Note: The Monday Taki post is posted. It is a theme I have explored many times, but that audience seems be a different audience from those here. The Sunday Thoughts podcast is up behind the green door. Lots of conspiracy talk and mild rant about the show trial taking place in Charlottesville.
If it was possible to hold a convention of people who makes some claim to being right-wing, it would be a quite a crowd. Polling consistently shows that about 40% of white Americans identify as conservative. About 20% identify as liberal. The remaining 40% probably lean proportionally. People who claim to be “moderate” are always left-wing, often far-left. On the other hand, people with no interest tend to live right-wing, so it is hard to know for sure how the undocumented fall.
Regardless, the right side of the scale is a crowded place, but there is not much agreement on what it means to be right-wing in America. For example, many of the gentry conservatives would not be caught dead at the same convention as many of the tribes on the Right. These are the people who listen to Ben Shapiro and think the worst people are those hated most by the Left. These are the people who voted against Trump because, well, that is what they were told.
Another group that would hesitate to attend a convention of the Right are the people generally referred to as normies. These are people who think the Democrats are the real racists and Israel is our greatest ally. They get mad over CRT because it is bad for black people and immigrants. They voted for Trump, even though he was accused of being Hitler, because they are sure that he does not see race. These are the civic nationalists who are the majority of the Right.
Just down the road from them is another large group that could be described as the Disgruntled Right. Most used to be in the civic nationalist camp, and most will vote for Trump in 2024, even though they have lost faith in the system. They acknowledge that America has a demographic problem and they oppose immigration, but they still hold out hope that reform is possible. Like the old paleocons, this camp tends to think the nation is headed for a disaster and possibly collapse.
Another large group that is getting larger, mostly drawing from the prior two camps, are the Religious/Traditionalists. These are people who were active in the social conservative scene, but now that it has been overrun with grifters from Conservative Inc., they are going to ground. These could also be called the Rod Dreher conservatives, although most would reject his goofy outlook. This group is looking to recapture an older sense of religious and traditional community.
Those three groups probably comprise 80% of the people who would call themselves right-wing or conservative. Polling does not help, as the polling outfits subscribe to the left-wing view of politics. That is, there are good people chosen by history and then there are evil people who hate history. Even so, the popularity of various figures gives an indication of the crowd sizes. A Christian/Traditionalist guy like Nick Fuentes will draw a big crowd, but not as big as Ben Shapiro.
The remaining 20% has used various labels, none of which have performed all that well over the years. White Nationalism is considered an epithet, mostly because ridiculous people claiming to be white nationalists played the role written for them by the Left over the last half century. Similarly, the term alt-right fell out of favor a few years ago when it became associated with ridiculous people. Both terms also suffered from a lack of definition that opened the door to shenanigans.
Even so, this tribe has persisted over the last 70 years. These people are what should be called the Revanchist Right. They persist throughout the West, so it is a phenomenon that transcends America. These are people who seek to return to some earlier period and have a do-over. They are not romantics, looking to return to a better time, even though they are inspired by the past. Instead, they seek to return to some prior starting point and replay history.
For example, there are revanchists in America who would like to return to the 1950’s and replay the civil rights battles. They don’t want to restore legal segregation, they want to relitigate how it was disassembled. Similarly, there are people who wish to start over from the beginning of the 20th century. They look at American participation in the two great industrial wars as a tragic error. Of course, there are some who would like to start over in the 1930’s and reargue the case for fascism.
From the perspective of political philosophy, the revanchists are the most authentically right-wing because they reject the product of left-wing progress. The conventional right-wing tribes always find some way to accommodate the latest innovations. They also embrace liberal democracy, which the revanchists reject. The revanchists of all types assume a hierarchical society, so they reject the egalitarianism of the modernity, which means they reject the foundations of liberal democracy.
The final tribe of the Right is the Dissident Right. They share many of the aims of the other groups, but they arrive at their conclusions for unique reasons. To be a genuine dissident is to reject the moral philosophy of this age, but also replace it with a moral philosophy rooted in the material reality of nature. For the Dissident, the mysticism of Julius Evola is just as ridiculous as the utopianism of Karl Marx. Philosophy is, for the most part, a form of escapism.
Biologism is not new, and it has been denounced by philosophy for its reliance on accuracy over aspiration but advances in the human science continue to boost the argument for a moral philosophy rooted in biological realty. Psychology, for example, has given way to chemistry in the treatment of mental illness. Evolutionary reality could one day be the antidote to the psychosis of the modern West. While by far the smallest tribe on the Right, the Dissident Right has a future.
The interesting question that perhaps underlies the panic of the Western establishment is where will those large tribes of people migrate to when they become disillusioned with the prevailing orthodoxy. Since the establishment only sees good guys and bad guys and the revanchists are all too happy to don the black hat, it makes sense why they fear the various bogeymen of the revanchist camp. Defenders of liberal democracy frame everything as democracy versus Hitler for this reason.
The bet by Dissidents is that realty still has some role to play in the life of the West and those disgruntled and disillusioned will at least entertain an alternative rooted in the natural reality of mankind. Alternatively, the various tribes of the Right will see that going backwards is not an option, so moving forward into a moral philosophy rooted in natural realty, however imperfect and incomplete, is the only option. In this regard, the Dissident Right is the optimism tribe on the Right.
The important takeaway from this survey of the Right is that the overwhelming majority of the people under a banner on the Right are still attached to the liberal order. They still believe they can vote their way out of the defects of democracy. There is a reason this point of view remains the most compelling. It offers hope. Reality and alternative fantasy have never held up well to the subtle utopianism of liberal democracy. That is a realty of the Right that Dissidents would be wise to explore.
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