Liberalism could be described as an anti-“might is right” political theory. Basically, classical liberalism advocates for limiting the power of the sovereign and recognizing a set of “inalienable rights” for every individual. John Locke was one of the first to argue that people were endowed with “natural rights” to liberty, property, and life, antecedent to any contract or political action. Much later, the French abolitionist Condorcet blamed Negro slavery on the grounds that trading slaves was irrespective of their “natural rights.”
While the Enlightenment and classical liberalism have been subjected to much criticism from the Marxist and now postmodern Left, they retain a great deal of attraction amongst contemporary thinkers. John Rawls produced a full-fledged theory of justice emphasizing the inviolability and basic rights of individuals. Classical ideas re-crafted, brought up to date, through methodological tools such as the famous “veil of ignorance.” After decades of Marxism, neo-Marxism, utilitarianism and other theories putting emphasis on groups, Rawls’ theory made individualism fashionable again. It provided the impetus for verbose debates about what are basic rights—whether we should think them as enforceable formal rights, equal opportunities, primary goods, and so on.
But why stop short on human individuals? One could enlarge the community of moral patients, as some ethicists say, to include animal individuals as well. Some philosophers took this path and turned into critics of humanism as “specism,” meaning an unjustified restriction of the set of moral patients.
What made individual rights? Those little nice concepts are clearly artifacts. They have been crafted throughout history. But as ideas, individual rights were mighty. In Locke’s theory, they depend upon God: the Creator made each human being to work, flourish, and exert his rights. Those were enmeshed in a sanctifying religious narrative. Am I expressing my ego and personal desires when I claim a right to free speech? Maybe, but I am also embodying God’s will.
It has been said that the Whigs, the “party of the people” against the Crown, had an absolute sense of being morally right:
The [Tories] are commonly less assuming and dogmatical in conversation, more apt to make concessions; and tho’ not, perhaps, more susceptible of conviction, yet more able to bear contradiction than the [Whigs]; who are apt to fly out upon any opposition, and to regard one as a mercenary designing fellow, if he argues with any coolness and impartiality, or makes any concessions to their adversaries. –David Hume
The Tories were conservatives: balanced, prone to negotiate, and compromise. As a reward for this civilized conduct, they have kept declining throughout the eighteenth century while the Whigs steadily gained cultural power.
But how did the French Revolution turn into Terror? The revolutionaries had a sense of moral righteousness one couldn’t find among more balanced Enlightenment philosophers. Moderate voices had been forgotten when Rousseau’s eloquence shaped the spirit of the day. Terrorist revolutionaries didn’t want to uphold mere individual rights. They were animated by the more ambitious idea of crafting the state and society anew in the name of “reason.” Their ideas were shared by enough significant and/or active individuals to become a powerful force.
Individual sans-culottes believed to be rightfully performing a decisive step in history. Revolutionary ideas were mighty in their minds. As organized activists, they were mighty enough to turn ideas into institutions, founding myths, writings, and practical decisions, including the first modern genocide in Vendée. Terrorists were able to make right, but not right of an undetermined floating individual will: what they did was determined by powerful ideas.
The infamous Terror leader Robespierre was eventually isolated and beheaded. In the immediate aftermath, affairs were managed by a transitional government, the Directory. But under intense pressure, such a government proved weak and quickly became unpopular. The moment was perfect for a providential man to rise. Indeed, a providential man rose from the ranks of the military: the general Napoléon Bonaparte, haloed with glory from Italy and Egypt, seized power. Soon he would become empereur and create a legendary French Empire through several military victories.
As we are discussing might, notice what was mighty here. Napoleon played on the weaknesses of the Directory–and on his own popularity–to seize power. But did he freely go back to the Monarchy? It would have been an insane move. The Revolution had started a legend of its own. Opposing it would have been dangerous, counterproductive. Hence Napoleon was careful to appear as the heir of the Revolution, closer to the Roman Empire, austere virtues, and “reason” than the infamous last king or the despised Directory. Napoleon hardly had ideas of his own. He made a deal with already mighty ideas to ensure his own position at the head of France.
Today, we can see Israel as one of the mightiest countries in the Middle East. It has plenty of money, brain power, considerable influence, and enough firepower to keep all Arabic countries at a safe distance. Where does this might come from? In the first place, a seemingly insignificant Jewish individual named Theodor Herzl had the great idea of creating a whole country for Jews. Instead of a diaspora living in unstable situations within host countries, Herzl argued it would be safer for Jews to live in their own Ethnostate. Besides, being great as Israelis would be superior than assimilating into the upper class of Europe. Herzl genuinely thought that Jews could achieve greatness–not to say might–all by themselves, by the mere work of Israel. His ideas blended with more efficient practices. Today, instead of just Israel and assimilated Jews, whom Herzl criticized, there is a powerful diaspora, composed of influence networks that have waged a long culture war against the Western world.
What are morals after all? As children, we tend to see right and wrong as crisp categories, independent from human will. Right and wrong, good and evil, seem to be part of the world itself. Most of us are spontaneous moral realists. Most adults even spontaneously feel that X is right, Y is wrong and Z is, well, fuzzy. . .but one doesn’t need to think too much about Z. People around them seem to feel the same and perceive things the same way. Then, all is good. Moral judgments are easy to make.
Nonetheless, when one becomes aware of the wide array of different opinions about what is good or evil and that he or she is not special, whatever his opinion is, judgments are much less easy to pronounce. If you are not special and you don’t believe might is right, what makes you justified in believing that X is right, Y and wrong, rather than the opposite? Couldn’t the “X is wrong, Y is right” set be correct too? Having no foundation, good and evil seem to be mere relatives. Moral judgments seem much fuzzier now.
Open-mindedness and moderation
If there is no “real” right or wrong, no good or evil, independently from our individual–and ultimately ungrounded–opinion, shouldn’t we be relativists? This path has been taken many times. If life has no meaning, says Alice from Alice in Wonderland, we can create one. In the real world, though, “open-minded” people easily end up absorbing any idea from the outside. As Alex Fontana put it, “the problem with having an ‘open mind’–an euphemism for having liberal, tolerant, and progressive values–is that people insist on putting things inside.”
Deprived of any means for discriminating what they should consider and how, the so-called open-minded remain confused, play the cultural butterflies, consume here and there because they have nothing to be proud of. They join new-age movements, sects, something that looks like a nice place for belonging. They become careerists, politically correct jocks, because other people around them are. They need something but don’t know what. Ultimately, many end up affiliated to this or that tribe without really knowing why. Being open-minded can be great when one has a strong spirit of inquiry and an adventurous spirit. Otherwise, such a mindset makes men rootless, confused, leading them to end up at best in a mediocre pursuit, at worst as slaves of bolder minds. From an evolutionary point of view, this “open-minded” mindset is bound for extinction.
Fortunately, the absence of moral realism doesn’t necessarily lead to an unproductive relativism. All of us have a comfort zone. Going outside of it makes us strangely aware of important features that can motivate judgments. If, walking in an unsafe area of your city, you find yourself surrounded by black thugs that start beating your humble person, you will probably not remain a thorough relativist.
It is easy to be a relativist when you dwell in safe, comfortable spaces. But go outside of comfort zones and you will feel how much it is better to have white brothers than to stay alone, or how enjoying sex with that girl after seducing her is better than trying to “respect” her by inefficient courting. How many of us have become red-pilled after finding out, in spite of a proper leftist education, that we were wimpy White nerds surrounded by haughty, narcissist girls, immigrant thugs, and follow-the-zeitgeist careerists?
Ideas have might. From a goal-oriented perspective, some ideas are might. Hence, the need to engage in metapolitics, develop ideas, de-emphasize other ones, criticize X while presenting Y in beautiful colors.
Conservatives sometimes grasp the power of ideas, but unfortunately lack any means to successfully compete on their ground. As the conservative leader Quinty Hogg defined it, conservatism can be understood as an attitude, a spontaneous attachment to older ideas and habits, rather than as a defined theory. Ironically, such a mindset seems like a childish revolt against time, a consciousness of how time can overturn and destroy anything associated with a complete inability to put forth anything against that. There is a classical liberal tradition, there is an orthodox Marxist tradition, but there is no such thing as a conservative tradition. Conservatives in a country want to conserve something else than conservatives in another country. Old conservatives indulge in nostalgia for the America of the 1950’s, while younger ones seem to care more about the cartoons they watched during their childhood.
Just like the moderated Tories declined throughout the eighteenth century, the moderate right keeps declining as well. From a conservative point of view, this may seem depressing. And it is. No wonder why some conservative turn into petty schemers or leave for a less moderate right–ours– able to stand on its ideological ground. Conservative-minded people offer the best lamentos about the passing of time, but are also those with the least power to maintain what they like. They are also likely to be painted as the villains of history. Be hard-working, order-loving: you may end up like the infamous Bull Connor–a forgotten villain while Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King enjoy the status of secular saints. If we remembert that history is usually written by those who win, it is a no-brainer to guess who lost–and still loses–the culture war.
Some conservatives want to struggle against the “modern world” but don’t have any ideas to back their needs. They fail at creating a tradition or a legacy. Their movements tend to revolve around particular leaders rather than ideas, then disappear with them. The French boulangistes and the Belgian rexistes of Léon Degrelle were of this kind. Same thing for Napoleon’s bonapatistes. Where is their legacy? Such movements seem to fall short on ideas that are able to compete with the Left. A leader can be killed, an idea can continue on.
A conservative blog has lamented the very idea of “culture war.” Instead of passing culture to our children, it says, people weaponize it and attack other people with ideas, accusations, claims, and the like. But isn’t attacking parts of culture with other parts destroying culture as a whole?
By arguing that way, conservatives try to end all metapolitics. They suffer from political dialectics and the lack of social harmony. Conceptualizing culture as a united whole one ought to pass to our children reflects this concern but, alone, is inefficient at keeping leftist cultural warriors at bay. Just like their Tory ancestors, conservatives compromise, try to conform to what they accept as good–including “antiracism” or “women’s lib”–to end up as a retarded version of the Left.
Just like classical liberals, conservatives are pretty civilized. They want harmony and stable rules. They want clear roles and reciprocity. Isn’t it fair that they win? Asking such a question means forgetting that justice is basically an idea, depending into a set of other ideas. If the mightier conception of justice changes, those sticking to or taking advantage from the older one lose. Basically, a conservative is someone who doesn’t understand–or refuses to understand–that culture may be a place for Darwinian struggle as much as barter and trade. It doesn’t matter what conception of justice you defend: if you are unable to make it victorious, it will lose and you will lose too. As Morpheus said in The Matrix, welcome to the real world.
*“Muh I have rights!” vs “There is no such thing as rights”
So far we are rejecting two claims.
First, the claim that there is such a thing as God-given rights in the world: rights are nothing else than a convenient invention. As such, they can stop existing given certain conditions. If no one around you recognizes your right to free speech, do you have it? You may entertain the reassuring thought that as a bearer of inalienable rights, yes, you do. But outside your head, you won’t be able to express yourself and may die with your precious ideas in solitude. Not being written down, or not being expressed, remaining within the boundaries in your mind, ideas simply die out the day you leave this world. If your ideas included a right to free speech, well, that right ended up being a non-realized notions. Your ideas lost.
Second, we are also rejecting the claim that “natural” conditions of struggle create a legitimate or real right while civilized societies create an usurped right. This version of “might is right” endorses a kind of groundless moral realism. Why consider that a 200-pounds bearded guy is more legitimate to create a right than, say, a 140-pounds highly literate Jew? There is no point in saying that one of them is intrinsically or ontologically more legitimate than the other at creating a right. This would be the kind of silly–and ultimately indefensible–“might is right” 1.0 school. Even if my personal taste went toward the 200-pounds bearded guy, it wouldn’t be a valid reason to say that he is a legitimate right-maker and the other is not. A “might is right” 2.0 claim would be that whoever of them wins is able to write history and create rules, including rights. It would imply that anyone becoming aware of the power of the former winner can challenge it. Glory awaits for those who can challenge the established power, resist it, and create his own set of rights.
The consequences of our claim are twofold.
1) Might has to be thought of in a broader sense that the traditional “might is right” one. Might prevails not only in physical actions, but in the realm of ideas, inclinations, organizations. It has once been written here on Radix: “Freedom of speech? Certainly. Say what you like, and decide whether the bullet ripping through your skull was worth it.” Well, yes, you can shoot a man if you have a gun. Having the proper might means you can create for yourself a right to do so. But the State too has every right to put you in jail, just as the other people can reject your custom-made right. The CIA supervises part of the cocaine traffic in America and enforces an unofficial right to do so. Is it illegal? Of course. But who is going to start an armed struggle against “’Muricah”?
Right can be proclaimed and have no effect. Right can be enforced or remain a mere set of words. Leftists understand this well when they use some laws against “fascists” while networking not to apply other laws that punish criminals or limit immigration. Today’s rulers can think they have every right to oppress the people of European descent–after all, they did everything to rationalize and legitimate such behavior–but could well be overturned tomorrow by conscious whites upholding another set of rights and duties.
2) Thus we are led to the second consequence: we have to compete for creating our own rights. Official or informal, federal or local, political or economical–what matters is our ability to uphold them, not ask our enemies for a respect they will never give on their own. The moderate, such as the conservative blog quoted above, whining about how culture got “weaponized” but lacking the balls to inquire on who did that, always loses in dialectics. Refusing competition is no solution for winning it. Historical record shows that pacifists, in a situation of conflict, indulge in moral posturing but constantly end up rallying the strongest group (http://www.pvr-zone.ca/pacifistes.htm).
While the right tends to accept competition between individuals, countries, companies… it is prone to reject contests of ideas. But the same classical liberalism that advocated for a free marketplace of ideas doesn’t win on such a marketplace. On the other side, the left thrives on dialectics. It needs to find “inequalities” or “unfair” cases for creating outrages, gathering support, pressuring the non-leftists and of course justifying its own existence. Indeed, being a leftist is about finding–or creating–moral causes. Which is a good way to take the moral high ground. Leftism is all about waging and winning the culture war. No matter how the left became so mighty as a group.
This can be observed in how the left, pretending to care about “equality,” becomes much less naive and idealistic when sources of its power are endangered.
Many boys, usually young innocent persons intending to be “good guys,” have the utmost difficulties at grabbing notches. On the market of seduction and the capability of accessing sex, they are clearly on the lowest place. Couldn’t they ask for a correction of this inequality? Their lack of sex and attention, compared to the easy access to those resources many entitled girls get with almost no effort, could be framed as an inequality. It could be recognized about an unfair and blamable state, hence something to correct.
Well, such a position would be perfectly consistent with egalitarianism. But it would also subvert the narrative of the “patriarchal society” feminists rely on for taking the moral high ground. Then it is no mystery why nice guys–who merely apply to themselves the “inequalities need to be corrected” rule–are mercilessly bashed by feminists. The whole whiny egalitarianist attitude has been hijacked in order to be used against White males and traditional European identity. Thus, trying to be egalitarian among leftists is just like trying to be a “good guy” around entitled sluts and resenting alien thugs. Or trying to be a moderate around people ready to weaponize every bit of culture for the victory of their cause. Someone like David Duke is more egalitarian than the mainstream left writing in the New York Times. Just like how Jewish “antiracists” won’t ever accept to recognize basic integrity rights for white people, feminists will make sure that regular White guys have no access to moral dignity and keep their heads down. Those groups are mighty and have no remorse enforcing their might.
A fair number of young leftists are genuinely egalitarian. They believe in the narrative of “white oppression,” “patriarchy oppression,” and the like. But then, those who are consistent with their concern for equality noticeably lean toward third-worldism and anti-Semitism. The others just follow the so-called zeitgeist or use it for their own purposes.
The Left in power is not egalitarian but supremacist. It is about the supremacy of groups pretending to represent “oppressed” categories of people, supremacy of the moral high ground. The Left isn’t playing the political game as a partner or a fair adversary of the right, but as a superior group of know-it-all endowed with the Right of lecturing everyone else. Genuine egalitarians, such as classical liberals, have been demonized as bourgeois or simply because they were White, male, and smart.
A moderate or naive person trying to find an egalitarian synthesis between some version of leftism and, say, the needs of white people would be genuinely well-intentioned but would never acquire social recognition. His synthesis would try to fix problems the Left created, because it needs them for maintaining its moral supremacy. At the bottom, apart from careerism and social respectability, being egalitarian makes no sense. Why recognize rights for hypersocial predators and violent haters whose aim is to wield power over you?
Leftists can do that because they are the cultural hegemony and have the most powerful networks. As a group, they are mighty, and might makes right. Concerns for equality are a mask. When they are framed within the usual anti-White narrative, they are a weapon. In the seventies, the feminist pioneer Valerie Solanas became famous with a virulent book about “cutting up men.” On the good side of cultural power, her book was gently interpreted as a “reflexion” and an example of progressivism. Some more pragmatic feminists found the book too straightforward but always considered Solanas as a moral person with good intentions. Eventually, Solanas was arrested for trying to murder Andy Warhol, underwent psychotherapy in a mental ward, and eventually rejected her own book. The violence inherent to her writings was not important–just as millions of Russian lives, killed in cold blood by Stalin’s willing executioners, didn’t count. A genuine egalitarian would recognize that one human life has the same value than another life–just as classical liberals did–but lifting this heavy burden is not what the leftist supremacist wants. What he wants is infinite might through a monopoly over the moral high ground and cultural hegemony.
It’s good to be self-righteous and hegemonic.
Establishing Mighty Ideas
The “dark enlightenment” figure Mencius Moldbug wondered what an efficient replicative idea would be like. What makes an idea easy to replicate, likely to become a belief or at least a moral symbol? Among other features, Moldbug noted than at one moment or another a successful idea must be hip. People must feel like the idea is cool. During the 60’s, the civil rights movement met that criteria . Today, many morons think of themselves as intelligent or sophisticated because they claim to be feminists. But fortunately, snobbery isn’t a necessary condition of ideological success: the widely displayed je suis Charlie is a powerful symbol of Western unity. From the East, Eurasianism and its use of Orthodox Christianity seems to succeed on the ground.
Conversely, a form like the swastika has become a symbol of pure evil. The swastika triggers bad emotions and feelings of repulsion. Its extensive use by US-backed Ukrainian nationalists is less a proof of might than a strategic mistake. The day they won’t be useful anymore to those at the top of the Western world, the “Nazis” from Kiev are likely to be exposed to the mainstream media and crushed by NATO. Is using an infamous symbol a proof of might? As such, no. However, reversing the infamy by using the symbol as a recognized part of identity–like the way “nigga” is used by Afro-Americans–may prove might.
The usual “might is right” school is all too famous for rejecting abstract rules and laws in brisky dithyrambs. In so doing, it fails to realize how much mastering abstract rules can allow one to become mightier, especially as a group.
Let’s say you are an enthusiast reader of Ragnar Redbeard’s book. You go camping in the wilderness, learn to hunt, make your own clothes. Or you start working out and build 20 pounds of muscle. That’s great. Now, do you think all this makes you mightier–or more within your right–than, say, two cops asking for your ID or even some Jewish teacher at Harvard? In the circumstances of a zombie invasion where each individual would be hopelessly alone, perhaps. But the current circumstances and those likely for the future are not so. If the cops are Black, you are White, and the scene is taking place in the US, they could shoot you without becoming George Zimmerman. They are protected, cherished, morally nourished by the almighty “progressive” left. In the case of the Jewish teacher, his scrawny physiology doesn’t prevent from being wealthy, well-connected, subtle, and self-righteous.
It is true that might makes right. But might must be thought of as something large, beyond mere individuals. The usual Nietzschean-Darwinian “might is right” is too antisocial and misanthropic to become really mighty. Instead of claiming that “might is right” in a way that will never make one mightier, we should focus on freeing ourselves from useless, poisoning ideas, especially the subconscious blue pill we have been fed during our early years. Instead, we should draw ideas, views, and arguments that will build an unshakable, shared white consciousness. Creating social capital requires more patience and subtlety than a Nietzschean pose. But it will also, doubtlessly, make us much mightier.
“All moral principles therefore are the servitors, not the masters of the strong. Power made moral codes, and Power abrogates them.” –Ragnar Redbeard