Friday, May 26, 2006

Heubeck: The Problem---An Overreliance on Political Activism (concluded)

The conservative movement is defensive, defeatist, depressed, and apologetic. It lacks self-confidence, virility, energy, intensity, vigor, aggressiveness, vitality, and a firm belief in the rightness of its cause. This is because conservatives have failed to devote the proper amount of energy to developing an alternative cultural world-view opposed to the dominant leftist one. They have instead devoted much of their energy to electing sympathetic politicians and lobbying the government to pass or overturn particular laws.

An open question is what conservative movement he's talking about. The FCF, in defining the Moral Majority, certainly was one Conservative group pushing an agenda at the Federal level in the late 20th century. But certainly no *Traditionalist* (still less, a "new" one) needs to spend time constructing
alternative world-views built around opposition to Liberalism. Effective oppositionneed not adopt the methods of the Enemy.

Heubeck goes on to outline two strategic issues:


The first and more obvious is that it is exceedingly and progressively more
difficult to exert political influence when the cultural assumptions underlying
those political goals are being steadily eroded by the popular culture....


Secondly, an overreliance on political change ... [ratifies] the notion that an
individual's personal happiness is inextricably bound up in the activity (or
inactivity) of government.

In other words, political change is difficult and self-defeating even if it
succeeds. Here we have a conventional wisdom--the populus is basically healthy,
or was at some time in the recent past, but the slow or fast pace of progress
(degeneration if you prefer) is shifting the ground out from under Conservatism
and making it untenable. This simply accepts the standard Liberal construction
of Conservatism. Have the People *really* changed? Was there *ever* a golden
age of Conservatism? When was the last time Traditionalists had the upper hand,
and this was not the way of the world? In which ethnic or religious groups?

Political influence--the difficulty of lobbying--is precisely what the FCF would
be concerned about. But should Traditionalists? Traditionalists and
Conservatives are noted for their loyalty and commitment *to* their regimes, yet
here we have an instance of opposition. This is, of course, the paradoxical
Conservative Revolution. It is not conserving the current political regime that
seems to be interest--quite the contrary--but Restoration of some prior state of
affairs. The natural questions are, which ones, did they ever exist, and should
they be restored.

My opposing comment would be to answer those questions: it depends on whose
Traditions, in many cases not and never, and Restoration, being thus Quixotic,
is neither possible nor desirable.

This gets back to something Heubeck said earlier: "The cultural conservative
movement in particular has paid next to no attention to the qualities of the
people working in the movement, and the relation of such qualities to the
achievement of our goals." What he means is that persons who are likely to
say awkward and pollitically incorrect things without proper coding and spin
sometimes emerge as leaders of (various) conservative factions. What I would
mean by the same words is something different: self-denominated Conservatives
have, for many years, paid little or no attention to what used to be called
Breeding. Conservative pundits have no better manners than Liberals. Indeed,
the appropriation of the term "Conservative" by these thugs and bores is
certainly a matter of contest--or would be if people of good breeding and
manners (i.e., real Traditionalists) still existed.

However, one only has to read the pining for subversion, revolution, and
destruction held forth as Conservatism to understand the Trotskyite and
Gramschian program of these "Conservatives".

A Traditionalist and certainly a Traditional leader, to the manner born, has
the good taste to know lowborn tactics and talk when he sees it, and to
reprimand such tendencies in his followers, even when they are of a lower class
and prone to such outbursts. There is no uncertainly in Traditional society
about how to behave like a "gentleman" (but see Wikipedia for the history of
gentil homme as a social classification).

The masses show more natural Conservatism, in their blind loyalty to Bush and
American military power and empire, than do their leaders, who have many oddball
plans, but no actual hereditary skill at statemenship. They will, without
doubt, squanderany real chance. The problem is not that they are "corrupt"
(which they
certainly are), but that they are ill enough bred not to clean house once in a
while. We can sit around for another decade or so while things fall apart, but
using the people to "gain influence" over such rabble as have led this Republic
for many a year--is a political naivete tantamount to theirs. They have a low
born cunning that keeps them in power, and may prevent us from wresting it from
them, but are quite clueless in operating the levers of the mechanism they

Heubeck stumbles on to those "levers" (first described by Bacon in his "Calvin's
Case" brief), when he speaks of "...the cultural assumptions underlying
those political goals are being steadily eroded by the popular culture." The
possibilities for Governing are themselves limited by Culture. Therefore
governable states are *grown*, not bandied about like a toy ball with a bat.

Another of his obiter dicta is perceptive:


The lack of interest in the latter goal [expanding freedoms] is curious, since
freedom for its own sake has never been a conservative goal, at least in theory.

Indeed, it was once the fashion in Conservative circles to *contrast* Liberty
from Freedom (and Libertinism). The conversion of the Latinate word into the
Germanic one is an important ethnic clue to two different notions of
your Traditional word here>. The word "freedom" has lost its semantic
connection to Freethinking and Freemasonry, as those have become less a
dangerous opposition and more a commonplace part of the landscape. Oddly, in
their time, they advocated Revolution and the destruction of existing
Institutions, as corrupt. Is Conservative Revolution just the final
institutional phase of free-thinking? One thinks of creaky old revolutionaries,
chanting Che's slogans in the nursing home to annoy their more conservative
merely Jacobin comrades.

The relatively recent successes of New Left ideas in law and legislation have
only been made possible because their proponents were able to capture the
cultural institutions--e.g., the media, academia, publishing houses, advertising
agencies, Hollywood--some years earlier. Conservatives have by and large
surrendered all of these institutions to the Left, with any opposition being
limited to assorted muffled complaints and pathetic appeals for fairness.

Notice the subtle introduction of false premisses: was there *ever* a time that
the Traditionalists (not Conservatives married at the hip to Liberals) dominated
the media, academia, publishing, advertising, or Hollywood? To take just one
example, bourgeois advertising--it was a novelty in the early 19th century.
Conservative (and even anti-Democratic but Socialist) opinion was that making
people want to buy inferior products, i.e. using money to compensate for earned
reputation, was just not done.

Conservatives must honestly assess the predicament that we are in. We must
understand that the American people are no longer on our side, at least not
reliably so, and they will be less so as time goes on.

What do you mean we, white man? The Americans who tarred and feathered Tories
at the Revolution were already "not on the Conservative side". Indeed, the
Crowd doesn't pick sides, it pursues passions. It can be made loyal, under
certain conditions of stability. The ability of the present state to clothe,
feed, shelter, and provide health care guarantees a primitive and probably
insuperable level of loyalty. Any "conservative" politician who believes
otherwise is in for a drubbing, as the history of paleo electoral victories will
bear out. This should suprise no one. The common man wants oil for his car so
he can have a job that gives him Federal Reserve notes, provided those are
convertible into Food for his belly. Would a Conservative want it otherwise?

The leaders of the Revolution wanted The Man off their back and got it. They
had enough breeding to pull it off for a generation or two, but there were no
more Robert E. Lees gonna come from that gene pool. We are now down to the
level of genetic sports. Chief and Leader material emerge from time to time,
but what use is society to make of it? No more than the obvious candidates for
Sioux Medicine Man who are also doubtless lurking in the gene pool.

But more worrisome still is the fact that conservatives themselves often no
longer understand or support a truly culturally conservative vision of America.

And where is the proof they ever did? Ask Candians if "that horrid Republic" to
the South was "culturally conservative". Doubtless, there was a great deal of
stored up good sense in the People--but we seem to be running low about now.

Being conservative has come to mean nothing more nuanced than holding the belief
that every man has the inalienable right to make as much money as he possibly
Any term can be misused. In a post-Liberal or post-Progressive society (to use
the words from the 1920s, when what Sam Francis called Bourgeois society of
Reconstruction was transitioning to the Managerial Elite of of the
Roosevelt-Wilson era), Conservatism can indeed simply mean Great-Grandad's

To sum up, the basic problem confronting us is that those who are familiar with
the theoretical underpinnings of conservatism are not particularly interested in
putting their ideas into practice, and those who are engaged in activism are not
well-read and are obsessed with public policy matters. Those who think do not
act, and those who act do not think. If this continues, the conservative
movement will cease to exist in every way but name.

A Traditionalist lives his Tradition, so the charge of "not putting into
practice" only applies to those rootless individuals who do not, in fact, have
a Tradition. To have morals (folkways), and laws, and institutions, and
customs, and religion, and a homeland, and all the marks of a People, indeed
a Country, with a State, and a Government for it--all that is far from, "not
put into practice". America has all these indeed. The Tradition Problem--both
its analysis and its solution--lie very far from where Heubeck looks for it, in
his analysis of Political Impotence. They lie in an understanding of the sub-ethnic
divides underpinning factionalism among whites.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Huebeck: Integration of Theory and Practice---a Review

This essay is hard to find on the web now. A copy can be found at Original Dissent, where this thread began.

Here are some introductory comments of mine:

Thank you for posting the essay retroactively to my request.

Before I reread it, it might be helpful to recount the circumstances under which it was written, and hence the problem it addresses. I first saw the essay, which was I believe written during the late Clinton administration or very early in W's, in conjunction with the "Center for Cultural Conservatism" at the Free Congress Foundation website. You will notice that all references to it have been expunged and the "policy center" entirely devoted to the theories of William S. Lind now.

This organization is Paul Weyrich's, a fairly mainstream "Christian Right" lobbying organization as far as I can tell, and not particularly paleo. Weyrich is famous for coining the term "Moral Majority". I believe he eventually became an Orthodox Christian, and his move towards cultural separatism during the latter Clinton years, which was temporary and evaporated when W was elected, may have resulted from a number of factors: (1) exhaustion after eight years of the hostile PC climate that existed under Clinton, (2) observation of the success, on the right, of the homeschooling movement, (3) an orientation towards Hesychasm [which non-OC's would miss], that quiet cultural retirement, stability of place, and "just being what one is, culturally" in an insane, PC world, had a certain personal appeal.

In other words, I believe the essay may be an attempt to generalize the success of the homeschooling movement in resisting Clinton-era PC, into a broader model for poltical activism.

Such speculations aside, Weyrich made a dramatic announcement that the Moral Majority was over and a new phase of separatism about to begin. In conjunction with the fresh paleo/neo split, which took concrete form in 1992 with the Buchanan campaign and the "End of Democracy" series in the neo publication "First Things", separatism was "in the air" in both the neo and paleo camp.

However, Weyrich's effort was not well received -- what good is a separtist lobbyist? -- and he appears to have dropped the whole thing at the beginning of the Bush administration like a hot potato. For a while, it was very difficult to find on the net at all (I have two old links somewhere, which took hours of searching and required both Heubeck's uncommon name *and* text from the essay to turn up). This sucker was deep-sixed big time.

Moving on to the essay, I don't know the exact connection, but I believe the essay was written to summarize a conference held by that policy center and to consolidate the initiation of the political movement Weyrich had in mind, which ended so abortively. I don't believe any *actual action* was taken, because it was slapped down so hard, but I could be wrong.
+ + + +

The essay is a long one, and as has been pointed out on another thread, most of us here on this board have actual lives besides posting on internet boards, so I will try to lead this discussion, for any who wish to participate -- this Study Group, if you will -- by commenting on the essay seriatim. This post signals discussion, if any, of the first few paragraphs. (I will try to synchronize my post titles with the section under discussion).

I have already said that I encountered the essay a while back -- maybe 2002 or so? It is certainly one of the more attractive attempts I've seen, perhaps the only one, coming out of the FCF. I have already noted that as an actual political movement, rather than an abstract idea to discuss endlessly, it was stillborn. However, before we bury it, we should perhaps provide some sort of critique -- would it have worked, should we try to make it work, and if it failed what went wrong?

Let's start with the problem statement. Heubeck has a plan to solve a problem, and he states up front what the problem is. I am a bit confused as to what problem Heubeck thinks he is solving. One might try to get some insight into the problem, by working backwards from the proposed solution, when he gets to it later on:


"Our movement will be entirely destructive, and entirely constructive. We will not try to reform the existing institutions. We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them. We will endeavor to knock our opponents off-balance and unsettle them at every opportunity. All of our constructive energies will be dedicated to the creation of our own institutions."

I am normally a fan of paradoxes, uttered with a mysterious air, but in this case I am simply confused. This seems to be a strange program for a *Traditionalist*. We will need to analyze this -- exactly why must there be a Conservative *Revolution* -- as we go along.

However, his aim is clear: The eventual destruction of *THEIR* institutions. We will, of course, need to understand eventually who THEY are and make sure THEY don't include US, since if they do this is not something we should participate in but warning of an impending attack by the FCF on US. (The unity of Cultural Conservatives, aka Christians, and their separation from non-Christian Americans in actual political fact can be disputed, however).

So what is the problem?

However, none of those traditionalist thinkers, or anyone influenced by traditionalist thought, has made any serious attempt to directly put his ideas into practice. The unspoken assumption seems to be that if enough time is spent improving our intellectual sophistication and honing our arguments, our ideas will win more and more converts due simply to their irresistible appeal, and by some mysterious mechanism which no one has ever chosen to explain, our society will slowly but surely learn to cherish traditionalist values.

This way of thinking must be categorically rejected.

Now my answer: there has certainly been endless discussion and castles in the air, but it is by no means clear that that discussion is ours, rather than the dialectic carried on in the instutions that are proposed for destruction (which I assume includes the liberal faculties of universities, if not universities altogether). If Heubeck simply means he is bored by the over-intellectual discussion of his Conservative compatriots, perhaps he has the wrong thread or forum.

Lumping all discussion together avoids the ethnic and racial basis of much discussion. Let's look, for a second, at the history of the "Ivy Tower". Setting aside the pretentions that point back to "medieval universities"--itself sufficient proof they know nothing about it, since a medieval university was a guild for accrediting and controling teachers, not a place of instruction -- or the specific colonial legacy of the Ivy League, most "colleges" were founded post 1820, when about 200 sectarian institutions sprang up in the US. Thus, "academia" only pre-dates what I have called the "War of Ph D Agression" by some 40 years. The first American to make the pilgrimage to Goettigen was elected governor of Massachussetts and gave a triumphant speech on the field of Gettysburg, following the somewhat more famous and more succinct remarks of Mr. Lincoln.

In any event, the presumption that a Traditionalist might make, that universities were ever "ours" and have been taken from us, or that discussion within them is reformable, are simply mistaken on historical grounds. So why the angst?

When we read Mises, on Liberalism, he delivers a similar encomium: If only Goettigen and not Berlin had dominated Germany... You see, our political discussion, as highbrow discussion, is very much a case of "our Germans and German-educated Americans against their Germans and German-educated Americans". This is OK. Germany is a fine country. But an *English* or better an *American* or *Southern* traditionalist -- that is, someone concerned with their roots -- has not root or branch in such procedings.

Again, it is only self-hating persons with a vested interest in un-American, non-Traditional institutions that has such angst that they need to line them up, in their mental fantasies, against the wall of the great Conservative Revolution. For the rest of us Traditionalists, that's OTHER PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS. Why need we bother to destroy them, if they are not ours?