Now available is my discussion with Brandon Van Dyck. Brandon is a scholar of comparative civilizational analysis and of our ideological regime, both interests of mine. We make quite a few distinctions and refinements to analysis of our current regime, tied to my recent piece on the fragility of our current Regime. These include discussions of related topics such as legitimacy (procedural and substantive), and as I often do, I throw in bonus praise of Francisco Franco.
You can find the episode here on YouTube, or embedded below.
The Youtube link is to your Caesar and Beyond interview rather than this one.
Thanks—fixed. (Cache problem—I need to change themes.)
The YouTube link at the end of the post links to your recent discussion with Auron McIntyre. The earlier link looks to be correct.
Darn, previous comment wasn’t there when I clicked post comment. Feel free to delete that and this.
In any case, thanks for the continued excellent and thoughtful content.
May I suggest a book for a future review,
The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life,
by Kenneth Minogue.
This book created another filter in my mind, (experiences create new subroutines in our brain to observe details that previously went unnoticed, when I was in the Army I started to see all the officers on the street, after my wife got pregnant I started to see all the pregnant women around) that explained the behavior during the pandemic and elsewhere. Some themes from Jordan Peterson also are present and expanded, though Minogue predates Peterson.
Not a bad review here:
Thanks! I have a copy, but have not read it. I will check it out.
Charles in a recent podcast you mentioned that you bought a collection of books for your kids from the 1950s. I cannot remember the name of the series – would you remind me?
Of course! It’s the Landmark series, published by Random House.
Just read your 2019 article on Franco & found it fascinating and– most surprisingly– very accurate, unlike most portrayals of Gen. Franco. That took a lot of research, which I appreciate– having read dozens of books on the SCW and a number by Payne. Many thanks.
You are welcome, and thank you!
As always, a fascinating conversation and in line with your overall thesis. I am trying to come to terms with the proposed problem-solution dialectic: The malady is “regime fragility” leading to its demise, and the remedy is “Foundationalism”. The empirical evidence for the former was supposed to be hysterical continuation of their policies even in the face of the massive Republican wave in the midterms. Obviously, that did not arrive, and we could not test this hypothesis.
The premise of regime fragility, while attractive to us, may be a case of confirmation bias. I see little evidence of a rupture or fracture in the “coercive apparatus” on the left. There seem to be more fissures in the ranks of the dissenters (Republicans inclined to resist) than within the regime itself. The regime seems to be able to exploit every social destabilization (9/11, 2008, Covid, etc.) to strengthen itself. The degeneracy that we point to as the Last Days of the Empire may well be a feature, not a bug, enabling the regime to cement its legitimacy through a perverse causal cycle.
Is the above analysis reasonable, or fatally flawed? If the latter, what am I missing?
Regards, Sine Nomen
1) Thank you. Well, it’s not precisely correct to say that Foundationalism is the solution. It is one possible solution, and since it is not an ideology, even if adopted it is not a solution, in the sense of “turn the key and it will solve everything.” It’s just a set of reality-based principles that can be applied in different ways, as needed. But certainly, it would solve a lot of things.
2) The fracture is never visible until it arrives. Thus, while your analysis is necessarily flawed, in the sense that all regimes end and thus the fracture will arrive someday, as I said there is a scrying element that cannot be proven correct until the moment has arrived, or, more precisely, has already passed. Waiting, waiting . . . .
I like that you state clearly that Foundationalism is not an ideology. How do you define ideology? I have come to see ideologies as an attempt to impose abstract, rationalistic theories on the public. By this definition all ideologies–liberalism, socialism, communism, fascism, libertarianism, etc.–are branches of the same tree. One might label the this tree of hubris “leftism”. In any event, I think it is time to say that ideology itself has failed.
In contrast to ideology, there is, for lack of a better term, tradition. Tradition is organic, local, and above all, personal. The irony of ideologies is that they are humanistic but never humane. Actual people, your friends, family, and neighbors will be sacrificed to an abstraction in the name of some ideology. Against this, our motto ought to be “everything is personal”.
I define it as James Burnham did. Quoting him: An ideology is “a more or less systematic and self-contained set of ideas supposedly dealing with the nature of reality . . . and calling for a commitment independent of specific experience or events. . . . . An ideologue—one who thinks ideologically—can’t lose. He can’t lose because his answer, his interpretation and his attitude have been determined in advance of the particular evidence or observation.” So yes, in a sense, as you say, all ideologies are branches of the same tree.
But they’re not all the same. For example, not all ideologies are utopian, although many tend that way. Leftism is utopian, however, and that makes it even more likely to be damaging, because any cost is worth incurring to achieve utopia.
As a follow up – the empirical evidence for regime fragility was supposed to be hysterical continuation of their policies even in the face of the massive Republican wave in the midterms, which did not arrive. So the theory remains unproven.
But what if there was a different empirical test-bench? Not the mid-terms, but something else?
What about the recent hysterical reaction to Elon Musk freeing up speech on Twitter after his acquisition? There have been uniform, synchronized howls of disapproval from the usual quarters, and now we learn that Apple has stopped advertising and is considering de-listing Twitter on the app store. What if the preeminent free speech platform (Twitter) is the empirical battleground where regime fragility will be exposed?
1) Not precisely hysterical continuation; rather a stepping-up to violence.
2) Yes, this is certainly possible, and I have been focused on it for the past few days. It is not that this is the battleground; it is that this is the possible spark for the Left to overplay its hand. This is for the same reason as electoral defeat—the Left cannot abide any actual rollback of power; it causes a reaction that is somewhere along the continuum of fear, desperation, and anger. It is true that all this—the control of the Narrative, and the power deriving from it, being in putatively private hands, not government hands, and not derived from electoral power. This makes the future harder to predict. But certainly one possible future is that, bizarre as it seems, that this is the spark upon which the future turns. Musk appears to have won Round 1 (preventing Twitter deplatforming from the Apple app store); this will raise the stakes, and cause a Left spasm of rage. For every action, a reaction.