Extremists vs moderates

The Z-Man explains a pair of natural divides. I point out a third.

Michelle Malkin is a good example of why civic nationalism must inevitably lead to someone like Ben Shapiro lecturing you about the creedal nation. Her speech was pretty much what Ben Shapiro says, except she strongly opposes immigration and what she calls globalism. For obvious reasons, Malkin must argue on ideological grounds, rather than from nature. Her brand of dissident politics must be open to everyone, who accepts the ideological points of her program.

It’s one of those things that sounds good in theory, but in reality it is impossible to police ideological borders. The Left has been trying to solve that puzzle since the French Revolution and it always ends in disaster. The right-wing effort at it led to Buckley conservatism and eventually David French. For now, ideology and argument are the tools required to win people to our side, but ultimately the goal must be boundaries that do not require constant maintenance…

Listening to Fuentes speak, I was thinking about how this spasm of white identity politics has mirrored previous iterations. The alt-right split in two. One group is seeking to operate above ground and gain legitimacy. The other group retreated into a self-imposed ghetto. The TRS crowd is really just a younger version of the old Stormfront community that formed up after the Buchanan movement. Go back further and it is a replay of the Bircher-Buckley split.

Fundamentally, these splits are over presentation. The “optics” side cannot fathom why the hardcore cannot understand the need to make a good presentation. The hardcore cannot understand why the optics guys don’t see the dangers of compromise. Both sides are right, but both sides have always failed. The hardcore ends up in something similar to a cult and the optics guys get gobbled up by the system. There really needs to be a different approach to this in order to avoid a repeat of the past…

The reality is that every successful movement requires both its extremists and its moderates. See Sinn Fein and the Irish Republican Army, or the Palestine Zionist Executive and the Irgun. In this case, the core problem that the moderates face is that no matter how flawless their optics might be, their position simply isn’t a viable one. Like communism, like socialism, like secular humanism, civic nationalism has been thoroughly tried and tested. And it has failed, even more spectacularly than these other ideological catastrophes.

Of course, the one thing the political activists of every stripe never seem to grasp is that the political philosophers simply aren’t interested in activism of any kind. In my case, both the activists and their enemies alike fail to grasp that I’m neither interested in joining a cult nor in being gobbled up by the system. I’m not interested in joining anything, least of all a mass movement. There are no shortage of opinion leaders who seek attention and influence in pursuit of their ideals, and that is well and good, but there should always be someone to observe the events and make sense of them in a historical context too.

Those who venerate Aristotle, Virgil, and Thucydides are seldom inclined to follow the paths of Alexander, Caesar, and Alcibiades.