5 to 9 ConservatismGreg Johnson
German translation here
Years ago, the friend who had the most influence on my awakening on race and the Jewish question offered a quite clarifying distinction between “9 to 5” and “5 to 9” conservatism.
The 9 to 5 conservatives take their name from the standard 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. work day. These conservatives focus on the economic realm. They wish to preserve economic freedom from government interference. They also focus on cutting taxes and resisting new taxes, so that productive people can keep more of the fruits of their labor. 9 to 5 conservatism, in short, is just economic liberalism. Its most ideologically pure advocates in America today are libertarians and the Tea Party.
5 to 9 conservatives take their name from the rest of the day. They focus on preserving the non-economic realms of life: the family, civil society, religion, culture, history, the environment, etc.
Many 5 to 9 conservatives are actually political liberals. For instance, environmentalists, historical preservationists, and promoters of walkable communities, mixed-used development, human-scale architecture, and public spaces are all objectively conservatives of the 5 to 9 variety (regardless of any genuinely liberal positions they might also hold). But politically they tend to be left-of-center and at odds with the commercial interests championed by 9 to 5 conservatives.
There is good reason why the two kinds of conservatives are at loggerheads. Unlimited economic freedom tends to corrode the other realms of society. The best way to appreciate this is to consider working hours. In America today, we do not have a 9 to 5 economy. We have a 24/7 economy.
As a bohemian intellectual, I can’t complain about this. I find it very convenient to be able to go out at 4:00 am to buy a carton of milk from a meth-zombie. Americans living in Germany are shocked that most stores are closed by 6:00 pm and are not open at all on weekends. It forces them to actually plan ahead, one of the many faculties that American life has allowed to grow slack.
The reason why Germany and other countries regulate the hours of businesses is not because they are “socialists” or “liberals.” It is because they are 5 to 9 conservatives. They realize that shop clerks have friends and families and communities. Work days are regulated so that more people can spend the 5 to 9 hours, and weekends, with their families and friends. Yes, such laws inconvenience us insofar as we are consumers. But we are more than consumers. We have families, friends, communities. Or we should have them.
Why does the government have to get involved? Say that there are no laws regulating the hours of retail establishments. If one firm decides they will extend their evening hours to increase their market share, others will be pressured to follow. Eventually, through the magic of the marketplace, we will compete our way into a 24/7 economy, in which there will be entire industries where the entry level jobs often taken by young people who have children (or should have them) are on aptly-named “graveyard” shifts.
From a social point of view, this is a profoundly destructive development. And from an economic point of view, it is destructive too, since the same amount of milk is sold in a 24 hour day as would be sold in a 10 hour day, yet all are forced to keep the lights on and the buildings manned 24/7 lest they lose their market share.
F. Roger Devlin uses an excellent analogy to illustrate the nature of destructive competition. Imagine you are seated at a sports event. It might be to your advantage to stand up to see an exciting play. But if one person stands, then others will be forced to stand as well. Eventually, everyone will be standing, so the advantage to any individual of standing will be erased. Everyone will have just as good a view of the game as when they started, but they will all be less comfortable . . . because they are standing. The only way to stop this sort of destructive competition is for people in authority to legislate and enforce rules against it. The same goes for the economic realm.
The idea of 5 to 9 conservatism is useful to White Nationalists, because we are 5 to 9 conservatives ourselves. After all, we are concerned to preserve our race, and we are willing to do battle with the 9 to 5 conservatives who are destroying us by importing non-white labor to take white jobs, or exporting white jobs to non-white countries.
The distinction between 5 to 9 and 9 to 5 conservatism is also helpful for envisioning new political alliances—and breaking up existing ones. In America today, the major political parties are coalitions, both of which include significant numbers of 5 to 9 conservatives.
Among Republicans, the 5 to 9 conservatives tend to be religious conservatives and traditionalists. Among Democrats, the 5 to 9 conservatives tend to be environmentalists, consumer advocates, historical preservationists, new urbanists, and the like.
In both parties, the 5 to 9 conservatives tend to be overwhelmingly white. Furthermore, in both parties, 5 to 9 conservatives are exploited by party leaders for their votes. Finally, in the end, 5 to 9 conservative interests are vetoed by the leaders of the major parties, because their primary focus is the promotion of socially corrosive ideologies: economic liberalism for the Republicans, social liberalism for the Democrats. It would be enormously subversive/productive if 5 to 9 conservatives could free themselves from the corrosive ideology of liberalism, whether of the left or the right.
It would be interesting to bring together 5 to 9 conservatives from across the political spectrum to begin a dialogue. I think they would discover that they have a lot more in common than they think. It is a conversation in which we White Nationalists need to take part. We need to be there to help bring their implicit whiteness to full consciousness. We must show them that their values are the products of homogeneous white communities and cannot be preserved without them. We need to explain to them that the leaders of the major parties are exploiting and betraying them. And we cannot neglect to explain to them why both parties pursue Jewish interests at the expense of white interests.
It is also important to help them understand that before the emergence of the modern aberrations of economic and political liberalism, the mainstream of Western political thought from Aristotle through the American Founders recognized that a free society requires private property broadly distributed and stably possessed, and that to achieve this end, a certain amount of economic regulation is necessary.
In the end, White Nationalists are more than mere conservatives, for although a lot of what we want can be captured by the idea of 5 to 9 conservatism, it is not enough. From my Nietzschean/Spenglerian point of view, mere conservatism is not really an alternative to decadence. Instead, it is a form of decadence, for a healthy organism does not merely preserve or repeat the past, but carries it forward and transforms it creatively. But politically speaking, conservatism comes first, since our race needs to survive before we can worry about the luxury of self-perfection.
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Excellent articule. Very useful terminology, indeed, the idea of 5-9/9-5 conservatism.
With regards to your last paragraph: The German conservative revolutionary Arthur Müller van der Bruck said that “The task of a conservative is to create values worth preserving.”
State regulation and restriction of working hours and conditions, where practical, is vital to the social well being of people in any civilized society. Economic deregulation (and the consequent human exploitation it entails), and the decline in the social life of families, are directly observable. This is especially so in industries such as transportation, where pay and hours of service are egregiously erratic. We pay a price for everything in life, and since we labor under one form of regulatory constraint, or another, in any society, anything that normalizes and improves the quality of life should be looked upon favorably. Considering all of the other nation wrecking factors at work in our current dysfunctional society, this issue may appear insignificant, but, ideally, social balance would be the key in achieving any kind of real future White national solidarity, IMHO.
Greg, If I understand what you are saying this early in the morning . Unlimited economic freedom tends to corrode the other realms of society. The best way to appreciate this is to consider working hours. In America today, we do not have a 9 to 5 economy. We have a 24/7 economy. then you are absolutely right for the government offices are only open 9 to 5 and closed on Sundays. As a shift worker myself I always have a secret laugh at those “non -Christians” accepting the super stat pay for working Christmas Day- i only do it because I like to help people:). The 24/7 economy is as bad as women in the work force for undermining our way of life. If I am wrong then the government offices will go 24/7 like the rest of us – but they are not that dumb!
Here we have an LA black teacher canned for advocating that the jew bankers be expelled!
I liked this article very much, for it address an area of political space or cultural space that White nationalists can and should appeal to. The position of most “5 to 9 conservatives” is that of Alain de Benoist, insofar as they are for a society with markets and against a market society.
Yet again, White Republican bores to the essence.
“… A society WITH markets, and against a market society”
We have become accustomed to 24/7/365 non-stop MARKETS as the essence of what “being” in society is all about. Our becoming accustomed to this, and even relying on it for our convenience, is an indication that we may have lost the ability to understand what a society WITH markets even looks like.
I think the idea itself of “conservatism” applied to 9/5 conservatives should be criticized: the market itself destroy everything, including traditional entrepreneurship (big firms crushing small ones, then big firms being crushed by Wall Street). Hence the theoretical and political incapacity of libertarian conservatives: the values they stand for (on a moral point of view) are precisely jeopardized by the market, since it always needs more to develop and expend itself (see Alain de Benoist’s critics of the idea of economic growth).
In fact, free market liberalism and social liberalism both originate from the same matrix: individuals are just who they want to be, they are not determined by society and if the latter tries to influence them, it’s either necessarily bad (if you’re a leftist) or a free choice of the individuals to be influenced (if you’re a right-winger). The main goal of the New Right is precisely to stand in-between and demonstrates how these two parties are the two sides of the same coin (and Christopher Lasch could be quite handy in doing so or, if you read French, Jean-Claude Michéa).
What books by Jean-Claude Michéa would you recommend to someone unfamiliar with his work? He appears to have written many works on many things, and it’s impossible to categorize and rank his works without reading them.
I’m curious about Michéa’s work on George Orwell as a Tory anarchist.
Just to be clear with that: Michéa is a radical leftist. His main influences are Christopher Lasch, Marx (only his critics against capitalism) and Orwell (especially the idea of “common decency” as the moral code for politics, a code common people already have).
Here’s a brief guide to Michéa’s works (I haven’t read all of them):
Books on Orwell:
*”Orwell, anarchiste tory” (Orwell, tory anarchist)
*”Orwell éducateur” (Orwell as a teacher)
Michéa’s thesis about Orwell is that he was an anarchist close to “moral conservatism” of ordinary people; Orwell wasn’t like today anarchists who want to destroy every authority just because they feel it’s the thing to do, but in order to become a rigid conservative, Orwell developed what he called “common decency”, a moral not based on religious or ethical values, but on virtues everyone can understand such as generosity, respect, etc. in a nutshell everything we need to live in a decent society.
*”Les Intellectuels, le peuple et le ballon rond” (Intellectuals, people and soccer)
In this one, Michéa (who loves soccer and even trains a team) criticizes intellectuals (even those of the Left) who either hate soccer because it’s popular, or who are unable to understand the logic common people see in this sport and who then pervert soccer. I think there’s even a critic of how soccer was itself corrupted by the finance world who turned it into a big spectacular event, forgetting its core values.
*”L’Enseignement de l’ignorance et ses conditions modernes” (The Teaching of Ignorance and its modern conditions)
Michéa’s takes a stand against leftist theories of education which claim to liberate children but indeed make him a market slave (classical knowledge is changed for practical knowledge, child is taught that his desires are the most important thing in the world and thus becomes a perfect consumer, etc.).
*”Impasse Adam Smith. Brèves remarques sur l’impossibilité de dépasser le capitalisme sur sa gauche”
(Adam Smith Deadend. Brief notes on the impossibility to
capitalism on its left)
*”L’Empire du moindre mal : essai sur la civilisation libérale” (Lesser evil Empire: essay on the liberal civilisation)
*”La double pensée. Retour sur la question libérale” (Doublethink. Return on the liberal question)
Those three books are his philosophical critics of Liberalism, both its economical and cultural sides ; you can read them in the order you want, but I think it’s easier to respect the order (just because the next book is always an extension of the one before). These are definitively the books to read if you’re fluent in French and wand to understand Michéa’s whole thought. These aren’t philosophical treatises, but collection of articles and interviews (with notes added) so that you don’t have to read these with an utter calm around you, like if you were reading Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit. Michéa demonstrates that political and cultural liberalisms are connected to economical liberalism and that no matter how hard you try, you can’t separate both (so pseudo-radical thinkers or artists will always be “useful fools” of capitalism as Lenin would have said). By the way, and though Michéa doesn’t speak about it since his interest is to revive socialism, his whole demonstration also show that you can’t be a conservative and a free-market supporter (for example: if you’re a conservative libertarian, how can you oppose to abortion, since you’d impede on individuals liberties by doing so)
*”Les Valeurs de l’homme contemporain” (with Alain Finkielkraut and Pascal Bruckner) (Values of contemporary man)
I have no clue what this book is about, but since the two co-authors are blatant Zionists (though Finkielkraut makes some brilliant points sometimes), I don’t think I need to explain (plus the title says much of it).
*”Le complexe d’Orphée : La Gauche, les gens ordinaires et la religion du progrès” (Orphea’s complexe: the Left, ordinary people and the religion of progress)
Michéa’s latest book. I haven’t read it yet, but according to reviews, Michéa’s demonstrates how the Left abandoned moral (and today, all leftists claimed to be “provocative” when they’re simply being stupid, their individual rebellion being manufactured through rock’n’roll and Hollywood industries) and why this abandon has something to do with the conversion of the early socialists to the religion of progress the Left always worshipped (the 9/5 conservatives don’t call it Progress but Growth, but in the end it’s the same thing that destroy traditional groups, cultures and religions).
Note that most of his books aren’t expensive (less than $10), they’re written in understandable French and not technocratic language (except a few lines maybe), they are approximatively 200 pages long, and the notes can be read like being parts of a section, or as a small collection of independent thoughts.
Hope this will help you.
Thank you for your extremely comprehensive reply concerning Jean-Claude Michéa’s works. I appreciate the time and effort that you put into it. I must also compliment you on your command of English.
Only one of Michéa’s works has been translated into English, namely The Realm of Lesser Evil, but I can read French reasonably well.
Would it be fair to say that Michéa’s socialism is more populist than statist? This would be in keeping with the influence of George Orwell and Christopher Lasch.
I’m sympathetic to the kind of socialism that Arnaud Imatz described in Par-delà droite et gauche (Paris: Godefroy de Bouillon, 2002), p. 151:
“For Proudhon, Sorel, Péguy, the predominance of economic ideas not only has the effect of obscuring the moral law, but also of corrupting political principles. Respect for the elderly, for parents, for children, for women, for the family, for the home, for oneself, respect for all the superiorities, for all the traditions, the dominating sentiment of voluntary sacrifices for the family and the community, are at the heart of their preoccupations. For them, true socialism is not at all a school of petty bourgeois happiness, but a way of life, a manner of regaining the sense of honor, of spiritual nobility, of heroism, and of the sublime. The future of man remains unpredictable and no doctrine can determine it in advance. To develop individual strength of character, the sense of collective responsibility and courage, such must be the primary objectives of an authentic socialism, for nothing is done without collective solidarity and effort.”
Thank you for your compliments but it only took me a few minutes. As for my command of English, I’m afraid I still have some work to do since I realized I omitted a word in my previous message (“… but in order to AVOID becomING a rigid conservative…”)
The Realm of Lesser Evil is probably his most profound work on liberalism among his trilogy (the final book was disappointing). If you don’t read French, this is definitively the book to read to understand what I meant before.
Michéa’s definitively an anarchist, quoting anthropologist Pierre Clastres’ book entitled La société contre l’État (Society versus State) all the time, and claiming the influence of Proudhon and Pierre Leroux on him (like Alain de Benoist does, en passant). Though Michéa doesn’t claim to be a populist like Lasch did, he considered himself like a “radical democrat”, but in the end that’s pretty much the same thing. Michéa’s always opposing the “common decency” of ordinary people versus the synthetic and absurd ethic of the “hyperclass”, an ethic completely contradictory (in the case of left liberalism) or inhuman (in the case of right liberalism).
I haven’t read Imatz’s book (I will), but I know he’s quite influenced by national-unionism (his book on Jose Antonio Primo de Riveira has been acclaimed by Zeev Sternhell, Dominique Venner or Alain de Benoist). Though Michéa’s quite shy on socialism has a mean to reinstitute values Imatz points at (he mentions them from time to time in a footnote or by quoting Orwell), I think his ideal is quite similar to ours, but he’ll never admit it. The idea of criticizing the economy as being today’s most influential sphere is indeed the key to both understanding how the system works and how we can save ourselves from it. This criticism is developed by the décroissance (degrowth) movement in France and Italy and Alain de Benoist joined them in the late 90s-early 2000s.
Arnaud Imatz’s Par-delà droite et gauche is a highly comprehensive and stimulating study of “third way” or “non-conformist” thought, and I can highly recommend it. The second edition has the subtitle: “Histoire de la grande peur récurrente des bien-pensants.” It doesn’t appear to be listed at the website of Godefroy de Bouillon, but copies might still be available from Libre-Diffusion or Duquesne Diffusion. Imatz’s book on José Antonio Primo de Rivera definitely looks interesting.
The relationship between authority and liberty, between the state and society, is something I’ve been thinking about. Subsidiarity is a very important idea here.
Are there any particular works by Serge Latouche on décroissance that you can recommend? He has written many works. I don’t know which would be the best introduction to or summary of his work. I suspect that there is a considerable amount of repetition in his works.
I’m aware that Alain de Benoist has written a short book on décroissance. Some leftist bigots seem to have regarded his interest in ecology as some kind of fascist entryism.
I’m sympathetic to the critiques of economic growth made by thinkers such as Herman E. Daly and William Ophuls. As Ophuls wrote: “The essential problem of modern political economy is that it is limitless — it has no criterion of sufficiency, no appointed end, no climax toward which it aims. Since nothing limits it, economic growth must end in a grotesque hypertrophy that paradoxically intensifies scarcity over the long term.” Such growth is aimless, formless, reckless, and ruinous. It conceives of wealth and welfare in purely monetary terms. It would be better for man “to work with craft and care and art to create modes of existence that permit him to live ‘wisely and agreeably and well’ within the limits imposed by nature, not in defiance of them.”
If you’re interested in the décroissance movement, I can recommend Latouche’s book “Le pari de la décroissance” (2006) which explains what the décroissance is (and what it’s not). I’m not very familiar with Latouche’s work, but I know he wrote a small treaty on décroissance (Petit traité de la décroissance sereine, Ed. Mille et Une Nuits, 2007), but I haven’t read it.
Yes, Alain de Benoist triggered some epidermic reactions within the PC green leftists who don’t even understand how deeply conservative ecology is (they should definitively read Greg Johnson’s article). Here are also some texts by Alain de Benoist on décroissance and ecology:
Numerous other texts by Alain de Benoist, on other subjects, can be found in various European languages on this site:
Textes d’actualité –> texts on current events
Textes d’orientation –> General essays
Entretiens –> Interviews
Livres complets –> Complete books (you’d have to pay for reading)
And if you’re interested in man’s relation to nature on a traditional point of view, I highly recommend Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s book “Man and Nature” as it explains how Christianity, Islam, Taoism & Native Americans see nature as something man must respect (be it Mother Nature or God’s Creation).
If everyone works 9-5, and stores open 9-5, when are people supposed to go shopping? I’m genuinely curious.
Stay at home wives would do the shopping.
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