I ended my last post imagining a Politics as to the Alt-Right as New Wave was to Punk, a politics with a returned emphasis on beauty and creativity to follow a destructive, Dionysian splurge; a politics of renaissance and renewal. This I referred to as the hard-work of recreating, or replacing, the institutions eroded by liberalism.
In broad strokes, what is my vision for this reconstruction?
Blogger and former British National Party, member Claire Khaw has described my vision an attempt to reinvent the wheel, and claims the more sensible route would be a traditionalist return to religion (Khaw herself advocates something called Secular Koranism). With all respect to Khaw as an innovative thinker and biting social critic, I believe my vision, reinventing the wheel or not, is in fact a more practical approach–Western Culture and technologies being what they are– than introducing a conservative Religion (and one entirely counter to the basic individualist Western spirit at that!). But Khaw hits the nail on the head when she points out that what I’m calling for is something that could play the same role in society that religion once did. I would call for a politics that, like religion, leaves a healthy space outside the totalitarianism of reason (of which, as I argued in my last post, liberal universalism is one manifestation). My vision goes back to Nietzsche’s “Death of God”, and his exhortation for us to move on from myths and create our own subjective systems of meaning and value — a movement which the West has up-to-now failed to make, having opted to instead to replace Christianity with egalitarianism (another slave morality, and even worse: one without any ideal of Divinity at its center ).
In the society I envision, aesthetics would play the role that religion played in traditional societies. I would advocate a nationalism based not so much on ethnicity, religion, or traditional conceptions of Nation (e.g. Americanism), but first and foremost on aesthetics. Religion, ethniticity, and cultural/historical nationalism could and would be be approached with realism- this isn’t liberalism!– but the overriding symbolic culture would be first-foremost aesthetic in nature.
What aesthetics in particular you might ask? Like the Alt-right, I am fond of the hauntological . Hauntology is a portmanteau of the words “haunt” and “ontology” coined by cultural Marxist Jacques Derrida after the fall of the Soviet Union, to describe an aesthetic which captures the melancholy “lostness” of socialist egalitarian futures that could have been, and insodoing resurrect the dead Marxist spirit in the present (The past inside the present… Boards of Canada anyone?). Counter-Currents writers Christopher Pankhurst and James J. O’Meara have argued, however, that “hauntological could also be used to describe an analogous reactionary aesthetic which reflects on the melancholy decline of western civilization, and galvanizes the observer to bring about Renaissance. As Pankhurst writes in his excellent Counter Currents article on the subject:
“In fact, when you think about it, hauntology is already an implicitly Right-wing exercise in essence. Consider the notion of lost futures mentioned earlier. This sense that culture is drifting without any sense of progression, that the very notion of a possible future is receding, is exactly what you would expect to find at the end of a civilizational cycle.”
This isn’t just the elitist fancy of a high-IQ Counter Currents writer either: hauntological aesthetics have played a role in the Alt-Right from the very beginning, most notably in its brilliant appropriation of the hauntological meme and music genre vaporwave, known as “fashwave”. I take this a step further by suggesting that this sort of aesthetic should not merely be a strategy by which a reactionary force gains cultural ground, but that those aesthetic should be, in themselves, that force’s first and foremost political project.
Imagine an archeo-futuristic sub-culture whose productions were so aesthetically pleasing as to out-compete (or out-meme) the twin anathemas of liberal-universalism and global capitalism, and become not a sub-culture but the dominant culture. Imagine too that the aesthetics alone of this nationalism could could serve as its organizing principle: that something sufficiently aesthetically pleasing would be chosen by people on their own volition, no “re-education”, no violence. You say I’m a dreamer… but it is important to dream, and as long as we do not, the dreamer’s on the left will have there way.
My own pet-name for this notion is Neon-Nationalism, but I cannot really call myself its inventor. I am only trying to describe and encourage a phenomenon I see as already existing. My primary points of reference are bloggers associated with Robert Stark’s Podcast “The Stark Truth” who take the anti-liberal/red-pilled understanding of human dynamics and rather than drawing from a desire to “turn back the hands of time” per se, apply them in a radically creative (dare I even say “progressive”?) manner. Take for example: the eccentric vision of my good friend Pilleater, and his post-ironic conception of “Asian Aryianism”, or the alternative futurism of Brandon Adamson. But perhaps the most credit should be given to Robert Stark himself, and especially his novel “The Journey to Vapor Island“. The novel focuses on Noam Metzenbaum, a deeply troubled Elliot Rodger-type, who from his place of delta-male misery looks up to Presidential Candidate Roger Blackstone: an eccentric businessman, and Nietzschian Ubermensch figure , who pitches a political-spectrum defying politics of aesthetics, that is as anti-capitalist as it is crypto-fascist. Blackstone rallies people to his cause with the promise of a Utopian society filled with beautiful architecture and beautiful people. In a nod to the Trumpian moment in American politics, Blackstone’s message is readily received by those tired of the stagnant mire of mainstream politics, and willing to throw there lot in with an authoritarian leader if it means achieving actual aesthetic progress to lift them out of the atomized, ugly, world.
Stark refers to his own politics (and those he gives to Blackstone) as Aristocratic Individualism, and I would suggest that Aristocratic Individualism and Neon Nationalism are closely related concepts. If Society were to be united and structured around aesthetic concepts, after all, then who would be its elites, but the culture creators? An aristocratic individualist class. More on this, perhaps, at a later point.
In her book “Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4Chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right”, Angela Nagle argues that the aesthetic style of the Alt-Right was for decades, starting with the counter-culture of the sixties, much more closely aligned with the hegemony of the American Left than the traditionalist Right. She argues that throughout time this transgresive/aesthetic spirit has landed on one side of the political spectrum or the other more or less by historical accident, but that in all cases it is a reaction against a certain pervasive “Instrumental Rationality”. As I have argued, the current American left, with “SJW” cultural Marxism, has entered a totalitarian phase where it attempts to subsume everything into its rational construction of egalitarianism, leaving no room for aesthetic expression, or the sublimation of our baser, more animal nature. In this way, the left has become like older versions of conservatism. The American Right used to be– and to a large extent, still is– associated with instrumentalist, Capitalist, aesthetics– super Wal-Marts, Fast food, and Megachurches– and the Left used to be the party for the more artistically inclined. But as liberal universalism has reached a totalitarian phase, it has become the enemy of free aesthetic expression, and a Bohemian Right is rising up to take the place once held by the Bohemian Left. The aesthetics of this Bohemian Right are quite different than those of the old American “cuckservatives” looking back well-past the sort of hackneyed Protestant ideal that those aesthetics glorified to a more trans-western, timeless, and deeply aesthetically pleasing spirit of Western individualism and beauty. Alt-Right aesthetics look back to Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and the other great triumphs of Western civilization (and toward the future too!).
The alt-rights strength has always been in its aesthetics. Not alarmist “red-pill dropping” campaigns like that of Patrick Little or Paul Nehlen, and certainly not anyone who would actually advocate violence, but the esoteric call of Shadilay! Contrary to perceptions outside the alt-right the aesthetics and memes the movement deals are not just Trojan Horses used as a means to infiltrate liberal or normie-friendly spaces, but part-and-parcel of the movements platform itself. The alt-right could be described as a Utopian right: a right which reestablishes Beauty and Triumph at its center.
In my next article, I will discuss how this sort of Neon Nationalism can manifest itself as a subculture and win over large factions of the “SWPL” white bourgeoisie.