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How to Live as a Dissident


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

4,152 words

A friend of mine got doxed recently. I have other friends who live in fear of being exposed, vilified, and fired from their jobs. I’ve accepted the danger for over a decade now. But the danger is greater now than it has ever been before. The danger of physical violence is also now very real. Our people are being recognized and attacked on the street, and Antifa and others have called for violence — claiming that it’s okay if you’re attacking a “Nazi” (which now basically means any white person at all, especially one who isn’t racked with guilt over being white).

The dangers we now face — doxing, firing, de-platforming, physical violence, and so on — exist because Leftists are no longer laughing at us: they genuinely feel threatened. And so they’re lashing out with every weapon at their disposal — in ways that are frequently insane and irrational, to say nothing of dishonorable. A mere three years ago or so things were very different. I had essentially resigned myself to the fact that I would continue writing heretical essays under various pseudonyms until the day I died or went gaga (whichever came first), and that if there were any concrete results from these efforts they would come after my death.

But things have changed very fast. Our message is getting around in a big way, and more and more people are hopping on board – including young, attractive, smart people. (As opposed to the grizzled, old jack o’lantern-faced misfits you used to meet at right wing dinners, forever trying to link the Jews and the Masons to fluoridation.) And I never expected to see Counter-Currents and Greg Johnson denounced (repeatedly) in the pages of The New York Times. My friends are doing plenty of gloating, but they are also plenty nervous. I know some folks who are going around in hats and sunglasses, like Hollywood celebrities avoiding paparazzi, and other friends who are getting out of town and going places where there are fewer white Leftists (there’s lots of affordable real estate in Detroit, I hear).

“I feel like the walls are closing in,” one friend said to me the other day. He’s afraid of being doxed — but the general cultural insanity really gets to him (and me): the hysterical reactions to Trump, the violence of Berkeley and Charlottesville, the Las Vegas shootings, and so on. (Every night when I go to sleep I pray I won’t wake up in France or England or Sweden — that’s the best thing I can say about this situation.) Another friend is now on prescription tranquilizers and downing them with vodka (“It makes ’em work faster,” quoth Patty Duke in Valley of the Dolls). And, yes, a couple of friends have decided that they want “out” of our movement — that this is more than they bargained for.

The purpose of this essay is to establish some practical guidelines for dealing with, and surviving, these tumultuous times. I can’t guarantee that you are going to physically survive — your life could be taken at any moment by a crazed Hillary supporter, a gun-toting anti-gun pussy-hat-wearing Leftist, or an exploding kebab. But I think I can guarantee that if you follow my recommendations, you can survive with your soul intact. So let us begin.

First of all, if any of the above describes how you feel you need to wake the hell up and stop your whining!  What did you think this was going to be, a tea party? Did you maybe think this was just yet another subculture you could join and participate in after work, online and from the safety of your Ikea-furnished high-rise apartment with the solid concrete walls? Were you just LARPing? As Lenin memorably remarked, “A revolution is not a girl’s dormitory.” And this is a revolution, folks, and we are revolutionaries. Act like it. Become it.

So, the first step in dealing with the present madness is to accept the reality of the fact that everything you’ve been saying and thinking for years is right (yes, you were right!), that everything really is falling apart – much quicker than you thought it would – and that you are among the vanguard. You are making world history. And like most other historical figures, you are going to lead a life – probably a relatively short life – in which you will be attacked and vilified. You may lose things important to you. Indeed, you may lose everything. Folks are going to abandon you. This could mean your friends, your parents, your children, and your spouse or significant other (that at least some of these will abandon you is as certain as the sun rising tomorrow). You’re probably never going to be able to settle down in one place and be “happy.” You may be on the run. If things get really bad, you may have to become an outlaw and you may die in a convenient prison accident, or in a hail of bullets.

Accept your fate. Accept, right now, that you are going to lead a life filled with conflict and discord and loneliness and violence. But you must also love your fate. Yes, this is going to be hell. But it’s also going to be glorious. You are going to lead an extraordinary life — the kind of life people read about. (Don’t worry: in the future we are building, people are going to read again.) If the term “revolutionary” conjures up distasteful images of Bolsheviks, then think of yourself as a warrior.

It’s a universal warrior practice — the samurai are a familiar example of this — to wake up each morning and to accept that you will die that very day. Not just that, but to affirm “Today is a good day to die.” I recommend you start your day like this. Rise from your memory foam (which you must do without when you’re on the lam) and say, “Today is a good day to be doxed.” (This should preferably be said in front of a statue of Odin.) Today is a good day to be exposed, ostracized, de-platformed, de-monetized, abandoned by your family, and fired from your job. But hell, you might as well say “Today is a good day to die,” because at the rate things are going they’ll start trying to kill us pretty soon.

And when the day comes that they go after you — in whatever form, whether it’s your boss confronting you, or Antifa attacking you with crowbars and bear mace — you need, above all else, to avoid falling into one major trap. You must never for a moment allow yourself to waiver in your convictions. You must never for a moment feel that you might deserve whatever punishment is visited upon you. I know that you will feel surprised by this suggestion, and think that perhaps it does not apply to you: “I would never feel that way.” But think again. Like every human being in every society throughout time, we have been raised since infancy to respect authority: the authority of institutions, the authority of laws, and the authority of individuals in certain positions, whether it’s the police, or the mayor, or the dean of your college, or “the boss.” And when all the weight of that authority comes crashing down on our heads it’s perfectly natural that many of us will emotionally revert, if only very, very briefly, to childhood. We may get that ominous “I’ve been a bad boy” feeling and then steel ourselves for the punishment we think we’ve probably been deserving all along.

Needless to say, we have to see that we are programmed for these kinds of feelings, and see that they are illegitimate. If we do not, if we are taken by these feelings then we will wind up like those pathetic, cringe-inducing cases we’ve all seen (too many to mention) where the poor S.O.B. who’s caught saying something un-p.c. begs for forgiveness (and gets fired anyway). Vox Day in his very useful book SJWs Always Lie [2] advises us not to apologize if exposed, because it will only be used against us. But surely the primary reason not to apologize is to preserve your self-respect. And that’s a lot more important than your job. They can take your job, and your friends and your family, and even your freedom and your life, but they cannot take your self-worth, not unless you give it to them yourself by melting down.

We must learn to see the entire system of authority as illegitimate — from the President, who must still parrot the language of diversity even as he promises (again and again) to build a wall to keep out diversity, down to your boss, who must fire you if you refuse to use the correct pronouns with the transgender receptionist, lest he himself be fired. Now, yes, I know: most of us are working on seeing things this way, and some are already there. But the illegitimacy of the system needs, in most of us, to become even more vividly and constantly perceived. And we must keep always in mind one basic, unshakeable conviction: that the system is genuinely evil, that it is set against life and against our people and our culture. We, on the other hand, are fighting for . . . how do I sum it up? I might as well just say everything that is good and holy, because that’s what it amounts to. We must keep this in mind perpetually: when we rise from the bed each morning to face the day, when we look at the news, when we attend events and find ourselves attacked, when they try to go after our jobs, and when we are faced with the relentless lies at work, at school, or wherever.

Earlier I used the terms “revolutionary” and “warrior,” but I find that “dissident” is also extremely helpful. This term immediately conjures up memories of the U.S.S.R. and the “Soviet dissidents.” Perhaps the most famous of these was Andrei Sakharov, who once said, “Everyone wants to have a job, be married, have children, be happy, but dissidents must be prepared to see their lives destroyed and those dear to them hurt.” When we look at the situation of the Soviet dissidents we see them (correctly) as heroic rebels protesting against a system that was monolithically evil. But that’s easy, not just because the evil was often more blatant than it is here (torture chambers, gulags, forced commitment to mental asylums, etc.), but because it was over there. We, on the other hand, have to see it in the place we call home, in the place we have been taught to regard as the land of the free and home of the brave, and the “greatest country in the world” (obviously, I am writing mainly for my American readers).

Whatever you may consciously think, you are still deeply invested in this system. For instance, most of us on the Right want to defend the police against the madness of Black Lives Matter — but after Charlottesville there can be no illusions about the police defending us. So, we just have to say goodbye to all such noble sentiments. I was raised in a military family and despised the protestors of the ’60s and ’70s who threw eggs at the ROTC. But, aside from this juvenile behavior, those protestors were kind of right: the military is a force for evil, because it serves the globalist, multicultural state — and simultaneously the ethnonationalist state of Israel. The support many of us showed for Trump (and still show) is an indication of how deeply invested we are in the system, or at least in the idea that it can be “fixed.”

All this needs to go — we need to disengage from all this, deep down in our souls. The system as a whole is evil, and we are the dissidents who oppose it. Etymologically, a dissident is someone who “sits apart.” We must sit apart from the system, while remaining within it: as much as possible, our words and our deeds must express our apartness. What is eminently possible, 100% of the time, is to at least feel and know our apartness in our hearts and minds, whether we are confronting political happenings, popular culture, or anything else.

The language of “dissidence” claims the moral high ground. To be a dissident is to (usually) be a peaceful protestor against a tyrannical system. When we are confronted, when we are called out on our beliefs or called into that fateful meeting with the boss, we need to identify ourselves not as “conservative” (whatever that means) or “Alt Right” (which is too heavily associated with Richard Spencer) or “revolutionaries” (which is far too Red) but as “dissidents.” To identify yourself as such, when faced, for example, with a representative of authority, communicates “You represent a corrupt and oppressive system. I am protesting against that system. To penalize me is to crush dissent.” To call ourselves dissidents in the face of, to take another example, Antifa thugs, is to say “You are frauds and fools. You think you are rebels, but in fact you represent the worst, most nakedly evil element within a corrupt and tyrannical system. We are the true dissidents.”

To position ourselves as dissidents is good for the soul — it trains us to overcome our attachments to the system, and to clearly see ourselves as agents of the good. And it changes the conversations we have with others. To say you are a dissident is to say that you are the conscientious voice of dissent, and have a right to stand apart. Soviet dissident Lyudmila Alexeyeva once said, “What would happen if citizens acted on the assumption that they have rights? If one person did it, he would become a martyr; if two people did it, they would be labeled an enemy organization; if thousands of people did it, the state would have to become less oppressive.” As more and more of us position ourselves as dissidents and stand firm on the legitimacy of our cause and our speech, then what the Left fears most will come to pass: the Right will become “normalized.” In other words, we will become an accepted, and, to a greater and greater extent, tolerated part of the political landscape. Our influence will grow, and the system will become more and more unstable. Once again, the case of the Soviet Union is a useful example to study.

In sum, the first and most important lessons in dealing with the madness of our times is to see yourself as a dissident fighting a truly decadent and oppressive system, to never waiver in your conviction that your cause is right (no matter what they do to you), and to accept that you are going to suffer for your cause. If you are able truly to adopt these attitudes, you will be armored against all that the forces of evil can sling at you. You will be an effective fighter for our cause, and you will spiritually invulnerable.

I now turn to some lesser, but not unimportant considerations.

So, there you have it. The foregoing is the philosophy I have adopted, and the practical measures I have undertaken, to help me live as a dissident in these rapidly-changing circumstances. I know some of this can work for you. We live in dangerous times, and sometimes it’s pretty scary. But we must also admit that we live in exciting times. The very reason why the danger has amped up is because we have been so successful. I wish you the best, comrades.