Perhaps the greatest power of all is the ability to impose one’s narrative upon the minds of others. Without coercion, without violence, one epistemologically dominates others through the values and “facts” that they takes for granted. The greatest power is to determine what is “normal.” Cultural struggle is thus one of the highest political struggles.
I am always astonished at how unconscious most people are to the character and nature of the cultural power elite. If a figure is demonized by the media, academics, and the official intelligentsia, most people (even self-styled “free-thinkers”) will follow. Paradoxically, though perhaps unsurprisingly, a leftist—who is happy to cite Antonio Gramsci’s concept of “cultural hegemony” or Noam Chomsky’s “manufacturing consent”—will be the most prone to this sort of Pavlovian reaction, being the most intolerant of the “Emmanuel Goldsteins” manufactured by the regime (who are termed “racist,” “fascist,” “homophobic,” etc). The leftist will gladly admit that the media (except, of course, for the liberal sites they read) are dominated by plutocratic and corporate interests. But if he works in public education, as is often the case, he will deny that his employment by the State somehow makes him an agent of regime propaganda. And while he may denounce bias in the media due to corporate ownership and White ethnocentrism, he will become hysterical, frothing at the mouth, if the examination of the ethnic composition of media ownership were pushed further, towards the recognition that the most culturally powerful ethnic group in America, certainly at the elite level, is of Middle Eastern origin.
And while a classical leftist may fulminate against the bourgeoisie—the class whose interests are different than those of “the people”—he will take offense if this were formulated in terms of “rootless cosmopolitans,” who exist in a world above nations. (Are not the interests of Carlos Slim and Rupert Murdoch objectively different and generally antithetical to the peoples they roam among?)
While intellectual accomplishment is, above all, an individual activity—of each generation having at best a handful of those outliers’ outliers whom we call “geniuses”—producing culture for both elites and masses is a work for tiny, networked elite minorities: Hollywood, the music industry, print and audiovisual media, the Ivy Leagues, and so on.
All cultural regimes are biased insofar as they are produced by particular oligarchies that subsidize this culture in order to legitimize and further their power. So it was with the Frankish aristocracy and the medieval Church, so it is with the current increasingly transnational plutocratic elites and the media-academic establishment. The victims of political correctness—that is, victims of censorship, censure, and ostracism, who in the past would have been called heretics—can be forgiven for terming the current regime “totalitarian.” In truth, such taboos exist in all regimes. The West today, while intolerant of nationalists, allows for a fair amount of pluralism on the margins. (We don’t live in Brezhnev’s Soviet Union, and certainly not Stalin’s.)
This relative pluralism is evident in the fact that there is substantive debate on many topics, which reflect legitimate divisions within the elite, and which contribute to reorienting policy in particular areas as the globalist regime marches forward. If a critical voice is allowed to exist in mainstream culture, it is because it is promoted (whether explicitly or implicitly by being tolerated) by elite factions, sometimes in competition with each other. The question I want to pose is: is nationalism a possible option and subject debate for our elites, particularly in Europe? Is electoral politics and mainstream debate a worthwhile enterprise, or should we sit tight and prepare our cadres for “the revolution”?
Three Struggles Within the Elite
Intra-elite debate and struggles on major issues are evident in three recent and important books:
- Stephen Walt’s and John Mearsheimer’s Israel Lobby (2007), on Jewish and neoconservative influence in the United States’ foreign policy.
- Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide (2014) on the Surveillance State.
- Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014) on rising inequality.
Each of these books represents broader intellectual and cultural movements, and debate among American and Western elites on how to move forward. The conflicts are quite real.
Stephen Walt said that publishing The Lobby meant he could never serve (like Samantha Power) in the U.S. government. Greenwald, no doubt, will never have privacy again and has faced a certain amount of harassment. Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, was detained by the British at Heathrow airport. Julian Assange of Wikileaks has spent over 1,000 days holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London. Edward Snowden has fled to Russia and fears ever returning to the United States. For his part, Piketty, a prudent academic, has never taken any political risk (his attacks on the semi-nationalist/socialist Jean-Pierre Chevènement on free trade or his refusal to accept Légion d’honneur from President François Hollande’s do not count).
The point is, Walt, Mearsheimer, Greenwald, Assange, and Snowden have enemies because of the political decisions they have taken. Nevertheless, these three books were published and promoted in the Western media and, because they represent the interests of certain powerful factions, they have even been fêted. These come in stark contrast to attacks by individuals, organizations, and even governments on Kevin MacDonald, Robert Faurrisson, Alain Soral, Richard Spencer, Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, and others, who know what ostracism really is. In each case, the book forms part of a dialectic, a response to an excessive or inefficient use of American power. Walt and Mearsheimer’s Israel Lobby is a response to the undue influence of Israel-centric neoconservatives and Likudniks, not because this is detrimental to Palestinians and other Arabs but, more pointedly, because it is detrimental to the State Department, the National Security State, and the Military-Industrial Complex. Was war with Iran really in the interests of the American Empire bien compris? These rather “WASPy” institutions—top CIA officials and military brass—tend to think not, as do the liberals, who form the American Jewish mainstream (as opposed to the hysterically ethnocentric Jews, who are part of the neoconservative clique, FOX News “hawks,” and the Israeli Right).
Walt and Mearsheimer were the standard bearers of these relatively reasonable forces within the establishment, who seek to re-center American foreign policy and create a more rational, self-interested Empire. This conflict between two tendencies in the global elite is still quite evident today and came to the forefront recently with Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s visit to Congress. (In contrast, Al-Qaeda terrorism enabled by Islamic immigration to the West and the spread of Islamic State fighters to Iraq, Libya, or Syria do not threaten the National Security State/Military-Industrial Complex; to the contrary, these phenomena justify their power and destroy the enemies of Israel. A twofer!)
Greenwald’s No Place to Hide reflects the fear of Western elites in general—political, corporate, media, etc.—in giving organizations, Google, and the National Security Agency complete knowledge of their lives. The risk is enormous. The backlash— Assange’s popularity in certain circles, Snowden’s saint-like status, and Greenwald’s winning an Oscar earlier this year—reflects the general trend of Western and particularly Anglo-Saxon history. The aristocrats band together to limit the possibility of arbitrary abuses by the king. This sort of criticism of one’s leaders and security institutions is generally not tolerated in China or Singapore, for instance.
Nonetheless, one is struck at how Assange and Snowden have had to place themselves under the protection of independent foreign leaders. In turn, Western Europe’s weakness is brought to the fore: The NSA continues to engage in massive surveillance of Europeans and clearly represents a threat to European sovereignty, and yet Snowden could only find refuge in Moscow (and not, say, Paris or Belin). Only President Vladimir Putin had the virility and benevolence to protect him—not that his protection was disinterested—but it is a telling example of the benefits of a multipolar world. The Silicon Valley-Washingon DC power nexus—the Google-NSA symbiosis—naturally invites resistance from other elites both at home and abroad.
Piketty’s Capital reflects the rising inequality within nations across the world; for example, virtually all income growth in the recent economic “recovery” has gone to the infamous “1%”—and there is a growing movement to tax and redistribute such wealth. In a context of demographic and economic borderlessness—the free movement of capital, “too-big-to-fail” banks, low-wage immigration, offshoring, tax havens, etc.— inequality can only explode, as wealth concentrates at the top, and wages stagnate or fall. Wealth is bleeding out. Google and Apple are the symbols of this new, optimized order, paying little in taxes and providing few jobs in most countries, in which they operate. In the banking sector, the leftist slogan of “privatized profits, socialized losses” is quite apt. The Marxist prophecy of capital accumulation—the rich effectively gaming the system (including owning the politico-media system) to acquire ever-more monetary symbols—is valid once again.
However, this order of merchants can only exist if there are swordsmen (i.e., the State) to guarantee it. But the government is cash-strapped—increasingly unable to pay for the welfare that the (increasingly “multicultural”) public demands or guarantee purchasing power to start paying off the national debt, or even pay for the armed forces policing the Empire.
So there is a backlash from governments and the media’s liberal wing (e.g., Paul Krugman) to try to tax the rich and the multinationals. Even the United States itself, the imperial core, is vulnerable, with American corporations moving their headquarters to Ireland or Luxembourg for tax purposes; even Republicans have argued that these companies should do their patriotic duty and file in America.
Thus, the U.S. has passed FACTA to tax citizens abroad, some members of the European Union have pushed for a Financial Transactions Tax (“Tobin Tax”), and the G20 is working to exchange banking information. And, besides, in shoring up public finances, there is the added bonus of getting ever-more information on the citizens’ wealth.
More broadly, it is obvious that the Krugman-Piketty movement more generally empowers the State and an elite associated with it: the tax authorities and the welfare bureaucracy gradually transform citizens into passive dependents waiting for some pocket money from Daddy, rather than independent small businessmen or organized workers. The Keynesians, by radically expanding public debt, make government dependent on transnational finance and reliant on Central Banks for protection. A tiny elite of bankers, unaccountable to the public, is thus able to wield staggering distributive powers. This is an arbitrariness that strangely does not trouble Krugman, Ezra Klein, Matthew Yglesias, or even Noam Chomsky (who has denied the existence of the Israel Lobby and would not support Ron Paul over Hillary Clinton). Given the ethnic composition of the Federal Reserve’s leadership over the past three decades, one might be tempted to suggest community bias could be at play…
Thus, Walt and Mearsheimer, Greenwald, and Piketty all represent one moment in the dialectic of the proper use of imperial power: violence and power, information, and money, respectively.
Nationalism: An elite-populist power struggle
The three struggles highlighted above—on foreign policy, the Surveillance State, and wealth inequality—are purely elite struggles. They do not attract the sustained interests of the masses. The antiwar movement—essentially an opportunity for Blue America to express its identity against Red America during the Bush II years—has fizzled with the Democrats in charge, even though President Obama made few fundamental changes in American foreign policy and has, indeed, expanded the war in Afghanistan, turned half of the Islamic World into a firing range for robot bombers, and spread chaos in Libya and Syria. Civil liberties and equality certainly command some interest, but nothing that can sustain a political movement.
Shockingly for Marxists, even class—surely, the pursuit of wealth is a sufficient basis for organization?—has lost its power in consumerist and atomized societies. The aged Hillary Clinton, legitimate heir to the Democratic throne after the temporary usurpation by an impetuous Barack Hussein Obama, provides only the most extreme example of this, with a sleek and insipid campaign ad that features not a single Core American family and is dominated by minority-pandering and menopausal self-actualization. (There are a few vestigial nods to the Left: The ad includes one blue-collar worker and Clinton’s lament that “the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top”—“the top” presumably does not include Hillary Clinton.) The video at once stokes minority ethnic activism and White liberal smugness—a masterful achievement.
All of these struggles about Israel, surveillance, and inequality are then intra-elite struggles. The people are at best props or auxiliaries.
But there is one political struggle that can still be a genuinely popular struggle—nationalism. Here, the elite frequently has to work to contain the popular urge towards nationalism. Of course, I am convinced nothing politically meaningful can be done without elites. The point is that nationalism’s elite representatives are both massively popular within segments of the population and have been actively suppressed. Enoch Powell was the most popular politician of his generation. Jean-Marie Le Pen, with 10–20 percent of the vote, has been formally off-limits for two decades. Thilo Sarrazin’s Deustchland schafft sich ab, on how immigration would Balkanize and degrade the German nation, sold an incredible two million copies in a country of 82 million, despite a hostile reception by the media and political class. (Piketty’s Capital, despite massive support from the American liberal intelligentsia and translations into English, Chinese and Spanish, has reached 1.5 million, with just 150,000 in France.) With class consciousness dead, identity—ethno-national identity—is all that remains. And nationalists can be optimistic: nationalism will never die so long as ethnos exists. Ethocentrism is a biologically-ingrained, evolutionarily-determined, and adaptive preference for one’s kin. Peoplehood and love for one’s people are central aspects of what it means to be human, of having a legacy, and passing it on. We live forever only through our posterity as a people. Nationalism will persist until liberals, in their hatred of life, edit out the life-instinct itself from the human genome.
Almost every European country, then, has a thriving nationalist subculture. And almost every one has a (pseudo-)nationalist party targeting the more ethnocentric share of the population. Nationalism is a popular struggle to save ourselves as peoples. But nationalism is also an elite struggle. Even a widely popular party would have no chance at government if the mainstream politico-media class were opposed to it (either through marginalization, demonization or, ultimately, pure and simple persecution, as occurred with Golden Dawn’s imprisonment). Certainly, there is the Bolshevik option, but frankly that is not my model of politics. Adolf Hitler and Hugo Chávez only achieved power electorally because the divided ruling elite of the day did not oppose them. And, perhaps, the Chavista model is a realistic one for us: Chavez was a man who, prior to being elected, wore ties and gave off airs of Tony Blair, assured interviewers that, of course, Cuba was a dictatorship, but, after achieving power, attempted to use it to better his people and threaten the Washington consensus. Is Marine Le Pen, in symbolically murdering her father, betraying nationalism to collaborate with the regime? Or is she opportunistically sending the necessary signals in order to take power and then emancipate herself?
Personally, if nationalist parties are ever to govern in the short to medium term, I am convinced that they could not do so without the approval, or at least passive consent, of a substantial fraction of mainstream elites. And while the situation in America is hopeless, in Europe many national elites do seem divided on various aspects of the globalist project. In particular, among European elites, there is real anxiety regarding the possible destruction of the nation-state. Could not Great Britain govern itself as a sovereign country by leaving the EU? Would French elites not be worse off locked into an incompetent and unresponsive EU and Eurozone, leaving the French State obese yet impotent? Would not French elites, including Jews, be worse off living under an Afro-Muslim majority? Have Italy’s industry and public finances not been ruined by the overvalued currency of the Eurozone?
These questions are all genuine debates held in European countries, increasingly in the mainstream. Embodied in France by a journalist like Éric Zemmour and FN’s normalization, in Britain by Peter Hitchens and UKIP, in Germany by Thilo Sarrazin and the Alternative for Germany (AfD), in Italy by Oriana Fallaci and populist parties like the Five-Star Movement (M5S) and the Lega Nord. Political nationalism exists in Europe, partly against the will of its elites, as an escape valve for ethnocentrism. (One would need to study why the American elite, in contrast, has been so successful in suppressing any genuine political expression of European-American ethnocentrism since desegregation.) But it also exists because European national elites are divided, knowing, in the recesses of their hindbrains, that the destruction of their nations would not even be good for them. As globalism’s failures become clearer, hopefully sooner rather than later, the junction between elite and people will come with nationalism.