It is frequently said, and it is entirely true, that the Regime which rules us is illegitimate. But what does that precisely mean? No surprise, Carl Schmitt lights the way to an answer, in one of his lesser-known works, Legality and Legitimacy. This book should be more talked about—it was published in Berlin in 1932, when and where everyone knew that matters could not continue as they were, and that dramatic change was sure to come. As with the Germans of 1932, so with the Americans of 2023. Thus, studying and reflecting on this work is worth the effort.
I was honored to appear in six different venues recently. These were: 1) The American Warrior Society podcast. 2) John Rush’s podcast. 3) A second appearance on Todd Lewis’s Praise of Folly podcast. 4) The inaugural episode of the New Founding podcast. 5) A second appearance on the Year Zero podcast. 6) Andrew Isker’s Contra Mundum podcast. Each of these had a different focus, ranging from ChatGPT to Tucker Carlson to Christian Nationalism. Details and embeddings are below.
“I would have lived in peace, but my enemies brought me war.” This is the attention-grabbing opening line of Red Rising, the first book in a popular young-adult science fiction trilogy, published between 2014 and 2016. The author, Pierce Brown, aims to draw Space Rome in roughly A.D. 3000. Within these books (the other two are Golden Son and Morning Star, and I read all three) are themes that could be fascinating, of hierarchy and oppression, of love and war, of duty and honor, of the price a man will pay to make his dreams real, of how our future should be organized. But, sadly, it’s all downhill after the first line, straight into the pit.
As our ruling class drives the West into the ditch, from which a reborn society will probably emerge, but they and their rule will certainly not, it is natural for us to focus on elite theory—that is, who rules? This is an ancient question, although how the question is analyzed has changed with the rise of modern industrial societies. Unsurprisingly, much ink, from James Burnham to Neema Parvini, has been spilled on this important topic. Martin Gurri’s The Revolt of the Public continues the analysis, but he asks not who rules, rather how they maintain their rule, and if those mechanisms will continue.
Reality, like God, will not be mocked. This is the core message of Mary Harrington’s excellent new work, Feminism Against Progress. In challenging and compelling fashion, Harrington shows how so-called feminism destroys women, body and soul. Unhinged worship of unfettered autonomy, the core demand of an insane ideology falsely sold as progress, powers this destruction. True enough, but Harrington’s aim is not mere complaint. Rather it is to tell us that both women and men can truly flourish, even in this age of liquid modernity, by building a new system — one informed by the wisdom, not of the 1950s, but of the pre-industrial age.
It is common on the Right today to have conversations which five or ten years ago would have seemed insane. Notable among such discussions are those relating to violence in conditions of societal fluidity. Of late, for me, talk tends to coalesce around possible future instantiations of a social device of ancient lineage, to which I have given the new name of “armed patronage network.” A new name, for in the West the APN would be a new thing, or more precisely a new old thing. I have earlier talked briefly about APNs, but today, we will explore exactly how APNs might arise, and what that means for you.
It’s Lent, so let’s spend a little time away from politics. The Holy Fire, first published in 1957, when Eastern Orthodoxy had zero presence in the religious consciousness of most of America, is a beautifully-written popular history of ten towering eastern Fathers of the Church. Popular history in 1957 is not comparable to popular history in 2023, however, so this book reads like what might be an advanced college text today, if colleges studied anything worthwhile. Regardless, Payne’s book is an outstanding introduction to Orthodoxy in historical context, which is, no doubt, why St. Vladimir’s Press republished it.
In our failing American Republic, Julius Caesar is, for many, a condensed symbol. He stands in for everything that might bring a final, formal end to institutions already dead, and he hints at what and who may open the door to something new. This broad symbolism derived from Caesar’s meteoric career, however, means that all the many details about what he actually did tend to get ignored, as do the other players in the complex political whirl of the 40s B.C. What results is, too often, comic book history, which usually is offered to buttress some facile claim about what is happening today. Lucca Fezzi’s book helps us look deeper; he offers us a detailed, balanced, and narrowly-focused political history of the end of the Republic.
I was honored to appear in four different venues in February. These were: 1) A second appearance on Alex Kaschuta’s Subversive podcast. 2) An appearance on Brian Chau’s From the New World podcast (nearly three hours!) 3) An appearance on Stephen W. Carson’s Radical Liberation podcast. 4) An appearance on Todd Lewis’s Praise of Folly podcast. Each of these had a different focus; there was, for example, much talk of technology, including my viral thread about Elon Musk bringing Twitter overnight to profitability, along with more explicitly political topics. Details and embeddings are below.
I am often asked how I achieved entrepreneurial success. That is, how I became, in the words of Edwin Arlington Robinson’s “Richard Cory,” “rich—yes, richer than a king.” (We can gloss over the ultimate fate of Cory in that poem, which will not be mine, even if sometimes I expect to also die with a gun in my hand.) Back in 2019, I discussed bits and pieces of my story in my thoughts on Daymond John’s Rise & Grind. Today I want to finish the tale, and probably of more interest to my readers, to offer my more-or-less complete thoughts on what it takes to become rich through starting a business.