Counter-terrorism, as it’s usually described, is usually a reactive rather than a preventative action.
When a terror group conducts an assassination or a bombing, the secret police use their lists to round up all the people that they’ve been monitoring, under the theory that those kinds of retributions keep the political situation from getting out of control.
There’s a lot that’s positive about this, but it’s much more important to prevent conditions from developing that facilitate terrorism.
Terror is just the use of force — or threats of force — against civilians to achieve political objectives. All states and state-like political entities use terror to differing degrees. We call leaders who use terror as a first resort ‘tyrants.’
Moldbug argues that right-wing terrorism is almost always counter-productive, owing to his conception of the Right meaning Order. I would take it another step, and say that it’s the support of the Divine Order of things, rather than just any order, which is insufficiently discriminatory.
On the other hand, someone like Erik von Kuenelt-Leddihn sees little wrong with the assassination of tyrants, or with the proceedings of just wars more generally, which may involve some terrorizing here and there. There needs to be some caution applied to evaluating these arguments, but generally speaking, the use of terror suits the demonic ends of leftism far better than it serves to create order.
The need for counter-terror is a sign of a weak and unstable sovereign, because it’s incapable of deterring terrorist actions, or of managing the polity well enough that many residents have strong motives to conduct terrorist attacks.
Counter-terror can only be reactive, rather than preventative — because surveillance needs to be undetected to be effective, any actions taken on the basis of surveillance must be very quick, or they must be reactive. Most of the time, it’s reactive, and too slow, besides, no matter how pervasive the surveillance — because to surveil effectively, you must forsake the ability to act rapidly.
We should say that, for example, the Saudi attacks on American buildings in 9/11/2001 were mostly effective in advancing Saudi objectives in the Middle East, and quite effective at bringing the US into closer cooperation with the Saudi monarchy, while laying blame on an inchoate concept called ‘Al Qaeda’ along with scattered individuals rather than the very real Saudi terror network connected to that monarchy. The US was overjoyed to appease the Saudis and to even fight wars on behalf of that country, openly genuflecting to Saudi interests and suppressing most of the criticism of that special relationship within the American intelligence establishment and elsewhere.
When those wars didn’t go quite as well as the Saudis might have needed, we saw the rise of the Islamic State, which has been serving the needs of the Saudis better than the Americans could have, and probably at a lower price besides.
The need for domestic counter-terror is a confession of weakness by the state that engages in it.
While there’s been a lot of quibbling over the difficulty that states have in opposing non-state rivals since 2001, the reality is that Americans have just refused to fight the states which are really sponsoring those ‘non-state actors’ — Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, both of which the US subsidizes and protects. The danger is not the ‘non-state actors,’ but the unwillingness of the American democratic state to break its moronic alliances and take the appropriate action in the interests of the country that that state rules over.
Instead, what the US did was continue to permit the influence and pressure from these Islamic states, continue to permit free flow of population from these states, while suppressing the cultural hostility to Islam that might have made it more challenging for those terror groups to operate in the West. Some combination of the Saudi and Israeli lobbies went manic in their zeal to push the US this way and that way after 2001, creating some dramatic instabilities which are causing the entire global system to shudder under stress.
To jump away from the Islamic topic, we should consider the problem of terrorism to not be about terrorism, but rather as a symptom of weakness in a state.
American analysts are quick to point the finger at primitive countries like Afghanistan for being unable to control terrorism within their own borders, but perhaps we could see this as a projection by the Americans of their own serious inabilities to control domestic terror, along with the incapacity to cut its way out of its own entangling alliances.
If we consider that terrorist chaos has engulfed the state to the south of the US for the last decade — in part fueled by chaotic US policies — and that terrorism has become a fact of life in many US cities since the early 1970s — that it’s really the weakness of the American state, and its consequent reliance on counter-terror as a containment strategy, that we should be much more concerned about.
The broader American right, especially after 2001, became enamored with the romantic idea of counter-terrorism. They didn’t want to examine the diplomatic relationships harming American interests. They weren’t interested in questioning the wisdom of multiculturalism, mass immigration, or of the military risks related to excessive reliance on global trade. Instead, they placed their faith in the capacity of heroic retaliation, guided by surveillance, to deter the attacks which a hollowing state attracts upon civilians.
Unfortunately for ordinary Americans, the weakness and incoherence of the American state can’t be resolved by counter-terror, which is itself a tool that only weakening states need to turn to.
A stronger state fights a counter-revolution until the sources of those terrorist actions have been scourged from the territory, and the links to foreign states instigating those attacks have been severed. Behind every ‘non-state actor’ is usually a state — the former just being proxies in almost every case.
So, quoting from Moldbug on suitability of ‘activism’ as a tool of the right:
A restoration of traditional, pre-liberal or even pre-Christian Norway is a herculean task of social and political engineering. It cannot possibly be carried on without absolute sovereignty. Indeed, the task of eradicating liberal institutions and liberal culture in Norway, though tremendous (and itself requiring absolute sovereignty), pales before the much more difficult task of recreating a genuine Norwegian society that isn’t a ridiculous theme-park joke.
The idea that any incremental political change, achieved by any sort of “activism” (from mass whining to mass murder), can advance this project in any way at all, is inherently retarded. It’s as if you wanted to replace your horse with a BMW, so you start by cutting off one of your horse’s hooves and whittling it into a crude, wheel-like disc.
Rather, any significant regime change can happen only in one step. The stable must become a garage. There is no way to have a combined stable and garage, which contains a means of transportation which is half a horse and half a BMW. There is no way to have a Norway which is half communist and half Crusader, let alone 99.9% communist and 0.1% Crusader.
Furthermore, it’s very hard to imagine any successful regime change which involves killing, imprisoning, deporting or otherwise liquidating the former ruling elite. You’d certainly have to bump off a lot more Young Pioneers if you want to eradicate Norwegian communism this way. I will certainly concede that it is theoretically possible to conduct regime change via aristocide, if you’re going to be really thorough about the matter. But think of the impact on the gene pool. Does Norway really need a Pol Pot?
Rather, if you’re going to change Norway into something new, you need the present ruling class of Norway to join and follow you. Or at least, you’ll need their children. Rape is beta. Seduction is alpha. Don’t slaughter the youth camp – recruit the youth camp.
Decapitating or disenfranchising the ruling elite is a great way to stunt your country for many generations, and to make the country vulnerable to foreign predation for what could last centuries. Domestic predation might be bad, but it’s got nothing on subordination to a foreign power.
So, it’s unwise to consider terrorism itself as an independent phenomenon. Terrorism is most like an opportunistic infection — because the state is unable to hold on to its sovereign authority throughout its territory, others can take it from them when it suits them, as we see in cities like Baltimore and Detroit, when even relatively weak mobile bandits have been able to cause substantial breakdowns in civil authority in what were world-class cities in the mid-20th century.
The tendency of the right to believe in the power of activism and ‘heroic’ retaliations against terror should be curbed. So also should it abandon the leftist fantasy of being capable of ‘reforming’ its implacable enemies, rather than annihilating them, or at least weakening them to the point where they’re incapable of fighting back for centuries. Reforming enemies is just a nicer-sounding word for appeasing them. Enemies should be either destroyed or deterred — not fed.
In the same way, the American right tends to support ‘heroic’ drug-warriors, who attempt to curb the bad effects of multiculturalism and social breakdown through raw force and espionage — when both more raw force and a stronger social order are what’s needed to prevent criminal gangs from forming in the first place.
These aren’t really matters of putting into place wise policies or passing new laws, but a fight for the continued independence and liberty (as classically understood) of our civilization, or what’s left of it.