Edwin Dyga, author of the forthcoming “Anarcho-Tyranny – Here and There” in the December issue of Chronicles magazine, has written about the state of conservative politics in the Anglosphere. It’s published in Quadrant, one of Australia’s leading culture/opinion periodicals.
The passage which will probably be of most interest to you is this, which discusses the only opening the right finds itself, having found its principles outside the acceptable boundaries of speech:
It does not take a stretch of the imagination to understand why establishment conservatism has largely lost the Culture Wars, even if it does not (or refuses to) realise it. Indeed, it is perhaps this defeat which feeds the lack of faith and dampens the assertiveness of conservatives in modern political discourse. Moreover, the evident lack of faith may be interpreted as a collective subconscious admission of ultimate failure in the face of an energised opponent’s incessant agitation in the cultural arena. There being no effective voice of opposition to leftist advance, the electoral centre drifts towards the point of greatest gravitational pull: progressivism. Thus, as the “mainstream” parties of the centre-right court electoral support among this ever-leftward-shifting political centre, those who do not accept the inevitability of the progressive worldview withdraw into the periphery, and as is often the case, radicalise on their journey. Yesteryear’s honest conservative becomes today’s “reactionary” almost by default. As a result, much of what passes for robust and principled opposition to cultural Marxism today seems to come from outside the political establishment: the Sidestream.
Dyga reinforces this point with quotes that could be taken from the NRx boilerplate critique:
“Remember how conservatives use to laugh at and rail at political correctness?” asked US conservative activist Elizabeth Wright in September 2010. “Now, they’re the ones who don’t want to be depicted as ‘incorrect’.” Such a mindset renders an authentic conservatism largely impossible—that is, a conservatism driven by principle, not merely an attitude to preserve the status quo by streamlining the achievements of yesteryear’s radical vanguard. Indeed, the “establicon” boast at being the most competent at managerial efficiency and fiscal economism actually underscores its fundamental incompetence at reversing the leftist advance in the cultural arena. This of course makes the mainstream “Right” no less an obstacle to halting leftist advance than the official leftists they purportedly oppose. As Fabian Tassano comments in Mediocracy (2006):
The true test of an ideology’s hegemony is the degree to which its enemies feel they can criticise it only on its terms, or oppose it only by relinquishing their original principles. In this way, mediocracy’s would-be opponents become implicit defenders of the status quo.
The shape of the critique is probably familiar because Dyga’s been reading the same authors that you probably have:
This is particularly true among the young members of what is sometimes also referred to as the “Orthosphere” (perhaps best exemplified by the work of James Kalb) or the “Neo Reactionary” movement (chiefly popularised by the work of Curtis Yarvin). Their critique has gone beyond that of paleoconservatives, who see the contest within the political establishment as a battle between two wings of liberalism: laissez faire, globalist neo-liberalism on the nominal Right and statist, neo-Marxist social democracy on the Left, both of which paleoconservatives view as corrosive to traditional society and the complex identities and liberties of its constituents. Neo-reactionaries of the Orthosphere broadly agree with this assessment, however they seem to be forming a critique of modern liberalism that is both oppositional to the status quo as much as it also affirms a positive worldview centred on notions of traditional identity. Some of these notions involve a regionalist local patriotism and the celebration of men and women as distinct, complementary sexes. This “identitarian” view is favoured over the abstract universalism of utopian “one-worlders” who see everything traditionalists value as mere “social constructs” to be bureaucratically redesigned at will.
I have almost no Australian readers, and I’ve only spent a single summer there as a youth, so I’m not personally familiar enough with what’s going on down there — not nearly as informed as I am about the development of UKIP in the UK. Dyga writes about Cory Bernardi as an Australian politician who is unusual in that he “[addresses] the issue of sex and gender from an explicitly non-feminist position,” which would be nearly unimaginable in America, even among the people who would be considered religious fundamentalists.
Even Evola, Jack Donovan, Guillaume Faye, and Rollo Tomassi gets mentions. There’s something for everyone in this one.
The author gives a particularly fair shake to the ethno-nationalist strain that you wouldn’t expect from a mainline journal:
For the domestic policy analyst, the result of this liberal hypocrisy should be obvious: a “society” where certain groups are permitted strong identitarian attitudes but do not necessarily share in the historical legacies of the host, and a host which is effectively subordinated and deracinated of any sense of unique corporate personality.
Is Australia on a better course than we’ve given it credit for previously?
I even like how kangaroos taste and would eat a koala if it was served to me. Rugby is also obviously a more masculine game than American football, in the latter’s obsession with absurd plastic armor and finicky rules.
Dygra closes with this relevant nugget:
The success of the Sidestream, whether it’s the US Tea Party, reactionary political groups in Europe, or the general growth of the online orthosphere, is fed by mainstream conservatism’s refusal to address certain controversies for fear of offending modern politically correct sensibilities.
This is mostly true. In America, due to the particularity of our party system, it’s not possible for democracy to staunch the bleeding properly with a UKIP-style party. We have a winner-take-all system that heavily discriminates against alternative parties down to the most local levels of government.
Turning the country ‘purple’ like Nigel Farage is likely to do is not possible in the US.
For this reason, I have more hope for the US than I do for the UK and Australia: our democracy is more brittle, has less historical continuity, and is less capable of responding to rapid changes in public opinion. It’s more likely to fracture.
In the US, we don’t have as stringent speech controls as the rest of the Anglosphere or Europe– that’s out-sourced to the private sector and the roaming mobs of SJWs hunting for people to have thrown out of their jobs.
Where I have to depart with our correspondent in putting hope in politicians:
Economic and fiscal reform may be important, but bean-counting ennui is hardly something that inspires a people. Whether a political movement is a party seeking office or a grass-roots organisation, it needs to inspire not only to survive but to succeed in the market place of ideas. If the Coalition’s base is something more than just a motley collection of anti-Labor interests, if it in fact represents something more than just an alternative style of governance, then politicians like Bernardi should be sought out, their principled opposition to modern liberalism fostered within party ranks, and their vision incorporated as an essential component of tomorrow’s political conservatism. Failure to do so will almost certainly result in their becoming “vehicles for a progressive agenda”, evidence of which can already be witnessed today.
Although it’s perhaps harder to see in parliamentary systems with a great deal of historical continuity, at least in the US, I have to disagree with the correspondent.
In the particular situation of the US, it’s better to bite down, hang on, and prepare for the end of the current political arrangement, which is un-reformable as constituted currently. Our situation is different both quantitatively and qualitatively, even though we share a language and a great deal of history with the UK, Australia, Canada, and the rest of the former colonies. Australia has a population of all of 23 million people, and most of the physical territory is empty.
In the area of the US in which I grew up, the equivalent of Australia’s entire population is accessible on a train ride that takes less than two hours at peak traffic.
Here, the entire effort needs to go into what Dyga calls the ‘Sidestream’ — because all expenditures towards supporting democratic politics wind up captured by the left. It feeds money and people into the progressive maw rather than harming the beast.