I have noticed a trend of late in our tiny reactionary corner of the web, of estimable and supremely intelligent commentators characterizing some other mostly like minded, likewise intelligent commentator as glowing, comped, a gatekeeper of our enemies, a sub rosa enemy. To wit, Giuseppe Filotto has just accused our friend Bruce Charlton – an utterly irredeemable idiosyncrat, if ever there was such an one, God bless the man (hoo boy, let me tell you …), and, ergo, an inveterate heresiarch, in respect to *any traditionally received body of doctrine whatever* – of being a gatekeeper. Forsooth.
LOL. I know Bruce. ROFLOL. The same accusation is hurled at Tucker Carlson, at Trump – indeed, it seems soon or late to be hurled by some one of us or other (spirit of envy, much?) at anyone who takes some ground in the culture war, or who speaks some truth or other forbidden by the Narrative, at no small risk to himself. Vox Day is probably next, that horrible apologist for the globalists! Pay no attention to *everything he writes.* That’s all a smokescreen! He’s actually an agent of the WEF! He’s the Ray Epps of the web!
There are indeed lots of people pretending to be reactionaries or patriots these days, who in fact seek the destruction of our patrimony – of the West, of Christendom, of sanity. The fact that there are so many such quislings out there is how we can tell that their masters are afraid of us. But, honestly, think of it, as paranoically as you can. If you were an agent of the Cabal of Moloch, what would you want to do to your enemies? The answer is clear: you’d want to paint their true allies as secret agents of their enemies. So, you’d sow discord in their ranks, engendering confusion.
What are we to do, then? Simple. When someone speaks the obvious truth, support and agree with him. When he strays from the truth, critique him. Simple.
Anything else is just ad hominem fallacy, a waste of time and energy, and a promotion of the falsity of our adversaries in the Cosmic War.
Even an agent of the Enemy who speaks the truth in hopes of achieving some evil end is in the final analysis shooting himself in the foot. Despite himself, he is a vassal of the Logos, who is all truth. There is after all in the final analysis no other way for any agent of the Lie to achieve being, than to assert that truth which is the forecondition of his own being and power.
One cannot lie except so as implicitly to aver the truth. Falsehood supervenes truth.
Truth cannot be compromised, or turned to wicked ends. So, it is fatal to the enemies of truth. Indeed, they cannot help but express it, and depend upon it for all their arguments.
Just speak the truth, then, and support all others who do … whether or not they do so consistently. Do this, even when they be demons; for, even, and perhaps especially, the demons cannot but testify to that truth which founds their very being.
Just speak the truth, and – while critiquing them – admire such as speak it. None of them proclaim it adequately, to be sure. But then, who among us, after all, can honestly say that his whole life immaculately proclaims the truth?
Get a grip. Your shieldmates in the phalanx are weak … just like you, albeit differently in respect to the details. Hold fast with them, despite all that. Or else, you shall all find yourselves overwhelmed.
pearls before swine
What is more controlled opposition that wanting people to be papists without the pope and saying that such an abomination alone is the one true church?
Fear of glowies and U-Haul barricade ramming or Wal-Mart associate marches with no brownshirt (Antifa) or blackshirt (Black Liberation Movement)?
Look up G.Edward Griffin-More Deadly Than War-The Communist Revolution in America and Billy Ayers (CPUSA) Prairie Fire Weather Underground manifesto from 1974.
Richard Hofstadter described conservatism as “the paranoid style in American politics.” He was ridiculing conservative fears of a communist conspiracy, which turn out to have been entirely justified, but men of the Right probably are prone to paranoia. It may be a natural consequence of losing again and again. When a man loses again and again, he begins to think the game is rigged.
What you describe I would call a paranoid purity spiral, a competition in which disillusioned cynics vie for the title of most disillusioned cynic of all. I think this follows naturally from the experience of disillusionment, since this instills a resolve to never be fooled again. Disillusioned men become like the dwarfs in Lewis’ Last Battle.
This is a fatal weakness on the Right because it automatically sabotages intellectual and political leadership. This is ironic. In theory we are all about strong leaders, but whenever a man appears on horseback, we hoot and jeer and call him a “Fed.”
“It may be a natural consequence of losing again and again. When a man loses again and again, he begins to think the game is rigged.”
I don’t think losing is the cause. The cause is betrayal. Each time a conservative hero appears, the normal conservative gets his hopes up. “Now it is the time!”. Then this hero does nothing or does a U-turn and starts implementing progressive causes. Every. Single. Time. In USA, in Western Europe, in Latin America. No exception. For decades. The conclusion of the game being rigged may be wrong but it is a rational conclusion. (It is “warranted” as they see in epistemology)
There is some American cartoon where a girl called Lucy pulls a ball from a kid called Charlie Brown, again and again. You can understand if Charlie Brown is a bit suspicious when he sees balls in front of him.
“It may be a natural consequence of being betrayed again and again. When a man is betrayed again and again by the ones that he thought they were defending him, he begins to think the game is rigged.”
Fixed for you.
When your leaders betray you, you lose.
Purity spirals seem always to tend by increase of faction and then schism to isolation, to suspicion, and to mutual annihilation. Viz., the French and Russian revolutions. The Church has always reacted to enthusiasms with suspicion, and even suppression. Viz., her reaction to Savonarola, on the one hand, and to the early fanatics among the Franciscans, on another.
I’ve never seen this man on horseback. Pity. I wanted to vote for him. Of course, if he’s that kind of man voting would be pointless
Pingback: Bruce Charlton is Not a “Gatekeeper.” Nor a “Shill,” Nor a “Glowie,” Nor a “Fed.” – The Orthosphere
That is rather amusing, but at least this fellow has a pretty fun name. Italians have the best language.
The world takes all kinds, and pet peeves go a long way in explaining internet criticism. In the real world, you learn to tolerate annoyances because (1) prolonged social interaction requires it, and (2) you cannot as easily reduce a colleague to the traits about the person that annoy you. On the internet, though, you have free range to condemn the evil-doers of the world who get on your nerves. And speaking of the real world, who started this “meat world” theme? How repulsive! It sounds like something an analytic philosopher would come up with — for being such insufferable prigs, those folks have no class! See, that’s a pet peeve of mine, and I can ride my high horse for a little run around the field. It is certainly enjoyable.
Anyway, Signore Filotto probably has encountered far too many Drehers (or rather, to be fair to RD, people who _cannot be bothered_ who find agreeable, convenient excuses in elements of the Benedict option). Anything that remotely exudes a whiff of retreat might trigger Filotto’s thymos — and switch on his reactive mental script that he has recorded that narrates all the reasons why quietism is wrong. Once that script starts to play (and it turns on quite early in people), the auto-listener no longer hears the other person’s argument, is totally blind to distinctions not already established in his own schema, and ceases to engage with the opposing argument altogether. It’s a form of prejudice, I guess. “Ah, I see, Bruce is one of them there X”
If you are wondering what part of the impulse is behind such accusations; sometimes the men who do nothing, and fear to act, try to justify themselves that The Enemy is too powerful – so any opposition still standing must be false.
Pingback: Fisking Liars | Gfilotto.com
A gatekeeper presumably is someone who ensures that people stay within the liberal-modernist bubble, and who discourages any attempts to escape it. One of Zippy’s and Lawrence Auster’s themes was that this was a primary function of mainstream conservatism, or right-liberalism: mainstream conservatism helps to strengthen and maintain the liberal consensus and ensure that society moves ever leftward, even in spite of their intentions. (So they would typically be unintentional gatekeepers).
Bruce Charlton is not a mainstream conservative. His best point is his insistence that the fundamental divide is between the religious worldview and the secular worldview, and that the latter, even when it occurs on the right, simply enables and strengthens modernism and therefore needs to be rejected. One could argue that the secular non-mainstream right (such as the erstwhile Neoreactionaries and the alt-right), despite dissenting from the mainstream consensus in some radical ways, still act as gatekeepers precisely insofar as they prevent people from recognizing that first things must come first.
However, you write in defense of Charlton that he is:
It seems to me that, if anything, this a point in support of Filotto’s accusation: rejecting a traditional body of doctrine in favor of an individualistic hermeneutic is precisely the mindset of a liberal modernist and serves to enable the modernist worldview.
People are free to use the language as they please, but a “gatekeeper” is a metaphorical bouncer, porter, or doorman. His job is to keep the rabble out, not in. A “gatekeeper” is not a prison guard or illusionist. I think we could use a name for the character you would like to call a “gatekeeper,” but “gatekeeper” has been taken and has important work to do.
I think the best term I have seen for what you are talking about is “loyal opposition.” They nominally oppose this or that policy or action of the party in power but remain loyal to the animating force of the power structure i.e. liberalism.
I don’t like “controlled opposition” as a general term for people to one’s left, it implies that the opposition is actually and not merely effectively an enemy agent. Someone like Bill Kristol or the Lincoln Project it could apply to, but the normie conservative, no.
The “useful idiot” for Leftism could maybe include both “loyal opposition” and, subjectively, a “blackpiller,” secularist, modernist or post-modernist, or anyone who is outside of the Overton window but one thinks enables leftist, liberalism or modernism.
Probably the conceptual link between “gatekeeper” and “controlled or loyal opposition” is because they are often the same people and organizations. William F. Buckely was loyal opposition in the form of conservative fusionism and a gatekeeper of the furthermost right of respectable conservative opinion. The loyal opposition must have gatekeepers, but so must any intellectual or political movement.
Filotto’s charge against Bruce is groundless, but there are most certainly miscreants of the sort he describes. I’ve been wracking my brain for a good name and am so far stuck with “people like those who attempt to waylay Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress.” These are people who who ensnare those who seek truth in false questions, false controversies, and false answers. They pretend to attack the status quo and actually protect it.
At first sniff, the best contemporary term for “people like those who attempt to waylay Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress” is “concern troll.” Maybe “concern troll” only describes a certain tactic of that larger group, but it definitely is a subset.
Troll is a good choice, as used in “concern trolling.”
@ Ian: A fair point. The thing is that Bruce’s skepticism about traditional institutions is focused first and foremost on the traditions and institutions of modernism. So if he is himself (like any of us raised in and formed by the Modern era) a modernist, then he (like us here) represents that apotheosis and absurd reduction of modernism, wherein it turns and rends itself.