publicly true for all, universal ratio as opposed to the mere opinio of particulars. The patricians are the men with the exclusive and jealously-guarded privilege of authoritatively speaking that which all must acknowledge as truth, and of discerning truth from error, fact from falsehood, and objective ratio from mere opinio. The patricians accordingly place a very, very, high value on truth and above all, the ability and willingness to speak it; as Nietzsche said, the patricians characteristically style themselves as “truthful ones”, and the patrician cult of honour requires that any man of honour accused of being a liar must be willing to visit lethal violence on the one who “gave the lie” against him or forever be branded a coward.
- Finally, since they have a duty of care over the whole community, whose conservation is their job, the patriciate obviously places a high premium on values of prudence and regards recklessness as contemptible.
All of these values, dispositions, and character traits define the self-respect of the patricians because they are held to define the patrician’s exclusive fitness to rule as against the vulgar, the rabble, the youth, the women- all of whom are excluded from holding or exercising political power on the grounds that they lack these capacities and/or the discipline and fortitude needed to cultivate them. They are viewed as doomed by Nature to take orders and not give them, and fit to act only under external direction. Accordingly, they are seen as pushed around by their animal appetites, desires, and impulses; as congenitally intemperate and immoderate and given to all sorts of extremes of unbridled emotionalism and blind enthusiasm; as incapable of subjecting their opinio to ratio and their self-serving partiality and biases to the objective and Universal; as both incapable of discerning the truth and, since they are without honour, too shameless to be trusted to tell the truth and nothing but the truth (to the point of being deemed incompetent to swear oaths or give testimony); and as the very image of the recklessly imprudent fool who rushes in where angels fear to tread.
In a word, the patricians are lawful, and the subalterns are lawless, in the most inclusive sense. The patricians, who wield legitimate power, are men of law in the double sense that they administer and/or make the law for the whole community and in that they embody the principle of law in their persons- viz. in the aforementioned character traits of moderation, objectivity, prudence, self-restraint, etc. that define a man as capable of a lawfully regulated exercise of power. The subalterns, for their part, are lawless in the double sense of being disqualified to directly participate in the law (judging, legislating, etc,) and in that their inner lives are controlled by passions and desires that know no law and have no internal moderating principle. It follows that every subaltern, at heart, is a potential usurper with a totally untempered lust for power, and that a subaltern who usurps power inevitably becomes the worst sort of tyrant. As Bodin memorably wrote, the slave:
desires only to be freed of his bands; being unbound, he affects his liberty; and being free, he demands to be made a citizen; after that he desires to be a magistrate; and being come to highest place of magistracy, he affects to be a king; and being a king, he will be an absolute and sole monarch; and in the end, he will be worshiped as a God.
What’s all this got to do with Leftism?
Leftism, as Nietzsche taught, is a slave morality, a subaltern revolt and avows itself as such everywhere and in whatever form we find it; it always claims to be a rebellion of the “oppressed” led by the oppressed against the depredations of Power. And yet, for all its pious declamations of power and demands that the patriciate yield to the “rule of law not men”, as we have just seen it is animated by a boundless will to power to the very extent that it is a subaltern mentality with an insatiable thirst to usurp power and then wield it without law or limits.
Additionally- and it is of decisive importance- this particular slave revolt has historically been, and continues to be, waged in the main by the bourgeoisie on behalf of so-called “oppressed peoples” against the clergy and the nobility. And the bourgeois, although certainly subaltern vis-a-vis the latter castes for the longest period of time, were never a feckless race of slaves. Far from it. The middling strata of craftsmen, merchants, secular intellectuals, and so on, while they looked at the patriciate from whose ranks they were excluded with the same ressentiment as slaves, and had much the same self-seeking and narrowly partial attitudes, very early on distinguished themselves with a famous, practically unprecedented, capacity for punctilious constancy and heroically self-disciplined action that in fact surpassed that of their superiors- since, unlike the latter, the bourgeois did not disdain work.
Thus, where the traditional slave revolt assumes of highly episodic and short-lived riots and tumults that fizzle out as suddenly as they erupt, or are easily put down, in the case of Leftism it is a permanent war of low-key but continuous subversion carried out by technically rationalized means that grow more and more sophisticated over time. (The bourgeois, as Marx observed, are always at the cutting edge of all technical rationalization and improvement).
This war is every bit as foolishly destructive and short-sighted in its ultimate ends as any slave revolt; it likewise dreams of usurping power, not in order to govern, but in order to selfishly wield power for its own sake like a tyrant in radical opposition to the good of the social whole, whose unity the revolt seeks to dismember and demolish in the interest of the partial and the particular (self, class, party, sect, etc.). But where the classic slave revolt is an expression of pure lawlessness, in the case of the bourgeois- who unlike the slave has, in his own capacity, some extent of legitimate authority in his own right- it assumes the form of a lawful lawlessness: fanaticism. In the traditional riot and tumult, the desire for usurpation assumes the form of blatant criminality and usually gets no further than the rioters smashing some local windows, taking whatever they can carry, and then burning the place down as they leave to go home and enjoy the loot. The criminal doesn’t think of himself as a legitimate authority figure and has no truly serious designs of becoming one.
The Leftist, however, is way more serious about usurpation- because he doesn’t think of himself as a usurper even though he ostentatiously exalts lawlessness and usurpation and styles himself as a rebel and revolutionary. On the contrary: he sees the very patriciate he seeks to overthrow as the usurpers and impostors, and himself as appointed by some supra-human source of legitimacy (for the Puritans, God; for the Marxists, History; for the Liberals, the invisible hand of the market) to institute truly legitimate rule on Earth, and accordingly as duty-bound never to rest until that goal is accomplished, State power seized, and Voegelin’s “immanentized Eschaton” realized. (What happens after that, we have seen already, is left up to the benevolent Providence of whatever supra-human agent the Leftist thinks chose him to do its work- yet another reason the Leftist is uninterested in governance). Fanaticism is thus religious irreligion; if that phrase sounds like overwrought literary irony, consider how Leftism demands selfless sacrifice to what is, in all its forms past and present, an avowed cult of the self.
These observations also make clear that it is no mere ironic turn of phrase to define the Leftist spirit in terms of lawful lawlessness- for the Leftist fanatic, unlike the common criminal, doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong when he does wrong. In his mind, he breaks the law in the name of the law, and anything he does no matter how unscrupulous is the right thing to do by definition (as Spengler observed of the Puritans). The shamelessness that, we have said already, inheres in a slave mentality is amplified exponentially in that here it finds sanction in a perverse sense of righteousness. The fanatic’s sense of self-righteousness, in turn, is absolutely self-confident, since it is absolutely unhampered by prudential considerations to the extent that it is embedded in what is still a slave mentality. The Leftist neither knows nor cares about the possible destructive consequences of his actions, as long as they contribute to bringing down State, Church, and society, and the subsequent realization of the Eschaton.
It follows from all this that what the Leftist fanatic does care, and care very arduously, about is winning; that he cares about nothing but winning; and that he won’t hesitate for a second to do what it takes to win, whatever it may be. Finally, the intemperate and immoderate nature of the subaltern mindset, which by itself would ordinarily tend to highly labile instability and vacillation, when conjoined to the famous bourgeois work ethic produces the sustained enthusiasm and dedicated, single-minded extremism that are hallmarks of Leftist fanaticism. The Leftist is thus in any circumstance a formidable opponent, and all the more formidable in modern democratic politics, which his mindset and dispositions lend themselves especially well to, above all in the form of the following interrelated special aptitudes:
- Leftism was historically birthed in faction and sectarianism; its invariant essential characteristic across all its variable forms is the promotion of strife and discord among, and if all goes well, the dissolution of organic ties between, the members of the social body; it tries to turn child against parent, wife against husband, neighbour against neighbour, flock against pastor, worker against employer, town against country, subject against State, State against Church, and each internal division of the State against each other one. The Leftist is thus a natural when it comes to party politics– not least of all because the Leftist, who spends no time worrying about how to govern, is free to budget all of his time to thinking of ways to win elections for his party, and always puts the party first, since he is absolutely ignorant of, and (at the very least) indifferent to, the possibility that the social and political disunity caused by his partisan antics might cause the whole State to tank.
- It goes without saying that the Leftist is just as naturally at home in an adversarial legal system, in the modern bureaucracy ridden with formal rules and procedures for doing everything, and in any corporation or corporate governing body (public or private) with some sort of formal constitutional structure and rules of order (i.e. all of them). What I have called the “lawful lawlessness” of the Leftist is most vividly manifested in the way that the Leftist has absolutely no reverence or respect for the rules- but, at the very same time, in any given circumstance knows exactly what the rules are and moreover, how to exploit them to his advantage. The Leftist is a born shyster and operator, someone who will both with shameless lack of scruples and as a high-minded matter of principle identify and exploit every loophole, bend every rule to the point of breaking them and beyond when he thinks he can get away with it, and do what the letter of the law requires and no more when he can’t.
- Since Leftism is a subaltern mentality, the stance of those historically ineligible for direct participation in the objective and Universal and thus temperamentally incapable of ethical conduct according to impartial objective-Universal norms which demand that particular desires and interests yield before the good of all, the Leftist above all is unabashedly and radically partial and self-serving and never, ever applies the same standards to himself and to other people. Objective-Universal right in the form of rules of fair play that ought to apply to every particular, and that every particular ought to voluntarily abide by, is an unintelligible foreign language to him. The Leftist screams out in pain as he strikes you. Hypocrisy is no vice in his eyes, unless someone else commits it; “treat others as you would be treated” laughably naive; and a fair outcome by definition is the one that favours his partial cause and agenda at the expense of someone else’s. The leftist is a man of law- but in the specific sense of an attorney or advocate, not a judge. (We will return to this point).
- Leftism represents the historical stance of subalterns disqualified from the privilege of authoritatively speaking the truth, who had no honour and thus no word to give, and accordingly could not be trusted to tell the truth or keep promises. This heritage, together with the disdain of objectivity and the one-sidedly partial and extremist mindset, allows the Leftist to excel at the arts of sophistry and modern propaganda. What is important for the Leftist is not whether or not an argument is logically coherent or factually true, but whether or not it *works* to advance a cause he was already committed to in advance of the case he makes for it; the conclusion of any Leftist argument is thus given in advance of its premises. The Leftist will opportunistically deploy whatever he argument he thinks likely to be effective at manipulating others into doing what he wants; he will spend the morning proving that God exists and the afternoon proving that He doesn’t, according to his assessment of the audience and of the overall strategic situation at different times of day. Most importantly, the Leftist sets his watch by Hitler’s great verity:
The aim of propaganda is not to try to pass judgment on conflicting rights, giving each its due, but exclusively to emphasize the right which we are asserting. Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively and, in so far as it is favourable to the other side, present it according to the theoretical rules of justice; yet it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favourable to its own side.
The Leftist is all the more formidable in that each of these strengths in the Modern democratic legal-political arena finds its counterpart in a corresponding weakness over on the Right, which inherits a legacy mindset from the patriciate of the ancien regime, and which is a ruling-class mentality properly and strictly so-called- that is to say, the ideology of an actual ruling class that enjoys secure power, and that does not have to prove itself to subalterns or fight legal or electoral contests with them. A value-system that places a premium on compromise and negotiation, impartial objectivity and fair play, solicitude for the welfare and harmony of the social whole, voluntary adherence to ethical standards even when under no positive legal obligation to do so, temperance and moderation in all things, diligent Statecraft and careful prudence and foresight in governing, speaking the truth and keeping one’s word as a point of pride and manhood- all of these virtues presume the possession of secure personal power, that lines of authority are clearly drawn, and that those in positions of authority are in no way accountable to, or subject to being challenged by, any subaltern. For these virtues quickly become catastrophically dysfunctional and vicious when the person who has them must fight the congenitally anomic and shameless subaltern who has no scruples to handicap him.
It’s probably significant here that, in traditional social hierarchies, not only is a subaltern forbidden from challenging a superior, but the latter is equally forbidden by the code of honour from accepting any such challenge. After all, it isn’t a good idea to e.g. fight a pistol duel with someone who isn’t above just turning around and shooting you in the back before you’ve gone through your paces. It is not virtuous, but mere folly to try to act in good faith with someone who won’t reciprocate, to attempt to reason with one who exalts madness and unreason, to sincerely debate with a hardened and cunning troll, to try to compromise and negotiate with a fanatic who for his own part would rather die (if he can’t utterly annihilate you that is), to appeal to the piety of an atheist and the patriotism of a traitor, and above all, to try to be objective and impartial in an adversarial judicial or political contest with somebody who’s much more solicitous about looking after No. 1 than about truth and the social good, and thus born to play in those sorts of arenas.
With respect to the latter point: the stance of the Right is that of a patrician who serves as judge of a legal case; Leftism, the stance of the attorney or advocate that pleads the case (the latter a quintessentially and stereotypically bourgeois profession throughout the history of the modern bourgeoisie, and above all, the profession of choice of pariah castes with bourgeois aspirations- e.g. and especially Jews).
Judging and pleading are two radically different things. A judge is the ideal-type of the patrician as defined here and the embodiment of the essence of objectivity. A judge towers above a fractious and warring set of particulars upon whose will his authority in no way derives or depends, and before whom the latter stand in subordination as equals. The judge is tasked with finding a just disposition that decisively resolves the dispute between the litigants and puts disrupted social relations back into order, and with discerning and arriving at public truth from a bunch of contending claims that do not have the status of truth, since they are partial, one-sided, and contested. Having arrived at a determination of the truth to his satisfaction, he pronounces his judgment as truth that is public in that it must be acknowledged as incontestably true by every particular once it is pronounced (the very definition of “objective” truth as opposed to contestable and subjective opinions that are “true” only for the particular that holds them).
It should go without saying the possession of secure personal power is not only indispensably necessary to the exercise of this activity, but its a priori condition of conceivability without which it cannot even be imagined.
The activity of the attorney or advocate, meanwhile, intrinsically displays all the characteristics of democratic and Leftist politics. (It isn’t a coincidence that the law college is always dominated by the Left, and that the historical trend is for litigation to assume a greater and greater importance as Liberalism advances). The attorney is in no way interested in the objective in any sense of the word. It is not his job to arrive at the truth, look after the good of social whole, see to it that justice is done, etc. His job is to ruthlessly advance the interests of his principal by any means necessary on the most radically one-sided and adversarial basis, and he would indeed be professionally derelict if he didn’t; and he does so against a no less partial opponent who is his equal.
Now imagine as a thought-experiment what would happen if our judge lost power and, in order to get it back, had to fight some shyster lawyer in an adversarial judicial contest, with a crowd of onlookers to decide the outcome- and fought it while retaining the values and mindset of a judge.
It would be a FEMA-level disaster-area. The once-mighty magistrate would go like a lamb to the slaughterhouse. And Shecky Finkelstein Esq. would be the butcher. For it is suicidal to try to act as the impartial judge of a case one is party to when one no longer has the authority to judge. Our dishabilitated judge, stripped of his judicial robes, would be naked, exposed, and as vulnerable as could be:
- He would concede that Shecky has many valid points, and ask the crowd to consider both sides of the story, where Shecky would relentlessly argue one, and only one, side of it: his.
- He would hold himself to the highest ethical standards, and disdain to resort to what he considers low blows and dirty tricks. Shecky would fight with whatever means the crowd would permit.
- He would point out to, to Shecky, the many factual errors, logical fallacies and inconsistencies, and other problems in Shecky’s arguments; and Shecky would just keep talking.
- Finally, he would think up a reasonable and fair disposition and suggest it to the crowd. Shecky, for his part, would ask for more than he believed he could actually get.
Our once and (hopeful) future judge might hope that the members of the crowd would respect him for taking the high road- but they would merely shake their heads with contempt, for you can’t very well take the high road convincingly when you can’t ride high down that road, viz. the adversarial contest is fought between equals. (The thing about riding high is no mere figure of speech; in medieval France, a nobleman who wished to fight a commoner was required to do so on foot). The very traits that established the magistrate as magnanimous and a man worthy of rule when he did rule seem so many expressions of laughably contemptible and effete naivete, impotence, and weakness when he has to confront his rightful inferior as an equal. Magnanimity only works in a magnate.
The foregoing thought-experiment seems too silly for words. And yet it is all exactly what the Right actually does, figuratively and literally, and has done ever since the Left rose to ascendancy centuries ago.
In particular, the pattern conforms exactly to what has, in recent years, increasingly been critiqued as “cuckservatism”. The standard-model explanation of cuckservatism traces the etiology of the pattern to the failure of the cuckservative to repudiate Liberal ideology, with the result that he becomes fettered by Liberal discourse and doomed to be constantly kept on the defensive and ever-apologetic against accusations of heterodoxy and insufficient Leftism.
There is much that is true in this account- but the preceding analysis, which traces the etiology to a mismatch between the reality of the power structure and the subjective values and dispositions of some of the actors in that structure, shows that the cuckservative-type pattern is in fact a generic feature of all modern Rightism, not just those subsets which cling to obsolete iterations of Liberalism (civic and other Nationalism, so-called “classic Liberalism”, etc.) that trail behind the curve of the Leftist holiness spiral and have long been discarded by the Liberal mainstream.
The fallacy of misplaced patricianism is a seemingly inescapable conundrum for the Right, with implications that are nothing less than existential. On the one hand, the Right obviously can’t win if they keep committing this fallacy; but, on the other hand, they can’t win if they stop.
The easiest way to wrap up an article like this would be to say that the Right ought to just delete all the vestiges of patrician thinking that, as indispensably salutary as they may be in a patrician social order, can only hinder and suppress the will to power of a dissident movement that right now occupies much the same subaltern place the Left used to. It would be very easy to say that one must fight fire with fire, avoid bringing knives to gunfights, and other banalities like that; very easy to say that Rightists, in order to unleash the full force of their will to power, must embrace unhinged fanaticism, celebrate extremism and excess, despise prudence and foresight as sloth and cowardice, and learn to act without any regard for the consequences; and very easy to say that Rightists ought to spend less time thinking about just what exactly they want to do with power and more thinking of ways to seize it.
They could do all that, but they likely won’t, because they don’t want to, and quite reasonably: all that, after all, is what defines the Left, and presumably a major motive force for affiliating with the Right is disapproval of the Left and the things the Left does. The reason people come to think of themselves as Right-wing to begin with is that they don’t like shysterism, dishonesty, irresponsibility, intemperate emotivism, and socially destructive behaviour. It would entail radical self-defeat to intentionally embrace just what one despises, and to renounce one’s own identity in the very course of asserting it. Intentional self-defeat in a course of action is contrary to human Nature, and nobody can be reasonably expected to do it, or will.
The Right thus stands with its back to the wall and an abyss in front of it. It would be intellectually dishonest in the extreme to pretend the conundrum doesn’t exist, facile and futile to exhort the Right to stop being a big bunch of cucks or whatever, and frivolous LARPing of the most unproductive sort to try to outline some ten-step programme that will solve the problem decisively if only everybody were to adopt it. Problems in social action that boil down to a failure of will, that see people caught in a vicious cycle where they don’t change because they don’t want to and don’t want to because they don’t change, can only be solved by a general and organic process whose specifics can’t simply be laid out in advance by any single individual, and which specifics are difficult to anticipate to say the very least.
I shall say, though, that a successful solution will, instead of trying to induce people to do things they don’t want to do, try to cultivate and amplify to the fullest possible extent their desire to do the things that they do want to do, by working with value-orientations they already have instead of trying to alter or delete them in favour of other values. Think of it as something like the principle of comparative advantage.
To give just one example, Rightists, who as a matter of basic values believe in being faithful to objective truth, instead of learning to put aside their contempt for lying and embrace disingenuous propaganda based on the techniques of commercial advertising (as Hitler exhorted Rightists to), could try to nurture within themselves the burning desire to do everything in their power to elucidate and propagate the truth; to identify all the possible situations in which it is possible to come out ahead by speaking truth (e.g. debunking and exposing blatant lies of the Left and accordingly diminishing the Left’s credibility while enhancing their own) while doing their best to identify and avoid strategic situations in which speaking the truth is a hindrance (viz. democratic electoral politics in general); to never cut corners and always strive to do top-notch intellectual work to the very best of their ability; etc.
A potential ace in the hole here is the strong value the Rightist mindset, which in any of its forms is the custodian of the military and religious sensibilities of the nation, places on duty. Rightly understood, “muh principles” aren’t just a negative barrier to action, but impose a positive obligation to act, to put oneself in the active service of one’s principles, as opposed to viewing them solely in terms of a self-abnegating prohibition on acting. In this light, the real vice of contemporary Rightism isn’t insistence on “muh principles”, but seeing adherence to principle solely in terms of refraining from doing things. This way of thinking is practically guaranteed to cripple and paralyze the will. Once Rightists start thinking also in terms of positive duty, they will be able to develop a fighting spirit own to match the fanaticism of the Left, one that will combine the best martial values of unwavering loyalty, courage, and fortitude with the teleological striving for improvement that inheres in the spirit of religion.
The final thing I will say, looking even further ahead, is that once Restoration has been achieved, the new patriciate has to be adamant and eternally vigilant about seeing to it that none of our present history ends up repeating itself. Liberal democracy, once established, as we have seen is probably more diabolically pernicious to religion and civilization than any other social technology in human history- since, once it is established, it subverts and defeats efforts to abolish it by thwarting the very will of its opponents to abolish it by way of the bizarre and seemingly inescapable dilemmas and vicious cycles it creates. Liberalism is thus to a civilization what an autoimmune disease is to a human body; and any sign of its resurgence has to be dealt with quickly, aggressively, and decisively while it’s still possible. It is likely that our predecessors didn’t really understand what was happening to them until it was too late. We however do, having learned the hard way; and the new patricians must see to it that it never happens again.
[This article cross-posted at Thermidor Magazine]