Against mere reaction
OneSTDV started out as a materialist and has evolved into a conservative (a strict materialist cannot be a conservative.) In a powerful article
he demonstrates the emptiness of various supposedly right-wing factions today that merely react against the prevailing liberal order and have no vision of a society with which they would replace it; or rather, they have no substantive, positive values at all. He writes:
[A] viable political movement requires something more than a rejection of the status quo. It requires not only an elucidation of the stain of liberalism, but also a set of values and mores with which to replace what liberalism has wrought. For the overly pessimistic reactionaries, which encompasses New Right, New Left, and paleo/paleo-libertarian individuals, they espouse nothing but destruction. Sure, they intend to extirpate the harmful institutions of liberalism, but … they have no goal besides that.
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In championing such an empty idea, that of merely being against the Establishment, they devolve into complete nihilism. And I ask how can we build a sustainable nation on just the ashes of liberalism’s failed experiments? How can a collective spur deep emotion in their persons if they only oppose and do not value anything substantial? …
What I’ve witnessed is a defeatism that considers society irrevocably lost and thereby unworthy of saving….
[W]e need a more robust political doctrine that understands what exactly liberalism has destroyed. We must understand what existed prior to liberalism so that we can fully gauge its impact. We must oppose liberalism because we have a better alternative besides immature reaction and anarchy.
John P. writes:
OneSTDV states the problem well. I, myself, have a pretty clear idea of what I want to replace liberalism with; patriarchy, property rights, mono-culture and limited government (of what form exactly is open to debate.) The problem is I see no way to get there from here, short of significant collapse of the current system.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 12, 2011 10:14 AM | Send
This is what has changed most for me in recent years. In my early days as a conservative (1980’s) I still believed it might be possible to reform our society and yet preserve our current standard of living and technology. I really don’t think that’s possible anymore. I’m not exactly a “defeatist” as I believe, in the long run, patriarchy and mono-culture will reassert themselves—I hesitate to use the word inevitably but I’m pretty confident. The re-assertion of property rights and limited government is much less certain.
A widespread religious revival might be a game changer but one can’t count on that nor does it seem likely, absent a collapse.
So, that’s where I’m at these days.