Untimely Observations

First Principles: Right and Left

Professor Gottfried’s discussion of the reading lists suggested thus far by several AltRight contributers, including myself, provides a wonderfully comprehensive yet concise summation of what ought to be the first principles of any sort of Right worthy of the name. I share most of the political and philosophical presumptions Paul enunciates: natural inequality of persons at both the individual and collective levels, the inevitability and legitimacy of otherness, the superiority of organic forms of human organization over social engineering, rejection of vulgar economism, and a tragic view of life. However, what I am most concerned with is how these first principles might be applied within the context of the cultural and institutional environments we actually find ourselves in at present.

Perhaps this explains Paul’s puzzlement at the supposed scattered and ideologically fractured nature of my suggested reading list (I’ve already responded to this question briefly in the comments section). As I suggested at the onset of my previous post, I am not primarily concerned with providing an enunciation of first principles of my own. For one thing, there are others beside myself who are far more qualified to do so (such as Professor Gottfried himself, for instance). Instead, I am more oriented towards institutional analysis and its relevance to the core individual issues that we should be addressing. This is why I organized my list into sections dealing either with institutional matters such as elite theory, the New Class, and mass democracy, or with issues of vital importance such as foreign policy or the role of corporations and the related culture industry in fostering and propagandizing for PC. This is why C. Wright Mills, Max Horkheimer, and James Petras can be on my reading list alongside James Burnham, Ernst Junger, and Charles Maurras.

Paul’s concern about the supposed lack of a unifying principle in my own list also raises the question of what specific unifying principles can be found among the alternative Right in general. As Jim Kalb has stated: “In America today, Catholic trads, constitutionalists, libertarians, and HBD fans all count as conservative, I suppose because they all object to the omnicompetent PC managerial state and take a more laissez faire and less radically egalitarian approach to a lot of issues. But how many books would they agree on? A somewhat coherent canon implies a somewhat coherent movement, and that's not where we are.” Indeed, at times there seems to be as many philosophies represented on the alternative Right as there are individuals who participate in the alternative Right.

It would appear that the common thread among alternative Rightists is opposition to the first principles of the Left. As my colleague Troy Southgate explains, the Left’s first principles are “universalism, egalitarianism, totalitarianism and a belief in the linear interpretation of history” and that “our main bugbears are democracy, egalitarianism and globalisation, which must ultimately be countered by elitism, natural hierarchy and an affirmation of our European heritage and identity.” This common opposition to leftism, particularly in its present day “cultural Marxist” manifestations, would explain why the alternative Right includes, on religious matters, Catholic traditionalists, proponents of Orthodoxy, Protestants, atheists, pagans, Nietzscheans, and Evolans. It would explain why our ranks include both proponents (e.g. Austrians) and critics (e.g. Catholic distributists or the European New Right) of capitalism, and proponents of political systems ranging from authoritarianism to anarchism to monarchy to theocracy to constitutionalism to ethno-states. I regard this genuine diversity to be a sign of strength rather than weakness. An authentic competition of ideas is indicative of an intellectually healthy movement.