The weakness and shallowness of the mainstream Right has been noticed a thousand times. In 1896, Robert L. Dabney described the GOP as “a party that never conserves anything,” that always growls against the Left’s innovations but ultimately rallies to them, to the point of being “a mere shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward.” This emptiness allowed for the GOP to be taken over by crypto-Trotskyite neoconservatives once they had purged the old guard.
The very repetition of the critique, though, shows that making the point — and re-discovering it again and again — is not enough. Those who made the point were right but could not change the “Mighty Left And Spineless Right” system. Dogs bark at cars, but dogs can’t drive, and the astute critiques of Conservatism Inc. have never yet achieved power in the US.
The non-mainstream Right must find an alternative beyond this simple critique. But before today, before the Internet became public, others already tried. Though barely mentioned in the mainstream today, these dissenters were able to coalesce into an intellectual big tent associated with the French magazine Le Figaro. They became intellectually fashionable, sparked debate among a wide range of political issues, and sought genuinely new grounds in order to replace the Left in its role of cultural authority able to shape the mainstream norms, narrative and core concepts. These thinkers were known under the name of Nouvelle Droite (“New Right”).
It may come as a surprise to many, but the biological roots of IQ, sex differences, the soundness of eugenics, the Indo-European-Aryan roots of Euro-American civilization — such were the topics raised by fierce, fearless “New Righters.” Indeed, Nouvelle École (New School), one of the main journals of the New Right, listed names such as Raymond B. Cattell, Hans Eysenck, Henry E. Garrett, Arthur Jensen, and R. Travis Osborne on its masthead. Many of their positions overlapped with today’s neo-masculine points. Of course, they were targeted by cultural Marxists, labelled “fascists” and “racists,” but for some time they seemed rather stimulated than weakened by the Leftists’ attacks.
Unfortunately, after a period of near-stardom, the New Right decayed at a rapid pace. Its members were expelled from Le Figaro, its journals, such as Éléments and Krisis, declined, its conferences failed to attract media attention, and the number of members fell off. Since the end of the 1980s, what remained of genuine interest in the New Right was taken up by other forms of dissidence.
One of the leading actors of the New Right, the French essayist Guillaume Faye, sketched an uncompromising portrayal of the movement’s mistakes in a chapter of his book Archeofuturism: European Visions of the Post-Catastrophic Age.
Whether one is interested in the ideological history of our movement or not, learning from our predecessors’ shortcomings is important. Where the New Right failed, the Alt-Right — and, I hope, dissidence in general — shall succeed.
- Lack of social (“real life”) roots
The New Right wanted to be “Gramscian” — instead of focusing on elections, it focused on culture, on digging up to the bottom of Leftist hegemony and coming back with hard-nosed questions. In order to change the system, one could not merely think about elections (the “political”) but also had to work on what people take for granted: that is, on “common-sensical” norms, concepts, beliefs…
This is true, but Faye points out that this is not the whole truth. Gramsci knew that the cultural struggle had to be backed with institutional power. The Communist Party he belonged to attracted intellectuals, but was also keen to influence the trade union scene, to steal devotees from the Church — in short to have its own institutions.
The New Right had genuine intellectuals within its ranks and enjoyed a fair load of media attention through radical questionings. Yet it worked too much like an eighteenth-century intellectual club. It lacked social and institutional roots — it had no ability to turn its questionings into a political movement. This weakness allowed Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of the Front National party, to attract more media attention and electoral support with his more radical way of presenting the issues. As the media shifted toward castigating the Front National, they “forgot” the New Right, which lost its ability to spark public debates and descended to irrelevance.
Today, the Internet, social networks, and the fact that many of us were red-pilled by reality itself rather than by any media outlet, makes it easier to understand what is going on. Yet we cannot win by existing only on the Internet, no matter how hard we beat the horse. Trump is a blessing, of course, but we should not count too much on his purported “Alt Right” influences.
- Unclear core beliefs
The New Right knew what it did not like — mainly, the geopolitical enslavement of Europe to Uncle Sam, and the race-mixing, culture-destroying secular messianism of globalism. It also opposed the hypocritical denial of human nature. But New Righters did not spell out what they really stood for.
The failure to formulate a clear political doctrine led New Righters to defend contradictory positions — for example, nostalgia for European colonial empires and, at the same time, the so-called rights of indigenous peoples and cultures. Or, to take another example, a defense of the ethnocultural integrity of European nations, accompanied with an apology to Muslims wearing the veil in Europe in the name of a “right to difference.”
There are two solutions on this one. First, be clear on your core beliefs. Ask yourself what you want and what you would propose if asked a solution to the problems you see, or, better yet, a replacement to what you dislike.
Second, if you notice that a position that does not correspond to your core beliefs is also a good ally to a greater cause, it is perfectly okay to have strange bedfellows as long as you remember what you stand for. Many rightists did not like Alain Soral’s Égalité et Reconciliation, which supports an alliance between ethnic Frenchmen and those of North African origin against the masters of modern subversion. But as long as such an alliance undermines the system and helps achieve common goals, it should be considered positively.
- Defending useless causes
New Righters stood against — in Faye’s words — “harrmful, homogenizing, Christian evangelism,” and it extolled Nietzsche’s criticisms to the point of anticlericalism. According to Alain de Benoist, the leader of the movement, the modern doctrine of human rights was nothing but a rehash of primitive Christianity, which itself could explain the fall of the Roman Empire.
Whether or not one agrees with this historiography and vision of Christianity, it should have been clear that the Church was far from being the main enemy if an enemy at all. As others have pointed out, it would have been much more courageous and useful to attack those who are really powerful today rather than those who may have been so in the past.
Traditional Catholics, Orthodox, and other faithful Christians had already been marginalized. The New Right should have worked out a position able to include them into the fight against weak points of the system. It should have created alliances with other currents on the periphery. Instead, it lacked the courage to go far enough in attacking those with power, and kept squabbling with Christians over their purported responsibility for the decay of European civilization.
Carl Schmitt, a first-class lawyer and one of the most important twentieth-century thinkers on politics and war, once said that “politics is the place of the friend and foe.” To succeed in politics, one must know who his main enemy is and be able to rally against it, even if rallying implies associating with those one barely likes. If you face A and B and see that A is the most vicious, allying with B makes a lot of sense. (Nevertheless, Faye avoids discussing Jewish power, claiming “Anti-Judaism is a political position that is obsolete, unhelpful, out of date, even when camouflaged as anti-Zionism”; Jewish power in France has been discussed several times by Guillaume Durocher, e.g., here.)
- Poor framing
Intertwined with the anti-Christian position was a very poor choice of words. If you asked the average New Righter what he believed in, he would answer that he was a “pagan.” There are at least two problems with that.
Firstly, “pagan” is a blanket term not describing any faith at all. If you claim to be a “pagan”, it means technically that you can believe in anything — not unlike the conservative trumpeting about ill-defined “values.”
Secondly, the word “pagan” stems from the Latin paganus, which was a pejorative way to refer to rural people who kept worshipping their old gods. Those who started to label other people “pagan” were city-based Christian apologists. They used the word exactly in the same way as progressives today say others are “reactionary” or retarded “hillbillies.” Sure, appropriating a slander word in order to portray oneself positively is a good maneuver; but why do so with a word that had already lost its browbeating power a long time ago?
By defining themselves as “pagan,” New Righters defined themselves in relation to their enemy — Christian apologists, but as a result they depended on it for their own identity. Instead of using a current slander word, such as “racist,” “misogynist,” and so on, they took a dead one; and instead of using it as a tool, they heightened it to the rank of a whole identity. Poor framing can be costly.
- A lack of practical radicalism
Because of their novelty, the New Right created a sensation on the mainstream media scene. It sparked debate through open interrogations of the mainstream Leftist dogmas. As Faye says, “the media cannot help but attack, and hence publicize, what attacks them.” The strategy worked, but required a lot of solidarity, motivation, and tough-mindedness. New Righters should have maintained an uncompromising stance against their prime enemies.
Instead, prominent New Rightists tried to partly conform to political correctness by endorsing a Third-Worldist position, which disoriented their public without making them more palatable to the establishment. Eventually, abdicating from Leftist pressure and violence, they retreated to an autistic position that replaced hit pieces with “neo-pagan” romantic spirit.
One of the great advantages of the Internet is that it allows for dissociating the discourse from the individual. Leftists judge a discourse, not by its coherence or truth value, but by the feelings they have over who said it. On the Internet, we can hit where it hurts without being immediately at risk of being fired and shunned. Part of our big tent, namely the “manosphere,” also emphasizes essential qualities that the New Right overlooked — financial independence, physical robustness, and the ability to take advantage of disorder. We are better equipped than our predecessors to subvert the Narrative and “trigger” SJWs, but it is clear that we ought not to be satisfied before we have taken our civilization back.
- An excessive cult for earthly roots
This girl’s morals are more important than the clothes she wears.
Praising rootedness, in line with the thought of Maurice Barrès, New Righters ended up fetishizing the pettiest features of local folklores. They clung to petrified stuff, the kind that is mostly used today as bait for tourists. Along with that, they started to entertain a living-in-the-past mindset, busy with historical studies and commemorations.
Folklorism confuses the essential with the secondary. The struggle will not be won by (merely), say, wearing a green costume and drinking beer at St. Patrick’s day because some of your ancestors were Irish. So-called “minorities” use their past, not as half-dead folklore, but as a powerful weapon for hitting the dispossessed White majority, gaining attention and building careers. History should not be a dead weight we meaninglessly carry on our backs, but something that truly lives with us.
In a chaotic and distasteful Western world, we need something stable, but we won’t find it in roots that degenerated into LARPing or tourist bait. Just as neomasculinity is not about resurrecting a dead past, Christianity is not simply a matter of priests giving their benediction to heroic soldiers who (really) fight ISIS on behalf of the oligarchs. If we crave for roots, and most of us do, it is time to re-create or to revivify them in a way that could be useful as the mainstream culture collapses.
- Fatalism as “realism”
The conservative thinker Thomas Sowell said that one of the most important differences between the Right and Left consisted in having, respectively, constrained and unconstrained views. Rightists believe that the world is inherently conflictual, that man is constrained by his nature and genetic shortcomings, that people react to rewards and punishments. Leftists, on the other hand, believe that things can always be improved, that people are perfectible, and that genetics is irrelevant.
Yet, the truth is more complex than that — for eugenics was basically a progressive endeavor, and right-leaning entrepreneurs are usually more creative than mob-minded activists. Most importantly, the lines have shifted. Leftists being the establishment today, they want to trick us into believing that massive immigration or labor outsourcing are not just beneficial, they are inescapable, while vanguard, non-conservative Rightists stand as a hope for surviving beyond the cultural decay and collapse.
The New Right has been an inspiring, and perhaps necessary, predecessor. Today, we have to be more than inspiring — we have to be present. Our crusade combines thought with muscles, memes with street game, individual creativity with collective will. The Leftocrats fear us because we are much more than conservative eunuchs, and they know that what we are saying ultimately has huge appeal to Whites as they are being dispossessed throughout the West.
Well, they better be afraid, because if we avoid the mistakes of the New Right, our recent successes are only the beginning.