The Counter-Currents 2023 Fundraiser
Take the Iron Pill
Like all journals of dissident ideas, Counter-Currents depends on the support of our readers. So far this year, we’ve raised $63,955.84 of our $300,000 goal. I want to thank everyone who has donated so far. (Please donate !) But first, Thomas Steuben offers a few words on how to decide what level of involvement in our movement is right for you.
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The term “red pill” has become common parlance and has spawned numerous variations. While some lament that its meaning has become diluted, I prefer to see this as a testament to the dissident Right’s cultural dynamism. But these variations are all derivatives of the original meaning, which is the acceptance of certain facts.
In the exuberance of 2016, which was in many ways the Right-wing equivalent of Woodstock — replete with a unique vocabulary to complement the nascent counter-culture — “taking the red pill” was everything. There was no greater glory than learning forbidden facts, challenging stale premises, and achieving a monk-like mastery of doctrine. But once one can recite facts like an encyclopedia and debate doctrine like a Byzantine monk, what then? What are you supposed to do with this knowledge? How is victory achieved?
The red pill leads naturally to a fork in the road, which is the choice between the white pill of optimism or the black pill of pessimism. The white pill is delusional. Oswald Spengler rightfully criticized optimism as an excuse to do nothing. Winning requires more than voting MAGA and sharing memes. Yes, our ideas have been spreading — but they didn’t spread themselves. It was the product of enormous effort. And on their own, ideas aren’t enough.
The black pill is likewise a dead end. The rational conclusion to the black pill is to drop out, have a good cry in your safe space, and maybe make some poor decisions on the way out. This is what the enemy wants. In previous eras, such defeatism was strictly punished, and rightfully so.
But there is a third option: the iron pill. This is dedication to action with little, if any, attachment to outcome. This should not be confused with the immature carelessness or nihilistic irony which are endemic in certain sectors. It is the absolute and dispassionate will which Arjuna discovered when Krishna ordered him to fight.
The iron pill is only for the few. Is it perhaps better, then, not to have taken the red pill at all and to have remained a “normie”? Who wants to worry about the future, especially in a declining society?
Ignorance is bliss, but we have duties, including a duty to know and a duty to act. But let’s try putting aside matters of duty and honor. It would be tempting to allow others to do their duties while you yourself freeload on the fruits of their labors. Besides, knowing about these things, let alone acting upon them, draws the ire of a repressive regime. You would be both happier and safer!
But this isn’t true.
First, because as Socrates observed, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” The shallow life of a normie is not fulfilling, so you would not actually be happy.
Second, because ignorance and even collaboration with the system will not necessarily save you anymore. You can still be victimized by a violent career criminal. Trains carrying toxic chemicals can still derail in your town. Your local park can still be taken over by shambling drug addicts. Your job can still be offshored or given to a green card holder.
There will be uncertainty regardless of whether you act in the political realm. That uncertainty is only going to grow. But what is certain in a sea of ambiguity is that if you do act, you will have honor — especially since those who choose to meaningfully act are so few in number.
Thus, we are not better off living in bovine ignorance. Besides, nobody else is going to save us. Can we imagine productive action coming from the establishment GOP or vapid e-celebs? Even most of the MAGA crowd seems more interested in the latest sordid Hunter Biden photo than in exercising power.
Yet this leads into another problem. Having taken the iron pill and having resolved to act, what exactly should we do?
I can offer little guidance here. I can certainly think of a few things not to do because they are stupid. But everyone’s personal attributes and opportunities are different. I categorically reject any strategy that includes the phrase “We should all do X.” I do not know anyone in a position to issue a five-year plan for the movement.
I am confident, however, that everyone can find some way to contribute to the cause.
Some people, such as those in Patriot Front, are brave frontline activists. But not everyone should be a frontline activist, due to the fact that even peaceful and lawful activism is far from protected under our present state of anarcho-tyranny. This was demonstrated in the recent trial of Patriot Front activists in Idaho. Even if they hadn’t been convicted, the process itself was a punishment given that it involved doxing and forced those accused to consume both time and money.
There are of course other options. For example, there is also plenty of unsung, yet essential logistical work to do, but this can be time-consuming and sometimes requires special skills, such as programming. The importance of social media cannot be overstated, but you can probably still do more than tweet memes. Infiltration is a strong option, but not everyone can be a secret agent. Likewise, writing isn’t for everyone.
Being iron-pilled is not the same as being reckless or inefficient. If you have taken the iron pill but prudence dictates that none of the above options are suitable for you, I would recommend making a donation to either Counter-Currents or another dissident organization. Your money will help keep us in the fight. And nobody, especially your conscience, will be able to accuse you of not taking action during this critical time in history.
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