Topics of interest

Both Nydwracu and Nick Land provide a list of questions for the Dark Enlightenment to focus on.

I thought it might helpful to briefly discuss some of the items on their lists.

1) “America is a communist country” (AIACC)

Nydwracu is right that the key here is focusing on the connection between American and Russian believers in the same system. However, I’m skeptical that there’s really much more ground to be made on the question of whether or not AIACC.

Arnold Kling recently wrote:

Those of you who are under 55 may have a hard time appreciating how central the issues of socialism, Communism, and anti-Communism were in the middle of the twentieth century. In fact, if you don’t understand the role that the socialist ideal played in American intellectual life from 1930 until at least 1960, you cannot fully understand that period.

Oddly, my experience is the other way around. It’s generally those under 55 (or 35 for that matter) who seem to be more open to the idea that Communism was a hugely influential force in the US in the first half of the 20th Century – and, therefore, still is.

To argue that America at that time was not a Communist country would require you to argue that despite huge sections of the media, the bureaucracy and the academic establishment being made up of identified Communists, somehow these people in positions of power didn’t exercise that power in accordance with their beliefs.

As I previously wrote:

A nice way to illustrate the fact that the Communists controlled these organizations is to look at the career of any known Communist agent. Let’s take one of the best known, Alger Hiss. Hiss’s career (including after he was accused of being a spy and after being in jail) included stints at: the State Department, the United Nations, clerking for Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, the Justice Department, some Senate Committees, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and – naturally – Harvard Law.

If you don’t know what I mean by the term Cathedral, it’s basically that list. Really, the only way it could be better is if he’d worked at the New York Times.

2) The connection between the US and Moscow

I’ve covered similar ground in the War. For example, Harry Hopkins stood in for FDR at meetings with Churchill – if there could be a more obvious interaction between American communists and Russian ones, I would be surprised. FDR’s war aims were either brilliantly crafted to empower Russia or absolutely retarded. Evidence that Soviet spies were well-placed in government were completely ignored, etc.

I think Kling unintentionally highlights the area that needs additional analysis. He titles his post “they changed their minds.” Kling implies that they changed their views when they repudiated the communist label

I’m not sure that’s true. They broke with the Soviets, but many never changed their basic worldview or any of the specific policy positions (other than ceasing to oppose blindly supporting Russia).

3) What happened in the ’60s?

This is a great question. I’ve written a few book reviews on the topic, but it’s still totally baffling to me – as is the fact that many of the craziest people at the time are in positions of power now, and everybody thinks that’s totally cool.

4) What does the ‘neo-’ in ‘neoreaction’ signify?

The neo prefix signifies that the original reaction was utterly destroyed and it’s original positions (however admirable they were and still would be) have absolutely no chance of being resurrected.

In Democracy, the God that Failed, Hoppe described the First World War as a war to destroy the existing monarchical societies of Europe (the proponents of which were reactionaries). Their ideals of the restoration of traditional monarchies, the dis-aggregation of many European “nations”, religious institutions that function as bulwarks to (instead of components of) progressivism, and a general return to old-fashioned hierarchy aren’t coming back. What this new movement seeks to (re)create is some sort of modern approximation of those ideals – hence the need for some prefix.

(I also think that many consider “reactionary” to be an explicitly religious label, whereas the neoreaction is explicitly not religious (not anti-religious, just not explicitly religious). I think that is the essence of this discussion).

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20 Responses to Topics of interest

  1. Callowman says:

    I am not quite 55, but have strong Cold War memories. In my experience, it has been difficult to talk to Americans of my age about modern forms of government that didn’t explicitly triumph in the US. ‘Fascist’ just means ‘bad guy'; ‘communist’ and even ‘socialist’ are, for many, value judgements first and political terms a distant second. It wouldn’t surprise me if under-30s, who have little direct experience of the Cold War, were more likely to be able to use the terms a little more coldly.

  2. Handle says:

    AIACC – A few months ago I produced a spreadsheet showing what percentage of the federal budget amounted to income and wealth redistribution. For FY13 it was about 80% of the budget, maybe a sixth of the entire GDP, maybe a percent or two of global GDP.

    That doesn’t include state and local governments, and doesn’t include the untold amount of indirect redistribution that are is either in the form of subsidies embedded in non-actuarialist price-fixing via regulation (as with Obamacare and Obamaphones) or through cultural political pressure (as with diversity programs).

    It also doesn’t count the costs transferred from productive parts of the economy to millions of white-collar workers who they must hire achieve compliance with various regulations and policies or be exposed to countless liabilities. HR, Accounting, legal, etc. The great, middle-class ‘Plan-D’.

    If people are what they do, then governments are also what they do. USG mostly does a lot of redistribution to politically favored groups, some national security, and a few tiny drops in the bucket of everything else. And it does it at a scale that provides most of the consumption needs for tens of millions of people.

    What name fits best? American Is A Redistributionist Country? Ok. How did it get that way? What did the people who made it that way believe in? A lot of them sincerely believed in Communism. When Communists feel satisfied that they’ve more or less achieved what they were shooting for, or are well on their way, what does one call the result?

    • Tarl says:

      USG mostly does a lot of redistribution to politically favored groups

      That is EXACTLY what Communism is, everywhere, at all times.

      QED AIACC.

      • Handle says:

        Very little money is collected from general taxation and spent on public goods (classic government).

        Most of the cash or benefit flow is take from the young, give to the old; take from the rich, give to the poor; take from the healthy, give to the sick; take from the whites, give to the blacks, take from the natives, give to the alien, etc., etc.

      • Tarl says:

        All that means is that the “politically favored groups” are different now than they were under “classic” (or Soviet) Communism.

  3. Tarl says:

    They broke with the Soviets, but many never changed their basic worldview or any of the specific policy positions (other than ceasing to oppose blindly supporting Russia).

    Who is “they”? Nobel Laureates? Puh-lease. That’s pretty much the Good Leftist Prize. Especially the “Peace” Prize.

  4. Toddy Cat says:

    “What happened in the ’60s?”

    Answer this one, and a whole lot of other things are going to fall into place. Trust me on this one. There are a lot of questions the Reaction needs to answer, but none more important than this.

    • Handle says:

      I really think the short answer is just, “The Baby Boom Graduates High School”.

      • SOBL1 says:

        They disgust me but it’s not just the Boomers. They needed properly placed predecessors in positions of power to enable them and foster the ’60s psychosis. The Port Huron statement, elements of which get recycled in most Dem speeches, had at its heart the New Left drive to use the Democrats and ’60s change to destroy the Dixiecrat-Northern/Western Biz backed GOP alliance. The era of Nixon-W was not a re-alignment of interests but of the old Dixiecrat-GOP alliance continuing rule with everyone called a Republican.

      • josh says:

        Yeah, lets do the 60s.

        The boomers were the first completely generation raise in a completely artificial environment ie the suburbs In a to of ways the 6os revolution echoed the French revolution. What begin as a whig black operation quickly spun out of control. 50 years of cultural warfare against ethnics (including collateral damage to many non-ethnics) led to the suburbs which were to be the “engine of assimilation”. This is another way of saying deracination. You end up with these fake communities of deracinated people with no identity left but “white” “American” which essentially means “consumer”. This was important for a few reasons.

        1) Actual blowback and general ennui among the generation. E.g. complaining about houses made of ticky-tacky. Unfortunately and at the banality of suburban anti-culture was misplaced; directed at families inside the ticky tacky houses. These people simply had no sense of history or even the vocabulary the describe what had happened to them. They blamed their fathers.
        2) The suburbs, intentionally IMO, led to exponential increase in the quantity of mass media consumed as well as a decrease in traditional forms of cultural transmission. The decline of the parish community meant the decline of the extremely local ethnic newspaper, the ethnic labor union, Catholic schools, Parish dances, etc. It meant the decline of the multi-generational community, replaced by market segmentation. In other words, national, natural loyalties based on kith an kin were replaced with class-based identities which were hierarchical by definition. The meaning of life became a zero-sum game that most people were definitionally bound to lose. This made and makes for an easily manipulated population, but I am digressing. Mass media shaped this generations world view, which promoted mass media to leadership of the Cathedral. Mass media is the least suited to leadership as it is aheirarchical structurally, and yes, kids, it is the most Jewish of the vertices of the iron polygon.

        Lots more tomorrow.

      • James B. Oakes says:

        That’s an excellent start, but let’s remember that the 60s were global. Any explanation has to begin with the United States, but it must also show why no other nation has been able to even try to resist the revolution.

  5. josh says:

    Right. I was just laying the groundwork. The 60s were definitely global, but also, I think, America-centric. I think the cause of the 60s was the new dominant position of mass media, which is also both global and America-centric. What we really are talking about with the 60s is “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” which comprise the Dionysian rebellion which has redefined the world . In this sense, the 60s were not an even that happened, but a cultural tipping point that created the modern world. Despite a minor period of blowback, the 60s are still happening.

    So anyway. After the war, the Anglo Psychological Warfare Establishment was applying many of the same techniques that they did in the west. The APWE, generally sought out and promoted the anti-Stalinist left. This meant subverting the traditional lifeways of foreign nations through propaganda, “social sciences”, international organizations and NGOs; basically the Old Left. It is my contention that the Old Left created the New Left when they could no longer control their own subversion. My general thesis is that mass media went from a servant of the Old Left to the master of the New Left, because in its effort to formally control culture through social engineering, the Old Left had destroyed the informal channels of cultural transmission that it was trying to co-opt, leaving mass media as the dominant influence in peoples lives. This eventually allowed mass media to control the other vertices of the polygon (as Bruce Charlton points out, the media can fire a professor). Media could no longer be controlled by the Cathedral and the rest of the rest of the Cathedral became appendages of mass media. Of course, mass media, is interconnected, but not centrally controlled. It both controls and is controlled by the aspirations of the people. It is, depending on how you want to look at it, something like either pure democracy or pure Satanism, or perhaps these are the same thing.

    I’m digressing again. Let’s get into details.

    • Toddy Cat says:

      “It is my contention that the Old Left created the New Left when they could no longer control their own subversion”

      I don’t agree with your whole thesis, but there’s a lot of truth here. There were a lot more connections between the Old Left and the New Left than people realize. Let us not forget our friends in the KGB either…

  6. josh says:

    Hollywood had been run by sexual degenerates well before the 60s. Prior to the 60s however it had been held in check largely by the power of Catholic ethnic communities. For some strange reason we don’t learn about the heroic efforts of the Legion of Decency boycotting theaters to protect their communities from filth. Most protestants also objected to their communities being exposed to indecency, but they were more easily controlled and less organized than Catholics. The destruction of Catholic communities destroyed the last check on the media’s ability to unleash the power of libido as a form of social control. This was NOT part of the plan of the WASP Old Left who merely wanted to disestablish the Catholic Church in the US.

    There was a simultaneous and related movement in the Southern US which had similar results. We are well aware of the other historical enemy of the revolutionary left in the US, the southern white establishment. Despite having little in common, southern whites and northern Catholics stood out as resistors to Old Left aspirations of a rationally organized society of consumers and producers. To revolutionaries, these groups resistance was oppressive. While the Old Left establishment wanted to destroy any identity not based on status as a consumer and producers, the Revolutionary avant garde, as always, wanted to destroy all markers of identity full stop. The Old Left used revolutionary cultural subversion as a tool. For the revolutionary avant garde they promoted cultural subversion was an end in itself. In both north and south, the Negro had been used as a weapon against these groups. It had long been a project of the revolutionary left to “bring the Revolution to Africa”. This is why the communist party represented the Scottsboro boys. Sexual liberation had always been a part of revolutionary ideology. In the 60s, the Negro became a symbol for sexual revolution, “spade kicks” as Kerouac called a lifestyle of fornication.
    Sexual liberation had been promoted by the old left via its control over the “social sciences” since the turn of the century, but the decline of the Legion of Decency and the destruction of other cultural checks on libido dominandi (a Latin pun!) led to a generation unprotected from this form of mind control. Sex was promoted by revolutionaries as a means of aggression against oppressors; starting with your parents who you blamed for your suburban malaise. The Negro sexual revolutionary Eldridge Cleaver was promoted by Ramparts magazine for his delightful notion of raping white women for, uh, freedom (I would say it is ironic that the actual promoters of “rape culture” are considered the allies of the feminists, but it isn’t actually). The unconstrained Hollywood/Madison avenue complex decided that the aspirational sexual revolutionism was as good a way as any to sell Coca-Cola, so they came up with the slogan “Coke: When you really want to rape your mother” or something like that. The totalitarian control of the media is best demonstrated when this gets portrayed as a “generation gap”. In other words, when asked to choose between his/her Mom and his/her television, the boomer will choose that latter.

    Now, I’m rambling. Better do some work.

    • anonymous says:

      Now take this line of thought and combine with the comments by ‘jack’ on nydwracu’s post

      • josh says:

        Swapping “revolutionary avant garde” for “the Jews” will result in some loss of precision, but not enough to change the message.

        Rabbinical Judaism has a real existence with many traditions which one may conserve. It also has the tension that it is anti-Christianity built into its definition. An atheist can remain a Jew, but not a Christian. One can be a conservative Jew, but a radical Jew defines himself as the enemy of Christian civilization (that’s Western civilization for you atheists).

        “jack” seems to be a biological determinist in this matter in a way that I am not. Anyone can embrace Logos (including conservative Jews, conservative Muslims, Taoists, Hindus), though I would argue that only Christians have the true understanding of the Logos.

        I also would like to point out that the “pas d’enemies au gauche” concept gives rise to the idea of the revolutionary vanguard. At many times throughout history, the vanguard has been Jewish, and at other times it has not. I would argue that the revolution itself has been contiguous since well before the Puritans (the Lollards certainly influenced the Hussites, the Kabbalists the Cathars, and probably the neoplatonists the Kabalists.)

        Jews were certainly the 20th century revolutionaries par excellence and the modern sexual revolution had a large Jewish influence, Freud, Reich, Marcuse, though the sexual revolution is not essentially it is essentially revolutionary. The New Left was the takeover by the revolutionary avant garde which was in the first half of the 20th century (via Bolshevism).

        At some point, we may have to take on drugs and Rock and Roll.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I also think that many consider “reactionary” to be an explicitly religious label, whereas the neoreaction is explicitly not religious (not anti-religious, just not explicitly religious.

    Neutrality is impossible.

    Anything not explicitly religious is anti-religious.

  8. Peter Blood says:

    I would be much more interested in “What Happened in the Enlightenment?”

  9. Anonymous says:

    Interesting diary on the lend-lease act by Major Jordan:

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