Before the American general election, my friends kept asking me who’d be the likely winner, Trump or Biden. My response, which infuriated everyone who got it, was usually some variation of “define winning.”
Do you mean who’ll win the most votes? Do you mean who’ll win the elections, presuming no shenanigans, which was a laughable proposition even before the evidence started pouring in for America’s advanced banana republicanism? Do you mean who’ll hold the office of President once it’s all over? Do you mean who’ll seize power; if, indeed, power changes hands? Or do you mean who’ll visibly gain, or whose enemies will visibly lose (gain and lose subject to redefinition themselves) in the aftermath?
It’s a fine way of losing friends and getting called an obtuse faggot.
I cannot in good faith deny the accusation. When someone worried about their future is asking you whether /ourguy/ will win or not, or what an impending battle will do to shift the delicate power balance of the world, they do not want the truth, but rather reassurance. Ours is a degenerate age, so when normal people see a man with imposing facial hair and a flamboyant sense of dress, which often includes flowing, long coats and ostentatious hats, they immediately think “priest.” But a priest does not necessarily tell you the truth. He corrects your moral failings and reassures you that God is on your side. My friends make the mistake of assuming that I and other thinkers of the Dissident Right are priests, but we’re far closer to mystics. I suppose I am partly to blame for it. I do not dress like a yurodiv, nor like a dervish, nor like a hippie, nor do I cultivate an image of a mystic thinker, but I prefer the sweater vests and silly suit jackets of a college professor, a leftover from my academic days. This may sound superficial, but it’s important. As Nassim Taleb would say, a bishop on rollerblades would no longer be a bishop.
Now we’re on the other side of the election, and indeed, what constitutes “winning” is an unclear category. Trump supporters will repeat “Trump won” with a degree of truthfulness, but if Trump won, why does he appear to be in a weaker position than he did before the battle? Does he, like Hannibal, know how to gain a victory but not how to use it? Did he actually lose? Did he fight the wrong battle and lose by winning? Or is Trump just playin’ possum, and it’s just a part of The Plan, concocted by Good Guys in government, headed by QAnon to initiate The Storm? And let’s not forget that the battle is far from over, and that therefore it’s premature to proclaim victory.
What Trump won was the adjusted headcount that American electoral law requires for victory in a democratic process. He has not seized power. He has not checked Democratic shenanigans. He has not learned how to convert victory into political gains. And crucially, he has no vision for the future, no dream.
What is Trump’s dream of the future? Make America Great Again? Great as it was back in the day? Was it all that great back then? Napoleon famously said that if you want to understand a man’s politics and worldview, you have to know what was going on in the world when he was 20. Donald Trump was 20 in the 60s. Was America great in the 60s? Edward Dutton seems to think so. What constitutes greatness? What are the prerequisites of greatness? Is this the dream? Is 60s America the dream? I must admit that I, too, am charmed by the sleaze and satin aesthetics of the Rat Pack, discussed in this article from 2016, which cleverly contrasts Donald Trump’s 60s to Hillary Clinton’s 60s. I sit in a hipster coffee shop as I write these lines and a portrait of ol’ Blue Eyes stares at me, a token white surrounded by jazz greats. He seems to know something I don’t. He’s got the ghost of a smile about his mouth.
Sinatra is dead, though. So is Dean Martin. The mob is a shadow of its former self. Las Vegas is a parody of its old self, which was always a cheap plastic knockoff of the entire world. Atlantic City is the abode of aged and aging has-beens pulling levers on slot and video poker machines. Gambling is less glamorous in an age of economic hardship and widely available video games. Not just America, but Europe has also abandoned this glorious era. Only try-hard balkanoid nouveau riche play baccarat in Monte Carlo anymore, and only incorrigible hipsters like yours truly attempt to recapture the aesthetics of Dalida and Aristotle Onassis.
The dream of the ring-a-ding-ding 60s is an old man’s dream of his youth. His energy appearance of good health notwithstanding, Donald Trump is an old man. But when the old men are dead and buried, we will have to live with the world they bequeath to us. And more importantly, young men must not live out an old man’s dream.
Or maybe they’ll have to.
After all, what would be a better indicator that a civilization is old in the Spenglerian sense than young men living out and dreaming an old man’s dream? What would be a better indicator of the dissolution of the forms than a cargo cult of the old forms? Maybe Trump really is Caesar and the forms of American civilization will become frozen in his backward-looking dream, which I suspect will be better for me personally. I know many Sinatra and Dean Martin songs by heart and I have a raspy crooner voice and an alcohol intake to match. Maybe therein lies the rub. Dino and Frankie drank like fishes, whereas Donnie boy and alcohol don’t mix. But old men can rarely hold their liquor. Maybe the future of Western civilization is that: racist liberal political forms, mob casino aesthetics, but with responsible drinking and the gambling kept to an acceptable minimum. Sin City without the wages and risks of sin.
Donald Trump also likes to have a Space Force so that America can go back into space and repeat the triumph of 1969, when men walked on the moon. I talk to men (now old) who remember having watched that event on television. It must have been an event of profound and staggering impact, forever changing their perception of the world. But I was born decades after this momentous event and it means very little to me, just as 9/11 means next to nothing to my kid cousin who was a mewling infant on September 11th, 2001.
Contrast that to the woke Left who have a compelling dream of the future, a future in which white people are dead or subjugated to the nonwhite, a future in which women are completely feral, out of control, and free to fritter away their fertility, a future in which all faiths are outlawed, except Moloch worship in its various forms, and a future of humanity merging into a formless, brown goop, living in pods, eating bugs, and inhabiting the ruins of civilization.
To us, it is a nightmare. To them, it is a powerful motivating force. They hate us with a passion, as whites, as men, as Christians, even as pagans, for those of us who are of native faith. They’ll even begin to hate us for liking Sinatra one of these days. They won’t stop until we’re all dead or in chains.
So, what’s our dream of the future? Is it the white ethnostate, which looks suspiciously like 50s America? Are we living out the dreams of old men once again, but this time the dreams of Tom Metzger or maybe H. L. Mencken? Is it the neoreactionary dream? Do those guys even have a dream? I find that the best way to turn people away from NRx is to have the neoreactionaries honestly describe their dream for the future. Turns out that being a serf for a cybernetically-enhanced corporate bureaucrat (neocameralism) or surrendering political power to the actual power-brokers of today and then hoping a marketplace of power would arise (formalism) cause visceral disgust reactions in people, and not just your unwashed peasant either (who’d likely have no problem with being a serf), but precisely with the people who have the ability to effectuate change. The NRx crowd, bless their hearts, is simply too autistic to understand this.
Maybe the wignats and Eurasianists can jump in with their dreams of based Imperial Sino-Russian domination of the West, which is just neocameralism — except the cybernetically-enhanced corporate bureaucrat on top looks suspiciously like Winnie the Pooh.
Unlike St. Fatso the Rape Ape (you may know him as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), I don’t have a dream. I used to have a dream, but it was a stupid and ugly libertarian dream. I set about to put it on paper, as a series of short stories set in the very far future. Then events transpired which made me abandon libertarianism — you could say I was sucked into a certain pipeline. I suffered a severe nervous breakdown, although reading Mircea Eliade after the fact has convinced me that it was, in fact, an involuntary shamanic initiation. I woke up from a three-day delirium with completely realigned priorities about what my purpose in life is, what my dream ought to be. The price I paid was the loss of my old dream and my old voice. God took it away from me to punish me for my hubris, for the belief that I could transcend the body of my nation when I had a duty to lead them. He gave me a new voice, coarser and more ancient, harkening back to the damp, swampy soil which lies beneath the asphalt of my hometown. Tellingly, my physical voice got even raspier when I quit smoking, which was my final symbolic rejection of Randian (which is to say ultra-Apollonian) aesthetics.
If this sounds crazy, it’s because it probably is. Dreams are crazy. Dreamweavers are even crazier.
Dreamweaving, alas, is a communal activity. It is not enough for the yurodiv to strip naked in the winter or for the dervish to whirl in his trance. He must, in discourse both learned and childlike, transcend the current to deign both the deep past and obscure future, to abandon for a time the world of is and inhabit the world of ought, the world of might, the world of will. He does this by friction with the world around him, by denial of the surrounding reality, by breaking the norms of society, by journeying to Hell itself if need be. He must balance this with an unquestioning commitment to the good, so that he may resist his travails and reject the temptations of evil. The best way to do that is to not go the long, thorny road alone. The soul must find joy, so that it may know why it is a soul. And joy, much like Hell, is other people.
We in the Dissident Right often go on about building institutions. This is a step in the right direction and many of our friends and fellow travelers are already on the job. We must also corner metapolitics, chiefly art and philosophy. This is even better and many are already on this very important job.
But one thing I’ve been asking people recently is “what does victory look like?”
What are the victory conditions? When do we get to clasp our hands over our hearts, thank God for our great adventure, and retire? The parameters of victory will be governed by a dream we’ve yet to weave. When we say “positive vision for the future,” this is what we mean. It doesn’t have to be overly specific, but it has to be real, as real as Donald Trump’s Rat Pack, the Leftist brown goop, the neoreactionary corporate hellscape, and the Eurasianist Sino-Russian corporate hellscape. It has to ring true and it has to set a fire in the soul, so that the soul must know why it is a soul.
Only with a dream of spring can we survive the winter.
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