Monday, August 12, 2013

We will never get anywhere as nihilists

Those of us who are non-liberals often look down on our liberal opponents as representing a modernist nihilism.

But we need to look at ourselves with a bit of honesty here. If you survey those who have been anti-liberal over the past 150 years, you find a mood of settled despair that has many of the hallmarks of nihilism. One of the signs of this nihilism is a determination to find excuses not to act to shape the future but to find reasons, often very creative reasons, not to do anything but to stand on the sidelines as passive critics. There are many who seem to prefer this role of embittered "down talker" and who react with panic to those who take a more positive view.

In the meantime it is the liberals who have acted with moral conviction and who have set out to shape the future.

Being a Christian does not give immunity from the kind of nihilism I am describing. There are plenty of Christians on the non-liberal right who have fallen into a passive, despairing, merely critical and negative role.

Things will change when we ourselves change. But that means being careful not to talk ourselves into a mood of nihilistic despair. I am going to be much stricter in the comment threads from now on in challenging those who are passive defeatists and who find pleasure in "criticising from the ruins."

It is unmanly to be weak. It is pointless for us to defend sex distinctions, i.e. the reality of the principles of masculinity and femininity, and then to rest content within an unmanly political culture. A man should have the courage of his convictions and be willing to act in a creative and positive way to shape society. A man should have the strength to act with faith in the future.

The left, which does not even believe in masculinity, has been more masculine, i,e., stronger as men, than our side of politics.

I am writing this post now because I can sense the tide turning a little. The lead has been taken in France where there has been a very positive challenge to the liberal elite. But even here in the Anglosphere there seems to be a regrouping taking place amongst the theorists, one that is much more positively oriented.

I am hoping that the reign of nihilism is coming to an end.

How can we encourage a less nihilistic political culture on the non-liberal right?
  •  We should not accept any theories which give the initiative to others. Most conspiracy theories do this. They give all the power to organise society to some other group, with the role of the non-liberal right being to howl about it from the sidelines. Theories which attribute change to large impersonal unstoppable forces do the same thing.
  • There needs to be a level of conviction in what we are doing. A hundred years ago Yeats wrote about the best lacking all conviction and the worst being full of passionate intensity. That was very insightful. Until that turns around we lose.
  • We need to defeat the defeatists. At the moment it seems to be about 2 defeatists for every 1 positivist. That ratio is sufficient to set a negative tone and also needs to be turned around.
  • If we are opposed to nihilism, as we claim to be, then we have to challenge the nihilism within our own ranks. People don't need a group or a movement to be a nihilist, they can do that well enough on their own. It needs to be made clear that there is no room on the non-liberal right for those who counsel despair or passivity. Nor are we here merely to adopt a posture - that of the morally superior intellectual who looks at the rest of the world with tired and curmudgeonly disdain.
We need to take culture seriously. When people come together they create a culture which then has a larger, ongoing influence over the group. The political culture created by the non-liberal right has been a disastrous one that has held us back. A culture can't be changed overnight, but it can be shifted over time.

We do have the power to set the tone within our own political movement. Let's set about using that power wisely to create a much healthier, and more winning, political culture.


  1. Mr. Richardson

    What a great post and for myself I must say timely. I must admit that the current Australian election has had a nihilistic effect on me. As I watch the election and see that the Political Party I want to vote for doesn't even exist.

    Mark Moncrieff
    Upon Hope Blog - A Traditional Conservative Future

  2. Of course Mr Richardson is correct in stressing the undesirability of having nihilists around. But how are they to be purged? It isn't as if they can be easily identified by wearing sandwich-boards which say "I am a nihilist."

    And even if they could be easily identified, purgation would require clear, unambiguous leadership from the person directing the purging. I've been reading this website for a long time, but I still have found precious few clues as to what actual detailed program Mr Richardson advocates (as opposed to the things he opposes, such as autonomy theory).

    The Le Pen family has provided such traditionalist authority in France for decades now. I see no evidence of anything comparable here or in any other English-speaking land.

  3. James,

    I'm in no position to purge the non-liberal right of people who tend toward nihilism.

    As I wrote in the post, I'm likely to be more upfront in challenging nihilistic views in the comment threads here.

    As for my programme, I wish you'd be more specific. Are you looking for what traditionalists believe in? If so, I don't know why you can't get an idea of this from my e-booklet, or from the posts at Eltham traditionalists or from the featured posts here in the sidebar or from the regular posts.

    Or are you looking for a political strategy, in the sense of "where do we go from here?"

    If so, I've been clear about this too. Build up an institutional base, beginning with local traditionalist associations. If this succeeds, try to influence and participate in the mainstream political process, whilst at the same time concentrating some of our forces in a particular area, in order to create a trad community.

    I get the feeling, James, that this won't satisfy you as you are not really showing your hand with these questions. You're after something but you don't want right now to say what it is.

  4. Mark,

    I accepted the lack of such a party some time ago. It would, of course, be a lot easier if it existed.

    Our role now is not to vote for a particular party but to create an alternative political culture. It is, at least, a much more creative act than casting a ballot.

  5. I would call these people defeatists, not nihilists. Nihilistic conservative is an oxymoron, since a conservative tries to maintain a social order that reflects a moral order that is, in his opinion, real. But this is probably pedantic and you are certainly correct about the depressing gloominess that one finds on so much of the right. It's hard not to be gloomy, since we seem to loose every battle we fight, but we will never recruit young converts if we sound like bitter old men. Our fundamental message, which happens to be backed up by data, should be that conservatives are happier than liberals, and that this is so because conservative principles are aligned with reality. About once a week Mark draws our attention to a remorseful middle-aged women who, despite every advantage, screwed up her life by living according to liberal principles. That is effective propaganda. But we should also work to give the impression that we are happy people, and not a bunch of sour grumps. Misery may love company, but the company certainly doesn't love misery. Let's put on our virtual smiles guys.

  6. Mark,

    from my remote position in Finland, I am all for traditional communities, masculinity, positive outlook etc.

    That said, we are all idiot savants with distorting biases now. What a person studies, thinks, writes, talks about, and adheres to politically, etc., rises in importance in the mind, and forms a distorting bias. Often this is a thin slice of reality, e.g. understanding of morality and prevailing ideology. Hand in hand with the importance bias goes the impact bias; if we just apply correcting principles to the thin slice and have a positive view, profound change will come and everything will be allright. Notice that from thin sector view almost everything seems reasonable, logical, compelling and convincing, in the larger context the problems begin.

    Of course the victories of the left has nothing to do with masculinity and almost nothing to do with positive thinking, and our lack of power has nothing to do with wanting masculinity and fairly little to do with positive thinking.

    I had a narrow view of society before. These kinds of people are everywhere, simple men, experts in their own fields. Fairly often they think they can change the world, move the mountains with their Nietzschean will. Predictably they end up moving small heaps from place A to B and back in the service of other wills, higher in the power hierarchy. In a world of full of idiot savants brimming with delusions about themselves and others, those idiot savants rule, whose field of expertise covers the widest scope, and who have the most of playchips. In a world which almost everything is monetized, those who rule the economy rule the world. Saying this is a cold reality, which should be the starting point all endeavours. How do you change something which affects you and others with thousands and thousands of proxies, middle men, technologies, techniques, manipulations, propaganda, entertainment, incentives, little and larger punishments, etc., if you deny them and remain largely ignorant about their existence and effects. After acknowledging the reality as a starting you can spice the endeavour with positivity and masculinity, and start the journey towards everlasting traditional community.

    Logic of the liberal system, from which the logic of, among other things, liberal "morality" arises:

    It should be illegal to deceive women's (and men's) hearts. Open your heart to a wider view:

  7. More cold reality about the liberal system:

  8. Perhaps by program, James means what fundamentalist white Christians in America regularly do, which is set up alternative community-derived social institutions.

    One example is medical collectives where a group of Christians pay for each other's medical care instead of engaging with the insurance system or government-funded health access programs.

    Their response to what they view as encroachment of liberals and leftism is to devise an alternate arrangement. There are plenty of criticisms one can level about this sort of thing, but it remains that it is a practical, reactionary response. A program of action if you will, that is not explicitly political at all.

    --Mrs. Johnson

  9. These are useful in understanding the framework of the liberal system (not details) if you filter out the socialist and atheist bias, and the occasional exaggerations. There are no conspiracies, only everyday secrets, manipulations and unmentioned things, which are normal bureaucratic functions of the system.

  10. I agree with this post. Unfortunately, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool defeatist. Is there a twelve-step program or something?

  11. Conservative Language Institute of AmericaTuesday, 13 August 2013 at 08:44:00 GMT+10

    The only thing that will change the institutions is direct aggrandizement of power. Yes, the left took over one institution at a time, but they didn't just casually step in, they used every confrontationalist tactic they could think of short of armed warfare, and in many cases even that. For example, the left took over higher education with violent protests and sit-ins. In addition, always on the periphery were nation states such as Russia that "fomented revolution", so that was always a veiled threat waiting in the wings. A grass-roots approach a la Mr. Richardson can only be an adjunct, but cannot be successful by itself.

    Lenin: "Who, whom?"
    Perhaps 'Onward Christian soldiers' should start to mean real soldiers.

    I leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions.

  12. Conservative Language Institute of AmericaTuesday, 13 August 2013 at 08:50:00 GMT+10

    As a gamma male with a passive-aggressive personality, I should state about my prior post that I do not advocate violence. I myself could never do it, unless pushed under the most drastic circumstances to directly defend my life or those of my loved ones.

    So much for all the brave talk.

  13. I am the James who posted earlier. Although I thought I had made my meaning clear to Mr Richardson (and anyone else who cared to read it) in my first comment, possibly I failed to do so.

    By "program", I meant - and mean - a detailed statement of intent (whether in the form of a specific document or in the form of several such documents) which says, either explicitly or implicitly, "This is how Australian society can work and this is how we shall make it work." (Alternative social institutions, as spoken of by Mrs. Johnson, could well be a part of that.)

    Australia being Australia, and not the USA or France, foreign analogies are of limited relevance even when useful. So a knowledge of Australian history is of the essence.

    Historically there have been two, and only two, Australian organisations which have wielded serious power with a traditionalist program. Those organisations are the Santamaria crusade in its various forms (National Catholic Rural Movement, Industrial Groups, National Civic Council) and Eric Butler's Australian League of Rights (which in the early 1970s achieved great influence within what was then the Country Party). Without necessarily endorsing every single thing these groups did, we could do worse than ask ourselves: what did they have in common?

    (a) They were run by a single principled and dedicated individual for whom the cause was literally more important than life itself, and far more important than popularity, wealth, parliamentary pensions, sex, human respect, etc. Allies, and foes alike knew where the buck stopped. The notion that activism should merely be fitted in to such leisure as remains after one has toiled for the cultural-Marxist establishment, Monday to Friday, would have struck Messrs Santamaria and Butler as absurd.

    (b) Both individuals surrounded themselves with activists likewise dedicated, these activists having been thoroughly screened in order to prevent the organisations as a whole being compromised by personal corruption. (Sometimes even that was not enough, as the unhappy case of Santamaria lieutenant and voracious homosexual Standish Keon shows. But the effort was made.)

    (c) Both organisations had specific targets and specific time-frames for specific action. Their leaders realised that discussion in the initial stages of a project is all very well, yet ultimately an army or an apostolate cannot afford to be a mere talking-shop.

    (d) Both organisations set up a publishing infrastructure which actually required effort and financial sacrifice (maintaining a mere blog, however commendable in and of itself, requires no financial sacrifice whatever and not much time sacrifice).

    (e) Messrs Santamaria and Butler were never mesmerised by delusions of "people power". They knew that cultures are changed only by creative minorities (to quote Bertrand de Jouvenel's job description.

    (f) Messrs Santamaria and Butler appreciated full well that any culture war worthy of the name is inseparable from the Christian religion. This is bad news for mischief-making Nietzscheans, Odin-worshipping loonies, bog-standard Sydney Push lechers, etc., etc., but as Evelyn Waugh observed in the 1930s:

    "Civilization ... has not in itself the power of survival. It came into being through Christianity, and without it has no significance or power to command allegiance. It is no longer possible, as it was in the time of Gibbon, to accept the benefits of civilization and at the same time deny the supernatural basis on which it rests."

    Please excuse the length of this post. Having now said my piece in full, I leave it to Mr Richardson and others to judge the extent to which OzConservative's efforts meet the criteria of these earlier Australian institutions.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Ted Kaczynski, known as unabomber and himself a leftist, analyzed leftist mindset succintly in his manifesto. The leftist mindset is far from masculinity. Reading the following short chapters covers the said topic 1) The psychology of modern leftism 2) Feelings of inferiority 3) Oversocialization

    That said there have been of course all kinds of people in leftist ranks. Their organizations, goals, possibilities and opportunities, large numbers, manipulations, social circles, intellectual groups, occasional charismatic leaders, etc. attracted all kinds of people. Then it was only a question of assigning suitable people to the right positions. Leftists use also outsourcing. E.g. leftist rioters are often petty criminals, who use the opportunity provided by demonstrations to get back at society and most of all, to loot things from shops amidst the chaos of rioting. They are not members of leftist groups and they don't participate in meetings, they are just allured to demonstrations by public announcements of leftists groups. Weak and non-physical leftist intellectual types colludes with these criminal types. State sponsors and finances directly and/or indirectly these groups.

  16. James Roberts is right and wrong at the same time. He is right about that the model he describes is a good one, one worth aspiring to. He is wrong to subtly morally extort MR and others with that model. At this moment it is just enough to arrange regular meetings (In cafes or such, not in bars, so that alcohol and noisy environment doesn't lower the quality of discussions); talk and get to know each other; form lasting friendships, cooperation, and activities; formulate common goals; support each other, if necessary; create an organization; etc. Although manliness is a good thing and should be encouraged, all kinds of people should be taken with open arms to meetings and organization, provided that they share the goals of the group and don't disrupt the functions of meetings and organization. The most feminine, weakly, passive and defeatist man can be highly valuable if he is carefully assigned to a fitting position in the organization. E.g. the feminine man might be excellent accountant of the organization, taking care of money matters, and making the organization prosperous. Charismatic, manly, but still rational types can be assigned to leadership positions. Etc. Everybody can find a suitable and valued place in the group and organization. Community is also an evolutionary thing. People grow and develop during it's functioning to match the challenges along the way to higher levels.

  17. The Americans have a saying which I have always liked: "What hill would you die on?"

    By which they mean, "What is the principle so dear to you, so utterly non-negotiable, that you will sacrifice your health, your job, your family, your troops of friends, and if need be your very life, rather than abandon it?"

    All political commentators (in whatever medium) who urge a course of action upon the rest of us have, surely, a moral requirement to answer this question for themselves. Since extremely few of them possess either the intellectual calibre or the intestinal fortitude to do so, I find that the time I must spend reading ideological bloviations which lack such an answer has been cut down to almost nothing. For which many thanks.

  18. The argument has suddenly swung from a defeatist "you can't do anything" to an extremist "you have to sacrifice everything."

    Furthermore, the people urging the "you have to sacrifice everything" position seem to be suggesting that I be the one to do this rather than themselves.

    I'm more interested in real, concrete steps forward. I'd like, for instance, to have several traditionalist associations in Melbourne. I'd like to have materials which are clear and persuasive enough to create new supporters. I'd like to give people the opportunity to do realistic but consistent political work in their own area.

    One person alone isn't going to fix things, no matter what they do. We have to learn to work together and to build up institutions and resources.

  19. you find a mood of settled despair that has many of the hallmarks of nihilism.

    Nihilism means not believing in objective truth, beauty, or virtue. It has nothing to do with whether you are an optimist or pessimist. It has nothing to do with being passive or active.

    Liberals are nihilists, and can nevertheless at the same time be happy and optimistic about the future, mainly because they have enjoyed considerable success in shaping the future. They remain active in doing so. Those who believe in objective truth are not nihilists, but nevertheless they have valid grounds for pessimism. If they are passive, it is not because they are nihilists. In some ways they are passive BECAUSE they are not nihilists. They have appraised the objective facts of our political system and emerged with the conclusion that the system is rigged to favor the Left.

    The left, which does not even believe in masculinity, has been more masculine, i,e., stronger as men, than our side of politics.

    I don't agree with that at all. The Left's behavior has been and remains profoundly feminine - appeals to numbers and appeals to emotion. Leftism / nihilism / relativism / equalitarianism always are, and always must be, feminine principles.

    I am hoping that the reign of nihilism is coming to an end.

    If you think that nihilism means pessimism and passivity, then fine. But there is no evidence at all that the reign of relativism (what nihilism really is) is coming to an end.

    How can we encourage a less nihilistic political culture on the non-liberal right?

    All your recommendations indicate you think "nihilism" means despair and passivity. You are missing the mark.

    I am not convinced that nihilism properly defined is a problem on the non-liberal right. Secular right folks generally believe in objective truth - but they believe it can be found in science and reason rather than religion.

  20. Anonymous JMSmith said...
    I would call these people defeatists, not nihilists.


    But if you are not a nihilist, it is not mere pedantry to insist that things be called by their correct names. Truth and virtue demand we use correct labels.

    conservatives are happier than liberals, and that this is so because conservative principles are aligned with reality.

    They are aligned with "real reality" not political reality.

    And therein lies the problem.

    Democracy is a fundamentally nihilistic system; it defines reality in terms of numbers, group feelings, and consensus rather than objective appraisal of evidence and fact.

    To the extent that you want a social and political system aligned with actual reality, you must oppose democracy.

  21. Mr Richardson, fresh from confusing nihilism (the belief in nothing) with intelligent pessimism, writes: "We have to learn to work together". (This after nine years of running a website.)

    Now why do I find myself - evil old hard-nose that I am - thinking, when I read those astoundingly ineffectual words, of the famous quote ostensibly uttered by a 19th-century Frenchman, A. A. Ledru-Rollin: "There go the people: I must follow them, for I am their leader"?

    That's all I can, or intend to, say on this website's combox. Like most people, I have a living to earn in the big bad non-superannuated non-lifetime-tenure world.

  22. James Roberts,

    Bob Santamaria married and had eight children. He had the support of the Catholic Church and of the more conservative Catholic wing of the ALP. He had a newspaper column with the Australian newspaper, was given free air time on TV by Sir Frank Packer and he had the institutional support of several trade unions.

    He had a big impact but he was operating within a political situation in which he could find institutional support.

    I'm part of the generation which has had to start from ground zero. It's a different ball game now.

  23. Pius,

    We have to move beyond intelligent pessimism.

  24. People are defeatist because they don't see anything they can concretely do today. What realistic positive actions do you recommend to people (posting on the internet or complaining at a rally don't count).

  25. Asdf

    Find one other Conservative and met up with them, for a beer, a hot chocolate, a meal and spend 2-3 hours talking about Conservatism. About what you believe and don't believe, about what you want to change, laugh at the stupidity of Liberalism. Then organise to meet again, once a month, or even every two months. Then look for a third and fourth member.

    We started with just the two of us and it stayed that way for 6 months, then a third member joined and that lasted for another 4 months. Now when we meet we have a new member every time. But if we had not started we would still be alone in our thoughts instead of building a group.

    A problem too many people have is they want to fix everything at once. Start small and build.

    Find articles that inspire you in books or on the web, make copies with a way to contact you, localconservative at for example. Put them up on noticeboards, put them in letterboxes. Keep your eyes and ears open for people who share your ideals, they are out there.


  26. People are defeatist because they don't see anything they can concretely do today.

    ASDF, I think that's certainly true for some people (others I think have settled into the role).

    What can people do? First, it's important to realise that there is not one big thing anyone can do that will put things right. The stage we're at is a steady slog to get things happening on the ground.

    If people want to make a contribution they can:

    i) Attend meetings of traditionalist groups if these exist in their area. There are a couple of groups in Melbourne, one in Sydney, one in New York, quite a number in the UK.

    (Traditionalist groups are not meant to be a solution in themselves, but a precondition of organised future activity.)

    ii) I wouldn't discount the usefulness of making positive comments at websites. One of the things we have to do is to build up a political culture of our own. That is partly why I wrote this post - it seemed to me that a fair number of comments had an underlying defeatism or recklessness to them. I don't mean by this that commenters have to agree with arguments made in posts, but rather the culture at the website ought to be one that would attract an interested person to get involved.

    iii) Challenge the hold of right-liberalism on the right. We're not going to get anywhere if the two options are leftist statism and "make yourself as an individual in the market" rightism.

    iv) Don't expend your energies criticising people who are trying to do something. It's as if some people think "Well, I've decided to be defeatist, it threatens my decision if others remain active, so I'll play a spoiler role." Better just to withdraw.

    v) If people think they have reached a point of clarity about traditionalism vs modernism, they could letterbox and poster in their local area, either to advertise a website or to seek to establish a local group of their own (but a caveat here - this sometimes takes considerable perseverance to achieve).

    vi) Make a financial contribution to websites (e.g. Laura Wood) or communities (e.g. Oranje).

    Individuals can make a difference. The Eltham Trads group started to really take off when one other active person got involved - two active people was enough to achieve lift off.

    What I would really suggest to people is:

    a) Don't rely passively on some other person to put things right, i.e. a leader figure. That attitude is a hangover from a liberal culture which has shifted the emphasis from the public man contributing to his civilisation to the private man who, at most, looks to his family.

    b) Take the initiative. The little groups popping up now were created by people who were willing to take whatever action was available to them.

    c) Accept that there are going to be losses. Don't be too demoralised by them. Look more positively to what might be salvaged.

    I always think that I'd rather the part of a smaller, growing, dynamic, self-respecting community, than a constantly declining larger one.

    And remember how important this is. If we remain positive and grow our movement there is a chance that we might salvage something of our tradition in Australia (or elsewhere).

    But if we give in to doubt or passivity, then we are yielding to a great evil.

  27. Mark,

    All of this falls under passive political shit that won't make a difference.

    What I'm talking about are real things that people can do to change their lives. Like start a family. Belong to a real life community that does things besides talking and gets concrete results. Etc.

    If you want conservativism to win you need people to actually live conservative lives. How exactly would they do that today?

  28. They would look at American white conservative Christians, especially the various fundamentalist and evangelical subcultures, and also the Traditional Catholic enclaves, and study the ways in which those (mostly white, but open to about 10-15% interracial marriage on average, with some subcultures more like 5% and a few more like 20%) Christians are setting up alternative institutions.

    Traditional Catholics in America have at least two universities where one can find a spouse and marry while in school, for example. There are a number of ways homeschooling is drawing together groups of families rather than isolated individual families. There are efforts to employ the men so that they can support private households.

    All of these actions are already occurring. There is a vast amount to critique about how they are doing these things, but it remains they are actively pursuing the basics of community and not focusing on political action at all.

    --Mrs. Johnson

  29. Mrs. Johnson,

    That's the direction I'm talking about, but I wonder about the results.

    The religious community is very weak these days, and as likely to do harm as help. I have myself given it a shot and found wanting.

    Truth is, it doesn't seem to provide anything people aren't already getting outside.

  30. As I said there is a lot to criticize about their various approaches. But they do represent a starting point for doing something more robust and fitted to the needs of Christian traditions in other nations.

    Another example is the French. Despite the extensive public funding for things such as childcare and school, some French are building separate, private networks and accepting the lower living standard so that they can maintain a native French environment for their children.

    And of course the Germans are doing their own German variation. People are active around the world in trying to carve out traditional spheres of life in parallel to the relentlessness of liberalism. All is not lost, I am frankly quite optimistic that things will continue to improve as these alternative social structures mature and are expanded by the children and grandchildren and converts.

  31. That last was me, forgot to sign it!

    --Mrs. Johnson

  32. Nihilism means nothing to me.

    Rococo Liberal

  33. Asdf,

    First, please lay off the defeatism. Building up a movement is not a "passive" thing to do and we'll have to see whether or not it makes a difference.

    You wrote that your preferred option is a real life community. That's fine, but you're stuck with the conundrum of who you're going to form this community with and with what resources.

    I've written many times before that I would like to see a movement develop which would both have some influence within mainstream politics, but which could also help sponsor the creation of a community.

    But you can't just will this into existence. We're not at that point yet.

  34. "Every child that is born alive is a little Liberal or Conservative"
    WS Gilbert

    From what I can see, you base your definition of Liberalism on the philosophy espoused by Mill and the 19th century British Liberal Party ('BLP'), which had its counterpart in the Australian Protectionists in the first few years after Federation in Australia.

    There was always a very interesting tension in the LLiberalism of the BLP. On the one hand, before the rise of Labour, it was the party that traditionally had the working class vote. So the BLP contained many a socilaistic character (Cobden, Bright, etc). But it also contained a right wing of businessmen and grandees who believed in free-trade and the importance of societal institutions.

    The BLP died,as a result of the Fisrt World War and the actions of Lloyd George during the course of that conflict. The remnants of the BLP then split among the two larger parties. The Whigs (i.e the right liberals in your parlance) joined the Conservatives, whilst the left liberals went with the Labour Party.

    In Australia the same thing happened. In 1909 the liberal Protectionists and the Conservative Free-Traders merged to form the Liberal Party, with the more leftish Protectionists drifting off to Labor.

    I would argue that once the WHigs and the Tories merged, the result was that Toryism was the dominant force. But unfortunately there were enough 'wet' liberal Tories who diluted Toryism. Perhaps that was just as well, as Toryism somewhat adjusted by wet liberalism triumphed inthe 20th century.

    On the other side socialism swalloed up the left liberals. There is in fact nothing liberal about the left. There is no real left liberalism anymore. Scrtach a left liberal and you will always find a person who wants to limit our basic freedoms in the name of the State. That is Statism or pure leftism, poure and simple.

    I put it to you that the real dichotomy is between those who see politics or the State as primary and tose who see Society as primary. The left talk a lot about society, but in fact really conflate it with the State. We on the right should see society and its institutions as all important and politics as the game of silly little, intellectual lepers of the left who have been wrong about everything for 200 years and wil continue to be so. They are of no matter.

    Although you seem to think that 'left liberals' belive in individuality, I can't see it myself. Lefties think in groups and sterotypes: hence their absolute fetish for seeking out discriminatio of all sorts and seeking to right it by draconian laws which reverse our basic freedoms. The only choices that the left wants to allow the proles are the choice about whom to sleep with (which must be guilt-free unless it is with someone under the age of consent)and what goods to buy.

    yes there are some right liberals who still foster the ideas of Mill. They see the basis of everything in the individual. But they are useful counterweights to the socialists, who are our real enemies.

    I think the whole point is that Tories like us have to keep calm and keep going. The facts of life are conservative. More government is never the answe, and the old moral order is a natural thing. WHat we have to do is to struggle to remove politics from the public discourse. Politics is the refuge of the silly. SOciety is where things are happening. We all have to go out and be what we want to be and take over the insitutions. Where we can't do that, we need toestablish new insititutions.

    I have helped to establish a new major arts organisation(an Orchestra) that is being run on Tory principles. The Australian WOrld Orchestra strives to showcase the best Australian talent both here and overseas, and as such has been able to entice the great maestro Zuben Mehta to conduct its next concert series.

    But most of all, you have to laugh with the Cavaliers and at the Roundheads.

    Rococo Liberal

  35. Let me be most direct.

    Suppose a man with the means to support a family, a commitment to being a good husband/father, and a willingness to follow the rules of the group.

    Could such a group get him a wife and provide a good environment for the raising of children and stability of the marriage? One in which an average man would live a respectful life.

    That seems to me the most basic thing we are talking about here. Without it I doubt conservativism is possible.

    Furthermore, we must postulate that this is a plane man. Were he particularly wealthy, good looking, charismatic, etc he could secure these things without a church.

    What community can you recommend for this?

  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. asdf,

    traditional/church community is not crutch for defeatist and whiny men, loser types. If you think and feel that way and can't change, or at the minimum, can't go with the flow of stronger men, maybe you should just stay away from what others here are planning.

  38. When forming a community, it is important to select the right type of men, *and* deter and discard wrong type of men.

  39. Asdf,

    I don't know of any such community to recommend.

    If a trad community were to form, then offering a better culture of family formation could be a selling point.

    I think you have to be careful not to look at things in terms of "what can you deliver for me" - in the early stages it's more a question of acting on principle.

  40. Valkea,

    Yes, Jesus was sure only to surround himself with the elite. Romans were always complaining that the Christians were the strongest amongst them.

    WTF does "defeatist" even mean? When Hitler ordered German teenagers to defend Berlin where the ones that surrendered a bunch of defeatists?

    Zealotry in a cause must be measured against a combination of its righteousness and the odds of victory. If defeatism is simply used as a slogan to trick people into a scam that doesn't meet worthy criteria then it has no meaning.


    See above. If you expect people to live Christian lives and offer nothing this worldly in return it will forever remain a fringe movement. Perhaps monastic life is biblically noble, but certainly not about to change anything.

  41. asdf, the Orthosphere had a discussion or two about the very thing you're speaking of.

    Hope these help!

    --Mrs. Johnson

  42. Anonymous,

    That's more useful.

    The real life example I can think of is my friend who wanted to start a family and live a certain lifestyle, so he became an orthodox Jew and they arranged a suitable wife within a year. The price is high (following lots of crazy orthodox creeds) but it was the option he believed in.

    Of course I'm not Jewish so not much of an option.

  43. Asdf wrote:

    If you expect people to live Christian lives and offer nothing this worldly in return it will forever remain a fringe movement.

    Asdf, I don't think you are grasping where things are at. If we had a large movement with large resources we could offer lots of things. That would be easy.

    But here's the catch. If there are only people taking the attitude "what can you deliver for me" then we'll never get to that stage.

    What we need at the stage we are at now are people who are willing to act on principle.

    I understand, given human nature, that there will be fewer such people in comparison to those who simply want something delivered to them. But they are nonetheless the people we need.

    By the way, a traditionalist movement is not just a Christian movement. It is a movement that defends the existence of a particular people. The religious aspect is certainly a significant part of that, something that has to be gotten right, but so too are the larger cultural and historic aspects of that people's existence.

  44. Mark,

    "Acting on principle" is not a catch all. I've acted on principle many times in my life in the face of overwhelming odds and no hope of reward (probably punishment). However, one would prefer not to make a life of such lost causes. When your principals are constantly running up against lost causes and you have nothing to show for them you start questioning the principals.

    Acting on a bad principal is dumb, not brave. And one of the way people check their principals to see whether they make sense is to look at the real world effects of them. "Acting on principal" sounds too much like "man up" (and take this rotten deal without complaining) sometimes.

    Bruce had a post on this that applies:

  45. Acting on a bad principal is dumb, not brave.

    What principle, specifically, do you think is "bad"?

    Mark is certainly not advocating that we act on "bad" principles - unpopular ones, yes, but not bad.

    And one of the way people check their principals to see whether they make sense is to look at the real world effects of them.

    Traditionalists argue that their principles are good even though they are not popular.

    Liberals argue that their principles are good because they are popular.

    Going along with liberal principles will have "positive" effects in the "real world" - you will be popular and accepted, yaay!

    The traditionalist response is that liberal principles cannot work in the real world over the long term, because they are at variance with biological and economic reality.

    If you want to go the expedient course, go ahead, but don't pretend it is because traditionalist principles are "bad". It is because YOU lack the courage to act in accordance with what is right but unpopular.

  46. J,

    It's got nothing to do with "being unpopular". It has to do with whether there is concrete action one can take to live a traditional life.

    Let us say getting married and having lots of children is a good traditional principal. How does one go about this in the world today? If one can't find a good wife the "man up and act on your principals" trad wants him to marry a bad wife (after all, he ain't getting any younger and stop being so picky). Is such a thing likely to end in a good and holy outcome? And this doesn't even get into the question of what is good or bad, how to tell, how people can change, and how circumstances and community nudge decision sets.

    An effective traditional community tries to give people fundamentally sound options, not tell them to push through bad ones because its all they've got.

    All this talk of, "you're just weak," is unreflective gesticulating. I've made too many hard choices in my life to let argument phase me. People want to do good, and they will make sacrifices for good, but only if good is some outcome they can realistically work towards.

  47. asdf,

    yes, there is the Hitler card, so convenient, so predictable ...

    Read Matthew 10:38-42. The requirements of Jesus are high.

    Anyway, if you read all my comments you notice that I would accept many kinds of men. What I would not accept is men who actively function as ballast to others and try to drag others to slow them down and stop them in every matter. Yes, whiny loser types. I would discard them all, without blinking an eye. My relation to them might be through charity, but not as a fellow member of community.

  48. It's got nothing to do with "being unpopular".

    You obviously think it does, or you wouldn't have said "I've acted on principle many times in my life in the face of overwhelming odds and no hope of reward (probably punishment). However, one would prefer not to make a life of such lost causes."

    How else can we understand that except as you having one (unpopular) opinion and everyone else having a different (more popular) decision? And that you are prepared to abandon a principle as a "lost cause" if it is sufficiently unpopular, i.e., an "overwhelming" number of people oppose it for a certain length of time?

    All your talk about realism and realistic outcomes just shows that you are already defeated in your own mind, and are ready to surrender (because it is the "realistic" thing to do).

  49. "a different (more popular) decision?"

    a different (more popular) opinion.

    (Don't know how that "decision" got in there...)

  50. If one can't find a good wife the "man up and act on your principals" trad wants him to marry a bad wife

    Asdf, I'd challenge you to find anything remotely like that advice at this site.

    I understand that you're a man in search of a good wife. I wish you well in this and encourage you to persevere.

    I have to tell you though that there is no political tactic I can employ right now to put things right immediately.

    I do think you've taken some of your frustrations out on people who are trying to lay the foundations for a future alternative. That has a spoiling effect that serves no useful purpose.

  51. J,

    "And that you are prepared to abandon a principle as a "lost cause" if it is sufficiently unpopular"

    Something isn't a "lost cause" because its unpopular, its a "lost cause" if you can't get the desired result (unpopularity being one possible reason).

    If we are talking about something that can be done solo then one can do it regardless of circumstances. However, if we are talking about a social outcome (even one as small as a single family) then by definition such an outcome will never be completely within the control of the individual, and thus is there are no willing partners then it really is a "lost cause" regardless of the efforts of the individual.

    Mark Richardson,

    "I have to tell you though that there is no political tactic I can employ right now to put things right immediately."

    Obviously. If you are going to change society its going to be a long and arduous journey. If your going to wake up every day and fight against overwhelming odds you want a reason to do so. The most fundamental reason is family. People will do a lot of things if they think it means a better future for their children. If you are just an atomized individual who will leave behind no legacy what daily source of strength does one look to?

    If you want any hope of organizing a Christian community with the strength to live Christian lives and eventually bring about Christian social change it begins with the family at its center. If church is nothing more then another book club where strangers preach at you I imagine it will continue to lose ground as it has.

  52. asdf,

    establishing community means in the short run establishing a community, not changing the whole society. It might in the long run change society. If not, then the community saves at least those in it, and society can burn in the hell it created and called.

  53. "then the community saves at least those in it"

    Does it? That is the relevant question I'm asking. If your community is just some atomized strangers loosely agreeing to some abstract principals and meeting once a week its not really going to save anyone. People are saved by strong personal connections that are meaningful and form the backbone of concrete action.

  54. If your community is just some atomized strangers loosely agreeing to some abstract principals and meeting once a week its not really going to save anyone.

    Asdf, that is not the community being aimed at even in the medium term. It's a necessary step in going from nothing to something.

    Look at it this way:

    1990s - no trad organisation in Australia at all

    early 2000s - internet makes possible for a handful of trads, mostly from the US, to meet up on the internet

    later 2000s - internet contact has led to a small movement, but still mostly US and still internet based

    early 2010s - efforts to organise on the ground - first face to face meetings take place

    The job right now is to keep the momentum going. That's harder than you think when the task facing us is so daunting. We need to take things step by step.

    It would be a great achievement, for instance, if in the next year or so, I could consolidate the current branch of traditionalists in Melbourne and add another one.

    I also need to focus more on pamphlet writing, so that there is a clear setting out of trad beliefs.

    We need to get better at producing materials that will help create new trads, rather than simply gathering up ones that already exist.

    I could get better at using new social media like Facebook.

    These are the kind of practical steps needed to build up a base from which more ambitious projects can then be launched.

    Think it through, Asdf. If we could have branches that meet regularly in most towns and suburbs it then becomes possible to think seriously about launching a real community somewhere (as well as having the political clout to defend it - such a community will be very vulnerable whilst liberalism goes unchallenged amongst the political class).

  55. asdf, I have been reading your comments around the blogs- marginal revolution- and if you are leaving the left good luck to you. That is honestly meant. it took me many years to understand money.

    You are a man so your job is hard. If you are smart you will work harder on what you bring to the marriage table - stability , maturity , a positive outlook and you only know the flaws that will out under pressure and the flaws in your gene pool that you need to counteract for your offspring sake. That is what a real man does when he is preparing himself. I am assuming that you are prepared to house a wife and child/children? I am assuming that you will be able to support a wife financially through period of childbearing and the loss of super eranings and loss of earnings she will suffer through taking time off for children? This also is the reality of marriage. Are you ready? Are you prepared?

    If so then you can start looking within groups that usually misses out. But in these groups the scrutiny in usually more intense. I am assuming that there is an reason that you have not been successful looking for a match within your own age/education. So spread your net wider and meet country girls in the smaller towns who have not had the same oppourtunities. Meet young women or even slightly older ones who go to TAFES where the career expections are different.

    The regional centres ( Tamworth/Newcastle/ Wooloonggong in NSW ) in Australia are still a good 10-15 years behind not in all cases but there are some families who daughters have never left or have recently returned.

    The really rural postcodes are usually quite wealthy or working class but outliers happen and make good stories. Take your weekends exploring during the week if you can and pop into local businesses at lunch time and see who you can have coffee with.

  56. (Just got back from 3 weeks away).

    Mark, this post shows why you're the best traditionalist writer today, bar none. You are completely right about this. We must seize every opportunity to take a positive approach, not moan helplessly.

  57. Just looked over the comments - spending energy trying to engage with the likes of asdf seems positively harmful, even if he's not a troll. I think you need comment moderation.

  58. Appreciate the post and the comments...

    Anyone else got practical suggestions for actions that can be taken? I'd love to be inspired...

    Don't have any myself, really, other than finding and supporting a good church, strengthening family, and trying to build some kind of group that meets to sharpen up on these things and support each other.

    1. Anon, those are all excellent ideas. The third one is what we are up to here in Melbourne right now. I think we'll be at that stage for another couple of years. After that, we'll just have to put our heads together to think of the best practical activities to push things forward. It might include involvement in electoral activities, or having a presence on campuses, or intervening in issues of the day. In general, though, the aim is to grow, to get better at putting a positive politics forward that can recruit new people, so that the resources start to emerge for more ambitious projects (e.g. community building projects).

    2. A pertinent article on Daniel Greenfield's site:
      Above all else, education is the future. Traditionalists who fail to understand this will allow the educational system and the entertainment industry to transform their children into progressives. Progressives know that control of the educational system means control of the future. Without the educational system and immigration, progressives are doomed to be cafe radicals. With them, they can count the generations until they control everything. The progressives have few children of their own. Your children are their children. If they can corrupt your children, then they have a future. If they cannot, then they will go off and die in a corner. The progressives have three strengths, class warfare, cultural programming and immigration. America had prosperity that negated class warfare, but it neglected to safeguard its culture from the left and did not consider the consequences of Third World immigration. With their political and culture power, the left destroyed prosperity and now with all three cards in their hand, the progressives are rising high. But too many conservatives have despaired because they have fallen prey to the myth of a perfect America that once was and can never be again. But America was never perfect, like every person, it was a work in progress. It was a struggle between ideas and ideologies and that struggle did not end because the progressives have worked and plotted to get this far. Defeating them is a matter of exploiting their weaknesses and firming up our strengths.

      Cultural secession means cutting away the educational and entertainment culture of the left out of your home. It means creating your own alternative education and entertainment and grouping in communities that act as a support structure for traditional values. Is it easy? No. It involves sacrifice. But groups such as the Amish and Orthodox Jews have done it and have thrived doing it.

      I think it's important to keep kids away from the indoctrination of public schools. Cooperative home schooling could be a lot easier than each family doing it individually.

      There are probably excellent lessons from communities of the past. Maybe the Foxfire books and the like would throw up some ideas.

      Just helping each other to stamp out mealy-mouthed liberal appeasement would be a great start e.g. learning great responses to common liberal tripe etc.

      I'm sure there are many other obvious options although at the moment I cannot think of them!