The Answer To Leftist Victories: “Particularism”—The State Should Represent Us
December 13, 2014, 06:09 PM
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[See Also: James Kirkpatrick’s review of Ryan Andrews' The Birth of Prudence]

The Republican Party is clearly losing the country, even as it is winning elections. President Obama should be reeling from a crushing Republican victory in the midterm elections, yet he is imposing Executive Amnesty with (as yet) no serious resistance. The GOP Establishment has even joined forces with him to push through the “Cromnibus” spending bill. Rush Limbaugh disgustedly observed: “The Washington Establishment doesn't care, and a lot of people are fuming, and rightfully feeling that, well, what, did the election not matter? And I'll tell you, the answer to that question is a question a lot of people don't want to hear the answer to.” [How the Cromnibus Could Be Stopped by Rush Limbaugh, RushLimbaugh.com, December 12, 2014]

The truth is that for all the American Right’s electoral victories, the political center keeps moving to the Left—because the Left is winning the culture. Not only is the Beltway Right losing where it matters the most, it’s not even really on our side. That’s why it’s so important we have a real Dissident Right with a real goal and ultimate purpose.

What distinguishes the Dissident Right from Conservatism Inc.? We don’t argue with half our brains tied behind our backs by accepting liberal-egalitarian assumptions. Ironically, today we serve as a kind of culture of critique in our own Establishment Right—pointing out the absurdities and flaws in the mainstream’s multicultural Narrative.

However, what’s missing is a comprehensive intellectual defense of an ultimate ideal. The success or failure of any ideology (in terms of achieving power) depends on attracting and retaining the loyalty of smart and idealistic young adults. These are the people who go on to move the culture, and they do so in the service of an ideal. All the critiques in the world will do little to convince these people if they are not first convinced by the ideal that underlays those critiques.

The invaluable Steve Sailer is emblematic of this gap in the Dissident Right. Sailer may be the most brilliant social analyst in contemporary America. However, his moral vision of “Citizenism” comes off as a kind of ad hoc afterthought rather than a coherent ideology. Citizenism contends that we should be biased in favor of our fellow citizens and their (our) collective posterity. America ought to be governed so as to promote the greatest happiness of the greatest number within the country.

But this is both emotionally and logically unappealing. Sailer says we need to argue that Americans come first. Why? He seems to suggest that it is simply out of practicality, because “white nationalism won’t get the job done at all”—whereas appealing to a shared sense of civic nationalism may prove more effective.

Yet can you achieve substantial political and cultural change by appealing to mere practicality?

I know that many on the Right are, by nature, practical-minded people, and are impatient with grand moral theorizing. And it’s easy to be frustrated by the Left’s purposeful obtuseness, their refusal to understand anything that isn’t spelled out for them in minute detail. (For an example of this, see this review of Jared Taylor’s White Identity: Racial nationalism: it’s an American thing, By The Prussian, skepticink.com, Oct 31, 2014). So it’s easy to just say we should dismiss theory or abstract ideals and just get on with it.

Unfortunately, you might not be interested in grand moral theorizing—but it is interested in you. We have to point to something that we want people to strive for. We have to hold up an ideal that can inspire people to struggle and sacrifice. And we have to have an ideological lodestar that we can use to guide us through the passing political issues of the day.

If we are the Dissident or the “Alternative Right”, we need to start building an alternative ideal. I propose another ism—Particularism.

Recently in Radix, I explained it in this way:

There is, of course, virtual total consensus in the West, at least among its political nations. In every Western country, and many others besides, the reigning ideology is a combination of Liberalism/Libertarianism/Libertinism; they vary only in their relative emphasis on these points. If the natural desire of man is, and ought to be, the desire to perpetuate himself, the modern West has decided that the best means to this is freedom. Allow the individual the freedom to pursue his unique vision of the Good; the state exists merely to safeguard this natural right of all people; the politics of the state is no more than the means of deciding how much government is needed to protect and promote freedom.

What could be a happier arrangement? The problem though, is that perpetuation of the self is dependent on others; with every man as an island, no one is able to perpetuate himself. The paradox is that if freedom is the ends, it empties all meaning from freedom as a means, and vice versa.

The most obvious, and to me, most persuasive, counter to this is Particularism, one form of which, is ethnonationalism. Particularism, in my formulation, is the idea that the state ought to be the citizen writ large. The state’s role is to protect the life and property of the citizen, yes, but it ought to do more than allow the citizen to perpetuate himself, it ought to part of that perpetuation. If individuality is to be prized in people, why not apply this principle to the state? The state, more than any other institution, is capable of perpetuating an idea and a community.

Peter Brimelow’s oft-deployed quotation from Alexander Solzhenitsyn captures something of this vision,
The disappearance of nations would impoverish us no less than if all peoples were made alike, with one character, one face. Nations are the wealth of mankind; they are its generalized personalities the smallest of them has its own particular colors and embodies a particular facet of God's design.
We are not in power, nor are we likely to achieve power anytime soon. However, this provides an opportunity. We need to refine our ideology and promote our powerful moral vision about the freedom of nations and the identity of peoples.

Geopolitics are fluid, and national politics are unpredictable. But if we don’t have something that can move the hearts—and not just the minds—of men, we won’t be able to take advantage of the opportunities that may arise.

Ryan Andrews [Email him] is the author of The Birth Of Prudence. Buy it here in Paperback, or here as a Kindle Edition.