A discussion in the comments section of Richard Spencer’s post concerning Front Porch Republic raised the issue of Localism and what if any place it should hold as a subject of thought on the radical traditionalist Right. I think it is worth taking issue with Mr. Spencer’s dismissal of ideological Localism as ridiculous. On the country, I believe that an ideological Localism based on ethnicity, exclusion, and antagonism—vital values that Mr. Spencer submits himself—is the only productive direction for radical traditionalism.
An idea of the values radical traditionalism is a label for has been well expounded on this website over the last year or so. But the geographic scope we hope to see these values attain in the future, supposedly after some precipitating upheaval, has not been adequately addressed. We should acknowledge the likelihood that these values will not be adopted on a national, in our case continental, scale. The ascendancy of feminist, minority, and bureaucratic power is not approaching a threshold beyond which their values will be reversed. Their values will only evolve. We should cultivate our values in a concentrated environment in which their values will not be welcome rather than wasting time and energy trying to change them. Therefore radical traditionalism requires a scaling down of purposive thought to a geographic parameter much smaller than the country. Only this will afford us a realistic opportunity for turning our ideas into actions.
Localism seems necessary for radical traditionalism in the sense that Trenton was necessary for the colonists. It is where we stand the best chance of winning a battle decisively and rallying moral. It is the only imaginable context in which our values could be instantiated. To ignore size seems impossible once it is considered. A tribe is easier to convert than a metropolis—particularly when you wish to impart tribal values. As it is, these values are spread thin across a continent; it would be better if they were concentrated locally in a town. The political power of a town is greater than the sum of its voters. A town has institutions, traditions, an economy; it has tangible social fabric. By comparison, the political power of a marginalized virtual community is nil; our voting rights amount to nothing if we have no one to vote for.
The effect of feminism and racial guilt on white American society has been to increase the power of women over men and minorities over whites. The outcome has been anti-white, anti-male and anti-natalist. But there is nothing in the premise to suggest that white men will get a hearing when society goes sideways in earnest, by which time white men will probably be a minority and more likely will be blamed for the problems than sought for solutions. As things stand now, radical separation may be less idealistic than persuasion. The cities and suburbs should be left behind. They are filled with oblivious anti-natalist career-oriented couples exactly the same as our First Family. Indeed, it is indicative of our emasculated culture that the last three presidents have only had daughters. We are being lead by men who have either given up their procreative rights to feminist wives or simply don’t care about repopulating the world with worthy sons. Skeptics of a small town movement would do well to meditate upon the fact that our values are not suburban values or urban values and never have been.
When the Right speaks of restoring a more natural, harmonious and healthy society it seems to mistake these three ideas for loose synonyms. On the contrary, our society is perfectly natural as it is, spottily harmonious and terribly unhealthy. Our current social order is an organic dysfunction, not an unnatural mutation. Feminism—or, for all intents and purposes, hypergamy—is a natural phenomenon, a consequence of women reaching a certain level of material wealth, not a contradiction of human nature. Multiculturalism and its attendant taboos are a natural consequence of some mixture of liberal Christianity, democracy and political imprudence. White guilt is worn as a badge of social status, a natural though decadent manifestation of the Will to Power. The point is, we should not confuse egalitarian social engineering with genetic re-engineering. This is important to bear in mind because it means the culture will not one day break down like the Soviet Union, like an experiment in reshaping human nature would be expected to break down. Any efforts to restore a natural society to something more natural are futile. We should be thinking about creating a new society.
The notion of re-learning knowledge of town-building and survival skills is eminently sensible. You do not have to be a prophet of doom to see that the world is likely to become less stable: The current problems surrounding energy, inequality, immigration, the monetary system, war, and debt are going to become more acute and not less over the next century. Whatever combination of impoverishment, war, and balkanization the U.S. undergoes, we should not be holding out hope that our values will be adopted when the dust settles simply because they are consistent with facts and not fallacies. (As Mr. Preston is wont to argue.) What matters is not whether our premises about human nature are true and theirs false; what matters is which side has a purer Will to Power. And that will not be evident until our side takes action.
A return to a more human scale of living is a return to a more rational and efficient way of governing. Just about any contentious issue at the federal level, from immigration reform to school prayer, could be solved on a local level in one night in one town hall meeting by a people determined to be deliberate in regards to governing themselves. Perhaps no stronger case can be made for the superior wisdom of a local body to a national body than the election of our last president. No one who only knew George W. Bush as a local recovering alcoholic would have mistaken him for a national leader. His election should be seen as an irreducible example of what happens when the masses’ only connection to our over-sized democracy is through the television screen.
Localism need not imply romanticism. It should remain tethered to a practical level of thought. It should not be an exercise in conjuring up images of Mayberry (except perhaps as a sort of advertisement to women). If we consider fanciful the notion that men of European descent can once again create their own societies then we have already lost. As anyone familiar with the right-wing Catholic community that has grown up around Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia will attest, it is still possible to carve out a radically traditionalist environment amidst the decadence of late modernity. There is nothing impossible about ambitious men taking action, building a community and governing it as men and not as feminists or ethnic masochists. The European gene is still the Gene of Action; the gene that has produced humanities greatest pioneers.
The example of the Amish is something we should be inspired by and learn from. They are a sturdy and noble people and represent the only European heritage to have figured out how preserve a way of life, perpetuating it into the future: Their population is projected to double by 2024. They are founding new settlements out west right now. Down the road, if a radical traditionalist township project ran into opposition from the authorities of political correctness, the legal status of the Amish would furnish a very powerful precedent. After all, the Amish might as well be considered a white separatist group living ambiguously under federal laws and regulations themselves.
I am not suggesting that we should seek to exist as the Amish exist. Our localism should also be a futurism, not a throwback to an antediluvian past with no automobiles and no art. There are an immense number of innovative ideas about building self-sustaining communities floating around on the web which we might profitably discuss from our perspective. What of course matters ultimately is the amount of human capital we can amass to begin with and that requires discussion of actual mobilization.
We should not mistake a radically traditionalist Localism for mere localism. Russell Kirk’s mind was not merely local; and he was certainly profound in knowing that particulars run deeper than universals, even universals identical to particulars when they are merely dictums from distant despots. Internet communities, such as this one, are not making localism obsolete but they do have the potential to make it futuristic. Disparate peoples once crossed oceans together and founded societies of small greatness with little more than place and circumstance in common. This country may be approaching a time when similar migrations by whites, ideological in origin, will be spurred by message boards.
Popper may have been correct in locating the root of Western totalitarian systems in Plato’s Republic. But it should be remembered that the fundamental difference between the State of Plato’s time and the State of Popper’s time—which is to say, our time—is magnitudes of scale. And if the apparent rationalism of Localism reminds us of the extreme rationalism of The Republic, the connection should not count entirely against the former. The thing that Plato was idealizing was above all and in every way simply much smaller than modern states. What is unjust at one political level is not necessarily unjust at another. An embrace of Localism could provide us with an opportunity to think realistically about implementing a return to Ancient notions of justice, masculine notions of justice, where duties are prior to rights and new rights are not constantly being imposed on fragile cultures from afar. To do so, though, we would first have to return to Plato’s scale of thought.
Our dependence for security and civic organization on a State that we abhor is hypocritical and lazy. A return to independent small towns that exist outside the polluting stream of multicultural slogans and pernicious bureaucratic interventions is the only foreseeable opportunity to make our ideas matter. It is noble to live above a decadent society, to put behind you that which is familiar because it has become alien. Men with an instinct for survival should not sit idle in a dying society. They should set themselves upon new vistas.