RIP – Tom Wolfe

I was sad to read this morning of Tom Wolfe’s death.

One of the few public intellectuals not afflicted with a crippling case of political correctness (or a paralyzing fear of running afoul of the same), Wolfe was a refreshingly honest and amazingly talented voice. His fearless willingness to openly speak his mind on “sensitive” topics was a testament to his courage and to a certain invulnerability which only his great talent could provide.

Here is an excerpt from a December, 2017 Le Figaro interview with Wolfe which may be found in translation at The Europeans blog:

Political correctness, which I nick-name PC for ‘police citoyenne‘ [‘citizen police’], was born from the Marxist idea that everything that separates human beings socially must be banished, in order to avoid one social group dominating another. It turned out, ironically, that political correctness became a weapon in the hands of the ‘dominant classes’, a notion of behaviour that was well-fashioned to conceal their ‘social dominance’ and sooth their consciences.

Little by little, political correctness has even become a marker for this ‘domination’ — and an instrument of social control…

In Radical Chic, I charted the emergence of what we might call today the “caviar Left” or “limousine progressivism”, that is, a Left that is largely emancipated from all empathy with the American working class. A Left that adores contemporary art, identifies itself with exotic causes and the suffering of minorities, but despises the “rednecks” of Ohio.

Note: The Europeans is an excellent blog, mainly (entirely?) providing translations of interesting interviews and articles from the French media. My only complaint is that the author doesn’t post more frequently, although I guess I am hardly one to talk.

Advertisements

Good News from Italy

As expected, early results in Italy indicate significant gains for populist forces and the defeat of the mainstream parties, to the distress of the usual suspects.

The grotesquely blatant bias of The New York Times was typically present in its coverage, as the paper’s Jason Horowitz, who in his latest piece, In Italy Election, Anti-E.U. Views Pay Off for Far Right and Populists, seemed about to burst into tears, lamented:

Italians registered their dismay with the European political establishment on Sunday, handing a majority of votes in a national election to hard-right and populist forces that ran a campaign fueled by anti-immigrant anger.

The election, the first in five years, was widely seen as a bellwether of the strength of populists on the continent and how far they might advance into the mainstream. The answer was far, very far.

Horowitz goes on to tell us:

After Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Emmanuel Macron of France beat back populist and far-right insurgencies in the past year, Europe had seemed to be enjoying a reprieve from the forces threatening its unity and values.

That turned out to be short lived.

As for the main party of the center-left, we are told:

The Democratic Party suffered its poorest showing ever in national elections, continuing a Europe-wide collapse of the left…

(Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch, by the way.)

That Mr. Horowitz and The Times are the judges of European “unity and values” seems rather implausible, especially as the Europeans themselves increasing turn to national-populist alternatives, but, as usual, I guess that the continent’s deplorables just don’t count.

Meanwhile, in Italy…

Today’s Italian elections have all the right people sweating up a storm, even here on this side of the Atlantic.  “As Italy votes, Europe fears populist gains” worries the Chicago Tribune for example, wringing its hands over what it claims have been the campaign’s “prime-time airing of neo-fascist rhetoric and anti-migrant violence that culminated in a shooting spree last month against six Africans.”

The main source of Tribune‘s fear – and that of respectable opinion in general – is the decline of the pro-EU center-left and the rise of various anti-establishment parties, especially the national-populist Lega (formerly the regionalist Lega Nord), headed by Matteo Salvini, but also the more difficult to classify 5-Star Movement.

The panic is hardly limited to the Tribune. The New York Times has published repeated fretful pieces, including hatchet jobs on Salvini and the Lega, and in a near-hysterical article published a couple of days ago, Why Italy’s Insular Election Is More Important Than It Looks, worried that “in Italy, the birthplace of fascism”

The populism, the electronic misinformation, the crumbling of the left and the rise of the anti-immigrant, post-fascist hard right that has floated in the European ether for years all crystallized in the Italian campaign…

Populist and far-right parties now stand to make some of their deepest inroads anywhere. Chief among the populist forces, the insurgent Five Star Movement, polling around 30 percent, is likely to come out on top in a fractured field.

Italy’s center-left prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, has sought to sound the alarm, telling the newspaper Corriere della Sera on Friday that the election was the most important in a quarter-century, a “contest against populism” with the system of free markets and an open society at stake.

And perhaps even more horrifying to our friends at The Times:

Fake news about migrants, and much else, clogged the Facebook and Twitter feeds of supporters of the League and Five Star, and at times, their sites seemed related.

The messages often reinforced Italy’s growing tilt toward Russia, as well as admiration for its leader, Vladimir V. Putin, who dismissed the notion of meddling in the Italian election because, he suggested, the options were so good there was no need.

The party with the deepest suspicion of Russia, the Democratic Party of Matteo Renzi, has hemorrhaged support, extending a trend across Western Europe.

Sounds good to me…!

Note:

For a summary of the contest from an Alt Right perspective, see John Bruce Leonard’s Brief Guide to the Italian Elections.

On the Death of the Left

The evidence of the death of the Left is all around us. You can see it by the fact that on campus being left-wing means having blue hair and thinking a man can become a woman by having an operation.Brendan O’Neill

From Back to Enlightenment values: An interview with Brendan O’Neill by Chris Mansour at Platypus Review. O’Neill is the editor of sp!ked “Britain’s first online-only current-affairs mag… a metaphorical missile against misanthropy.” With roots in the British new left (its predecessor was Living Marxism) sp!ked has moved far from its Trotskyist origins towards an idiosyncratic libertarianism and is now “a fan of reason, liberty, progress, economic growth, choice, conviction and thought experiments about the future, and not so big on eco-miserabilism, identikit politicians, nostalgia, dumbing down and determinism.”

The magazine has played a particularly positive role in its defense of “freedom of speech with no ifs and buts,” particularly in the UK, where the prevalence of speech codes and aggressive no-platforming by the left make US universities appear to be bastions of tolerance. (See, for example, its Free Speech University Rankings for 2018.)

Overall, sp!ked is one of those things you just have to keep reading, libertarian or not.

On 2017

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive

2017 seemed to open with such possibilities that it is difficult to see the year as anything other than a disappointment as it draws to a close. As 2017 began, Trump’s accession to power seemed to show that anything is possible, while alt.x movements achieved a prominence undreamed of even just a year before.

How different things seem today as the year comes to an end. The nationalist wing of the Trump regime has been utterly vanquished, while the administration has moved away from a commitment to the issues that attracted our support in the first place.

Meanwhile, the anti-system right, which, in spite of being the target of a concerted campaign to silence it, went from success to success in the early months and middle of the year, now seems to have run out of new ideas in its efforts to move from the internet into “real life”.

And yet, it is more accurate to critique the unreality of the expectations than the actual progress of events. They should remind us of all of the obvious things that we missed in the thrill of victory – that moving forward is not so easy as it might have appeared one year ago, that we are a small and weak movement, that our enemies will fight us every step of the way with every means at their disposal, and that we have a very long road ahead of us indeed.

With that in mind, let us value the very real gains of 2017  – mainly the qualitative metapolitical shift in the nation’s political discourse – and look forward to building on that for a productive 2018!

Still Here…

To my small group of readers, sorry to have neglected things for these past few months, but I’ve been too otherwise engaged to think of anything all that interesting.  My pre-New Year’s resolution is to start posting again, so stay tuned…

Good News All Around

I’ve been otherwise engaged the past few weeks and so have been neglecting my posting, in spite of the fact that lots of good things have been going on.

Across the Atlantic, the German elections and the extremely strong showing of the Alternative für Deutschland shows us the the wave of European national-populism continues to rise.

Meanwhile, here at home the victory of insurgent GOP senatorial candidate Judge Roy Moore over establishment favorite Luther Strange, in spite of Strange’s backing by Donald Trump himself, shows the essential strength of the populist revolt independent of the president.  If there it is anything that will keep Trump remotely honest, it will be developments like this.

Finally, the growing NFL protests, due to their inescapable presence at the heart of America’s favorite pastime, will certainly help prevent the deplorables from slipping back into business-as-usual passivity, especially in light of the demobilizing effect of Trump’s betrayals.

Over the decades since we fled into the suburbs we lived in a state of denial, drugged by the the mass entertainment complex, the comforts of hyper-consumption and the general peace and tranquility of whiteopian life, while the demographic and political balance shifted against us.  It is only the the increasingly aggressive actions of our enemies over the past decade or so that have led us to begin to accept the reality of our situation and the need for our own resistance.

Just as the spate of riots and Black Lives Matter-inspired protests between Fergusson and the 2016 elections undoubtedly played an enormous role in mobilizing the Trump base and arguably made difference between victory and defeat (indeed, I think that the Trump candidacy itself might not have happened at all without middle America’s response to the growing arc of protest which can be traced back to Trayvon Martin) the disrespect and fundamental hostility toward the traditional American nation and its history shown by the players and the craven and cynical connivance in this on the part of the owners can only be a salutary goad to our movement’s base.