The Homeric Political Paradigm

It has often been argued that all of politics can be boiled down to Plato versus Aristotle.

Plato takes a lofty, idealistic approach to politics. He sees potentialities and perfect forms, and for him, politics is a means to the approach of the harmonious balance between these purposeful entities, which is justice. To achieve this, a city must have a wise ruler who can direct the coordination of society’s constituent elements, like a conductor directing a symphony. This was necessary for the protection of the city as well as for the success of the individuals.

Aristotle, by contrast, begins with observations of what is, and builds upwards. He is an empiricist and a sort of proto-scientist. Rather than Plato’s dictatorship, used to achieve control from the top down, Aristotle favors a mixed-government style, of the kind which Lycurgus of Sparta instituted, and which Cicero was to go on to defend in De Republica, and which the Founding Fathers of the United States were to refine nearly two millennia later.

There is clearly a distinction in political nature between these two philosophies, but looking backwards across 2,000 years of development, it is difficult to determine which philosopher is “right,” and which is “left.” Does the question even make sense?

The modern right has championed limited government and freedom of speech, and so they might point to Plato’s totalitarianism and claim Aristotle’s republicanism for themselves, perhaps after pointing out the Left’s proclivity for expanding government power. The modern left, on the other hand, has consistently stood for more inclusive representation and a less fixed view of human nature. They might point to Plato’s more aristocratic understanding of virtue, and claim Aristotle’s slightly more plastic view of humanity for themselves, perhaps after pointing out all the right-wing fascist movements of the 20th century. In a similar manner, either side could claim Plato for themselves, and pin Aristotle on the opposition.

The Greek Philosopher distinction can still be made, but it is not obvious, and takes some unpacking to be useful in application to the politics of today.

However, there is an older and more useful Greek thinker that can help us distinguish between the political right and left: Homer.

Daniel Mendelsohn observed that in the realm of classics, there are Iliad people and there are Odyssey people (his father, after taking Daniel’s course on the Odyssey, revealed himself to be an Iliad person). They are dramatically different poems, in which the heroes seem to operate on completely different principles.

In the Iliad, the warriors Achilles and Hector are fighting for honor and duty, respectively. Survival is not even a question. Achilles knows he is fated to die young, and in the famous courtyard scene, Hector says he is compelled to lead the men from the front, regardless of personal risk. The predominant emotions of the story are wrath, vindication, loss, and forgiveness, and the story is essentially of the pursuit of meaning when death is inescapable.

The hero of the eponymous Odyssey, Odysseus, is not the same kind of hero as Achilles or Hector. While generally noble in his actions, and virtuous in the original Greek sense–“capable,” or “masterful”–Odysseus is not afraid of debasing himself, of beating himself, of begging, of submitting to more powerful forces, or of disguising himself as a vagrant. There is no obstacle, physical or moral, which can stop him from surviving to see his family again.

As with Plato and Aristotle, it isn’t immediately obvious based on the actions of the characters which book could be described as “liberal,” and which as “conservative.” The underlying motivations, however, are far more clear than those of the philosophers. To analyze these motivations, we can use Plutchik’s useful breakdown of emotions, and look for patterns which define the characters and the stories themselves.


Of the Iliad:

Sing, goddess, the wrath of Achilles, Peleus’ son, the ruinous wrath that brought down on the Achaians woes innumerable, and hurled down into Hades many strong souls of heroes, and gave their bodies to be a prey to dogs and all winged fowls; and so the counsel of Zeus wrought out its accomplishment from the day when first strife parted Agamemnon king of men and noble Achilles.

If we were to choose words from Plutchik’s wheel of emotions, the key words I’ve emphasized in the opening passage could be labeled rage (x 2), grief, disgust, and anger/contempt, respectively.

Of the Odyssey:

Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home; but do what he might he could not save his men, for they perished through their own sheer folly in eating the cattle of the Sun-god Hyperion; so the god prevented them from ever reaching home. Tell me, too, about all these things, O daughter of Jove, from whatsoever source you may know them.

To repeat the exercise, we might label them admirationacceptancesadnessfear (x 2), grief, and disapproval.

The clustering is more clear in the case of the Iliad, but there is a discernible core motivation driving the Odyssey as well, especially in the context of the meaning of the paragraph.

These distinctions can be even further distilled by looking merely at the first word of each paragraph in the original Greek language and syntax. For the Iliad, the word is μῆνῐς (mênis). For the Odyssey, the word is ἀνήρ (anḗr). Respectively, these words mean “anger” and “man.”

Mênis actually means slightly more than “anger.” In his book on the subject, Leonard Muellner describes it as “a feeling not separate from the action it entails, of a cosmic sanction, of a social force whose activation brings drastic consequences on the whole community.”

As for anḗr, Odysseus’ virtue as a man derives from his “ingenious” devices and strategems he uses to survive a veritable labyrinth of lethal obstacles and dangers. This genius competence is put to the task not of justice or righteous wrath, but of survival, for himself and his crew. Although he failed to retain his crew, we are told that they perished due to their own sins, and not those of Odysseus.

In short, we have a book about justice on one hand, and survival on the other.

That these two poems were written by (or at least alleged recited by) the same person speaks to the synergy between these two motivations. Justice is an aid to survival, through the establishment of stable and predictable order which people can depend upon and build assumptions around with certainty. And of course, survival is useful–perhaps necessary–for the carrying out and maintenance of cosmic justice. If we ourselves are good and just, then Justice demands our survival.

But the synergistic nature of the relationship between justice and survival does not prevent individuals from being dominated by one motivation or the other. Those who we consider to be of the Left are those who are “justice-dominant.” Those who we consider to be of the right are “survival-dominant.”

This dichotomy is one I wrote about recently for Counter-Currents:

In his book A Conflict of Visions, Thomas Sowell argued that the political left–whatever their particular policies–reflected an unconstrained vision of human potential, whereas the political right reflected a constrained vision of human potential. Modern neuroscience seems to support this theory: liberals on average had more grey matter in the anterior cingulate cortex, which is active in navigating social situations, whereas conservatives on average had more grey matter in their amygdala, which (among other things) orients us towards potential dangers and threats. Liberals see options and opportunities; conservatives see risks and dangers.

In fact, “Liberal” and “Conservative,” as labels, are woefully inadequate in encompassing the distinction between those on the Left and those on the Right. This is because “liberal” describes not just one particular theory of justice among many, but also one particular means of going about enacting that theory within a civic order. “Conservative” is a bit more general, and thus broader in its inclusion of right-wing people. However, it is possible to imagine a person who believes that rapid change and “progress” is the surest way to preserve our species. I have personally met transhumanists and people pushing for space exploration who hold precisely this view. Their policies seem to be “liberal,” but their motivations are distinctly right-wing, and their friend-groups and personal politics bear this out, sometimes to extremes which would shock more “moderate,” and less politically-engaged people.

This Homeric theory also carries explanatory power in the realm of parenthood. It is no secret that those with children tend to be more right-wing (“conservative”), and younger people and those without kids tend to be more left-wing (“liberal”). When you become a parent, suddenly survival becomes a viscerally important purpose, and youthful ideals of “justice” often seem abstract, ephemeral, and paltry next to the overwhelming importance of your own children.

This may explain why I myself am slightly more of the left, in my idealism and my psychological profile (high openness, low conscientiousness). I am happily married, but as of the time of this writing, have no children.

It should come as no surprise that Odysseus was not returning to Ithaca merely because it was rightly his kingdom. As he was languishing on Calypso’s island, repelling the Goddess’s sexual advances, he was not longing for home out of a sense of justice, but out of a burning desire to return to his wife, Penelope, and his son, Telemachus.

Achilles had no wife or children that we know of.

This theory also explains why the military is strongly right-wing in nature, while academia is strongly left-wing. In universities, violence is an abstraction, foreign and removed from the daily affairs of life. Survival is a given, and so justice becomes the greatest point of contention. For a soldier, survival is not a given, and so it becomes the single greatest factor in the planning out of every action and every operation. They, like Odysseus, want to come home to their family. While the generals, politicians, and voters may go to war thinking of democracy, human-rights, and the liberal order, soldiers tend to fight for the man at their shoulder. Though they may be just, justice–as a motivation–is an afterthought.

So how do we go about identifying these motivations, in ourselves and others?

Circumstances often dictate the political frame from which we speak. A life of prolonged deprivation in childhood and adolescence may orient a person toward survival-strategies. If food and shelter were not readily available when you were young, ensuring that you have both and more in the future will be paramount in your decision-making. This could lead to advocacy for either traditionally “left-wing” policies (for instance, social services and equitable distribution of resources to favor those who have very little), or “right-wing” policies (property rights and low barriers to entry for those looking to buy and sell in the market). Both are fundamentally rooted in a survival, but are expressed in so-called liberal or conservative policies.

The fact that the “left-wing” policies might be proposed in a fascistic totalitarian society where the policy only applies to citizens of our nation, or that the “right-wing” policies could be proposed in a communistic dictatorship where free-market economics are unknown, is irrelevant. Every policy is enacted in a context. The time and place matter when determining whether a policy is justice-oriented or survival-oriented, as does the character of the advocate. A “right-wing” policy may be rightly viewed as justice-oriented, rather than survival-oriented, when advocated for on behalf of other people.

Others have suggested a quadrilateral analysis of political views, with left and right on the x-axis and authoritarian and libertarian on the y-axis. This is useful in charting the policy positions of various groups at the same point in time, but the problem of the left-right difference remains for both historic and cross-cultural analyses. By looking at the policies–the results of a particular political ideology–instead of the character and motivation of the people who created the political ideology itself, our analysis will always be retroactive and insufficient.

Instead, we must look to the underlying principles, motivations, and experiences of the governed. Through the Homeric lens, we can understand why people group together on seemingly independent issues, such as healthcare, foreign policy, abortion, religion, and literary preference, and we can do so without the slight mischaracterization of Sowell’s “unconstrained vision.” For predictive purposes and for seeking a path to cohesion between separate factions, we can only reach a true understanding through the mind of the governed.


Jack Donovan Was Right

“White Nationalism” is doomed.

And that’s okay.

As Vox Day and many others have pointed out over the years, the concept of “white nationalism” is a distinctly American notion. Europeans are “British Nationalists,” or they support “Germany for the Germans.” In fact, there are few things more hated by Europeans with a sense of identity than the European Union. This hatred is exacerbated by the EU’s support for immigration, but it would exist just as well without floods of migrants pouring into the country; if anything, it redirects their attention away from Brussels.

Jack Donovan stirred the pot in the White Nationalist movement when he publicly declared that he was not one of us in the end of May. By “us,” of course, I mean people who have, at some point or other, called ourselves White Nationalists and still hold the general beliefs about identity, race, and culture that drew us to this movement.

The general response was, of course, negative. No one wants to be disavowed, condemned, or mocked, especially by someone charismatic and relatively influential.

Aside from the emotion, there seemed to be some critical arguments Donovan had neglected. Isn’t there strength in numbers, after all? Strength that we would be giving up by limiting our “tribe?” And if you refuse to take pride and ownership of the accomplishments of your culture, your ancestors, and your people—if you refuse the gifts that have been handed down to you as a legacy—don’t you forgo the very basis for civilization, perhaps for survival itself?

These are powerful arguments, and contain cores of truth that are essentially inarguable. Strength is fundamentally derived from social organization, because we are social organisms. Working together is what we do. And part of working together is working across times and generations, benefiting from the dead, and bequeathing benefits to those not yet alive. We, in turn, carry on the life of those deceased in our own DNA, in hopes of our descendants picking up the torch where we drop it.

But the arguments for large-scale statism are a step beyond mere social organization. The logic of strength through cooperation outside of your nation is contingent upon a shared loyalty and sense of identity in that nation. While the nation can achieve this in short stints, through the organic frenzy of revolution, through social manipulation, or at gun-point. When these things begin to fail, the State is already dead, even if it has a few convulsive steps left in its legs.

This is a brief summary of the premise behind Fifth Political Theory. It’s like becoming barbarians, but it appeals to a slightly different crowd.

Could the Wolves, Hell’s Angels, and other, similar organizations be conquered by the United States Military? Easily. But at what cost, and for what benefit? What do the Wolves have that the US Government wants? And how much would the Government have to spend to attain it?

The scaling problem of using the state monopoly of force has been compounded in recent years by technology, especially the internet. William S Lind and Lt Col Gregory Thiele explain some of these changes in their handbook on the subject:

But today, war is changing faster and on a larger scale than at any time in the last 350 years. Not only are we facing rapid change in how war is fought, we are facing radical changes in who fights and what they are fighting for. All over the world, state militaries find themselves fighting non-state opponents.

This kind of war, which we call Fourth Generation war, or 4GW, is a very difficult challenge. Almost always, state militaries have vast superiority over their non-state opponents in what we call “combat power:” technology, weapons, techniques, training, etc. Despite this superiority, more often than not, state militaries end up losing.

These state forces keep losing, mind you, to relatively untrained tribes in rural parts of the world, who have not read Lind and Thiele, and who may not have eaten a full breakfast today, or even seen—let alone used—a bench-press. How possible would it be for a government to enforce its will on the well-read, well-trained quasi-militias of the North American continent, like the Mafia, Hell’s Angels, and the Wolves?

The strength of size is subject to rapidly diminishing returns, and more rapidly diminishing in this century than in the last. The question then is about the nature of different types of political organizations, specifically as these natures relate to size. Which sort would you want to be a part of? Which size of a group would you be afraid to be in? Which would be uplifting, challenging, or lonely?

If biology has any say in the matter, it is that smaller is better.

Without white people having an interest in “white America”—not because it never existed, but because it is dead—and without the advantage of military strength, on what grounds should we call ourselves “white nationalists?” In the most semantically precise sense of the word, it may be accurate: nation, after all, refers to a people, and is separate in meaning from the geopolitical entity we call a state. But for most people, “white nationalist” means “white statist,” especially if that state happens to look similar to the United States in its current shape.

Most white people do not have the space in their heart to accommodate all other white people. We all get the math when its applied to non-whites, but there are a whole lot of other white people out there too, even when you discount the liberals and the ones with purple hair.

The feelings of patriotism and national pride that we experience on public holidays like July 4th, or on days of remembrance like December 7th or September 11th, are truly powerful things. Sometimes, it almost feels strong enough to hold the country together. In Greek city-states, they may have served exactly that purpose very effectively. But today, in a country of 330 million—of whom functionally 0% had ancestors at Pearl Harbor or the Twin Towers, let alone the Revolution—it all feels a bit commercialized and put on.

Tribes that know who we are draw us out of ourselves and transform us into the best people we can be. Taking up this responsibility is not a rejection of our ancestor’s gifts, but an acceptance of them, with the obligation that those gifts carry. Nor is participating in a tribe a rejection of the strength of a group. It is axiomatically the opposite.

Tribes are where we were born as a species. They are what we long for when we watch TV, we approximate the social feeling of a tribe in the dorms of college, which many people describe to be the happiest days of their life. Tribe is not just better; it’s human.

So why the push-back? Why do White Nationalists want to be called White Nationalists? Why did I initially balk at Jack’s rejection?

We face a common enemy today—several in fact. The left and its cancerous ideologies, the logic of an internationalist consumer ethic, and militant Islam, all variously carve away at the various components of white civilization. These are non-state actors of the worst kind, far more difficult to deal with than a tyrannical state, and are not subject in the same way to the strategies and tactics of 4th Generation Warfare. We should all be concerned that failing to hang together against these threats may mean we all hang separately. It is on this matter, I think, that the importance of the question of “white nationalism” rests.

Adapting a tribal, barbaric—or 5th Political Theory—identity is not antithetical to joining together against a common enemy. Forming alliances is among the oldest of human strategies for winning conflicts, and a loose, decentralized alliance among right-wing, identitarian groups is not only possible, but stronger than forming a single, cohesive organization. We can see this strength in application just within the last few years.

You don’t need to care about or play video games to care about #GamerGate. All you need to care about is that a loose group of gamers decided to take on Academia, the media, and a significant portion of the game development community at the same time. They fought a culture war, won it, and laid the groundwork for the Trump social media campaign that was to follow a year later. They did this all without leaders, without structured organization, or formal alliances. In other words, they fought a 4th Generation War against the business equivalent of a state actor. And they won.

Why shouldn’t whites do the same?

Towards this end, whites should work at a local level to establish healthy and functional communities: tribes that challenge and enrich each others lives. They are agile, adaptive, and bring out the best in their members, from whom they derive their strength.

In pursuit of defeating the common enemies, whites should also adapt a code of behavior—a sort of political etiquette, really—so as to make our nation as inhospitable, as annoying, and as dangerous as possible for our enemies, through the all-to-human power of intergroup cooperation.

The following is a very rough list of rules for the success of New Right organizations. It is by no means complete, but just a head-start for the sort of code of etiquette we will need to be successful. I have designed them to emulate Jante Law and Vox Day’s 16 Points, in that they are non-binding, but descriptive, and should facilitate cohesion and cooperation among discreet and different groups in a new political order:

  1. Remember your enemy. Other groups on the right may be competition and rivals, but they are not your enemy. The tribal new right is composed of independent and different groups pursuing separate goals and ideals. Some of our ideals will be at odds with others, but this does not make us enemies. The only enemy is the one who does not want any of us to be able to live in our own way.
  2. Condemn others; get condemned. Our strength as a movement, as well as our freedom, comes from our decentralized structure. Disagreements between groups are inevitable and positive, but using these differences to appeal to our enemy is corrosive and treacherous. If you denounce other right-wing groups to the left, you will be disowned and ostracized. If a group denounces another, you have a duty to and interest in mocking, denouncing, and ostracizing that group.
  3. Tridents catch more fish than spears. Different methods of persuasion and lines of reasoning will appeal to different people. Do not disavow certain strategies on the sole basis of personal incredulity or aesthetic distaste.
  4. Do not talk to the enemy. Do not talk to the left and their proxies in public except within the mindset of combat. Dialogues approached as a game of rhetoric and persuasion by skilled speakers is the equivalent of battle in a 4th Generation War. You will not receive good-faith arguments in public, so do not open your own group or other groups to their attacks. Anything you say can and will be used against you, or twisted until it can be. Talk to the enemy – especially the media – and you put your group and others’ at risk.
  5. Represent your group. Strength, courage, and competence of the individual reflect the same in the group and the broader movement. So do weakness, cowardice, stupidity, and hypocrisy. Our success as distinct tribes and as a New Right will depend upon the virtues of the individuals who comprise them; they lead to success on their own, and attract quality members to us. Hold other members of your group to account, and be accountable.

To Jack Donovan, we may owe an apology. But to our people, and to our children, we owe a community that they can be a spirited part of; a gift that they can be proud of and can call home. We owe them, and we owe ourselves, a tribe.

Laws for the Tribal New Right

The following is a list of guidelines for the success of New Right organizations. They are designed to emulate Jante Law and Vox Day’s 16 Points: they are non-binding, but descriptive, and should facilitate cohesion and cooperation among discreet and different groups in a new political order:

  1. Remember your enemy. Other groups on the right may be competition and rivals, but they are not your enemy. The tribal new right is composed of independent and different groups pursuing separate goals and ideals. Some of our ideals will be at odds with others, but this does not make us enemies. The only enemy is the one who does not want any of us to be able to live in our own way.
  1. Condemn others; get condemned. Our strength as a movement, as well as our freedom, comes from our decentralized structure. Disagreements between groups are inevitable and positive, but using these differences to appeal to our enemy is corrosive and treacherous. If you denounce other right-wing groups to the left, you will be disowned and ostracized. If a group denounces another, you have a duty to and interest in mocking, denouncing, and ostracizing that group.
  1. Tridents catch more fish than spears. Different methods of persuasion and lines of reasoning will appeal to different people. Do not disavow certain strategies on the sole basis of personal incredulity or aesthetic distaste.
  1. Do not talk to the enemy. Do not talk to the left and their proxies in public except within the mindset of combat. Dialogues approached as a game of rhetoric and persuasion by skilled speakers is the equivalent of battle in a 4th Generation War. You will not receive good-faith arguments in public, so do not open your own group or other groups to their attacks. Anything you say can and will be used against you, or twisted until it can be. Talk to the enemy – especially the media – and you put your group and others’ at risk.
  1. Represent your group. Strength, courage, and competence of the individual reflect the same in the group and the broader movement. So do weakness, cowardice, stupidity, and hypocrisy. Our success as distinct tribes and as a New Right will depend upon the virtues of the individuals who comprise them; they lead to success on their own, and attract quality members to us. Hold other members of your group to account, and be accountable.

This post will be edited and refined as new ideas, criticisms, and comments improve upon it.

Rhetoric and the Morality of Hatred

Yesterday, I presented In Defense of Hatred to the Northwest Forum, run in absentia by Greg Johnson of Counter-Currents. My speech focused primarily on the importance of rhetoric in defending what we love and the moral legitimacy of hatred. You can listen to it above, or read the text below.

There are few things more hated today than hatred itself.

I read an article about two weeks ago from Psychology Today that a family member shared with me. The article was about Oxytocin, the hormone we associate with love and affection. It facilitates social bonding, especially between babies and mothers, and between partners during sex. It wards off depression. Sounds good, right? Well, it turns out that there’s also a dark side to oxytocin. Here’s a short excerpt:

“The same hormone that helps people feel warmth and camaraderie with friends and family is also implicated in the hatred and contempt they may feel for opponents. In recent years, researchers exploring the intricacies of oxytocin have revealed that it rouses envy as well as gloating over others’ misfortune. Psychologists conjecture that oxytocin plays a part in fueling ethnocentrism, xenophobia, and intergroup conflict.”

What I thought was truly impressive was the conclusion they came to. They did not consider whether hatred may have some benefit, or question why love and hate appear to be related at a neurochemical level. Instead, they decided to attenuate their appreciation for the “love hormone.” Since most scientists these days are materialists, this attenuated appreciation for oxytocin extends into a moral suspicion towards love itself. Maybe love isn’t so good after all.

This line of thinking might seem a little shocking, but it really is symptomatic of our culture’s collective opinion of love and hatred. And once you notice it, you begin to see it everywhere. Many in our society would rather not love at all than love something if that love carried ANY potential for hatred.

I wrote In Defense of Hatred because I noticed that this moral position had crept its way into the public consiousness, and was manifesting itself in attitudes so stupid it defied rational comprehension. One prescient example of this manifestation is the reaction we often see in the aftermath of Islamic attacks. As you all probably know, an injection of diversity explosively enriched Manchester at the end of last month. 22 were killed, and 59 injured. Then at the beginning of this month, another truck of peace brought the strength of multiculturalism to London Bridge, killing 8, and wounding dozens. These are just a few of the more recent episodes. I’m sure we can all think of dozens more. But it’s the responses to these sorts of attacks that reveal our society’s strange relationship with hatred, and it was a particular response to an incident that happened about a year and a half ago which really crystallized the matter for me personally.

In November of 2015, 9 otherwise totally ordinary Parisians led an attack against their countrymen with bombs and guns, focusing especially on the Bataclan theater. They killed 130 people, and wounded 368.

At this time, I was already beginning to get a little jaded to the novelty of terrorist attacks. However, as the flames and the blood and the bodies passed across the news headlines like white noise, the empty and unserious quality of the most prominent and public responses to the massacre came into sharp focus. I remember a video of a Parisian father and his son, of no more than five or six years old, being interviewed by a news channel in the aftermath of the attack. The young boy was quite concerned about what his family would do, now that there were clearly mean, bad men with guns in his city. His father, however, gently but firmly assured him that Paris was their home, and that in any case there were bad men everywhere. And then he told his son “they might have guns but we have flowers.”

“But flowers don’t do anything,” replies the boy. He flounders for a moment, trying to think of what flowers are actually for.

“Of course they do,” retorts the father. “Look, everyone is putting flowers. It’s to fight against the guns.”

“It’s to protect?” asks the young boy?

“Exactly,” assures the father.

Now, quick show of hands, does anyone present listen to that and think “what a good father?”

Who here actually feels their blood boil when they hear that kind of nonsense?

Alright, and who is so used to the banality of it that they aren’t even surprised or bothered anymore?

This father resonated with millions of people, who all thought that this was inspirational, and captured the soul of how a Western man ought to respond to concentrated and intentional violence like the Bataclan massacre.

At a biological level, there’s something deeply pathological about the desire to ignore or accept a threat against your family, your city, your nation, and yourself. We can all see that a father who tells his child that flowers will protect them from brutal, totalitarian theocrats with guns will leave the defenseless against threats that are very real. It is a pathology of unseriousness, and it is the same pathology that can compel scientifically-minded researchers to hedge their appreciation for love rather than accept that some degree of hatred or intergroup conflict may be necessary or good.

In Defense of Hatred is an exploration of the nature and origins of this pathology. It also provides a framework for understanding how hatred is not merely a necessity, but a moral virtue in its own right, precisely because of its relation with love. If love means anything at all, it implies an elevation of worth, and for this reason love is inherently relative. We love some things more than other things, and our behavior should reflect this. Does your family matter more to you than a stranger? If so, what would you do to protect your family, if it was threatened? What wouldn’t you do?

If something that we do not value threatens something that we value very much, we must stop the threat as though we hate it. Failing to do so would be an active denial of the love that we claim to hold. If we don’t protect what we love from things we don’t care about, it tells the world—and worse, it tells ourselves—that we don’t really love it that much after all.

Hatred and love are inextricable, because they are both facets of care. A world without hate would be a world without love, because hatred is love’s final and best defense. Without hatred, the probability of loss would make love an intolerable risk, in a constantly shifting world of competing interests, decay, and death. Hatred is no guarantee of the survival of what we love, but it is an effective tool and a powerful deterrent, which helps to make hope in love possible. I think this is something that everyone understands intuitively.

And yet here we are, in a culture that condemns hatred as a moral evil. This contradiction between our stated beliefs and our behaviors means that we did not get here through philosophy, but through rhetoric. If we’re being totally honest, the rhetoric appears purpose-built to deny the legitimacy of the love we have for ourselves and ours; love is just the collateral damage in a narrative power-play. If we want to have any hope of advocating on behalf of what we love–hell, for love itself–we will have to use more effective rhetoric, and we will need to steel ourselves against the pressure of theirs.

Towards this end, it may help to go back to the basics. Aristotle held that there were three aspects of rhetoric: Ethos, what is usually translated as personal qualification; pathos, that which stirs people’s emotions; and logos, what we might think of as oral demonstration of truth.

Let me begin with ethos.

Ethos is usually translated as the qualifications that make you someone worth listening to, but it is far more than mere credentials. Aristotle said, of ethos, “Persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech [is] so spoken as to make us think him credible.” In other words, ethos is about more than just the individual. In fact, as it’s used today, ethos is really best thought of as the characteristic spirit of a group. You may hear of the ethos of doctors, derived from the Hippocratic oath, or the ethos of the US Marines. It’s not a coincidence that our word “ethics” comes from ethos; you can’t have a systematic framework for judging right action without a group with shared goals and values. When Aristotle talks about ethos, he’s talking about the speaker’s demonstration that he holds and adheres to the values and characteristic spirit of the audience. He’s demonstrating that he’s on their side, and can be trusted because they share a common identity, if not a common interest. That’s what makes him qualified and trustworthy. That’s what makes him persuasive.

By contrast, what is the ethos of the anti-hatred culture we live in today? Is there one at all? Out of the one great law “thou shalt not hate,” we can identify a rough moral consensus that promotes universal love; the kind of Rawlsian love that holds no preference for the child in your home over the child in another country. But this kind of love carries little in the way of commitment. It is a compassion of whim and convenience, that gives no sense of validation or security to its recipient. There is no elevation, and there is no loyalty.

This means that anti-haters tacitly acknowledge that they have no loyalty to any meaningful ethos. Their ethos is the ethos of the jellyfish. They can sort of squirm and undulate around a little, provided they’re in a fluid and amorphous environment, but they mostly drift wherever the currents take them. This makes them inherently untrustworthy to anyone who believes in or cares about anything concrete, anything hard, anything real. They are liabilities, liars waiting for the moment to betray you, and the fact that there might be no malice in their amorality is irrelevant. Their love is jellyfish love: more a function of chance than intent, and it stings when you recognize its nature.

We should all learn to identify this jellyfish love, and point it out. The anti-hater has no skin in your game; he openly says that he won’t help defend what is most precious and important to you… because that might be hateful. Nobody who gets on a soapbox about how terrible it is to hate can be trusted, because they do not share your identity, your interests, your ethos… because in condemning hatred, they condemn adherence to any identity; to any ethos.

How about pathos? What about the emotions?

Aristotle described pathos as “awakening emotion in the audience so as to induce them to make the judgment desired.”

When condemning hatred, anti-haters always reference the harms that follow from acting out in hate. They talk about lynchings, war, genocide, anything that can conjure a mental image of intense suffering, and this induces two responses. Can anyone guess them? Pity and fear; the tragic emotions. We naturally want to avoid these things. By tying hate to visually and symbolically significant violence, they persuade the typical person to avoid hate.

Like any good lie, it works because it captures half of the truth. Yes, violence, brutality, even cruelty, often follow from hatred. And in truth, there are inappropriate, weak, and self-defeating forms of hatred, just as there are inappropriate and even dangerous forms of fear, joy and love. Hope can be especially dangerous; just a few days ago, the british journalist Douglas Murray remarked that in Europe, a huge amount of damage has been, and is continuing to be done by “optimists.” We should all acknowledge that hatred which is not justified by good information, understanding, and the competence to act upon it, is almost always a bad thing, and that “hot” hatred tends to be ineffective because it makes the actor predictable and easily manipulable. For these reasons, I think the superiority of “cold” hatred is something we should all remember.

Of course, the anti-hater doesn’t want any hatred, cold or otherwise. They want to avoid the violence, and they correctly notice that violence can sometimes come from hatred. But they never answer–and sometimes seem unable to comprehend–the sorts of questions that follow from their stated position. For example, do they ever consider what motivates hatred in the first place, and if that motivation may in fact be worse than the hate itself? Have they considered, for example, why Vlad the Impaler erected his forest of Turks? Do they know where he learned this sort of barbarism from, and what probably would have happened to the people of his kingdom had he not deterred their would-be invaders by speaking to them in their own language?

Even if they were right, and contrary to all of the converging interests of evolution, haters are a bunch of Jokers who just want to watch the world burn, wouldn’t there be something both stupid and sinister about wanting to love everyone? Everyone? And isn’t there’s a paradox lurking in here somewhere?

The hardest question, of course, and the most important to ask is simply this: what, exactly, are we supposed to do with these hateful people? Where do we draw the line of distinction between the saints and sinners, the good people and the pure evil, and what sort of hell should we throw the latter into for their hatred? Can’t we all vividly imagine — in all the Orwellian details — how the cure is almost certain to be far worse than the disease?

They want a world that does not exist, one in which hatred not necessary, and for that reason, not tolerated. Their utopian vision cannot fathom its own contradiction with human nature, because all utopias are, to some degree, explicit attempts to overcome human nature. And since they cannot grasp the contradiction, they explain away all expressions of the contradiction as exceptions and anomalies, to be done away with, and forgotten. Anyone who has read a book like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago knows how fast the number of exceptions can add up. The body count of utopian idealism is infinitely greater in scope and often worse in its detached cruelty than the schemes of any petty dictator or warlord, even the most sadistic ones. The reasoning is explained by another great 20th century thinker, C.S. Lewis, who I think is worth quoting at length. He says:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

Aside from the murderous destruction of ideologies that defy human nature, those who oppose hatred wish, fundamentally, to cure us of being human. Beyond the gulags, the famines, the censorious oppression and the fear, there is the willingness to be condescended to like children, that should deeply offend everyone that has even a shred of pride, and should terrify anyone who understands the sorts of condescending people that will end up in charge of it all.

Is all of that really worth it, to avoid the possibility of an occasional violent conflict?

We all wish to avoid needless suffering, violence, death, and destruction, but denying the moral validity of hatred is not the way to minimize these. It is far more likely to generate the most destructive of all forms of hatred: the resentful hatred of the disappointed idealist, whose nihilistic justice will condemn you by default and destroy you, for failing to transcend your own humanity. So our pathos is this: If you want gulags, if you want purges, if you want genocide; if you want censorship, fear, and loneliness that defies comprehension, simply lay out an impossible foundation as a moral standard, like forbidding a natural human emotion, and watch what happens.

Finally, we have logos: the “speech itself.” Logos is the etymological origin of the word “logic,” and refers to proving the truth of the claim through reason.

I’ve already gone over most of the logical substance of the argument for hatred, but in short form it is this:

Real value is expressed through actions, not through words, and any expression of “love” that is not backed up by some willingness to fight for what you love is essentially meaningless. The call to end hatred, therefore, is the call to end love itself. The kill-shot to the anti-haters is this: anti-hate is nihilism.

Like oxytocin, hatred is an intrinsic part of human nature, and a natural response to a threat against what we love. And there will always be possible threats against what we love. So we should all cultivate the capacity and willingness to hate, and to hate effectively, if we are to be moral and loving human beings.

Let me close with one final point on rhetoric.

It may be tempting to at times grant the liberal premise and run with it. We can see the hypocrisy so clearly, and yet they don’t seem to care that the real feminists would be protesting Islam and Saudi Arabia, et al. We should all be careful about accepting too much in the name of irony and memes. We become what we repeatedly do, and no matter how much we think we can separate our beliefs from what we say, we eventually become invested in the premises of our own rabbit-hole arguments with liberals. “Democrats are the real racists” began as a flippant rhetorical jab at liberal hypocrisy, but has since morphed into a core conservative premise. In some circles of the Alt-Right, “White Sharia,” which began as an ironic observation of the tolerance liberals are willing to extend to conservative Muslims, is beginning to take on the trappings of an unironic position.

I think that we on the Alt-Right should avoid making the same mistake with hatred. It may sometimes look convenient to say “we aren’t the haters, the progressives and globalists are the REAL haters!” But that grants the premise that hatred is bad. We are ALL the real haters, or at least we should be.

The prevailing anti-hatred ‘ethos’ of our age — the jellyfish ethos — has put our movement in a unique position. We have a real opportunity to actually speak truth to power. If we want to attract people and hold them, memes, humor, and wit are certainly important, but so is being serious and courageous about things that truly matter. Our friend Jack Donovan spoke at the National Policy Institute, and said that genuine culture is the product of love and hate, even if it’s not about hate. People are yearning for genuine culture, for feeling alive, and not separated from the world by screens, drugs, and protective bubble-wrap. We can be that beacon of courage, hope, and life, but only if we disentangle ourselves from the web of ironic premises that everyone else uses to hide from the world.

Let me close with a short quote from the book itself.

“The answer is not trying to manufacture hatred in ourselves. That is empty hatred, or at best unjustified hatred. Rather, it is to love, deeper and more passionately and more honestly. Let sincerity and joy drive out your fear. Any hate that you may require will arise organically and naturally from the unfettered love that you hold.”

Towards these goals—of love and of life—we should all embrace hatred, and we should not be afraid to say so.

Thank you.

Religious Practicalities

Anyone who has been following the Alt Right internal politics will no doubt be getting a little peeved by the infighting and edge-lording that is coming dangerously close to defining the movement. Just in the last few weeks, what essentially amounts to a hit-piece on Greg Johnson came out from AltRight.com, and Jack Donovan finally came out in public attacking the White Nationalist movement as a whole.

I don’t know Daniel Friberg — one of the editors of AltRight.com, with whom the argument with Greg began — so I’ll assume he’s probably a decent fellow. Or perhaps he’s a piece of shit, as Greg Johnson alleges. I don’t know.

I do know Greg Johnson, however, if only peripherally, and I know Jack Donovan. Both are not merely fundamentally good people, but courageous to boot (a far rarer trait). So many intelligent people, and yet the arguments persist. It seems as if the Alt Right as a political movement is inheriting the internal divisiveness of its libertarian predecessor.

A few weeks back, the arguments between The Golden One and Thulean Perspective (Varg) related to the Christianity and Paganism essentially reflect the pugnacious nature of the Alt Right journals, for those who only follow politics on YouTube.

Worse still, it isn’t just the dumber elements arguing with the intelligent ones, or the humble with the vainglorious. Some of the more firm race-realists might ascribe this to white individualism, but I believe the lines are traceable to a religious starting point. By uncovering this cause of the disconnection between subcomponent members of the Alt Right, we may be able to move forward as a group, rather than as squabbling mini-groups, and actually accomplish something in our own interest.

The divisiveness of the Libertarian party, I believe, correlates strongly to its broadly atheistic identity. As I have written about elsewhere (here and here, for instance), religion is not best understood primarily as a metaphysical belief structure, but as a hierarchy of values and a general orientation towards the world. At the symbolic religious level, atheism is virtually indistinguishable from nihilism, and a political movement which is predominantly atheistic in character will naturally result in a plethora of disjointed and incompatible value-hierarchies. Political success from such a movement is unlikely.

Now the choice arises in the Alt Right between paganism (especially the Nordic variety) and Christianity. Here’s an interesting question to explore: which one is more likely to succeed, in a political context?

I think the heart of the answer can be reached rather intuitively by looking at the most important virtues established in each. Paganism most strongly emphasizes strength and honor, while Christianity holds up forgiveness and grace.

Personal strength and honor are certainly critical virtues, and they are unfortunately undervalued by many Christians, especially today. However, real strength is not achieved by an individual, but by an individual working within a group. In Pagan circles, this is often stated as an aphorism: “the strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf.” These pagan circles understand the concept, and hold up “tribe” as something like a sacred unit. That these religions succeeded in surviving for thousands of years argues on its own, prima facie, that such a small-scale, tribal system is cohesive and sustainable.

But there is strength in numbers, and we live in a larger world. A perfect Dunbar-sized tribe of 250 people won’t stand a chance against a nation-state of 250,000, armed with the latest technology, specialized industry, and economies of scale. This is not a matter of idyllic lifestyles, but a matter of brute strength. In war, the larger nations usually win, and in politics, larger movements will succeed over smaller ones.

The symbol for strength through unity has historically been the fasces, a bundle of sticks bound together around an axe. Individually, they can be broken, but as a group, they are invincible. Symbolically speaking, the question is which makes for the stronger axe: better sticks, or better bindings?

Aedhan Cassiel of Counter Currents puts it comparatively in a more prescient way:

If the United States government were to turn against the Wolves of Vinland and try to wipe it out of existence, how long do you think the Wolves would survive? It would be perfectly reasonable to bet they wouldn’t last a week.

And why is that?

It’s because the United States government is a larger entity than the Wolves. And the United States government is a larger entity than the Wolves because membership in it is based on shared dedication to common principles and goals as well as consent to the hierarchy of an overarching command structure—not whether or not everyone who joins the U.S. government wants to buddy up with each other. The U.S. government’s capacity for domination of fringe groups like the Wolves is, in and of itself, proof that political alliances built out of principle rather than “buddying up” will trump isolated, small–tribe “groups of buddies” every time.

So in order to be successful, the Alt Right needs to find a narrative moral foundation (i.e., a religion) which encourages the virtues that bind people together, rather than the virtues that encourage in-group cannibalism.

Christianity fits this bill.

All of these things are conducive not only to personal spiritual growth and maturity, but also to the success of a political organization. Some of the earliest letters of the Church, after all, were explicitly written to reduce in-fighting. And the history of Christendom broadly bears out the success of Christianity in this regard.

The question is, does Paganism have these qualities?

I believe the answer in principle is “yes.” The problem modern pagans run into, however, is that their Paganism tends to derive from a rejection of Christianity, rather than a genuine expression of classical religious beliefs and the carrying on of an organic tradition. As a result, they have become Dionysians, rather than Apollonians. In a more Nordic context, many pagans who believe they are worshipping Thor and Odin are, in fact, following in the example of Fafnir (whom Nietzsche described as the Dionysian character of Wagner’s opera, contrasted with the Apollonian Wotan), or perhaps the great wolf Fenrir.

Those who were influenced by Nietzche’s arguments for master moralities over slave moralities have aspired for the virtues of nobility. The Dionysian character of a master morality is impulsive, assertive, unconstrained by conventional morality, and otherwise essentially virile and vivacious. It may plan and display patience, but it does not brood or linger. For the Nietzschean master, the Christian slave is a pathetic thing, self-denying, and by extension, life-denying.

Of course, Christianity is not at all anti-life. It embraces the virtues that form the bonds of a cohesive and strong society, from which strength in life is derived. They have become the innumerable pack, while Pagans have remained Dunbar packs, or even lone wolves.

As Nietzsche saw a Christian culture in his time, despite a loss of Christian theology, so too is much of modern pagan culture Nietzschean in character, despite a general lack of Nietzschean literature. It rejects Christianity not because of Jesus, but because of the Apollonian character of Jesus. Within this Nietzschean paganism, the pathetic, weak, Left has become so dehumanized that they are not even worthy of combat. There is no honor in beating up children.

Where is there honor? Why, in waging wars with other valiant, strong pagans — explicit, nominal, or honorary. People like Jack Donovan, or The Golden One, or like Greg Johnson.

I have no desire to convert contended Pagans to Christianity. I do, however, desire a successful right-wing political answer to the left’s march of nihilism and atheism, and cohesion will be required for this movement. Both European history and the texts themselves indicate a stronger embodiment of the necessary virtues for this movement within Christianity than within Paganism. If this movement is to be successful, Christians will, of course, need to leave their American-Protestant evangelism and their obsession with conversion at home (Orthodox Christians and Catholics have something of an advantage here).

More importantly, however, Pagans will need to confront what their own personal issues with Christianity are. The things they most hate about Christianity are not just latent within the Pagan traditions themselves, but will be required of a successful political movement. In the long run, they will most likely be required of any given individual anyways, so you may as well sort yourself out earlier rather than later.

Golden Let-Downs

There’s something ironically reminiscent of the Obama years, in the expressions of outrage and betrayal by formerly loyal supporters.

We should not be too hard on them — or on yourself, if you happen to be in their number. The ability to criticize our representatives is a precious one. The disappointment and sadness expressed by his supporters prove how cheap and false the Left’s allegations were about the mindless loyalty of the right to their golden-haired God Emperor.

With the simultaneous attack on Julian Assange and the apparent softening on immigration on the heels of his bombing of Syria, how can anyone right of center (let alone a member of the Alternative Right) be optimistic about the remainder of the Trump presidency?

When I voted for Donald J. Trump in November, I was unconvinced by the actual policies he was promising… or at least not persuaded by them. It’s not that I thought he was a liar (by the standards of his office of aspiration), though any honest person listening to the man is forced to admit that he is less than honest. He’s from New York, for one thing. Even the “truthful hyperbole” strategy he employs — while essentially honest in nature — is dishonest in its mechanics. But there are more important things than a president’s truthiness.

A nation is not so much “led” by its leader as it is reflected by him. There are over 330 million of us and only one president: which one really holds more sway? Certainly the president is a powerful cultural figure, but no one could possibly be more powerful than the collective actions of an entire country. How else could we get a reality TV star as our leader?

Let’s be serious: Donald Trump was never going to make America great again. You can point 330 million people to water, but you cannot even move them, let alone make them drink.

I don’t say this to condemn Trump, of course. I voted for him, and stand by my vote, because I only voted for him for one reason: protecting freedom of speech.

The press, and even supporters, tend to softball the issue by couching all assaults against free speech as mere “political correctness.” Since the First Amendment only protects free speech from abridgment by Congress, it is easy to conflate the right with the law that ostensibly protects it. In doing so, we completely miss the constrictions on expression at the hands of corporations, schools, Hollywood, and the culture at large. They are every bit as dangerous to the civic health of a Republic as constrictions that come from the government itself.

To provide just one example, any criticism of Islam can be caricatured as “Islamophobia,” which takes any intellectual justifications out of a criticism and pathologizes a sincere, and perhaps even true, concern. This is not done at the Federal level, nor even the state level, but by television news programs, by parent-teacher associations, by church congregations, and by dinner party guests.

This means that government isn’t the problem. Government reflects the problem. The problem is with us. Perhaps, like Solzhenitsyn, we do not love freedom enough. Perhaps we love reality TV too much. But I repeat myself.

In my book, In Defense of Hatred, I wrote that the inability to defend what you love can lead us to an inability, or an unwillingness, to love in the first place:

If we cannot hate, then we will retroactively convince ourselves that we didn’t really love it. And the danger of unrequited loss by establishing a meaningful preference, might not be worth it. It might be better to never love.  To wish that what you loved had never existed, so you could be spared your pain.

If we cannot say what we think without fear of reprisal, then what’s the point in getting involved and learning enough to have an opinion at all? And if no one has, or is willing to articulate, a civic opinion, how can a Republic survive? It does not matter whether these restrictions come from the government or from other people. If we cannot use words to resolve our differences, than we will eventually have to use violence.

In 2015, Trump stepped onto the stage and said all the wrong things. It was exactly what we needed. Suddenly, everyone who was afraid to say what they really thought about immigration, about Islam, even about race and gender, saw a Golden example of a man breaking all the rules and winning.

No amount of backsliding on promises can undo this psychic victory. Now everyone knows that everyone else knows the problems with immigration, and we can talk about it. When everyone laughs out loud at the emperor’s nakedness, it is impossible to pretend that the robes are beautiful again. Trump happens to play both the part of the boy and the God Emperor simultaneously, a feat few others could so masterfully perform.

Let’s not pretend that the task of making America great was a burden for the president’s shoulders alone. Frankly, I’m glad he finally let the true believers down. There is something weak in the hope that a single leader will make all your problems go away. It’s a weakness of spirit that Jack Donovan touched on in his piece on Trump:

Men in America can’t keep waiting for someone to come and stand up to feminists and race-baiters and social justice warriors for them, and then stand behind them, saying, “yeah, what he said.” They can’t keep waiting for some elected leader to put big businesses and banks and all of the scheming, swindling, greedy sellouts that run this country in their place. These people hate you, and they don’t care what you think or what you want. No matter what happens to you, they believe you have it coming, and if you don’t do anything about it and take control of your own life and destiny — you will deserve it.

Whatever happens to white American men — and all of the men who are unable or unwilling to benefit from rent-seeking identity politics — will be up to us.

Enjoy the liberal and progressive butthurt, but don’t get too angry with Trump for letting you down. He had one job, and he did it. Make use of the cultural space restored by the God-Emperor, and exercise those rights which he has shielded from the culture at large.

That’s the heart of civic life in a Republic: the speech of the citizen, not of the dear leader.

In Defense of Hatred

The concept that began as a short video just over 14 months ago (a gut-response to the terror attacks in Paris), is finally published and up for sale.

You can purchase it in paperback here. Kindle version should be up soon.

The deracination of hatred is a subtle, insidious thing; more a function of mindset and programmed associations than anything else. Yet I still believe that most people, deep down, know that hatred is a moral, righteous emotion, and response. It is right to feel “disgust towards mind,” and to flee, face, or fight the existential threat which induces it.

I hold no illusions about my book single-handedly knocking down the moral superstructure that modernity has built up around hatred. But it should be a start.

If my work provides readers with the confidence in their own convictions, and the ability to laugh away–rather than explain away–the people who criticize their ideology for being “hateful,” than I think the book will have served its purpose.

Read it, and if you enjoy it, please leave a review. Even professionally-published books depend on good reviews, and us self-published authors need it more than them.