Way back during L’affaire Cecil, I was struck by something I saw from friends and foes and that is they set their opinion based on the opinion of others, rather than their own reading of things. John Derbyshire did a few segments on the issue in his broadcasts. The “reaction” from the right was anticipatory as Progressives were slow out of the gate. Once the SJW’s joined the party, there was an echo reaction on the Right. Derb’s revisiting the topic two weeks after his initial reaction is a good example.
My reaction to the reaction was this post where I sort of laid out my views on the lion murderer. I still got a few responses pointing out that I was on the side of the fat angry lesbians who stalk bad thinkers on-line. Some people simply can’t find themselves on the same side of an issue with the black hats, not matter what the facts may dictate.
I’ve been thinking about that for a while now. There’s something about it that bugs me. It’s the same vibe I get when reading the neo-reactionary guys. Just the term “neo-reactionary” bugs me. The term “reactionary” has been an epithet used by the Left since the 18th century. It implies an irrational response, not a logical one and certainly not a dispassionate one.
My opinion on the lion murderer was neither passionate nor irrational. It certainly was not reactionary as I held those same opinions before I ever heard of the lion murderer or his victim. If someone had asked me ten years ago about what I thought about big game hunting, I’d have said most of the same things. I would have said the same thing about a theoretical someone who boasted of killing animals in order to scandalize people. In other words, I came to those opinions without regard to who was on which side.
I have no interest in re-litigating the Cecil issue, as the cool kids would say. It’s just a handy reference point. I’m an anti-reactionary. By that I mean my opinions about the world are independent of alternative views. I think what I think about the Cult of Modern Liberalism based on what I know about it and what I know about human nature. If the Cult of Modern Liberalism did not exist, I’d still hold the same opinions about humanity.
The fundamental flaw of the modern Right, and certainly of the neo-reactionaries, is to give the Cult of Modern Liberalism what amounts to a heckler’s veto over their mental landscape. If the Left is deciding where the Overton Window is, for example, they control the debate. Any reaction must take place within that window and that’s a loser on every level.
You see this with the recent spree shootings. The deranged white kid shoots up a black church and the entire debate is about whether or not it is emblematic of white racism. A black lunatic shoots a couple of white coworkers and the debate is about whether racism drove him to do it. Ideologies built on a reaction to the Left are forever locked into debating issues chosen by the left on the terms of the Left.
It’s why the Left has marched steadily through the culture for the last fifty years. They have been handed the agenda, knowing their opposition will only react to whatever they are doing. The most obvious example of that is the Muslim Wars in the Bush Years. The Left rallied its anti-war elements, locking the Conservatives into a pro-war position that was irrational and self-defeating.
The anti-reactionary alternative is on display with Trump in the GOP primary. For all his faults, Trump is his own man and he has his own opinions about how to do things. In contrast, the 17 other candidates have built their entire political resumes in opposition to the Cult of Modern Liberalism. Their positions, career choices and priorities are all about what they think the Left will think of them. They are not men; they are shadows.
It’s not an alpha male versus beta male thing, although that’s a related topic. What plagues the modern Right is that they have no reason to exist other than as the Left’s nagging old lady. Some new fad sweeps the fever swamps of the Left and conservatives are right there to lecture everyone about the foolishness of it. That’s fine, but Osama bin Laden was right people. Given the choice between the strong horse and the weak horse, people pick the strong horse. Given the choice between the cad and his nagging old lady, people take the cad.
We live at an unusual crossroads culturally. The Left’s internal contradictions may very well be tearing it to pieces. Its solution to being at odds with human nature is a cultivated paranoia that encourages escalating internal warfare. This time black women take the mic away from Bernie Sanders. The next time they take away Bernie. A mass movement based on revenge has to end in disaster.
The logical alternative, however, is not an alternative. The Modern Right defines itself in opposition to the Left. As the Left collapses, it will take all its reactionary dance partners with it. What will fill the void will be the strongest anti-reactionary movement left standing. Whether that is the Gucci populism of Donald Trump or something else, I don’t know, but something will fill the void.