Imagine you and a group of your friends come up with what you think is a revolutionary way to improve the world. You’re so sure it is great idea, you and your buddies decide to overthrow the government so you can implement your idea. Now, even assuming your revolutionary idea is legitimate, that is a terrible way to go about changing the world. You and your band of nobodies lack the numbers and the moral authority to take over the government. The most likely result is you get arrested and locked away in a padded cell.
Now, a more rational way of putting your brilliant idea into action is for you and your group to go out and start telling people about it. In a prior age, this meant handing out fliers and knocking on doors to spread the good word. In the current age, you can start a social media campaign and create a YouTube channel, where you post informative videos on your brilliant idea. Maybe someone with a big following on-line notices your efforts and joins the cause. Perhaps someone of importance gets interested in your ideas.
The point of raising awareness and getting people involved in your movement is to increase your numbers. One reason your plot to overthrow the state failed in the first paragraph is you lacked the numbers. If you get a million people to sign onto your cause, then you have a chance. Not only that, when it comes to changing minds, quantity has a quality of its own. People are much more open minded to an idea that has a big following than one held by a tiny fringe group. Human beings are social animals.
On the other hand, numbers alone are not enough. Your revolution in paragraph one, also failed because you still lack moral authority. In a country of 300 million, a million strong movement is still pretty small. The state will feel justified in using extreme force against you and your movement if they see you as a threat. Numbers are not the only reason you failed. The people in charge could operate in the knowledge that most people see them as the legitimate power in the country. Therefore, they can squash all threats.
Revolutions succeed because the prevailing order lost its moral authority. Even though the numbers that oppose them are small, the lack of moral authority means no one is willing to risk much to defend the status quo. The lack of legitimacy is why governments fall, religions collapse and cultures collapse. The Bolsheviks did not succeed because they had a better set of tactics or a plausible alternative. They toppled the Czar because the one thing everyone agreed upon is the old order had to go. Anything had to be better.
That means you and your band of revolutionaries from paragraph one don’t really need a manifestly brilliant idea to change the world. If the prevailing orthodoxy has lost its legitimacy, even a mediocre alternative is enough. If you examine successful revolutions, the alternative on offer is usually quite vague and, in the end, totally impractical. It was more of a sunny vision, a promise for a better day, than a fully considered alternative moral order. It was just something that felt better than the discredited status quo.
The point of all this is that in the current crisis, the job of the dissidents is to build numbers and delegitimize the prevailing order. When the alt-right got full of themselves and decided to it was time to start the revolution, they were squashed like a bug. The reason was they lacked the numbers and they had done nothing to undermine the moral authority of the people in charge. To most white people, the riot in Charlottesville looked like a bunch of fringe weirdos making a nuisance of themselves. They deserved what they got.
Ultimately, revolutions that matter start with the small group in paragraph one and slowly grow into a larger group. That was true of the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks and the Iranian revolutionaries. It was true of the American revolutionaries. The small group grew into a larger group and then it became a sub-culture. Finally, it blossomed into a counter-culture that provided a home for the whole man, not just the revolutionary. Dissidents in America are in the sub-culture phase or possibly in the early phases of becoming a counter-culture.
Another aspect of successful revolutions is they are short on concrete ideas. Detailed plans can be analyzed and critiqued. Vague promises cannot. Let’s face it, that’s one reason Trump won in 2016. His promises sounded good, mostly because they lacked specificity. They were aspirations, not policies. That means the people spending their days working out the new legal code for the ethno-state are wasting their time. The timeless principles of today are just the rules instituted by the winners, after they won.
There are two recent examples American dissidents should study. The first is the Evangelical movement that started in the 1970’s as a response to the cultural revolution of the 1960’s. They had unassailable principles and specific policy goals that arose from those principles. They had great organic organizations, their churches. They had money and manpower. They also focused on one party, hoping to make the GOP the counter to the Left. By the 80’s, the Evangelicals were a powerful political force.
They also failed to accomplish any of their goals. Their top issue was abortion, specifically rolling back Roe. They lobbied hard to get their guys into office and on the bench so they could get that ruling overturned. They had zero success. In fact, it is hard to find any aspect of the culture war they were able to win. If you had told Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson in the 70’s that their efforts would still mean gay marriage and trannies stalking little girls in public toilets, they probably would have lost their faith entirely.
The reason they lost is they engaged the ruling class on their terms. The Evangelicals agreed to play by the rules set by the ruling class. This ultimately meant supporting the ruling class institutions, like the political rules and the party system. Those things are designed to preserve the current order. In effect, the Evangelicals agreed from the start to defend and support the prevailing order. It was inevitable that their efforts would only lead to more of the same, because they agreed to all of the assumptions of the prevailing order.
Another useful example is the NRA. Starting around the same time as the Evangelicals entered politics, the NRA decided to change direction. They became apolitical, supporting only candidates that were pro-gun. They stopped arguing about the efficacy of gun control as a crime fighting tool and started arguing about gun culture as a vital part of American culture. The NRA shifted from political debates, to moral debates and captured the high ground by linking gun rights to patriotism and basic America concepts of liberty.
This is why the fight over guns has been the one exception in the culture war. The Left tried hard to capture the high ground, usually by standing on the bodies of dead kids, but they failed because the NRA always fights to hold the moral high ground. They never conceded the premise or the moral framework of the debate. When the Left says they wants guns off the streets because of the children, the NRA says they wants guns in the hands of parents, so they can protect their children and themselves.
The lesson for our thing is to first understand where we are in the process. Our job right now is to grow our numbers by promoting about our ideas. Part of doing that is taking every opportunity to undermine the other side’s moral authority. Just as important, it means developing a genuine alternative to the moral order. A counter-culture has its own ethos, which means its own media, its own language and its own comedy. That last part is important, because what we mock speaks directly to what we believe.
Revolutions feel like they happen overnight but they are the culmination of a long process that starts before the vanguard is out of diapers. The 60’s radicals would never have existed without the Beatniks and the drug culture. The Jacobins would not have existed without the salon culture that had developed in Paris. Radical politics are born of a counter-culture that provides the basis of an alternative moral order. For there to be right-wing radicals tomorrow, we must build the right-wing counter-culture today.
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