Conservatives are from Mars, Liberals are from UranusNicholas R. Jeelvy
Much of what I’ve done here on Counter-Currents has been about discovering the psychological makeup of the various factions vying for power in the West. I’m always interested in ways to slice up the electorate and figure out how parts of it move around, in relation both to each other and to real or imagined frames of reference. I’ve looked at Jonathan Haidt’s moral compass, the Big Five personality test divides between liberals and conservatives, and even made up a few classifications of my own. Another has just appeared from someone calling himself Richard Hanania.
The linked text is long – approximately 9,000 words — but worth reading. The core argument is that liberals are “readers,” which is to say they’re guided by attachment to policy, whereas conservatives are “TV watchers,” which is to say they look at politics as a spectacle, treating it as a TV show. This is a very reductive way of putting it, so I encourage you to read the article. In it, Hanania makes numerous statements to the effect that yes, not all liberals are like that and not all conservatives are like that, and of course sometimes liberals act like TV watchers, and of course there are groups on the Right who are readers — to the point where it gets a little tedious. Yes, Mr. Hanania, I understand that statistical analyses do not refer to individuals, and yes, I understand that exceptions do not negate general trends. I resent the implication that my hand has to be held through the analysis. As someone who writes for an audience which is presumed to be familiar with Johnathan Haidt’s work, you should understand that the constant inb4 NAXALT warnings are grating after a while.
We must consider the man writing the article before discussing it, because the most fundamental question we should ask ourselves when someone tells us something is: Why are we being told this? The “who” will more often than not answer the “why.” From a single, lazy DuckDuckGo search, I discover that Hanania is a Jewish surname, and that Richard Hanania is a man with a very large nose, an annoying voice, and a preponderance of acne on his forehead. Alas, he’s not notable enough for a Wikipedia page, so I can’t check his biography. Of course, as has been pointed out to me by movement notables, he is someone who seemed to pop out of nowhere and immediately accrue a massive following. Maybe it’s just my paranoia running wild, but I can’t help but think of soyjacks pointing towards whatever excites their soy-drenched fancies. Oh, and he’s a vaccine supporter who advises conservatives to bend the knee on vaccine mandates, so make of that what you will.
Hanania produces several graphs which seem to indicate that a greater percentage of liberals read than conservatives do. While both rely on a television outlet the most, conservatives beat liberals by 7 percentage points in trusting FOX News (60%) as opposed to CNN (53%). Both networks are relied upon by 39% of US adults regardless of affiliation. In the newspaper category, The New York Times is relied upon by 31% of liberals, whereas the highest-scoring conservative newspaper is The Wall Street Journal, relied upon by 11% of conservatives (and 15% of liberals, as well as 13% of the general public). Standing out with impressive numbers as relied upon by conservatives are Sean Hannity (19%) and Rush Limbaugh (17%) on radio. Liberals, for their part, listen to NPR (30%).
From this and a few other graphs, mostly dealing with the degree to which liberals and conservatives trust news sources, Hanania develops a model of American politics based on the assumption that “liberals read and conservatives watch TV.” He clarifies that what he means by “watching TV” is something which precedes the technology of television and that most people, most of the time are TV watchers, which is likened to sitting around the campfire and talking about how the other tribe are dum-dums. Of course, in this context, readers denote persons who are literate and less physical and are more interested in theory. We are starting to see the outline of something familiar here: Julius Evola’s warriors and priests, or maybe the Italian elite school’s lions and foxes.
To distil and expand upon Hanania’s views: The TV watcher chases the latest struggle and is not so much policy driven, as he just wants to win. Win what? Only losers ask that question. Well, maybe not losers, but it’s definitely the kind of question a reader would ask. “Hold it there, soldier boy, what the hell are we fighting for here?” “Huh,” comes the confused grunt from the fighting TV watcher. “Why are you rooting for the enemy?” I’ve called the phenomenon which Hanania describes on the Right “soldier-brain.” It’s probably less offensive to think of conservatives as soldier archetypes rather than TV watchers: good, obedient, not too concerned with the big questions, enthusiastic winners; people who respond to pressure and opprobrium by redoubling their efforts. “I will work harder,” said Boxer, the TV-watching conservative horse from Animal Farm.
We mock them by throwing the line about pulling themselves up by their bootstraps back in their faces, but I doubt the conservative mind can conceive of a problem which cannot be solved by working harder, working smarter, putting your nose to the grindstone, burning the midnight oil, and doing all the right things. The very idea of an unsolvable problem, or a problem which if solved would worsen our situation, is an assault on their conception of the world. Those who are soldier-brained see the world as a video game where the right orders must be obeyed and the right buttons pushed, and then good results will come as certainly as the rising Sun. Of course, the world looks nothing like this and it’s usually a reader who points this out, and as we know well, readers can’t be trusted.
Lest the Leftists start feeling very smart, reader culture can often be just as bad. At least the soldier does what he’s told, and will usually do it well. The reader, on the other hand, unless he’s of a specific temperament and has a minimum IQ which by my estimation is in the mid-120s, is usually a midwit who imagines himself to be some form of sophisticate. He’s the kind of person who cracks open the New York Times and is blown away by the bafflegab — a most useful term — contained therein: big words, serpentine sentences, verbal wizardry, languid loquaciousness — these all combine to impress upon our friend, the reader, The Truth, which seizes him as a demon possesses an unwitting victim. So it has been written, so it shall be done. The reader looks at the soldier and holds him in disdain, because the soldier subjugates himself to men and follows orders, whereas the reader, being an independent thinker, has convictions and follows ideas. He mocks the soldier for not understanding that he jumps through hoops placed by other men, conveniently forgetting that the words he has read have also been written by men — men who aren’t necessarily honest and who may not have his best interests at heart.
Recall when I brought to your attention Hanania’s ethnicity and his physiognomy. Recall when I pointed out that when a man says something, or asks a question, he has a reason for it — one that isn’t always apparent. You’d do well to question the motivations of everyone who tells you something, of everyone who authors something for your consumption. Why am I learning about this now? Why is it being presented to me? Who is this guy, and why is he saying these things? Alas, it’s a very difficult question to ask yourself, because it requires a sort of paranoia. When something is put in print, we assume that it has gone through a vetting process, and that before it was ever presented to us, it was checked for factuality and relevance. I once had a friend — a reader — assure me that something was true because he had read it in a book and not on the internet. He’s on the older side, so you can chalk it up to inexperience with the world of lies we’re now living in, but I was amazed at the degree to which the book as a physical object held him in thrall. Even younger people find physical books more authoritative, for some reason. Personally, I’ve never pretended that my preference for physical over electronic books is anything more than aesthetic; in fact, I prefer my non-fiction to be electronic, for ease of searching.
Hanania directs our attention to the implications of this division. Conservatives tend to win more elections due to their tribal sensibilities and love for the political scrap, “winning at all costs,” but liberals will be better at implementing their policy proposals, mostly because they know what those policy proposals are and hold them to be more important than just “winning.” Republicans will “hold their nose” and vote for a humanoid stool sample like Glenn Youngkin, whereas hardcore Leftists withheld their support for Hillary Clinton and five years later are getting everything they wanted and more. The Democratic Party had to at least pander to them, whereas Trump and Kushner took conservative voters for granted. Having your priorities and goals formed by the written word means that you hold policy goals higher than “winning.” What’s the point of winning if we can’t get any of our policies implemented?
I’m reminded of the comment that the Carthaginian general, Hannibal, knew how to win a victory but not how to use it. But then readers will know about how Hannibal squandered his victories against the Romans and never won a clean victory against them, thanks to the wily Quintus Fabius Maximus — Cunctator, the delayer (from whom we get the term fabian). Recognizing that he couldn’t beat the Carthaginian, Fabius avoided conflict and instead limited his enemy’s ability to resupply, gain allies, and reinforce, and thus defeated him through attrition and demoralization. Indeed, this is very much how conservatives lose: They win an election, then lose all interest in politics until such time that the Republican party (or its equivalents abroad) are defeated again. The TV-watching conservative is just a tourist in politics-land; he just wants to grill, fer Chrissakes. The reader liberal, on the other hand, is possessed, you could say, by the magic markings on the page and just will not let it go. Even from a position of nominal opposition, he doesn’t lose interest in politics; he will keep on fighting because he knows what he’s fighting for. It’s written down, after all. What does the TV watcher fight for? Trump! America! What does that mean? David Cole has some harsh (but true) words.
Hanania points out the exceptions on the Right: the pro-life movement, the gun rights movement and the libertarians. They are cause-driven. Their agenda is written down, in the Bible (thou shalt not kill), in the American Constitution (the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed), and in the skin-bound, Koch-published, Talmudic tomes of Mammon-worship from where libertarians conjure their bafflegab. Even the Dissident Right gets a faint and understated mention when Hanania cites The Unz Review and Daily Stormer as examples of reader Right-wingers. We’re not mentioned anywhere else in the article, however, so I’m not sure if Hanania is trying to pretend like we don’t exist while still using our sites as data points, or if it’s because we have less influence on policy than pro-lifers, gun rights activists, and libertarians. Being of the long-nose persuasion, he might be a little allergic to us. He also claims that the economics-focused Left is more inclined toward watching TV and is therefore less ideological as opposed to the society-focused SJWs — but I’m reminded that it was the Bernie Bros who stayed home in 2016 and in turn contributed to Donald Trump’s victory. It’s also those dreaded class reductionists on the Left who actually bother to read Marx, so we can put that claim in the “unsupported and debunked” file.
Now might be a good moment to start thinking about the Dissident Right. Are we readers or are we TV watchers? We are almost by definition tribal rather than creedal, but curiously, we seem to be better read and more inclined toward reading than either the conservatives or the liberals. Part of this is because we are, like other marginal movements, disproportionately wheat. Much of the chaff was burned off as the censorship, persecution, and controlled opposition ops ramped up in 2017. The Alt Right of the mid-2010s was more evenly distributed, still with more wheat than either the mainstream Left or mainstream Right, but there was some serious chaff there. Many of the guys who “just want to do something,” soldier-brained TV watchers if there ever were any, have either retreated into nihilism or are out doing something else. Maybe they’re opposing corona measures, have become groypers and are trying to raise paleoconservatism from the dead using green magicks, or have fallen for some psyop or other and are now mestizo bodybuilders, Atomwaffen auxiliaries, or plan-trusters. What’s left are the people for whom this isn’t wrestling and who have specific goals in mind; goals that are written down and are more or less clear.
Or, I could be wrong, and the TV-watching dissidents are watching The Writers’ Bloc (Sundays at 22:00 CET, 4 PM Eastern Time, 1 PM Pacific Time on the Counter-Currents Dlive and Odysee channels — tune in for riveting repartee and Nick’s lame Heath Ledger impressions!). In fact, our culture of livestreaming, our proximity to the bloodsports phenomenon, and our uncanny ability to produce our own drama all point to a robust TV-watching culture led by people who are by any definition of the term readers. Maybe I had to lasso Greg Johnson over to Dlive, but he appears to have developed both a knack for and an enjoyment of the livestream format. Why shouldn’t he? The philosopher’s natural place is in the salon, or in the agora. Ideas are meant to be tested.
Within this framework, the Dissident Right has elements of both reader and TV culture, although the leadership is obviously composed of readers who try to cultivate a culture of reading while maintaining a place for the TV watchers. This is not by design, I suspect, but due to necessity, because the Dissident Right cannot exactly pick and choose, and also because white identitarians are more narrowly interested in providing for their people as a biological category. White people come in both reader and TV-watcher form, so we cater to both categories. However, the prevalence of readers needs to be accounted for. I believe this stems from three factors.
Firstly, I believe that readers of a conservative constitution find the American Right’s TV culture alienating, and so they find themselves herded towards the Dissident Right in running from the mainstream Right. We used to call ourselves the Alt Right for a reason: We were the deep-thinking alternative to the shallowness of Republican politics. The selection pressure attracts a certain percentage of the TV watchers back into the mainstream and herds the readers towards dissent.
Secondly, I believe that Right-wing readers often find themselves violating regime orthodoxy, usually due to their high intelligence and high personal integrity. Once they’re purged, they can either cling to any of the purple pill narratives and hope in vain that they’ll one day return to Elysium, or they can accept that they’re now seen as heretics and embrace the complete intellectual freedom that comes from this. In for a penny, in for a pound — or so I’ve been told.
Thirdly, it’s because the Dissident Right is the ultimate “principles before victory” movement in the Western political spectrum. We are the people who will suffer in obscurity for our cause. We will brave persecution, arrests, deplatforming, demonetization, and all sorts of nasties for the cause. The mainstream Right mocks us for being losers, and we respond by trying to teach them to embrace loserdom and become antifragile to defeat. TV watchers like a scrap, and they like winning. The Dissident Right has hopefully learned from the failures of the Alt Right and will not scrap for the time being. We’re now focused more on surviving than on the big, flashy tickertape parades that are what conservatives like to call winning. In short, it’s a reader’s paradise.
However, there’s a zeroth factor to this; namely, the deep reason why the American Right not only consists of TV watchers but also seems to be headed by them. This is because, since they have been Western civilization’s slave caste since the early twentieth century, conservatives are not allowed to make a serious intellectual case for their position. William F. Buckley made a career of purging conservative readers who read too closely into the theory of conservatism or who held to principles too closely. William F. Buckley, of course, was an agent of the American federal government who sought to instrumentalize conservatism into serving its bellicose foreign policy. In short, the mainstream Right has no readers because Buckley got all the readers in one place, got some to submit, and then purged the ones who wouldn’t. Thus, the readers of the Right were severed from the TV watchers of the Left.
Notice that while Hanania tries to make it a conservative-liberal divide, he nevertheless admits that liberals also have many TV watchers; in fact, the TV watchers outnumber the readers on the Left as well. The Right is almost all TV watchers; liberalism is a body with a brain. That brain is diseased and the body rotting, but conservatism has no brain. The American Right’s brains are splattered all over the internet — on Counter-Currents, on The Unz Review, on VDare – having been lobotomized by the CIA in the 1950s. Worse, unscrupulous men who seek to use this decorticated body for their own nefarious means will subvert and poison any attempt to reinsert the brains and will diligently excise any remaining neurons. Witness how Ann Coulter was run out of Conservatown when she dared speak against the so-called God-Emperor Trump when he abandoned the policies he ran on in 2016.
The battle for the future is not between readers and TV watchers. Rather, it will be fought by opposing political entities, each consisting of both readers and TV watchers, with the TV watchers doing the bulk of the fighting and the readers keeping them focused on their goals. The Left has such a coalition, though one geared towards evil. The Dissident Right has such a coalition, geared towards good, but currently lacking large numbers of TV watchers. The mainstream Right is decorticated, having very little in the way of readers, and those readers are often unscrupulous and willing to exploit the TV watchers for profit or political gain. They will not be a factor in the political struggle. The only way they can matter is by blocking the rise of the Dissident Right — something I hope we can surmount sooner rather than later.
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I nominate this article for “wittiest title of 2021”
Ann Coulter? I disliked her long before she turned on Trump. And what’s with all the leather?
I saw a recent tweet from Richard Hanania, attacking Senator Josh Hawley for criticizing Herbert Marcuse.
‘[T]he Dissident Right is the ultimate “principles before victory” movement….’
By all that is holy, I hope not. I hope that every single idea that is proposed as a ‘principle’ in White Identity Nationalism (WIN) is interrogated for it’s political utility but that ‘political utility’ includes a range of factors beyond ‘counting coup’ on one’s opponents.
The Zombie Right – both the Racial and Negro-Worshiping varieties – always defend their worst ideas as a matter of ‘principle’.
The best thing that WIN has going for it is a singular vision that combines the empirical (‘Whites exist’), the moral (‘Whites have interests’) and the political (the White Ethnostate).
All of these reinforce the other and create the basis for a White Identity Nationalist moral and political order in abstentia.
Our morals have to be morals that allow us to fight and win wisely.
Hanania wrote an important piece showing how Woke ideology is the fulfillment of the Civil Rights Act and not, as Con Inc. would have it, its violation. A much better take than what private equity wash-out Youngkin would say.
Yes. If you can brainwash, browbeat and bully White people into believing that Blacks are our equals, there’s no reason you can’t get people to believe that a male can be a female. Both are equally false, prima facie, yet many millions believe this.
When it comes to swallowing superstition, so-called Modern Man puts so-called primitive people to shame. No contest.
I have been making the same point for some time now. Christopher Caldwell makes a strong case that the 1964 Civil Rights Act functions now as a second Constitution. And I agree with Hanania that Wokeness is the natural progeny of “I Have A Dream”. There is a direct line from MLK to Caitlyn Jenner.
Hanania isn’t Jewish: he’s of Lebanese Christian extraction.
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