All hegemonic systems of value have an expiration date, and that of liberal universalism is fast approaching.
For decades the liberal crusade for equality went about deconstructing every institution with which the average person could orient their Identity, calling into question the unstated premises at the heart of these institutions, and highlighting their “myth” character, as well as the inequality masked or “naturalized” by those premises– preferring a “nurture over nature” explanation of every hierarchy existing within society. Its late and final stage– cultural-Marxist, millennial, “SJW”, Identity politics– brings the universalist doctrine into a totalitarianism by extending its egalitarian logic to the fullest extreme, suggesting every inequality is the result of a “social construct”, and vowing to “deconstruct” such inequality wherever it can possibly find it. In doing so it has brought to the West a pandemic crisis of gender, sexual, racial, and national identity, responses to which we should only expect to grow more volatile and polarized.
The totalitarianism of late-stage liberalism, and its post-modern critical weaponry, have proved to be a double-edged sword, however. By leaving no space outside its tight, egalitarian, logic, late-stage liberalism has certainly indoctrinated a substantial and die-hard following, but it has also created an ever-growing group who detest the world it is bringing about, and, unable to penetrate the egalitarian logic leading to its conclusions, instead dare to attack its central premise: that universal equality is, in the first place, a moral imperative. Further, this ever-growing group is armed with the very critical, weaponry that was used against it for decades; for though they may never have wanted it, the post-modern epistemological paradigm has reached them too, and just as liberal universalism fancied itself as seeing through socially constructed character of race and gender, this group sees clearly through the socially constructed character of liberal universalism: a civilizing, and I do think overly-civilizing, myth for a multicultural society.
This ever growing mass is a novel coalition, a set of interrelated groups who have found themselves left behind by liberal-universalist hegemony and its economic-bedfellow, global capitalism. A precariat formed as much by non-immigrants who see their economic and cultural future threatened by the global free-market, as by a set of college-age misfits who see their social and sexual futures threatened by the pseudo-utopian, social freemarket that is late-liberal society. I am speaking of course, of that collective whose consciousness was memed out of its slumber–the “alt-right”–but also a broader, and indeed global, groundswell of populists and social-discontents: an ice-berg of which the American alt-right is just the tip.
Much has, and could be, written about the universal alienation wrought by global capitalism, but in this blog I will focus more on liberalism: what I take to be the cultural hegemony, that, at least since the 80’s, has fallen into the service of global capitalism (the left won the culture war and the right had its way with economic policy, they say… the modern West is a product of this noxious hybrid… (what was ever more exciting, politically, than to fully revolt against the powers that be? Oh to be economically left, and socially right!)
How has contemporary liberalism failed? Like all philosophies, political or otherwise, liberalism is but a lens through which to view reality: a lens which captures some things, but leaves much out. Liberalism captures and criticizes historical systems of oppression, but in its historicizing of everything, forgets a more basic and timeless fact about human nature: the primacy of the need for man to manifest himself sexually and socially. Every man experiences this drive– this “will to power” in Nietzsche’s terms– with respect to his own life, regardless of his position of historical privilege. In its historicization of everything, however, liberalism massages this drives in everyone except the white male (or more specifically, to everyone except the white in as far as they are white, and the male in as far as he is male). The number of things that can stymie the will to power are myriad, some of them rootable to concrete historical occurrences (e.g. the white subalternization of blacks), and many others more clearly stemming from deeper-seated evolutionary factors (e.g. the success of taller men relative to their shorter counterparts), but in its historicization of everything, liberalism can only address the former, and so lacks even the vocabulary to talk about the unique struggles, and political destinies, of the groups it deems “privileged”.
With this failure, however liberalism has, to borrow from Marx, “spawned its own gravedigger”. White westerners will find empowerment, pride, and political enfranchisement by one means if not another, just as any sexual being will find one sexual outlet if not another. If the only political factions willing to offer this vital nourishment for the ego seem to be fascists, then we should not be surprised when we see a rise in fascism–if the ego is starved, the most vicious aspects of the id will thrive. Relegating the role a certain kind of person can play to “ally” will never succeed, any more than cuckoldry will ever be suitable as a lifelong sexual outlet. By nature we want to spread our ideas and our seed, and bear fruit. No rational construction of language—political and moral philosophies are nothing but—will stop us.
Good civilization structures itself around organizational institutions, myths, and cultural outlets which maximize cooperation between competing “wills to power”, and imbue them with a sense of purpose by applying them toward creative ends whilst sublimating their destructive side. The institutions deconstructed by liberalism existed in the first place, I argue, as responses to this forgotten understanding of human nature. Marriage and the patriarchal family, for example, was an institution in which a man could orient his Identity as a man and as a father—sublimating even his basest sexual instinct through the erotic expenditure of bearing and raising children. In the post-sexual-revolution age this kind of arrangement has become harder to come by, and male erotic energy has become an uncaged beast. Based on this, do I advocate a full-scale return to “traditional gender roles”? Not necessarily. I merely mean that we must be realistic about the purpose they served in the first place, and go about replacing them with some equivalent, social infrastructure suitably based on biological reality.
The question I leave with is: how do we re-sublimate our energies into nobler pursuits than those we see in, say, the darkest corners of 4chan, or that came out in the worst moments of Charlottesville? How might we go about not merely criticizing liberalism, but doing the harder work of rebuilding (or replacing!) the institutions it eroded?
To take a metaphor from the history of popular music, I envision a politics that is to the Alt-Right as New Wave was to Punk: a reintroduction of harmony after a discordant, destructive, splurge. Remember, Johnny Rotten and Siouxsie Sioux were the first western youths to troll with Swastikas…. Joy Division’s debut EP featured member of the Hitler Youth on its sleeve, but Joy Division eventually became New Order.
A brave new political world is dawning, one that calls for brave post-liberals. We must have the political courage to think beyond the confines of liberalism, but the moral courage to sublimate the darkest elements of our thought into something positive, rather than negative. I believe we will find our truest happiness when our politics, sexuality, spirituality, and creativity are all in harmony. This blog is a documentation of my personal search for that harmony, and I hope it has something to offer you as well.