Saturday, March 10, 2018

It's no alternative

The two main political alternatives today are both unhelpful. The left is pushing an "identity" politics in which white men are held to be privileged oppressors who have to be brought down. But the mainstream right response to this isn't much better. Here is a quote from an interview between Andrew Bolt and Brendan O'Neill, prominent Australian right liberals:

This is just liberalism 101. The idea is that the highest good in life is to be an autonomous, self-determining individual. Therefore, whatever is predetermined in life is a hindrance, a limitation, a box, a prison that the individual has to be liberated from. The biological things are predetermined, therefore we have to escape from our sex, our race, our ethny. All that matters is what we choose for ourselves, or (as per Jordan Peterson) what we achieve for ourselves.

And so Western man doesn't get to identify positively with manhood (as this is a "box" to be escaped from); nor does he get to identify with his own larger communal tradition. There is no coherent basis for defending this tradition, as for right liberals there are only self-creating individuals who have escaped the older identities.

It's important to remember this when you wonder why older generations of Western men did not do more to defend the existence of the West. If you assume that you live in a society that only exists as a collection of self-creating individuals with no distinct ties to each other, then what is there really at the larger level to defend? A person with this mindset will think that everything is OK, as long as the economy is healthy enough for individuals to pursue careers.

Andrew Bolt once wrote that he believed in,
The humanist idea that we are all individuals, free to make our own identities

Consider the implications of this. It means that identity doesn't really connect us to anything much. I begin and end with myself. It's the same problem that liberalism always faces. If I am free to make something however I like, then that something loses most of its meaning, as it could be anything at all depending on my own subjective whims. And that is what liberalism is saying about my identity: that it doesn't mean very much, because it could be anything, because it has to be freely chosen in any direction according to my own subjective preferences.

The traditional view of identity was different. A given identity was significant enough to orient me in my sense of self; to connect me to transcendent sources of meaning; to orient me, in part, to my telos (to the ends or purposes for which I was created); to connect me in a significant way to a particular people, place, culture, history and tradition; and to inspire a love for the good within my given identity and within my particular tradition and therefore to inspire a willingness to uphold and contribute to the particular culture, society and way of life that I belonged to. The traditional notion of identity engaged me in a way that the liberal one does not and cannot.

And that is one reason why Western man, if he continues to pursue a right liberal outlook, will fall alone.


  1. "If you assume that you live in a society that only exists as a collection of self-creating individuals with no distinct ties to each other, then what is there really at the larger level to defend?"

    This is exactly the reasoning for calls to dissolve national boundaries to form a "one world" government. Your question is their invitation to realize their cherished dream.

  2. You have said this over, and over again (but keep doing it!) but I think you've never completed the thought as well as the last 5 paragraphs here.

  3. I really appreciate your increase focus on Classical liberals, Liberal Economics, Libertarians, and Right Liberal's policy.

  4. No older generation of Western men has ever done enough to defend the existence of the West. We do less. Each succeeding generation will do even less.

    The evidence and the proof is everywhere. This blog is superb chronicle.

    "It's the same problem that liberalism always faces." The idea that "liberalism" faces "problems" is an abstraction of an abstraction. "Liberalism" doesn't face anything. Whatever problems people face, we all face. We're all going in the same direction, and it ain't backwards.
    The ascendancy of anything like a traditionalist conservatism to actual authority in the West is a pipe dream. If the "market", sort of as Mark refers to it, is somehow destroyed, maybe the natural order would then no longer be defied and denied, since the "market" is where the defiance gets its depraved support.

    Without some inhuman or inhumane cataclysmic disruption or destruction of the market, nothing that man is now doing, or is capable of doing is going to slow or end the decline of the West.

    1. "Each succeeding generation will do even less"

      That's not my experience. In the early 1990s, I thought it possible that I was the sole opponent of the liberal order. In the earl 2000s it was possible to sit down at night and catch up with everything written by a trad writer that day.

      Now we have a small movement of people: trads, identitarians, neoreactionaries, and we also have resistance in several European countries (Poland, Hungary, Austria).

      The time to get actively involved and to see what can be done is now. Certainly not the right time in history to be passive.

    2. Its a feminine way how to run things. The system runs by shaming dissent, but it is helpless against freeriders. I have found this video enlightening:

  5. I can understand someone who rejects Christianity looking for a substitute secular religion, and I can understand why so many such people turned to Marxism (I mean actual Marxism not cultural Marxism). The idea of trying to create Heaven on Earth has a superficial appeal. It's a child-like idea but it's vaguely admirable.

    What I don't understand is why anyone would embrace right-liberalism as a belief system. Millions of solitary alienated individuals with no connection to anyone or any thing, living lives based on selfishness, greed and animal pleasures, living in an eternal present with no memory of the past and no hope for the future. If Marxists wanted to create Heaven on Earth it seems like right-liberals want to create Hell on Earth.

    1. Good point. Somehow people bought into the idea that this represented an adequate vision of human freedom.

  6. Sorry, maybe I don't get the point but I know plenty of people who primarily identify with a strong cultural British tradition and don't think that British culture is just one of many, they think it's the best. Same with the Jews, we're proud. And most of us think that those devoted to a one world universalism are just lying to themselves. The universalists think their culture of tolerance and inclusion is vastly superior, it's just that within the rules of their culture they have to pretend they don't think it's superior. Well, not all the time, once in a while they let it slip as they do their best to get rid of the institutions and traditions that passionately choose to live under.