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All wrong… November 28, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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This from Slate.com is good, an interview with a former Breitbart contributor and never-Trumper on Bannon and the alt-right. Thought-provoking in terms of pointing up how ‘appeasing’ the alt-right is a problem in itself with consequences that may be far-reaching. Though as ever, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. So much of this as noted before remains internet froth. But, influence is influence and those who can exert it will exert it even in small ways that may seem relatively innocuous or marginal but may be anything but in the longer term.

Bannon would however be troubling whatever way one cuts it:

I think that Steve will stop if it becomes politically convenient for him to stop. Steve is not a deeply principled guy on politics; it’s not like he’s coming in with this ramrod agenda. He’s coming in and he’s talking about big government spending. He’s talking about trillion-dollar infrastructure packages. If you had to peg Steve down on ideology or philosophy, you’d say he’s sort of like a European far-right leader. He’s more like Marine Le Pen or Nigel Farage than he is like a constitutional conservative. He doesn’t like constitutional conservatism; he thinks that it’s an obstacle in the way of building this new Third Way movement, this independent political movement that is focused on heavy spending—even some redistribution inside the country—but closed borders and tariffs for everybody outside. He calls himself an economic nationalist. They say, “Are you a white nationalist?” and he says, “No, I’m an economic nationalist.” And then when he’s asked about white nationalism and its effect on the far-right in Europe, he says that will sort of fade away as time goes on, and they’ll legitimize. I don’t think so. I’ve never seen a bad movement or a bad person, yet, given power and they become better people.

I’m not prone to hyperbole, but when I hear the term Third Way movements I tend to check for fascists or crypto-fascists or proto-fascists.

And this is interesting too (and echoes in a way the manner in which the Tories and UKIP have sought to portray the Brexit referendum as a sweeping victory when it was in fact remarkably close).

I think it’s wrong politically because I think that everyone’s taking the wrong lessons, right and left, away from this election cycle.
I think on the right, people are taking it like Trump won this big, broad victory; Trump lost the popular vote by over 1 million votes, and he won by very, very narrow margins in places like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Florida. And the fact is that when all is said and done, the groups that are growing demographically in the United States are minorities, women, young people—millennials will be 40 percent of the voting population in 2020. And so if you’re banking on this ever-shrinking group, the alt-right, in order to put you over the top, that seems like bad politics. It’s alienating politics; it’s not something that’s going to help.

By the way – a great definition of the alt-right, and indeed how its supposed defence of ‘western’ civilisation is anything but.

Basically, the alt-right is a group of thinkers who believe that Western civilization is inseparable from European ethnicity—which is racist, obviously. It’s people who believe that if Western civilization were to take in too many people of different colors and different ethnicities and different religions, then that would necessarily involve the interior collapse of Western civilization. As you may notice, this has nothing to do with the Constitution. It has nothing to do with the Declaration of Independence. It has nothing to do actually with Western civilization. The whole principle of Western civilization is that anybody can involve himself or herself in civilized values. That’s not what the alt-right believes—at least its leading thinkers, people like Richard Spencer and Jared Taylor and Vox Day. Those kind of folks will openly acknowledge that this is their thought process.

Comments»

1. Dermot O Connor - November 28, 2016

So much coverage focuses on Spencer, and so little on Nick Land or Moldbug, far more sinister.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Enlightenment

http://www.thedarkenlightenment.com/the-dark-enlightenment-by-nick-land/

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2. Dermot O Connor - November 28, 2016

Great Corey Pein piece, also of interest:

http://thebaffler.com/blog/mouthbreathing-machiavellis

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Starkadder - November 28, 2016

How influential are Land, Moldbug and Michael Anissimov though? I believe Peter Thiel has echoed some of their ideas, but otherwise they don’t seem to have much influence.

The whole neo-reactionary thing reminds me of the villain of Robert W. Chambers’ “The Repairer of Reputations”, who plans to put an “Imperial Dynasty of America” into power.

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sonofstan - November 28, 2016

Land’s is a fascinating history. This piece by Simon Reynolds captures the white heat of accelerationism , the Leamington Spa years….

http://energyflashbysimonreynolds.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/renegade-academia-cybernetic-culture.html

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WorldbyStorm - November 28, 2016

That’s the question Starkadder. Their political weight is – so far, relatively speaking quite negligible. Not that a watching eye shouldn’t be kept on them, and as Dermot says there’s some really really nasty stuff out there – by the way, I find the monarchist crew absolutely hilarious in a way, obviously they’ve not a clue about it, and suffer from the usual delusion that they’re the cream that would naturally rise to the top rather than first against the wall.

As to Land and great link SoS… well, it wouldn’t be the first time that someone dragged themselves into such straits, happily or not. Everything described in the article is so familiar to me from another context and stinks of performance art that I have to weep.

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WorldbyStorm - November 28, 2016

By the way this from rational wiki re neo-reaction is great…

” It’s ideal for soi-disant libertarians who realise they don’t actually like freedom for others all that much.”

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CL - November 28, 2016

“Thiel and his circle in Silicon Valley may be able to imagine a future that would never occur to other people precisely because they’ve refused to leave that stage of youthful wonder which life forces most human beings to outgrow . . . . He wants to live forever, have the option to escape to outer space or an oceanic city-state, and play chess against a robot that can discuss Tolkien, because these were the fantasies that filled his childhood imagination.” – George Packer
http://thebaffler.com/blog/mouthbreathing-machiavellis

Harmless?

-TRAE STEPHENS, A PRINCIPAL at billionaire Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm Founders Fund, was appointed last week by Donald Trump to help lead the transition effort at the Defense Department.
https://theintercept.com/2016/11/28/peter-thiel-dod/

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sonofstan - November 28, 2016

Thing is, some of Land’s early writing is brilliant. Not claiming he was Wittgenstein, but the fit between him and ‘normal’ academia echoes Moore’s report on Wittgenstein’s viva when they examined him on the Tractatus: ‘it is my opinion that this is a work of genius. Despite that, it is well up to the standard required for the degree of doctor of philosophy at Cambridge’

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Starkadder - November 28, 2016

BTW, I can only think of two modern countries that returned to (constitutional) monarchism after being republics, and both only after bloody periods of upheaval. The countries are Spain and Cambodia.

I’ve mentioned Count Geoffrey Potocki de Montalk before. A weird figure from 1930s Britain who advocated the Divine Right of Kings as well as support for Franco. His ideas strike me as very similar to the neo-Reactionary crowd, and some Neo-Nazis have also tried to revive interest in him. (The British writer
Robert Aickman was an enthusiastic reader of Montalk as a young man).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Count_Geoffrey_Potocki_de_Montalk

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WorldbyStorm - November 28, 2016

How serious do you judge him to be SoS? Or is that impossible to tell at this point?

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sonofstan - November 28, 2016

you mean now? he’s serious alright. When people are talking about him as a philosopher, the past tense tends to get used, as if it was an entirely different ‘Nick Land’.. Couple of people are organising a conference on him and they thought they’d better ask him if he wanted to take part, probably by video link. They were a bit relieved I think when he very politely declined.

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WorldbyStorm - November 28, 2016

Is there any reason he made this transition? Or perhaps I mean explanation?

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sonofstan - November 29, 2016

@ Wbs. There is a logic to Land’s transition, but it would be a looooong post explaining it. Might try later in the week if anyone apart from me cares.

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WorldbyStorm - November 29, 2016

I care! I’m always intrigued by people who make that sort of a journey.

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FergusD - November 29, 2016

Well I lived in Leamington Spa for a while in my youth. Yes it is a faded Spa town, full of nursing homes in huge Victorian houses. It was, however, also industrial. Automotive Products made clutches, brakes, (Borg & Beck, Lockheed – AP was broken up, Lockheed is Indian owned, don’t know what is left in Leamington) etc. After all Coventry and Brum are close by (formerly Motowns and Motorcycle towns UK). Ford had a foundry that cast engine blocks – where culshies went to lose their rural complexion! (Closed and demolished). Flavel made gas fires (sill does as BFM Europe). It also had, presumably still has, a large Asian population – mostly Sikh. There really were two halves to the town in my day. We lived down the road from the AP factory.

It was a Labour held constituency from 1997-2010.

Just saying.

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sonofstan - November 29, 2016

Big dormitory town for Warwick University isn’t it? under an hour by rail from here and I’ve spent a few pleasant afternoons wandering around.

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3. CL - November 28, 2016

-Ms. Jones, the film colleague, said that in their years working together, Mr. Bannon occasionally talked about the genetic superiority of some people and once mused about the desirability of limiting the vote to property owners.

“I said, ‘That would exclude a lot of African-Americans,’” Ms. Jones recalled. “He said, ‘Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.’-
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/27/us/politics/steve-bannon-white-house.html?_r=0

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4. sonofstan - November 28, 2016

Western civilisation, so strong and so right…..and yet so vulnerable

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Gewerkschaftler - November 29, 2016

That pretty much captures the emotional ground for pre/proto/actual-fascisms.

There are certain TV channels here in Germany (watched primarily by older men) where you can guarantee that there’s a documentary running about

a) Some kind of catastrophe / accident
b) The third Reich

It’s like direct programming of the subconscious. Angst und Ordnung.

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5. CL - November 29, 2016

Somewhere along the line, not so long ago, perhaps because of all the various post-isms,-post-structuralism, post-modernism, post-everything,- philosophy succeeded in deconstructing itself; it no longer exists, it has disappeared up its own fundament.

This fairly readable piece on Land concludes:

“His work still poses acutely – in a variety of forms – the challenge of thinking contemporary life on this planet: A planet piloted from the future by something that comes from outside personal or collective human intention, and which we can no longer pretend has anything to do with reason or progress.”
http://divus.cc/london/en/article/nick-land-ein-experiment-im-inhumanismus

Can anyone seriously contend that the current goings-on at Trump Tower in NYC have anything to do with reason or progress?

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Starkadder - November 29, 2016

“It is possible, as some thinkers hold, that our civilisation is bent on self destruction, hurriedly planning its own doomsday.”

J. B Priestley, 1957. He was, of course, writing before the effects of man-made climate change were known. Is it possible people voting for politicians who reject reason and progress, and strongly advocate nuclear proliferation and environmental indifference are subconsciously acting on what Freudians call “the death instinct”?

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CL - November 29, 2016

Christopher Caudwell, who died fighting for democracy with the International Brigades in Spain in1937, had some important things to say about the bourgeois cultural dilemma,- a dilemma which has deepened since then.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/caudwell/1938/studies/foreword.htm

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Gewerkschaftler - November 29, 2016

I would characterise believers in ‘the Singularity’ as possessed by a need for the death of their bodies.

I guess if you get all your stimulation from sitting in front of a screen this is a consequence.

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