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Is “Short Time Preference” Really Such a Problem?

[1]

Frederic Remington, The Lookout, 1887.

6,044 words

One of the more common tropes found in Dissident Right discourse concerns the relationship between the Left and “reality.” This discourse articulates a belief held by Right-wingers that the Left lives in denial of reality, and that this leads to deleterious outcomes for peoples of European descent. However, in another sense, Right-wing discourses concerning the Left-wing relationship with reality focuses on how particular personalities common on the Left cause them to relate to present and future realities differently than those on the Right. This line of argument tends to talk in terms of “long” and “short” time preferences, which refer to a sense of gain that accrues over longer periods versus a sense of gain that is restricted to shorter periods. Right-wingers who think in terms of “long” and “short” time preferences tend to believe that Left-wing politics is not concerned with future realities because Left-wingers are too emotional and often unintelligent to see beyond immediate outcomes.

However, if presented with these arguments, an intelligent Left-winger would most likely contend that they are not “denying” reality — they merely wish to change it from what it is to what it “should be.” They might instead charge the “Right” with obstinately viewing the status quo as the single possible state of reality, because Right-wingers are “too scared or stupid to realize that ‘reality’ is merely what the most powerful want and whatever the most powerless are willing to accept.”

I intend to argue that both parties are incorrect. The view of “reality” that the Dissident Right ascribes to the Left is certainly not unique to the Left. The past is replete with interesting examples of how economic concerns and human activities produce unexpected outcomes that reorient how members of a given society view the world regardless of explicit political leanings. The Dissident Right would do well to heed the lessons of history.

Technologies of a long time preference

While not explicitly framed in terms of “time preference,” the idea that something can be viewed in a forward-looking direction is a core theme in historical and sociological studies of the relationship between capitalism and biology. In a fascinating chapter for an edited volume by John Brewer and Susan Staves, Harriet Ritvo argues that a remarkable change in the 18th century permanently reoriented how humans related to and understood living organisms. [1] [2]

The change described by Ritvo altered a relationship between humans and the natural world that had remained constant since the Holocene, approximately ten thousand years ago. After the Holocene, humans came to view animals and plants in two ways. The first view, which applied to most living things in the untamed wilderness, viewed life as an environment in which human actions may take place. In some cases, these kinds of living things were still appreciated for their beauty, or seen as the spiritual context in which a tribe of humans could situate themselves and derive a sense of collective meaning and embeddedness. In other cases, the wilderness may not have been noticed at all, in the same way that a fish could hardly be expected to notice the water in which it swims. The main point is that this was a view of the living world as a parameter, or a condition setter: this view of life is defined by the absence of conscious attention. This view likely predated the Holocene and only ceased when 17th-century efforts to quantify the territorial resources of European states eventually caused humans to see the global ecosystem as a limited and fragile environment in need of human care. [2] [3]

The alternative view of life, which was applied to living things as a result of the Holocene revolution, was utilitarian and instrumentalist. Man viewed certain kinds of plants and animals as resources under human control. The human mind understood these living things as extensions of the human world, adaptable to human ends. The meaning of their existence was increasingly defined in functional terms, rather than essential ones. A cow, or a herd of cattle, came to be understood in terms of food, while oxen or horses came to be viewed in terms of energy. These living organisms, unlike organisms that were understood in relation to their natural habitats, were knowable to humans only in terms of the human functions they could fulfill. Functional definitions of value tend to lend themselves to quantities. Consequently, the meaning of a cow, or a herd of cattle, was increasingly viewed as a quantity of wealth.

By the 18th century, this changed. In an effort to increase the quantities of meat and useful energy provided by different animal species, an English farmer born in 1725 named Robert Bakewell began selecting certain individuals with particularly desirable attributes and bred them with other individuals. Over successive generations, entire herds began to reflect the desires of the farmer, either producing fatter cows for slaughter, or stronger cart horses. With the new potential revealed by this selective process, the human view of farm animals changed. Rather than mere quantities of fungible individuals or groups, herds came to reflect a qualitative dimension. A particular herd of sheep could be more valuable than another herd, not because of the number of its members, but because of the ancestry of the population. When assessing the meaning of a herd of cows, it became possible, as Ritvo elegantly put it, “to ask ‘how good’ and ‘how reliable’ not merely ‘how many.’” However, this was not the only change that took place. [3] [4]

By the end of the 18th century, if someone purchased a particular herd of sheep carrying the genetic legacy of generations of selective breeding, one not only purchased a biological asset that produced wool. One also purchased a biological asset that carried the potential to produce future kinds of sheep that produced more wool than other kinds of sheep. With this change, it was not only the animals that were objects of value, but the genetic history and genetic potential represented by the animals. These abstract objects of value came to surpass the immediate functional value of the animals themselves, as the ownership of particular genetic strains, or “breeds,” became closely guarded and highly traded assets. After all, were the 20 sheep that a desirable breeding pair could produce in five years not more valuable than the two individual sheep that constituted the pair?

To be clear, the historical moment defined by the systematization of selective breeding was not the point at which humans came to view distinctions between different kinds of life. Evidence from Aristotle and earlier demonstrates that humanity has recognized the existence of natural kinds of life, and nested hierarchies of natural kinds, long before the 18th century. What is relevant about the 18th century, however, is that some natural biological kinds came to be defined not by what the actual animals were, or even by the human functions they could serve, but by the abstract genetic potential which they represented. The more that this potential was manipulated in particular ways through human intervention, the more valuable it became. The shift of commercial attention from actual animals to strains whose value represented generations of selective breeding marked the emergence of what historians and philosophers have called “bio-capital.”

The perspective that humans took of particular kinds of life as a result of bio-capitalism reflected a forward-looking dimension that may be observed in capitalism more generally. Biocapital projected the value, and thus the meaning of the animals, into the future, largely as a consequence of the ever-present capitalist imperative to multiply “value.” “Potential” mattered more, and cost more, than present reality. The future existed in a permanent state of possible manipulation and “improvement.” Our view of these animals, and thus the actual material reality of these animals, became subordinated to human visions of possible futures, which humans came to value more than objects in the present. However, as human behavior changed the natural environment in which humans live, the human-modified environment would in turn modify human behavior. This second-order effect would become most visible in the twentieth century.

As hereditary lines became abstract commercial objects that could be bought and sold, the acquisition of knowledge about the processes of heredity became more important. The Drosophila fly research at the California Institute of Technology is perhaps the most famous large-scale research program into genetics. This program accumulated years and eventually decades of data from experiments on innumerable generations of fruit flies (drosophila), which eventually culminated in the complete shift of the science of “genetics” into the science of the “genome.” After Watson and Crick successfully modeled DNA, the idea of the genome, the agent previously believed to retain intergenerational change over time, became subordinated to the new field of “molecular biology.” The several-hundred-year-old practice of defining biological kinds within and between species by hereditary histories and functional traits had now morphed entirely into the practice of defining kinds based on arrangements of invisible matter, such as proteins. Focusing the idea of intergenerational biological change on a material object, the genome, as opposed to abstract systems of breeding held the promise of allowing for more efficient and varied ways of manipulating commercially relevant life. The quantities of resources that had come to define certain kinds of life overlapped nicely with the new quantities of particular kinds of genomic matter. Both could correlate into quantities of finance, and the biotech revolution was born.

Hughes recounts the emergence of a new company called “Genentech” that spun off from Stanford University. [4] [5] This company was initially formed to privatize the remarkable knowledge produced in 1973 by Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer, who were the first scientists to inject a spliced DNA molecule (recombinant DNA) into a living organism such that the artificial combination could replicate itself like any other form of life. This technological success followed on from another California-based team of scientists, led by Paul Berg, who first demonstrated the possibility of creating a stable molecule that combined certain parts of the DNA of two different organisms. Genentech, the company that owned the patent to this new form of biotechnology, was in many ways as revolutionary as the new kind of scientific knowledge it came to symbolize.

What was remarkable about Genentech was that despite the rapid increase in its value between the 1970s and the 1980s, Genentech brought no products onto the market. Its value instead lay in its ownership of patents that represented the knowledge of, and right to produce, particular artificial forms of life. Eventually Genentech would produce viable products, beginning with its release in 1982 of Humulin, a synthetic insulin. However, much like the idea of creating and owning “breeds” generated a kind of commodity that was separate from the animals who were members of those breeds, so too did the emergence of “biocapital” with Genentech generate a new kind of company that was defined by a new kind of value.

Thus, the formation of Genetech marked the culmination of a remarkable series of changes in human practices and values. The value of animals was first commodified and projected into the future by the emergence of husbandry. When viewed as a cultivated and commercial object, a sheep became valuable not only for the wool currently on its body, but for the wool it would produce in the future. After the 18th century, the genetic potential of animals came to be viewed as a commercial object in its own right. The commercial meaning of the genetic potential of a “breed” was not restricted by the life of any particular animal, or any particular herd. Indeed, the potential of a genetic commodity did not even need to be realized to retain its value. One could trade in breeds of sheep without ever having to produce or sell a single skein of wool. Finally, with the emergence of biocapitalism, a new kind of company emerged, whose value is not defined by the products it produces, but by the possible future potential of the biological information it owns. With this change, value became yet more abstract and was projected even further into the future. Humans learned to value present reality less and less as the ability to modify the future became more and more valuable.

The way that these modifications in human behavior and the natural world changed what humans value indicates that a forward-looking obsession changes the very meaning of “reality.” Humans value “real” things. If something is not “real,” how could it have value? As humans come to value things in the future more than things in the present, the human idea of what is real ceases to be defined by stable, unchangeable truths, like the existence of sheep or the ability of sheep to make wool. As human attention shifts to non-existent future objects, “reality” ceases to be the present and instead becomes an infinite cluster of potential futures that never need to be realized to remain more “real” than the present. For a trader in genetic potential, an actual “sheep” becomes a mere representation of genetic potential. That potential, a future and unrealized object, becomes a more foundational “reality” than the transient life of actual living things, or even many generations of life. The forward-looking principle of capitalism converts “reality,” as demonstrated by the objects that humans are willing to pay for, into a future that never needs to be realized.

[6]

You can buy Greg Johnson’s Graduate School with Heidegger here [7]

Suspending the present to pursue the future

As I argued at the beginning of this article, “the Left” do not believe they are denying or inverting reality. They think that reality is contingent on what humans are willing to accept, and that they are “making it better.” In their view, they are willing a different reality into existence because the current reality is neither necessary nor the most desirable. The thinking members of the Left are aware that building a new reality is a process, part of which involves “deconstructing” and inverting the present one. The process of transformation, however, rather than its initial phase of “deconstruction,” requires a focus and belief in the future reality that the Left wishes to bring into existence. Perhaps the better way to view the Left-wing relationship with reality, then, is as a suspension of present reality which, if suspended long enough, brings in a new set of norms that set the conditions of a new reality.

One way to understand this suspension is as a function of technological change. Technology is a product of the human will. However, technological change also alters material realities. New material realities, in turn, sustain new social realities. Thus, technology provides a way for the Left to literally impose their imagined realities onto the material and social substrates of our world. It is possible, for instance, for an entire society to pretend that a traditional reproductive family is the same thing as two females living together when reproduction can occur between those two females via artificial means, such as in-vitro insemination. Similarly, it is possible to imagine that men and women are “equal” in the sense that they are interchangeable and to arrange society around that imagined equality — especially when social realities manifest as polite group work in urban office blocks as opposed to the necessary activities of a small community in a stone-age tundra.

We can deduce from these examples that the Left succeeds in its objectives by, in some sense, “denying” reality. However, the realities which they deny, such as the existence of two genders, are chosen in line with new technologies that can sustain the act of denial at least for so long as the technological change is itself sustained. While the neoliberal office block is in some sense imagined into existence, in functional terms it can allow humans to deny that there are men and women without harming the ability of that society to produce and circulate resources. If the binary of “men and women” or the reproductive social arrangement of a traditional family is no longer functionally required, in what sense does it even exist anymore? In what sense is “moving beyond” such things a “denial of reality”?

This is the crux of the issue. If one can only see function, as opposed to numinous essence, it becomes impossible to preserve anything sacred once technological change allows the function of that sacred object to be performed by a new social or material technology. If your sacred object is a family of one man and one woman and their children, or a nation composed of such families, why do either sacred objects need to continue existing if their functions, being reproduction and the generation of stable societies, can be performed without them? In-vitro insemination is an effective means of reproduction, and only needs to be scaled up and made more efficient to become universal. A stable society could potentially be achieved without anything even resembling an ethnostate if the right quantities of psychoactive chemicals are circulated through water supplies, a prospect currently being explored by several governments. Where is the fixed “reality” here that the Dissident Right claims the Left to live “in denial” of? Is it a material or a social reality?

Disturbingly, many Right-wing worldviews can also only define meaning and value in terms of function. These kinds of Right-wingers will happily proclaim that they are only interested in “what works.” They believe in “facts, not feelings,” and have no time for things that only make sense to people with their heads in the clouds. That, we are told, is how “the Left” thinks. The notion of non-physical, non-functional, and yet objective truths is alien to these people. The idea of valuing something that is adjacent to or stands in the way of practical realities is framed as an attack on the Right-wing sensibility. These are the kinds of people who are interested only in what “science” has to tell them, and will let the instrumentalist and functional logic of contemporary “science” completely dictate what they value.

(The definition of “science” as a practical activity whose truth value is defined by the extent to which it increases the ability to isolate or control physical forces is a very recent development, but that is a subject for another time.)

The core issue at hand is that far too many “Right-wing” discourses can only talk about whether something is valuable or harmful, or whether something should be present or absent from an ideal society in terms of function and outcome.

In this respect, “Right-wing” ideologies centered on ideals like competence, hard work, and technological innovation view the world the same way the Left does. If reality can be defined as the present condition of humans, including how humans relate to the rest of nature, then right-wingers focused on “hard work,” “success,” and “innovation” do not believe present reality is a fixed status quo. These Right-wing ideologies operate on the assumption that humans can intervene from outside nature to fundamentally reset the conditions that govern how humans relate to nature. The “nature” in question may even include the nature of humans themselves, at least in the physical and biological sense, considering the increased popularity of healthcare and genetic engineering. The ubiquity of advertisements for wonder-drugs on Right-wing podcasts and videos is not a good sign.

By believing that it is possible and imperative for humans to continually alter the means by which they relate to nature, including the nature of humans themselves, a technological worldview also presumes that “reality” is not something to be seen and accepted, but challenged and changed. A technological worldview is entirely consistent with capitalism and may even be inextricable from it. This includes that aspect of modern capitalism that allows for the permanent suspension of “reality,” such as gender, race, ethnicity, nationhood, and basic human sensibility. The Dissident Right suggests that they despise these effects of capital and technology when they group them up with terms like “globohomo.” Yet, does the Dissident Right also work to imagine and realize an alternative to the permanent suspension of present reality that follows from the unchecked imperative of technological and material progress?

Right-wingers focused on economics and IQ tend to believe that the core problem of multi-ethnic “nations” is that they decrease material prosperity and innovation while increasing crime and sloth. Framing the problems plaguing the West like this also frames ethnic homogeneity in functional terms. Nationhood is thus reduced to a kind of social technology whose meaning and value is defined by material or technological outcomes. The history of human science and technology has demonstrated that, when viewed functionally, social human activity and technological processes are one and the same thing. A social technology — a structured process by which humans relate to each other and exchange energies — precedes any technology that results in material change, or indeed any material technology.

The ancient Egyptians had all the materials necessary to build a laser beam or a microwave. What changed between then and now was the emergence of new social realities that arranged humans and their activities in such a way that new visions of the future could be realized through the development, dissemination, and execution of functional knowledge about humans and nature. Material technologies are contingent on networks of human activities. Networks of human activities are new social realities that appear capable of introducing new material realities, which in turn, set conditions for future social realities.

It is hard to imagine the social reality of the 1950s, in which a nuclear family repeatedly huddles around a glowing box at a particular time of day, unless the material reality of televisions, microwaves, and processed food existed. It is hard to imagine how those material realities could have existed without factories. It is hard to imagine how factories would exist without particular arrangements of human activities and without particular visions of how humans should be. However, the social realities of how humans relate to each other and even the visions that shape those realities are changed by the effect of material technological change.

Technological changes in how humans managed animals and seeds fundamentally altered how humans related to, and came to view, living organisms. However, a similar process can alienate humans from each other. Technologies of convenience, like washing machines or televisions, do not remove work, but merely redirect it from contexts in which humans relate to each other as members of a common group into contexts in which humans relate to each other through self-interested monetary exchanges.

To briefly summarize this point, technologies and techniques shape new realities and, in so doing, they rewrite the intuitive moral codes that govern human social arrangements. The majority of human energy was once spent in the context of their household and local communities. It is now spent in “professional” contexts between groups of people brought together by shared “expertise” whose interactions and behaviors are governed by the management imperatives of secular, transnational, and multiethnic corporations. This process is in accord with the image of “progress” normalized through relentless neoliberal messaging. This progressive image of inevitability, which scholars sometimes call “technological determinism,” takes human time, energies, and activities away from relationships based on love, shared identity, and common purposes. It redirects these energies and activities to relationships of financial exchanges between self-interested parties, whose only relationship and mutual obligation is the exchange itself. The nearest thing to a transcendental meaning of these relationships is the superordinate value structure that regulates human exchanges of value in the global economy.

The neoliberal messaging system cloaks this constant reformative action with numbers and graphs that depict all the new quantities of visible value generated by neoliberal social reformations. What these graphs don’t show is that the appearance of this apparently new value created by heroic capitalism is simply the effect of value that was invisible in the context of traditional human relationships being made visible in the context of a structured market system of exchange. Human energies and resources that were previously exchanged in communities and families are now exchanged through a system of transactions in which humans relate to each other only through what one party can do for another, rather than what one party means to another. As this transformative process becomes the norm, what people mean to each other increasingly becomes indistinguishable from what they can do for each other. It is hard to imagine how something called “Right-wing” could possibly have any value if it does nothing to both prevent and reverse this process.

Practical realities of being and doing

If the effect of capitalism on the prevailing Western view of seeds, animals, and companies led to an ever longer time preference, perhaps the “short” time preference of which the Left is accused is not as much of a problem as those on the Right think. After all, is the existence of “short” time preferences really a problem in itself, or should our concern instead focus on the objects and values that tend to draw human attention in the short term? The American Right often depicts a “short” time preference as a condition in which the industrious and honorable activities that are motivated by a focus on one’s condition in the future are replaced by the slovenly and destructive activities that are produced by a singular interest in instant gratification. The Right correctly associates this state of mind with a malleable consciousness whose core assumptions and value sets are contingent on whatever beliefs are most consistent with remaining connected to the technologies that provide the instant gratification. This is in many ways the core curse of our age, considering that the technologies providing the cheapest and most immediate pleasurable experiences increasingly converge human activities and attention on the post-ethnic, post-religious, post-meaning project that has been inherited by contemporary neoliberalism.

However, it is not only the “immediate” aspect of “instant gratification” that should be relevant to Right-wing dissidents, but the focus on the experience of “gratification.” It is indeed true that the pursuit of immediate, powerful, pleasurable experiences refocuses attention away from objects of meaning outside oneself and outside of one’s own experiences. However, the harm caused by having a singular focus on personal experiences uber alles needn’t only be understood as an effect of short-term thinking.

In many cases, a long time preference is precisely what is required to attain and sustain positions of maximal comfort as a white person in a corporate environment, especially considering that whites must work against an environment shaped by policies of affirmative action. Consider the actions that are required of a white man in such an environment, especially if his moral logic cashes out solely in terms of the presence or absence of financial and material resources. Such a man would need to remain continually focused on the future in order to see and avoid changes that may harm his interests before they happen. In this sense, the logic of his long time preference may lead him continually prepare himself for the future by keeping himself up-to-date with whatever heinous belief systems have been introduced into the corporate environment by the latest seminar designed to foster “inclusion and diversity” and improve “productivity.” Here, his long time preference might take him away from his family and cause him to condition his conscience in ways that result in material success, yet destroy all positive sense of heritage and collective being. It is hard to imagine how this process would not reshape the attitudes, values, and sense of self among his children, grandchildren, and who knows how many future generations.

Inversely, one could imagine a man whose focus on being present in the daily, or even hourly, lives of his wife and children comes at the expense of long-term career goals or even long-term planning in general. He might instead focus on the minutiae of his daily life, and on each moment he shares with his family, for its own sake. He might realize that this is what is required in order to sustain a living sense of transcendental community defined by what each member, and eventually each generation, of his family means to one another. This may in turn lead to a dissemination of intergenerational heritage that keeps many generations of this man’s family focused on what the members of their extended community mean to each other, rather than what they can do for each other. This man, with his “short” time preference, may have sustained a sense of meaning that unites his household in a common identity of being part of a people. By contrast, the man with the “long” time preference, if he bothered to have a family at all, may have one whose only sense of meaning in the world is defined by spending time at work, away from each other. It would be likely that their sense of higher or absolute values would be informed by whichever attitude of self-hatred best positions them to continue succeeding professionally in a managed, neoliberal, post-ethnic, and post-national future.

[8]

You can buy Greg Johnson’s From Plato to Postmodernism here [9]

Moral realities of being and doing

It is telling that the morality of Left-wing ideologies, liberalism, and capitalism ultimately converge on the same result. They replace diversity and quality with fungibility and quantity.

Capitalism converts the physical and symbolic worlds into financial quantities that process reality into units of transaction whose only fundamental meaning is fungibility. Liberalism and Left-wing ideologies seek to convert humanity into post-racial, post-ethnic, post-national, post-religious, and post-gender equivalent units that are knowable only by what they do — rather, by the functions they serve — in what Jaques Ellul called the “technological society.” [5] [10] This new humanity replaces the old one, whose members were defined by categories given from birth that were once a sacred human inheritance.

Liberal capitalism pursues imposes a fungible and quantified reality in pursuit of “equality of opportunity.” Left-wing ideologies do the same thing in pursuit of “equity” which liberals reframe, correctly, as the pursuit of “equality of outcome.” In practical terms, however, all these moral imperatives work to dismantle and memory-hole all categories that confer a source of meaning that stands adjacent to both the liberal obsession with the actions of individuals and to the Left-wing obsession with an inescapable and fungible human identity. In this sense, whether it is the human who performs the action valued by a liberal, or the human who is valued by the Leftist for who they are, that human is indistinguishable from any other. Because of their shared falsehood, both liberal and Leftist ideologies construe the false ontological statement that humans are fundamentally indistinguishable from each other as an actionable moral imperative.

This is why any offensive measure to destroy what makes two groups of humans different is justified by the rhetoric of “are we not all the same?” If we were all the same, what further action would be required?

And this the heart of the issue with a Right-wing ideology of action, competence, and function rather than one of intergenerational identity. It removes the moral language that is necessary to reverse the social and cultural gains of the Left. This issue is well illustrated by the argument made by some Right-wingers against black James Bonds. Their only issue, they tell us, is with the obvious “identity politics” that is being pushed by making James Bond black. However, they also maintain that they have no issues if a black man is chosen to be James Bond if “they are the best actor.” This kind of thinking makes it impossible to ask the question of how it could possibly be the case that a black man could be the “best actor,” regardless of their skill, for a white character. This is because liberal moralities focused on human action cannot entertain the possibility that a particular people may have legitimate interests in telling their own story of themselves with their own characters. How “good” they may be at telling that story is completely beside the point.

Intergenerational human energy is well-spent if it works to keep a nation secure, to establish and protect land for the nation to call its own, and most importantly, if it works to curate that nation’s own narrative of their own intergenerational history and future. This work can be undone in a generation the moment it becomes normal to justify the exclusion of other groups on the grounds that they are lazy, don’t follow the rules, or cause problems for the host society. This is because such rhetoric establishes a standard in which a community’s right to continue existing ceases to be contingent on who that community is, and instead becomes contingent on what members of another community can, or cannot, do for it.

Concluding thoughts

Like technology itself, a long time preference is a means to an end. However, it does not define an end. As we have explored in this article, there are plenty of conceivable circumstances in which a long time preference may come at the expense of a desirable end, like the continuation of a self-aware intergenerational community. There are also risks that a forward-looking understanding of value and meaning pose to the stability and continuity that forms the base of Right-wing value systems. 

Creating a population of individuals that know themselves only by what they do does not lend itself to an intergenerational community that knows itself by who they are. Considering this, it may be wise for nationalists, and all dissidents who are interested in sustaining their inherited ethnic identities, to consider the limitations of discourses concerned with “long time preference,” “IQ,” “crime statistics,” or any other measures concerned with actions and outcomes. All these measures concern human behavior, but not human identity, and thus direct a dissenting politics from the only discussion that matters: that which concerns shared intergenerational identity.

It is crucial at this moment in history for modern Right-wing dissidents to realize that right-wing values of doing must work in the interests of values of collective being. Anything short of this will mean that no amount of energy spent cultivating “Right-wing” attitudes toward behavior or willpower will be able to usher in a future that is recognizably different from nihilistic neoliberalism or utopian Leftism. This is not rehashed Luddism or an admonishment of excellence. Being competent and forward-looking is strategically necessary to protect that which nationalists value from those who would “modernize” it. Our continual innovations must counter those of our enemies. However, we must not let this necessary process make us become like them in allowing innovations in technology and technique to set the conditions for what humans mean to each other. We cannot let desirable actions, like “hard work,” undesirable actions like “criminal behavior,” or even functional attributes like IQ become the fundamental determinant of how peoples of a shared heritage relate to themselves and others.

Reminding people of European descent to have an active consciousness and appreciation of the present moment should be one of the most important tasks of the Right. This sort of awareness resituates attention toward things that matter. This is one way of allowing for peoples of European descent to refocus their attention from what they do to who they are, and how they relate to others who are like them. It is remarkable that this remains such a struggle for the white Right, considering that the rest of humanity, of all political persuasions, demonstrate their willingness to treat people differently in response to visible marks of their European heritage.

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Notes

[1] [14] Harriet Ritvo, “Possessing Mother Nature: Genetic capital in eighteenth-century Britain,” in John Brewer, Susan Staves, Early Modern Conceptions of Property (London: Routledge, 2014).

[2] [15] Christophe Bonneuil, “Seeing nature as a ‘universal store of genes,’” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 75, June 2019.

[3] [16] Ritvo, p. 416.

[4] [17] Sally Hughes, Genentech, The Beginnings of Biotech (University of Chicago Press, 2011).

[5] [18] Jaques Ellul, The Technological Society (New York: Knopf, 1967).