News

Washington Post: The Dark Enlightenment Has Dethroned Ayn Rand

The Washington Post has a new article on how liberals will come to miss Ayn Rand whose influence over the American Right has been dethroned by the Dark Enlightenment:

“Now Rand is on the shelf, gathering dust with F.A. Hayek, Edmund Burke and other once-prominent conservative luminaries. It’s no longer possible to provoke the elders by going on about John Galt. Indeed, many of the elders have by now used Randian references to name their yachts, investment companies and foundations.

Instead, young insurgent conservatives talk about “race realism ,” argue that manipulated crime statistics mask growing social disorder and cast feminism as a plot against men. Instead of reading Rand, they take the “red pill”, indulging in an emergent internet counter-culture that reveals the principles of liberalism — rights, equality, tolerance — to be dangerous myths. Beyond Breitbart.com, ideological energy on the right now courses through tiny blogs and websites of the Dark Enlightenment, the latter-day equivalent of Rand’s Objectivist Newsletter and the many libertarian ’zines she inspired.

Indeed, the new ideas on the right have moved away from classical liberalism altogether. American conservatives have always had a mixed reaction to the Western philosophical tradition that emphasizes the sanctity of the individual. Religious conservatives, in particular, often struggle with Rand because her extreme embrace of individualism leaves little room for God, country, duty or faith. But Trump represents a victory for a form of conservatism that is openly illiberal and willing to junk entirely the traditional rhetoric of individualism and free markets for nationalism inflected with racism, misogyny and xenophobia. …”

This article reminded me of something that John Morgan had said in his recent speech that was published on Counter-Currents:

“The Alt Right is a much trickier animal to pin down. The New Right has produced literally hundreds of books outlining its beliefs and positions over the past half-century. The Alt Right, on the other hand, is a culture primarily of blogs, memes, podcasts, and videos. It has yet to produce a single book or other statement of principles that everyone involved would agree is the quintessence of the Alt Right’s worldview. This is a natural outgrowth of the anti-intellectualism inherent in Anglo-American political and cultural discourse, as opposed to the more innovative and livelier – dare I say superior – Rightist political tradition that you have here on the Continent. In attempting to think of a book that could in any way lay claim to being the Alt Right manifesto, the only thing I could come up with is Greg Johnson’s New Right versus Old Right, which has fortunately been translated into Swedish as well. Otherwise, the shelves of the Alt Right library remain pretty bare, although hopefully that will soon be changing. …”

What should we make of this?

The European New Right has produced hundreds of books outlining its beliefs and positions. The Alt-Right has produced almost nothing. And yet, The Washington Post is accusing the Alt-Right of triumphing over the Ayn Rand canon and the conservative tradition of classical liberalism.

I would say that a book is a vehicle for a type of discourse. Ayn Rand’s various books were vehicles for “Objectivism.” A highly trafficked blog, a meme, a podcast, a video, a forum, a song or a viral tweet are similarly vehicles for a discourse. In fact, I would argue that memes, podcasts, videos and songs are more expressive and powerful mediums than text. They are less abstract and more accessible to the average person. They are easier to share, reach a wider circulation and have a greater impact on culture.

Politico has a new story on World War Meme:

“NEW YORK—Parked in front of a seductive portrait of Ann Coulter and an array of computer screens inside a home office in Harlem, Matt Braynard, former director of technology for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, welled up with emotion as he recounted his experience attending Trump’s inauguration a week earlier.

It was not the ceremony itself, but what happened afterward, when Braynard spotted a pale teenager in a red hat and a gray hoodie standing on a street corner near the Capitol holding a sign with a picture of a cartoon frog and the message “LOVE NOT HATE.” Struck by the display, Braynard made a beeline for the kid, shook his hand and enlisted his wife to take a photograph of them together.

“I felt like I had found a friend that I hadn’t spoken to in a long time,” recalled Trump’s misty-eyed onetime data guru, who had never met the teenager before in his life. “It was, like, immediate connection.”

The chance encounter was a rare in-real-life meeting of veterans of the Great Meme War. …”

In hindsight, the forum archipelago we had in the 2000s were hatcheries of Alt-Right discourse. 4chan and the impact it has had on internet culture is another example of this.

The Alt-Right’s online counterculture grew organically out of messageboards, blogs, podcasts and social media. It spread through comment sections and colonized the internet in thousands of conversations. It skipped the think tank stage because thousands of people were already online, sharing their ideas, interacting with and being influenced by each other. Instead of being spread in the form of a book, the Alt-Right has reached the stage online where it is a neverending stream of content.

I do think we should have more books though. I’m guessing the pull to write a book is offset by the push to put out new content on a daily basis. I know that is true in my case.

  • W. Freudenfeuer

    With respect to books – what happened to the Gregory Hood book that Richard announced last year he was publishing?

    • Lurker

      Richard vetoed that dream.

  • Charlie Primero

    It worries me that The System is beginning to analyze and understand what makes the AltRight powerful.

    • From Ohio

      Free advertisement

  • ))) Depeche Europa (((

    “But Trump represents a victory for a form of conservatism that is openly illiberal and willing to junk entirely the traditional rhetoric of individualism and free markets for nationalism inflected with racism, misogyny and xenophobia. …”

    Ha!!

    The Dow at an all time High……

    So much for Free Markets……..

    Racism?

    White People showing more Solidarity, Less Guilt, and more Courage in defending their Interests, Ancestors, and Heritage…….

    Misogyny?

    Ha!!

    The Alt-Right is full of Women……

    Individualism is waning on the Alt-Right?

    What?!?

    The very fact that the Alt-Right doesn’t have a Manifesto…..

    …..is because of the Healthy Individualism of the Alt-Right…..

    America First and not wanting Illegal Immigrants, wanting Secure Borders, and keeping out Sharia Loving Anti-Western Islamists and Radical Jihadists…..

    …is Xenophobia?

    Ha!!

    This is Liberal Academia………a JOKE…..

    And, this is why I don’t read the WashPost, NYTimes, or any other Liberal Newspaper or Blog……

    ….and don’t watch CNN or MSNBC…….

    And this is partially why President Trump won…….

    How, Leftists describe us is not who we really are……

    We’re Good People…….offensive at times to the PC Conditioned……..

    But, we see the Globalists, the Neocons, the RINO Cucks, and the Left as the Monstrosities……

    The Cancers……

    They think we’re the Cancer and we think they are……..

    And is it any wonder why there is Political Insanity and Chaos going on right now??……..

  • Jeff Goodman

    We are the libertarians who won. The whole point of a free market, of economics or of ideas, is to allow the best to win and the inferior to fall away. That happened. Donald Trump is John Gault, Hank Rearden, Howard Roark. And now we are going to keep on winning. And winning, and winning…

  • Albionic American

    The Alt Right has gotten traction because you can live in make-believe for only so long. We’ve injected a way overdue reality-check into the nation’s conversation.

  • Albionic American

    It says a lot about the failure of American libertarianism that it partly derives from the writings of three damaged, sterile women in the last century with bad marriages, namely, Isabel Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane and, of course, Ayn Rand.

    These women, and especially Rand, understood “freedom” to mean liberation from patriarchal authority, the only basis for a society that makes any sense. As a result, libertarianism promotes selfish hedonism only in this life, in your own generation, while deeply discounting what happens after you die.

    Societies don’t thrive that way, and today’s libertarians, along with their allies in Rand’s cult movement, have to keep trying to recruit teenagers and college students from normal people’s families to replenish their ranks as the older libertarians die off. They wouldn’t have this problem if libertarianism started out explicitly as a long term, multi-generational project to transform society that emphasized forming families and fighting the war of the cradle instead of getting high and seeking sterile sexual pleasure.

    • Eis Augen

      Underrated post.

  • Albionic American

    Speaking of libertarians, I never understood David Nolan’s appeal. He grew up in about the best conditions postwar America had to offer, he graduated with a political science degree from MIT, and he enjoyed a comfortable life. Yet he founded the Libertarian Party because Richard Nixon’s wage and price controls allegedly oppressed him politically.

    Which sounds like a contrived grievance, because those controls came and went without causing suffering. By contrast, the civil rights legislation and the Hart-Cellar Act in the 1960’s inflict tangible harm on white Americans’ lives each and every day, and they have done so for over 50 years now, in the form of the outrageous and growing “diversity taxes” we all have to pay. Yet no libertarian that I know of wants to roll back that damaging overreach of the state.

  • Aedra Daedra

    Alt Right forever. Libertarianism is weak on trade, weak on immigration. It sounds like a great efficient philosophy on paper but it just breaks down into an argument of “mu’h free markets”. It has no ideals to live by, “let everyone get drug infested and let the richest employers bring in 3rd world savages to work for $3 an hour for us”. It’s beyond stupid.

  • Dillon Francis

    libertarianism sucks. it’s really that simple. Humans are social beings, not atomized cyborgs.

  • Evolver1

    (((Ayn Rand’s))) Objectivism was nothing new. It was simply a restatement of Egoism–which holds that the individual is primary; a view that can easily be traced to Aristotle (if not earlier). What traditional Egoism (and Objectivism) misses is that the “individual” –the person we see in the mirror–is more than that. He or she is also his or her racial genome and is linked to others of the same racial genome such that what is good for the race is good for the individual of that race,either in the short run or the long run. Ask of everything: Is this good for White people?–and you as a White person will usually be served well.

  • unpaidpundit

    People in the altright won’t be able to write books until they get positions in academia, journalism or think tanks. Right now, the altright is too disreputable to get those kinds of jobs. People who work in academia and at think tanks are paid to write books. Journalists like David Brooks and Thomas Friedman are allowed sabbaticals so that they can have the time to write. Folks who sympathize with altright philosophy have jobs so they can pay their bills. That leaves them with little time to write.

  • unpaidpundit

    Objectivism is about class. It’s about allowing the wealthy to avoid paying for the society and government that facilitated their becoming rich. In Ayn Rand’s day, no one dreamed that white people would become a minority in the Western world, or that whites might even suffer through a genocide. When your race is on the ropes, who gets to become and remain top dog within your race is not as important a consideration.

  • Jason R.

    I thought John Morgan’s paper delivered at the conference went a little too far in his criticism of the Alt Right, although some of his characterizations of the movement were valid and food for thought. Although, White Nationalism is not new (in a lot of ways I was red pilled as a teen in Detroit, and there have been defenders of White identity for decades, like Jared Taylor), the Alt Right as a movement is quite young and has already managed to produce quite a few books. We need to produce more, but to Hunter Wallace’s point, much of the work is *outside* the realm of the think tank; some of it, while highly intellectual, is captured in Twitter posts and comments sections. Again, what we’re doing as a movement is beyond the conventional political party/think tank approach.

    We have a long way to go, to be sure, but look where we’re at: Arktos press and Red Ice TV are top notch operations; altright.com is the single most important website I visit, NPI, and to some extend American Renaissance, are poised to grow if anything, etc…

  • Bruce Regael

    The Alt-Right is less about the books and content we create, and more about the books and content that we consume. This way it’s easier to share with others where you’re coming from and at the same time weed out the people less dedicated. The meme’s will take care of the others by absorbing them emotionally in time. The sharing is caring approach also helps normies feel as if they’ve come to the conclusion themselves, which you want, and that you were nothing more than a guiding force pointing the way.

    We’ll never uproot the propaganda completely from any generation alive today. This is what Hitler and Lenin both understood. The best method to secure longevity of an idea or movement is through the children, inside the home, reinforced by society, and exercised through education. The left treats education as indoctrination, the right treats it as something that’s necessary, while we on the other hand treat it as a method of awakening the consciousness and spiritual nation of our people.

    Unfortunately, we’re all tainted by modernity to some extent or another, but we can hope to someday raise a generation that thinks completely outside the left-right paradigm and begins the glorious march toward becoming the Übermensch.

  • HospitalJazz

    People can’t get books published quickly enough to remain relevant to current, practical politics. It’s sort of an obsolete format that some people fetishize, like vinyl. We’re past the era of printed word spurring revolutions. It’s all about digital media. Besides, why leave a trail of breadcrumbs for our enemies, who are currently too arrogant and stupid to understand the changes taking place? Better leave them in the dark, chasing their own shadow.

  • R_Moreland

    0Effect6ively, the Alt Right acts as an insurgent force through the matrix of the Internet, social media, ghosting MGTOWs, 5th generation warriors, and other fronts which exploit the emerging information technologies. In the 20th century, revolutionaries aspired to seize the means of production. Today, the insurgent seizes the high ground of IT for swarm attacks, and disperses before the foe can counterattack. Then reemerge on a distant front to attack again.

    The challenge will come in turning the Alt Right into a movement which can put boots on the ground, taking the offensive off of virtual platforms and into the realworld.

  • Charles The Hammer

    Plenty of prominent Alt-Right figures have written books. Kevin MacDonald, Jared Taylor, Vox Day, Peter Brimelow, and Pat Buchanan (technically a paleocon but close enough) have all written books.