Against the Negative Approach in PoliticsNicholas R. Jeelvy
In my article on chaga nationalism, I discussed the spiritual dangers of allowing a purely negative and destructive approach to politics to take hold in the dissident’s heart. I discussed the danger of giving in to the urge to destroy without tempering it with a vision to create; a positive vision of victory towards which the dissident strives and orients himself.
Soon after, we got news of the Buffalo shooting. I am still not convinced that Payton Gendron was just a young white man at the end of his rope, and I suspect there is non-zero involvement by shady federal instigators and agent provocateurs in this sorry affair. But if I am wrong and this was indeed a young man at the end of his rope, then this incident is a vindication of my warning. In forgetting to create as he destroyed, forgetting the coagula part of the solve et coagula formula, Gendron fell victim to the demon of destruction.
What I intend to do in this article, however, is showcase the political dangers of a purely negative approach. You’d expect that demonstrating the spiritual — or if you prefer, psychological — dangers of such an approach would be enough, but I’ve found that there’s never a shortage of people in life who not only think they are more resilient than they are, but that they’re more resilient than the hundreds of generations which came before them. The tale of Boromir being tempted by the One Ring is important, because everyone is Boromir thinking they can take more out of the Ring than the Ring can take out of them. This is why we need people to understand that, though they may not care about their spiritual health, their political fortunes are also hurt by having a purely negative approach.
Let’s start by defining our terms. When I speak of the negative approach, I am talking of the operational framework which directs dissidents’ energies primarily towards dislodging the current ruling class in the West without regard for what comes afterwards, or what (and who) will replace it. Proponents will cite some advantages to this approach. Firstly, focusing on the enemy allows us to have a bigger coalition. If we are guided by positive visions, we’ll inevitably find that different groups of dissidents have differing and incompatible visions of what the future should be, and therefore refuse to cooperate. Focusing on defeating the enemy puts those differences on the backburner.
A second advantage is that by offering no vision of the future, one has no ground to defend against an ideological opponent and can focus all efforts on attack. When people have, and work towards, a positive vision, they have to defend it on grounds of feasibility, morality, and many other factors before they’ve even taken the first step towards constructing it.
A bigger force to field and less front to defend: Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, that’s the theory. In practice, there are several problems with the negative approach.
From the earliest days of political philosophy, thinkers have almost universally agreed that a bad government is better than no government, that a tyrant is better than anarchy, and that it is better to suffer the depredations of an unjust system than to live under a Hobbesian world where man is wolf to man, red in tooth and claw, and life is nasty, brutish, and short. So, whenever someone attacks the prevailing political system, society edges one step closer to the dreaded state of anarchy.
To Right-wingers raised on liberal platitudes about that government being best which governs least, or former Rothbardian anarchists who think that a stateless society is a society of peace and cooperation, the notion that someone criticizing the system is an agent of chaos may be unthinkable, but to everyone else, it is almost self-evident. He attacks order, therefore he works for chaos. While it may be true that the King is corrupt, standing in the middle of the town square and calling the King corrupt is an attack on the order which the King personifies. The order may itself be corrupt and not particularly pleasant, but it is an order nevertheless and people instinctively recognize that it would be better than the chaos of roving gangs of bandits that would arise in its absence. This is why people are, as a general rule, wary of instigators who do nothing but criticize and attack the powers-that-be, even when they generally agree with the instigators about the state of things. Without a positive vision to promulgate in the place of the current order, all you are is a moaner.
Do we conclude from this that criticizing the prevailing order should never be allowed? No. Rather, we tailor our message so that when we criticize the regime, we then follow up on our attack with a positive vision — which is to say, we demonstrate that we are not merely agents of chaos, but that we seek to present a more orderly society than the current one. In fact, if we have a positive vision which is well-fleshed out and well-defended, we do not even have to criticize the regime directly, but by merely presenting our positive vision as an alternative, we threaten the regime’s position, as now their shambolic rule looks anarchic and chaotic by comparison. In maintaining the positive operational frame, the instigator and rebel has turned the tables on the ruler and framed him as an anarchist and himself as an agent of order.
Naturally, this sort of stratagem only works against a deeply corrupt regime, and insofar as one has a positive vision which can remedy these corruptions and provide greater order and security for society. If your vision is downright disturbing and would provide less order than the current regime, then maybe sticking to critique of the enemy is a good idea. White identitarian nationalists should have no problem with that. The positive vision of the ethnostate has several great advantages. It is feasible, it is morally defensible, and it is the modern version of the oldest and most natural mode of large-scale societal organization on the planet: the tribal confederation. Almost all problems characteristic of the modern world would be solved or rendered more easily soluble by the institution of ethnostates for the world’s various white nations.
A second problem arises when we consider the fact that building a coalition based on enmity towards something means that the coalition will necessarily represent a dog’s breakfast of ideologies and worldviews which are mutually incompatible and provide conflicting operational frameworks within the coalition. The result would be that the coalition’s public messaging would be nothing short of schizophrenic, which solidifies the order-preferring and conservative skepticism we identified at the heart of the first problem. For a practical example of why such an enmity-based coalition not only doesn’t work, but fails spectacularly, I recommend reading this article from The Visegrád Post about the failure of the “all against Orbán” coalition in the recent Hungarian parliamentary election.
But an even bigger problem arises from the negative approach in the context of a small and embattled group such as white identitarian nationalists in the West. Let’s say that we temporarily shelved the idea of the ethnostate and focused on doing as much damage as possible to the enemy. The first question we have to ask ourselves, of course, is “Who is the enemy?” This is problematic to answer, because there are multiple groups operating in the world, all vying for power. We do not have a single enemy, but rather we have multiple groups of enemies, some of whom are opposed to each other as well, whereas others pose as friends.
When we have the positive vision of the ethnostate, it provides us with an operational framework for making a friend-enemy distinction: Enemies are those who oppose the institution of ethnostates for the white nations on the planet. Suddenly the distinction is very clear, the battle lines are clearly drawn, and the enemy groups are clearly visible. But drop the positive vision and suddenly you ask yourself: Why am I opposing this group of people? What reason do I have to disrupt their plans? Why are they an enemy? The friend-enemy distinction is blurred, and now enemies can pose as friends and instrumentalize the efforts of our people for their own nefarious ends. Absent a positive vision, and understanding our own unique propensity as a people for pursuing destruction for the sake of destruction (or self-destruction), lack of a positive vision of victory leaves us vulnerable to becoming pawns of anti-nationalist forces which nevertheless may oppose the current ruling regime in the West.
Losing sight of the positive vision means that the resentful and destructive urges take over, with a monomaniacal focus on destroying “the enemy,” which is then easily coopted by other enemy groups who now pose as friends because they, too, oppose “the enemy.” The simplest of these deceptions is the mainstream Right appropriating dissident energy and efforts to elect yet more stool pigeons who will “trigger the libs.” By forsaking a positive vision, we’ve committed an act of unfathomable evil: We helped the center-Right, a movement whose entire purpose is to make the realization of the ethnostate impossible and enforce the Nuremberg moral paradigm.
More advanced deceptions include the instrumentalization of dissident movements for the purposes of empires which rival the Washington regime. The intelligence services of Moscow and Peking try very hard to influence the dissident thought space because they realize our power to injure the Washington regime, even if we sometimes don’t realize that ourselves. Opposed though they may be to Washington, it is good to remember that both Moscow and Peking are anti-nationalist imperial powers which fully comply with the Nuremberg moral paradigm, and as such can only be considered enemies of white identitarian nationalists. In the end, any political success from such an arrangement would be hollow, because all it would do is replace one anti-white, anti-nationalist power with another.
My third objection is related to the negative approach’s spiritual and psychological problems. It attracts the wrecker archetype, and necessarily damages political success. The wrecker archetype is, simply put, bad optics — and not in the ideological sense. You can get away with a lot ideologically if you present yourself as a well-groomed, well-spoken, and cultured person, but crass, weak, and slovenly people get rejected no matter how much they bow down to the Nuremberg moral paradigm.
The most didactic moment of America First’s downfall is Paul Gosar’s disavowal of Nick Fuentes for “having a big mouth.” Fuentes was ultimately rejected by the Congressman not for his radical political views, but for his weak character and dishonesty. But Fuentes’ movement never really had a clear positive vision of the future and dropped all pretense of any such vision after January 6, 2021 and the failure of the Trump reelection campaign. This is when the movement became embroiled in disputes, turned toward promoting the incel and loser lifestyles, and started hemorrhaging quality people, leaving behind only the pathetic dregs who want to burn the world down but have no idea what to do in its ashes.
The primary advocates for a negative approach to dissident politics in recent months has been Neema Parvini, a Welsh-Persian former English literature lecturer who likes to call himself Academic Agent on YouTube, and Bertie Basset on Telegram. His preferred term for this operational framework is CLEAR THEM OUT, always in capital letters. Leaving the question of who “they” are and how they’re supposed to be “cleared out” purposefully vague, he lays out the following step-by-step plan for CLEARING THEM OUT:
Step 1: Establish an intellectual vanguard capable of forming a counter-elite.
Step 2: Build a coalition based around CLEARING THEM OUT (which in practice should be done at the same time as Step 1).
Step 3: CLEAR THEM OUT.
Step 4: The vanguard moves with ruthless coordination to take power from other groups in the coalition.
It is in Step 4 of the Parvini plan that we see the negative approach’s political danger. Since the coalition is built on the basis of common enmity for the West’s ruling regime, it can theoretically include people with mutually exclusive views. Understanding that such a coalition would be greatly unstable, as seen in the Hungarian opposition’s example, let’s nevertheless assume that it survives the formation stage and actually succeeds in CLEARING THEM OUT. Every group in the coalition is now in danger of being ruthlessly purged by the “vanguard” and having its political ambitions defeated, even as it spent all of its capital — political, cultural, financial, and otherwise — fighting to CLEAR THEM OUT. It is therefore entirely conceivable that by embracing a negative approach, white identitarian nationalists can be hoodwinked into supporting a group which opposes White Nationalism and identitarianism, becoming its useful idiots.
Parvini’s association with such figures as the Jew Curtis Yarvin and Thomas Cyr, whose familial pedigrees include employees of the Department of State, DARPA associates, and Council of Foreign Relation fellows leaves very little to the imagination when we try to conceive of what kind of vanguard he would like to ruthlessly take power after instrumentalizing the broader dissident movement, including White Nationalists. Yarvin’s presence is particularly interesting, given that presenting the man’s own positive vision for the future is the best way to dissuade people from getting involved in neoreaction; it turns out that the market for Jewish-dominated multiracial authoritarian hypercapitalism (but based) is very slim. What better way to improve its optics than by sweeping that hellscape under the rug of the purely negative approach, which plays to neoreaction’s forte: critique of the current system? Identitarianism is, of course, an impediment to this vision, but if identitarians, or even just people concerned about the demographic displacement of white people and loss of cultural identity, could be convinced that all that’s necessary is to destroy the current ruling class, then the identitarian energy could be harnessed in a way that is safe for the Judeo-reactionary program.
I don’t think Parvini is a dastardly mastermind plotting to subvert nationalism. He wouldn’t have outlined and published his four-step plan to screw everyone over if he were, but I wouldn’t exclude the possibility that he is being manipulated by a group of people who are seeking to seize power in the West for the purpose of instrumentalizing the Dissident Right, or at least those parts of it which are adjacent to him. I’d also caution that he is not the only one pushing a negative approach. Many others would like us to be hyperfocused on “the enemy” and ignore our own positive vision for the future, as well as the other enemy groups that are maneuvering for position in the weakening Washington regime’s shadow.
The key to avoid these subversions is to maintain our frame and keep our eye on the target, which is the ultimate goal of our political activity, and not allow ourselves to be enticed by the promise of a relatively easier but ultimately hollow “victory” via serving as useful idiots to any of the unscrupulous, anti-white, anti-nationalist groups jockeying for power in the complex, shadowy political labyrinths of a dying empire.
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Well, that is a good explanation of the problems & practices that the right, formerly defined purely as the GOP, faced. From the days of Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, the GOP has been good at attack but bad at any kind of meaningful follow-up policy.
White identitarians or ethno-nationalists, as I guess we’re called today, seem to at least offer some sort of goal: which is ridiculed by literally everyone else though.
There is no purely negative approach to change that has ever worked. The promise of something new and better is the driving force behind every revolution, it is never the promise of destruction. Whites do not like to destroy unless they are properly enticed into doing so, especially not their own societies and structures. Whites are creative herd animals who love to nurture and always try to adhere to the prevailing morality – they must simply be re-taught to nurture themselves, and that nurturing their own race is the highest moral form. Fostering white unity and community building is a leap forward – white terror and impetuous lashing out is a leap back. Being constructive and peaceful proves the system wrong, being violent and deranged proves the system right.
Those who join fringe movements for the promise of destruction are too lazy to work at making a meaningful difference. They are more often than not mentally ill and unhappy creatures, criminal in mind and deed, the scum of society. This is true for any fringe movement that challenges the current system, be it White Nationalist, Marxist, Anarchist or Islamic. Any of these who decides to bring positivity, energy, dynamism and love to their cause will be infinitely more successful than those who bring misanthropy, chaos and death.
Yes, this is a problem, and I think it’s one of the reason that “subversive” is thrown around so much. While I agree that it’s bad to ally with people who have incompatible visions, I also think that people are sometimes too quick to decide that someone has incompatible ideas.
Therefore, a movement should seek to identify the minimal set of ideas someone needs to agree with that do not compromise its mission.
What might such a list look like for me? If we focus on the most relevant ones for modern times:
A nation serves its own people first. Immigration has substantial long-term risks and is extremely hard to undo. Immigration must not be used as a substitute for native growth in economic policy.
Genetics matter. Genetics are affected by national policy whether or not we acknowledge it, and so it’s better to acknowledge it.
Traditional Western values are good social norms. They are not oppressive, but rather the expression of the innate values of the people who belong in a Western nation. Individuals who don’t fit these norms should (generally) neither be abused nor celebrated.
Humans are tribal. Freedom of association is good, and asserting that right both individually and at a group level is valid and good.
Another example of “why such an enmity-based coalition not only doesn’t work, but fails spectacularly” is the post-war American New Right. William F. Buckley, Jr. created a coalition of traditional conservatives, libertarians, and Christians, united under the negative banner of anti-communism. Once communism collapsed, so did the American Right, as well-to-do Buckley spent his last years shamefully purging the “kooks,” read paleoconservatives, from respectable society, ushering in the era of neoconservatism, a spectacular failure indeed.
When, at its inception, National Review took on the staff and the subscribers of libertarianish NY journal The Freeman the enterprise was doomed. It was thereafter restricted to fighting the symptoms of the problem (viz communism) and not the problem itself. From what I have seen I believe Buckley to have been fanatical about ensuring that. What was he thinking I wonder?
As centrifugal politics (in all its forms) becomes more popular, WIN will have to get used to being just one of a plethora of voices posing both criticism and positive alternatives. However it may seem, the future is already upon us. ‘Far Right’ politics is going to disappear. There will be Smart Politics and Dumb Politics and Darwinian forces will weed out one and strengthen the other.
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