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Virtue or Power, A Response To Critics

Just wanted to do a quick blog post, responding to some of the critics of my Douthat piece. Watching the responses stream in was highly amusing as most of them were of the usual, Liberal grunts of disgust or horror at arguments they lack the mental machinery to process fully. A few examples may help illustrate this:

Orr displays a delicious lack of self-awareness (Douthat's reply is quite the gem) he seems to be genuinely oblivious to the ideological inclination of the very magazine he has been employed by for years. Granted, he could be playing dumb. But it's far more likely that he is merely stupid.

Conor Friedersdorf (the resident Civil Libertarian of The Atlantic) also got into it as well and had a brief but interesting exchange with Douthat:

Notice the contrast between Friedersdorf's and Douthat's assessment of my critique. Douthat, while obviously believing I'm wrong (for reasons I hope he will outline at length in the near future) understands why I aimed my critique at who I did, whereas the entire affair obviously dumbfounds Friedersdorf. He seems not to realize what I am talking about at all, no doubt this is due to the fact that he rarely ever has to engage with ideas which question the very basis of the Liberal order which he has dedicated his career to defending (at least not any which aren't sloppy strawmen.)

Most of the Neoliberal responses, or rather the reactions, aren't worth responding to, as they have seemed to be either unwilling or unable to comprehend the actual issues being examined.

However there were several decent critiques, and one in particular that I believe is worth substantively responding to.

What is a Fascist?

This is by far the most interesting charge that was leveled. Essentially that by cooperating with perceived “fascists” (as opposed to cooperating with Liberals) one taints one’s cause. That one is choosing to pursue power rather than virtue, and presumably ending up with neither. That signaling virtue against perceived “racists” is no vice.

There are many problems with this approach, the most notable being the problem of defining just what the terms “racist” and “fascist” actually mean. A question to which they have so far been unwilling to give a coherent answer to. Were Franco and Salazar Fascists? Was Salvador Dali a Fascist? Were Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Julius Evola, and Oswald Spengler Fascists? Are Vladimir Putin, Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump Fascists?

What qualifies one as a fascist? Is it holding to the tenets of National Socialism? Of Mussolini’s Italy? Is it state militarism and the so-called “Cult of Action”? Is it merely being “racist” or an “Anti-Semite”?

Furthermore what even qualifies one as being a “racist” or an “Anti-Semite”? Is it the belief in so-called “human bio-diversity”? That IQ is heritable? That the Blank Slate theory is false? Is it believing that some human cultures are superior to others? The observation that certain racial groups commit a disproportionate amount of street crime? The idea that language, culture, and religion make some cultures inherently incompatible with other ones?

And again, what is “Anti-Semitism”? Is it opposing the Zionist apartheid regime currently occupying the West Bank? Is it noticing that ethnic Jews tend to show favoritism towards their own kind? (just like most other ethnic groups, thus making it a rather unremarkable observation.) Is it rejecting the modern and syncretic theological concept of “Judeo-Christianity” in favor of a more tradition understanding of the distinction between the two?

The problem with the modern Liberal conception of Fascism is the same as that of the modern Liberal conception of art. After all, If everything can be defined as art, nothing can be. As for art so too for Fascism. Unless of course, one wishes to define all movements that are not Liberal and Democratic, and that deny the absolute sovereignty of the atomized individual as being inherently “Fascistic.” If this is the case, as the Liberals insist it is, then, of course, I am a “Fascist” (as are many of the people presently reading this blog post.)

But, for the sake of argument, let us conduct a brief thought experiment. Let us imagine that our friends at Vox have published an authoritative “Voxsplainer” which describes in scientific detail exactly what constitutes Fascism. Let us also assume that, like good Neoliberal Soymasses we accept Vox’s Cathedral-granted authority on this matter. And that, after much deliberation, they have designated Julius Evola, among others, as a prime example of a “Fascist thinker.”

This would thus beg the question of what we should do about this new piece of authoritative information, which, as it comes from Vox constitutes a “Fact Fact” (as opposed to an “Alternative Fact” or a piece of “Fake News.”) Should we all immediately take to our Twitter accounts and vigorously denounce, not only this horrible Evola person but also everyone who has ever referenced him approvingly? Should all bloggers who have written posts on Evola be systematically rounded up and interned in Liberal re-education camps until such time as Cathedral approved Psychologists have verified that the poison of Fascism has left their mind space for good?

And if someone you know doesn’t engage in this sort of public renunciation of the Fascist Boojum, are we safe to assume that they too might be a Fascist?

It just seems unclear what action we should take to combat the plague of "Fascism" which according to authoritative media outlets is currently ravaging the American politics landscape with the ferocity of the Golden Horde. Should all books deemed as Fascist be burned in the public square? Must the works of thinkers like Martin Heidegger and Carl Schmitt (both geniuses) be considered verboten? These are questions I would very much like to hear answers to.

For That Snark Was A Boojum You See

Boojum is perhaps the perfect stand-in term for the modern Liberal conception of “Fascism.” As it is, for those who are unaware, a reference to Lewis Carroll’s classic nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark.” The way Snarks (of which a Boojum is merely a subspecies of) are described in the poem is amusingly similar to how Fascism is described by many Liberals and Conservatives:

"Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again The five unmistakable marks By which you may know, wheresoever you go,
The warranted genuine Snarks.

"Let us take them in order. The first is the taste, Which is meagre and hollow, but crisp: Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist,
With a flavour of Will-o'-the-wisp.

"Its habit of getting up late you'll agree That it carries too far, when I say That it frequently breakfasts at five-o'clock tea,
And dines on the following day.

"The third is its slowness in taking a jest. Should you happen to venture on one, It will sigh like a thing that is deeply distressed:
And it always looks grave at a pun.

"The fourth is its fondness for bathing-machines, Which it constantly carries about, And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes—
A sentiment open to doubt.

"The fifth is ambition. It next will be right To describe each particular batch: Distinguishing those that have feathers, and bite,
From those that have whiskers, and scratch.

"For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm, Yet, I feel it my duty to say, Some are Boojums—" The Bellman broke off in alarm,
For the Baker had fainted away

Is this kind of absurdist reasoning not constantly deployed today by Left Liberals? Resulting in a perpetual circle jerk of Ad Hitlerum nonsense deployed against any ideas which aren’t self-consciously Liberal. One relevant example which comes to mind immediately is the venomous hatred and bile Vladimir Putin has gotten in the Western Press over relatively innocuous acts, such as giving public recognition to the mothers of large families or refusing to allow sodomite "pride" parades from marching through public spaces. Acts which in any healthy society would be considered normal.

Another common charge that is frequently hurled is that certain individuals are “Fascists” since they glorify the “cult of action.” Again, exactly what constitutes a genuine “cult of action” is unclear, but judging by how the accusation has been used one is forced to conclude that it applies to any and all forms of non-quietist political activity.

So it seems to me that in order to further the discussion, those accusing others of collaborating with "Fascists" need to clearly define what exactly it is they are talking about.

Virtue or Power

But perhaps the best point that was raised with clarity was the idea that many who advocate for Right-Wing Illiberalism are essentially making a deal with the devil and sacrificing their virtue in exchange for power. No doubt, when one looks at the history of political movements, one can see that this has sometimes been the case.

That being said, too often it seems this accusation seems to insinuate, not simply that one must be careful to not sacrifice one’s virtue or principles completely in the pursuit of power, but that virtue and power themselves are mutually, exclusive phenomenon. Essentially that one may have virtue or one may have power but one can’t have both.

Now Chateaubriand doesn’t come out and directly say this, but the fact is that this is the conclusion that is necessitated by his own stated beliefs. For his logic seems to be that unless the Illiberal regime in question precisely meets his own personal standards of “virtue” than it is better to submit to Liberal rule than risk the danger of befouling oneself with the stench of supposedly nasty men like Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin.

This idea: that is it better to maintain one's virtue and moral purity than involve oneself in the messy business of applying power in the real world begs the question of whether a "virtuous" man can involve himself in politics at all.

Many earnest conservatives laugh at those who would compare someone like Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin to Constantine The Great or Charlemagne and rightly so, yet they do so for the wrong reasons. The reason why such a comparison is laughable is not because the former are so much more "morally" reprehensible than the latter, but rather the inverse. Constantine himself (who is venerated as a saint in Christian Church) had two of his sons as well as his own wife put to death. This is in addition to the many bloody wars he fought (we won't even bother mentioning any of his personal indiscretions.) Oh, and he would almost certainly qualify as a "Fascist" in the eyes of the modern enlightened Liberal.

Now, if we are to take Chateaubriand seriously here we would have to assume he would oppose any Christian cooperation with someone like Constantine, as he would be seen as profoundly "unvirtuous." One could, of course, continue with relevant historical examples of Christian figures that were less than virtuous yet still accomplished tremendous good in the world at large. The problem people like Chateaubriand have is that they have backed themselves into a corner, in which they must (at least if they desire to be consistent) condemn almost the entire history of Christendom as an unacceptable compromise with the world.

Chateaubriand will no doubt object to this depiction of his position, claiming perhaps that I am putting words in his mouth and to an extent, this claim will be an accurate one. I am putting words in his mouth in the sense that I am following the logic he uses to its natural conclusions, something he seems either unable or unwilling to do.

In reality, those who reject all forms of modern illiberal politics as an unacceptable compromise with the forces of "Fascism" relegate themselves to de facto quietism. Unless of course, one is more than happy to submit oneself to cooperate with Liberals, in which case one has merely become a conservative who enjoys the aesthetics of 19th-century French aristocrats.

If this is the path one desires to take, one should at least have the honesty to abandon any pretense of opposing the Liberal order. An order which practices and promotes infanticide on an industrial scale, which promotes the legitimization of sodomite "marriage" and transgenderism (which involves the self-conscious mutilation of the human body) not only at home but abroad as well. An order which has also waged merciless wars in over a dozen countries over the past several decades with the aim of spreading these aforementioned "values." Wars which have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents and spread chaos and instability throughout the world. These are the people you choose to ally yourself with; these are your friends, think about that.

Chateaubriand's friends order others to drop fire on people in order to spread "American values," and yet we are the "Fascists" because we dare to use the word "Cuck" in a Tweet. His friend's support and fund organizations which profit off of the sale of the remains of dismembered children, but we are the "Fascists" or "Racists" for befriending people who don't hate themselves for being White.

Furthermore, in reality, these people, your Liberal "allies" hate you and see you as little more than useful idiots. Your ideas for what constitute a good and "virtuous" society have no part to play in their progressive eschatological vision.

This, again, is the reality of the situation. Those who reject Illiberal political action and yet still claim to oppose the crimes of Modern Liberalism would be better off simply withdrawing from public life entirely than allying themselves with a grotesque and inhuman political enterprise.

Thus, the choice facing those romantic souls for whom any realistic anti-Liberal activity is simply not virtuous enough is a simple one: get in the fight, or get out of the way.