Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Anarchism of the Right

Friedrich Nietzsche, 1875
By Keith Preston

Patrick Ford's recent discussion of the "libertarian problem" observed how resistance to the neoconservatives had produced an unusual alliance on the Right between such divergent elements as "hedonistic anarchists and medieval Catholics." Patrick expressed skepticism of whether the libertarian-traditionalist alliance can be a durable one, given the sharp differences to be found among the respective philosophical foundations of the two camps. Traditionalist objections to libertarianism are usually rooted in what is often described as libertarianism's "atomistic individualism" whereby an ideologically constructed conception of "abstract liberty" is elevated over and above more concrete and immediately tangible matters of culture, history, tradition, community, family, religion, and so forth. Libertarians are accused of deifying the economy as an end unto itself, rather than as a means to the end of meeting human needs and irrespective of the impact of economic forces on non-material values. The traditionalists will say that while libertarians may deny the innate equality of individuals, libertarians implicitly endorse an egalitarian ethos regarding human groups such as nations, cultures, religions, regions, races, and genders. Libertarian economism simply regards these things as interchangeable commodities, and no more significant than different brands of deodorant or fast food. In other words, libertarians are simply liberals who reject the welfare state, according to the traditionalist critique. For this reason, many libertarians see mass immigration from the Third World into the West as no big deal, as human cultures and ethnic populations are interchangeable, with economics and political ideology being what really matters.

This critique is a fairly accurate one, though it does not apply to all brands of libertarianism. Murray Rothbard, for instance, rejected this kind of reductionist outlook and became an outspoken critic of such tendencies among libertarians in the latter part of his life. Further, it does not follow that the baby of anti-statist politics should be thrown out with the liberal-reductionist bathwater. Over the last decade, there has been a proliferation of radically anti-statist tendencies that might be collectively described as an "anarchism of the Right." Commonly labeled "national-anarchism," this new anarchism draws its inspiration less from Ayn Rand or Milton Friedman and more from such divergent sources as De Benoist, Nietzsche, Junger, Evola, Schopenhauer, Belloc, and older strands of anarchism such as those advanced by Proudhon, Bakunin, Tolstoy, Stirner, and Kropotkin.  Its leading current proponents are Troy Southgate, Flavio Goncalves, Hans Cany, Peter Topfer, Andrew Yeoman, Welf Herfurth, Chris Donnellan, and, at least peripherally, myself. "Anarchism of the Right" differs significantly from other ideological strands bearing the "anarchist" label. It shares the anti-statist politics and opposition to imperialist war of the Rothbardian anarcho-capitalists, yet rejects their neo-Lockean philosophical foundations in favor of a Nietzschean or Evolan "radical traditionalist" outlook. While libertarians and anarcho-capitalists tend to be economics-oriented, anarchists of the Right prefer to emphasize the particular, and champion the sovereignty, autonomy, and preservation of unique cultures, regions, ethnicities, identities, faiths, and tribes against the homogenizing and universalizing forces of the global economy, technology, and imperialism. On economic questions, these anarchists likely have more in common with the Catholic distributists, Southern Agrarians, Proudhon, the classical anarcho-syndicalists, or Kirkpatrick Sale than with the editors of Reason. Nor do the anarchists of the Right share the vigilante liberal sentiments of the "antifa" stormtroopers. Indeed, they are more likely to be the target of such unsavory elements.

Central to this new but growing form of anti-statist radicalism are the concepts of community and tribe. Towards this end, anarchists of the Right favor the development of autonomous communities existing independently of overarching state systems for the sake of maintaining the identity and ideals of the tribe, and therefore look askance at mass immigration, preferring instead community self-determination with full rights of exclusion. Matters of ethnicity and race are certainly essential to this outlook, though not exclusively so or in a reductionist way. For instance, a "tribe" can be a group of persons committed to a particular way of life, set of cultural norms or political ideals. The "tribe" can therefore be a community of ascetic religious sectarians, radical ecologists committed to the non-use of industrial technology, hippie communalists, homosexuals, neo-pagans, radical survivalists, racial separatists, or drug users. The Alternative Right is a genuinely diverse milieu of beliefs and ideas. This is in sharp contrast to official "diversity" with its emphasis on a diversity of skin colors, genitalia, and sexual habits, but complete uniformity of thought. Perhaps one of the most common characteristics we share is our pariah status in the eyes of the liberal ruling class. The therapeutic-multiculturalist-welfare states that currently rule our Western societies are clearly our enemy. An anarchism of the Right may prove to be an essential part of the intellectual arsenal against our enemy, the state.