‘The Far-Left’, ‘The Far-Right’ and The Decline of the West

Jun 2016
85
A Shell of Steel
‘The Far-Left’, ‘The Far-Right’ and The Decline of the West

Are the ideas of the ‘far-left’ or the ‘far-right’ the inheritors and continuators of the Western philosophical tradition? The answer is, perhaps oddly, that both are.

Plato puts into the mouth of Socrates the injunction ‘Do good to friends and do harm to no one’. He also teaches that the one who is just should put justice into the souls of others. These ideas are spread over a number of his works, notably Protagoras and Gorgias. While there are certainly grounds for argument over what Plato actually intends as his doctrine, whether in reference to his entire corpus or indications of esotericism in his doctrine, what is important is that these ideas have entered into the philosophical tradition.

Alternately there is the teaching of Homer which holds that prowess, great deeds and one’s ancestry is that which is admirable. Even the teaching of Aristotle holds a doctrine which holds that some are slaves by nature, and that the best and happiest man is one of sufficient power and excellence to be magnanimous which made them both deserving of praise and justified in a natural pride.

Ancillary connections to the Western philosophical tradition should suffice indicate how these ideas might develop over time, for example the entrance of Christianity into Europe which extolled virtues of charity and compassion, alternately both defence and encomiums made on behalf of aristocracy and monarchy or the formulation of Social Darwinist ideas. Add to this equation the French Revolution, its predecessors, supporters and critics, the early Utopian Socialists and the Conservative Revolutionary Movement in Germany and you will be gravitating much closer to the present state of ideas.

But there is a deeper issue at stake in the future of the West which, perhaps oddly for some, is rather the concern of those labelled ‘far-right’, though the far-left is deeply implicated. Since at least the late 19th century, what is called in cultural history the Fin de Siècle (and arguably earlier), there was in Europe a concern with the degeneration of the people and the culture. The reasons given for this perceived degeneration are multiple and sometimes not mutually exclusive. They can include rapid urbanization, loss of religion belief and with it self-certainty, an excess of luxury giving rise to lethargy and decadence. It was as an heir to these ideas that Oswald Spengler, a Conservative Revolutionary thinker and formulator of national socialist ideas, wrote that, in light of a theory that civilizations were akin to living organisms, Western Civilization was reaching the end of its natural lifespan.
The issue facing the West is generally taken as something deeper today and often posed as a conflict between forces which stand, knowingly or not, either for the bolstering of an unjust system or an active force try to corrupt and undermine a culture and a people. These are crude characterisations of the ‘far-left’ and the ‘far-right’ respectively. (Note that I put ” around ‘far-left’ and ‘far-right’ partly because neither might accept either the denotation of left/right and partly because what is considered extreme can change depending on generally accepted discourse.)

I want to now address why I said above that there is an issue for the future of the West which concerns the ‘far-right’, because to some it might seem particularly strange as the ideas circulating in that cultural sphere are even more remote for the average person than those circulating on the left.

First, the image of the West is in some ways naturally conservative, because it denotes history and traditions which are to some degree crystallized in the past and would be out of a kind of reverence progressed today rather than abandoned for the sake of alternate ideas and traditions. This is also why some are being labelled as right-wing who do not believe the label to be accurate (for example because they proclaim that they support Enlightenment ideas or Classical Liberalism).

Then there is the conception and concomitant value placed on power. Every organism, people, society, and civilization must possess some degree of power if it is to survive, flourish, or succeed in attaining its ends. This includes the power or ability to obtain and consume resources, the power to influence others, and so on. This is not unique to either the left or the right.

The crux of the matter lies in the way power is evaluated by the opposing political and philosophical doctrines as well as in a formulation of natural right. Again, for the sake of brevity, to give a very crude and perhaps misleading formulation of the difference, the conception of natural right on the left would be more akin to the doctrine of human rights, that everyone has the right to life and liberty, but also to not be taken advantage of or oppressed which would be a breach of justice. On the right, and by the right I mean the ‘far-right’, the notion of justice would be something more akin to might-makes-right. In order to give that more nuance, the position does not necessarily have to hold that one is ‘justified’ by might, but rather only sees that, by nature, it is only through the power or ability to attain something that one can achieve it at all, and so that power or ability is valued in itself, and calls of injustice would only be sublimated expressions of a will-to-power which uses inverted values to attain goods from the one with the natural power or ability to obtain the desired good in the first place.
So how does this pertain to the current state of Western Civilization and feudal politics (some may already have been able to connect the dots)? The short answer is that there is a conflict being waged over the inheritance of that civilization, particularly on material terms, but even on the level of culture wherein particularly classic expressions of Western culture are held to be inherent expressions of various injustice, and new cultural expressions are advocated as being more just, inclusive, or however you will express it.

But if I trace the ideas of the ‘far-left’ to the Western tradition, how can their ascendancy indicate a death of the civilization which is the bearer of that tradition? The answer is twofold. First, the redistribution of material inheritance to parties which stand outside or opposed to that tradition means stripping Western Civilization of its material base. Second, the devaluation of that tradition by its reinterpretation as inherently unjust and the replacement of cultural forms with expressions or representations foreign to that tradition (including peoples, as in a cultural product the people become a signifier), the tradition would incrementally be replaced by something else (i.e. something outside of that civilization).

This is where I will conclude the post. My intention in writing it was to explain the oppositions taking place and indicate the grounds being fought over.
 
Jun 2016
85
A Shell of Steel
The original impetus for this post was randomly stumbling upon this document, which as far as I can tell is an argument between some members of antifa and third-worldist communists on facebook over a bad review given by an antifa member of a book called Settlers by J. Sakai which criticizes the American working class. Of course I haven't read the book but I believe the criticism is that the American working class has been complicit in the opression of Native Americans, blacks and other minorities and so is unlikely to take part in any true and meaningful revolution which unifies races. That's just what I gather from the description and the conversation in the document.

I originally intended to work it into the post but it didn't work out that way. I thought that argument between two groups on the 'far-left' emphas demonstrated some of the issues bubbling beneath our society and perhaps their internal contradictions. I was also fairly concerned with describing the far right position because it seems like many, even and perhaps especially it's critics, don't understand it. I don't think I did a particularly thorough job in that regard but I hopefully indicated an important core difference in the opposing philosophies.
 
Dec 2018
113
North Dublin
I should think they are two applications of politics to office & that "Zendrizm" is just apolitic careerism. The Right (in capitals & then) was Gentilean Neo-Hegelianism, racial science (in some cases), Schopenhauro-Wagnerian Kunstreligion, some vague Christian ideas, idyosyncratic economics & Romanticism, with some esoteric stuff thrown in, I should think & it is now just a mixture of delinqency, "Accelerationism" & the esoteric Super-Fascism of Evola & Devi. The Left (in capitals) on the other hand, go further than Hegel, in to Lenin (obviously), but (thankfully) their ideas cease, when it gets anywhere near practical application, by completely ignoring the pragmatism of Zedong, who was the person who brought it furthest & still did not achieve Socialism.

But what is politics? I am apolitic. I believe we should focus on improving ourselves inwardly, not outwardly, so I have no interest in socio-economics, or what have you.
 
Jun 2016
85
A Shell of Steel
Focusing more on the Right because I think the Left is easier to understand for most (albeit in a watered down form) due to Marxist ideas gaining vogue in the 60s and in academia, social democracy, and contemporary advocacy for social justice, the Right is at its core anti-modern and traditionalist. They hold that the source of value is outside of man and so not subject to change or progress. As far as I can see, when pressed on the subject, their esotericism is really something more akin to a mythology. The Right, and that includes its racial doctrines which they would more likely consider as something like ethnos, holds that there is a spirit of a people and it would be on the basis of that shared spirit that they could instinctually communicate, relate and sympathize with each other. Where this comes back to the role of mythology, the mythology is something like a religion of the ancestors or a spiritiual history of the people. By spiritual history would be intended something like, the representation of a people's history as well as their deepest values can be expressed by the symbolic relations of their art. It isn't that far removed from the ideas of mythology (the study of myths) for example the Greek goddess Hestia is the goddess of the hearth and home and veneration of Hestia (now I'm talking in the Right interpretation) would be a veneration of the ideal of a home (which includes one's dwelling, country, etc.) which is sort of a sublimation of the concrete home of the people.
 
Dec 2018
113
North Dublin
Focusing more on the Right because I think the Left is easier to understand for most (albeit in a watered down form) due to Marxist ideas gaining vogue in the 60s and in academia, social democracy, and contemporary advocacy for social justice, the Right is at its core anti-modern and traditionalist. They hold that the source of value is outside of man and so not subject to change or progress. As far as I can see, when pressed on the subject, their esotericism is really something more akin to a mythology. The Right, and that includes its racial doctrines which they would more likely consider as something like ethnos, holds that there is a spirit of a people and it would be on the basis of that shared spirit that they could instinctually communicate, relate and sympathize with each other. Where this comes back to the role of mythology, the mythology is something like a religion of the ancestors or a spiritiual history of the people. By spiritual history would be intended something like, the representation of a people's history as well as their deepest values can be expressed by the symbolic relations of their art. It isn't that far removed from the ideas of mythology (the study of myths) for example the Greek goddess Hestia is the goddess of the hearth and home and veneration of Hestia (now I'm talking in the Right interpretation) would be a veneration of the ideal of a home (which includes one's dwelling, country, etc.) which is sort of a sublimation of the concrete home of the people.
Then why did d'Annunzio write an ode to a torpedo? Why did Marinetti write a Modernist manifesto? Fascism is the amalgamation of the archaic & the modern & this can be seen across its pragmatic applications. Just take Hitler's idea of the perfect boy: hard as Krupp steel. He's amalgamating auncient ideas of herodom with the machine-imagery of the modern age. Those ideas about race are Evola's, which may be adopted today, in some watered-down form, but not in traditional applications of Fascism.
 
Jun 2016
85
A Shell of Steel
Then why did d'Annunzio write an ode to a torpedo? Why did Marinetti write a Modernist manifesto? Fascism is the amalgamation of the archaic & the modern & this can be seen across its pragmatic applications. Just take Hitler's idea of the perfect boy: hard as Krupp steel. He's amalgamating auncient ideas of herodom with the machine-imagery of the modern age. Those ideas about race are Evola's, which may be adopted today, in some watered-down form, but not in traditional applications of Fascism.
There is a study called Reactionary Modernism by Jeffrey Herf which outlines what you're talking about (combining modernism and traditional forms). It was done, among others, by Spengler in his work Man and Technics. He wrote something along the lines that technology was an extension of modern man's will to dominate. Ernst Jünger has similarly written along those lines in his early work. From what I understand he made a reversal latter on probably inspired by Heidegger's opposition to technology as being the spirit of modern nihilism.

That is definitely part of the legacy of fascism, no doubt. I don't think that the Right is monolithic in that everyone adhere's to them. The core of the traditionalism on the Right is as I described above and I'm fairly sure that at the core it is opposed to modern technology because it is entwined in a continual process of development and change and therefore destruction of traditional modes of practice as well as connections to the landscape.

So you're definitely not wrong in saying that reactionary modernism has been part of the legacy of Fascist thought.
 
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