Paleoconservatives – the new radicals [I]

Part I
Part II
Part III

For people living in the here-and-now and not looking to the future, then this is going to be boring.

For people who believe that what to do in the future involves looking at where we are, vis-a-vis the past and planning based on experience, this might be more interesting.

James Wilson came out with an interesting statement:

The Right does not collude with the Left. Conservatives collude with the Left. Republicans, Tories, independents, libertarians, collude with the Left. Democrats, Labor, socialist, communists, liberals, are the Left.

Conquest Law. All things not specifically right wing sooner or later become left wing. That’s why there are so few of us.

Phew.  I’ve studied American history in my past and so that rings a bell, also the north-south divide is far more than just about slaves.  But far more than that, there is a brand of conservatism which enables James W to say that but which would confuse us in Britain or in Europe.  It cuts both ways.  If I express sympathy for John Birch principles, that is guaranteed to mean approval of the excesses and the hijacking of that group, not the underlying principles.

The best way I can come at this is with the Wiki article on paleoconservatism.  Whilst my actual positions are oft-found in Ron Paul’s manifesto and that of Suzanne Evans’ UKIP, I found the position far better expressed here:

… and might add that this sort of thing is long gone in Britain and Europe.

As I read through the article, I was just emphatically agreeing with point after point after point and yet it is American, not British.  Having also studied British history – Tories, Whigs etc., there’s still nothing quite like the positions in this article.

Paleoconservatism (sometimes shortened to paleocon) is a conservative political philosophy found primarily in the United States stressing tradition, limited government and civil society, along with religious, regional, national and Western identity.

Tradition is the key and includes even those things we might not naturally embrace. For example, over here, paganism is very much part of our tradition and while it would confuse Christians and non-Christians alike that I would accept it is part of us, as a political animal, not a religious, I look to Easter, the yule log of Christmas and so on and have no issue, accepting that our lot supplanted those festivals with our own, way back in the dim dark.

However, I personally draw the line at Winterval, the new embracing being merely in direct opposition to Christmas, to destroy Christmas – but the original notion of Winterval is part of our tradition anyway, it’s all part of our rich pageant.

I think this is why it hurts so much to see the loss of our traditions in this country, our rich past – hell, if anyone embraced its history, surely it should have been Britain.

Not any more.  The Brave New Worlders of the Neo-Cons, global left, the left-liberals, the Tories, pay no respect to our history, our – dare I say it – heritage, beyond dressing up for Downton Abbey. Stand in the ruins of Whitby Abbey, high over the raging sea below and one gets some idea of what we are.

No doubt similar exists in the States.

And it is that sense of place in the continuum, the sense of identity, which is the key – not political positions on this or that – it is who we are which is far more important.

Therefore, people who are Old Labour can join with us in that, people like my friend Cherie who have a keen sense of place and past.  This is why I’m fine eating and drinking with most who are simply part of “us” and we’ll not talk politics. It does not mean we exclude people of other cultures and traditions – but it is kept in perspective.

Interesting – the neocons, left, liberals, Marxists are the new establishment and we are the radicals – whodathunkit years ago?

I’d like to look at political positions which naturally spring from paleoconservatism.  Let me move through it in as abbreviated a fashion as possible, which is not abbreviated enough:

#   tradition, limited government and civil society, along with religious, regional, national and Western identity

Yes but having lived in a few countries, I also have that same respect for their traditions too – it’s not a case of exclusion of those people, it’s more a case of sitting at the same table and supping with them but still being who we are. And they expect that from us too, else they lose respect.  We badmouth our heritage – we are chaff in the wind in their eyes.

#  Respect

That is the key to paleoconservatism – respect. And civility.

# Paleoconservatives in the 21st century often highlight their points of disagreement with neoconservatives, especially regarding issues such as military interventionism, illegal immigration and high rates of legal immigration, as well as multiculturalism, affirmative action, free trade, and foreign aid.  

They also criticize social welfare and social democracy, which some refer to as the “therapeutic managerial state”, the “welfare-warfare state” or “polite totalitarianism”.

They identify themselves as the legitimate heirs to the American conservative tradition.

This applies over here too, to our tradition.

# Its concerns overlap those of the Old Right that opposed the New Deal in the 1930s and 1940s,as well as American social conservatism of the late 20th century.

Overlap, not embrace nor exclude.

# The paleoconservatives use the term conservative somewhat differently from some US opponents of leftism.

Paleocons may reject attempts by Rush Limbaugh and others to graft short-term policy goals — such as school choice, enterprise zones, and faith-based initiatives — into the core of conservatism.

This is mainly due to the paleoconservatives’ desire to see these incorporated as long-term institutional goals, rather than short-term victories for the movement itself.

In this way, paleocons are generally regarded as taking the “long view” toward US conservatism, willing to suffer temporary setbacks while never taking their aim off the goal of establishing the primacy of conservative thought into US politics.

Ditto here.

#   Samuel T. Francis, Thomas Fleming and some other paleocons de-emphasized the “conservative” part of the “paleoconservative” label, saying that they do not want the status quo preserved.

Very much so – we are the radicals today, not the establishment.

#  What paleoconservatism tries to tell Americans is that the dominant forces in their society are no longer committed to conserving the traditions, institutions, and values that created and formed it …

Yep, there it is.

Part I
Part II
Part III

2 comments for “Paleoconservatives – the new radicals [I]

  1. james wilson
    October 9, 2015 at 20:17

    I will read your links tonight. You will be familiar with the terms Dark Enlightenment and Neo-reactionary. Paleo-conservatives are of one of several lines of thought in that. As Bohr said, the opposite of a profound truth is sometimes another profound truth. But the type of truth that increases it’s value only in in tension with another profound truths is not similar to the truth in tension with falsehood, the normal condition within universal suffrage. The difference that separates a Stalinist lie and a democratic lie is that the democratic lie contains truth, and a lie is more effective to the degree of truth it contains.

    This is from Nick Land

    For the hardcore neo-reactionaries, democracy is not merely doomed, it is doom itself. Fleeing it approaches an ultimate imperative. The subterranean current that propels such anti-politics is recognizably Hobbesian, a coherent dark enlightenment, devoid from its beginning of any Rousseauistic enthusiasm for popular expression. Predisposed, in any case, to perceive the politically awakened masses as a howling irrational mob, it conceives the dynamics of democratization as fundamentally degenerative: systematically consolidating and exacerbating private vices, resentments, and deficiencies until they reach the level of collective criminality and comprehensive social corruption. The democratic politician and the electorate are bound together by a circuit of reciprocal incitement, in which each side drives the other to ever more shameless extremities of hooting, prancing cannibalism, until the only alternative to shouting is being eaten.
    Where the progressive enlightenment sees political ideals, the dark enlightenment sees appetites. It accepts that governments are made out of people, and that they will eat well. Setting its expectations as low as reasonably possible, it seeks only to spare civilization from frenzied, ruinous, gluttonous debauch. From Thomas Hobbes to Hans-Hermann Hoppe and beyond, it asks: How can the sovereign power be prevented – or at least dissuaded — from devouring society? It consistently finds democratic ‘solutions’ to this problem risible, at best.

    • October 9, 2015 at 21:06

      The left thrives on dialectics, the right perishes through them. Insofar as there is a pure logic of politics, it is that.

      ‘The right’ has no unity, actual or prospective, and thus has no definition symmetrical to that of the left.

      And are unherdable.

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