GABlog Generative Anthropology in the Public Sphere

August 30, 2016

Another Alt Right program,

Filed under: GA — adam @ 1:43 pm

also very interesting and instructive:


What does the Alt Right want?

Strong, high trust communities for our people: we reject immigration and favor homogeneous societies.

Protection from Third World outsourcing: We support tariffs designed to protect domestic industry.

Protection from the globalist elite: We reject Super-PACS and foreign elites purchasing elections.

Healthy relationships between men and women: We respect truthfulness regarding sexual differences.

Protection from globalist pollution: We support regulations designed to protect our natural heritage.

Protection of cultural diversity: We reject multiculturalism and favor separate cultures.

Protection from forced association: We reject being forced to betray our beliefs and support what we believe is degenerate.

Freedom of honest debates (i.e., history, race, sex): We reject political correctness and cultural Marxism.

Protection from international corporate oppression: We support nationalist economies with a focus on local industry and small business.


This could very easily be the, or a, or part of a program that emerges from the Alt Right. This program clearly emphasizes the globalist/nationalist antagonism. The final demand, for “protection from international corporate oppression” is the one, I think, that really includes all the rest—it is both vague and comprehensive. All the evils of today’s society could really be traced back to “international corporate oppression,” as is evident from the very odd insistence on “protection from globalist pollution”—is the implication that nationalist industries wouldn’t pollute (why not?), or that we simply prefer nationalist to globalist pollution? Again, we have the same question I raised in my previous post: who rules, or, in this case, who is doing all this? The measures proposed here would require an extraordinarily powerful and tightly organized state: indeed, we could reduce all of these demands to the single demand for a state powerful enough to serve as an intelligent filter between the rest of the world and the national territory. This would be a state an insignificant number of whose officials benefit from international corporate trade; a state that competently distinguishes between fair and beneficial trade, on the one hand, and harmful, “oppressive” trade on the other hand; a state strong enough to resist the pressures of all the other states in the world to open its borders and markets; a state strong enough to resist the importunities of the most power domestic economic actors, who would surely be pressing for access to global markets. In other words, a fairly absolutist state—even though this manifesto never uses the word “state,” government,” “power” or any equivalent. Now, such a state would clearly also be powerful enough to force you to associate with anyone it wants, or to mix cultures, or control immigration according to its own sense of the necessary. So, if we reformulate this manifesto as a demand for an absolutist state, can we include these other demands (for “healthy relationships between men and women,” for example)? I believe we can: the demand is then for a virtuous, absolutist state. “Virtuous” according to whom, or according to what standard, someone out there wants to say. Well, is it meaningful to speak of healthy relationships between men and women? It’s actually harder than it seems to answer that question in the negative, especially once we start to look at examples. It would be hard to find someone before whom it would be impossible to place a scenario about which they would have to say: “that’s not healthy.” At the very least, then, we can work our way back from the undisputedly awful to the somewhat better all the way back to the good, or “heathy.” It is very important for the forces of “political correctness” and “cultural Marxism” to prevent this discussion from being framed in this way, because once we are talking about the “good,” the momentum of the dialectic itself will lead us to see as good more or less what most normal people see as good. A virtuous state, then, is simply one that frames all of its discourse and decisions in terms of the attempt to find and protect what is good. So, we can articulate the more moral demands of the program (for high trust communities, for example) with those implying the need for a state more powerful than the most formidable coalition of competing power centers with access to that territory could be. A virtuous state, one interested in the good, would be empowered by more virtues—by more high trust communities, healthy relations between sexes, and so on. The point about pollution still leaves me puzzled, but it seems to me that a clear relation of complementarity between the Alt Right and Absolute Reaction can be posited: the latter points out that the desiderata of the former require the kind of sovereignty proposed by the latter, and encourage the former to draw the logical conclusions from that observation—one of those logical conclusions being the need for an attitude of deference toward the state, an attitude of delegating vengeance and the adjudication of disputes to the state, and the capacity to self-curtail resentments within the terms set by such a state.

August 29, 2016

The Alt-Right, Nationalism and Absolute Reaction

Filed under: GA — adam @ 4:11 pm

I’ve discussed Vox Day’s declaration of principles of the Alt-Right and the theses regarding nationalism in particular, but VD’s declaration has been getting a lot of attention and may very well come to occupy some quasi-official status as representing the ideas of the Alt-Right, and some more thoughts have occurred to me regarding the below quoted theses (7, 10, 15, 16), so perhaps this is all worth a more detailed examination:

The Alt Right is anti-equalitarian. It rejects the idea of equality for the same reason it rejects the ideas of unicorns and leprechauns, noting that human equality does not exist in any observable scientific, legal, material, intellectual, sexual, or spiritual form.

The Alt Right is opposed to the rule or domination of any native ethnic group by another, particularly in the sovereign homelands of the dominated peoples. The Alt Right is opposed to any non-native ethnic group obtaining excessive influence in any society through nepotism, tribalism, or any other means.

The Alt Right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people, or sub-species. Every race, nation, people, and human sub-species has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and possesses the sovereign right to dwell unmolested in the native culture it prefers.

The Alt Right is a philosophy that values peace among the various nations of the world and opposes wars to impose the values of one nation upon another as well as efforts to exterminate individual nations through war, genocide, immigration, or genetic assimilation.

I pointed out in passing the paradoxical status of nationalism in all this. The Alt Right rejects the idea of equality because it simply doesn’t exist in reality. This implicitly rejects the notion of a more limited political or civic equality, which calls for treating people according to the same standard (by letting them all vote, for example). I have no objection to that, but, then, on what ground can one “oppose the rule or domination of any… group by another”? What, exactly, is wrong with such rule or domination? This point is reiterated in principle 15, where it is asserted that the Alt right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people or sub-species.” (Sub-species? I didn’t notice that before.) But why not, once the principle of equality has been rejected? Perhaps one can always find a perspective according to which differences can always be seen as neutral, rather than conferring superiority on one group or another (one group has higher intelligence, better civic values, more martial courage, but the other group is better at basket weaving…)—but this involves a principle of interpretative generosity—the very principle of interpretative generosity involved in the idea of equality (the smart and the stupid have the same number of votes). Moreover, while VD is not clear about this, it seems likely that the rejection of the idea of equality was meant to apply at least as much on the group as on the individual level. The effect of this slippage is clear: within the context of complete separation of groups, a live and let live policy can prevail, and differences can be seen as neutral rather than invidious (so that we can “value peace among the various nations of the world…”). In the context of more than one group within a given territory, differences are given a maximally invidious reading. So, the immediate aims (and current practices) of the Alt Right are privileged over a rigorous and consistent account of the questions raised by those aims.

We see this in principle 10. The second sentence here is really all weasel words: what counts as “excessive influence”? Wouldn’t any influence that exceeds the influence of any other group be “excessive”? All means of gaining such influence are illegitimate, but the only means mentioned are nepotism and tribalism. Wouldn’t one group being more intelligent, talented, and hard-working gain them outsized influence? VD, I assume, by merely gesturing toward “any means,” doesn’t want to raise the issue of such groups (and therefore the issue of whether it might be an Alt Right principle to drive out intelligence and enterprise)—and, if the idea of equality has no reality, wouldn’t they have to exist? Unless every foreign group is kept out from the start. But that presupposes, for starters, that all national groups will at least be equal in sharing the Alt Right desire not to conquer other nations, or expand into their lands. War inevitably shifts both borders and demographics—hence the rather incongruous pacificism of the Alt Right. Who can decide where the “real” (as opposed to merely internationally recognized) borders of a country end—was the Sudetenland really part of Germany, is much or all of the Ukraine really part of Russia, etc.—other than the nations themselves, but will this not inevitably be a point of contention? Again, the surreptitious introduction of the idea of equality allows for the evasion of difficult questions.

There is probably about as much reality in the idea of a nation ruling itself (being sovereign) as there is in the idea of equality. Someone rules in the name of the nation, as the principle of non-equality would suggest (unless one wants, once again, to sneak in the notion of equality, this time within a nation). But it is those who rule in the name of the nation who invite the other groups in—in order, first of all, perhaps, to increase the wealth of the ruler but, in the case of a disciplined ruler, that of the entire people, or significant portions of it. More than nepotism and tribalism must be involved in these efforts of the middlemen minorities (or nepotism and tribalism must be productive in ways we haven’t sufficiently considered). When the imported nation has done its job, the ruler can expel them or deflect resentments on the part of the home nation toward those groups—unsecure power can be blamed on the nepotistic and tribalistic foreigners. (Of course, other approaches might be available.) This brings us to the ultimate limit of the Alt Right, at least in VD’s (fairly accurate, I think) account. The way you direct resentment toward (let’s say) the Jews is by attributing their “excessive influence” to tribalism and nepotism (there’s some redundancy here, isn’t there?). You thereby rule out, as VD doesn’t quite want to do explicitly, the possibility that they served some function, made some positive contributions, or succeeded through some of those “unique strengths” possessed by any nation—you also evade the possibility that whoever rules in the name of the nation might at any time find it necessary to bring in a middleman minority to do some intricate or dirty work—you thereby prepare yourself to oppose that minority, without ever adopting the perspective of the one who rules. You essentially announce in advance your readiness to participate in the obligatory scapegoating of the newly despised minority when the time comes. This attitude reflects a very deep desire to avoid the fundamental political question: who rules?

Deflecting the question of who rules onto, ultimately, the genetic inheritance of the native population, means one doesn’t really want to rule. This is not a criticism of the Alt Right—not every political movement has to aim at rule. Sometimes the demolition of a destructive force is enough. And very few political movements can obtain clarity regarding their own limitations. The leftists are now swinging wildly at the Alt Right, hoping to make it through this election; the conservatives are flailing, practically begging to be trolled mercilessly by the Alt Right. An absolutist reactionary can take a more measured stance—if the Alt Right can seriously damage the globalist-SJW ruling party, it will be doing God’s work. But we can listen very carefully to its many ways of avoiding the question of who rules, and be ready to pose the question whenever the opportunity arises, because the absolute reactionary has no other concern than to incessantly clarify the issue. Principle 12: “The Alt Right doesn’t care what you think about it.” But we can think about it all the same.

August 27, 2016

A Brief Note on the Latest Chronicle of Love & Resentment

Filed under: GA — adam @ 2:25 pm

I may be very naïve, but I think (have thought for quite a while) that there is a very simple answer to the question Gans poses here regarding intellectual exchanges with the social science. In fact, Gans, it seems to me, alludes to this answer in the accompanying letter to the GAlist: “The difficulty inherent in the fundamental idea of presenting a radical transition as an event seems to me insufficiently examined.” The way to overcome this difficulty is to treat all transitions, radical or not, as events—which is to say, to insist that in the human sphere there are nothing but events. Ideas, and their reproduction and dissemination, are events. There are big events and small events. What’s the difference?—the small events are measured against the big events—that provides us with our “quantitative data.” Social scientists, one might say, would find this approach disorienting, and reject it—most will, but most will reject anything coming from the “Humanistic” side. A dialogue will always be with the insufficiently disciplined within the constraints of a narrow discipline—inevitably a small minority. But, if we like, we can help things along by reading their concepts in originary terms: “society,” “mind,” “structure,” “value,” and all the rest obviously have origins as concepts—such origins lie at the origins of the disciplines themselves, which emerge, like anything human, as events—but even more important is the way these and other concepts lie at the origin of anything one then goes on to attend to. We attend from a concept like “ritual” to certain practices that we distinguish from other practices—on that basis, and only on that basis, can we go on to “quantify” ritual (in terms of rates of occurrence, what other events its occurrence “correlates” with, “major” and “minor” rituals, etc.). This gets complex, of course, because a concept like “ritual” emerges as a concept within the ongoing event of distinguishing what “we” do from rituals—from that perspective, we can try to, as Michael Polanyi puts it, “indwell” within the ritual event itself—and, as a result, more fully indwell our own reality as something-other-than-but-derivative-of-ritual. Since events only occur among humans, the whole point of identifying originary events and transforming them into conceptual frames (the way we mark historical breaks—pre- and post-French Revolution, for example—is the way all concepts originate, in events that carry their concepts with them insofar as those generated as new embodiments of disciplinary power get to name the event). So, our way of engaging the social scientist is simply to ask them to hypothesize the event(s) generating the concept(s) they are using. If they are interested in seeing their concepts in a new way, as a framing (qualitative) that makes the quantitative possible, we are equipped to help them answer the question. Knowledge comes from creating events of shared observation of those events that made the event of knowledge possible, and in that sense contain, we might say “eventuate,” the event of knowledge. This perhaps implies a tactical shift from the approach I take Gans to be proposing: from singling out for discussion the single event separating human from animal, frame every event, “real” and knowledge-making, as precisely such an event.

August 26, 2016

An Interesting Moment in Hillary Clinton’s Speech

Filed under: GA — adam @ 8:12 pm

This is a central moment, the crescendo of her diatribe against the alt-right, but what, exactly, is she getting at:

This is part of a broader story — the rising tide of hardline, right-wing nationalism around the world.
Just yesterday, one of Britain’s most prominent right-wing leaders, Nigel Farage, who stoked anti-immigrant sentiments to win the referendum on leaving the European Union, campaigned with Donald Trump in Mississippi.
Farage has called for a ban on the children of legal immigrants from public schools and health services, has said women are quote “worth less” than men, and supports scrapping laws that prevent employers from discriminating based on race — that’s who Trump wants by his side.
The godfather of this global brand of extreme nationalism is Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In fact, Farage has appeared regularly on Russian propaganda programs.
Now he’s standing on the same stage as the Republican nominee.
Trump himself heaps praise on Putin and embrace pro-Russian policies.
He talks casually of abandoning our NATO allies, recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and of giving the Kremlin a free hand in Eastern Europe more generally.
American presidents from Truman to Reagan have rejected the kind of approach Trump is taking on Russia.
We should, too.
All of this adds up to something we’ve never seen before.

It looks to me like Clinton is claiming that Vladimir Putin is the leader of a global movement of extreme nationalists, making even Trump a mere agent of “Putinism,” and that this makes Putin’s Russia the main global enemy of the US, as conceived of by Clinton—much like, in a particularly bizarre twist, the USSR was in the post-war period. But in that case, who would “we” be, that find ourselves so absolutely opposed to, on the face of it, a rather odd choice for an arch enemy. It could easily be purely opportunistic—an attempt to make enough out of some Trump-Russian connections the media has been playing up lately so as to portray Trump as a kind of Manchurian candidate. (Using Farage as the link between them seems unnecessarily cumbersome, though.) It would be incredibly reckless for a potential president to so provoke Putin for such a narrow and dubious political advantage, but that wouldn’t be that surprising. Still, she says what she says, and there is a logic to it. To be anti-Putin is to be pro-immigration, anti-patriarchal, anti-majority, pro-EU, and uncritically bullish on NATO. I’ve heard it said recently that there are really three truly sovereign countries in the world: the US, Russia and China. Clinton’s targeting of Russia makes perfect sense in this regard because all of the features she objects to are markers of Russia’s sovereignty, and its preference for dealing with other sovereign nations. Even more, Russia has proven more resistant to infringements on its sovereignty than the US has, and this irks Clinton—especially if it means that the US might become more resistant to incursions into its sovereignty that she has planned. Think about how much Clinton must feel to be at stake in the abolition of sovereignty—she is willing to risk exactly what, according to her own words, generations of American presidents were willing to risk in the name of Western freedom: a potentially cataclysmic confrontation with Russia. But Republicans have been very hostile to Putin as well—they have been crowing over how Romney’s warning in his 2012 debate with Obama that Russia would be our main geopolitical rival has turned out to be right. Why, exactly? Why did we never try to make Russia an ally, especially post-9/11, once we were at war with Islamic militancy? What do they do that we so object to? Whatever human rights violations Putin can be charged with (as if that’s our business, anyway), China is far worse—and, yet, we are always urged to strengthen our ties with China. It is China that spies relentlessly on us, using students and guests to this country to do so, and hacks us, and makes the more outrageous claims to sovereignty over new territories. Maybe it’s that China is stronger, economically and politically, and so Russia can be insulted with impunity. But why wouldn’t we use Russia to balance China, in that case? Well, that would be to play the old game of sovereignty, balancing one great power against another. It must be that the enemies of sovereignty see China as the easier country to integrate into some international system, first of all through investment and trade deals, and then, perhaps, then through regional organizations and finally genuinely transnational institutions and norms. The fact that China sends so many students here is probably seen as a plus in this context. Whether China is genuinely being integrated or is just exploiting Western gullibility is a separate question—my rough and untutored analysis would suggest that there is something about Russia that is resistant even to fantasies of integration. A much smaller workforce, and one that is neither quite first world nor third world? Russia’s insularity as a land power? Do the subtle differences between Western and Orthodox versions on Christianity somehow, paradoxically, make Russia more alien than China? Lingering Cold War suspicions and intellectual habits? Surely Russia has some responsibility for the less than warm relations between our countries, but my point is that no prominent Americans (until Trump) seemed to think it even worth the effort to improve them. Whatever it is, there seems to be something irredeemably sovereign about Russia, even under the worst conditions, and that irritates the hell out of the globalists (those who want transnational agreements and institutions to supplant sovereignty). In fingering Putin as the leader (I suppose by example, as how else could such a thing be led?) of a kind of nationalist international, Clinton shows us the intrinsically and desperately global, anti-national, anti-family, anti-majoritarian needs and ambitions of the class of elites she presently seeks to lead. And whatever one thinks of Putin, it will probably be clarifying, at least, to put some effort into dissecting the reasons given by anti-Russian ideologues for the enmity they believe we should bear towards him.

August 25, 2016

The Alt-Right’s Coming Out

Filed under: GA — adam @ 12:41 pm

Hillary Clinton has decided to tie Donald Trump to the Alt-Right so that she can run against it, thereby turning this election into a case (for those who remember the 1991 Louisiana governor’s race) of “vote for the crook—it’s important.” This confirms that the only active forces in American politics are the SJWs (high and low) on the left and the Alt-Right (the middle)—the Democrats and Republicans are basically husks being eaten from within (the Democrats, for their part, have introduced the entirety of the Black Lives Matter agenda into their platform, along with the most extreme immigration policy imaginable). Vox Day has made a(n admittedly) preliminary proposal towards an understanding of the Alt-Right, to which Reactionary Futures has responded. Certainly, many people on the Alt-Right believe many of the things Vox Day lists here, but they believed them before there was an Alt-Right (even if the term “Alt-Right” goes back to 2008, its emergence really dates to 2015), so they are not what gives the Alt-Right whatever coherence it has, nor will any “program” or “platform’ guide the Alt-Right’s future trajectory. The Alt-Right is really the mirror image of the SJWs: the SJWs exploit every actual inequality between groups by presenting it as evidence of oppression; they dare you to assert that those inequalities represent differences in ability or discipline. The Alt-Right is simply the sustained, unremitting, unabashed, thoroughly joyful acceptance of that dare. The truest of VD’s definitions is the following: “The Alt Right is not a defensive attitude and rejects the concept of noble and principled defeat. It is a forward-thinking philosophy of offense, in every sense of that term. The Alt Right believes in victory through persistence and remaining in harmony with science, reality, cultural tradition, and the lessons of history.” So, RF may be right that the Alt-Right is “only any good as a punching bag upon which the left can beat and wind up for a new round of expansion,” but this is certainly a punching bag that punches back so there’s no reason not to reserve judgment and see how effectively they’re going to do that. RF sees the Alt-Right “as a middle rebellion in the De Jouvenelian scheme,” a middle rebellion, presumably, to paraphrase Pirandello, in search of a High. But you can only attract a High patron by looking effective, which the Republican party and conservative movement haven’t for a very long time, so perhaps some billionaire backers who would like to see a restoration of Western order and have been hedging their bets will take this as an opportunity to get into the game. So, rather than asking, as does RF, “how exactly is this [VD’s stated goals] to be brought about,” we might ask, what can be done (and undone) with this [the movement itself]?

Many of VD’s points are, as RF points out, arbitrary and/or bewildering—for example, the definition of Western Civilization as “Christianity, the European nations, and the rule of law.” As RF points out, the rule of law hardly goes back to the foundations of Western Civilization, has not always been present within it, and has not necessarily been present at its highest moments. It also seems like an odd thing to focus on, especially since it hasn’t been something the Alt-right has focused on (many Alt-Rightists, including VD, have contended that massive expulsions from Western countries, including of those who have been citizens for several generations, will be necessary to preserve the West—now, you might argue that only ethnic Europeans can live according to the rule of law in justifying such measures, but you can’t carry out such expulsions in accord with the rule of law, so why foreground it?). You could say that the European nations have been the “carriers” or “bearers” of Western Civilization, and from an HBD standpoint argue that only these ethnic groups could have done so, but the existence of these nations hardly clarifies the meaning or content of Western Civilization. The rejection of “the rule or domination of any native ethnic group by another, particularly in the sovereign homelands of the dominated peoples. The Alt Right is opposed to any non-native ethnic group obtaining excessive influence in any society through nepotism, tribalism, or any other means” is also bizarre—as RF points out, this is Wilsonianism, and in sharp contrast with the Alt-Right’s rejection of egalitarianism (VD’s point #7)—if we believe in HBD, and if some individuals are more suited to succeed and rule, doesn’t it follow that the same will be true of peoples? (Are colonialism and multi-national empires really not part of Western Civilization? Where would we place the Roman Empire?) This vacuous principle serves several very present-day objectives: taking a shot at the Jews (who else “obtains excessive influence through nepotism and tribalism”?); rejecting, in a seemingly ultra-hardline way, globalism; and by apparently presenting a theory of international justice and therefore international relations, actually distracting attention from questions of war and peace (which no one on the Alt-Right seems prepared to discuss) so as to focus on domestic enemies. I don’t say whether these goals are good or bad, just that they aren’t “founding ideas,” or capable of providing the grounding for rigorous debates—they are ad hoc and reactive. It is a virtue of the Alt-Right that, regardless of how foundational it wants its thinking to be, each and every one of its concepts are weapons, to be deployed in the here and now. Of course, this isn’t the only virtue, or the highest. At this moment, though, it is the most necessary.

The best contribution originary thinking can make to making this even more than a near-death experience to our own evil doppelganger, victimary thinking, is minimality. The crux of all this is what Eric Gans calls the rejection (or prohibition) on “ascriptive differences,” or the anti-discrimination imperative. If we accept the imperative that ideas are not to be judged on their truth and institutions on how effectively they fulfill their mission, but on how successfully they stamp out all ascriptive differences, then we program ourselves to help destroy everything. At this point, no one can explain in any clear, much less consensus generating way, what it means to be “racist,” “sexist,” “homophobic,” etc.—it’s really an “I know it when I see it” situation, which means sovereignty resides with those who can see it and show it in the most aggressive, hostage-taking way. Moreover, no one can even explain why being a racist, etc., makes one the worst kind of person—is being a racist worse than being a liar, a cheater, a thief, etc.? Ask someone—see what they say. All this must be rejected, and can be rejected simply by being honest and saying what you see and think—PC is a war on noticing (a phrase I think Steve Sailer took from Oswald Patton). Liberalism wanted us to forget differences; the logical conclusion of liberalism, the SJW, shoves differences in our face relentlessly on the assumption that, as good liberals, we will do anything to be allowed to forget them again. But once we accept that differences are differences, and that it’s very interesting to try and figure out their sources, and that we might want to maximize some of those differences in the interest of restoring the most basic differences, between good and bad, deference and transgression, all kinds of interesting intellectual and political prospects open up.

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