Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Neologism: Naive Right

Imagine a world... 
Where moderate conservative ideas are not howled down as reactionary hateful precursors to Nazism.
You've just imagined a world without Socialism.

This is both an observation and an assertion of fact; the Argumentum Ad Hitlerum tactic is more than modus operandii; it is the very lifeblood by which leftists everywhere operate.

With the fact in mind that ridicule often requires it's target's assent to be fully effective (whether willing, unwilling, silent or vocal) I formulated the term "Naive Right" to serve as a replacement for "Far Right", "Extreme Right", etc.  This post will try to explain why its adoption might help to take away the only toy our Socialist opponents posess: righteous scorn.

If you haven't read Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism", you should.  It is epic.  Crammed cover to cover with history & facts, it somehow still manages to present a coherent narrative.  One of the main themes surrounds the proposition that principled ideals occupy thr extremes, and intolerant totalitarianism arises from the mushy nihilistc middle ground.  Truth itself is, after all, an extreme position.  This runs counter to the idea purportedly favoured by the P.C. types that run the media, academia, etc. who claim salvation lies with moderation in all things & that all extremes are, perhaps, as bad as each other.  Maybe like me, you learned the horseshoe theory of politics at school, developed by French Postmodern philosopher poet Jean-Pierre Faye which explains how left & rightwing ideas both end up in the same place?

This is nonsense, of course...

For example, one might either have a principled belief in free markets, or a pragmatic belief in protected markets.  Once he has staked out his position, the principled man from whichever side presents his system to stand or fall on its merits.  However, the centrist chancer who lands a position of power will have nothing but appeals to emotive rhetoric to bolster his personality cult, which he will then use to jerry-rig favoured markets against failure & maximise private gain from successful investments.  Thus is authoritarianism born.

Birth of the term "Far" Right:
One interesting chapter in the book relates how the label "Far Right" first came to be applied to the Nazis of the NSDAP.  Did you know that this linguistic artifact came from none other than Joe Stalin himself when it suddenly dawned on him that he badly needed to distance himself from his former ally Adolf H. post Operation Barbarossa?  Mr Goldberg goes on to expose how laughably hypocritical this is given that, prior to Hitler's invasion of Russia, National Socialism (Fascism) was understandably viewed by International Socialists (Marxists) as a step on the path towards communism.  "First brown, then red" was the phrase used to describe progress the brownshirts were making on their behalf.

Standard Operating Procedure.
Perhaps you've noticed the way that real life enemies who genuinely might rob/hurt/kill are waved away as imaginary.  On the other hand, challenges to lefty moral superiority (which I maintain is the sole source of their political authority...) from more historically/socially/economically/scientifically literate opponents are declared to be the biggest threat to civilisation since the Nazis.

This is not a coincidence.  No "Progressive" movement ever has advanced its goals by acknowledging that things have actually progressed quite well up until now, but that further progress could be made if things were just organised a bit better.  Each follows the same script - regardless of wealth or level of technical and industrial advancement, the arguments are the same; tear down defenders of the status quo as being venal, exploitative merchants of death.

Consider two hypothetical societies at different stages of advancement:

Society A) has grown wealthy & developed radiotherapeutic nanorobots to cure all kinds of cancers.

Society B) has not progressed technologically beyond use of the left hand as toilet paper.

In either case, you might choose to acknowledge the progress that has already been made in the battle against debilitating tumours or e-coli contaminated bar snacks.  From there, you could try to argue that more needs to be done to extend this progress to all & that this could better be acheived with central planning.  Alternatively, you could loudly point and shriek at the inequalities inherent in the current system and angrily insist that bathroom sanitation/lifesaving medicine is somehow being stolen or withheld from those who dont have it.

The fact that the logical position is never attempted should tell you all you need to know.  Socialism is not asserted by rational means & cannot therefore be countered by reason.  Countering emotional appeals with emotional appeals is just messy.  The way to do it is simply to disrupt their ability to assert their emotional appeals to moral authority.  Von Mises asserts that when this is acheived, Socialism will cease to exist.

As I see it, there are effectively only four possible stances you could strike in reaction to the idea that Fascism/Nazism is an extreme rightist position.

Position A) Agree willingly & embrace Fascism. (Neo-nazi)
Position B) Agree reluctantly to the use of the term "Far-Right".  Make concessions to occupy the centre ground by accepting various "codes of conduct", "Non partisan" measures & the idea that certain things are just off limits.  (Cuckservative)
Position C) Oppose the idea entirely.  (Libertarian, Right wingnut, Teabagger, Kipper, etc.)
Position D) Oppose only the ordering.  Agree that neofascist nationalist movements are former socialists mugged by reality that are gradually moving rightwards & position yourself at the end of that path. (Enlightened Conservative)

For many years, I have believed position C) to be the correct one, diligently pursuing it by tediously correcting every reference to "far right" to "far left" and reminding anybody who posits these terms that the movements they are referring to espouse(d) socialist policies.  It continued to baffle me that this approach has less than zero traction, even with otherwise intelligent people.  I had yet to fully comprehend that socialism has literally no foundation whatsoever in reason and is entirely dependent on appeals to the emotions.  Marx's genius was not in formulating coherent logical positions, but in cementing criticism of his ideas as being rooted in a hateful "class based consciousness" that could not & should not be reasoned with.

Ludwig Von Mises understood this very well as early as 1932 when he wrote:

"Let anyone measure Socialism by the standards of scientific reasoning, and he at once becomes a champion of the evil principle, a mercenary serving the egotistical interests of a class, a menace to the welfare of the community, an ignoramus outside the pale... the question is settled in advance - Socialism is good and Capitalism evil"

Further, nationalism is actually quite hard to attribute to left or right.  Consider the following observations:

 - Both Stalin & Mao were fervent nationalist dictators, but for some reason are never ascribed the "Far Right" moniker.
 - Hitler openly admitted to basing his whole National Socialist ideology on Marx, but is rarely acknowledged as a leftist thinker.
 - Historically, Marx favoured free trade as a means to hasten the inevitable revolution.
 - Cold war Communists used to build walls to prevent migration.
 - Contemporary leftists claim (third world) migration to Western nations is a human right.
 - Hipster leftists promote localism in everything they do.
 - Globalist capitalists espouse the virtues of free movement of goods and, by extension, labour.

Somewhere near the bottom of the pile, traditional working classes and indigenous welfare state client classes have turned their back on the leftist politicians who have historically presumed to represent their interests, and are now the chief opponents of large scale unskilled immigration.

The following more or less describes the major fault lines in modern political thought:

From the right wing / conservative axis, the view is that free movement of goods and labour are intrinsically an economic or civilizational good, whereas undermining and destabilising traditional industries and communities is bad.  

The left wing / (eco)socialists see the importing of cheap goods feeding consumerism, undercutting wages and outsourcing labour to the third world as a terrible thing for all involved but embrace diversity as an endless source of domestic job opportunities and social vibrancy.  

Neither view is internally consistent, so one might reasonably conclude that none of this is set in stone...

So the question of whether nationalism is essentially leftist or rightist seems a rather arbitrary one.  However, the fact remains that core concepts of conservatism, right-wing politics and nationalism currently resonate rather nicely, especially among right thinking persons, so the question is really how to give that the maximum emotional resonance so as to make it maximally upsetting for the open-borders-eat-the-rich-eco-anarcho-EU-fascists who just know we need to import loads of cheap workers to help us spend our way out of the great big debt hole we're in.

I suggest frequent use of terms such as "Naive Right", "Recovering Socialists", "Nascent Right", "Exiles from the left" will have the following effects:

 - Having an enemy in the middle acts as a kind of endocrine disruptor to their virtue glands.  The main animating feature of Socialism is virtue signalling against their evil opponents.  It is emotionally essential for them to be able to position themselves in a comfortable moral hierarchy with themselves on top wagging ther fingers at their moderate opponents in the middle whilst pointing ominously at the devils beneath them.

 - The other animating feature of leftist thinking is terror/fear.  History shows this developing with alarming speed, to shocking effect when aroused.  If the nascent movements are placed in the centre where they belong, this fear creates a blind spot where leftists are unable to criticise moderates on the other side of the bogeyman.  Hopefully this will create enough breathing space to rebuild the conservative movement before the left assimilates the fear into their mechanisms.  (when all hell will literally break loose...)

 - Suggests the associated violence is akin to growing pains which will abate as movements mature, rather than get worse as they grow bolder.

 - Correctly attributes the aggressive nature of reactionary grassroots movements arising from disaffected working classes to Socialism rather than Nationalism.

 - Avoids "The lady doth protest too much" associations of position (C).  They already think we are all closet Nazis anyway & nothing will persuade them otherwise.  This is their last redoubt, they've bet the house - they are well and truly dug in, prepared for the frontal assault.  We should flank them instead.

 - Is a dominant, reactionary position.  Unlike (A) or (B) which both tacitly accept the moral superiority of leftist ideas.

What's to lose?

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