Ethnonationalist Angst

Two weeks of travelling has recently delayed scheduled posts as well as my own reading of my favourite outlets. Thankfully, I’m now able to write a short commentary on something I’ve been itching about for quite some time. It is a happy coincidence that Thermidor magazine published a salty but satisfying polemic against the alt-right a few days ago, written by none other than dear Carlsbad. Please forgive the conciseness, but much of what you are about to read speaks for itself in the mind of any educated layman.

A few minor details should probably be made clear first: is ethnonationalism or, the “alt-right” position a valid political theory? Yes, or at least, it can be argued so. I, myself, and people like me disagree with it, but that’s pretty much by the by. The problem with ethnonationalists is precisely this: very few of them can actually present their ideas validly. “Peacocking” in the form of references to Evola, Benoist, and the apparent God of the Alt-Right, Nietzsche often has very little to do with their position, and serves no purpose besides adding a pseudo-intellectual stamp on what is otherwise a half-stated opinion.

I will not keep you for too long, reader, instead, I wish only to embellish a few points made by Carlsbad in the above article. I don’t like making unprovoked attacks, so consider this instead an attempt to prompt any alt-right disciples who read this to do a little more thinking, and maybe to encourage them to “sharpen their tools,” as it were.

[1] The only true statement in Alamariu’s essay is the following:

[Matthew Rose] engages Oswald Spengler, Evola, and Benoist, but even were he able to definitively prove them wrong in a couple of pages, it would mean nothing. None of these thinkers—especially not Evola or a nonentity like Benoist—have anything to do with the revolt against liberal authorities in our time.

See above. It is a truly puzzling phenomenon that Evola of all people has come to be venerated as an ethnonationalist idol. Evolean mysticism is very much the lovechild of Italian futurism and the metaphysical perennialism of Guénon, and the linking of decontextualised soundbites such as “ride the tiger” to white nationalism appears really to be a case of clutching at straws. Evola, as his publisher in English points out, was not overtly political, and never joined the Italian Fascist Party. His politics exists only by implication, and his somewhat deviant views on sexual morality go some ways to contradicting the alt-right’s supposed adoration of moral purity.

Benoist is a very good writer, and his extended essay Vu de Droite (1978) was recognised for its quality. Benoist’s own views are hard to pin down, and he himself states in the introduction to the book (emphases original):

. . .knowing whether I am of the right or not is completely irrelevant to me. For the time being, the ideas supported in this work are to the right; they are not necessarily of the right. I can still quite easily imagine some situations where they could be to the left.

Even today Benoist, who is a blood-relation to the Ancien Régime aristocracy, refuses to accept any particular political label. His position is a strange mix of neopagan LARPing and old French legitimism. He has also pointed out some IQ differences between white Europeans and non-whites; to which we say—so what? Anyroad, he is not explicitly an ally to anyone, and it is curious that he should be selected to be among the philosophical influences of the alt-right.

As for Spengler, who presents an interesting yet in many ways flawed philosophy of history, we have a man whose bitter polemics captivated the minds of a bitter interwar Europe. Spengler was not an ethnonationalist either, and despite some hints of anti-Semitism, he and Hitler shared a mutual dislike of one another—he, for Hitler’s obsession with race; Hitler, for Spengler’s obsession with monarchy.

[2] In general, the attitude to Christianity ranges from polite indifference to hostility and unequivocal rejection [. . .]

First things first: the VDARE/Amren wing of conservadad identitarians do tend to lean on the “polite indifference” side of the question. Christianity is relevant only when it’s a proxy for whiteness, but otherwise, it’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell [. . .]

The Spencer-Johnson wing of the alt-right — Radix, AltRight.com, Counter-Currents, etc. — ranges from indifference at best to weird Nietzschean and neopagan attacks on Christianity.

Indeed, most detailed treatments of Nietzsche’s philosophy seem to show a man far more sympathetic to the values of the Christianity he rejects than a first reading would demonstrate. An understanding of the historical development of Christian theology shows that Nietzsche’s “Will to Power” and verbal rambles concerning the overcoming of the self had been devised by Christian mystics well back in the early-to-high middle ages. Whether Nietzsche was consciously regurgitating their ideas or not, history proves that whilst it is easy for neo-Nazis to read into Nietzsche what they like about the power of the strong over the weak (cue Darwin &c. &c.) it is just as easy to read into Nietzsche that we are all morally obliged to save puppies from house fires. At best, the alt-right has a shallow understanding of Nietzsche; at worst, they use him to justify the return of (quasi-)slavery.

[3] Andrew Joyce, one of their staple writers, is an agnostic who writes that he generally doesn’t talk about religion with his Christian wife “for the sake of domestic harmony.” He credits Christianity and the various evangelical churches as agents of pathological altruism and race suicide. Toward the end of his essay, Joyce quite unambiguously declares:

Rather than encourage ethnocentrism like Judaism does, Christianity achieves the opposite.

Some Kierkegaard-level angst here. The alt-right effectively wants a Zionist Israel-inspired state for all nations (or at least, white ones), but at the same time are forced into embarrassing contractions over the fact that for many ethnonats Zio- = malefic.

For the time being, take English paleolibertarian Dr Sean Gabb’s take on ‘the Jewish question.’

The problem with anti-semitic conspiracy theories is that they involve continuous selection. Therefore, you take the fact that Karl Marx was a socialist, and overlook that he was a racist and cultural conservative. You take the fact that Mahler was a musical revolutionary, and overlook that he was a German nationalist. You wholly overlook people like Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises, or Paul Gottfried and Meyer Schiller. You also overlook how many poisonous lefties there seem to be in Israel, calling for open borders and the demotion of Jewish symbols.

Jews tend to be opinionated and vociferous. There are Jews arguing fluently on each side of every argument. You can put together a very convincing theory of Jewish subversion by selecting certain opinions of certain Jews, and ascribing these to all or most Jews. You are left with a composite Jew that may exist in a few instances, but is not representative of the Jews we meet in our everyday lives.

You could, by using the same method, but applying a different principle of selection, prove that Jews were sexually-repressed white nationalists with a tendency to convert to Roman Catholicism. You will also find examples of the resulting composite. Again, it will be unrepresentative.

The truth is that we’ve messed our own civilisation up by ourselves, and would have got where we now are even if every Jew in the world had fallen dead c.1870.

Dr Gabb’s “truth” may well be wrong, but it is presented a whole side more coherently than by alt-right goyboys whose accusations are borne more out of genuine prejudice rather than collected evidence. There are highly suspect Jews; there are highly suspect goys; many of the latter are in the alt-right.

[4] Someone on Twitter quoted Locke and Hume => The rebellious alt-right youth are all going through the Enlightenment from A to Z. They’ll be getting to d’Holbach any moment now.

The alt-right is very much a product of Enlightenment. There is no agreement within the movement concerning questions of government: many reject democracy, many do not. Some have even suggested that if all Western countries utilised Swiss-style direct democracy, we “wouldn’t be in this mess.” In fact, there is a great deal of Helvetophilia in such circles. On a related note:

[5] Actually, Alamariu is probably quite right about American political thought from Lincoln to Truman being “alt-right” by today’s standards. This should be an argument for the glaring insufficiency of the alt-right. When neo-Confederate snowflakes proudly write about “the progressive forebearers of the alt-right,” you just know someone is starved of healthy social interaction.

In [4] and [5] we see a particular glaring fallacy, a species of argumentum ad antiquitatem without any Latin to back them up in their understanding. The same goes for appeals to Plato and Aristotle, and other philosophers who end up being name-dropped in such debates. In a similar vein also to [2], peacocking extends to the inclusion of thinkers who are either completely unrelated, or ideologically the complete antithesis of ethnonationalism. Person X may have read Locke, but can he tell me anything about the context in which Locke was writing? Can they tell me the reasons why, despite the fact that Locke’s Essay on Tolerance is in fact relatively intolerant, it became a cornerstone text of liberal philosophy? Probably not.

[6] Finally, regarding the so-called “youth revolt” thesis that Alamariu’s article tries to advance.

The whole “Generation Zyklon” thing (a term Alamariu doesn’t use, but was surely thinking about) reminds me of that ’80s sitcom Family Ties with Michael J. Fox playing the Reaganite son of hippie boomer parents. All that hype about Gen X’ers and the Reagan Revolution smashing the administrative state and bringing in a restoration of locofocoism. So much for that. . .

[…]

Another issue is that contrarians being contrarians, what passes for the alt-right is intellectually balkanized into monomaniacal factions, each of them advancing various monocausal diagnoses and zany solutions to social issues, and each of them refusing to work with people who are not as devoted to their pet issue as they are.

Here’s a fact: working out, criticising Hollywood, going to church, and studying philosophy is not a particularly alt-right phenomenon. In fact, a lot of people on the left do that—I’ve met quite a few of them. Mr Almariu, in a final flourish of feathers, restates the Nietzschean mantra:

Nietzsche helps us understand the resentment that drives much of the modern so-called elite’s “globalism.” The origin of the modern Left’s as well as the neoconservatives’ vindictiveness in a feeling of resentment against a civilization they sense to be superior, but which they would like to appropriate or redefine, at times to exploit, at times to replace, whose very existence and history humiliates them, is central to understanding our condition and why the “alt-right” exists. The resentment against health and every form of natural excellence or distinction, together with the assault on Christianity, has gone a great way to forcing this most vital part of the youth into a virtuous reaction.

And as we have already proven over points [1]-[6], the reader does not need my help to realise that what they have just read is a load of —

Bottom line: Nietzsche doesn’t do any of these things.

If what Mr Almariu says happens to be true, then whither, O whither Christianity?!

The alt-right, in fairness, has a great deal of facts on its side, and there are a number of figures within it who are worthy of respect. Nevertheless, there are problems, and the reality is that the alt-right does not exist beyond the mainstream media itself; whether there is an alt-right movement or not is irrelevant. I will leave a certain gentleman (who isn’t a great deal better, but is closer still to the truth) to say the rest.

MetTh

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Ethnonationalist Angst

  1. Salty, but not very satisfying, though the Thermidor writers thought it amusing and that was really the primary motivation for writing it. Your embellishments are actually better than good chunks of the article itself, I’d say. On the other hand, “ethnonationalist angst,” boy is that a subject I keep hinting at but haven’t directly addressed yet. No, it has to wait. I’m saving it for the climax.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Alt-right podruhé – Konec nových časů

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