What is popularly called the Right these days is of course mostly just Right Liberalism; which is to say, Right Leftism. I.e., not Right at all. This had been known in the discourse of reaction since about 2002, when Lawrence Auster, Zippy, James Kalb, Moldbug, et alii, first began writing online.
The Right, period full stop, is not in fact Right. It is rather the “Right.” So have we seen in the last few years the rise of several other sorts of Right, that distinguish themselves from the “Right” with the same urgent animosity that true Communists display in distinguishing themselves from mere liberals and panty-waist Socialists and Social Democrats.
These sorts fall into four categories: the Alt-Right, the Ctrl-Right, the Del-Right, and the Ctrl-Alt-Del-Right. These sorts are all more truly of the Right. But only one of them is right, or therefore Right; so that it integrates, and indeed consolidates, all other sorts of Rightness.
Much has been written of the Alt-Right. The Alt-Right takes the deliverances of the Normal Narrative and turns them upside down. Viz., sexual realism, racial realism, national realism, cultural realism, and so forth, as against the Mass Indiscretion, blindness, and Failure to Notice that is so characteristic of those poor pathetic souls not yet liberated from the Normal Narrative.
Then there is the Del-Right: all the ilk of the anarcho-capitalists, the techno-futurists, the thoughtful realistic libertarians, and especially those souls who find their guts arrayed in horror and disgust against the Swamp, against the Deep State, against the Cathedral, against the Cabal, and so forth – against, that is to say, the Cult of Moloch and his babelarchy – who insist that the first and essential step to restoring social equilibrium and cultural health is to delete the political, cultural and especially bureaucratic accrustations of the last few centuries, at least.
Then again there is the Ctrl-Right, who would restore outwardly, and consecrate, the ancient royal and sacerdotal hierarchy that always anyway, somehow or other – nowadays mostly hidden, a corrupt oligarchy that dare not speak its name – administers social coordination.
Then at last there is the Ctrl-Alt-Del-Right. That’s us: reboot; all of the other sorts of more truly Right, integrated and so kicked up a notch or three.
NB that because the orthospherean Ctrl-Alt-Del-Right [man, that’s hard to type!] includes and subsumes the other sorts, it administers in the process some necessary corrections and adjustments of each, so that they all fit together coordinately and harmoniously.
Escape Meta Alt Control Shift. a metaphor for politics…
The Only True Right Uses a Space Cadet Keyboard!
>Right Liberalism; which is to say, Right Leftism
I wouldn’t simply equate Liberalism with Leftism: rather, Leftism is a consequence (often unintended) of Liberalism.
The essence of the Right is order. That is, you belong to a particular place, people, structure, have a place in that structure, and so on. This structure, of course, puts limitations on the freedom of your choices.
Liberalism intends to liberate the individual from that particular structure, to make him completely free from all dependencies, duties, other than those that are voluntarily made. An island, who decides to build some bridges with other islands, but is still an island.
But that of course does not work. Wrong species. Just like it was said that socialism is suitable for ants, it could be said that liberalism is suitable for bears. (Today is the International Silly Metaphor Day, right?)
So when they try to make men into bears, we end up with ants. Leftism. We are back to a more communal, social way of living, but without the distinctions, the differences, the particulars and the structure. We become one universal “equal” crowd. Nobody is ranked above the other, except those who rule the whole thing. No distinction of particular people or place. One big “community”. Instead of particular duties owed to particular people, one big undefined compassion owed to everybody. So while Liberalism tries to liberate us from the limitations imposed by a particular place, people, station, structure and the duties owed to them, we end up falling into with Leftism, Crowdism, with even less liberty.
Liberalism is sort of like Icarus. Tries to fly too high in the direction of liberty and ends up falling down into even less liberty, i.e. Leftism.
This fall from Liberalism to Leftism happens because humans are social beings, we cannot function otherwise. We have this raw social drive or emotion or need. Rightism, Order, is all about shaping and ordering that raw material. In Leftism, to use yet another silly metaphor, keeps the raw material of human sociability in its raw, chaotic primal material stage.
Love the metaphor of the bears versus the ants.
What you are saying in a nutshell is that the free and equal everyman of liberalism – a society of independent bears – can be achieved in practice only via totalitarian Leftist ochlocracy that makes of all men nothing but ants. Totalitarianism then is the final cause of liberalism; the thing it ever tends to produce. Leftist totalitarian ochlocracy is the implementation of liberalism. Liberalism is theory; Leftist totalitarian ochlocracy is theory carried into practice.
Nicely done. I thought on Dividualist’s critique, and the best I could come up with was the formulation “Liberalism = Leftism-Lite; Right-Liberalism = Liberalism-Lite.” I would then need to add an explanatory note indicating that the one naturally slides into the other barring an at least “equal and opposite reaction” (borrowing from Newtonian physics), but preferably a season of over-correction like José Canseco biting his jersey in batting practice until the habit of throwing his head out is eliminated. (I used to have my daughter bite her leotard in gymnastics practice to keep her from throwing her head back while tumbling. It worked very well, but the moms of the other girls on her team strongly objected to the correction with their daughters because it tended to ruin their leotards.)
I like your explanation better.
As another aside, VFR was a godsend for me, and just at the right moment too! By the time I happened across it (2006) I had begun to entertain thoughts that I might actually be the only truly Conservative “conservative” in America. Ha ha. There was of course a lot of self-conceit in that thought, but I also knew by then that mainstream conservatism was unprincipled, and really just Liberalism-Lite as I said above.
So, if I understand this right, the plan is to make a few steps back and do the same thing again?
I do not think it is that obvious where exactly we went wrong.
No, the idea is a soft reboot of civilization that sets all the system parameters to their default values – the values given by our nature. We’ll stray from that default state again, to be sure; that’s what happens to finite systems in a Fallen world. Some of the straying will be like our straying over the last 500 years, some of it will be different.
Most reactionary writers peg the point at which things began to go off the rails for the West at the end of the High Middle Ages, with the beginnings of nominalism.
NB that in a reboot, you don’t lose all the files you created beforehand. A soft reboot of civilization does not entail losing the Industrial Revolution and all that came of it.
I have read your other replies and you are right.
I think though, that this thing is only going to fly if the political theory translates into concrete personal action, which results in organizing, connecting and perfecting the theory on the go.
The thing has to bite its own tail, so to speak. I read your other comments. I like what I have read. I’ll go through the links later.
I am interested in borders and transitions. Check my stuff and let me know in case any of that could be of use to you 🙂
>Most reactionary writers peg the point at which things began to go off the rails for the West at the end of the High Middle Ages, with the beginnings of nominalism.
I sometimes wondered if it is a bit of a “who is more hardcore” competition. 1950 was okay! No, the 19th century was okay! No, the 18th! No, 1517, before the Reformation! Enters Weaver, thumb hooked in his belt and a challenging gaze: “How about 1323?” . Everybody else: you win! But why stop there? Clearly the pinnacle was the Upper Paleolithic!
OK, I’m kidding. I saw it myself that the deeper I dig for more consistent conservative/reactionary ideas, the earlier I have to go. Thing is, sad to say, but Edmund Burke was already half confused.
Well, until I discovered Moldbug, who, to my surprise demonstrated that I don’t really need to go back more than the Victorian age. Thomas Carlyle, of course. But also others.
As for the reboot being soft… knowing that you believe in free will, you cannot possible believe in technological determinism. Well, I don’t believe in it either in a strict sense. But I think there may be something in it. Specifically, the invention of the printing press. This really enabled a lot of people to push their own random opinion about things and created a market in ideas where it is the coolest sounding, and not the true one wins, because of human irrationality. The Reformation was rather a direct consequence of the printing press. This enabled Luther to influence so many people. Copyright and similar abominations not yet being invented, book traders did it the easy way, instead of hauling heavy books between cities, they just had the books they wanted to sell printed in every city they visited. This made information spread rather quickly.
And of course Twitter and the Internet is the printing press on injected with an oil tanker worth of steroids. Can we, with this technology, not have this information overload and the intense competition of ideas, where not true ideas but likeable ideas win? If we must have it, liberalism will always return and rather quickly.
Agreed. Cheap information means cheap noise. It brought us the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the Revolution. I don’t think censorship is quite the right solution, but rather some other and novel cultural development that prevents the spread of Fake ideas. Derision, maybe; scorn.
Yes, but in another way it yields silence. When was the last time you talked to someone who just read the same book that you just read, that just saw the same movie, that just got hooked on the same song? My daily diet of news and opinion comes from sources my colleagues have never heard of, and I am likewise ignorant of theirs. So we have nothing to talk about. Culture-wise, we might as well inhabit distant islands or be separated by a Himalayan ridge. The c-a-d right was possible because the internet set us free of controlled media and the approved narrative, but it at the same time dealt a lethal blow to the social communion we hanker for. We share our elegies to a lost world with the technology that tore that world down.
Ain’t that the truth. And these echo chambers can lead people down all sorts of rabbit holes, in which they stray more and more from reality. Viz., Trump Derangement Syndrome. It looks nuts to those not afflicted with it, but to those who are, it seems like the only sane alternative.
I begin to think that political faction as such is possible only when the weltanschauung of the national cult weakens, new and heretical and incompatible ideas enter social discourse, some are swayed by them, and then eventually people begin to inhabit different thought worlds.
I think Auster credited Mark Richardson with the left-liberal, right-liberal distinction but I’ve also heard that Murray Rothbard used the term decades ago.
I recently found myself musing along similar lines, upon reading a section of Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain. Except I draw a slightly different conclusion. I really don’t like the ‘Right/Left’ Dichotomy, because it seems to me to be rhetorically under classical liberalism, even if some component is not.
After a period of intense study of Zippyist thought, I looked up and found myself to be something of a Monarchist, which I’m not sure falls on the scale. It’s a whole new scale. It’s a separate and distinct alternative to right/left.
The idea that there can be a reboot at all seems to me to still be a classically liberal idea. Can a government reboot with anything other than revolution? If I were to be intellectually honest and earnestly advocate for a monarchy (which I do not, and so am not), that would involve destroying and rebuilding something new; but breaking a republic and rebuilding a newer, better republic, is a distinctly French past-time that led directly to tyranny.
Such as the liberal “conservatives” of today would have been sitting on the right side of the left half of the chamber after the French Revolution. The Right at that time was reactionary, rather than liberal. We named this site the Orthosphere in part to make clear that we understand ourselves as orthogonal to the axis between the modern left and the modern right. This is explained briefly in our About tab. You might also want to check out a post of a few months after we got started here, Is the Orthosphere Conservative? It goes into more detail about the nature and scope of our orthogony to latter day political discourse.
You are correct that monarchy – the “royal and sacerdotal hierarchy” I mentioned in the post – finds no place on the current spectrum of political options. Because why? Because hierarchy is orthogonal to democracy, liberalism both left and right cannot coherently comprehend it, so cannot see how it might relate to the political categories they (think that they) do understand, and cannot therefore comprehend the incoherence at the heart of liberalism. To comprehend the incoherence of liberalism, you must first stop being a liberal. And you have to do that before you can even begin to understand the options to liberalism. This is Zippy’s most important argument.
Can a government reboot with anything other than revolution? Sure. Invasion works. So does general economic collapse, such as we see under way in Venezuela. Then also there can be mass conversions to a different way of thinking; preference cascades, as they are called. A paradigm shift due to a popular preference cascade can precipitate radical political change that then transpires rather peacefully, as everyone suddenly just sees that the old ways were ridiculous (viz., Poland and Hungary after the fall of the Berlin Wall). It is the latter sort of soft reboot that we would all prefer to see. But we may not be so lucky as to have the opportunity of such a thing; invasion is already far along.
This is a clever construction. The present system cannot repair itself, but seems to be driven by a set of deleterious positive feedback loops. I was worried about government deficits back in the 1980s, when deficits were relatively small and other people were worried about the deficit. Now the deficits are enormous, and no one is particularly worried about them. It is as if we were worried about finding a gas station on a desert highway when our tank was a quarter-full, but are happily singing “O Susanna” and playing Twenty Questions now that the needle is on E.
With that said, Leviathan has done a good job of suppressing the Real Right in all of its forms. So we might know the keystroke commands, but the keyboard is in a locked room on the 99th floor of the Leviathan Tower, and we are down on the sidewalk being arrested for vagrancy.
No kidding. Fortunately, the Leviathan Tower is tilting. Maybe it’s my imagination, but it seems to me that more and more people are noticing the tilt.
It is only useful to worry about a problem which has a possibility of being solved. A problem that cannot be solved is not a problem, at all.
Sometimes I think the whole “Right Leftism” is an attempt to wash one’s hands of every negative aspect of modern life, even those aspects that one would otherwise have to take responsibility for if he were conservative or whatever right sided category he saw himself a part.
Ha, nice post, Kristor.
Do you have a definition of the Right you are using? I’ve seen the right’s essence defined as order (as Dividualist defines it above), as a rejection of equality, or as a commitment to preserving hereditary class distinctions. I gave my own attempt at a definition (one that I’m not fully committed to by any means) in an old comment:
“A commitment to pre-rational forms of organizing society. For example, a commitment to the family, or to race, or to religion, etc., things that cannot be formulated according to rationalistic, impersonal rules. The more commitments one has to these sorts of pre-rational things, the more ‘right-wing’ one is. Right-liberals then, while still liberal, can be seen to be to the right of left-liberals, because they typically are more supportive of the traditional family and the nation than left-liberals. Likewise, the alt-right is to the right of left-liberals because of the former’s emphasis on race.”
What is your distinction that allows you to put the mainstream contemporary right outside the true Right, but to place the Alt-Right, the Del-Right, and the Ctrl-Right on the true Right? I would think that if the mainstream contemporary right is not on the true Right (and I agree that it isn’t), then neither are the others (especially the Del-Right).
Along with Scoot, I don’t find the divide between left & right ultimately that enlightening. The conceptual scheme that I find more illuminating is the divide between modernist and ‘traditionalist’. By modernism, I mean any ideology that takes some contingent, this-worldly good and elevates it to society’s ultimate good and standard by which all political decisions are judged. And by traditionalism, I mean the recognition that the transcendent Good must be society’s ultimate ordering principle, its final standard by which all other things are judged. In a word: religious.
With the modernist-traditionalist distinction, we can see that all current Western ideologies – including left-liberalism, right-liberalism, the Alt-Right, the Del-Right, and the Ctrl-Right – are firmly entrenched on the modernist side of things, precisely because they are secular.
I agree with everything you have said here. The entire modern political spectrum, from Communism on the far left to the Ctrl-Right on the far right, is … well, *modern.* The Alt-Right is to the right of the Right Liberals, but is still immured in liberalism; indeed, some Alt-Righters endorse rather Socialist notions. The Del-Right is to the right of the Alt-Right, but again is still besotted with individual liberty. The Ctrl-Right is to the right of the Del-Right, and as willing to endorse hierarchy, authority, and even such things as monarchy, so it verges on the True Right. But, again, as secular, it is not quite Right. To take a palmary exemplar, Moldbug is the archon of the Ctrl-Right, but he is prevented from stepping into full-throated traditionalism by his atheism.
So, anyway, I was not quite clear on this in the article – I was writing in great haste, with tongue firmly in cheek, so I wasn’t trying to be too careful – but I think that the Alt-Right, the Del-Right, and the Ctrl-Right are not quite Right. To get to the True Right, you need Alt+Del+Ctrl+Esc. “Esc” being the keystroke for escape from this mortal coil, along and up Jacob’s Ladder, which is orthogonal to this mundane plane. To get to the True Right, you need the hierarchy forthrightly proclaimed as correct by the Ctrl-Right, *and* you need that hierarchy to be truly consecrated to God, and so to be really a hierarchy – a rule of holiness – rather than a babelarchy.
So, yeah; what you said.
Clever way of analyzing the traditional three elements of the right. In a loose sense we can find these parallels:
Mainstream Right > Dissident Right > Real Right
Libertarianism > Anarchism > Feudalism
Nationalism > Racialism > Imperialism
Evangelicalism > Traditionalism > Catholicism
Interesting. Now that you’ve suggested these parallels, I’m sure that others will occur to me.
Don’t quite agree on your last point. But the general gist is correct.
I’m sure we could go all day listing parallels which are ultimately derived from the tripartite natures of man and of society. While most of these parallels have been explored in depth before, yours in this post is the first I’ve seen that analyzes—and accurately—the Dissident Right and its relation to the true Right.
I suppose I should have clarified my terms, not that doing so would necessarily cause you to agree with my third parallel. Most ambiguous is my use of the term “traditionalism.” By traditionalism, I meant all false idealizations of tradition, whether from Evola, Bonnetty, or those who seek paganism or Orthodoxy simply because they are “traditional.” Those people we normally call traditional Catholics, on the other hand, would be covered under the Catholicism umbrella.
Wiseguy: That’s a helpful clarification. I’d appreciate it if you would similarly clarify your terms in the Nationalism > Racialism > Imperialism categorization.
”Evangelicalism > Traditionalism > Catholicism”
My definition would definitely defer. In regards to switching the left to the rightmost.
Kristor @ Alt. and Del. both imply, as you say, exit from the frame of modern political discourse, which has been in place since the seventeenth century. This discourse uses the words freedom and order, but freedom is always on the lips of those out of power, and order on the lips of those in. When the outs get in, they develop a strange new respect for order because the order incorporates their preferred freedom. In any case, my point is that abstract freedom and order are not political ideals, since my “freedom” is simply the freedom to do what I want to do, and see no legitimate reason I should not do. My “order” is constraining people in ways I do not mind being constrained, and that prevent other people from messing up my plans (e.g. I do not enjoy driving fast and generally leave a little earlier than I have to, so I have no complaints about the order of speed limits and speeding tickets).
Being on the Right does not imply a desire for more order and less freedom. It implies a desire for our order and our freedom.
To exit from the frame of modern political discourse, one has to overcome the thoroughly modern idea that politics begins with abstractions, theories and political ideals. If you say that “government exists to preserve order” or “ensure liberty,” you are well within the modern frame. Politics begins with a people and government operates as their executive arm. This much the first seven words of the Preamble to our Constitution get right (republics are not inherently of the Left and monarchies are not inherently of the Right). Unfortunately, the next several words bind that people to permanent pursuit of abstractions like union, justice, domestic tranquility, etc. —and we now know where that leads. The opening line should have said:
“We the People of the United States, in order to effectively execute our designs, whatever they may be, do ordain and establish this Constitution . . .”
This construction of course throws the weight on the phrase the People, whose designs the Constitution will execute, and does not lumber us with abstract principles that this People is bound to pursue (calling that pursuit politics) for all time. The first and essential political question is “who are we,” not “what do we stand for,” since those who answer the first question know “we stand for us.” How we will do this cannot be stated in advance.
Brilliant, JM, yes. You’ve nailed the visceral intuition that founds and motivates the generally Conservative mind – from the rightmost Right Liberals all the way over to the orthosphere. Russell Kirk emphasized much the same thing, I believe. Social order – society as such – is not fundamentally political or ideological, but rather familiar, tribal, national: which is to say, popular. And families, tribes, nations, and peoples cannot apprehend themselves as such except insofar as their members recognize each other as such – and, by an obvious implication, recognize all others as others; as outsiders, foreigners, strangers, indeed as wogs, more or less.
You can’t tell who is not of your own unless you can tell who is of your own, and to whom you owe loyalty, and by whom you are owed it.
This is all to say that society supervenes in the final analysis, not upon conflict or even the resolution thereof, but upon love: upon friendship, upon fealty, and upon familiar piety. Whenever then you see social relations that are less than at least somewhat lovely, you are seeing evidence of some deep wound of the social body. Families, clans, tribes, nations, aye and even individuals, are bound together and so substantiated by love – Lincoln’s mystic chords of memory – or they are not, at all; are sick then unto death.
Whenever they crop up in the social discourse, ideology and politics are derogations of social order. They are a sign of social confusion – i.e., cultic confusion – and economic breakdown – i.e., literally, a breakdown of household order (construing “house” most broadly, as in “a house divided against itself cannot stand” (a succinct summary of what I am trying to say in this comment)) – and an effort to regain social intelligence and coordination. A healthy social organism does not manifest political or ideological discourse or activity, because no one is in doubt about where true and therefore legitimate authority really lies, or about how things ought properly to be done, so that the feedback and control circuits are all functioning properly, and the system as a whole has settled down into a harmonious homeostatic metastability. No one thinks much about politics or ideology in a society that is healthy.
We can see this writ small in the family. In a healthy family, the question of whether parental authority in respect to this or that ukase is just or legitimate simply never arises. The kids can to be sure moan and groan and complain that it just isn’t fair that they can’t have dessert if they have not picked up their toys, but they do not ever even think that Mom and Dad don’t have the true and just and proper right to confect and impose upon them the familiar laws, and the practical penal constraints thereof.
There is always a bit of politics under way at the margins, to be sure; if for no other reason, then because there are always a few cranks or eccentrics, artists or jesters, prophets or mystics, who are challenging this or that bit of the cultic doctrine in which the social order is formalized, and by which it is legitimated. They need to be reckoned properly and rightly dealt with, somehow. When such men notice absurdity, their caveats must be heeded; when they absurdly notice, their antics must be dismissed. So you always need to have some pundits around; some Solons, shamans, sagamores.
This in just the way that there is always crime, and so always cops, judges, and jailers. You don’t want crime; but you do always want the cranks and eccentrics to be noticing things.
But when a society falls quite ill, then the defense and repair mechanisms of ideology and politics explode into activity. Passionate discourse on ideology and politics – as opposed to the bloodless disinterested inquiries of true scientists and philosophers – are evidence that people have been forced by their discomfort at social illnesses to start thinking consciously about the order of their society. Conscious examination of any phenomenon involves consideration of alternatives, and generally results in the tentative experimental implementation of one or more of them (this is why cranks and eccentrics, who to a man are extremely intelligent or well informed (or both) along some dimensions, so often dress or comport themselves oddly: they are implementing alternatives).
To critique just is to presuppose something better; and the motivation to critique is the urge toward the good. When something that seems better has been identified by the process of criticism, that urge to the good flowers and motivates action; and then social reform or even revolution are at hand – or, in the more fortunate case, some peaceful preference cascade.
American society is horribly sick. It may indeed be dying. Naturally then, ideology and politics are for us more than ever in our lives immensely important, therefore pressing, urgent, interesting – newsworthy. This is the social mediation of the Pareto circulation of the elites now under way thanks to everything so aptly summed and captured in the term “Trump.” But even if the Trumpian elite – broadly consisting of the entrepreneurial and warrior elites, the Vaisya and Kshatriya elites – manages to capture the commanding heights, their attempted rescue will be perhaps already too late for the historical American Nation, and so for her Republic, her laws, her cult, her customs and her mores. We are probably bound to a decoherence of the American Nation, and then to a subsequent recoherence of the various American nations. Upon such a rediscovery of the various North American national identities, some new or renewed social orders may then be founded, which have each a shot at social peace.
The same dynamic is of course operative throughout the West.
One thing however is certain: no coherent nation, then no social peace, or justice; for, no nation → no society → no social order → no justice → no proper government (so you get such things as anarcho-tyranny). Note then finally that in the absence of any proper government, you can’t even obtain a properly functioning political discourse (for, political discourse is always *about* the details of proper government) such as might mend social wounds. Political activity is then chaotic and at odds with itself, incoherent, and even autophagous (as, e.g., when the Left insists that the only solution to the perfidy of the government is to devolve far more power to the government, or that intersectional feminism must entail full-throated support of an antifemine religion).
Speaking of rediscovery of the various American Nations, I’m currently reading American Nations by Colin Woodard. I have yet to read Albion’s Seed, which I think you turned me onto perhaps a year ago or so. Woodard’s newer book is, I take it, written along the same lines, with the difference that he divides the distinctive American Nations into eleven rather than merely four. It’s interesting.
I’ve just returned from a hike at the head of the Sabinal river, in the Texas Hill Country. The Hill Country is the eroded edge of the Edwards Plateau, a large limestone platform that was uplifted some tens of millions of years ago. The Sabinal canyon is choked with limestone cobbles and boulders. In the active stream bed, these move with every flood, and are slowly grinding each other into dust. To either side, in what are now abandoned stream beds, they are slowly cementing themselves together into a conglomerate “pudding stone.”
I see in this a metaphor of ethnogenesis. There are times when peoples move like those boulders and cobbles in the active stream bed, but if they never stop moving, they never fuse. They just grind each other down to dust, as we see in our multicultural society grinding its constituent cultures down to a dust of atomized and anomic individuals. In 1965, America had many elements, but the immigration restrictions of the 1920s had taken us out of the active stream bed, as it were, and the process of fusion into a “puddingstone” had begun.
To push my geologic conceit just a bit further, political and theological wrangling is analogous the sound of boulders and cobbles scraping against one another in the flood. It is a sort of complaint on the part of grumbling stones.
That is a beautiful, apt, and – to this old Grand Canyon boatman, steeped for years in the living plastic geology of canyons carved through stone of immense ages – terrifically evocative metaphor.
Sometimes it would rain hard high up in the watershed of some tributary stream, that issued far away into the canyon of the main channel through the crevice of a hanging canyon a thousand feet up the utterly arid cliff side. We’d be rowing along under clear skies, and suddenly a dull rumble would announce a coming waterfall; the torrent would then gush out and over, crashing onto the slope of gravel and boulders deposited below by thousands of other rain storms. Generally, at least a few more stones would be added to the pile. Now and then, a boulder or two would roll out and down, to shatter and to be shattered.
I have also stood on the rock shore of a wash in enormous flood. There is often at such times a steady dull booming, of boulders rolling down the rock channel, deepening it as they pound themselves to smithereens against it, and against each other. You can feel their grumbles rolling through the solid rock under your feet.
When the flood is big enough, the course of the river is changed. Composite dams generated by flux of sediment down side canyons deform, and change; so then do the rapids of their spillways, and boatmen find themselves surprised by some new hazard, or sad at the disappearance of another, that had become rather an old friend.
All rocky river banks erode. All rocky river banks are composed of the products of erosion.
This is an excellent post, very Zippy-like(RIP) with the simultaneously illuminating and clever use of words. While a lot of things are pretty bleak these days there does seem to be a real intellectual renaissance afoot on the Right which should give us some hope.
The fact that explicitly anti-liberal thinkers are starting to enter the mainstream of intellectual discourse seems like an almost unthinkable occurrence even five years ago (who could have foreseen Patrick Deneen being a guest on Fox News during primetime?) The fact that one can now criticize not just neo-conservatism but also many libertarian shibboleths like free trade is an immense improvement over the previous discourse. While explicitly anti-liberal thought will not be able to make itself politically felt (at least in the Anglophone countries) for a while, it seems like a lot of the younger and engaged thinkers and operatives on the Right these days all subscribe to one of the various dissident forms of the Right Kristor outlined above which bodes well for the future.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to the blogs like VFR, Zippy Catholic, and the Orthosphere which were instrumental in helping to enkindle a lot of the ideas that have now become more common among religious conservatives after the long dark night of post-WW2 fusionism.
Far over to the right of the Overton Window, there is an ancient and capacious portal, that perennially opens through the wall and out of our present prison to another, older, more peaceful and more prosperous country, wherein only might we ever be truly free: our own dear homeland. We and our ilk gesture to our fellows, weakly, toward that great door.
It is good to hear from such a formidable commentator as Ita Scripta Est that some might have noticed our indications, and looked, and seen.
I agree, this is pretty remarkable. My only complaint is that it should have been Jim Kalb, who as best I can tell, wrote Deneen’s book ten years before Deneen himself actually got around to writing it (I say this without actually having read Deneen’s book, so maybe I’m way off the mark).
It is certainly heartening to see things like free trade criticized on the mainstream right (I will also admit to cheering Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her successful bid to kill the New York Amazon headquarters deal, no doubt sending the NR global free market types into conniption fits). The thing that tempers my optimism though is that a lot of these younger rightwing dissidents and new rightwing movements seem to downplay or even to have abandoned the fight for traditional morality and against sodomy, abortion, etc. (The right-liberal Christians still seem to be better on that front). So it’s hard for me to get that excited. The right seems to have all but conceded ‘gay marriage’ for example, a shift from a mere five or six years ago.
But the fact that relatively high-profile guys like Deneen and Vermeule are attacking liberalism at its foundations is certainly reason for cheer, and seems to be something new.
I see the differences in the various species of Rightism becoming narrower and narrower (and in some cases untenable). We should reach out and make common cause wherever we can.
Thus I can appreciate Dinesh D’Souza’s take-down of radical Leftism even if I disagree with some of his “right-liberal” tendencies. Prager University videos have done a lot of good in moving young people away from the left-wing abyss, even if I don’t agree with every video. Mark Levine’s call for a Convention of the States provides a pathway for Separation, even if that is not his intent. (Separation is the only viable path to a “reboot”.)
And we should avoid attempting to create a Utopia in this world, realizing that we will only experience that when entering the “great door”, as Kristor puts it.
Untenable is exactly the correct term. You can’t stay just Alt-Right, e.g.; inevitably, an Alt-Righter will find himself gravitating toward the other forms of Dissident Rightism, and then eventually to the Ctrl-Alt-Del-Right. This because all the species of the Dissident Right are implicit in each; and the True Right is implicit in them, too; and vice versa. All truths are implicit in each other. When you take the Red Pill in respect to any department of life, you end up taking it in respect to all of them. This is why I have suggested that the androsphereans, e.g., are mostly destined to become orthosphereans, sooner or later.
Here’s a go at explaining my usage of the last nine terms, as best as I can while typing on a phone. (On a related note, in response to info, I should have said fourth, not third, parallel.)
Libertarianism: conventional meaning. For classical liberalism, capitalism, small government, etc.
Feudalism: conventional meaning. The economic system of medieval Europe. Even government is “privatized.”
Nationalism: generally what Tea Party or UKIP types mean by it. That national governments, not transnational organizations like the EU or UN, should be empowered.
Racialism: belief in the importance of separate governments for separate races, and support for the “ethno-state.”
Imperialism: the idea that the more advanced faction or civilization should rule the less advanced.
Evangelicalism: “conservative” Protestantism that is often tolerant of divorce and remarriage, contraception, and the secular state.
Traditionalism: as mentioned above, includes followers of people like Evola and Bonnetty. Tends to emphasize tradition at the expense of truth.
Catholicism: practicing Catholics, including trads, who believe that secular government should be in accord with Catholic culture and morals.
Very broadly speaking, those Dissident Right ideologies seem to recognize certain truths, but emphasize their accidental, rather than essential, parts. In the case of anarcho-capitalists, they recognize that the state is both “publicly owned” and overly powerful. Instead of wanting the state to be “privately owned,” they want its power reduced to nothingness. Racialists see that the white, advanced (or formerly advanced) peoples should have more political power. Instead of advocating for the power of the generally “advanced,” they advocate for the power of whites. Traditionalists know that real, healthy societies are inspired by religions that are both traditional and at least partially true. They emphasize the traditional part at the expense of the true part, though. Again, however, I should emphasize that this is all very loosely speaking and that I am in some sense criticizing a lineup of straw men.
Again, very helpful, thanks. In reading it, I comprehended concretely, more than ever, that feudalism is government as a private enterprise. So inculcated in us is the notion that feudal overlords were to a man unjust, illegitimate, and more or less cruel tyrants (this being a presupposition of our chthonic liberalism) that it does not occur to us that they were, most of them – the ones who succeeded, so that they were unremarkable, with the result that we don’t know much about them from the history books – more like good farmers.
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What does the true Orthospherean say in response to what happened in New Zealand recently?
Thou shalt do no murder.
The Orthosphere takes a traditional view of human nature, which is that it is radically flawed and prone to all evil. Thus we are not surprised that men kill men out of malice. The daily murder count for the United States is 47, which is low by world standards. Several hundred people were murdered on the day of the Christchurch massacre, just as they the day before and the day after. I’m sure a score have been murdered in the time it has taken me to write this comment. On top of this, the traditional view is that human nature is territorial, and thus tends to feel threatened when conspicuous strangers settle in a new land. I was just the other day reading a historical marker at the spot of a rather gruesome Indian massacre on what was then the frontier in Texas. Thus promiscuous mixing of peoples tends to make a bad situation worse.
Yes. Sins exacerbate each other. Invasion is an implementation of envy. Thou shalt not covet. The more coveting, the more murder.
One can hardly discuss the(R)ight without invoking (P)erfection. In other words, He who wills all (R)ight is (P)erfection. So when one writes of the true (R)ight, one is writing of those who will (P)erfection. Anything less is liberalism. The antithesis being “leftism.”
It’s not a bad description, but no method or plan. You should lose the air of authority until you acquire one.
If you were correct that authority characterizes only those with a method or plan, then the authoritative air you have seen fit to take here would be justified by your method or plan. If you’ve got one, it would be wonderful to read it. If you don’t, then by your own authoritative pronouncement your authority to utter that pronouncement is specious.
Fortunately for you, you are not correct that authority adheres only to those with a method or plan. There are all sorts of perfectly accurate – and, since authority inheres in truth, therefore quite authoritative – descriptions that are not accompanied by prescriptions. So your authority to comment here would not be utterly vacated by your lack of a method or plan.
Notwithstanding all that, I do indeed have a method and a plan. The method I recommend is to do your utmost to live a holy life. Nothing more effectually ruins the local plans of the Enemy; any other method is his. I talk about that method a lot around here. The plan I have offered is described in detail, beginning here.