“Leftists and rightists merely argue about who is to have possession of industrial society.
The reactionary longs for its death.” – Nicolás Gómez Dávila
There was recently a small civil skirmish afoot among the Dissident Right, as those on the so-called “Alt-Right” and members of the so-called “Alt-Lite” engaged in a shamefully public tantrum. Meanwhile, traditionalist conservatives and authentic reactionaries such as this author were smirkingly-sipping our tea a la Kermit the Meme.
Such an outcome was long obvious — the inevitable result of a fundamental lack of knowledge (or perhaps disregard thereof?) regarding intellectual history and political philosophy amongst the majority of the both the Alt-Right and the Alt-Lite, and the fundamentally post-Enlightenment pedigree of many of their positions.
I’ve little desire to rehash the origins and development of the fight, so I’ll just start with basic divisions that have emerged. The Alt-Lite wants to “disassociate” itself from White Nationalists like Richard Spencer and Nathan Damigo. The Alt-Right, on the other hand is holding up said “disassociation” as proof that the Alt-Lite is nothing more that a bunch of “cucked” sellouts and opportunists.
Both sides have some semblance of a point, and indeed each side seems to get as much wrong as it gets right. But of course, as the first victim of any ideologue is his own ability to find nuance it’s hardly surprising that what could have been a constructive debate devolved quickly into destructive and petty name-calling — but I digress.
What’s happening here is simple: divergent and inherently contradictory ideological impulses are coming into conflict. But while the forces of reaction are chafing against the post-Enlightenment political status quo, both the Alt-Right and the Alt-Lite are still fundamentally tainted by Enlightenment abstraction and mass-democratic, Jacobin inclinations. Neither is truly traditionalist, conservative, or reactionary.
The Alt-Right is correct to criticize the Alt-Lite for publicly denouncing them in such a cowardly fashion. Motive aside, virtue signaling is still virtue signaling — and it doesn’t work.
Prostrating oneself in apology at the feet of someone who disagrees with 100 percent of that in which one believes, just because someone else — who happens to agree with 50 to 80 percent of that in which one believes — offended that person, is not a winning strategy. The mainstream so-called conservative movement never realized this and it appears that members of the Alt-Lite are falling into the same trap.
Having said that, the self-proclaimed “civic nationalists” of the Alt-Lite are right to be wary of the Alt-Right’s white nationalist tendencies. Ethno-nationalism is a Jacobin product of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution (that is to say, the belief that individual ethnic or racial groups have an abstract right to self-determination and their own state based on the Rousseauean concept of volonté générale). As I have often written (indeed it is a running theme of this site), culture derives ultimately from the cult.
But those Alt-Lite civic nationalists and others on the right who seem to adopt pseudo-SJW talking points in their criticisms of white nationalism must also recognize that — whilst worshiping at the altar of blood and soil is surely anti-Christian and a post-Enlightenment, Jacobin phenomenon — nations’ individual cultures and constitutions are still the product of centuries of unique development and history.
Wrote de Maistre in Considérations sur la France: “a constitution which is made for all nations is made for none: it is a pure abstraction … What is a constitution? Is it not the solution to the following problem: to find the laws that are fitting for a particular nation, given its population, its customs, its religion, its geographical situation, its political relations, its wealth, and its good and bad qualities?”
In addition to its embrace of a white nationalism that is fundamentally a product of the Enlightenment, those on the Alt-Right who legitimately seek to restore tradition would also do well to be wary of its embrace of fascists and LARPers like Matthew Heimbach and the Traditionalist Workers Party.
There is nothing remotely traditionalist about either workers or political parties. Fascism is a revolutionary ideology rooted in socialism, trade unionism, and futurism. If one must look to 20th century authoritarians for inspiration, look not to Mussolini (and certainly not to Hitler and the pseudo-pagan absurdity of National Socialism), but to Engelbert Dollfuss or Francisco Franco.
Better yet, look to the Carlists of the Spanish Civil War; their motto Dios, Patria, Fueros, Rey. Traditionalist conservatism — the true rejection of ideology and the recognition of European culture’s fundamentally Christian character — is the only path to restoring Western civilization.