Commenter Ollie writes:
I have no complaint against the assertion that men are given to sacrifice, and I also find no objection to the idea that when channeled properly, this tendency can be very beneficial. The ability and will to sacrifice is often one of the primary sources of a civilization’s achievements.
However, I would make the case that the dynamo of noble sacrifice is neither a first cause, nor an inexhaustible resource. Something must exist to spark it and maintain it. I would posit that this will to sacrifice is catalyzed by a precious few types of macro and micro-cultural phenomena, including beauty, kinship, tradition, identity, and trust.
Without the elements on that list, the inborn capacity for determination and sacrifice lies dormant. I suspect those pushing the buttons on the establishment conservative propaganda machine are cognizant of this, but refuse to acknowledge it because it would give away too much – namely that they are working with the establishment left to actively undermine those elements. Instead of managing and sustainably harnessing the capacity for sacrifice, they appear to wringing out what they can from what little remains. It’s like watching someone intentionally drive a car (into oblivion) while refusing to provide it necessary oil changes and other maintenance.
Moving to the next issue you pointed out, NRx may be an elitist movement at heart, but support from a significant part of the general population is an indispensable part of any political movement’s power and viability.
The Tea Party and Occupy movements, as many populist revolts do, suffered from a lack of ideological coherence, and were accordingly divided and dispersed because of this. Exactly as you have said, they didn’t like the New Right’s (NRx’s) suggestions of what to supplant the current power structure with, likely because they are both still wedded to the egalitarian mythos underpinning that current power structure. The problem for Tea Party and Occupy however, is that while they disliked NRx’s suggestions, they hadn’t truly formulated any workable plans of their own.
In retrospect, I should have rephrased the question at the end of my previous comment. Both the out of touch nature of TPTB and the decreasing trust of the masses are readily apparent and almost one in the same when you think about it.
The real question is one of: Just how receptive is at least a physically and electorally significant portion of the general population to the ideas of NRx?
With higher general discontent and lower trust in established institutions, that receptivity grows, but is it enough to establish a functional power base?
If there is not enough support, NRx must remain an ideological backwater, subtly nudging the next generation of conservative leaders toward its ideals. If there is enough support, NRx can push to the forefront of political debate. This puts it in a dangerous but potentially advantageous position, where it will have to clarify and possibly re-conceptualize its platform for wider consumption.
Certainly the failure of the Tea Party and Occupy movements cannot be chalked up to the issues that created them simply going away. That pool of popular resentment has definitely increased. Leaders who see the value in the NRx platform will have to find a way of harnessing that reservoir without destroying the functionality of NRx concepts in the process.
First, a slight correction: the European New Right is distinctly different from neoreaction. There are some similar tendencies, but I think that the publishers who cluster around the ‘New Right’ term would like to maintain the distinction.
I would say that a large portion of the population would have trouble comprehending the ideas. A large proportion would be amenable to a return to European cultural normalcy, but most don’t understand what it would require. Most people aren’t ideological, shouldn’t be ideological, and ideology is not what moves most people. I’m not even particularly ideological, although I know what it’s like to be an ideologue.
In terms of national electoral success, that would be unlikely, and shouldn’t be given much thought at all. Pursuing that strategy misunderstands the nature of the Federal government and its inability to reform. Instead of trying to win over a political structure that has no desire to be won over or reformed, you change the shape and composition of the country instead.
Assuming that debate will carry the day is a fundamental mistake.
There was no debating the Jacobins. They had their debating partners murdered or run out of the country. The mistake that those people made was that in assessing the growing conflict as a debate and not a civil war. They brought their oratory and some money besides on the part of the aristocracy to a gunfight. Bringing words to a gunfight is not a good idea. We know that it was a revolutionary civil war, but they didn’t know that, which is why they did not act more forcefully when it could have made a difference.
Similarly, it’s pointless to debate today’s Jacobins, or to assume that condition of internal war are not coming. Instead of wasting resources on debate, instead it’s better to make explicit and covert appeals to wavering elites and sub-elites who are concerned about the instability in the American government and the increasingly erratic and hazardous nature of the American culture. Debating them just wastes time and results in your party being shot on a riverbank somewhere or near a ditch.
To the extent that debate is useful is the extent to which it persuades a sufficient number of leadership caliber people to defect from the progressive stairway to Heaven, which is really upside-down, because it leads straight to Hell.
To the extent that there is a political goal, it is to bring about successful secession. If that can’t be achieved, then it is to organize an exile on good terms.
Americans tend to identify politics with electioneering, but that’s just a tiny aspect of political action which is by no means the most important one. Since it’d be sort of zany for anti-democrats to focus entirely on building democratic consensus for anti-democracy, it’s better to seek other areas and methods.
Being small and badly-funded, the strategic approach has to be to seek and use points of leverage to achieve out-sized results relative to the input. High end people provide high leverage. Ordinary people, as important as they are in the scheme of things, are unlikely to be able to provide leveraged results. That is, unless some decide to rise to the occasion as ordinary men sometimes do.
Seek unfair advantages and exploit them as hard as possible. Press strengths against weaknesses and maneuver weak points away from the strengths of the opposition.
Populist groups like the ‘Tea Party’ tend to match weakness to strength and strength to weakness, thinking that mimicking the strategy of the opposition is the way to success. They think that they can become strong by imitating the strength of the opponent (hence all the Tea Party types who quote Alinsky and seek to use his methods for conservative political ends).
That can’t possibly result in success. That would be like the Germans building a second, crappier imitation Maginot Line to defeat the French Maginot Line. The way the Germans defeated the Maginot Line was to send something at it that could not be anticipated using a method that was thought to be impossible.
That reservoir of resentment of which Ollie speaks can be used for various ends, both good and ill.
Populist movements were more politically effective when mass military action was more effective. Masses and mobs are now politically and militarily ineffective. Employing out-dated political means that confer no advantage is a sure way to defeat.
Instead of attempting to set up a symmetrical conflict, it’s much better to develop a set of asymmetrical advantages, and then push them as far as they’ll go. People tend to think excessively in ludic terms, but nature is an open field, and unequal contests which are over in an eyeblink are the rule. Equal conflicts have to be contrived.
There’s a tendency for American conservatives to try to assemble equal, fair conflicts — which they lose, each time — and then they complain that it was unfair, appealing to the rule-book, as if there’s a referee who will call a penalty.