April 17, 2008
In another discussion of Aliza Shvarts’s abortion “art,” commenter James Newland actually raises what I think is a good point: “We all know Christian principles need to be restored, both in our laws and in the popular mind, but HOW EXACTLY do you propose we do that?” It seems we theorists are all good at strategy and have little patience for tactics.
Problem 1: We lack a national political party, and to the extent we are united at all, we have great internal disagreements about goals. Where the Cold War united, its absence and the disappointments of the Iraq War have created greater division. Conservatism is nearly dead in the Republican Party, and populist bellicosity has become a substitute that many instinctual conservatives have embraced out of misdirected patriotism, specifically memories of the anti-American pacifist stupidity of the first counter-cultural wave in the 60s.
Conservatives, of course, don’t expect the government to restore a balanced Christian civilization; we just want it to stop contributing to the bleeding through things like NEA grants, open borders, public radio, public television, affirmative action, grants to anti-American professors, politicized educational agenda, etc. We are a movement in want of leaders, charisma, organization, and even concrete goals to create a movement. We seem able to put out a few magazines, have an occasional conference where we cheerfully toast that civilization is going down the drain, and stock up on AR-15s. That’s pretty much it.
Problem 2: A threshold question needs to be answered. First, an unserious proposal. In frustration, the Eric Rudolphs and Pinochet fans sometimes suggest a small faction goes on the attack—literally—undertaking a counter-revolution outside of the political structures. Do we really expect we have the numbers or the will or the sheer single-mindedness to make anything good come out of revolution or extra-legal action of any kind? No, this seems ridiculous. First, men must be educated, slowly if need be, or any revolution would only empower the worst among us. Our effort must be slower, less politial and more cultural. Like the samizdat resistance of the Soviet Union, everything from blogs to books should expose the flaws of the system. This includes most especially its lies related to equality and our proud past as a people. Knowledge is essential, as the current system is strong but brittle and depends upon increasingly harsh tactics to suppress the truth.
The real choice is between widespread action or withdrawal. We should continue to fight an intellectual and political guerilla action against a cultural-political-economic order hell bent on subverting Christianity and the Christian family (as well as decency, limited government, Anglo-American culture and much else that conservatives value, if only as memories). This is the answer of the dwindling traditionalist conservatives and paleoconservatives. These resistors to various degrees includes the gang at Chronicles, TAC, ISI, and even us here. We’re fighting, educating, voting (or not) with a goal of stopping and reversing certain political and cultural evils that can, at least theoretically, be reversed.
The other choice is withdrawal. This is of the nature of a return to monasticism, where the light of civilization was kept lit during a time of economic and political decline. The evil addressed here is one of corruption, lest by trying to change the culture we become sullied by its lies and contradictions. This risk of such corruption is real and tangible; notice the steady decline of principle and seriousness in someone like Bill Buckley over the course of his career, all in the name of respectability by the elites of a toxic society.
Withdrawl is the “Amish Solution” if you will. This would be a thorough embrace and promotion of separatism of one kind or another, not just in housing, but jobs, lifestyle, church, education, marriage, recreation, geography and the like. It is quietly happening in places ranging from Cour d’Alene, Idaho to Lincoln, Nebraska. These “little platoons” seem happy enough. But other than buying some time, can this really work? After all, sometimes your opponents get to set the agenda, including the time and place of battle. Today it’s polygamists in rural Texas. Yesterday it was Kulaks or Jehovah’s Witnesses. Would such “hate crimes” as disallowing unmarried teen sex or creating racist (i.e., white) communities long survive in a future America? It’s doubtful. A retreat to a cultural ghetto has not been a good bet for at least 100 years or more, as these are totalitarian times.
We have no choice, I believe, but to slowly and steadily chip away at the intellectual core of the dominant leftism, doing battle where our work is easiest (genetics, history, psychometrics), and thus opening up the gates for a more thorough reconsideration of the system by thoughtful and intelligent people. In spite of our pretensions of being an equal and democratic nation, power is more concentrated in the hands of high IQ elites than ever. Lead them away from their current path, and our natural allies in the peasantry will follow.
Consider how much more effective the secular left’s campaign has been, focusing on rigid control of universities, publishers, Hollywood, the print and television media, and other agents of culture. I’d take NBC and Harvard—or their equivalent—over an election victory any time. We can learn some lessons from our opposition. Average Americans talked like half-baked sociologists, mouthing platitudes dervied from people they never heard of—Boas, Kallen, Croly, or Dewey. Such zombie-people are easily hitched to the left-liberalism and right-liberalism of our two major parties; they are as pliable today, as they were resistant only 40 or 50 years ago.
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