“Progress and civilization, religion and the ideal have closed life in a mortal circle where phantoms most grim have erected their viscid reign.” —Renzo Novatore
“Beware of those who talk much of their ‘justice.'” —Nietzsche
I have a confession to make: I can’t stand Tucker Carlson. It’s not that I disagree with him much. It’s just that…. Some evils are so ubiquitous, so predictable, that I can no longer be bothered with anyone who’s still gawking at them.
It would be difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when the 2010s alt-right merged completely into basic conservatism. It didn’t happen all at once. For me, I think the first sign came a few years back, when the tattooed, pot-bellied pastor at a boys’ church activity group I take my youngest son to told the parents (apropos of what, I can’t recall) that “Strong men make good times, good times make weak men,” etc. But there have been lots of little moments like these over the past ten years, Yarvin on Tucker being the most recent. Or when The Tim Allen Show parroted the “white people built civilization” trope, or when rumors were going around that Steve Bannon was fond of Julius Evola. And who can forget this Chestertonian slop-gob, which made quite the rounds a few years back:
It’s always sad when your comedy heroes confess to being humorless. The verbiage, the sentiment…. It’s a perfect illustration of Wilde’s definition of a cynic. Note the outrageous abuse of the word “stygian.” The Enlightenment was a milestone in the history of consciousness. Its assassins are who is lurking in wait, and they’re all so…. tiresome. Little do alt-right Twitterers realize, when they skewer the uncouthness of Marjorie Taylor Greene, that they’re looking at their own souls in the mirror.
In late 2012 I was in college, when I encountered an article on TakiMag someone had shared to Facebook. Before long, I was reading Jack Donovan’s blog, then Radix and Alternative Right. It was all so heady and subversive. The alt-right was hatched as a movement, but in the early days it really was just a thought trend, a Fight Club-style critique of corporate culture, consumerism and the ideal of progress, with a hefty portion of cheeky racism thrown in almost as a litmus test of iconoclasm. After all, what other taboos are there left to break? But the sense of alienation it spoke to was so raw, and the venue it emerged in so incompatible with the catharsis of being punched in the face, that before long the alt-right went from skewering puritanism to practicing it. The moment of clarity for me came in 2013 when an alt-right page on Facebook shared a Counter Currents article condemning the Kansas City JCC shooter, but purely for tactical reasons, “optics” and the like. It wasn’t long before the alt-right became a Nuremberg rally, just another ring-around the fetid altar of anti-semitism—a die-hard habit and a rock-bottom that can only be dug deeper, because one cannot climb out of it.
That’s the thing about fascism: it’s all bark. Whereas Zionism started out with great feats of daring against precipitous odds, only to degenerate into a liberal consumer culture and a victimology, Nazism started out with bawdy talk and broken glass, only to take on precipitous odds that its ersatz heroism was insufficient to overcome—Tolkien’s “ruddy little ignoramuses,” stroked with assurances of their congenital fortitude, morality, and entitlement.
But we shouldn’t be too hard on the Nazis. After all, the complexity of nature and of human life is lost on ideologues, who are always in the vanguard of far dimmer wits—the man with one eye, leading the proverbial blind. For as I have sung many a time in the shower:
When one reflects how necessary it is to the great majority that there be regulations to restrain them from without and hold them fast, and to what extent control, or, in a higher sense, slavery, is the one and only condition which makes for the well-being of the weak-willed man, and especially woman, then one at once understands conviction and ‘faith.’ To the man with convictions they are his backbone. To avoid seeing many things, to be impartial about nothing, to be a party man through and through, to estimate all values strictly and infallibly—these are conditions necessary to the existence of such a man. But by the same token they are antagonists of the truthful man—of the truth…. The believer is not free to answer the question, ‘true’ or ‘false,’ according to the dictates of his own conscience: integrity on this point would work his instant downfall. The pathological limitations of his vision turn the man of convictions into a fanatic—Savonarola, Luther, Rousseau, Robespierre, Saint-Simon—these types stand in opposition to the strong, emancipated spirit. But the grandiose attitudes of these sick intellects, these intellectual epileptics, are of influence upon the great masses—fanatics are picturesque, and mankind prefers observing poses to listening to reasons.
The party-men of the alt-right are on trial this week, in a federal court in Virginia, and things look to be going badly for them. Little do they (and their opponents) realize that they’ve already won. They got what they wanted—they radicalized the normies. Conservatism in 2021 is completely isolationist. Jews are about as popular as they were in 1937. Old-time religion is enjoying a resurgence. The Great Replacement is on Fox primetime. Everything is “based.” Alt-right memes and tropes are everywhere among normie conservatives and Trumpists, who in 2021 are finally as alienated as the readers of Radix were in 2012. The only problem is, they’re no less stupid for having been radicalized. The circus of American public life absorbed these poison darts, and carried on. The vanguard led its child army to the Holy City, and the windswept streets whispered “Rosebud” (and a promo code for MyPillow. Thanks, Jack Posobiec.)
Pay careful attention. I say this as a Pale Horse-before-it-was-cool conspiracy theorist: such an outcome is far, far beyond the abilities of Dr. Woland, Project Monarch, or the Elders of Zion. It depends on the constitution of the human creature—and his apotheosis, the American—something that can only be ascribed to the sick sense of humor of God Almighty. The problem was not hatched in a Prague cemetery, it was ordered loud and clear with a Dr. Pepper and a large fry.
Some carnival barker called Darren Beattie—a self-styled genius whose star is rising among right wingers, because they lack all sense of style—proposes that the antidote to left-wing moral fervor is right-wing moral fervor:
Juxtapose the slogan ‘Silence is violence’ with ‘Don’t tread on me.’ ‘Silence is violence’ is morally imperialist, and it will always beat ‘Don’t tread on me,’ and [this] registers the fact that the left, for all its faults, has the moral high ground, and that’s why they win. And so, until Republicans can be just as confident in being protectors of civilization against barbarism and destruction and defend civilization as such with the same kind of moral fervor that the left attempts to tear it down [using] words like ‘racism’…. Until they’re prepared to do that, they will lose. And so that’s the moral framework, and having the moral high ground gives you the confidence to hold frame in a discussion.
Where to begin with these brain contusions? The Republicans as “defenders of civilization”! “Civilization” is a buzzword, an affliction to which its sufferers apply the snake oil of moralism the way a junkie uses smack. This right wing junkie hates the left because the left has better smack. He needs the good stuff because getting help is out of the question—he cannot work for a living, he’s too far gone. “I’ll see your AOC and raise you a Father Coughlin and a No Nut November.” Is public discourse not insufferable enough? Who that lived through the summer of George Floyd could possibly want more moralism? This lunatic’s will to power is a game of blackmail anybody’s mother-in-law could beat him at, yet he intends to “defend civilization” with it. Sad!
Here is what this Beattie’s “moral high ground” looks like in practice:
The French and Indian War? Why not the Battle of Thermopylae? These dimwit spergs are everywhere now, with nothing to say for themselves but this Ancestry.com trivia. Outhouse intellectuals, consumer dissidents and high school football has-been dad bods who’ve learned the word “oligarchy.” The oligarchs couldn’t wish for choicer enemies, Beattie’s moral rectitude is the extent of their power:
Has the baggy-eyed soul of Spiro Agnew acquired a new flesh suit? The awakened Saxon would like to please speak to a manager. This loyalty-oath fetishist thinks the military is too woke because he doesn’t realize that Nietzsche’s “regulations to restrain him from without and hold him fast” were already gayer than a rubber dolphin. That’s why my sole loyalty is to my family and friends, and to timeless principals. I wouldn’t waste a drop of it on ideology, or institutions, or on making common cause with patriotic louts and moralfags against woke fairies and loons. If our rights don’t derive from government, but from God, then why this obsession with power? I don’t know about you, but my rights derive from me, and I don’t give a fuck what God or America has to say about it.