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Tag: Fascism

Why the Conservative Movement Needs Dugin

What is needed is an enemy that the Beltway Right can portray as fascist–preferably White–so that the Left won’t be able to deploy their usual taunts about “bombing brown people,” and an entity that doesn’t threaten the corporate interests that own the conservative movement.  Putin’s Russia fits all of these characteristics. 

Russia, the Necessary Enemy

American conservatism is a scam.  The “movement” exists to exploit the symbols, institutions, and figures associated with White America in order to get those same people to support an agenda that displaces and destroys them. The various elites governing the Hollow Empire based in Washington get to use the power of the United States to destroy their own enemies and the rent-seekers in the Beltway Right get to play the game, feel important, and make a living.  Nothing positive is ever accomplished, but then, that is the point.

It’s a delicate balance, as White Americans have to be fed enough nationalism to be willing to fight for Old Glory, but not enough so that they actually have a sense of themselves as a people with authentic traditions or collective interests.  The scam breaks down if White Americans are ever offered an alternative that allows them, for once, to fight in their own self-interest.  Therefore, much of the resources of the Beltway Right are dedicated to stamping out anything that can’t be fully controlled and reframing it as a deadly threat to right thinking conservatives.  Usually this takes the form of calling it “fascist” somehow.  There’s Eco-fascism, Islamo-fascism, and of course, liberal fascism.

Of course, the best solution is a foreign enemy.  Unfortunately for the noodle armed field marshals of American conservatism, credible enemies are getting harder and harder to find these days.  True, Sunni Muslims under the banner of ISIS are carving out a mini-Caliphate in the area we were supposed to have “liberated.”  But if the United States does anything about this, it will mean aligning with Iran, which Americans have been told for the last decade or so was the next Nazi Germany.  Not surprisingly, most Americans are more disgusted with our own blundering leadership than outraged at the chaos in Iraq.

China is increasingly aggressive in the Pacific, but the same American business interests that own the conservative movement are not likely to welcome a Cold War with the country that makes all of their crappy products.  Armed Mexican troops habitually cross into American territory but for obvious reasons, American conservatives don’t want to create a scenario that would create pressure to actually solve the immigration crisis by locking down the border Israeli style.

What is needed is an enemy that the Beltway Right can portray as fascist–preferably White–so that the Left won’t be able to deploy their usual taunts about “bombing brown people,” and an entity that doesn’t threaten the corporate interests that own the conservative movement.  Putin’s Russia fits all of these characteristics.  Glenn Beck can giggle about opposing “hetero-fascism.”  Conservatives can flatter themselves that they are fighting a conventional White army, thus re-enacting the eternal drama of the “Good War” against the “tyranny” of militaristic Europeans wearing scary uniforms.  And perhaps best of all, Russia’s reliance on energy supplies and consolidation of its assets under Gazprom means that American corporations actually can point to something they don’t control.  If Putin’s Russia can be broken, American companies actually have something to gain.

If Putin’s Russia did not exist, the Beltway Right would have had to create it.  The only thing that is missing is the ideological dimension.  Russell Kirk famously defined conservatism as the “negation of ideology,” but American conservatives have largely ignored his teachings in practice.  (After all, it’s not like they followed his endorsement of Pat Buchanan and his warning about Israeli influence.)  Instead, the American Right has built a movement around a series of abstractions, “values” that can be professed as timeless while actually being readjusted to accommodate each new left wing cultural victory.

Similarly, enemies must also be defined in grand, sweeping terms and defined by ideological abstraction.  After all, national interests and Realpolitik would concede that the American nation and identity is concrete and limited rather than abstract and open to everyone who shares in its universal values of freedom, liberty, and democracy.  Therefore, we don’t just need an enemy, we need a creed to rally against.  And it must be defined as absolute evil.

This is difficult to do.  Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party lacks a systematic ideology, with the catchall of “sovereign democracy” losing prominence in recent years.  Instead, Putin is falling back on traditional Russian patriotism and the desire of the Russian people to once again have a strong voice in international affairs.  While Russian society has a certain degree of intellectual freedom compared to Europe when it comes to discussing issues of Tradition, Islamization, and White identity, the government persecutes dedicated White nationalists just as fanatically as any Belgian human rights council.   Opposition to “fascism” is the stated justification given to Russia’s intervention in its near abroad.  It’s hard to see Putin’s rule, characterized by an alliance with major business interests in the country as some kind of revolutionary nationalist regime.  Instead, it is an autocracy far more mild than the regimes of Pinochet or Franco (both supported by American conservatives in their day) designed to provide stability, economic growth, and a vague, non-ideological patriotism.

Fortunately for the Beltway Right, they discovered Alexander Dugin.  Dugin is one of the most important thinkers confronted by the American Dissident Right, and his complex and innovative theories are a constant source for inspiration and furious debate among English speaking traditionalists.  While holding to a somewhat caricatured view of Americans and our political tradition, his Fourth Political Theory provides a framework for Americans to work out the flaws in our own overarching liberal tradition, and his Eurasianism speaks to the most important geopolitical issues of the day.  Even those who radically disagree with him can help but rejoice to see serious ideas about Conservative Revolution entertained by men with institutional backing.

This is a threat to Conservatism Inc. which after a generation of repeating nonsense slogans has produced hacks who know nothing else.  After all, as Jonah Goldberg (who passes for an intellectual in the Beltway Right) says, both the American Right and Left are part of the “tribe of liberty” constantly fighti
ng to expand the “universality of human rights.”   The scam is up if Americans figure out “conservatism” might mean something more than Big Gulps and Enlightenment slogans that were nothing but half-baked dribble when first penned.  Therefore, when confronted with an alternative ideology of the Right, American conservatives react with far more frenzy and hostility than they can summon towards their supposed enemies on the Left.

So Much for Respectability

The job of stamping out Dugin’s influence among the Beltway Right has mostly (but not solely) fallen to Robert Zubrin at National Review.  Zubrin is known as one of the more influential proponents of Mars colonization and was a 2012 campaign footnote in influencing Newt Gingrich towards his politically disastrous musings on moon bases.  However, whereas Richard Spencer preaches space exploration as a kind of Faustian attempt to fulfill the Occidental imperative to be ever rising, Zubrin wants to do it to spread egalitarian humanism.  In space, no one can hear you scream – especially if it’s something undemocratic.

Zubrin also writes on energy policy, urging the United States to mandate flex-fuled vehicles and reduce American dependence on oil exports.  Obviously, this kind of approach is also eagerly embraced by conservatives angry at Putin’s ownership of gas and oil reserves and who want him to be enslaved to the financial establishment of London and New York.

He’s a ferocious opponent of environmentalism, placing an almost unlimited faith in human beings to overcome natural limits and population increase.  He believes in global warming but calls it a “good thing” that will make the Earth “more fertile.”  Of course, environmentalism also allows him to riff on the evils of immigration control, the Third Reich, and the why conservatives should welcome a Third World increase in population.

Naturally, like all good Beltway conservatives, Zubrin evidently believes that “freedom” resides in the dirt of North America (or, evidently, Mars) and therefore we can simply replace the American population with immigrants who will be taught to believe in whatever National Review comes up with this week.

In short, Zubrin is one of those cranks who enjoys the benefits of major media promoting his half-assed and superficial ideas about environmentalism, energy, and foreign policy because it serves the established order.  Unlike those who shriek about peak oil, chemtrails, or the Illuminati, everything Zubrin writes perfectly fits into the concrete interests of the American conservative movement.  The logical conclusion of what he writes is that we should continue to bring in as much cheap labor as possible, not worry about pollution, and basically assume everything will work out for the best.  When he confronts something that challenges this, like Dugin’s ideology, he becomes hysterical and we realize how utterly unhinged he and his sponsors really are, channeling science fiction more than anything that exists in this reality.

In S.M Stirling’s alternate history The Pershawar Lancers, the entire Northern Hemisphere is all but destroyed by an ecological disaster.  The British Empire relocates its capital to India and France shifts to Africa.  However, in Tsarist Russia, things take a darker turn.  Russia relocates to Samarkand, forming a dark empire based on mystical visions and human sacrifice that renounces the “Traitor Christ,” worships the pagan death god Chernobog, and seeks to bring about the end of the world.

Apparently, this is what Zubrin thinks is happening in Russia right now.  The magazine of the “respectable right” allowed him to argue that “[T]his time, our cold-war opponents will not be secular Communists, but true believers of a death-worshipping cult that would like to bring about the end of the world.”  Zubrin calls Dugin a “mad philosopher” whose work is marked by an association with “various Thule Society-like organizations,” the “anti-democratic European Nouvelle Droite,” and “Nazi theorists.”  In Zubrin’s eyes, Dugin’s philosophy is a combination of the anti-liberal creeds of Communism, Traditionalism (which is designed to eliminate free thought), and “demagogic” Ecologism.  “All the rest is straight out of Nazism.”

In fairness, Zubrin does accurately write that Dugin identifies the central enemy as the American, Atlanticist liberal world order which undermines more conservative forms of social organization.  However, instead of giving us a reason why people on the Right should militantly defend liberalism (classical or otherwise), Zubrin just keeps calling Dugin a Nazi.  When Dugin indulges in mysticism about the end of the age and the coming of new heroes, Zubrin says that this is an expression of Dugin’s willingness to literally end the world and kill us all.

But the piece de resistance is Zubrin’s identification of the Eurasianist symbol as the “eight pointed star of chaos.”  Evidently pivoting from The Pershawar Lancers to Warhammer 40K, Zubrin speaks of “Dugin’s worship of Chaos, and the adoption of the occult symbol of the eight-pointed ‘Star of Chaos’ as the emblem (and, when inscribed in gold on a black background, the flag) of the Eurasianist movement.”  In short, says, Zubrin, “Dugin’s Eurasianism is a satanic cult.”  In a triumphant conclusion, Zubrin successfully triggers “Godwin’s law,” comparing Dugin to Hitler.

Of course, back in the real world, it is Vladimir Putin who actually defended the Christian character of Europe and some pretense of traditional morality.  Dugin is not a worshipper of Nurgle, Lord of Decay or one of the other gods of Chaos that Zubrin picked up from his space fantasies — Dugin is an Old Believer in the Orthodox Christian tradition.  The Eurasianist logo is centered more on the idea of spatial expansion according to the laws of Geopolitics, not an occult sign of devotion to the dark gods.  And when Putin speaks on international relations, it tends to be the same disappointing liberal pap and World War II agitprop everyone else offers, not a cry of “Blood for the Blood God!  Skulls for the Skull Throne!

But let us be fair.  Zubrin is mostly quoting from a book hilariously entitled, “The American Empire Should Be Destroyed: Alexander Dugin and the Perils of Immanentized Eschatology”  (The American conservative movement continues to use the same crappy slogans even after fifty years of overuse).   The author is one James Heiser who is on the Board of Directors of the Mars Society (the “link,” as the SPLC would say).&nbs
p; He is also a Evangelical Lutheran Bishop – and, interestingly, one of the
featured speakers for the John Birch Society.  This is the same John Birch Society that National Review can’t stop bragging about “excommunicating.” 

Zubrin isn’t scared of conspiracy theories.  He has some of his own.  He accuses President Putin of being the “prime suspect” behind the death of 42 pro-Russian activists in Ukraine.  This is not a conspiracy theory akin to 9/11 Trutherism, Zubrin says, because the FSB (Russian intelligence) exists to “oppress” Russians.  In contrast, our own military-intelligence and police agencies exist to “protect” us.  After all, if an open-borders National Review contributor is telling us that the Washington regime has Middle America’s best interests at heart, that’s good enough for me

The Eternal Enemy to the Right

When it comes to policing the right, anything is permitted to Conservatism Inc.  National Review would never dream of calling Barack Obama “Satanic” or “evil” as he protects abortion, aggressively pushes homosexuality into public institutions, and does his best to ensure that Christians throughout the Middle East are purged from their historic communities.  However, these labels are gleefully deployed if they are directed against perhaps the leading Christian statesman in the world today, even if they are offered by cranks who seemingly base their work on Dungeons and Dragons.  The respectable Right would never quote the likes of the John Birch Society or various eschatological speculations to attack the American Left – but when it comes to someone on the Right, the gloves are off.  Anything is justified to make sure that White American Christians are convinced they are fighting the Antichrist instead of understanding that they have more in common with the Russian government than the one that rules the United States.   

But conservatism is a scam and Zubrin is one of those quacks that found a way to profit off it.  And the sad spectacle of degraded American patriotism, sophomoric phony theology, and egalitarian religion is proof enough that the scam is on its last legs.  That is a hopeful sign to be taken from this unedifying spectacle.  American conservatism can’t even fake an attraction for intelligent people anymore.  And the long overdue end to this pathetic huckstering might not just open up room for a “Fourth Political Theory.” It could open up a Second Political Alternative in the United States to that tired Enlightenment liberalism that the conservative movement has been protecting for so long.

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The Fourth Estate

The concept of the “middle class” is crucial for the liberal-capitalist ideology. Although it appeared later than the Marxist theory of class struggle and the famous communist doctrine of the two antagonistic classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, the very meaning of the term “middle class” has a much longer history and has its roots in the period of bourgeois revolutions and the rise of the Third Estate, which claimed henceforth a monopoly in political and economic spheres. 

 

The History and Meaning of the Middle Class


Science and Ideology: A Problem of Method

None of the words we use in the course of social and political discussions and analyses is ideologically neutral. Outside of ideology entirely, such words lose their meaning. And it is not possible to determine one’s attitude toward them unambiguously, since the content of any expression is shaped by context and semantic structures, a kind of operational system. When we live in a society with an obvious ideology, openly maintained as the dominant one, things are clear enough.

The significance of words flows directly from the ideological matrix, which is instilled through upbringing, education, and instruction and is supported by the active ideological apparatus of the state. The state forms a language, defines the meaning of discourse, and sets—most often through repressive measures, broadly understood—the limits and moral tint of the basic collection of political and sociological concepts and terms.

If we lived in a society in which communist ideology dominates, concepts such as “bourgeoisie,” “fascism,” “capitalism,” “speculation,” etc. acquire not only strictly negative connotations but specific meanings, with which capitalists, fascists, and speculators would categorically disagree. The disagreement concerns not only signs, but the very significance of words. The way a communist sees a fascist, or a capitalist seems to the fascist, might seem to a different party to be little more than a caricature or a distortion. And this, of course, works the other way around: fascism seems natural to the fascist, and communism, utterly evil.

For a capitalist, communism and fascism are equally evil. The capitalist most often does not think of himself as bourgeois. Speculation is for him a form of the realization of natural economic rights, and the system he defends he usually regards as a “free” society, an “open” society. Neither the Marxist analysis of the appropriation of surplus value, nor the fascist critique of the web of interest obligations and payments, and the international financial oligarchy, which usurps power over peoples and nations, ever convince him of anything.

Ideologies are similar to religions; hence Carl Schmitt speaks of “political theology.” Each believes sacredly in his own values and ideals, and criticism of or apology for alternative values most often has no effect (except for a few cases of confessional change, which occurs in the history of religion and in the history of political teachings).

Consequently, before speaking seriously about one or another term, it is necessary to determine in which ideological context we will be considering it. Someone will surely object: science must take a neutral position. That is impossible. In this case, science would pretend to the status of a meta-ideology, i.e. a kind of “true ideology,” of which all other ideologies are relative forms. But nobody will agree with this, even it should come into someone’s head to flaunt such ambitions.

In the religious sphere, syncretic teachings periodically arise, claiming that they are the expression of “absolute truth” and that all other historical religions are its relative manifestations. But as a rule, such tendencies do not enjoy great popularity, remaining the property of rather small circles and denied by major confessions as “heresies.” Science, likewise, cannot claim the status of a meta-ideology and remain relevant. But it differs from ordinary ideology by three features:

  1. It reflects distinctly upon the structures of the ideological paradigm it considers. (Ordinary people do not even suspect that what seems to them their “personal opinion” is a secondary or even tertiary product of ideological processing, the mechanisms of which are entirely hidden from them.)
  2. In the course of analysis of ideological discourse, it uses the techniques of classical logic (Aristotle’s laws and Leibniz’s principle of sufficient reason).
  3. It is able to build a comparative matrix of the correspondences between diverse ideologies, juxtaposing structures in their foundations and establishing symmetries and oppositions between separate discourses and their elements.

Thus, in considering any concept or term, it is possible to proceed in two ways: either to interpret it from the position of one or another ideology, not digging into its foundations and not comparing it with other interpretations (this is the level of propaganda and low-quality applied analysis/journalism), or to attend to the scientific method, which does not free us from adherence to an ideology, but forces us to reason, observing the three above-mentioned rules of the scientific approach (paradigm, logic, comparison).

We propose to consider the concept of the “middle class” in precisely this scientific spirit.

From Caste to Class

Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (15th century) Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (15th century)

The concept of the “middle class” is crucial for the liberal-capitalist ideology. Although it appeared later than the Marxist theory of class struggle and the famous communist doctrine of the two antagonistic classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, the very meaning of the term “middle class” has a much longer history and has its roots in the period of bourgeois revolutions and the rise of the Third Estate, which claimed henceforth a monopoly in political and economic spheres.

Before considering the “middle class,” let’s turn to the concept of “class” as such. Class is a concept of the social organization of modernity. Ancient orders and social-political systems were built on the caste principle. “Caste” should be understood as the doctrine that the inner nature of different people differs qualitatively: there are divine souls and earthly (feral, demonic) souls. The caste reflects precisely this nature of the soul, which man is not able to change during his life. The caste is fatal. The normal society, according to this conception, must be built so that those of a divine nature (the elite) are above, and those of an earthly (feral, demonic) nature remain below (the masses). That is how the Indian Varna system is arranged, as were ancient Jewish, Babylonian, Egyptian, and other societies.

This caste theory was replaced by a more flexible estate theory. The estate also proposes a difference in people’s natures (the existence of higher and lower), but here the fact of birth in one or another estate is not considered a final and natural factor in the determination of belonging to a certain social status. Estate can be changed if the representative of a lower estate accomplishes a great feat, demonstrates unique spiritual qualities, becomes a member of the priesthood, etc.

Here, alongside the caste principle, is the principle of meritocracy, that is, rewards for services. The meritocratic principle extends also to the descendants of the one who accomplished the feat (ennobling). Estate society was predominant in Christian civilization right to the end of the Middle Ages. In estate society, the highest estates are the priesthood (clergy) and the military (aristocracy), and the lowest is the Third Estate of peasants and craftsmen. Precisely the same way, in a caste society, priests and warriors (Brahma and Kshatriya) were highest, and lowest were peasants, artisans, and traders (Vaishya).

Modernity became the era of the overthrow of estate society. Europe’s bourgeois revolutions demanded a replacement of the estate privileges of the higher estates (the clergy and the military aristocracy, the nobility) in favor of the Third Estate. But the bearers of this ideology were not the peasants, who were connected with traditional society by the specific character of seasonal labour, religious identity, etc., but the more mobile townspeople and burghers. “Bourgeois” is itself formed from the German word “Burg” meaning “town.” Hence, modernity gave first priority to precisely the townsfolk-citizen-bourgeois as a normative unit.

The bourgeois revolutions abolished the power of the Church (clergy) and aristocracy (nobility, dynasties) and advanced the model of building society on the basis of the domination of the Third Estate, represented by the townsfolk-citizen-bourgeois. This is, essentially, capitalism. Capitalism, in its victory, replaces estate distinctions, but preserves material ones. Thus, the notion of class arises: class signifies an indicator of the measure of inequality. The bourgeoisie abolish estate inequality, but preserve material inequality. Consequently, precisely modernity’s bourgeois capitalistic society is a class society in the full sense of the word. Previously, in the Middle Ages, belonging to an estate was one’s primary social attribute. In modernity, the entire social stratification was reduced to the attribute of material riches. Class is thus a phenomenon of modernity.

Class War

Georg Grosz, Eclipse of the Sun (1926) Georg Grosz, Eclipse of the Sun (1926)

The class character of bourgeois society, however, was perceived most distinctly not by the ideology of the bourgeoisie, but by Marx. He elaborated his revolutionary teaching on the basis of the concept of class. At its foundation was the idea that class society and the material inequality characteristic of it, elevated to the highest criterion, exposes the essence of the nature of society, man, and history. In Marx’s class picture, there are always rich and poor, and the rich always get richer, and the poor, poorer. Consequently, there are two classes, the bourgeoisie and proletariat, and their struggle is the motor and meaning of history.

All of Marxism is built on this idea: when we speak of classes, we speak of two antagonistic classes, the difference between which is not relative but absolute, since each embodies in itself two irreconcilable worlds: the world of Exploitation and the world of (honest) Labor. There are two classes: the class of Labor (the proletariat) and the class of Exploitation (the bourgeoisie). In the capitalist system, the class of Exploitation dominates. The class of Labor must become conscious of itself, arise, and overthrow the class of Exploiters. They must create, at first, the Government of Labor—socialism. Then, after the last remnants of bourgeois society have been destroyed, communist society will appear, now fully classless. According to Marx, a classlessness is possible only after the victory of the proletariat and the radical destruction of the bourgeoisie.

For Marx, a “middle class” simply cannot exist. This concept has no independent semantics in Marxist ideology, since everything that is between the bourgeoisie and proletariat (for instance, the petty bourgeoisie or prosperous peasantry) relates essentially either to the bourgeoisie or the proletariat. For Marxists, the “middle class” is a fiction. It doesn’t exist, and the concept itself is nothing but an instrument of the ideological propaganda of capitalists, trying to fool the proletariat, promising a future integration into the class of the bourgeoisie (which, according to Marx, cannot happen, since the appropriation of surplus value prevents the proletariat’s enrichment).

We can draw the following conclusion: the term “middle class” is a fiction for Marxists, an artificial figure of bourgeois ideology, called upon to conceal the real picture of society and the processes occurring in it. At the same time, Marxists admit the fact of a transition from estate society to class society and, consequently, agree with the bourgeoisie that a society of material inequalities (class society) is “more progressive” than a society of estate inequality; they disagree with the bourgeoisie in that, for communists, this is not the “end of history,” but only the beginning of a full-fledged revolutionary struggle. Liberals, on the other hand, insist that material inequality is entirely moral and justified and maintain that the communists’ striving for material equality is, by contrast, amoral and pathological. For liberals, “the end of history” begins when everyone becomes “middle class.” For communists, it begins when the proletariat finally destroy the bourgeoisie and build a communist society of total equality.

The Middle Class within Liberalism

The concept of a middle class is implicitly present in liberal ideology from the very beginning. That said, it only receives full implementation in the course of the establishment of sociology, which endeavors to combine many avant-garde theses of Marxism (in particular, the centrality of the concept of class) and bourgeois conditions. Sociology is thus a hybrid form: ideologically, it is between communism and liberalism; methodologically, it emphasizes a scientific, analytic approach. We can distinguish two poles in sociology, the social (the school of Durkheim, the theories of Sorokin, etc.) and the liberal (Weber, the Chicago and “Austrian” Schools in the United States, etc.)

In any case, the specific character of the liberal understanding of class is the conviction that, in the standard bourgeois society, there is only one class, and all differences between the depths and the heights are relative and conditional. If, for Marx, there are always two classes, and they exist in implacable enmity, for liberals (Adam Smith, for instance) there is always ultimately one class—the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie nominally embraces the entire capitalist society. The poorest layers of this society are, as it were, incompletely bourgeois. The richest, on the other hand, area super-bourgeois. But the social nature of all people is qualitatively identical: all are given equal starting opportunities, setting out from which the bourgeois can either reach a certain level of success, or fail to reach it and tumble down into the incompletely bourgeois.

Hence, Adam Smith takes as a standard situation the following classical liberal narrative:

The baker hires a worker, who has recently come to the city for work. After working as an assistant to the owner, the hired worker learns to bake bread and observes the organization of processes of interaction with suppliers and customers. After some time, the hired worker borrows credit and opens a bakery. After first working independently, he eventually hires a helper, who has come to the city for work, and the cycle repeats itself.

In this model, we see the following. Not only is society thought of as middle class, but there exists the already-middle-class and the not-yet-middle-class. In this picture, the hired worker does not form a peculiar type, but represents the potentially bourgeois, while the ready baker is actually bourgeois (though even he, coming to ruin, can theoretically be in the position again of the hired worker, the not-yet-bourgeois).

According to Marx, the quantity of riches in society is a fixed quantity, and the presence of two classes is based on precisely this: those who have riches will never share them with the poor, since life in capitalist society is a zero-sum game. For Smith, on the other hand, riches constantly increase. As a result, the boundaries of the middle class continuously expand. Capitalism is based on the presumption of the constant growth of riches for all members of society; ideally, all humanity must become middle class.

At the same time, there are two approaches to the middle class in liberal ideology. The first corresponds to left liberals: they demand that the super-bourgeois (the big capitalists) consciously share a part of the profits with the middle class and petty bourgeoisie, since this will lead to the stability of the system and to an acceleration of the growth of the middle class globally.

The second approach is characteristic of right liberals: they object to the burden placed on the super-bourgeoisie by taxation and welfare projects; they believe these contradicts the spirit of “free enterprise” and slows the dynamics of the development of the capitalist system, since the super-bourgeoisie stimulates the growth of the middle-bourgeoisie, which, in turn, urges on the petty bourgeoisie and the not-yet-bourgeoisie.

Accordingly, the concept of the middle class becomes, for left liberals, a moral value and ideological slogan (as in, “We must build a stronger middle class!”). For right liberals, on the other hand, the growth of the middle class is a natural consequence of the development of the capitalist system and does not demand special attention or elevation to a value.

Class as Social Strata in Sociology

In sociology, this basic ideological attitude of liberalism concerning the primacy of the middle class manifests itself in the relativization of the model of stratification. Sociology divides society into three classes: upper, middle, and lower (to this is sometimes added the underclass of pure marginals and social deviants). These classes are not identical to Marxist, nor to strictly liberal class concepts (since liberalism knows only one class, the middle class, while the others are thought of as its variations). This division fixes the dimension of individuals along four indicators: material sufficiency, level of fame, position in administrative hierarchy, and level of education. On the basis of strictly qualitative criteria, any person can be related to one of three social strata.

Here, the concept of class does not have a direct ideological content, but, as a rule, it is applied to bourgeois society, where sociology as a science appeared. This sociological classes, identified with social strata, should be distinguished from Marxist classes and from standard liberal conceptions about the middle class as the universal and single class.

In this case, in a bourgeois framework, the struggle for the rights of the underclass or support of the lower class (in a sociological sense) can be thought of as a left continuation of the liberal approach: attention to the lower layer of bourgeois society stipulates striving to facilitate its integration into the middle class, i.e. to pull them up the level of the bourgeois. For right liberals, such an effort is “amoral,” since it contradicts the main principle of social freedom: initiative and honest competition (the strong win, the weak lose, but such are the rules of the game; all should endeavor to become strong). The extreme version of right or even far-right liberalism is the “objectivism” of Ayn Rand.

The Middle Class and Nationalism

Thomas Hart Benton, Steel in America Today (1930) Thomas Hart Benton, Steel in America Today (1930)

There is one other ideological system of modernity, which we have yet to consider—nationalism. Nationalism is a variation of bourgeois ideology, which insists that the standard horizon of bourgeois society should not be humanity (the “cosmopolitanism” and “globalism” of classical liberals) but society as defined by the borders of a nation-state. The nation or people is taken as the maximal unit of integration. The market is open within the boundaries of the nation. But in the inter-state system, economic activity transitions to the level of the state, not private actors. From here, there arises the legitimization of such instruments as tariffs, protectionism, etc.

Nationalism thinks of the middle class not abstractly but concretely, as the middle class of a given national formation of the state. Nationalism also, like liberalism, accepts as a standard figure of society the townsperson-citizen-bourgeois, but puts the accent precisely on citizen, and what’s more, the citizen of a given national state.

The “nation” as a political formation becomes a synonym of bourgeois society. For nationalists, beyond this society, there exists only a zone of national and social risk. The nation is thought of here as a community of the middle class. And the task consists in integrating the lower layers into the national whole, often with the help of welfare measures. That is why nationalism can possess numerous socialist features, though the ideological basis here is different: pulling the economically weak to the level of the middle class is a task of national integration, not a consequence of orientation towards justice and material equality. We see something similar with left liberals, who consider integrating the under-class into broader society as a condition for the stability of the development of the capitalist system.

Nationalism, as a rule, relates negatively to national minorities and especially to immigrants. This is connected with the fact that in the eyes of nationalists, these elements disturb the homogeneity of the national middle class. Moreover, some national minorities are blamed for concentrating in their hands too much material wealth, in other words, those who challenge the national middle class “from above.” Nationalist feelings of injustice are expressed in antagonism towards “oligarchs” and, often times, as “economic anti-semitism,” a sentiment that was not foreign to Marx himself. In turn, other non-nationals (usually immigrants) are blamed for increasing the numbers of the lower strata and underclass, the integration of which is complicated by national differences. A variant of anti-immigrant nationalism consists in the charge that the increase of cheap labor slows the process of enriching the “native” population and the “harmonious” (for nationalists) growth of the middle class.

The Problem of the Middle Class in Contemporary Russia

After making these necessary methodological refinements, we can finally raise the question: what is the middle class for Russia? What are its prospects? Is it important for us or, on the contrary, are discussions about it optional and secondary?

It is impossible to answer this without turning to one of the three classical ideologies (including the versions contained in each through the polarities of left and right).

If we take the position of right liberalism, the answer is this: we should not pay attention to the middle class; the most important thing is to secure maximum economic freedom (that is, complete removal of government from business, taxes approximating zero, etc.), and everything will fall into place. Right liberals and consistent globalists are convinced that the growth of the middle class in Russia is not the goal; it is a consequence of the nation’s integration into the global economy, the opening of internal markets for external competition, and the prompt dismantling of an overbearing state.

If we take the position of left liberalism, then our attitude changes substantially. The broadening of the middle class is the number one task for our society, since the successful establishment of capitalism in Russia depends on precisely this, as does its integration into the international community. A small and weak middle class facilitates the degradation of society into “lumpens” and “oligarchs” and indirectly helps nationalistic and socialistic anti-liberal tendencies capture the minds of the population. Social injustice and inequality, the volume of the underclass, and the slow growth of the middle class demand special attention and the execution of goal-directed policies, since the fate of capitalism in Russia is at stake. Again, the struggle for the middle class is a slogan of left liberals. And they are the ones who would most likely focus this topic, since it is the core of their ideological positions.

If we are contemporary Marxists by inertia or conscious choice, then any mention of a middle class must evoke our rage, since this is the ideological platform of the sworn enemies of communism—bourgeois liberals. For communists, the following is correct: the narrower the middle class, the sharper the social contradictions and the more acute the imperative of the class struggle of proletariat against bourgeoisie. Thus, the communist perceives a large lower social strata and underclass against the background of prospering oligarchs as the ideal social picture. For communists, the middle class is a lie, an evil, and its absence or underdevelopment is a chance and window of opportunity for revolution. If some “communist” thinks otherwise, then he is not a communist, but a revisionist and compromiser with the bourgeoisie.

If we are nationalists, then the middle class acquires for us an additional dimension. It is thought of as the skeleton of national society in opposition to the “immigrant underclass” and “foreign-born oligarchy.” This is the peculiar notion of the middle class in the nationalist framework. And the cutting edges of this conception of the middle class are directed against oligarchs (the upper class) and immigrants (the lower class and underclass); the middle class itself is regarded as the national class, i.e. as the Russian class, which includes Russian entrepreneurs, Russian proprietors, the Russian bourgeoisie, etc.

It is impossible to speak of the middle class as such, without adhering (consciously or not) to an ideological position. But since in Russia, according to the constitution, there is no state ideology, theoretically we can interpret the middle class however we want. The fact that this concept has become the center of discussions attests to the fact that in contemporary Russia, by the inertia of the ‘90s and early 2000s, a liberal paradigm prevails. In the absence of a state ideology, liberals nevertheless strive to impose on us their paradigm as dominant.

Let’s conduct a thought experiment: a discussion about the middle class is taking place in a socially significant platform, for instance on one of Russia’s major television stations. Representatives of all possible ideologies of modernity are participating: Russian liberals, Russian communists, and Russian nationalists.

The first, a Russian liberals, would say:

The growth of the middle class and elevation of the level of wealth for the citizens of Russia is the main task of our society and government.

The second, a Russian communist:

Illegal privatization in the ‘90s put national property in the hands of oligarchs; look how our people live in the provinces in poverty and squalor!

The third, aRussian nationalists:

Illegal immigrants are taking jobs from Russians, and they’re all led by Jewish and Caucasian oligarchs. That is a catastrophe for the Russian middle class!

Despite the fact that the viewers might like all three positions, the jury and “respected experts” will, undoubtedly, grant victory to the liberals. For ultimately, we still find ourselves in the condition of the ideological dictatorship of liberalism. This would happen despite the fact that society, recognizing the right of liberal discourse, fully and persistently denies its supremacy and absolute right. (In contrast, for the political elite, liberal dogmas remain sacred and unshakeable.)

From this, we can draw a conclusion: the middle class and discussion about it reflect the ideological order of liberals among Russia’s political and economic elite. If we do not share liberal axioms, then we might not consider this topic at all, or else offer an interpretation (Marxist, nationalistic, etc.) that liberals will vigorously reject.

The Fourth Political Theory: Beyond Class

In conclusion, we can conduct an analysis of the middle class in the context of the Fourth Political Theory. This theory is built on the imperative of overcoming modernity and all three political ideologies in order (the order has tremendous significance): (1) liberalism, (2) communism, (3) nationalism (fascism). The subject of this theory, in its simple version, is the concept “narod,”roughly, “Volk” or “people,” in the sense of “peoplehood” and “peoples,” not “masses.”

In its complex version, the subject of this theory is Heidegger’s category of Dasein. We can say, as an approximation, that narod must be thought of existentially, as the living, organic, historical presence of Russians in a qualitative spatial landscape, in the expanses of Great Russia. But if the subject is the narod and not the individual (as in liberalism), not two antagonistic classes (as in Marxism), and not the political nation (as in nationalism), then all the obligatory elements of the modern picture of the world change. There is no longer materialism, economism, recognition of the fatefulness and universality of the bourgeois revolutions, linear time, Western civilization as a universal standard, secularism, human rights, civil society, democracy, the market, or any other axioms and buzzwords of modernity. The Fourth Political Theory proposes solutions and horizons knowingly excluded by liberalism, communism, and nationalism. (More on this is found in my book The Fourth Political Theory and my new book The Fourth Way.)

On the whole, The Fourth Political Theory, when applied to the problem of the “middle class” says the following:

The transition from caste to estate and from estate to class is not a universal law. This process can occur as it did in modern Western Europe, or it can fail to occur or occur partially, as is happening today in non-Western societies. Hence, the very concept of class as applied to society has a limited applicability. Class and classes can be identified in modern Western European societies, but whether they can replace the caste inequality of the soul and human nature is not at all obvious. Western societies themselves are confident that classes do so. But an existential approach to this problematic can call this into question.

The most important thing is how the human relates to death. There are those who can look it in the face, and those who always have their backs turned to it. But the origins of the social hierarchy, the fundamental distinction between people and the superiority of some to others consists in precisely this. Material conditions are not decisive here. Hegel’s interpretation of Master and Slave is based on this criterion. Hegel thinks that the Master is the one who challenges death, who steps out to encounter it. Acting in this way, he does not acquire immortality, but he acquires a Slave, one who runs from death, lacking the courage to look it in the eye. The Master rules in societies where death stands at the center of attention. The Slave acquires political rights only where death is bracketed and removed to the periphery. So long as death remains in society’s field of vision, we are dealing with rule by the wise and heroic, philosophers and warriors. This is caste society or estate society. But not class society. Where class begins, life ends, and the alienated strategies of reification, objectivation, and mediation prevail.

Hence, the Fourth Political Theory thinks that the construction of society on the basis of the criterion of property is a pathology. The fate of man and narod is history and geography—but in no way economics, the market, or competition.

The Fourth Political Theory rejects class as a concept and denies its relevance for the creation of a political system based on the existential understanding of the narod. Even more so does it reject the concept of the “middle class,” which reflects the very essence of the class approach. The middle class, like the middle (that is, average) person, is a social figure situated at the point of maximal social illusion, at the epicenter of slumber. The representative of the middle class corresponds to Heidegger’s figure of das Man, the generalized bearer of “common sense,” which is subject to no verification or examination. (Das Man is often translated into English as “The They,” in the sense of “They say so-and-so will win the election this year…) Das Man is the greatest of illusions.

The middle, average person is not at all the same as the normal person. “Norm” is a synonym for “ideal,” that to which one should strive, that which one should become. The middle person is a person in the least degree, the most ex-individual of individuals, the most null and barren quality. The middle person isn’t a person at all; he is a parody of a person. He is Nietzsche’s “Last Man.” And he is deeply abnormal, since for a normal person, it is natural to experience horror, to think about death, to acutely experience the finitude of being, to call into question—sometimes tragically insoluble—the external world, society, and relations to another.

The middle class doesn’t think; it consumes. It doesn’t live; it seeks security and comfort. It doesn’t die, it blows out like a car tire (it emits its spirit, as Baudrillard wrote in Symbolic Exchange and Death). The middle class is the most stupid, submissive, predictable, cowardly, and pathetic of all classes. It is equally far from the blazing elements of poverty and the perverted poison of incalculable wealth, which is even closer to hell than extreme poverty. The middle class has no ontological foundation for existing at all, and if it does, then only somewhere far below, beneath the rule of the philosopher-kings and warrior-heroes. It is the Third Estate, imagining about itself that it is the one and only. This is an unwarranted pretension. Modernity and capitalism (in the sense of the universality of the middle class) is nothing more than a temporary aberration. The time of this historical misunderstanding is coming to an end.

Thus, today, when the agony of this worst of possible social arrangements still continues, you must look beyond capitalism. At the same time, we must value and take interest in both what preceded it, the Middle Ages, and in that which will come after it and that which we must create—a New Middle Ages.


Translated by Michael Millerman


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The Inquisition of Inquisition

Bring out the pitchforks – they’ve found more (possible) Nazis in black metal!

 

Bring out the pitchforks – they’ve found more (possible) Nazis in black metal!

Inquisition, a rising star in the scene, has recently come under fire for potential NS associations and their choice of lyrical content.

The Seattle-based band has become one of the more popular acts in the genre. From earning top accolades in mainstream publications like Pitchfork, to opening for more established bands like Behemoth — Inquisition are starting to receive a significantly higher profile than many acts with a similar style.

This can explain why metal outlets are suddenly starting to attack Inquisition for their transgressions into unacceptable territory. The thought that a popular metal band might be Nazis is beyond frightening for these people and is something that desperately needs addressing.

Metal Injection, a popular metal website, reposted and commented on a far-left blogger’s piece who investigated the potential links between Inquisition and National Socialism.

The results: they have a song called “Crush the Jewish Prophet,” they reportedly hailed their tour bus driver for having Nazi tattoos (which convinced a Canadian Indian band to flee black metal altogether), and they’ve done business in the past with record labels renown for anti-Semitism and other dangerous ideas.

The conclusion: they’re probably Nazis and you should refuse to listen to their music.

I eventually decided to delete them from my music library and stop listening to them entirely. I do still find myself asking whether this was necessary. Fascist or white supremacist rhetoric is not central to their message or lyrics, which tend instead to focus on the conventional black metal concern of Satanism as expressed through astrological and cosmological imagery. Perhaps the band is canny enough to realise that openly expressing their views would limit their appeal or get them into trouble; perhaps they ascribe to the wider metal world’s liberal conviction that music is no place for politics. In any case, I usually hold to the idea that it’s OK to enjoy art and media with problematic elements, or which has been created by objectionable or even bigoted artists, as long as we acknowledge those problems and don’t shut down criticism of them. But for me, personally, a line has to be drawn somewhere. Art created by Nazis, fascists and/or white supremacists is on the side of the line I do not wish to set foot in.

And to this blogger, that position is more than an intellectual stance – it sends a message that “hateful” ideas will not be tolerated in black metal. Apparently the genre is in desperate need of creating a “safe space” for subalterns to feel welcome.

While the rhetoric of neo-Nazis and/or white supremacists within black metal is often mainly focused against Jewish people, it is naive to think that violence will be used solely against one group if this rhetoric is tolerated, especially when hatred of marginalised groups such as people of colour, LGBT people and disabled people is accepted even within mainstream society. Even a band like Inquisition that doesn’t openly espouse fascist rhetoric can still cause harm to members of persecuted groups. Gallant’s story shows how Weirbach and Stevens’ open expression of admiration for the Nazis led to the First Nations band Gyibaaw turning away from black metal, closing the door on an opportunity for that group to counter the genre’s overwhelmingly white demographic and tendency to champion or tolerate extreme right views. If we give our money to musicians with fascist leanings, we don’t just support them financially, we send a message to them that their extreme views will not cause them to be criticised, that their views are therefore acceptable. The same act also sends the message to minority groups that we care more about music than about making sure that fascist and white supremacist ideologies are not tolerated or allowed to spread. In a sense, we choose our own enjoyment over people’s safety, over their right to live free from fear of ideologies that call for their destruction.

I urge anyone who cares about making metal a space which is open to and safe for marginalised groups of people to, at the very least, abstain from paying for Inquisition’s albums or live shows. I wouldn’t want to force anyone to stop listening to the band’s music entirely as I have done; this is obviously a matter of personal choice. But please do consider whether it is worth it to add to the popularity of a band that holds these views- not just Inquisition, but any band in black metal or the wider genre who subscribes to fascist, white supremacist or Nazi standpoints. There’s enough excellent music out there being made by musicians who do not align themselves with dangerous, hate-fuelled ideologies.

What is incredibly ironic here is how black metal is a music style that bills itself as hateful, violent and outside of the mainstream of society… but can’t can’t tolerate ideas that are too extreme according to mainstream critics.

However, this policing in the genre isn’t an organic development, but a result of an influx of hipsters and other outsiders becoming more involved in the scene and wanting it to conform to their tastes.

They like the edginess of black metal – just not the fascist elements that make it too edgy for comfort. The author of the piece wants to replace the quasi-fascism with post-modernist leftism that only a few, limp-wristed pseudointellectuals would even understand and support. It basically would become a safe outlet for their own extremist fantasies.

But the vast majority of black metal listeners are attracted to its feral nature and anti-mainstream outlook that allows people with truly radical views to have a place. It’s inherently masculine and violent, but the PC crowd would neuter that attraction and turn the music into just another choice for SWPLs to listen to on down days.

Unfortuanately, their influence is stronger now and Inquisition has been forced to give an interview with Decibel (arguably the largest metal publication in the world now) to state that they’re not National Socialists. The meandering response was done probably to ensure that they stayed on the lineup of their current American tour, which is giving them access to a larger potential fanbase:

So, all this stuff, as controversial as it is, is interesting to me. But it doesn’t mean that I’m out affiliated with a movement that is seeking to physically destroy any type of race, and I’m not out, you know, spreading fliers and propaganda of, you know … “do away with this and do away with that.” If I have done that through Inquisition, it’s a metaphor against religions. Black metal is a symbolic or metaphor of the free will, independent thinking, opening the mind to greater things than just looking straight into the religions of all cultures that men themselves have created. And that’s what it’s about. And national socialism, to a certain degree, is all the opposite of that. All of it. Right? So, I could keep going somewhere down there, but you may have other questions that… could kinda trail onto other things, so I’ll let you do that.

But that hasn’t stopped the attacks. The ex-skinhead tour bus driver who accused them of hailing him for his swastika tattoos did an extensive interview with Decibel as well and spillt more dirt on the band:

As the tour went on I saw Jason interact with people I knew from the past that I knew had direct connections with the Blood And Honor organization (a white power group). I then became suspect of them. I then saw Jason [the frontman of Inquisition] having a discussion about National Socialism and Odinism with a youth. I stood to the side and listened and was convinced Jason was aligned with right-wing extremist ideology…

When I got back on the bus Tom asked a few questions and we started talking about the World Church Of The Creator. Tom started to tell me that he had connections in Everett, Washington. I indicated that I knew guys from Everett. That’s when Jason spoke up. He didn’t say much in that conversation except that he watches Nazi propaganda videos and Triumph Of The Will and loves that stuff and has dreams and fantasies that he wishes that would happen. I’m looking in the mirror and watching Gyibaaw’s [the Indian band on the tour] response and they are scared.

What it all boils down to is that personal thoughts (that are not even reflected in the lyrics) are open for attack and that any random person can fuel a media firestorm against you if you matter enough. This is almost like the Donald Sterling case… except these guys wear corpsepaint and sing about smashing Jesus. The new era of thought police can affect both those who wear suits to work and those who play extreme metal in spikes and leather.

Fortunately, there have been no direct consequences for Inquisition so far besides media smears. They are still on tour with Behemoth and their record label has not indicated any intention of dropping the act from their roster.

It would be a top-down move if Inquisition faced the consequences of any individual in the bourgeois world if they were accused of similar associations. Burzum, Graveland, and Nokturnal Mortum all enjoy strong record sales and critical appreciation in spite of far more explicit NS links.

The vast majority of black metal fans don’t care about their band’s politics and some even have an interest in ideas that go beyond nihilism and misanthropy. The Neo-Nazi movement of today certainly shouldn’t be the end result of that interest, but it can lead to an awakening in white racial consciousness and a desire to be in touch with one’s traditional roots.

Hopefully, Inquisition’s inquisition turns out differently than the typical purge of Western dissidents.

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STIHIE: Libido for the Stupid

In the last decade, the real-state, home-building, and financial industries ran out of enough middle-class buyers to maintain their expansion; they thus looked down market, to a previously untapped pool of “subprime” suckers.   Similarly, as the “higher education” industry recognizes that its certificates can barely guarantee a job folding sweatshirts at the Gap, it, too, is beginning to view the left-quadrant of the Bell Curve as a source of growth.  

A new term should be added to the language.

Emotional Porn
Noun
A form of self-gratification, in which a postmodern White person confuses indulgence in pity or sentimentality with political action.
See Also Upworthy.com, Squee

Exhibit A: “Noah is going to college!”

In the last decade, the real-state, home-building, and financial industries ran out of enough middle-class buyers to maintain their expansion; they thus looked down market, to a previously untapped pool of “subprime” suckers. Similarly, as the “higher education” industry recognizes that its certificates can barely guarantee a job folding sweatshirts at the Gap, it, too, is beginning to view the left-quadrant of the Bell Curve as a source of growth.

And something deeper is at work as well. Americans pride themselves in resisting the two siren songs of totalitarianism: socialism, Marxism, and Leninism, on the left, and fascism, nationalism, and racialism, on the right. America, it is maintained, achieved a glorious “middle-ness,” a free, middle-class society, where government guarantees basic rights and dignities for all.

What this rosy view overlooks is the fact that, for at least the past 50 years, America has pursued a new kind of socialism—one that might be more enduring than the socialism of yore but which is equally unsustainable and equally dependent on myths, lies, and wishful thinking.

Washington is loathe to nationalize an industry; and it has never been willing to redistribute wealth with any seriousness. However, Washington does use its powers and seemingly infinite ability to issue debt to create the semblance of what a society would look like if liberalism and egalitarianism were actually true.

Hence, the government doesn’t nationalize the healthcare industry and provide services to low-income citizens; instead, it organizes an elaborate and unworkable system that putatively helps the poor get health insurance, just like rich people. The government doesn’t directly provide the hungry and needy with provisions; instead it issues EBT cards that allow the poor to pretend that they have credit cards, just like rich people.

Finally, the government doesn’t seek to foster excellence in higher learning; instead, through affirmative-action and the lowering of standards, it creates a parallel universe in which innate cognitive differences and heritability no longer have any effect. Everyone goes to college! And now Noah is going to college!

The average IQ of a person with Down Syndrome is 50; the top one percent have an IQ of 70, according to the Down Syndrome Foundation. Surely, there are ways for such people to live fulfilling and productive lives. To send them to university, however, amounts either to denying the existence of intelligence altogether or else to converting universities into massive day-care centers for every featherless biped with a pulse.

Emotional Porn like “Noah is going to college”—porn that appeals to the American “right” as much as the “left”—gives us a glimpse into America’s peculiar egalitarian imagination, and its libido for the stupid.

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