Tuesday, 18 November 2014

NAVIGATING "VANTARDISM": SCREW SCYLLA, KICK CHARYBDIS!


The recent debate over ‘vantardism’ has shone light on a problem that the true Right desperately needs to deal with before it can hope to harness its energies effectively. Reluctant as I am to whip up an already well-stirred pot, I think that the more suggestions are advanced for the resolution of the problem, the better.

For anyone who doesn’t already know, ‘vantardism’ – as defined by Greg Johnson – refers to stupid and self-defeating attempts at ‘vanguardism,’ i.e. organising a political vanguard. As far as the true Right is concerned, this vantardism nearly always amounts to a militant insistence on shackling Rightist ideals to the corpse of Hitler’s Third Reich, accompanied by the argument that everyone who does not do the same is merely indulging in a futile and cowardly dissimulation. The fact that the latter argument has any credibility at all can no doubt be traced back to the very real cowardice and futility of the mainstream conservative ‘false Right’ – which, as we are all aware, has fought the postwar cultural revolution in the West half-heartedly, two-mindedly and one-handedly, while employing most of its energies to viciously stab in the back any comrades who dare to overstep the bounds of progressivist “respectability.”

In my view, it is significant that the debate is framed as one of “mainstreaming” (adopting the politics of mainstream conservatives) versus “vantardism” (throwing “respectability” to the wind and adopting neo-Nazism), for there is an obvious connection between these two. This connection lies in the fact that both sides are dominated by the worldview of the Left.

As we all know, after the Second World War the Left quickly washed the blood from its sleeves and moved to damn the entire Right (by which is meant the ‘true Right,’ not the apology for capitalism often falsely identified as such) with the stigma of “fascism,” which they of course took care to define in the broadest political, cultural and psychological terms possible. Having accepted their enemies’ assertion that vast swathes of Rightist ideological territory are now irreparably tainted, “right-wingers” are allowed to hold influence in the West only under condition that they confine themselves to an ever-shrinking clean zone of “respectability” – purifying themselves of any contamination in word, deed or association from either the inherent stain on their ideas, or contact with those whose ideas still lie out of bounds. The mainstream conservative reacts to this by attempting to follow the new rules and work within the tiny ideological box allotted to him – a course of action which makes it impossible for him to either stand up straight in opposition to the Left, or extend a hand to anyone within the “contaminated territory” to the Right.

The vantard appears to take the opposite course, but in truth he is not so different, for he is still reacting to the enemy’s moves and allowing himself to be dominated by the enemy’s worldview. He arrives at his political views and cultural aesthetics not by a mature assessment of ideology and history, but by a crude type of normative inversion (that is, sanctifying whatever the ‘other’ declares to be unclean). Having also accepted the Leftist assertion that one cannot defend Europe or the true Right without wedding oneself in marriage to every aspect of the Third Reich, he declares himself a proudly contaminated “Nazi” on the basis of the diagnosis his enemies have crafted for him, and promptly begins wasting his energy upon the defence of the indefensible. Rather than seeking the vast ideological territory outside the tiny ‘ideological box’ of the mainstream conservative, he instead makes a new confinement for himself by plunging into the narrow coffin of Hitler’s Reich, embracing its toxic and rotting symbols and ideas in the belief that he is thereby being “true to himself”.

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Let us have no doubt that the vantard’s strategic justification for his behaviour is merely a case of self-justification. In fact this kind of normative inversion is an example of the worst kind of political stupidity, and we can prove this beyond reasonable doubt by referring to another context.

As anyone familiar with China is aware, the Chinese Communist Party often deals with dissidents by pronouncing them mentally ill and locking them up in institutions. On the basis of the same normative inversion that leads to Hitler-worship in the West, a Chinese advocate of vantardism would presumably respond to this by insisting that since even perfectly articulate dissidents run the risk of being pronounced insane by the government, the only form of honest dissent would be to dribble and flap about like a lunatic while criticising the Great Leap Forward and the Tiananmen Square Massacre – after all, could this not be justified by the classic vantard argument that “it’s the same result either way”? As the Chinese government also likes to stigmatise dissidents as unpatriotic, our hypothetical vantardist would not forget to throw in a few favourable references to the Eight-Nation Alliance and the Japanese Imperial Army, which would have much the same effect in China as Nazi imagery does in European countries invaded by the Third Reich. The most charitable thing that could be said about the political prospects of such a dissident is that he would certainly draw a crowd – and indeed, it is this factor that accounts for many illusions of mass appeal among vantardists.

Returning to the West: in contrast to the vantardists of today, those who identified with the wider and deeper Rightist tradition of Europe never felt the need to confine themselves to either a Leftist-designed box or a Nazi coffin. Take for example Julius Evola, who in Notes On The Third Reich provides an admirably rational and fair assessment of both the better aspects and the serious errors of Nazism (and we are speaking of someone who literally believed in Hyperborea here – which just goes to show that even the most far-fetched religious and traditional mythology does much less harm than foolish modern mythologies applied to politics). However, I am all too aware that while it is easy to point out the merits of a past generation, this cannot suffice as a solution for those who were born and bred in the postwar West. For us, the total ideological hegemony of the Left is all too real, and so are the results of this hegemony: that every convert to the true Right, if he is to keep his sanity and his sense of justice, must chart a tortuous course between a mainstream Scylla and a vantard Charybdis.

For most of us, this rigged choice presents itself as a matter of loyalty. If we adopt the attitude of the mainstream conservative and keep our statements and beliefs within the bounds of a Leftist-defined “respectability,” we must be ready to engage in public purges of any comrades who overstep the mark by failing to uphold the same standards, lest they taint us by association. While many of us might be more than willing to be rid of vantardists and their idiotic political necrophilia, it has rightly been pointed out that this is certainly not the strategy of the victorious and hegemonic Left. Although today’s Leftists are the heirs to an utterly repulsive tradition of political psychopathy that has claimed untold millions of victims, they know that conducting witch-hunts for certain types of imagery and rhetoric within their own ranks would only keep them perpetually on the defensive; therefore they lightly step over the historical atrocities for which their ideas are responsible, and criticise even the most murderous Leftist extremists – if at all – only in terms of their methods (and certainly not in the grotesque and dehumanising language used by the false Right to describe even moderate ethnonationalist groups). Regardless of what we might say amongst ourselves to those who defend the sins of the Third Reich today, why on earth should we go begging pardon to the ‘pigs in human clothing’ of the Left, who were neck-deep in blood at the time of the Second World War and are hardly less so today?

Alternatively, then, we might adopt a code of unconditional loyalty to all those who express Rightist beliefs and fight against the cultural revolution, expressing common cause with such people regardless of whether this renders us vulnerable to ‘smear by association.’ While this is a far more admirable solution than the self-gelding of the mainstream conservative, given the present circumstances in which the Right finds itself largely confined to anonymous cyberspace, giving loyalty to anyone who professes to be “on the same side” is almost guaranteed to drag promising websites and activists into the toxic pit of vantardism. The rationale for giving loyalty on the basis of common political belief evaporates even further when we reflect on the fact that any reasonably intelligent agent provocateur, if he wished to discredit the collection of nationalist, traditionalist and reactionary websites that make up the ‘true Right’ today, would almost certainly adopt the strategy of writing well-argued defences of Nazi imagery and apologism to as many of these websites as possible and claiming inclusion on the basis of a code of loyalty.

As a result of all of this we are torn between two monsters and kept busy with infighting – which is, of course, exactly what our enemies desire. Regarding what has been said about the inability of vantardists to see beyond the twelve years of the Third Reich, the best long-term solution to the present problem is educating converts to Rightism about the deeper roots of traditionalism and anti-progressivism in Europe – a task which certain websites, including this one, are already performing with great distinction. However, in addition to this I would like to offer another solution, without wishing to impose it as the only solution, and in full recognition that it is not necessarily the easiest solution.

The first step would be for part of the ‘true Right’ to organise not as a political party, nor even as a metapolitical propaganda group, but as something resembling a quasi-religious ‘society’ or ‘congregation’. Such an organisation might take among its founding aims a general political idea – for example, it might be dedicated to the restoration of Europe, or to a traditionalist resistance against the cultural revolution – but it would not orientate itself around any particular political goals. In my view, the best and strongest form of such an organisation would say far less about politics than about the fulfilment and completion of the individual, achieved through a recovery of those aspects of life that are being denied, destroyed, and rendered unattainable by the cultural revolution and the progressivist simulacra of human “freedom” and “equality.”

There are two obvious advantages to this approach. The first is that the destructions of the cultural revolution have reduced most of us in the West to atomised individuals, the younger generations of which – including even those sympathetic to political Rightism – see exhortations to follow traditional sexual morality, or to practise personal loyalty to one’s country or race, as so much hollow and meaningless cant. If we cannot build a traditional and just order or a rejuvenated Europe from the starting-point of these individuals, then we cannot build such things at all; and it is clear that with the loss of most of the older sources of identity, we need new frameworks within which to do this. The second advantage comes from the fact that explicit political aims are a brittle base for any such organisation: they are contingent upon circumstances, produce unproductive disagreement, and in the case of the true Right are liable to attract state repression under the banner of “anti-hate-speech” legislation. An organisation of the kind I am advocating here would be able to hide in plain sight, neither running afoul of the law through pointless rhetorical pratfalls about history and politics, nor hobbling itself through excessive secrecy. However, if we take it for granted that such an organisation should remain active in the world rather than retreat to a commune, its founding aims would have to include a commitment – made even at the risk of self-sacrifice – to fight by all available means against the injustice represented by the cultural revolution and the ruling kakistocracy.

I should hope it goes without saying that such an organisation could not exist in cyberspace, nor could it grant membership merely on the basis of professed political beliefs. Those who joined the organisation would adopt – rather than a mere political ideology – a way of life, a set of rituals, and a code of conduct. They would be financially involved with the organisation, either as ‘givers’ or ‘receivers’ according to rank or means; they would know other members in real life and would be possessed of some means of recognising strangers affiliated to the organisation; and they would treat each other with the loyalty befitting members of their own family.

This last point is especially relevant when we move to consider the political activities of such an organisation. The members of the organisation could work towards Rightist, anti-progressive and traditionalist aims through the medium of all sorts of political parties and pressure groups at various different levels of radicalism – even joining grassroots left-wing groups should this serve their ultimate cause – without ever being being diverted onto ‘mainstream’ hobbyhorses or having their loyalties come into question. As regards their relations with political allies, they could make converts of some, while co-operating at a safe distance with others. If an attack of vantardism – the bugbear of all Rightist movements – were to break out among some members of the organisation, a stance of unconditional loyalty could be adopted with far more justification than in the case of a vaguely-defined and internet-based ‘movement’ – for the recipients of this loyalty would be proven comrades rather than phantasms in cyberspace.

Much of this is not so different from the way in which Jewish, Muslim, or Chinese identity often works in the West (at least for most of the politically active members of those communities): whatever the political position taken by individuals, there is a tacit assumption that it should benefit the general aims of the group. Logical arguments for ethnic nationalism have proved utterly ineffective at producing similar behaviour among Europeans; but could not a ‘minority within the majority’, entrusted with the protection of a pure idea and differentiated by its very way of life, easily achieve such cohesive and concerted action in practice? In that sense, what is being suggested here could also become the vanguardism not just of a political movement, but of an entire people.

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