Tuesday, 9 December 2014

THE HOBBIT SYNDROME

Why we should keep looking to the Stars.


by Roman Bernard

Alternative Right recently published a response to my Radix review of Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. Written by Eugene Westerly, its very title, Space: the Final Capitulation suggested that the writer had not read my take on Elysium before writing his piece. Originally titled Elysium: an Allegory of White Flight, this review was first published in August 2013 at Alternative Right, and more recently at Radix after Richard Spencer and I had recorded our podcast on Interstellar.

My Elysium piece insisted on the dangers of using outer space as an escape to the problems facing us down here. I could have simply posted the link in the comments section, but while reading Eugene's article, I found that more explanations were in order, on the subject of White flight as well as others.

Soil Fetishism is Fundamentally Anti-European


The main problem I noticed in Eugene's piece is an idea that was disproved about five hundred years ago by Copernicus: namely, Geocentrism, i.e. the idea that the Earth is the center of the Universe. Of course, Eugene doesn't say that the Earth is literally the center of the Universe. Rather, he says that we should restrict our mental universe to the Earth:
"[O]ur destiny – at least in a time scale meaningful to humans – is not in the stars, […] we are essentially stranded on Earth, and it is this, our home and only "destination." […] Man was not merely born on Earth, he is born of Earth. Man is Earth. […] Earth is our only home."
Ugh, Great Sachem!

But why not quote directly the man who coined this very idea, Sitting Bull? The victor at the Battle of the Little Bighorn famously said: “Earth does not belong to Man, it is Man who belongs to Earth.”

Sitting...forever.
Though it has been fashionable in Old Left (sorry, New Right) circles to rejoice at Commander Custer's defeat and death, I maintain what I wrote in my Interstellar review: “this 'Let's do as our ancestors have always done' motto may suit Indian tribes, but it is unworthy of Sons of Europa.”

There are two main reasons why this New Right idea that Eugene agrees with is wrong.

First, while Man is of Earth, as Eugene puts it in a stating-the-obvious way, Earth is of the Universe, right? Therefore, Man is of the Universe too. Eugene writes that, “We are made of the same carbon and water, in a finely tuned mix, as the planet.” True enough. But where does this matter come from? It comes from the explosions of several former stars that gave birth to our star, the Sun, and the different planets of the solar system.

There's a stronger reason why Eugene is wrong, and this reason is peculiar to Europeans. If we systematized his “Man is of Earth” argument, we could end up saying that “European Man is of Europe,” and therefore reject the whole European conquest of America. But why stop at America? As I said in my review of Interstellar, the Western end of Eurasia, what we call “Europe,” was not always inhabited by our ancestors. So Eugene and other New Right writers could also say that “Indo-European Man is of the Pontic Steppe.” If our distant ancestors had thought that way, however, I doubt New Rightists could use computers and the Internet to publish their thoughts, but that'll be for another debate.

The Real Defeatists


Another reproach that Eugene throws at me is one of defeatism. The dreamers of the day like yours truly and others who fantasize about their descendants setting foot on Mars would be actual losers in the “here and now” world. Again, my Elysium review speaks for itself, but I shall add that this accusation can easily be sent back to Eugene.

As Tom Rennick wrote in the comment section,
“I've noticed a curious sub-strain among certain pro-whites that, when pressed sufficiently, suddenly proclaim all the great things that we CAN'T do – conquering space being one of the most persistent. We CAN'T recapture America from the Cultural Marxists, we CAN'T develop a successor to oil (forget about fusion energy) and we CAN'T colonize Mars – nope, too dang hard!” 
Losers think that way. They don't belong in the pro-white movement.

There were people in the American government (and military) that thought Von Braun was a Nazi fruitcake, with his dreams to reach the Moon and land a man on it. 'You'll die in space!' – 'Too much radiation!' – 'Once landed on the Moon, you won't be able to lift off again!'

People who knew better were reminded of what people said shortly after the English invented the railroad engine, giving birth to the nation-conquering train in America's West: 'It's faster than a horse! Faster than anything ever known! No one will survive seated on a train riding along at 40 miles an hour – the air will pass by your mouth so fast you won't be able to suck it in to breathe!"

Yes, people really thought that. And time and history passed them by...”
When Christopher Columbus set sail for the first time, there were also people who warned the Genovese navigator that he would never be able to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Every evolutionary leap made by Man led to the formation of two sides, the Enthusiasts and the Luddites. From the prehistoric men who refused to use bones as tools and weapons to those who deride space exploration as a “boondoggle,” the pattern is clear.

The Source of Value


The main reason behind the pessimism of the Luddites is a misunderstanding of the source of value. Eugene goes at great lengths to explain why the dependency of advanced societies on ever-decreasing oil capacities forbids any further spatial program.

Warning! Peak Oil!
But how did our societies become dependent on oil in the 20th century? Was petroleum discovered a century ago? Actually, no, it has been known since the Ancient Times. Middle Eastern civilizations have been sitting on tremendous quantities of concentrated energy but never saw any use to this viscous, smelly resource beside Aladdin-like lamps.

What gave value to oil is human spirit. It's the refining of crude oil, which was invented in the 19th century by Europeans on both shores of our Ocean (refining was pretty much a Pan-European success) that suddenly bestowed immense wealth on this filthy matter.

The fact that oil is getting scarcer is not necessarily bad news. The 1973 first oil crisis and the brutal increase in oil prices that ensued prompted several countries to develop nuclear programs. It is Europeans, not Middle Easterners, who grasped oil's real worth. Middle Easterners may have a gas meter in their basement, but it is the reciprocating engine, and countless other European inventions related to oil, that give it meaning.

Alternative energies will start appearing before oil goes extinct. There were still trees standing in England when coal began being used as a means of combustion. And there were still huge quantities of coal available when oil took the lead. The increase in oil prices made fracking cost-effective. Once fracking gets too expensive, another source of energy will prevail. Wood, coal, oil, uranium should be seen as loans from Nature. Humans borrow time with energy, and with the power it gives, develop more advanced societies that will find a use to resources which had been deemed worthless thus far.

Turning Defeats into Victories


An important lesson from that is that hardships are actually good, since they put an evolutionary pressure on societies to force them to overcome the new challenges ahead.

In European history, such a hardship was the fall of the Byzantine Empire at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. The route to India and its spices was closed. This led Portuguese navigators to circumvent Africa, and then for Castille to find a way to the West.

The fall of Byzantium was a tragedy, but didn't the discovery of America make up for this loss? Ironically, many heirs of the Byzantines did quite well for themselves in America.

As Alex Kurtagic put it in his Masters of the Universe talk, to turn a defeat into a victory,
“[We must not speak] in terms of what we’ve lost; but in terms of what we’re going to gain; in terms of what kind of society we want to build, in terms of what happens next, not what happened before. A winner learns from the past, but he’s always looking to the future. He’s always facing the sun. And we are solar people. We have brought light into this world. We must not forget who we are.”
The Truman Show, Dwarf version.
And who we are, again, is “heirs of conquerors” (I'm glad Eugene agrees on this point, at least). We are not Amerindian tribes dancing around the same totem pole for Eternity. We are not Hobbits content with drinking ale and roasting pork in a state of perpetual present. Now, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against ale and roasted pork, on the contrary. But we can't let ourselves be defined by mundane matters, which is the main problem with Identitarianism as of today. Actually, Prometheus and the Hobbit are less human types than a fault line inside every and each one of us. We both have an inner Prometheus and an inner Hobbit. And we should not let our inner Hobbit put down-to-earth concerns in front of higher ones, like the fulfillment of our collective destiny.

Conveniently for his case, Eugene avoided quoting the passages in the last part of my Interstellar review that explained why “here and now” problems couldn't be addressed without a dream transcending our lives. Eugene only quoted the concession I made when I elaborated on my interstellar dream:
“I believe such a dream should be space conquest. I obviously won't live it, nor will my children, and I don't think my grandchildren or even my great-grandchildren will.”
Which takes an entirely different meaning in light of the two paragraphs that follow:
And therefore, in the meantime, a European Home should be established so as to make the carrying out of this dream possible and even thinkable (the rewriting of history books about Neil Armstrong's giant leap is one of Interstellar's most important scenes). 
But this European Home would't be sustainable—it wouldn't even see the light of day, since its founding is, in itself, a project involving several generations from conception to realisation and therefore requires transcendence to survive the bite of time—if there wasn't an idea bigger than us, an idea that will mean the same thing in one century as it now does.
The point is not whether it is “realistic” to dream of terraforming Mars. Of course it isn't in 2014. The point is to say that nothing, even modest, can be achieved without seeing big and targeting high. Those who urge us to stop dreaming and instead to focus on earthly matters are not only trying to undermine our imagination, they're also trying to prevent us from finding an ascendant and forward-looking solution to the problems they supposedly warn us about. In the same way that those obsessed with crime statistics and anti-White atrocities are losing sight of the big picture — the need for “a country of our own” — those who are only concerned about the political solutions to the problems affecting today's West are estranging themselves from the quest for meaning, and destiny. Why should Europeans fight back, why should they retake possession of their future if they have no higher reason to do it than mere existence?

That is the question I asked in my review, and Eugene hasn't answered it. But we have time. Again, it is not five to midnight, it is five past midnight. There's time before the Dawn.


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