It is easy today to see that Western civilization has hit the skids. Twenty years ago, when the French political philosopher Chantal Delsol published Icarus Fallen (the English translation of a work first published in French in 1996), it was not so clear. The signs were all there, and the truth that the Enlightenment scheme had failed was not obscure. But the obvious conclusion, that we should terminate the experiment, was far from mainstream. What is good about this book is that its analysis is incisive and insightful, and thus its prophecies have proven largely accurate. What is bad about this book is that it too quickly rejects the wisdom of the past, and instead calls for that most fatal of projects, a new anthropology of man.
Last December, one evening, I made a throwaway comment on Twitter. It was a response to Rod Dreher, who was yet again viciously publicly trying to destroy the life of someone on the Right (that day, a young father and schoolteacher whose private statements had offended Dreher). My comment was “Who cares? No enemies to the Right!” I would never have thought about my comment again, except that Dreher promptly exploded in spluttering rage, on his (now defunct) blog at The American Conservative, among other things attempting to also destroy my livelihood. I responded in IM-1776. This began a variety of discussion around the tactical doctrine sometimes called NETTR.
Christopher Rufo has earned a stellar reputation as both analyst of, and strategist against, the poison of “critical theory.” In America’s Cultural Revolution, with verve, precision, and clarity, he explains what critical theory is, where it came from, and how, over the past fifty years, it was used by the Left to conquer America. His real target, however, is much older, because critical theory is merely the latest iteration of Left ideology, inevitably corrosive and parasitical, conceived in the Enlightenment and birthed in 1789. And, no surprise, the fruit of the Left’s latest conquest has been the same as always—the extreme degradation of a decent, productive society. Rufo’s explicit purpose is to inspire a counter-revolution. This is a tall order. After all, despite successes Rufo and his allies have had in several quarters, the Left today utterly dominates all areas of American life, not only all levels of government, directly or indirectly, but also private enterprise, education, media, culture, the military, and religious institutions. That this has led America to a dead end is irrelevant …
Vladimir Lenin taught that “he who says A must say B.” He was correct, but Patrick Deneen has not listened. Deneen says A, that our Regime, our ruling class, is destructive and evil. But he then refuses to say B, that the Regime is therefore wholly odious and illegitimate, and before any new system is possible, it must be destroyed. Instead, Deneen’s response to A is magical thinking. When the people peacefully complain enough, you see, the Regime will dismantle itself voluntarily and hand over power to a new ruling class, which will hold and implement opposite views on every matter under the sun. This absurd fantasy, even when cushioned within much fancy philosophy, harms rather than advances the postliberal project.
“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.
Ernst von Salomon’s Der Fragebogen is unique, a product of the refiner’s fire, a work forged in the cataclysm of mid-twentieth-century Europe. But this once-famous, now-obscure book, published only one time in English, and that seventy years ago, still holds within its pages knowledge about both the past and the future. As to the past, from this book we can learn something completely missing from modern discourse—the complex views of 1930s and 1940s German patriots. As to the future, we can learn something more practical—methods to, in a future dispensation, help us flush Left poison completely and permanently from our body politic.
Now available is my discussion with Auron MacIntyre about victory over the Left. We talk about permanent success in building a Left-free society, about “no enemies to the right,” about technology, and much more. You can find the episode here in video on YouTube, or here in audio on Apple Podcasts, or on all the usual podcast platforms. You can follow Auron on his very popular YouTube channel, at his Substack, or on Twitter and Gab. You can support his work on Subscribestar, as well.
Stephen Covey wrote a once-famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Six of the habits are forgettable, and should be forgotten. But the seventh—ah, that is everything! “Begin with the end in mind.” What is our end? That is easy—winning. What is the winning condition? It is the total, permanent defeat of the Left, of the ideology at the heart of the Enlightenment, with its two core principles of total emancipation from all bonds not continuously chosen, and of total forced equality of all people. When this defeat is accomplished, Right principles, those based in reality and recognizing the nature of man, his limitations, and his capabilities, can again become ascendant.