Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Thoughts That Guide Me:
A Personal Reflection

by Keith Preston

I regard the progression of my life over the years and decades to be, first and foremost, a struggle against two things: foolishness and weakness. It has always seemed that no matter where I found myself at any particular moment, no matter the particular demographics involved, there has never been a shortage of the kinds of folks whom Nietzsche described as "untermenschen", that is, mediocrities and inferiors. This is to be expected, of course, given that to be average is to be normal and to be normal is to be mediocre. It has been said of H.L. Mencken that he "held most of mankind in sterling contempt" and this characterization would provide an apt description of my own outlook as well. In short, I am a cynic if not an outright misanthrope, a charge to which I would plead guilty but proud.

I am an individualist, but I am not so much interested in all individuals as much as a particular type of individual. Lawrence Dennis has been described as an "exponent of...the dissenters, the rebels and non-conformists". So am I. Though I am a political anarchist, most so-called anarchists strike me as mush-minded conformists who would likely be less than worthless in a real-world martial struggle with the powers that be. Perhaps what I champion is not so much the anarchist as much as the "anarch", the superior individual who, out of sheer strength of will, rises above the herd in defiance and contempt of both the sheep and their masters. The self-directed individual whom Max Stirner characterized as an "egoist", the one who chooses to be governed only by himself rather than to be governed by religion, morality, law, justice, ideals, ideologies, conformity, respectability, humanity and other false and hollow pieties. It would appear that the type of person that might be characterized as an "egoist" or "anarch" transcends boundaries of culture, ideology or race. I have far more respect for someone whose politics, cultural identity or aesthetic interests are diametrically opposed to my own, but whom I recognize as a superior individual, than I do for someone ostensibly in my own camp who is weak, foolish, cowardly, mealy-mouthed, pious or uninspiring. As Nietzsche said: "The errors of great men are still greater than the truths of lesser men".

The first bit of weakness and foolishness I went to war with was religious superstition. Some have asked me why I eventually renounced my religious upbringing. It wasn't really a matter of choice. I did not "choose" to outgrow ignorance and slavishness anymore than I "chose" to outgrow diapers and training wheels. The light simply went on in my head and that was it, or as Saint Paul ironically put it: "When I was a child I did as children do, but when I became a man I put away childish things." The truly religious have always struck me as the most pathetic and pitiable of creatures, as those who have traded away their birthright of independence and reason for the mess of pottage of superstition and fantasy. My contempt for them is limitless. I probably could have gone into the ministry. Hell, I probably could have been a televangelist. But who wants to be a shepherd of a flock of fools and mediocrities?

The next bit of foolishness I attacked was the state. I became a militant anarchist revolutionary at the age of twenty-one, or at least that's how I liked to perceive of myself at the time. In those days, I was basically an "anarchist" of the bourgeoise-reject leftoid variety, and I now consider that time to be the diapers and training wheels period of my political and intellectual development. Ultimately, there is only one political question: Who has the most power and what are they going to do with it? It was Machiavelli and his disciple, Hobbes, who were the first to boldly proclaim the true nature of politics. Profound though the works of Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, Augustine and Aquinas may be, a certain blindness accompanies the ideas of the classical thinkers, for in these we see an irrational fixation on subjective "virtue", whereby the values of the Greco-Roman ruling classes or the later Church authorities are assigned some sort of metaphysical quality, conveniently uplifting the self-interest of existent power-holders into the realm of scientific truth. But it was the geniuses of the later Renaissance period who were the first to fully expose the true nature of human political life.

It is really quite easy to understand how real-world politics actually works. A few simple ideas really summarize the whole game. Individuals are self-interested creatures. They form alliances with other individuals with similar or common interests. These alliances then go to war with other alliances representing different or conflicting sets of individual or collective interests. Clausewitz remarked that war is the continuation of politics by other means. The flipside of this is that politics is the continuation of war by other means. Indeed, we might think of "war" proper as a type of high intensity warfare with politics being a type of low intensity warfare. In all wars, there are winners and losers with the winners simply being those who acquire the greatest capacity for physical force. Upon acquiring power, any sensible group of power-holders recognizes that the first order of business is to buy the loyalty of the subjects through the provision of protection from the insecurity that accompanies chaos or disorder. Security is the primary human instinct. The ordinary human type will trade the universe for it. In this respect, the state works no differently from an extralegal protection racket. The only difference is that the state is more formalized in its structural foundations.

Once the people are pacified through the provision of order, the next step is the inculcation of the "values" (i.e., self interests) of the ruling class into the people. This is done through the creation of an ideological superstructure constructed in such a way as to depict the subjective values of the ruling class as objective "truth". This ideological superstructure is then conveyed to the people through the dissemination of propaganda through established outlets of communication and education controlled by the ruling class (schools, mass media, intermediary institutions connected to the state, etc.) Being a creature of the herd obsessed with security and identity, the average human type quickly absorbs and internalizes such propaganda, however logically flawed and even contrary to one's own rational interests it may be. Rationality is but a mere quaternary feature of the human psyche. The final phase of this process is also the most important one. A scapegoat must be identified and attacked. There must always be some nebulous or demonic force, whether inside or outside the host society (preferably both, from the perspective of the ruling class), that can be held up as the most mortal of enemies against whom the subjects are being protected by the power elites. These can be genuine social ills (like crime or poverty) or mere phantoms (like Jews, drugs or Satan), but the simple truth is that such official Enemies must be eternally attacked for the sake of the continued empowerment of the ruling class and the state. Perpetual war for perpetual peace and all of that.

It is also of the utmost importance to recognize that those who obtain the upper hand in the ongoing power struggle will almost always be the most ruthless, cunning and merciless of the competitors. The wolves will always win out over the sheep. Within this bleak framework of a perpetual war of each against all, there from time to time arises the exceedingly rare individual whom Nietzsche referred to as the "ubermensch". This is the individual of superior will, strength, mind, spirit, discipline, intelligence, intuiton, perceptiveness, shrewdness, wisdom, creativity, inventiveness, generosity and other such characteristics that set the human species a half step above the other animals. It is this individual who becomes the "anarch", the "egoist", the one who rises above the perpetual fog in which both the sheepish people and their vicious masters dwell. Such a person can come from any political camp or even be a common criminal by conventional standards, whatever those may be at any given time. It is persons such as these who carry with them the seeds of cultural and civilizational growth. For any sort of human existence to emerge beyond that of the merely animalistic, this type of individual must thrive. Otherwise, the species would be nothing more than a collection of talking apes with slightly greater mechanical abilities than those of the simian realm. Where would the species be if there had never been a Plato, Confucious, Da Vinci, Newton, Jefferson or Edison? It is the legacy of Promethean spirits such as these alone that elevates the homosapiens above the neanderthals.

The first purpose of any politics or ethics beyond the purely material or defensive must be the protection of the Promethean spirit and the cultivation of socio-political environments where these can thrive. Not because this value is "true" in a metaphsyical sense, but because it embodies the natural expression of the sovereign anarch's will to power. It is apparent enough that the political framework most conducive to the advancement of the anarch is some sort of anarchism. The anarch must be able to thrive free of the shackles of smothering powerlust of the type typically displayed by the wolves who herd the sheep. Against power we might counterpose the will to power, the aspirations of the anarch or what we might call the "wings of civilization". The story of civilization is the story of the struggle against power manifested in the will to power. It might be argued that the only true class struggle is the permanent battle between the disciples of Prometheus and the disciples of Mammon.

The third enemy I came up against was the conceited deceit of modern liberalism. Indeed, one of the reasons I eventually broke with the mainstream of the anarchist movement and went off in my own direction was the realization on my part that most of modern "anarchism" is in reality nothing more than the countercultural wing, or court jester wing, of progressive liberalism. What are the core ideas of liberalism? Egalitarianism, democratism, therapeutism, multiculturalism, materialism, legalism, universalism and humanism. Every one of these is rooted in fundamentally flawed assumptions. Yet each of these delusions is so prevalent that each of the political factions with any access to mainstream society whatsoever exhibit them. Political debate is restricted to the varying factions of liberalism, whether they be right-wing liberals (like the US Republicans), moderate liberals (like the US Democrats) or left-liberals (like the US Greens or the American academic Left). How can so-called "anarchists" expect to lead a "revolution" when they share the fundamental values of the liberal-bourgeoise elite, varying only in questions of detail or degree?

A consistent application of political anarchism, seeking as it does to achieve the reign of the sovereign anarch, requires that the greatest concentrations of political power be the first to be attacked by insurgent forces. The emerging New World Order holds as its ideological foundations a synthesis of bourgeoise-consumerism, egalitarian multiculturalism and therapeutic statism fused together into a general program of totalitarian humanism of the type presciently warned against by the anarchist Aldous Huxley. That the historic Left has either expired its historical utility or been incorporated into the Establishment is obvious enough. If the Left is dead, then a new radicalism is required. From where will opposition to this new totalitarianism come? In the East, the vanguard of the resistance comes from the remnants of the Old Order, the sectors of Islamic civilization least impacted by post-Enlightenment intellectual culture. In the West, a number of intellectual traditions form a type of linear chain leading up to the potential for a new ideological paradigm. Classical Jeffersonian application of Enlightenment radicalism, combining a healthy balance of agrarian populism and aristocratic individualism, blends nicely into the classical anarchism of Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin and Kropotkin, with these in turn foreshadowing the modern critique of the state developed by the libertarian Murray Rothbard. Lastly, there is the cultural critique of modern liberalism developed by the European New Right, with its counterpositioning of particularism against imperialist monoculturalism. Perhaps the appropriate foundation for the new radicalism is a libertarian/third-positionist synthesis (where Rothbard meets Benoist) within a broader framework of Proudhonian-Bakuninist class struggle rooted in the lumpenproletariat, neo-peasantry and petite bourgeoise. No ideology or intellectual paradigm is greater than the spirit that accompanies it. A new radicalism must purge from its consciousness any residual influence of liberalism.

On this question, I can only describe those priniciples that I have found to be a useful guide for my own actions and outlook. The classical Stoic emphasis on indifference to suffering and pain and devaluation of luxury and comfort affords one the mental and emotional discipline required for a persistent commitment to martial struggle. This is obviously a far cry from the pathetic attachment to "sensitivity" exhibited by liberalism is its present ultra-degenerated form. The concept of honor found in medieval chivalry or in the Bushido warrior code of the Samurai likewise offers an inspiring counterpart to the "health and wealth" consumerism and therapeutism that has infected virtually all of the First World, its so-called "radical" elements included. The Bushido rallying cry of "Death before Dishonor", whereby an individual warrior can attain no greater honor than to battle one's enemies to the death, serves as a magnificent counterpart to the pervasive cowardice found among the inhabitants of modernity. While such ideas may serve well as a guide to individual conduct, there remains the question of what outlook best serves to inspire the masses and to energize the shock troops in the struggle against the common enemy. The "conservative revolutionary" figure Carl Schmitt regarded politics in its highest form to be two polarized opposites prepared to battle one another to the death. Such is the attitude we must seek to cultivate among those who would resist the New World Order. This is obviously the diametical opposite from the liberal pieties of "peace", "reconcilitiation", "non-violence", "universal brotherhood", "common humanity" and other abominations which can lead only to crushing defeat. As Victor Anduril so beautifully puts it:

"When a lion catches a gazelle, it exercises the natural authority of a predator over its prey, and no amount of rationalising can overcome the fact - or the consequences, in nature, that might is right. The only reason this principle is not fully active, for the animal Homo sapiens sapiens, is because he has disjoined himself from nature with the imposition of Rule. Anarchists, therefore, as those seeking to abolish this rule, and re-institute the authority of Natural Law, should be the most aware of the implications. As Francis Bacon said: “Nature cannot be commanded except by being obeyed.” The childish and rationalist ideas to be read in most Anarchist publications are no less than an attempt to moralise nature, “the lion shouldn’t kill because it isn’t right; it is an infringement of the gazelle’s liberty”. From a child this is a cute rationalisation, from a self-proclaimed revolutionary, it is quite pathetic."

But the glorification of the childish and the pathetic is the hallmark of liberalism. A century ago, anarchism was an international mass movement, comprised millions upon millions of people, that struck fear in the hearts of the ruling classes and state functionaries everywhere. In a relatively short period around the turn of the last century, anarchists assassinated the heads of state of virtually all major countries. Indeed, anarchists were to that time what the Islamic fundamentalists are to our time. It is time for anarchists to reclaim their historical legacy and heritage, and to position themselves as the perfect Western counterpart to their Islamic revolutionary brethren in the East. The classical anarchists positioned themselves as the most radical wing of the international labor movement, the preeminent struggle of their era. What is the proper orientation for anarchists in the modern world? As Anduril notes:

"The utopian ideals of Marxism have been attractive to weak Anarchists unwilling to face the real implications of having to ensure their own survival and well-being. The Marxist ideal paints the “either/or” fantasy, either there will be rules to protect those incapable of protecting themselves, or the entire globe will become one big Anarchic community with no one taking advantage of another. Such thinking is for Marxist cowards, not Bakuninist Anarchists. A “global community” will never become a reality, and it would never last if by some miracle it did. The truth is, there will always be the “other”, some body which does not accept our views and is therefore a potential enemy. Laws are not over war, war is over laws. Without the limitations of either laws or authority, the “other” will take what you have, rape your women, steal your children for slaves, and so on. That is Anarchy without the natural authority which alone maintains order. Therefore, Anarchists need to get to grips with the dynamics of Natural Law - in fact with all modern science - and only then will the positive aspects of Natural Law enable them to create the Anarchic state they dream of. As was said by the nineteenth-century American Anarchist Benjamin Tucker, editor of Liberty: “The ways of science, however devious and difficult to tread, lead to solid ground at last. Communism belongs to the Age of Faith, Anarchistic Socialism to the Age of Science...

...It is because of the Marxist utopian pipe-dreams which have been continuously injected into Anarchist thought that such a noble ideal as anarchism has not been taken seriously, since World War Two, as a viable alternative. True anarchism, purged of all alien Marxist concepts, requires a realistic recognition and acceptance of science - including Natural Law - which alone gives it the perspective of the powerful Cornerstone of Anarchic philosophy - the social nature of man...Anarchists must therefore cease all the amateurish moralising - fighting against all the concepts this society and Marxism have programmed them to oppose - and stand against those in power. Anarchists need but one state from which to fly the banner of the Noble Cause, and therefore any entity, no matter what its beliefs or doctrines, is a potential ally if it opposes those in power. “My enemy’s enemy can be my greatest ally” is a realpolitik axiom that has come last to Anarchists...

...The entire globe is presently dominated by the most powerful rule-imposer in world history. This degenerate regime will utilise every means at its disposal to maintain its totalitarian “One World Order”. That means not only conventional forces of unimaginable strength, but also blockaded or destroyed food or water supplies, chemical agents, biological serums, and finally - but assuredly - nuclear holocaust. There are hundreds of groups struggling for a piece of autonomy apart from this one-world regime, and plenty of room on the planet for each to have its share. Among all these groups - so diverse and even ideologically opposed - lies the one promise for the future, and that is their mutual desire to destroy those in power. As Friedrich Nietzsche said: “The state wants to be absolutely the most important beast on earth; and it is believed to be so too!”...

...How can Anarchists oppose this Beast when they already oppose every “ism” on the planet? When Marxists tried to persuade the anarcho-socialist Jack London to join their crusade against natural borders, he rejected their propaganda as irrelevant to the Cause. When the feminist Emma Goldman tried to gain Kropotkin’s support for “sexual equality”, he rejected her propaganda as irrelevant to the Cause. It was in fact the father of Italian fascism, Benito Mussolini, who translated Kropotkin’s books into Italian in 1904, and Kropotkin once wrote of Mussolini - who did not operate in Kropotkin’s sphere of activity - “I am delighted by his boldness.” When the Russian Anarchist revolutionaries took the position of hostility towards all non-Anarchist groups and ideologies, Kropotkin declared this attitude as impractical, and contended: “We cannot be against it. Our business is not to fight with them, but to bring into existing revolutionary ferment our own ideas, to widen the demands which are made.” And the International Anarchist Congress at Amsterdam in 1907, called on all revolutionaries to oppose the ruling regime in unison:

The Anarchists, the integral emancipation of humanity and the absolute liberty of the individual, are naturally the declared enemies of all armed force in the hands of the state - army, navy, or police. They urge all comrades, according to circumstances and individual temperament, to revolt and refuse to serve (either individually or collectively), to passively and actively disobey, and to join in a military strike for the destruction of all the instruments of domination.They express the hope that the people of all countries affected will reply to a declaration of war by insurrection.

...As third way Anarchists, it is our special duty to serve as a link between all these scattered elements of insurrectional potential with a single cause - to destroy those in power. The true Anarchist can therefore have but one true battle cry: Revolutionaries of the world - unite!"

Amen, brother!! Let the Battle begin!!!

Copyright 2005. Keith Preston. American Revolutionary Vanguard. All rights reserved.


New Right said...

How refrreshing to find an article by Keith Preston on a New Right website. Hopefully, these thoughts will demonstrate that Anarchism is not the dogmatic, semi-Marxian beast that so many people believe it to be. There is, for example, no conflict between the
ideas of National-Anarchism and the New Right itself.

Thinking outside the square said...

Blame the Sex Pistols for the negative views of Anarchism