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Beyond the Spectrum

2,564 words

At the risk of courting redundancy, I would like to submit a few observations on the “left-right political spectrum” which has in late years been the subject of much debate in our quarters, and not only in our quarters. It is indeed everywhere increasingly felt that there is something about this old dichotomy which does not quite “fit” our times.

To name but a few of the most celebrated examples of its shortcomings: it fails to give consistent account for certain historical phenomena, like National Socialism and Fascism, as well as certain exceedingly contemporary phenomena, like the rise of the Alt Right and White Nationalism. As these political forms appear to adopt elements of both sides of the traditional spectrum, they seem to defy being plotted upon it. The mere existence of this difficulty is already very telling, for it indicates that something has shifted in the historical ground beneath us which it would be well for us to comprehend. And such comprehension clearly cannot come from the artificial reworking of an inherently inadequate scheme.

Once one perceives the limitations of the traditional spectrum, the temptation arises to abandon it altogether as obsolete. This temptation should be resisted. Simply because the “left-right” spectrum is not universally applicable to all political forms and ideas does not mean it is wholly without merit. More specifically, analysis of its proper scope can be greatly informative for the New Right, for it can help us to account for numerous salient features of post-Enlightenment politics which are not always easy to explain. More than that, it can aid us in more thoroughly comprehending our own relation to to those same politics.

In a recent and most insightful essay published here at Counter-Currents, Quintilian has justly noted the historically relative nature of the left-right division. To my mind, proper awareness of the origins of this spectrum must indeed be the root of any attempt to comprehend it. As is known (and indeed as anyone may learn even on Wikipedia) the terms “left” and “right” owe their genesis to nothing more than an historical accident: on the eve of the French Revolution, as the forces of subversion were gnawing at the very foot of the throne, it became the practice of those loyal to the King to gather at the right of the National Assembly. These were the same loyalists, it goes without saying, who were later exiled and massacred en masse during the Terror. That surely forms an inauspicious beginning for all subsequent adhesion to the “right,” and we shall have occasion to consider this fact in greater depth.

It is apparent that those who subsequently adopted the term “right,” or to whom that term was applied, were not supporters of the crown per se, for in most places there were no longer any crowns to support. The concept was slowly transformed; the “right” became synonymous with any attempt to preserve the “here and now” against the efforts of the left to upheave the same. The “right” has therefore from the first been associated with resistance—or, as it is commonly put, conservation—and the left with change—or, as it likes to call it, progress. For the same reason, one associates the right with “reaction” and the left with “revolution.” The very term “conservation” is revelatory; for it supposes simple adherence to the status quo, however “progressed” that status quo might objectively be. The conservative takes his bearings, not by any transcendent or super-historical values, but rather by some more or less provincial “tradition” which is arbitrarily posited as the standard. And because this entire process has historically emerged within modern political forms, we are necessarily speaking of an effort to conserve a given phase of Enlightenment development, which therefore contains within it the germ of the specifically Enlightenment disease of “progressiveness.”

The natural long-term consequences of this state of affairs become appallingly evident in retrospect. The “conservative” from the very first has yielded the principle to the left, and for that reason cannot in any legitimate way resist the rising tide. The left moves ever confidently forward toward its ideal; the right draws back in mere partial negation of the same. And as ever in the conflict between those who proceed out of an active disposition, and those who react merely out of resistance and mistrust, the overarching historical movement of the latest centuries has unambiguously favored the “affirmative” side, the left.

This permits us to understand several of the most notable features of the contemporary right. First of all, its stunning inability to resist, to hold its ground, to oppose change. This failure is not entirely due to the particular vices of our contemporary “cuckservatives” (though we should be the last to deny their vices); it is in fact more fundamentally due to a contradiction inbuilt in the very concept of “conservation.” The conservative is none other that man who voluntarily adopts modernity halfway, only to rest stupefied when others carry what he himself has prepared to its natural conclusion.

More: it is a subject of continual marvelment amongst us that the left should be so much less divisive than the “right.” The Communists are but seldom condemned by moderate leftists, while our more moderate conservative brethren show absolutely no scruples in “punching right” and denouncing us at every turn. But given the observations above, we at once perceive the reason for this. In truth, those are no “brethren” to us at all, for they are united to us at most in negation of the left, but never in affirmation of a positive political vision. We reject the very social and political forms which the “conservative” of the conventional right would like most to “conserve”; we aim at a society which would perforce supplant those forms. Far from belonging to the “same side as them,” as one is led to expect by the monodimensional left-right spectrum, we are in fact contestants for the same ground. It is no accident then that so much of our harshest critique should be directed against them, and it is not in the least surprising that they should so furiously resist us—as is indeed their modus operandi. The path to the New Right is not via conservationbut conversion.

Numerous attempts have been made to preserve the purportedly universal validity of the left-right spectrum by refurbishing or reinterpreting it. All such attempts, it seems to me, neglect the historically relative nature of the spectrum, and for this reason most of them smack of blatant artificiality. One of the most effective of these attempts (because it keeps nearest the phenomena) comes by asserting that the root conflict between the the left and the right is over the question of equality: by this account, the left embraces human equality, and the right rejects it. This explains why Fascism and National Socialism, for instance, which evidently have nothing whatever in common with, say, American Republicans or European Social Democrats, are grouped together with these milder forms on a single side of the spectrum.

There is no doubt that this interpretation eliminates numerous difficulties. Nonetheless, it seems to me much more valid as an explanation for the left than for the conventional right; for that right has always been, from any supra-Occidental vantage, a hodgepodge affair, irreducible to any single idea or principle. I do not know, for instance, how opposition to abortion, support for the freedom to bear arms, or insistence on equality before the law—all of which have been in various places and times strongly associated with the political right—have anything to do with hierarchy, or in any way challenge the doctrine of equality. In many definite cases the political right has based its ideas and its policies on nothing but the idea of a radical human equality à la Christianity. And indeed, the “far” or “extreme” right has often been associated with religious fundamentalism, which of course has nothing at all to do with Fascism or National Socialism. Thus even by this interpretation one must still explain why the right should be so heterogeneous compared to the left.

Account can be given for this, but only if we are willing to posit that the “left-right spectrum,” far from representing a universal scale of political thought, is in fact merely the description of specifically modern politics. The left is nothing but the continuation of Enlightenment currents, which are indeed fundamentally egalitarian. The conventional right on the other hand represents simple resistance to the left, and the forms of that resistance have naturally depended on historical and geographical contingencies. The conventional right therefore has never possessed any universally defining characteristic, if not the abstract and essentially variable principle of “conservation.” The conventional right cannot be said to embrace “hierarchy” or “anti-egalitarianism” save as these ideas happen to coincide with local traditions. This lack of overarching principle is indeed yet another reason the right has historically been weaker than the left, and why it has continued to cede ground to the same up to the present day.

If we see the “left” and the “right” as essentially modern terms which apply exclusively to modern political dynamics, we can easily explain why they are so utterly inadequate for comprehending the Fascists and the National Socialists. These last regimes are nothing if not the most anti-modern political forms ever to issue in the modern period. They confound the left-right spectrum at every point, because, in base and essence, they reject the Enlightenment presuppositions of that spectrum. Or put more completely: the points at which they coincide with Enlightenment schema are either accidental, or else are due to the hesitation or inconsistency of their practitioners and theoreticians. The same can be said for the New Right; the New Right is a political worldview which emerges from principles which are radically different from those embodied in the Enlightenment; it therefore represents a “positive rejection” of both progressivism and egalitarianism. For this reason one sometimes refers to it as the true Right; for it is the truest, deepest, and most consistent opponent of the left—but therefore also of most forms of the conventional “right.”

Naturally, one would like to avoid the complete breakdown of the “left-right spectrum,” not least of all because it provides such a nice tool of reference for quickly ascertaining the relations between various ideas and schools of thought. Spencer Quinn, in a Counter-Currents article from earlier this year, provides an excellent example of how the use of a single scale might be preserved for our use with a bit of dexterous manipulation. There is little to critique in Mr. Quinn’s eminently pragmatic idea—so long as one thoroughly understands its theoretical limitations, as Mr. Quinn himself so clearly does.

If it is true that we do not belong to the “left-right spectrum,” must we then conclude that it is inaccurate, misleading, or undesirable for us to adopt the epithet “right” to our cause? Is it merely an error, for instance, which has given birth to the names “Alt-Right” or “New Right”?

On the contrary; these names are as significant as they are rhetorically efficacious. For reasons we cannot here consider, but which stem from the historical dynamics we have outlined in this essay, the conventional right has entered a period of terminal crisis. The “progress” which the Enlightenment set into motion has achieved such success and has attained such a heightened tempo in our day that it has shown forth the poverty of the very notion of “conservation” and the inherent element of acquiescence in the soul of the conventional right. The right in consequence of these revelations is collapsing, and the most evident symptom of its collapse is the rising “populism” in our day, which almost everywhere associates itself with the “extreme right,” despite the fact that the rebellion of the people as “proletariat” was historically associated with the extreme left. The conventional right, which means nothing if it does not mean conservation, is today forced to become “progressive” and more and more to seek “change.” That is surest sign of its internal crumbling.

The collapse of the conventional right, quite beyond any of its wider ramifications, leaves a void within our contemporary politics; and indeed if it were not for this fact, our cause, the cause of the New Right, should certainly be doomed from the start. But there is the chance for us now to arise into the shell-like space which once housed the right, and to inherit its failing realm. The use of the term “Right” to describe our politics has indispensable merit as an indicator and a lure to the best of the disillusioned “conservatives” who are even now becoming aware of the inevitably self-sabotaging inadequacies of their old ideology. The innermost sense of “red-pilling” is nothing other than this: an awakening, in souls prepared for such awakening, to the fact that modernity as modernity must be overcome, and that new positive political forms, proposed by a finally unified front of the true Right, are now urgently in order.

But there are reasons for the rightness of the name “Right” which extend well beyond this essentially pragmatic question. It is no accident that the word “right” in English carries a double meaning, signifying at once both a spacial relation, and also “correctness,” “justice,” “goodness.” The two concepts have eternally been wed to each other, and not only in English; English is simply fortunate enough to possess a single word for them both. The “right side” has always been the good side, the honest side, the virtuous side; the “left side” has always been the questionable, the suspicious, the dark. Our word “dexterity” comes from the Latin word for right, dexter, which derives in turn from the Ancient Greek; “sinister” comes from the identical Latin word for “left.” Even the loyalists to the doomed regime of Louis XVI did not place themselves arbitrarily at the right of the Assembly: prior to modernity, the “right hand” was always and everywhere associated with just power and fair rule. Christ himself was to sit at the right hand of the Father. The reasons for the link between these apparently unrelated concepts fall beyond our purview here, but it is enough for us to suppose that that link is not wholly arbitrary. And thus it can in all justice be said that we of the New Right propose not merely a new “right” as against an old “left,” but rather a new right as such, a new idea of justice and a new sense precisely of “right and wrong” both in society and also in one’s own personal mores and manners. And by its very nature this must utterly transcend the meager borders of the old schema.

Given all of this, it becomes evident that the New Right can as little be located on the traditional left-right spectrum as the abstract idea of “legitimacy” can be plotted on the color scale; the two phenomena are simply incommensurable. From our vantage beyond that spectrum, we are capable of understanding its nature and limitations with a degree of perspicacity which is uncommon to those who dwell within it. That is our right place with respect to it: we must really cease making the fatal error of foisting Enlightenment notions upon ourselves. It is old garb to these new limbs; it neither fits nor flatters us.


  1. Franklin Ryckaert
    Posted September 14, 2017 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    I think the true political spectrum is internationalism (nowadays called “globalism”) versus nationalism (better : ethno-nationalism). Seen this way it becomes easy to understand why Fascism and National Socialism could contain so many socialist elements without really belonging to the “Left”. It also explains why the modern Left can so easily cooperate with international capitalism, since both are internationalist in orientation. Central to the vision of the New Right or Alt-Right is the interest of the own people. This is anathema to the old Left-Right spectrum. I remember the Dutch anti-immigrant politician Hans Janmaat who was convicted in the early 1980s for “hate speech” for using the slogan “Our Own People First”. And that is the essence of the New Right, no abstract universal principles but the own people is at the center of politics. Besides, the universal principles of the Left are only materialistic (“social-economic”), while for the New Right (and its older forms Fascism and National Socialism) “the People” carries some mystical meaning, embodied in tradition, family, culture and religion. That, besides their internationalism, explains also why the Left and capitalism can cooperate so easily : both are materialistic. Ultimately it is a conflict between Mass & Matter versus People & Spirit, it being understood that “People” is an organic (i.e. mono-racial) entity and not the “multicultural” mess of the present Left. All great cultures of the past were mono-racial. A modern “Brazil”, no matter how prosperous, can never produce any high culture.

    • nineofclubs
      Posted September 14, 2017 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      Great comment.

      The organic nation – the extended family tree – should command our highest loyalty. This nation must be protected and supported by the state, or else the state apparatus must be replaced.

      The enemies of the nation lie all along the old Left / Right axis; from the antifa Trots of the cultural left to the corporate vultures of the neocon right. There are potential allies all along this spectrum too; from patriotic trade unionists and economic socialists through to traditionalist conservatives. The false Left Right divide muddies the water and keeps potential allies at bay.

      Your nationalist – globalist divide is far more relevant to today.


      • Posted September 14, 2017 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

        I agree entirely with your remarks here, nineofclubs. Your last comment seems to me quite felicitiously phrased: there is a divide between the nationalists and globalists. This has nothing to do with a “spectrum of thought”; nationalists and globalists hold to two irreconcilable visions of the world which meet at practically no point whatever. Our allies or potential allies in the field of conventional politics either agree with us implicitly, or might be converted to our thought. They cannot be inched our way bit by bit, as is suggested by any idea of a spectrum; at a certain point there has to be a rupture, a break, with conventional thought. And that break is precisely away from the entirety of the old “spectrum,” and into our more comprehensive vision.

    • Posted September 14, 2017 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

      I agree with nineofclubs that yours is an excellent comment, Mr. Ryckaert. My thanks. The only small critique I might make of your remarks (though I suspect you really might agree) is that the conflict which you describe between internationalism and nationalism really has nothing to do with a “political spectrum.” The tendency to plot everything on a spectrum is the product of our scientism, our desire to quantify and mathematize phenomena. But we are speaking here of radically different political ideas and fundamentally different ways of life and forms of society, and in innumerable cases the differences between one side and another, far from beind differences of degree as is implied by spectrum-think, are simply irreconcilable. “Mass & Matter,” as you have so succinctly put it, can have nothing to do with “Spirit & People.”

      Or put otherwise: “Mass & Matter” can be plotted on a political spectrum (the Left-Right spectrum, for instance), for it is naturally material and takes its bearings by material things. “Spirit & People” necessarily lies beyond any spectrum of the sort. We are in need of the kind of independent clarity evinced by your remarks precisely, Mr. Ryckaert. I am afraid that all artificial “universal spectra” necessarily import concealed premises into our thoughts, and so “muddy the water,” as nineofclubs has put it.

      • Franklin Ryckaert
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 2:08 am | Permalink

        I agree that “spectrum” is an unfortunate term, since it implies gradation, and there is no gradation but only an opposition of values (and they are mutually irreconcilable).

        So on one side we have abstract (“human rights”), internationalist and materialist values, while on the other side concrete, ethnic and spiritual values. I might add that there are some more oppositions :

        * Unnaturalness (“race and gender are social constructs”) versus naturalness (“race and gender are real and natural”).

        * Egalitarianism (“all men are equal, therefore all men can replace each other”) versus hierarchism (“all men are unequal, therefore only special men can function in special tasks”).

        * Individualism (“all men are isolated individuals, who can construct their own environment”) versus communalism (“all men are part of an organic community, the only environment in which their personality can flourish”).

        So in sum there is the following opposition :

        * Globalism :

        Abstraction, internationalism, materialism, unnaturalism, egalitarianism and individualism.

        * Ethno-nationalism :

        Concreteness, nationalism, spiritualism, naturalism, hierarchism and communalism.

        Needless to say that Globalism is leading us to an ever worsening dystopia.

        • Posted September 16, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

          I entirely support your approach here, to understanding modern currents of thought, Mr. Ryckaert. This seems to me precisely a more natural way of going about it—and because natural, more appropriate for the Right.

          I do wonder however about the simple identification of individualism with our opponents, and communalism with us. It seems to me, for instance, that the Communists (as is reflected even their name) aimed explicitly at certain ideas related to communalism, and the left in its rhetoric abuses words like “community” to the point of exhaustion. On the other side, I can see how in a very importance sense the Right devotes itself to the perfection of the “individual,” understood precisely as you have outlined, as personality.

          I might imagine how you would respond to this problem, but I do not wish to put words in your mouth. What do you think of this particular difficulty, Mr. Ryckaert?

          • Franklin Ryckaert
            Posted September 17, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

            I agree that my ideas about “individualism” versus “communalism” created some problems and that is because I myself was not very clear about it.

            The Left indeed espouses “communalism” but that is the communalism of class and not of ethnos. For the Left there should be communalism-of-the-oppressed and that communalism should transcend race and ethnicity (“international solidarity”). In social Marxism the oppressed class is the proletariat, in cultural Marxism the oppressed class are women and homosexuals (now extended to trans-sexuals), in racial Marxism the oppressed class are all non-Whites (irrespective of social class). At present the focus has shifted from the White working class (because as Whites they are “privileged” anyway), to White feminist women (by preference of the lesbian variety), White homosexuals and “people of color” (of any variety), who are automatically “oppressed” by the sheer fact of being non- White. Recently Muslims have also become welcome into this coalition-of-the-oppressed, because they are mostly non-White and suffer from “Islamophobia”. International communalism of the proletariat failed because ethnic identity appeared too strong, reason why the Marxists passed to cultural Marxism in order to undermine culture and thus ethnic identity. There is no real communality of White feminists and White homosexuals with non-Whites, let alone with Muslims who despise them. I don’t know to what extent communalism really worked in Communist countries (I think it was artificially enforced), but I see little real communalism among the Left in the West. In the West everybody is in reality individualistic, on the Left and on the Right. That was the reason of my confusion of reality with ideal.

            In Fascism and National Socialism (and incipiently in the Alt-Right), the ideal is communalism, not of any class but of the ethnos (in German : Volksgemeinschaft, which should transcend social class. Workers and intellectuals, lower class and upper class should feel unity and solidarity with each other, and though having no illusions of equality, appreciate each other’s contribution to society, so that each individual could fully develop his talents. I find this the ideal situation. Such a system of course only works in mono-racial and mono-ethnic societies (or small sub-societies such as Mennonites).

  2. Valföðr
    Posted September 14, 2017 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    How does the author define “modern”? The claim that Fascism and National Socialism “are nothing if not the most anti-modern political forms ever to issue in the modern period,” is somewhat problematic.

    Egalitarianism and progressivism are hardly what defines modernity. Modernity also entails things like industrialization, nation state, standardization, urbanization, division of labor, national economic policy, public education, conscription, modernized military, geopolitics, mass media, propaganda, eugenics, sterilization and internment camps.

    Modernity is in large part the logical outcome of man’s increased knowledge and expanded horizon following the scientific revolution. That lead to the rule of reason, informed by new knowledge, science and technology, over ever more aspects of society and human life, hitherto ruled by religion and custom. For better or worse.

    In light of this, one could say that National Socialist Germany was taking many aspects of modernity to their logical conclusion, while the United States Constitution seems rather like an arbitrary imposition of irrationality that dictates an otherwise modern country. In the same way, egalitarian notions like human rights, can be viewed simply as the negation of reason over so many areas of human life that they have become the literal rule of superstition.

    As Samuel Huntington pointed out, becoming “modern” doesn’t necessarily entail adopting any values, unlike “Western”.

    • Posted September 16, 2017 at 2:45 am | Permalink

      Thank you for a most thoughtful response, Valföðr. Your critique is well taken: the word “modern” is indeed ambiguous, and your definition of the word as it is commonly employed is quite as legitimate as any other. Permit me then to clarify my position.

      By “modernity,” I do not mean merely the sum total of all the various historical events that have occurred in the past centuries. I mean rather a specific philosophical revolution which began almost precisely at the year 1500, and which stands at the roots of all the most characteristic events of the past centuries. That philosophical revolution, which can be usefully associated, although not wholly identified, with the Enlightenment, has fundamentally altered countless elements of our approach to the world. The scientific revolution to which you direct our attention is an exemplary part of that, but it was to my mind derivative of prior and yet more fundamental currents. (As but an example, I do not think it could have arisen without a thorough transformation of the relations between society and the gods, which transformation precedes the scientific revolution intellectually and historically.) For our present purposes it suffices to note the effects of this modern philosophical revolution on political thought. And here I believe it can indeed be argued that “egalitarianism and progressivism are what defines modernity.”

      That, of course, would require a lengthy demonstration, and I cannot pretend to offer it here. I limit myself to observing that your statement that the scientific revolution “lead to the rule of reason, informed by new knowledge, science and technology, over ever more aspects of society and human life, hitherto ruled by religion and custom” seems a specifically Enlightenment interpretation of the past half millennium, and corresponds exactly with my view of modernity. It already supposes the idea of progress, which is of the essence of scientific thought; it already aims, even if unconsciously, toward that egalitarian levelling of human capacities and qualities which is the necessary consequence of technology.

      Indeed, I would most emphatically protest the idea that adopting modernity entails no corresponding adoption of values. I cannot speak on Huntington because I have not read him, but to my mind one cannot be really modern without viewing the world in a certain way, and the perspectives open to that view are necessarily determined by specific, if often hidden, valuations.

      As for the question of National Socialism and Fascism, I do not dispute that they “took many aspects of modernity to its logical conclusion”; you are quite right in pointing this out. I neither wish to claim that these political forms unconditionally rejected all aspects of modernity. I mean to say simply that of all the emergent political forms to have any wide success in the past five hundred years, National Socialism and Fascism are the only ones to demonstrate any broad resistance to the defining strands of modern political thought, as I have outlined them above. To the degree National Socialism and Fascism are difficult to understand by the conventional interpretation of recent history, the reason, it seems to me, can be found here.

      I hope this somewhat clarifies my position, Valföðr. I do not doubt you will disagree with much that I have written, and I would be most curious to hear your response to it. Thanks again for your reply.

  3. Posted September 15, 2017 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    Since there are 5 main personality traits the true political spectrum is 5-D.

    Any attempt to map 5 dimensions onto a single line will fail miserably.

  4. Spencer Quinn
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Very interesting article. Thank you.

    I am curious if there is anything from the Enlightenment that you think the New Right should keep, if even in moderation. I ask because I will have a hard time abandoning the idea of separation of church and state and constitutional governments. Both of these came out of the Enlightenment (I believe) and are good things.

    I suspect that many of the ideas of the Enlightenment are really center-left, especially the ones that focus on limiting government and increasing personal liberty. The modern Left has perverted these ideas with their obsession with equality and egalitarianism, which has taken on a hard racial dimension in the last 20-30 years. This really amounts to applying Enlightenment ideals to non-whites and oppressing whites, which is not what the Enlightenment philosophers had in mind. I suspect that the New Right can take a lot of the good that came out of the Enlightenment (the result of the evolution of Western culture) and still be true to everlasting Rightist principles: mainly the biological (but not necessarily political) inequality of Man, the need for ethno-nationalism, traditional gender roles, and presupposition of a Higher Order.

    Finally, I would like to know how you think the Confederacy fits in the Right-Left spectrum. Unlike the National Socialists or Fascists, they were firm believers in democracy, constitutional government and other Enlightenment notions. Yet, they were definitely right wing.

    • Posted September 16, 2017 at 3:09 am | Permalink

      You pose some excellent and searching questions, Mr. Quinn. Many thanks.

      I think it is useful to discriminate between the Enlightenment and the thinkers of the Enlightenment. There is much to be taken from the latter—though I believe all such borrowing should be done cautiously. Enlightenment ideas tend to evolve toward unexpected ends. I agree, for instance, with your distinction between the original Enlightenment ideas and the ideas of the modern Left; only that I believe that the latter are the necessary evolution of the former, no matter what the Enlightenment fathers might have wished or thought.

      For a similar reason, I really do not believe anything can safely be taken from the Enlightenment proper without radical and drastic qualification. You mention in particular the secular state and constitutionalism. I admit to being deeply suspicious of secularism, though I appreciate your reticence to abandon it. We are the direct descendants on the one hand of an Enlightenment secularism, and on the other of an ecumenical Christianity. The dichotomy between these two forms—though they are anything but exhaustive of all theologico-political possibilities—leaves us little room for maneuver. This is to my mind one of the great perils in the modern West. Here let me only note that I do not oppose to secularism the single alternative of a theocratic state.

      As far as constitutional government goes—certain ancient states, as of course you know, had constitutions, so I imagine you are referring to a characteristically modern idea of law, perhaps even to certain mechanisms of government like checks and balances. (Please correct me if you mean something else by modern constitutionalism…) I will agree with you here one finds the more promising products of modernity—though I must add at once that I do not see how the idea of “law” can last if it is not connected to a vital belief in the gods, from which it might derive a wellspring of energy, and also a clear means of instilling reverence for that law in the mass of human beings. Hence we return to the question of secularism.

      The Confederacy is an interesting problem indeed. I agree with your assessment of it as a right-wing government which nonetheless adopted certain Enlightenment ideas. I would hesitate long before calling it a democracy; the Confederates understood themselves as being the defenders of a republic. The difference between republic and democracy, which we tend to elide, was fundamental to American politics in the entirety of American history preceding the Civil War. The founders of American politics generally displayed a profound resistance to the democratic principle, and I personally think it can be argued that American democracy was born precisely with the victory of the Union.

      Be that as it may, to the extent that the Confederates adopted democracy, it was certainly democracy understood in the ancient and not in the modern sense. In the first place, it was limited to White men of good standing. In the second place, Confederate politicians at the higher levels of Confederate government were mostly born of the landed gentry. If republic is a mixed regime, then the republic of the Confederacy tended strongly toward its aristocratic, and not its democratic, aspects.

      That said, I am uncertain to what extent the Confederacy would have been durable, precisely on account of the tension between its Enlightenment aspects, and its older governing will and instincts. It seems to me that republic contains the insuppressible seeds of democracy, and it seems to me that democracy was absolutely incompatible with the Confederacy. I suspect that, had the Confederacy won the war, it would sooner or later have found itself in a kind of constitutional crisis, perhaps not unlike that which occurred in the United States as a whole, and the resolution of that crisis might well have proved neither swift nor easy.

      Apologies for a long response, Mr. Quinn, and many thanks again for your most interesting reply to my essay. I would be very curious to learn more of your views on these matters. In particular, I would very much like to hear more on what you think the Right can take from the Enlightenment.

  5. Dieter R.
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I am curious as to what the main image, “Spirit, Energy, Turning, Matter” has to do with this article. I don’t think the author made any mention of these things in his piece.

  6. Jaego
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Capitalism is very hierarchical, its scale of values being who has the most money. Communism as a project of Capitalism, is a valuable tool to tear down traditional societies, the Fascist States, and now the Republics, or at least their middle classes. Thus the “left” and “right” of the political spectrum are essentially meaningless since both systems embrace matter whereas Fascism, National Socialism, and the Alt-Right are philosophies of Man and the Spirit. Both are Centralized in terms of Power and Money, both with a Central Banking System. Thus they united against the National Socialism and Fascism before, and will do so again if need be.

    If we wish to continue to use these terms or communicate with normies, visualize an equilateral triangle. The Left and the Right are all one line, the base, dedicated to material well being. Fascism, National Socialism, and the Alt-Right are the Apex of the Triangle, off their line completely, the Far Center. But insofar as they are involved in econonomics, their center position indicates they are free to take from either the “left” or the “right” or indeed traditional economic systems prior to modernity or new ones to meet their own unique needs. After all, they’re not trapped on the line at the midpoint. They are the High Center.

    Again and outside the model, the Capitalists are the Senior Partners in this marriage. Just as Soros funds the Anti-Fa today, the Bankers funded the Communists of yesteryear. Our System if fundamentally a Plutocratic Oligarchy hiding under other names and forms.

    • Posted September 17, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Thanks for your reply, Jaego. I find your analysis of our situation spot on, particularly in its consideration of the true (if hidden) plutocratic order; and the idea of the triangle in the place of a spectrum is most intriguing.

      One of the lamentable features of the traditional spectrum, which I did not have space to consider in the present essay, is its “neutrality”: the way in which it rather scientistically pretends to avoid making what we so charmingly call “value judgements.” It presumes, that is to say, to reflect only lateral “differences of opinion,” and does not reflect the real vertical differences standing between the quality or values of human ideas. Your triangle nicely supplements that deficiency, and bears a deal of reflection…

      • Jaego
        Posted September 18, 2017 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. And to complete it, we could add to the triangle another downward equilateral triangle (a Star of David!), its lower apex symbolizing those who are really in control and Know where this is all going – some kind of Medieval Technocracy with them as the Lords and the remaining reduced population as the serfs – forever.

        On the positive side, the higher horizontal line could symbolize Our Left and Right, the natural polarity between the needs of the many vs the needs of the individual. Shorn of all the complexity and contradictory needs, values, and illusions – this Left/Right makes sense and is a universal common to all societies, the better the balance, the better the society. Credit to Mr Johnson for making the point eloquently in his writings and so enlightening me.

        • Posted September 25, 2017 at 2:14 am | Permalink

          Once again, most interesting, Jaego. Your schema really seems to me much more complete than those which are more generally used. It offers a degree of clarity about the real situation, where the others result only in obscurity and confusion. And what is perhaps most important of all, it indicates clearly where the bulk of our work ought to be directed: toward what is really in our day our “opposite pole”: namely, the de facto rulers of the day. I think it might be worthwhile expanding your idea.

          So far as a left-right spectrum within our worldview—I admit I remain somewhat skeptical. I do not know to what extent it is justifiable to place the “needs of the individual” counter to the “needs of the many.” One must really ask what kind of needs one is speaking of, whether material or spiritual or moral or what, and to what extent the two are at odds in reality rather than merely in appearance. For instance, one might recall the Platonic argument, which suggests a dichotomy between what the many believe they need and what they truly need. To which of these do we refer when we refer to the “needs of the many”? Another difficulty lies in the question of the right end of society: for if the right end of society is in the perfection of perfectable individuals, then this must surely go in many cases against the “needs of the many,” as these are commonly understood. Thus it would be obligatory in a certain sense to avoid compromise between the two.

          It is, however, an interesting idea, and I admit I have not read Mr. Johnson’s work on this subject. Do you happen to remember the essay in which he spoke of it? I would be most curious indeed.

  7. Antiochus
    Posted September 23, 2017 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone ever read national Socialism: a left wing mov. By Knudsen. Excellent read. I truly think kosher con-sevatives are a greater hindrance/obstacle to victory than the left. And he was on our team.

    • Posted September 25, 2017 at 2:16 am | Permalink

      “I truly think kosher con-sevatives are a greater hindrance/obstacle to victory than the left.”

      I think this is a very valid point, Antiochus—and another reason why the traditional “left-right political spectrum” is nothing but an obstruction to our clear understanding of the actual situation.

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