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Remaking the Right

Norman Podhoretz is something of an anomaly. His entire life has been centered around his Jewishness, but he sees himself as an outsider in the mainstream Jewish community. He shares a great many of the attitudes typical of that community, but draws different conclusions about how to navigate the contemporary American political landscape in a way that is “good for the Jews.”

Under Discussion: Why Are Jews Liberals? By Norman Podhoretz. Doubleday (2009), 337 pages.

Norman Podhoretz is something of an anomaly. His entire life has been centered around his Jewishness, but he sees himself as an outsider in the mainstream Jewish community. He shares a great many of the attitudes typical of that community, but draws different conclusions about how to navigate the contemporary American political landscape in a way that’s “good for the Jews.”

One area where Podhoretz is absolutely mainstream among American Jews is his sense of history. The first half of his recent book, Why Are Jews Liberal? lays out his version of the “lachrymose” theory of Jewish history in Europe and America in which the Diaspora has been one long vale of tears since the beginnings of Christianity. Whether or not this view of history is correct, the important point is that this is how the great majority of Diaspora Jews see themselves and their history. (My view is that many outbreaks of anti-Jewish feelings result from our evolved ingroup/outgroup psychology.)

This lachrymose view has major implications for understanding contemporary Jewish political behavior in the Diaspora. It proposes that, beginning with an unfortunate theological belief (that Jews killed God), Jews have been passive, innocent victims of marauding non-Jews. The lesson that Jews learned from the Middle Ages carries down to today:

[The Jews] emerged from the Middle Ages knowing for a certainty that—individual exceptions duly noted—the worst enemy they had in the world was Christianity: the churches in which it was embodied—whether Roman Catholic or Russian Orthodox or Protestant—and the people who prayed in and were shaped by them. It was a knowledge that Jewish experience in the ages to come would do very little, if indeed anything at all, to help future generations to forget.

Jews were thus wary and mistrustful (at the very least) of all manifestations of Christianity. But the demise of Christianity as the central intellectual paradigm of Europe didn’t improve things for Jews. During the Enlightenment, anti-Jewish ideologies smoothly morphed into non-theological views in which Judaism was a superstitious relic that prevented Jews from shedding their attachment to their people—in Podhoretz’s words, “giving up their sense of themselves as a people whose members were bound together across national boundaries wherever they might live.”

The Enlightenment implied that Jews should accept the atomized individualism implied by the modern nation state. As Count Clermont-Tonnere expressed it in addressing the French National Assembly in 1789, “The Jews should be denied everything as a nation, but granted everything as individuals… . The existence of a nation within a nation is unacceptable to our country.”

In the 19th century, Jews began to be seen by their enemies as an economically successful alien race intent on subverting national cultures wherever they lived. Podhoretz is squarely within the Jewish intellectual mainstream in his attack on the idea that Jews and non-Jews are biologically different and in competition—“the new racist rationale [that] manifested itself in the portrayal of a war between Aryans and Semites as the central drama of history.” For example, Ivan Aksakov, a leader of Slavophiles in Russia, viewed Jews as a competitive threat intent on destroying Christianity:

The Western European Christian world will be faced in the future, in one form or another, with a life-and-death struggle with Jewry, which is striving to replace the universal Christian ideal by another, Semitic ideal, also universal, but negative and anti-Christian.

Even in the United States—the “golden land” as seen by Jewish immigrants—there was exclusion and antipathy from “the upper echelons of the WASP patriciate.” In America, Jews were excluded by WASP elites, and Christian forms of anti-Semitism (e.g., Father Coughlin) remained strong through the 1930s. Isolationists such as Charles Lindbergh also tended to see Jews as an interest group aiming at getting America involved in war with Germany. (Podhoretz refers to Lindbergh’s famous speech as “notorious.”)

Jews concluded, as they had ever since the political Left and Right came to be defined, that their enemies were on the right. But the main lesson Podhoretz draws is that over the centuries, Western intellectuals produced a variety of Christian and non-Christian anti-Jewish ideologies, each with the same result: Irrational hatred toward Jews. So it’s not just Christianity, but European civilization itself that is the problem for Jews.

And, although Podhoretz doesn’t explicitly make this move, it’s a very short jump from blaming the culture created and sustained by Europeans to the idea that Europeans as a people or group of peoples are the problem. Ultimately, this implicit sense that Europeans themselves are the problem is the crux of the issue.

Podhoretz generally underplays the reality that Jews tended to make alliances with elites wherever they lived. The main exception to this is an important one: The situation of Jews in Russia from around 1880 to the Bolshevik Revolution. But even here, Podhoretz fails to note that most Jews were better off than most Russians, and he fails to acknowledge legitimate, often-stated concerns by the authorities to protect the Russian farmers from Jewish domination of the rural economy and to protect the nascent Russian middle classes from Jewish competition. Most importantly, he fails to discuss the very large rate of natural increase among fundamentalist Jews in Eastern Europe in a situation where they had overshot their traditional economic niches. The result was widespread poverty among Jews and attraction to messianic ideologies of Zionism and, most importantly for the history of the West, Marxism.

As Podhoretz notes, Jews, even when wealthy and powerful, had always been attracted to the Left much more than their non-Jewish counterparts. But the result of this Jewish population explosion and widespread Jewish poverty in Eastern Europe was that the tradition of Jewish opposition to national cultures—well known and commented on at least by the latter part of the 19th century—was now embedded in an ideology of Marxist revolution—often combined with Zionism. Podhoretz’s background places him firmly within these two most important strands of 20th-century Jewish intellectual life.

These Marxist radicals emigrated in droves to the United States and other Western countries. In a few short decades, this politically radical Jewish sub-culture became not only the dominant political culture among American Jews, it became a major force on the intellectual and political left generally. In this Jewish subculture, being merely a socialist was considered “right wing.” The very strong Jewish identity of these Jewish leftists—Podhoretz among them—reminds us once again that a strong Jewish identity is and was entirely compatible with an ideology of Marxist universalism.

Podhoretz grew up in this mindset and, by his account, he remained a radical until the late 1960s. His central intellectual question is why Jews remained on the left despite what he sees as changes in what’s good for the Jews.

Podhoretz sees being on the left as good for the Jews for most of their history in America. In the early 20th century, the enemies of Jews were the “conservative upholders of the old order”—WASPs who prattled on about the importance of retaining ethnic homogeneity during the era of WASP ethnic defense that culminated in the 1924 immigration law. F. Prescott Hall, founder of the Immigration Restriction League, wrote, ”It must be remembered … that … our institutions were established by a homogeneous community, consisting of the best elements of population selected under the circumstances under which they came to the New World.“ And some of the enemies of the Jews were concerned with Jewish competition—“the Hebrew conquest of New York,” as Henry James phrased it.

Is the Left good for the Jews?

In presenting the case that circumstances have changed so that it is now irrational for Jews to be liberals, Podhoretz has one or two paragraphs on the idea that affirmative action is bad for Jews (not likely), the role of the Left in quelling debate on IQ other issues related to diversity on college campuses, and on alleged anti-Semitism by radical Blacks during the 1960s. Then he devotes 160 pages on the relative failure of the Democratic Party, and the Left generally, to protect the interests of Israel. It’s not hard to fathom what his real concerns are.

But despite his labors, the case is unconvincing.

Podhoretz certainly doesn’t have any difficulty finding anti-Israel attitudes on the left. For example, he devotes an entire chapter to Gore Vidal’s “The Empire Lovers Strike Back“ article that appeared in The Nation in 1986 – “The most blatantly anti-Semitic outburst to have appeared in a respectable American periodical since World War II.” Vidal’s article included this quote discussing Podhoretz and his wife, Midge Decter: “Although there is nothing wrong with being a lobbyist for a foreign power, one is supposed to register with the Justice Department.”

But whereas there was “complete silence from the left” regarding Vidal’s indiscretion, William F. Buckley is praised for not only condemning Vidal but also for expelling Joe Sobran from National Review.

The problem for Podhoretz is that there are also anti-Israel views on the right. Indeed, Podhoretz goes to great lengths to show that Buckley and National Review didn’t do enough to condemn Pat Buchanan for his “Amen Corner” column and his culture war speech at the 1992 Republican Convention. And because of failure to condemn Buchanan, there was “great damage to the prospect of a significant move by Jewish voters in a more conservative direction.”

So how are Jews to choose between the anti-Israel voices on the left and those on the right? One consideration is that, although there are anti-Israel voices on the left (Podhoretz would label them ‘anti-Semitic’), with the exception of Jimmy Carter’s activities after his presidency, he doesn’t provide any examples from within the Democratic Party (which, after all, is by far the most important institutional embodiment of the Left in the U.S.) Does the fact that Carter allowed certain anti-Israel resolutions to go un-vetoed at the UN and that since his presidency, Podhoretz sees him as “openly and virulently hostile to Israel” constitute reasons why Jews should not support the Democrats today? Indeed, Carter was prevented from speaking at the 2008 Democratic convention by Jewish activists, notably Alan Dershowitz.

What about Bill Clinton? Podhoretz notes that Clinton helped himself by tapping the “strongly pro-Israel” Al Gore (also a Democrat!) as vice-president, but then showed his true colors by appointing Warren Christopher as Secretary of State and Anthony Lake as National Security Advisor. (Both committed the sin of favoring withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza.) Podhoretz doesn’t seem to think it relevant that in fact Israel was never under serious pressure to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza during the Clinton years.

Although tough talk on settlement expansion characterized the early Obama administration, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has “dramatically changed her tone,” praising an offer of Israeli “restraint” on settlement expansion, whatever that means. Now we learn that Mahmoud Abbas has withdrawn his candidacy for president of the Palestinian Authority because he feels betrayed by the Obama administration.

Recently Congress approved by a lopsided margin a resolution calling on the Obama administration to “oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration of the ‘Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict’ [i.e., the Goldstone Report, a scathing indictment of Israeli actions during the Gaza invasion of 2008–2009] in multilateral fora.” Democrats voted for it by a margin of 179 yea to 33 nay, while Republicans voted for it by a margin of 165 yea to 3 nay votes.

Podhoretz is correct that Republicans in Congress are more likely to be slaves to the Israel Lobby—for reasons to be discussed below. But in any case, there are certainly no signs of a groundswell of anti-Israel sentiment among the Democrats.

On the other hand, examples of anti-Jewish or anti-Israel attitudes on the right are quite close to the Republican Party. Exhibit A is Buchanan himself.  And then there’s George H. W. Bush and his “I’m just one lonely little guy” up against “something like a thousand lobbyists on the Hill”—said in the context of attempting to get Israel to freeze settlement activity by delaying a housing loan guarantee to Israel. And then there’s Bush’s Secretary of State James Baker who is widely reported to have said, ”Fuck the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway.”

Podhoretz bends over backwards trying to reassure Jews about anti-Jewish and anti-Israel attitudes on the right. For example, he gets into his legal-brief mode when trying to exonerate Pat Robertson on charges of anti-Semitism because of “certain crackpot ideas originating in the eighteenth century about a conspiracy between Jewish bankers and Freemasons to take over the world.” One would think that such ideas would make Robertson completely anathema to Jews. But for Podhoretz, Robertson is okay because of his “unwavering support of Israel.”

Indeed, Podhoretz is willing to forgive pretty much anything if its accompanied by pro-Israel attitudes. In the same passage, he forgives Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn his views on the role of Jewish revolutionaries in bringing communism to Russia for the same reason. (To Podhoretz’s credit, he even acknowledges, “Solzhenitsyn’s ideas about Jewish revolutionaries were based on an uncomfortable historical reality.”)

Oddly, Podhoretz fails to mention Robertson’s claim that “the part that Jewish intellectuals and media activists have played in the assault on Christianity may very possibly prove to be a grave mistake… .

For centuries, Christians have supported Jews in their dream of a national homeland. But American Jews invested great energy in attacking these very allies. That investment may pay a terrible dividend.
In a 1995 Commentary article, Podhoretz defended Robertson even on this, noting that in fact Jewish intellectuals, Jewish organizations like the American Jewish Congress, and Jewish-dominated organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union have ridiculed Christian religious beliefs, attempted to undermine the public strength of Christianity, or have led the fight for unrestricted pornography. I couldn’t agree more.

Oddly, Podhoretz makes no mention of his defense of Robertson on these issues in the book under review – perhaps because he realizes that this is a bridge too far for the vast majority of Jews. However, he does note, “If you scratch a liberal organization like the American Civil Liberties Union or the United Nations Association, you will find Jewish members and Jewish money sustaining it, and if you scratch a Jewish organization, you will find a liberal agenda.” Jews also contribute 50–60 percent of the funding for the Democratic Party.

Without question, Jews fund the left in America.

One wonders if Podhoretz would take such a principled stand on other conservative issues like affirmative action, immigration, or big government – not caring about ideas deemed by some to be anti-Jewish (e.g., “the Jews control Hollywood”) as long as one opposes affirmative action or massive non-White immigration.
The answer would be no.

The good news is that someone like me could be rehabilitated within the Jewish community even though I do believe in the uncomfortable historical reality that Jews control Hollywood and that this influences the content of movies by, among other things, denigrating Christianity. All I would have to do is come out as rabidly pro-Israel.
Ummm, sorry, but I can’t go there. Different countries have different interests—a simple fact that escapes an unregistered lobbyist of a foreign government such as Podhoretz.

Grand New Party

I conclude that Jews reading Podhoretz are unlikely to be convinced that they are better off with the Republicans or by becoming conservatives. Podhoretz is correct that the Republicans are a tad more likely to be slavishly pro-Israel. But he completely ignores another uncomfortable historical reality – that neoconservative Jews have been very active in purging true conservatives like Buchanan from mainstream Republican politics and that the neocons have remade the Republican Party in their own image. Indeed, as he phrases it (without evaluating the evidence one way or the other), paleocons believe that neocons like Podhoretz are “liberals in disguise who … succeeded in kidnapping and corrupting the conservative movement.”

This brings us to the heart of the issue. Podhoretz’s enterprise is fundamentally a fraud.
His issue is not whether American Jews could ever stop being liberal. His issue is whether they could bring themselves to vote for the Republican Party if the Republican Party was better for Israel. It has nothing to do with liberalism or conservatism, Big Government or Constitutionalism.

And the best proof of this is that Jewish neoconservatives – by far the most important group of Jews who (at times) advocate voting for the Republicans – are not really conservatives at all. Their one and only concern has always been to steer U.S. foreign policy in the direction of Israel. They have consistently advocated liberal positions within the Republican Party and have only adopted conservative positions as “positions of convenience” designed not to imperil their larger pro-Israel agenda. The fact that the overwhelming bulk of Podhoretz’s book deals with support for Israel rather than any specifically liberal or conservative issue confirms this.

Exhibit A for this is immigration. Jewish neoconservatives have been staunch supporters of the most destructive force associated with the left since WWII – massive non-European immigration into America and other Western countries. As neoconservative Ben Wattenberg has famously written, “The non-Europeanization of America is heartening news of an almost transcendental quality.” Such attitudes typify the entire Jewish political spectrum, from the far Left to the neoconservative Right.
And when it comes to opposing illegal immigration, the neocons jumped on the bandwagon only after it became politically expedient to do so. Bill Kristol, whose comments in the Commentary symposium on Podhoretz’s book indicate that he doesn’t want to think too deeply about why Jews are on the left (my paraphrase: “Just keep on being Jewish and things will take care of themselves”), is a good example of a neocon who navigates Republican politics to achieve his more basic goal of supporting Israel. As John O’Sullivan noted regarding Kristol’s activism on an amnesty bill,

Kristol, representing many neoconservatives disposed to favor the bill, came out against it. He did so in part because it had serious drafting defects but, more importantly, because it was creating a bitter gulf between rank-and-file Republicans and the party leadership. That in turn was imperiling Republican objectives in other areas, notably Iraq.

Peter Brimelow says it best:

Kristol will return to immigration enthusiasm once he has helped persuade Bush to attack Iran.

In a passage that should be required reading for all Republicans, Samuel Francis recounted,

[T]he catalog of neoconservative efforts not merely to debate, criticize, and refute the ideas of traditional conservatism but to denounce, vilify, and harm the careers of those Old Right figures and institutions they have targeted.
There are countless stories of how neoconservatives have succeeded in entering conservative institutions, forcing out or demoting traditional conservatives, and changing the positions and philosophy of such institutions in neoconservative directions…. Writers like M. E. Bradford, Joseph Sobran, Pat Buchanan, and Russell Kirk, and institutions like Chronicles, the Rockford Institute, the Philadelphia Society, and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute have been among the most respected and distinguished names in American conservatism. The dedication of their neoconservative enemies to driving them out of the movement they have taken over and demonizing them as marginal and dangerous figures has no legitimate basis in reality. It is clear evidence of the ulterior aspirations of those behind neoconservatism to dominate and subvert American conservatism from its original purposes and agenda and turn it to other purposes…
What neoconservatives really dislike about their “allies” among traditional conservatives is simply the fact that the conservatives are conservatives at all—that they support “this notion of a Christian civilization,” as Midge Decter put it, that they oppose mass immigration, that they criticize Martin Luther King and reject the racial dispossession of White Western culture, that they support or approve of Joe McCarthy, that they entertain doubts or strong disagreement over American foreign policy in the Middle East, that they oppose reckless involvement in foreign wars and foreign entanglements, and that, in company with the Founding Fathers of the United States, they reject the concept of a pure democracy and the belief that the United States is or should evolve toward it.

So Podhoretz is exhorting Jews to defect from liberalism while his wife is deploring “this notion of a Christian civilization.” With conservatives like this, who needs liberals?[1]

In Commentary’s symposium on Norman Podhoretz’s Why Are Jews Liberal? historian Jonathan D. Sarna calls attention to the fact that “outside the United States liberalism is nowhere near so dominant a faith among Jews. In Israel, to take an obvious example, Jewish liberals and Jewish conservatives are fairly evenly matched.”

Actually, Israelis who might remotely be described as liberal are a distinct minority—the old Labor Party founded by Zionist socialists is on its last legs, accounting for only around 10 percent of the Knesset and functioning mainly to provide a fig leaf of respectability for the dominant ethno-nationalist Right.

Identification with the Left is not a general characteristic of Jews; it is, however, a definite phenomenon within countries in the Jewish Diaspora, indicating that in searching for an explanation of the attraction of American Jews to the left, one must also look to this Diaspora experience in Europe and other European-derived societies.

Thankfully, Podhoretz does not try to explain the Jewish attraction to the Left as resulting from a moral imperative stemming from the very nature of Judaism itself.

Such a self-conception remains strong among many Jewish liberals, including Deborah Lipstadt, who opines, “The Torah repeatedly instructs us to care for the ‘widow, the orphan, poor, and the stranger.’” Jewish advocates for non-White immigration sometimes use this rationale—Gideon Aronoff’s Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, for example:

Drawing strongly on Jewish tradition, we provide services to Jewish immigrants, refugees, and others in need—without regard for their religion, nationality, or ethnic background. We are guided by our Jewish values and texts. The Torah (Hebrew Bible) tells us 36 times in 36 different ways to help the stranger among us. This, and our core belief that we must “fix the world” (tikkun olam, in Hebrew), are the driving principles behind our work.

But the idea that the Jewish religion makes Jews into altruistic world-healers is an obvious non-starter, and not only because, as Podhoretz notes, the highly religious Orthodox are less prone to liberal attitudes than the rest of the Jewish community. More decisively, even the most out of touch among us are now becoming aware that Israel is an apartheid state dominated by the most extreme religious and ethnocentric factions of the Jewish community. The Palestinians are treated brutally and are dependent on the largesse from the rest of the world.

The morally uplifting Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and pretty much the entire organized Jewish community in the U.S., aid and abet Israel as an aggressive, racialist ethno-state, or at least they turn a blind eye to it. Whatever else one might say about it, the Jewish religion does not make Jews into moral paragons or champions of the oppressed. And it certainly doesn’t make Jews into champions of religious and ethnic diversity.
Podhoretz’s explanation is that liberalism has become the religion of American Jews—an irrational set of beliefs resistant to disconfirmation. As he notes, the same was true of the long Jewish love affair with Marxism, and it was certainly true of Jews in traditional societies.

Liberalism is not a “substitute for religion”: it is a religion in its own right, complete with its own catechism and its own dogmas … obdurately resistant to facts that undermine its claims and promises.

The idea that Jewish political ideologies and behavior have religious overtones is attractive. My book Separation and Its Discontents has two chapters on rationalization, apologetics, and self-deception among Jews, beginning with a quote from a famous Talmudic scholar describing the ideology behind an example of classic Jewish religious writing: “Things never are what they seem because they cannot be.” In traditional societies, Jewish scholars interpreted any and all historical events as conforming to the messianic hope of a return to political power and worldly riches in a restored Israel.

All religious thinking tends to be impossible to refute, while at the same time it promises to explain everything. The interesting thing about Jews, however, is that they have dominated several intellectual movements that masqueraded as “science” while nevertheless having strong religious overtones.

Podhoretz is quite correct that the powerful Jewish attraction to Marxism was fundamentally religious in this sense. I have made similar comments, not only about Jewish involvement in Marxism, but also in psychoanalysis and other movements of the intellectual left. These movements were centered around charismatic rabbi-like leaders, and they were constructed in a way that allowed them to explain everything and be impossible to disconfirm. As in all religions, dissenters (heretics) were simply expelled.

Therefore, I have no problem agreeing with Podhoretz that there is a strong streak of religious thinking among Jews—even among the “secular.” In my view, religious thinking has been highly adaptive throughout Jewish history because it resulted in a powerful ideology of the ingroup. No matter what happened, the fundamental rationale for group cohesion would not be threatened. Whether in synagogues during the Middle Ages, in Marxist cells in the 20th century, or at conventions of psychoanalytic societies, true believers make good group members. Nothing can cause them to waver in their allegiance to the group.

But the fact that Jewish identification has always had religious overtones—even among secular Jews in the 20th century—does not explain why Jews in the Western Diaspora are liberal—only that their belief systems are immune from conflict with empirical reality.

Moreover, contra Podhoretz, liberalism seems awfully compatible with Jewish self-interest. In America, both the Democratic and Republican parties are Israeli occupied territory. So it’s hard to see that Jews are being “irrational,” as Podhoretz claims, in not voting for Republicans. For rational Jews concerned only about Israel, it’s pretty much a toss-up.

The clincher is that, as Podhoretz himself notes, citing an academic study, Jews “back Republicans only so long as they adopted the liberal position on ’such bellwether issues … as immigration, abortion, gay rights and the separation of church and state.”

In other words, Jews have been opposed to the traditional culture of America and the West and are strong advocates for the displacement of Whites via immigration.

In attempting to understand this, a good place to start is John Murray Cuddihy’s classic, The Ordeal of Civility: Freud, Marx, Levi-Strauss and the Jewish Struggle With Modernity:

With the advent of Jewish Emancipation, when ghetto walls crumble and the shtetlach begin to dissolve, Jewry – like some wide-eyed anthropologist – enters upon a strange world, to explore a strange people observing a strange halakah. They examine this world in dismay, with wonder, anger, and punitive objectivity. This wonder, this anger, and the vindictive objectivity of the marginal nonmember are recidivist; they continue unabated into our own time because Jewish Emancipation continues into our own time.

In psychological terms, Jewish identity in the Diaspora is based on psychological mechanisms of between-group competition. A strong sense of Jewish identity has always been accompanied by negative attitudes toward non-Jews—ranging from the laws of cleanness in traditional Judaism (according to which anything associated with non-Jews was unclean) to the revolutionary hatred of the non-Jewish power structure by Jewish Marxists, to the adoption of values in opposition to the traditional culture of America and the West. These negative perceptions are exacerbated by the lachrymose theory of Jewish history accepted by Podhoretz and the mainstream Jewish community: It is not simply that Christianity is evil, but that Western culture itself is poisonous to Jews.

The implication therefore is that Jews will be much more likely than non-Jews to have negative attitudes toward the traditional culture of America and the West. Importantly, Jewish voters are liberal on all issues, from government power to welfare. But as Podhoretz notes, it is especially on social issues where Jewish liberalism becomes “unmistakable and undeniable.” A 1996 poll of Jewish attitudes indicated that

Jews are firmly committed to permissive social codes, sexual codes in particular. The gap between Jews and others in polls regarding non-marital sexual behavior, marijuana, and divorce laws is quite substantial: 58 percent of Jews had liberal responses on these items as opposed to just 31 percent of non-Jews. In like fashion, huge gaps separate Jews from others on abortion (86 percent vs. 44 percent) and control of pornography (71 percent vs. 45 percent).

There are similar differences even when controlling for socio-economic class. Not surprisingly, support for gay marriage and for Roman Polanski are good career moves in Hollywood.  Moreover, Jews are dead last among all American groups in “confidence in the military,” but they favor gun control laws more than any other American group. And Jewish antipathy to the culture of America and other Western Diaspora societies extends to hostility against the formerly dominant White Protestant elite. Podhoretz quotes sociologists Mark Lipsett and Earl Raab, noting that Jews “are more at ease with the kinds of people they find in the Democratic Party – their fellow ethnics with whom they grew up in America – than with the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants still predominant in the Republican Party.”

So it’s not just Christianity that keeps Jews away from social conservatism. Latino Catholics, Black Southern Baptists, and Asian Christians are much preferred to the formerly dominant WASPs, who represent the traditional American culture and erstwhile ruling class. It’s not really about religion but ethnicity and race.

Nevertheless, it is indeed the case that White Christians are an object of special Jewish hostility. In the Commentary symposium, Michael Medved describes Jewish atavistic phobia about Christianity as the religion of the outgroup: “Jews fear the GOP as the ‘Christian party.’” And Jewish hostility towards Christianity unites the most Orthodox and conservative Jews with the most secular and liberal.

It is the hostility of the outsider against the culture of the White majority. As a result, expressions of hostility toward Christianity have a special place of pride in the contemporary culture of the West. A good recent example is Larry David pissing on a picture of Jesus in HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm—an event which evoked yawns from the rest of the media.

The Moral Status of the Outsider

This status of being an outsider with deep historical grudges has grave moral implications. As Benjamin Ginsberg notes, the social marginality of Eastern European Jews made them useful instruments for the imposition of Soviet rule over reluctant populations, not only in the first genocidal decades after the Bolshevik Revolution when they acted as Stalin’s “willing executioners,” but also during the post-WWII period in the USSR’s satellite states (Czechoslovakia, Poland, East Germany, Hungary, and Romania). Throughout Eastern Europe after WWII, because Jews were outsiders and dependent upon Soviet power for their positions and even personal safety, they could be trusted to remain loyal to the Soviet Union.

This has been a pattern throughout Jewish history. Jews as outsiders in traditional societies allied themselves with elites – often oppressive alien ruling elites engaged in exploiting the people under their control. In the Commentary symposium, Sarna gives a rather tepid version of this, quoting historian Ben Halpern, “They depended for their lives on the authorities, on the persons and groups who exercised legitimate power.” Quite correct. Jews were protected by the government, but their outsider status also made them more willing to engage in unpopular activities, such as collecting taxes for rapacious elites with no allegiance to the people they ruled.

The self-conceptualization of Jews as outsiders certainly should not make the European-descended population of America confident about the Jewish role in future governments when they are a minority.

However, the Jews-as-outsider theory does not adequately get at the role of Jews as a nascent elite displacing previously dominant non-Jewish elites. The Jewish identification with the left should also be seen as a strategy designed to increase Jewish power as an elite hostile to the White European majority of America. As I have argued, Jewish intellectual and political movements have been a critically necessary condition for the decline of White America during a period in which Jews have attained elite status.

All of these movements have been aligned with the political left. As Democrats, Jews are an integral part of the emerging non-White coalition while being able to retain their core ethnic commitment to Israel. Indeed, the organized Jewish community has not only been the most important force in ending the European bias of American immigration laws, it has assiduously courted alliances with non-White ethnic groups, including Blacks, Latinos, and Asians; and these groups are overwhelmingly aligned with the Democratic Party.

Whereas the Democratic Party is becoming increasingly non-White (the last Democratic president to get a majority of the White vote was Lyndon Johnson in 1964), 90 percent of the Republican vote comes from Whites. In the recent off-year elections, Democratic candidates for governor received only about a third of the White vote.

America will soon realize that it is at the edge of a racial abyss.

Because the Republican Party remains an important force in American politics, Jews are well advised to retain an influence there as well. Republican Jews retain their core liberalism on all the key issues like immigration and culture by aligning themselves with the “moderate” wing of the Party. Like Podhoretz, Republican Jews are motivated mainly to keep the Republican Party safe for Jews, in their estimation, and to promote pro-Israel forces within the party. In general, Republican Jews have acted to make the GOP as much as possible like the party they left behind and to influence it to eschew nationalistic attitudes, especially self-consciously White or Christian identities.

At the end of the day, Podhoretz’s enterprise is an exercise in deception. He erects an image of irrational Jewish liberals who cling to liberalism as a set of religious beliefs completely beyond the reach of logic or empirical data. In fact Jewish liberalism is quite clearly a Diaspora strategy designed to obtain power for Jews at least partly by building coalitions with non-White ethnic groups. Moreover, he erects an image of principled, rational Jewish conservatives as true conservatives, while in fact they are leftists who have been a prominent force in elbowing out true conservatives within the Republican Party in order to pursue their pro-Israel agenda and make the Republican Party into something they deem safe for Jews.

Welcome to the Alice in Wonderland world of Jewish political thought.


  1. Indeed, it would be a good project to find out exactly what Jewish intellectuals think conservatives are. In the Commentary symposium, historian Jonathan D. Sarna labels Louis Marshall a “stalwart conservative.” In fact, Marshall (1856–1929) was a Republican, but, like the neocons, he cannot be called a conservative by any stretch of the imagination. Marshall was a director of the NAACP and a champion of minority rights. He was also the point man for the Jewish thrust for unrestricted immigration during the period. At a time when the population of the United States was over 100 million, he stated at a Congressional hearing on the ethnically defensive 1924 immigration law, “[W]e have room in this country for ten times the population we have”; he advocated admission of all of the peoples of the world without quota limit, excluding only those who “were mentally, morally and physically unfit, who are enemies of organized government, and who are apt to become public charges.”Obviously, Marshall, a Zionist, did not believe that the American majority had a right to defend their ethnic interests by controlling immigration policy. The neocons would be proud.  ↩

The article was originally published at AlternativeRight.com in 2010.

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Re: Rainbow Nation

If the American experiment was doomed to failure because of the Founders’ materialistic and rationalistic professed ideals, then why couldn’t it be argued that in the same manner, Christianity’s universal outlook enabled later heresies like the People’s Temple?”

I enjoyed reading Andrew Rurikson’s recent article, which describes Jim Jones’s People’s Temple 1978 mass suicide in Guyana as an allegory of the liberal West’s own disintegration. Jim Jones is an embarrassing figure for the liberal Left, indeed.

Though Jones has conveniently been requalified as a “religious extremist” after the assassination of Congressman Leo Ryan, he had somehow embodied the multicultural experiment when he was officiating in the United States. At a time when many churches were still racially separated, Jim Jones gained some fame for racially integrating his church and drawing a predominantly Black following.

A superficial examination — which happens to be the official one — would be that the People’s Temple started drifting towards a totalitarian sect because of Jones’s personal failings, chiefly his fantasy that he was some kind of messiah.

Thus, Andrew’s piece was spot on in stating that far from being an “accident,” the Jonestown massacre, during which 913 followers were forced to drink lethally poisoned Kool-Aid, was the logical conclusion of Jones’s fanatical inclusivism.

Any ideology or religion that negates the necessity for it to be rooted in a particular people and a genuine tradition will, sooner or later, devolve in an oppressive cult, since only coercion can make different people keep being part of the same religion, nation or civilization. Western liberalism, which was intended as a a liberating doctrine for the ascendant bourgeoisie — and only for it — became a totalitarian ideology once its proponents had deplored that men being born unequal, freedom had paradoxically to be equally enforced on societies so that everyone could become equally “free” at last.

This seeming paradox—the transformation of a supposdely liberating doctrine, classical liberalism into a totalitarian ideology, modern liberalism—was noted by James Burnham in his prophetic essay Suicide of the West.

Burnham convincingly argued that this transformation of liberalism—which explains why the word “liberalism” has a more modern meaning in the Anglo-Saxon world than in continental Europe, where it retains a more classical sense—was inevitable because of the antagonistic nature of liberty and equality. A society, Burnham argues, cannot be free for all; either it renounces equality, or liberty. Though he failed to recognize the devastating effects of liberty itself, Burnham provided a compelling case for radicals who want to understand why what happened had to happen because of structural flaws.

Which brings me to a minor problem I see in Andrew’s article. If we are to believe that only a bad tree can bear bad fruits, according to the Biblical parabola, how can a Christian explain why Jim Jones, who started as a Christian priest, became a self-proclaimed atheist and Marxist who ended up founding a religion dedicated to himself and comitted to a multiracial worldview? If the American experiment was doomed to failure because of the Founders’ materialistic and rationalistic professed ideals, then why couldn’t it be argued that in the same manner, Christianity’s universal outlook enabled later heresies like the People’s Temple? This question is opened and, at this point, I do not have a definitive answer to it, so I would like to leave it open for Andrew and our readers.

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The Intellectual Vacuity of the Old Right

“The Right has been the great vanquished of history. It has virtually lost every struggle it has engaged in. The history of the last two centuries for the Right has been one of continuous defeat. Such a succession of failures suggests that the superiority of its adversaries is merely based on the Right’s own weaknesses.”

This article first appeared at AlternativeRight.com. It was translated from French into English by Roman Bernard, with edits by Colin Liddell. It is a selection from Alain de Benoist’s responses to an interview on the French Right that appeared in the quarterly review Éléments at the end of 2005 (#118).The failure of the mainstream Right is well-known, and often commented on. But the failure of the “real Right” is more difficult to deal with, as the men concerned (one thinks of Enoch Powell in Britain) were most of the time well-meaning, courageous men, yet they failed. Most of the references to French history were removed so as to make this text understandable to a Pan-Western audience. This text, thanks to a remarkable psychological analysis of the “right-wing mind,” is first and foremost a way for us to question our own way of thinking, thus making us more “fit and brisk” for the battle of ideas. It is the ideal complement to William Pierce’s “Why conservatives can’t win.”

*** 

The Right has never been fond of intellectuals. Little wonder then that the phrase “left-wing intellectual” has for a long time been a tautology. For many right-wing people, intellectuals are just unbearable. They visualize them sitting on a chaise longue, of course, and view them as “sanctimonious types” who sodomize flies, split hairs and publish books invariably described as “indigestible” and “boring.”

This idea is to be found in very different backgrounds. For libertarians, intellectuals are inevitably “disconnected from reality.” For activists, intellectuals quibble while we face a “state of emergency” demanding action.

I have heard things like this my entire life. Granted, there’s a positive side to this attitude. Right-wingers show a real concern for concrete facts, a genuine wariness of useless abstractions or pure intellect, a desire to assert the precedence of the soul over the spirit, of the organic over theoretical “dryness,” the hope (always disillusioned) to go back to a simpler life, etc.

The Right is more sensitive to human qualities than to intellectual capacities. It likes to admire more than to understand. It asks for examples more than for lessons. It likes style, gesture, and panache. And it is not wrong in doing so. A society entirely made up of intellectuals would be unbearable.

But the problem is that when this attitude is systematized, it leads to the avoidance of any doctrine, to the rejection of any work of the mind.

The intellectual can be defined as the person who tries to understand and make others understand. The Right, very often, doesn’t try to understand anymore. It ignores what the work of the mind can accomplish. The result is that right-wing culture has today almost entirely vanished. It only survives in restricted circles, marginal publishing houses, and newspapers that only rightists believe are actual newspapers. The ostracism that it has suffered is not the only factor in this.

One can only be struck by the way the Right lost the habit of intervening in intellectual debates. If one takes the hundred books that have been discussed the most over the last half-century, one realizes that the Right hasn’t published a single review of these. It doesn’t interest the Right or concern it. The Right is uninterested in any author outside its landmarks. It doesn’t discuss or refute any of them.

On the dialectic of modernity, the evolution of the social dimension, the forces behind mercantile logic, and symbolic Imaginary, the Right has nothing to say. Why wonder, then, that it has been unable to formulate a critique of technoscience, a theory of localism or of social connection, a philosophy of ecology, or an anthropology of its own? It is simply unable to do that anymore. There have always been hundreds of theoretical debates on the Left, some insignificant, others very deep. Who can cite one single intellectual debate that has marked the history of the Right in the last half a century? On the Right, as far as thought is concerned, it resembles the Tartar Steppes or a flat-lining encephalogram signal.

Most right-wing people substitute convictions for ideas. Ideas can of course engender convictions, and convictions stem from ideas, but the two terms are different. Convictions are things in which one believes and which, because they are the objects of a belief, cannot undergo any critical examination. Convictions are an existential substitute for faith. They help living without the need for one to question their logical structure, their value relative to various contexts, or their limitations. Right-wing people make it a point of honor to defend their convictions in the manner of bible study.

The Right likes answers more than questions, especially if these are pat answers that abnegate the need for a philosophical outlook, as one cannot philosophize when the answer is preconceived. The work of the mind requires the learning of one’s mistakes. The right-wing attitude is rather to avoid considering its mistakes, and thus it never tries to correct these so as to go further; hence the absence of self-criticism and debate. Self-criticism is seen as a weakness, a useless concession, if not a betrayal. Right-wing people flatter themselves that they “regret nothing,” including the errors they have made. Debate, because it implies a contradiction, an exchange of arguments, is generally seen as an aggression, as something that one does not do.

The right-wing man proceeds with enthusiasm or indignation, with admiration or disgust, but not with reflection. Instead he is reactive; hence his almost always emotional reaction to events. What is striking is his naïve, if not puerile way of reacting, of always contenting himself with the upper layer of things, with the news anecdote, of taking a narrow point of view on everything, without ever going deeply to the causes. When you show them the Moon, many right-wing people look at the finger. History then becomes incomprehensible — what on Earth is Providence doing? — even if right-wing people constantly refer to it. Hence simplistic conspiracy theories, which can lead to real lunacies, abound. Social problems are always explained by shady manipulations of an “invisible conspiracy,” a “dark alliance,” etc.

As the Right is very little interested in ideas, it tends to bring everything back to people. Right-wing political movements are first and foremost associated with their founders, and rarely survive them. Right-wing quarrels are chiefly quarrels of individuals, with basically the same gossip, and the same slanderous accusations. In the same way, its enemies are never systems or even genuine ideas, but human categories presented as scapegoats (Jews, “metics,” “bankers,” freemasons, foreigners, “Trotskyites,” immigrants, etc.). The Right has a hard time apprehending a system devoid of a subject: the systemic effects of the logic of Capital, the constraints of structure, the genesis of individualism, the vital importance of the environmental threats, the forces unleashed by technology, etc. The Right doesn’t understand that men have to be fought, not for what they are, but in so far as they embody and defend harmful systems of thought or values. By preferring to take it out on individuals, disliked for what they are, the Right veers towards xenophobia or something even worse.

T
he Right has been the great vanquished of history. It has virtually lost every struggle it has engaged in. The history of the last two centuries for the Right has been one of continuous defeat. Such a succession of failures suggests that the superiority of its adversaries is merely based on the Right’s own weaknesses.

In the beginning, what was the best that the Right had to offer? I would briefly say: an anti-individualist and anti-utilitarian system of thought, together with an ethic of honor, inherited from the Ancient Regime. Thus it was opposing head-on the ideology of the Enlightenment, whose driving forces were individualism, rationalism, self-evident individual interests, and the belief in progress. The values that the Right claimed were aristocratic and popular at the same time. Its historic mission was to fulfill the natural union of the aristocracy and the people against their common enemy: the bourgeoisie, whose class values were precisely legitimized by Enlightenment thought. But this union was fulfilled only during very brief periods.

For the Right, Man is naturally social. However, it never forged its own consistent theory to explain community or social connectedness. Nor did it seriously explore opposition to the ideal liberal types, the autonomous individual and the “social man.” It has never been able to formulate a genuinely alternative economic doctrine to the mercantile system, either.

Instead of supporting the workers’ movement and nascent socialism, which represented a healthy reaction against individualism that the Right was also criticizing, it all too often defended the most dreadful human exploitation and the most unjustifiable political inequalities. It sided with the wealthy, objectively participating in the class struggle of the bourgeoisie against the would-be “redistributors” and the “dangerous classes.”

There were exceptions, though rare ones. The Right’s theoreticians were more often led by their audience than leading it. Defending the nation, the Right rarely understood that the nation is above all else the people. It forgot the natural complementariness of aristocratic and popular values. When the workers’ right to an annual holiday break was passed into law, the Right railed against the “vacation culture.” It always preferred order to justice, without understanding that injustice is a supreme form of disorder, and that order itself is very often nothing but an established disorder.

The Right could have developed a philosophy of history founded on cultural diversity and the need to acknowledge its universal value, which would have led it to support the struggles in favor of autonomy and liberty in the Third World, whose peoples were prime victims of the ideology of progress. Instead of that, the Right ended up defending the colonialism that it had once condemned, while complaining about being colonized in turn.

The Right forgot that its only true enemy is Money. It should have considered everything opposing the system of money as its objective ally. Instead it gradually joined the other side. The Right was better equipped than any other force to reframe the anti-utilitarian values of generosity and selflessness, and to defend them. But, little by little, the Right acceded to the logic of interest and the defense of the market. At the same time, it fell in line with militarism and nationalism, which is nothing but collective individualism, something that the first counter-revolutionaries had condemned as such.

Nationalism led the Right to the metaphysics of subjectivity, this illness of the spirit, systematized by the Moderns. This estranged the Right from the notion of truth. It should have been the party of generosity, of “common decency [1],” of organic communities; but it all too often became the party of exclusion, of collective selfishness, and resentment. In short, the Right betrayed itself when it began accepting individualism, bourgeois lifestyles, the logic of money, and the model of the market.

Christian Socialism occasionally played a useful role, but it chiefly fell under paternalism. The social achievements of the “fascisms” were discredited by their authoritarianism, their militarism, and their aggressive nationalism. Corporatism led to nothing. Revolutionary syndicalism was killed by the “Fordist compromise,” which resulted in the integration of larger and larger parts of the working class into the bourgeois middle class. Most importantly, this kind of concern was never associated with a deep analysis of Capital. The condemnation of “Big Money” is insignificant when it refrains from analyzing the very nature of money and the anthropological impact of a generalized market system, with its reification of social relations and its effects of alienation.

As for the “Real Right,” it hasn’t ceased marginalizing itself and wasting away. More and more oblivious of its own past, all of its implicit system of thought can be summed up in a single phrase: “It was better before” — whether this “before” refers to the thirties, the Ancient Regime, the Renaissance, the Middle Ages or Ancient History.

This conviction, even when it is occasionally correct, nurtures an attitude that is either restorationist, which condemns it to failure, or purely nostalgic. In each case, the “Real Right” contents itself with opposing the real world with an idealized and fantasized past: the fantasy of the origin, the fantasy of a bygone age, and the irrepressible nostalgia of an original matrix revealing the incapacity to reach adulthood.

The aim is to try to conserve, preserve, slow, or hold back the course of events, with no clear consciousness of the inevitable historical sequence of events. The great hope is to reproduce the past, to go backward to the time when everything was so much better. But, as it is quite obviously impossible, the “Real Right” settles for an ethical attitude in order to make a statement. Politically, this “Real Right” has no more telos of its own to fulfill, as all its models belong to the past. It has reached a point where it doesn’t even know clearly the type of political regime that it would like to establish.

History becomes a shelter: idealized, reconstructed in a selective way, and more or less fantastical. History provides the reassuring feeling of having a stable “heritage,” of bearing significant examples that the Right can oppose to the horrors of present times. History is supposed to give “lessons,” although one never really knows what they are. The Right has not understood that History, which it reveres so much, can also be crippling. When Nietzsche says that “The future belongs to those with the longest memory,” what he means is that Modernity will be so overburdened by memory that it will become impotent. That’s why he calls for the “innocence” of a new beginning, which partly entails oblivion. People never have a greater hunger for history than when they are incapable of making it, and when history is happening without them or against them.

Hostile to innovation, the “Real Right” is unable to analyze the unseen situations of the future with its obsolete conceptual tools. It judges everything according to the world it once knew, which was familiar and thus reassuring, and confuses the end of this world with the end of the actual world. It faces the future with its eye in the rear-view mirror. The Right is unable to analyze historic events, to step back from the consequences and examine distant causes. It cannot establish the genealogy of the phenomena it deplores, nor detect the fault lines of post-modernity. It cannot understand anything in the current world any longer, the evolution of which it dismisses as an endless “decadence.”

The fact that it has constantly been vanquished often elicits a peculiar mix of meticulous irony, emphatic derision, bitterness, and con
niving snicker, so typical of the long reactionary lament. It also presents the mediocre apocalyptic motto “We are doomed!” With such a vision, we are always in “a state of emergency,” it’s always “one minute to midnight.” Before the “catastrophes” which face us, we are waiting for a “surge,” an “awakening.” The “silent majority”, the “real country” is being summoned. But all of this had already been said in 1895. During all this time, history has nevertheless kept going.

The most distinctive feature of the “Real Right” is a political and moral narcissism, founded on an immutable worldview, with two sides (us the good, them the evil), which is a simple projection of a fault line inside any of us. This dichotomy of “Us vs. the Others,” given as the explaining factor for everything, comes actually under this metaphysics of subjectivity that I have already mentioned, which legitimizes all forms of selfishness and exclusion. The Right talks a great deal about defending its “identity,” but it generally has a hard time defining this. Most of the time, its identity is about not being what it condemns. It is the existence of its enemies that defines the Right’s own existence, a negative existence, a contrario. The Right’s marginalization nurtures an obsidional mentality, which in turn sharpens its rejection of the Other. There’s something Cathar-like in this obsidionalism: the world is bad, let’s close the ranks of the “last square.” The titles of the Right’s bedside books are also telling: by the accursed, the heretics, the reprobates, the nostalgics, The Camp of the Saints; in short, the Last of the Mohicans. In a world of tribes, for which it has no sympathy, the “Real Right” is nothing more than a tribe of survivors, which lives in connivance and isolation. It has rites and passwords of its own, slogans and resentment, and every day sees itself being more and more isolated from an “outside” world that it rejects and demonizes, with no possibility of changing the course of events. What is left for it is to commemorate its own defeats, which it does with such perseverance that one is forced to wonder whether it secretly cherishes these defeats, as defeats are always more “heroic” than victories.

The Right has never prioritized the struggle against the system of money, which was its main enemy. First it fought against the Republic at a time when it had become obvious that a monarchy of divine right would never come back. After 1871, the Right devoted itself to the condemnation of the “Boches” (and even the “Judeo-Boches”), which led it, in the name of the “Sacred Union,” to legitimize the atrocious carnage of 1914-18, which engendered all the horrors of the 20th century. In the aftermath of the First World War, it committed itself to the fight against Communism and its “pagan savagery” (as Marshall Pétain expressed it). At the time of the Cold War, for fear of this same Communism, which it should have considered as a rival rather than as an enemy, the Right sided with the “free world,” thus giving its blessing to the American hegemony, the power of the bourgeoisie and the worldwide supremacy of predatory liberalism — as if the horrors of the Gulag justified the abominations of the mercantile system. This led the Right to support “Atlanticism,” to approve of the slaughter of the Vietnamese people, to show solidarity with the most pathetic dictatorships, from the Greek colonels and the Argentinean generals to Pinochet and his “Chicago Boys” [2], not to mention the torturers of Operation Condor, specializing in the assassinations of “subversivos” who were mostly only asking for more social justice. When the Soviet system collapsed, making globalization possible, immigrants providentially took over the statutory role of the “threat.” Conflating immigrants with Islam, then Islam with Islamism, eventually Islamism with terrorism, it now does that again with Islamophobia, a truly suicidal approach, and, what is more, absolutely inconsistent from a geopolitical perspective.

The “Real Right,” at the end of the day, is fundamentally unpolitical. The very essence of politics is foreign to it. In fact it confuses politics with ethics, the same way the Left conflates politics with morals. The Right believes that politics is a matter of honor, of courage, of sacrificial virtues, of heroism, that is to say, in the best case, of military qualities. It sees politics as the continuation of war by other means, which totally reverses Clausewitz’s aphorism. It doesn’t understand that politics is only an occupation, an art, something that aims to carefully define the best but not the ideal way of serving the common good — a good, by the way, that can’t simply be shared out. It doesn’t understand that politics is a way to arbitrate between contradictory aspirations stemming from human nature, to arbitrate between the needs of civic coexistence and the necessities of self-interest.

As for me, it has been more than a quarter of a century since I stopped considering myself belonging to any family of the Right, and since I stopped showing solidarity with it. There’s no mystery here: I have said it and written it many times. But for all that, I don’t consider that the Right is an uninteresting subject. Nor do I think that it is a despicable subject. When I criticize it — and I always hesitate before criticizing it, both because it is not fitting to shoot at such an easy target and because I don’t want to get involved with the mob — I am forced to generalize, and when one generalizes, one always risks being unfair. But I don’t ignore its merits. In the same way that its qualities have shortcomings, its shortcomings also have qualities. On many occasions, the Right was (and remains) admirable for its courage, its persistence, and its spirit of sacrifice. All these qualities, yet they have achieved such meager results!

I’ll add that I don’t recognize myself as belonging to any family of the current Left, which spares me the desire of wanting to be “admitted.” One can undoubtedly define me as a “left-wing right-winger,” or a man who has left-wing ideas and right-wing values. It allows me to agree equally well with left-wing men and with right-wing men every time they assert ideas that I consider fair. But, actually, I haven’t cared about labels for a long time.

I care all the less, since the Left-Right duo gets more and more ineffective as an analytic tool. What is the “right-wing position” on the American occupation of Iraq, and what is the “left-wing position?” There is simply none: on the Right as on the Left, this occupation has opponents and supporters. It is the same for all the problems of our times: European integration, geopolitics, ecology, the coming oil crisis, etc. The only thing that matters is what people think of a precise question, no matter how they position themselves (or refuse to) on the traditional political spectrum.

 

[1] In English in the original text

[2] In English in the original text

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Rainbow Nation

The original Rainbow Family met a gruesome end in the jungles of South America, but its spirit still infuses all major social institutions in the United States.

November 2013 was a month of key political anniversaries in America, with 150 years having passed since Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and 50 since the assassination of John F. Kennedy. While Lincoln articulated the United States as a Proposition Nation ordained to illuminate the world with freedom in 1863, Kennedy’s execution a century later revealed in brazen fashion the inescapable reality of oligarchic rule in democracy[1]. Though the importance of these events should not be diminished, another anniversary has eluded our attention: that of the mass-murder suicide of 913 cultists from the People’s Temple in Jonestown, Guyana. Thirty-five years later, Jonestown is now mostly remembered for its signature cocktail of cyanide-laced grape Kool-Aid[2]. Yet it is this tragedy, brushed aside as the handiwork of a lone maniac, that heralds the results of the liberal experiment.

Long before collecting children from third-world countries became chic among Hollywood celebrities and megachurch Evangelicals, the eccentric Marxist Reverend Jim Jones and his wife Marceline had already formed their own “Rainbow Family” in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the early 1960s[3]. This was comprised of three Koreans, an African-American boy, an American Indian girl, a White adopted boy, and the couple’s own biological son. Jones, a Pentecostal preacher who sold monkeys on the side, was known as “Father” to his mostly inner-city Black congregation, which he named the People’s Temple, itself an extended Rainbow Family upheld as the prototype for humanity’s future development. Soon finding the Midwest inhospitable territory for his progressive vision, Jones took the People’s Temple to California, where by 1974 it would flourish in the counter-cultural laboratory of San Francisco.

One striking note in interviews with survivors is their conviction that the People’s Temple was a wondrous “mosaic” of harmony and fusion between different peoples. The white members who joined seemed positively intoxicated by the sense of racial equality on display in Jones’s church; here was a chance to demonstrate avant-garde morality and strike a blow for progress. And over decades of coverage of the Temple, from heady days of prominence in San Francisco to post-massacre trauma, the news media have helpfully reinforced this narrative[4]. What should have been a project for a bright new tomorrow suddenly “went wrong,” as the story goes. Its leader, after all, was a drug-addled madman. But Jones was not merely some charismatic charlatan who managed to deceive society for a time; he embodied the ideals of the American civic religion—pluralism—and played them out to their ultimate conclusion.

Almost from the moment of the Columbian discovery, America has been subject to mystical speculation over its role in inaugurating a New Order of the Ages. Sir Francis Bacon, one the greatest minds of the Elizabethan era, imagined a thinly veiled virgin continent as the New Atlantis under Rosicrucian rule[5]. A ready refuge for centuries of Quakers, Shakers, hucksters, and heretics, America would accommodate the growth of innumerable sects and religious crazes due to a combination of popular pietism and constitutionally encoded state indifference. The appearance of an organization like the People’s Temple was therefore less of a novelty even in the conservative Midwest than it was a familiar facet of national life.

In the revolutionary spirit of 1776, Jim Jones was first and foremost a fire-breathing egalitarian. Sunday services at the Temple, headquartered at a former synagogue in the rundown Fillmore district, featured a carnival-like atmosphere of revival preaching flavored with leftist activism. Once raucous Gospel music, dance routines, and comical faith healings lathered the crowd into a frenzy, “Father,” clad in trademark shades and choir robe, would descend to the pulpit from his elevated chair, an American flag on one side and a poster-sized Declaration of Independence on the other. Warming up with down-home vulgarity, he’d then launch into extended harangues on socialism, racist government persecution, and his own divine greatness. By channeling the ressentiment of his followers and playing upon their hopes and fears, Jones effectively became both Norman Mailer’s alienated White Negro and an unscrupulous Superman who drew his strength from mass manipulation. And Jones’s rants were remarkable not only for their length, but especially for their consistent inversion of orthodox Christian doctrine, rejecting the Kingdom of Heaven for a perfected kingdom of this world.

For all of Jim Jones’s efforts at innovation and originality, the People’s Temple was just a new rendering of the chiliastic temptation, that “City on a Hill” so central to the American messianic mythos. Seventh-century Puritanism had long since devolved into secularized forms, but in the marketplace of ideas, its zealotry still manifested in moralistic social movements like suffrage and civil rights, as well as fringe sects like the Temple. Jones’s syncretistic brew of holy-rolling Communism was reflective of a counterfeit spirituality ascendant after Enlightenment rationalism and materialism had so successfully wreaked havoc upon the traditional worldview of Western man. Deprived of divine Truth or programmed to disdain such embarrassingly outdated notions, moderns have chased after simulacra of transcendence by adopting every manner of surrogate religions, from the Prosperity Gospel to self-help psycho-twaddle and New Age magical narcissism. Here the California-born Sufi writer Charles Upton provides especially useful context from his own experience:

As the early and mid–20th Century had called for culture and education for the masses, we called for mass enlightenment… The legacy of old-fashioned American revivalism abruptly encountered psychedelic drugs, exotic religions, 20th Century ideas of evolution and progress, and the shock of the war in Vietnam to produce a ‘go for broke’ attitude: ‘give me Enlightenment or give me death; Apocalypse Now.’

Due to increasing press scrutiny of torture, brainwashing, and sexual abuse within the People’s Temple (Jones was omnivorous in his depravity, carrying on numerous affairs with the women surrounding him and sodomizing his male adherents), the cult hurriedly left San Francisco for its jungle outpost in Jonestown, Guyana, in 1977. Like the Jacobins and Bolsheviks before him, Jones promised the citizens of his new society a radiant paradise of freedom, equality and brotherhood, only to deliver them unto misery and death. Having killed a U.S. Congressional Representative on a fact-finding trip to Guyana a year later on November 18th, the patriarch of the Rainbow Family opted for revolutionary suicide rather than see his life’s work unravel[6]. Invoking the words of Doors frontman Jim Morrison, Jones showed himself an “erotic politician” on a mission of annihilation, a veritable medium for demonic forces unleashed upon the world.

Anglo-Saxon democracy does not appear at first glance as destructive as the maximalist programs of a Robespierre or Trotsky, yet America is acquiring certain features characteristic of the People’s Temple. Lest anyone raise the objection that Jim Jones was an un-American Communist psychopath, it’s worth remembering that the United States was founded upon the same revolutionary abstractions of liberty and equality that time and again have given rise to tyranny. Liberal pluralism, a potent weapon of the plutocrats who seek our enslavement, first produces spiritual, moral, and physical chaos, which in turn serves as a convenient introduction to the militantly tolerant police-state panopticon. Jones would have exalted in the capabilities afforded him by an NSA total surveillance grid, and he certainly would have given hearty approval of mass immigration and Washington’s plans to further “diversify” the country through population resettlement. Far from promoting friendship and brotherhood, the false virtues of egalitarianism lead only to paranoia, envy, hatred, and the murder-suicide of nations.

Though the People’s Temple was conceived as a universal model for all mankind, it was at its most basic level a Black church. For that simple reason primarily Black Americans suffered at the hands of their prophet at Jonestown; around 80 percent of the victims were identified as such. In a cruel irony, Jim Jones, the all-loving “Father,” the tireless anti-racist advocate and integrator, flew hundreds of African-Americans to their deaths at a tropical slave plantation maintained by armed guards and a fanatical inner circle of White female administrators. Other suspicious circumstances have even suggested the whole bizarre saga was possibly a mind-control operation conducted by U.S. intelligence agencies.

With the passing of decades since Jonestown, the Black community in the United States remains just as vulnerable to government social engineering and corporate exploitation, often acting as a test subject for whatever new cultural pathogen our controllers have devised. The record includes unethical medical experiments, the taxpayer-subsidized ruin of the Black family (with a resulting surge in crime), and the CIA’s facilitation of the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980s, not to mention the relentless, full-spectrum promotion of degeneracy by media organs quite openly intent upon smearing everyone in filth. And any principled black voices willing to oppose this system are studiously ignored. “Integration” with the regime benefits self-appointed spokesmen such as Al Sharpton and public sector unions, while calls for integrity and autonomy from the likes of Booker T. Washington and Malcolm X have been forgotten in an atmosphere of corruption and decay.

To best understand the People’s Temple as an American phenomenon, we must look to its “white-bread,” all-American congregants. What sort of fever impelled educated, professional young White women, or young couples raising families, into the embrace of Jim Jones? The road to Jonestown was paved with the lofty expectations of American pluralism, transmitted through cradle-to-grave indoctrination. Countless times in their upbringing, at school, on television, or at home, children in the United States have learned that our nation is a proposition, a place for every tribe of man to merge as one in the pursuit of happiness, i.e. plentitude and pleasure. As ancestral memories often fade within a generation, Whites in particular, long the main source of “human capital” in this enterprise, have consequently defined identity according to the universalist constructs bequeathed us by the Founders and their disciples.

There is a terrible price to pay, however, for imposing the reign of equality. If the Brave New World is to survive, rites of blood tribute must be performed to satiate its dark gods. In 1978, Jim Jones and his impeccably progressive inner circle murdered nearly 1,000 sect followers, mostly Black families, rather than relinquish utopia. Today U.S. policy elites carry out war and subversion to export liberal democracy across the globe while racial antagonism at home takes on ever more vicious forms. The latest nationwide trend, often known as the “knockout game,” consists of groups of young Black males attacking most commonly White (and sometimes Asian or Jewish) pedestrians. Hoover Institution fellow and Black columnist Thomas Sowell has forthrightly identified the implicit racial motivations behind the acts, and Mike Tyson, a man who knows a thing or two about knockouts, called the perpetrators “evil.” The media, meanwhile, strives mightily to misdirect its audience with regard to the nature of this violence, in the process hoping to salvage the imploding pluralist dream, an illusion that no amount of entertainment spectacle, debt schemes, or overseas adventures can sustain.

The original Rainbow Family met a gruesome end in the jungles of South America, but its spirit still infuses all major social institutions in the United States. Jonestown’s millennialist Marxism and international capitalism both reduce existence to the purely material plane and man to an economic unit stripped of any higher meaning. What we know to be the actual diversity and dignity of creation among mankind must be abolished and re-engineered into Diversity, Inc., as life attains all the depth of a Doritos commercial. A coming unified race of Wal-Martians is to worship at the altar of Mammon, whose incarnation will utter blasphemies earlier foreshadowed by the Reverend Jim Jones:

I am freedom. I am justice. I am peace, and I am equality. I AM GOD!


  1. December of 2013, marks 100 years since the incorporation of the Federal Reserve System, the Money Power’s open declaration of hegemony over America.  ↩
  2. The powder drink was actually a similar product called Flavor-Aid.  ↩
  3. Jones was well-known as an influence broker in San Francisco politics, a role that earned him a seat on the Housing Commission. The assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk, both of whom were closely tied to Jones, came just nine days after the massacre at Jonestown.  ↩
  4. Jones’s eccentricity was so far-ranging that his boyhood peers observed him killing cats and holding funeral ceremonies for them. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s vile Smerdyakov engaged in the exactly the same practices as a child in The Brothers Karamazov.  ↩
  5. Bacon was quite prescient about the role of secret societies in establishing the New World; the United States was founded upon Masonic Enlightenment ideology.  ↩
  6. Jones would privately confide to his lieutenants that he was atheist or agnostic. Nonetheless, the rebellion against God presupposes one’s own desire to become a god. Thus Jones could at once deny the “Sky God” and assert his own divinity. Dostoevsky already laid out the results of such a quest in The Possessed. The atheist Kirillov denies Christ the God-man and seeks to affirm his own godhead, an objective he deduces can only be reached through suicide.  ↩
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Population Control

“We do not develop the surveillance society in the fight against insecurity, rather, insecurity is used as an excuse to justify the surveillance society.”

Many blame the police for its relative weakness, not to mention its inaction in the fight against insecurity, an inaction that is reflected by crime statistics. But this is misunderstanding the current function of the police. The current function of the police is not to fight insecurity. It is, which is quite different, to control and monitor people. Not just some people, as claimed by the authorities (offenders, criminals, terrorists, etc..), but all of them. Even if the whole country turned into a no-go zone, the surveillance society would keep functioning. The police also know very well what happens in these no-go zones (who does what, when, how, etc..). But it does not intervene. Insecurity is only a pretext. We do not develop the surveillance society in the fight against insecurity, rather, insecurity is used as an excuse to justify the surveillance society. The politicians’ fear, their real fear actually, is not insecurity, but the potential retaliations against insecurity. Against that, they are not kidding. The laws in this area are applied to their full extent. This is the only one area where they are applied, but here they are applied thoroughly. The slightest deviation in this area comes at a high price. Legislation on gun ownership and self-defense has also become very restrictive. The consequence is that acts of self-defense are now increasingly rare. Three years ago [in 2002] a 15-year-old schoolgirl, who was a good student, with no police record, killed her attacker, who was “well-known by the police,” planting him with a knife. The prosecutor incarcerated her at once. “Faced with such a serious act, it was hard not to mark the occasion,” he said. Indeed, this is exceptional. In general, victims do not defend themselves. This is what the prosecutor meant.

Éric Werner, Éléments #118, Autumn 2005, pp. 29-30 (translation Roman Bernard)

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As Boring As Paradise

The problem with dystopias is that they’re often way too optimistic. Either what they warn us against is already happening, or the future they had envisioned turns out to be better than the actual one. To take a striking example, the kind of corporate fascism to be found in Robocop‘s Detroit is unquestionably more appealing than the Haiti-like heap of rubble and crime-ridden cesspool the “Paris of the West” has become.

The problem with dystopias is that they’re often way too optimistic. Either what they warn us against is already happening, or the future they had envisioned turns out to be better than the actual one. To take a striking example, the kind of corporate fascism to be found in Robocop‘s Detroit is unquestionably more appealing than the Haiti-like heap of rubble and crime-ridden cesspool the “Paris of the West” has become.

Elysium is set in 2154, and we’re supposed to imagine what Los Angeles would look like “if current trends are not reversed.” Well, if the ongoing demographic overrun afflicting the West is not stopped, I wonder how there could still be factories producing droid robots. For that to happen, it would require a sufficient number of skilled researchers, engineers, technicians that will likely be gone in mid-22nd century Mexifornia. And given the imminence of this future, I don’t think they’ll have enough time to shut themselves in a space station, chiefly since space exploration has been sacrificed on the altar of racial inclusiveness. Today, the main use of American and European space rockets is to shoot satellites to outer space so that anyone can send that video of a dog peeing on a baby via their “smart”phone. Terraforming Mars or Venus is not a priority.

This was the main trouble with the movie Idiocracy.  Because of centuries of dysgenics, the population has become so dumb that the hero’s lawyer attacks his own client during his Kafkaian trial, but there are still first-class medical facilities and fine cars.

As “nightmarish” as Elysium‘s L.A. seems to Dr. Kevin MacDonald, who is a direct observer of the city, it is what it would look like if things go well. And why should we wait a century and a half to see what will directly result from the coming amnesty?

The war within the liberal mind

This criticism aside, I really enjoyed Elysium and I wouldn’t follow Matthew Heimbach in saying that the movie is “anti-White.”  I think there’s more to this movie than just open-border, pro-amnesty propaganda. It’s more accurate to characterize it as a war within the liberal mind, similar to what Richard had noted when commenting on World War Z.

A superficial analysis would lead to the conclusion that  Elysium tells the story of a Rainbow Democratic coalition claiming its “right” to benefit from Elysium’s delights (healthcare mostly, which rings a bell, three years after the Obamacare bill), reserved so far to an overwhelmingly White, fascistic elite ruling the space station. I would argue exactly the reverse, that if liberalism is anywhere in this movie, it’s aboard Elysium itself.

Much like in Star Trek, the station is ruled by an androgynic, PC learned assembly. The president is an effeminate, racially undetermined progressive who doesn’t want to be too hard on the spaceships full of illegal immigrants that try to storm Elysium, just like today’s European politicians refuse to wreck the boats reaching Lampedusa every day.

Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster), though being a Frenchwoman, is the Secretary of Defense of what thus looks like a “Bilderberger” or Trilateral government. No one is forced to take “conspiracy theorists” seriously, but the fact that Elysium’s structure is a circled pentagram often shown inverted on the screen is certainly no coincidence.  As for Elysium’s public buildings, they remind one of the ones in Metropolis or Hunger Games, the latter being troublingly similar to those of  Kazakhstan’s capital,  Astana.

Delacourt faces the usual liberal dilemma: she must resort to fascistic methods (coup d’État, hired killers) to preserve her progressive utopia. Elysium‘s director, Neill Blomkamp, belonging to the Afrikaner people, a progressive nation if there ever was one, it’s not too hard to see why this moral dilemma is at the heart of the movie. The name Delacourt is maybe a reference to South Africa’s French Huguenot co-founders. This character echoes more recent figures from a country ethnically related to the Boer people, and it is the Netherlands, with Pim Fortuyn, Theo Van Gogh and Geert Wilders who can best be defined as worried liberals. Further North, there is Norway’s Breivik.

Boring as Paradise

Elysium is a liberal wet dream: people are “nice,” they spend their days having lavish cocktail-parties along their lagoon-like swimming pools. Their suburban homes are reminiscent of the dying world we witness in American Beauty, with those ubiquitous white-picket fenced houses inhabited by Last Men hardly hiding their unspeakable boredom. If the Elysian life reminds you of some articles or speeches by paleocons and even White nationalists who “just want to be left alone,” it’s normal: conservatives are mainly outmoded liberals, waving a crippled fist at a world they no longer understand.

The problem being, of course, that you can’t preserve a White country when you transform a race of conquerors, creators, builders and navigators in a herd of sheep. Much like zoo lions and tigers, Westerners don’t procreate and die out since the only highlight of the week is to wait for their Friday BBQ with their drone-minded neighbors.

Elysium’s final invasion by third world hordes saddened me, as predictable as it was, but I couldn’t help thinking that it was inevitable. When Whites spend too much time in their comfort zone, their suicidal liberal policies are little more than a waking up from the dream they were stuck in. Elysium is a new Eden, and that’s why it looks so boring.

History implies pain, misery and suffering, but it’s also what it takes to feel really alive.

Outsourcing rebellion to the Third World

In comparison, what’s left of the Earth strikes me as particularly non-liberal.  Men are masculine, women, though not very good-looking, are feminine, manly virtues are necessary to survive the day-to-day violence, and though the general population has little conception of honor, there’s still a warrior ethos embodied by some characters.

The “White Hispanic” character played by Matt Damon, Max da Costa (which sounds more Portuguese/Brazilian than Hispanic to me, by the way), for all his flaws, has renounced crime not out of fear like Zarathustra’s “honest” citizens, but out of choice.

To storm Elysium, Da Costa has to become the 22nd-century equivalent of a Medieval Knight by undergoing a surgical transformation into a droid. Dialectically, his main opponent, Kruger, who is Delacourt’s mercenary, has to follow the same process. To overcome the challenge imposed by the Machine, Man has to become a Machine himself, a dialectic process present in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as in the recent low-brow Pacific Rim, where brain-controlled robots bash giant lizards.

In his review of Elysium, Gregory Hood laments that Blomkamp, though conscious of the fact that a non-White take-over of Elysium will mean that the station will know the same fate as Los Angeles, offers no solution. Mr. Hood knows Hollywood too well to ignore that even if Blomkamp is a closet right-winger as Steve Sailer (who is captivating when he’s not sliding on the bell curve) thinks he is, he can’t release a film in which Delacourt is victorious and the Latina Frey can’t heal her daughter’s leukemia.

In a movie Hood’s become a specialist ofThe Dark Knight Rises, we see the Wayne mansion turned into an orphanage for non-White children, something that is probably not to the taste of the elitist Christopher Nolan (whose right-wing leanings are more obvious than Blomkamp’s, despite the parallel that Sailer tried to draw in his review). We also see that Bruce Wayne has become a tourist, content with drinking chianti along the Arno river in the company of a woman who betrayed him quite a few times. That is mildly infuriating, but it’s the only way to have Hollywood display an un-PC message.

In Elysium, we have this vibrant coalition of non-liberal Mestizos and Blacks which defeats a liberal, White elite with token minorities, but we might as well reverse the roles in our heart of hearts and imagine a White coalition storming a White gated community to force its inhabitants to stop fleeing and thus letting their common enemies turn the West into hell on Earth. In what I see as an allegory of White flight, Elysium reminds us that there’ll be no victory for Westerners if they keep believing that shutting themselves in behind CCTV, armored doors, intercoms, code-encrypted gates and other reality-denying devices will suffice to save their and their children’s lives.

It should also warn White nationalists that if an Ethnostate or a collection thereof were to be established some day, it shouldn’t be about “going back” to some reconstructed version of “liberalism when it worked,” for the outcome will always be that of the film.

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