Thursday, January 10, 2013

Not bad Alex!

Via View from the Right comes the following interesting story.

Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville (what a great name!) was a French political writer and historian who travelled through America in 1831-32.

He made the following prediction about how a despotism might one day come about in the emerging modern era:
I wish to imagine under what new features despotism might appear in the world: I see an innumerable crowd of men, all alike and equal, turned in upon themselves in a restless search for those petty, vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls. Each of them, living apart, is almost unaware of the destiny of all the rest. His children and personal friends are for him the whole of the human race; as for the remainder of his fellow citizens, he stands alongside them but does not see them; he touches them without feeling them; he exists only in himself and for himself; if he still retains his family circle, at any rate he may be said to have lost his country … Above these men stands an immense and protective power which alone is responsible for looking after their enjoyments and watching over their destiny. It is absolute, meticulous, ordered, provident, and kindly disposed. It would be like a fatherly authority, if, fatherlike, its aims were to prepare men for manhood, but it seeks only to keep them in perpetual childhood; it prefers its citizens to enjoy themselves provided they have only enjoyment in mind. It works readily for their happiness but it wishes to be the only provider and judge of it. It provides their security, anticipates and guarantees their needs, supplies their pleasures, directs their principal concerns, manages their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances. Why can it not remove them entirely from the bother of thinking and the troubles of life?
What did he get right? He correctly predicted that men would be cut off from each other, i.e. they would no longer have a sense of themselves acting together as part of an historic nation or tradition, but would fall back instead to the sphere of family or circle of friends. He correctly predicted too the tendency to reduce life to relatively trivial aims ("a restless search for those petty, vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls"). Finally, he foresaw the soft rule and the encroachments of the managerial state, a state which seeks to limit the permissible ends of life to those which can be readily managed within a system of "equal freedom" (de Tocqueville saw these ends as being personal enjoyments; they might be listed in modern society as being career, travel, shopping and entertainments such as TV and computer games).

De Tocqueville made some other interesting predictions:
There are now two great nations in the world, which starting from different points, seem to be advancing toward the same goal: the Russians and the Anglo-Americans... Each seems called by some secret design of Providence one day to hold in its hands the destinies of half the world.
That comes from a book published in 1835; it describes well the world situation from 1945 to 1990.


  1. Reflecting on the history of ancient Rome, Sir Arthur Bryant makes the the same observations.

  2. Yes a lot of these observations aren't new.

  3. You should read Democracy in America in full (or at least skim it). It's worth your time.
    One thing though that I think is important to realize about de Tocqueville (and which many in the alt-right ignore); although he was certainly a critic of democracy and the harmful passions of the people, he did in the end ultimately believe in the two (He would have agreed with Burke that the people should never be seen as beyond redemption). As the great historian John Lukacs puts it, for Tocqueville it was not a question of whether social democracy would come to be in the world (for Tocqueville it was inevitable) but rather what kind of democracy would appear. And since Tocqueville believed that men were free to chose, then they could decide what kind of democracy they would have. Anyway, the point is that I think Tocqueville was very far away from the sort of Spenglerian despair porn that many conservatives are in indulging in right now.

  4. "Above these men stands an immense and protective power which alone is responsible for looking after their enjoyments and watching over their destiny"?

    So much of Tocqueville's prediction is on the mark, except one thing. He got the sex wrong. It was women's suffrage that enabled the full flowering of the paternalistic state.

    I give you the Life of Julia as proof.

  5. I thought you were going to talk about Alex Jones' beatdown of Piers Morgan.

  6. Mr. Wavevector denounces women's suffrage. Well, good luck trying to get rid of that. I'm not necessarily saying that women's suffrage shouldn't be gotten rid of; I'm merely querying the practical likelihood of abolishing it.

    But then, the proffering of detailed, logical solutions to our cultural crises is not something that this website is noted for doing, as I have noted before and shall doubtless need to note again. We all know what Mr. Richardson and other contributors are against (at least, are against when they're not holding down their day jobs in the very institutions which facilitate the crisis in the first place). We still don't know what they're for, despite this blog having been in existence over years.

    Silly Bob Santamaria! Silly Pat Buchanan! Silly Solzhenitsyn! Silly Salazar! Silly Adenauer! They actually announced programs, and forms of action, and clear-cut doctrines, by which cultural Marxism could be defeated. Of course, if they'd known that they should merely have been engaging in onanistic fantasies (usually under obvious pseudonyms), they could have saved themselves a lot of trouble.

  7. Specific programs date fast. They are time-consuming, and not very useful.

    They can also be wrong if they are not thought through properly.

    The older post-WWII generations on the whole did a bad job, complacently accepting mass immigration and other fundamental attacks on our identity and culture, because they had not thought through what was really at stake.

    Because they were thinking of "specifics," those who were relatively conservative would often shift to resisting a particular liberal reform on the basis of a liberal rationale. The issue would be lost or forgotten, but the concessions on underlying assumptions, language, and taboos were permanent. That is how we got to a political debate of left-liberals versus right liberals, with both sides being radically unsatisfactory.

    To think about the values that ought to underpin specific proposals is a good use of a blog.

  8. Kind of pathetic that Mark creates a post centred around Daybreaker's comments that is then posted on VFR and sunddenly an assortment of liberals, trolls (liberals), "neonazis"(probably liberals) and other cranks specifically start posting on this blog to chip away at him, troll and derail threads.

    Guys it's obvious give it a break.

  9. We still don't know what they're for

    Really? I would have thought that was fairly obvious.

    Usually my arguments go something like this "There was once traditional institution X, but this was disallowed because of the liberal commitment to Y, which has had destructive consequence Z".

    Doesn't that make it clear that I'm for traditional institution X?

    As for how we go about getting X, you can't just wish it into existence. You have to do what you can to build up a movement of people who reject a liberal understanding of things in favour of a traditionlist one. If you can manage to get enough such people concentrated in a particular area then you can start to achieve things on the ground.

    That's not simple to achieve as we don't have pre-existing institutional support. We're the ones who have to create those institutions.

    We've made some progress. We've gone from a few scattered individuals in the 1990s, to a small group of individuals on the internet in the early 2000s, to a small internet based movement a decade later, to people starting to meet up in person in the past year or so.

    Robert, I hope this isn't all hot air on your part. If you've managed to quickly organise a movement to effectively resist the liberal drift of society then I dip my lid to you.

    I'm trying to do my bit, and I've carried things along a certain distance so far. Let's see where we are in a few year's time.

  10. The commenter Just asking strikes me as a Progressive Puritan Feminist.

    These people hate the following:

    Alcohol, Drugs, Sexuality (particularly Young), Gambling, etc.

    Basically anything that is associated with Lower class men.

  11. Rats! I wrote a long post and lost it with a keystroke.

    Anyway, I think Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville didn't have the concept he needed: anarcho-tyranny:

    What we have in this country today, then, is both anarchy (the failure of the state to enforce the laws) and, at the same time, tyranny – the enforcement of laws by the state for oppressive purposes; the criminalization of the law-abiding and innocent through exorbitant taxation, bureaucratic regulation, the invasion of privacy, and the engineering of social institutions, such as the family and local schools; the imposition of thought control through "sensitivity training" and multiculturalist curricula, "hate crime" laws, gun-control laws that punish or disarm otherwise law-abiding citizens but have no impact on violent criminals who get guns illegally, and a vast labyrinth of other measures. In a word, anarcho-tyranny.

    It's not just that the government coddles people into submission, it's that it also makes them call for more and more protection, by refusing to act against the real criminals. It's a pair of scissors.

    For example, you could start with a situation where people are self-regulating efficiently with volunteer life-guards, in what amounts to anarchism that works. Then you bring in more and more nanny-state law to infantilize the honest, while with "softly-softly" policing and a deliberately dishonest refusal to see what's going on, you give imported Muslim thugs practically a free run to intimidate and humiliate harmless beach-goers and establish a new, bogus-lawful but basically criminal order. If people scream for the law to act, that is taken as meaning that they, the innocent should be regulated more. For a start, they need to be made more racially sensitive. If white people start to act on their own behalf - out come the truncheons, never seen before!

    The tendency of the politically correct state is to end situations where we are self-regulating, self-respecting and free.

  12. Anonymous Friday, 11 January 2013 12:46:00 PM AEDT: Kind of pathetic that Mark creates a post centred around Daybreaker's comments that is then posted on VFR and sunddenly an assortment of liberals, trolls (liberals), "neonazis"(probably liberals) and other cranks specifically start posting on this blog to chip away at him, troll and derail threads.
    Huh, is that what happened? I guess so. Here is Auster's comment on Mark's thread.

    It's worth it. That was a good post by Mark, and a good thread.

    After fumbling around my point several times in comments, I managed to make my point clearly. Mark took that, picked out a key issue, and improved and extended it, as it applies to Christian clergy, which is an important topic. In a good thread, I managed to add some useful thoughts on Matthew 28:19, Mark picked up on Cardinal Roger Mahoney and the oddness of a singular Christian focus on Hispanic immigration. Other people were making good points too.

    This is collaboration. This is what blogging with comments open is supposed to be about, though it's easier said than done.

  13. "Mark took that, picked out a key issue, and improved and extended it, as it applies to Christian clergy..."

    No, that's wrong. Mark's point, a very good one, is about the general psychology of anti-whiteness as rebellion, a rebellion that is necessarily symbolic and emotional in countries where "anti-establishment" and "anti-racist" liberals already are the establishment, and have been for decades, and which is irrationally aggressive, especially when Asians are at the top in the emerging post-white order.

    It's just that Christian clergy ought to give themselves an extra-hard look for giving a free-pass to the proud, rebellious passion for tearing down white Christian males as symbols of the established Christian order, both natural and supernatural. They ought firmly to oppose that passion. (Even or especially when it's a cold, intellectual passion.) It's part of their job.

  14. @ Robert,

    "Mr. Wavevector denounces women's suffrage."

    I didn't specifically denounce it. I pointed out that it is correlated with the rise of the paternalistic state.

    Women will have suffrage until the day democracy falls, and then no one will have it. I personally believe that women are using their vote in such a way as to make that day come sooner, but what do I know. I'm not Nostradamus or de Tocqueville.