May 27, 2009
In his autobiography, Jerry Rubin, the late leader and co-founder of the 1960s era leftist-anarchist court jester faction the “Yippies”, told a story about how during a speech he had remarked that hippie kids should “kill their parents for the revolution.” He was speaking metaphorically, suggesting that the perceived stodgy or overly jingoist values of the pre-60s generation should be overturned, not that hippie kids should procure a knife from the kitchen and off Mom and Pop, Charlie Manson-style. But a menacing photograph of Rubin subsequently appeared on the cover of the National Enquirer with the bold headlines: “Yippie Leader Tells Kids to Kill Their Parents.” And so both a legend and a scandal were born.
I really don’t know what to make of the reaction to my recently published essay, “Is Extremism in the Defense of Sodomy No Vice?” in the circles of what is called “left-libertarianism,” particularly considering that I have been only peripherally associated with that “movement.” Given the rather extensive number of blog posts and comments threads that have appeared in response, perhaps someone in a “man from Mars” position could be forgiven for assuming that Keith Preston must be someone of overwhelming importance, perhaps a presidential candidate or leader of a mass movement of millions, with its own mass army, and who has called for a “night of the long knives” purge of the left-deviationist, homo-erotically-inclined, Ernst Roehm wing of the Left Libertarian Anarcho-National Socialist Workers Party, no doubt to secure my own grip on the Chancellorship. I suppose I should be honored that others consider my pronouncements to be of such significance, though my first inclination is to respond with the immortal words of William Shatner, who said in a comparable context: “Get a life!”
With the notable exception of Kevin Carson’s very gracious “Open Letter,” most of the criticisms expressed either a) do not contain enough substance to merit the dignity of a response or b) originate from individuals who have already rejected my own positions fairly thoroughly, anyway or c) both of the aforementioned. However, there have been a few critics who raise issues worth addressing, and if others find my own ideas to be important enough to merit the volume and kinds of response that has been generated, I suppose I should make the effort to insure that my views are being accurately understood and represented in the discussion that is taking place. So here goes.
Totally Unrepentant: A Reply to Mike Golguski
Mike Golguski is someone I know absolutely nothing about, except that he’s the fellow who renounced his American citizenship and has become officially “stateless” as someone who is not a citizen of any particular nation. If all that is true, then I very much respect him for taking such an action, given that such doings can hardly be in his own personal self-interest. Apparently, Golguski is the one who got the ball rolling in the flood of responses to my “sodomy” piece, and I’ve already posted a response on the No State blog. I want to follow up by addressing Golguski’s final sentence: “Without substantial work at repentance, Keith will not be welcome at my table, nor in my tent.”
I do not care if Golguski does not want me at his table or in his tent. After all, this whole anarcho-libertarian thing is supposed to include something about freedom of association and property rights, and that goes double for a pan-separatist like bad old me. Unlike some of my more vociferous critics, I do not care if others wish to “exclude” me from their midst. What do I find interesting is Golguski’s use of the term “repentance.” This would seem to provide evidence for the claims that I and others far more capable than myself like Alain De Benoist, Tomislav Sunic, Murray Rothbard, Samuel Francis or Paul Gottfried have made that modern “cultural leftism,” “multiculturalism,” “political correctness,” “cultural Marxism” or whatever one wishes to call it is, like orthodox Marxism and American-style liberal-progressivism before it, a type of secularized, pseudo-Christian moralism. As Thomas Sowell has mentioned, ideological leftists often tend to regard their opponents as not being not only in error, but in sin, in the same manner as their ostensible Christian rivals. Suffice to say that as a pagan, a Machiavellian, a Nietzschean, and a Stirnerite, Keith Preston does not “repent” of anything. I am reminded of an incident from well over twenty years ago when I received a letter from a former pastor of the Christian Reconstructionist church I went to as a kid, urging me to repent of the Satanic monstrosities I had inflicted on the world as an adult. I replied with a brief note saying, “Fuck you, Jesus Freak!” or something to that effect. I’d say something similar in this particular context as well.
People, Revolution and Warfare: A Reply to Brad Spangler
Brad Spangler has a post up that seems to be sincere in intentions but is a grotesque misrepresentation of my actual views. The ideas Spangler attributes to me are something like what I would imagine a parody of Keith Preston to be like.
First, as I see it, Preston mistakes the sociopathic proclivity for personal violence commonly encountered among white nationalists for martial prowess and “fighting spirit”. Simply put — every bigot is a bully, and every bully is a coward. If we are to fight, let us fight at the side of the brave. There is no Nazi utopia. The handful of “damaged personalities” who would lay down their lives for a twisted, dystopian vision would undoubtedly be no challenge for a suitably well-armed Girl Scout troop.
I actually agree with everything Spangler says here. The problem is these comments have nothing to do with my actual views. If one wishes to understand the nature of what I have called “martial spirit,” then read “In Storms of Steel” by Ernst Junger, who, by the way, was a close personal friend of the martyred Jewish anarchist Erich Muhsam. I also disagree with the view that everyone bearing the label “white nationalist” fits the narrow stereotypes derived from images of George Lincoln Rockwell-influenced, Hogan’s Heroes-imitating, neo-nazis being described here. In fact, one could make the ironic claim that there might just be a little bit of the dreaded “bigotry” involved in such characterizations and generalizations. I will say that I actually agree with Spangler’s analysis of the psychology of those who do fit such stereotypes. I know very few such people, probably because there are very few such people. Occasionally, some of these Hogan’s Heroes types will creep into the periphery of my circle. I tend to regard them as an interesting oddity and curious sociological phenomena and little more. And, yes, most of them are sociopaths and damaged personalities, not unlike many of their counterparts on the Left, which is why they’re useless as political allies.
Secondly, despite wearing the grandiose term “American Revolutionary Vanguard” on his sleeve, that same above statement by Preston betrays an apparently very crude, shallow and underdeveloped understanding of anarchist revolution as simply insurrection. It appears that in Preston’s view, if we can manage to collect enough of those who simply want to kill people and blow things up, we “win”. A more credible understanding is the notion that by attacking the illusionary moral legitimacy of the state we build a revolutionary class consciousness among the victims of statism that can compel them to cooperate in defending themselves against the state. And since you can’t blow up a set of dysfunctional social relationships, Preston is metaphorically flailing about at imagined nails because the only tool he apparently respects is a hammer.
I actually agree that delegitimizing the state is a fundamental part of a revolutionary effort. Where I suspect Spangler and I would disagree is that I think it unlikely that “the masses” will ever become self-proclaimed “anarchists,” and reject abstractions like “the state”, much less “authority,” “hierarchy,” “domination,” yadda, yadda, in some carte blanche sense. Without getting too deep into it, I’ll say that I don’t think the evidence from social psychology indicates that hopes for such an occurrence are warranted. However, there is much precedent of particular states losing their perceived legitimacy, usually do to their perceived violation of long-established cultural, political and historic traditions within a particular society. That is why I advocate a secessionist strategy. Secession has strong roots in American political culture, and we need to assemble a critical mass that recognizes that the present ruling class is illegitimate according to popular norms of what constitutes legitimacy. What I have in mind would simply be a repetition of 1776 and 1861, that is all.
Third, Preston suffers from a failure to understand the realities of multilateral conflict in failing states. I’ll use Iraq as an example. Ba’athists, tribal militias and Islamists commonly do cooperate on the battlefield on a per-project basis when it suits them, despite the gross differences in their visions of what they are fighting for. They create no unifying organization. Preston’s laughable proposal to “purge” an entire family of related movements with no centralized command and control speaks volumes about his understanding of organization. He’s acting as if he seeks some sort of neo-Maoist political coalition unified in thought and action — and any thoughts would apparently be okay, as long as those thoughts gather together a sufficient amount of cannon fodder.
Umm, excuse me, but has anyone ever heard of Lexington and Concord? Fort Sumter? The Durruti Column? Nestor Makhno? I simply advocate political and military alliances against common enemies, not alliances based on ideological abstractions. Nations and armies do this all the time. The issue of internecine fighting among alliance members is obviously a genuinely serious matter. That’s part of the reason why I am a pan-separatist. The anti-imperialist resistance needs its own Peace of Augsburg.
Immigration Uber Alles? A Reply to Charles “Rad Geek” Johnson
Johnson offers the same criticisms as others, with the addition of a rather intense focus on issues related to immigration, reflected in these comments pulled from different blog postings:
Similarly, I wonder what you think about the several paragraphs Keith spends attacking “the most extreme forms of pro-immigrationism,” by which he apparently means the plumb-line libertarian position against government border checkpoints, papers-please police state monitoring, and government prohibitions on hiring immigrant workers [?!]. When Keith claims that the anarchistic position is to enforce border checkpoints and police-state monitoring of national citizenship papers, the use of government immigration enforcement to exile from the country those that the American government declares “criminals [or] enemies of America” (?!) and suggests government prohibitions against employing undocumented immigrants, and apparently also government prohibitions against employing any immigrants at all during a strike (?!) — when, in short, he calls, over and over again for the expansion of the state and an increase in the power of government border police, in the name of nationalist politics, and attempts to justify this Stasi-statism by pointing to the majority opinion among those approved to vote in government elections by the United States government (?!) — what do you think of that? Do you really think of that as just a problem of “tone”? Or is a problem with the substance of his position?
The only place in which decentralization is mentioned in the discussion of immigration politics is to suggest that criteria for naturalization — that is, extending the status as politically-enfranchised citizens to immigrants — be spun off to “local community standards.” Once that’s done, though, he has nothing to say about changing how the central state treats people who are or are not counted as naturalized. Nowhere does he suggest dismantling existing centralized definitions of “national borders.” Nowhere does he suggest dismantling or even decentralizing existing agencies of border fortification, border checkpoints, border patrol, immigration-status documentation and surveillance, imprisonment and trial of alleged undocumented immigrants, paramilitary immigration enforcement, forcible deportation, etc. etc. etc. Instead he suggests giving these existing centralized government agencies more to do. He explicitly calls for deployment of the existing centralized government immigration control system: he explicitly calls for “designated checkpoints” to be run by the government, with “an objective screening process,” which is designed to screen out “criminals, enemies of America” (?! how the fuck do you suppose you ban entry to government-defined “enemies of America” in a decentralized fashion?) and people with “certain kinds of contagious diseases”; he calls for deportation of those who don’t have permission slips for their existence from the worthless megamurdering United States government (from where to where? if it’s outside the borders of the U.S.A., we’re not talking about decentralization, are we?); he adds calls for new government prohibitions on “employers … using immigrants as scab labor” and “employer use of illegal immigrant [sic] labor”. How do you suppose you go about enacting and enforcing these government prohibitions and government bans on peaceful, consensual labor contracts, without expanding the size, power, and reach of the State?
For instance, how about the several paragraphs that he devotes to arguing that anarchists, of all people, ought to be calling for the expansion of government checkpoints, documentation requirements, and prohibitions against immigrant workers? I don’t know about you, but I’d say that there’s some ideological shortcoming going on when a professed anti-statist goes around arguing for the escalation of police state tactics by government border thugs (because, hey, a majority of government-approved voters want it! well, hell, sign me up!).
I wonder what you think about the several paragraphs Keith spends, in an essay which, according to you, is mainly defending freedom of association and dissociation, attacking what he characterizes as “the most extreme forms of pro-immigrationism,” by which he apparently means the plumb-line libertarian position against government border checkpoints, papers-please police state monitoring, and government prohibitions on hiring immigrant workers.
When Keith claims that the anarchistic position is in fact to enlist the United States government to enforce border checkpoints and police-state monitoring of national citizenship papers, to demand the use of government immigration enforcement to exile from the country those that the American government declares “criminals [or] enemies of America” (?!); when he suggests escalating government prohibitions against employing undocumented immigrants, and apparently also creating new government prohibitions against employing any immigrants at all during a government-recognized strike (?!) — when, in short, he calls, over and over again for the expansion of the state and an increase in the power of government border police, in the name of nationalist politics, for the purpose of a systematic assault on free markets and free association, and then attempts to justify this Stasi-statism by pointing to the majority opinion among those approved to vote in government elections by the United States government (?!) — what do you think of all that? Do you think that this is defending the claim that “people can associate however they want in a libertarian world”? Do you think that this propaganda for growing the size, scope, and intensity of government enforcement, is the sort of thing that would make libertarianism more attractive to “regular (?) anti-government” types?
Rather than rehash all the pro and con libertarian arguments concerning immigration, which aren’t going to convince anyone anyway, I’ll simply describe how my own views on this topic have evolved over time. Until I was in my thirties, I was an unqualified “open borders” libertarian. If there was one individual who could be credited with motivating me to modify my views, it would be the late Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, a great irony considering the context of this debate, as Fortuyn was a flamboyantly gay man. Fortuyn argued against allowing mass Third World immigration into the West, and he argued from the Left rather than the nationalist or racialist Right. Simply put, his position that the “liberal” cultural values of the West, such as secularism, civil liberties, women’s rights, gay rights, and, in the case of Holland, tolerance of drug use and consensual prostitution, as well as the wider intellectual culture of the Enlightenment, were endangered by the importation of large numbers of persons from cultures that do not share such values. Fortuyn was mostly critical of Islamic immigration, but he gained the support of many among older Muslim communities in Holland, who believed immigration policy had become so indiscriminate as to allow criminals, terrorists, career welfare recipients and other such elements into the country. For his efforts, Portuyn was assassinated, not by a Muslim, but by a fanatical leftoid. I was in Holland myself when all of this happened, and it was a bit of a wake-up call.
Today, I would consider myself a moderate on the immigration question. I’m not ready to embrace the “immigration is the root of all evil” rhetoric of Vdare, yet I am also skeptical of Johnson’s free-for-all approach. I tend to agree with the analysis of Laurence Vance on this question. Most of the proposed policies that I have thrown out in the past concerning immigration are merely ideas for discussion, and nothing I’m particularly committed to. I will formally commit myself to only one policy concerning immigration: That immigration policy itself be taken out of the hands of the federal government and ruling class elites and as Hans Hermann Hoppe says:
More specifically, the authority to admit or exclude should be stripped from the hands of the central government and re-assigned to the states, provinces, cities, towns, villages, residential districts, and ultimately to private property owners and their voluntary associations. The means to achieve this goal are decentralization and secession (both inherently un-democratic, and un-majoritarian). One would be well on the way toward a restoration of the freedom of association and exclusion as it is implied in the idea and institution of private property, and much of the social strife currently caused by forced integration would disappear,…and to solve the “naturalization” question somewhat along the Swiss model, where local assemblies, not the central government, determine who can and who cannot become a Swiss citizen.
From there, vigorous debate can take place concerning how much or how little immigration there should be, and under what circumstances and conditions.
The Night of the Long Knives is Hereby Officially Cancelled: A Reply to Kevin Carson
Kevin Carson is as fine a scholar as any I have ever encountered anywhere, inside or outside the academic world, and across political and ideological boundaries. I consider his works on political economy and organization theory to be revolutionary in nature. He is one of those timeless writers like Hobbes, Carl Schmitt or Robert Nozick whose ideas transcend historical or ideological particulars. When someone of his caliber criticizes me, I’m inclined to pay attention and take what he says seriously. He graciously allowed me to view his “open letter” before posting it and, unlike some of my other critics, actually makes an effort to represent my own views correctly and temper his criticisms with nuance and civility. I’ll respond to what I think are Kevin’s essential points.
I have consistently defended you against the charges of fascism, racism, homophobia, and all the rest of it, that arose in response to your “big tent” strategy of offering solidarity to secessionists of all kinds. I still think you went too far in promoting active solidarity with national anarchist groups and racists.
Because my association with national-anarchists seems to be a particular thorn in the side for many of my critics, I will refer the reader to an essay I wrote assessing national-anarchism back in 2003. It can be viewed here. As for the libertarian credentials of national-anarchism, I will cite this interview from the movement’s founder, Troy Southgate. Beyond that, I will say that in my personal experience with national-anarchists, I have found all of them, to a person, capable of civil disagreement concerning major issues in a way that is completely absent from the “anarcho-leftoid” milieu. In other words, it is the leftoids who are the ones with the problem. Additionally, I know a number of people who consider themselves to be both left-libertarians and national-anarchists, and I know of number of national-anarchists who are sympathetic to many of the economic ideas of left-libertarianism, and I also know left-libertarians who personally disagree with national-anarchism but can approach the issue calmly. Unfortunately it is the leftoid loudmouths who seem to dominate the left-libertarian milieu’s online presence.
When Aster kicked you out of her Salon Liberty, I thought (and still think) she did so on inadequate grounds, and that nothing you’d said up to that point on your strategic approach (as outlined above) warranted such a reaction. As I recall, I said as much on her Salon at the time.
A bit of clarification is in order. When Aster booted me from her “salon” (which I can assure everyone was a long, long, long, long way from being the most tragic thing that ever happened to me), I actually defended her decision privately to others who criticized her. As a proponent of freedom of association, private property rights, the right of exclusion and pan-separatism, I have no problem with someone saying they don’t want me on their discussion list, or in their house, or in their backyard, or in their country club, or wherever. When Aster booted me, I bowed out in a way that, I think, was actually rather gracious. However, Aster has since that time persistently engaged in what quasibill has called “serial slander and cyber-stalking” towards me, at times attempting to do so anonymously but not very competently, and has attempted to draw wedges between me and others with whom I have no real quarrel. Furthermore, Aster’s clique of “friends” has refrained from criticizing her for doing so, but reacted with outrage and joined in her personal attacks when I have retaliated by throwing personal insults in her direction. The reasons for this double standard ought to be obvious.
But since she evicted you, I’ve noticed that your general language toward gays and transgender people has become increasingly “colorful” (i.e., deliberately demeaning) and hostile, by what seems like an order of magnitude or so.
No doubt about it. As this particular faction within left-libertarianism has escalated the personal attacks directed at me, I have retaliated. It’s a two-way street. I make no apologies for that. I reject the argument that the physical or sexual characteristics of others are off-limits when it comes to rhetorical political combat. For instance, the opponents of the Nazi movement during the Weimar Republic period used to refer to Goebbels as “Mickey Mouse” because of his large ears. I have no problem with such rhetoric. If others do, that’s their prerogative, but I simply do not share their conviction. If they wish to disavow or disassociate themselves from me because of it, then I would once again uphold the principle of free association and encourage them to do so.
Also, I should clarify that this war between myself and the anarcho-leftoids long pre-dates my conflict with Aster. I mean, for God’s sake, Aster’s internet postings read like a schizophrenic on an acid trip. Do I really give a damn about such a person? Of course not. The quality and content of my anti-leftoid rhetoric has not changed one bit since I first encountered Aster a couple of years ago. If one takes a look at this old article, and this, this, this, this, and this, one can see what I mean. All of these pieces were written before I ever heard of Aster, and make the same arguments and use similar rhetoric. It is true I had largely avoided such rhetoric in the left-libertarian milieu itself, as there was no need for it, but that changed as Aster and company began to attack me.
Likewise, you have become increasingly dismissive of all who express concerns about racism or fascism–even when they do not endorse thuggish “antifa” tactics–purely out of what seems to be your own increasingly knee-jerk hostility toward the “cultural left.”
I think there’s a point here that can be well-taken, with the qualification that in order to really answer this charge thoroughly I would need some working definition of what “racism and fascism” actually are, given that these terms are typically thrown about so loosely. I do concede that I find professional “anti-racism” hysterics to be a particularly ridiculous lot, and have also frequently been on the receiving end of their attacks, and consequently I have spent an excessive amount of time mocking them.
I recall a scene from the film “Born on the Fourth of July” where Tom Cruise portrays Ron Kovic, a disabled Vietnam vet who becomes a figure in the antiwar movement. In the early part of the film, Kovic is a gung-ho young guy who says he’s going off to fight in the Vietnam War in the name of anti-communism. As he is planning this escapade, a cynical but very sensible friend remarks, “Communists? Where are they? I don’t see them!”
On a more personal level, I get a very strong sense of deja vu whenever this “fascism” question is raised. When I was in the Central America solidarity movement, I used to get a lot of accusations of “communism” thrown in my direction, or else I was accused of being an abettor of “communism.” No matter how much effort I would put into explaining the difference between anarchism or anarcho-syndicalism and Stalinism or Maoism, no matter how much I insisted the issue in Central America was not between “democracy” and “communism” but between imperialism and self-determination, there were always plenty who didn’t want to hear it. I assure everyone, this got to be rather annoying-particularly when it was coming even from Mom!! Now twenty-three years later, the political winds have shifted and most of the serious revolutionaries are on the Right (at least in the U.S.). So I have shifted accordingly. Actually, I haven’t so much shifted as much as I’ve gone from being a “communist” to being a “fascist” simply by remaining in place.
In the advanced industrial democracies where nearly all of us reside, there are no organized “fascist” movements or parties of any significance. The closest thing I know of is the U.S. Republican Party, whose neoconservative ideology seems to share certain traits with fascism, such as jingoistic militarism and nationalism. See here, here and here. But neoconservatism also has a liberal-universalist dimension to it that would probably make it more compatible with Jacobinism that fascism. Either way, when my critics talk about “fascism,” I don’t think they’re talking about the neocons anyway.
Some might point to an incident like a former member of the Italian Social Movement getting elected mayor of Rome, but this would seem to be about as significant as David Duke getting elected to the Louisiana state legislature some years ago. Italian politics has always had a freakish dimension to it. It had the largest Communist party in Europe in the 70s, and in the 80s the Italians elected a porn star to Parliament. Others might point to something like France’s National Front, but that has black members and a pro-Israel stance, so it’s obviously a long way from what is typically meant by “fascism.” The bottom line is that there’s not going to be a “fascist” mass movement in North America anymore than there’s going to be a Maoist or anarcho-communist mass movement. These ideologies are completely alien to our own society, and regarded as utterly freakish by 99.999% of observers.
As for “racism,” there are few things that have become greater taboos among Western elites than this. In some countries, charges of “racism” will land you in the joint. Even an eminent scientist like Dr. James Watson is not immune from professional retaliation over the issue of “racism.” Nothing destroys a public figure’s career quicker than “racism,” as Don Imus found out. I see no threat of “racism” whatsoever, just as I saw no threat of “communism” when I was in the Central America solidarity movement two decades ago. Indeed, I would argue that in many countries today, so-called “anti-racism” has become a force for obscurantism rather than enlightenment, just as “anti-communism” has played a similarly obscurantist role in the past. On such questions, I would agree with most of the views outlined in Sean Gabb’s book, “Cultural Revolution, Culture War.” Indeed, if one takes Gabb’s analysis and applies it to the United States, one would have the essential views of Keith Preston.
I just can’t see how “racism” is that big of a deal in a society where blacks are thirteen percent of the population, yet where a black man is head of state, and where things like this go on. I’ve spent years around universities and graduate schools, and decades around leftist political groups, so I’m familiar with the arguments concerning “institutional racism” and the major works upholding such themes. I don’t fully discount all such arguments. Likewise, I’ll certainly concede that there are subsets of blacks who aren’t doing so well, whether because of state policies like I’ve written about here, here and here or self-inflicted wounds. Beyond that, I’ve argued for the justifiability of reparations on “forty acres and a mule” grounds, endorsed black secessionist movements, and amnesty for blacks imprisoned for “victimless crimes” and other frivolities. I’ve even characterized the L.A. Riots as a lumpenproletarian class uprising against the police state and capitalism. What else is there?
But while I could respect your willingness to tolerate loathsome people on pragmatic grounds, I can’t remain neutral when you advocate purging the anti-state movement in order to appease those loathsome people. You have “evolved,” if you can call it that, from a willingness to share a tent with racists and homophobes for the sake of defeating Empire as the primary enemy, to promoting an active purge of anti-racists and gays from the anti-Empire movement because the majority of your anti-state coalition might find them offensive. In short, you have “evolved” from tolerating racist and homophobic groups as a means to an end, to withdrawing support from the “cultural left” in order to appease the right wing of your coalition.
Well, the problem is that it’s the “cultural left” faction that’s causing all the ruckus. I rarely, if ever, get these kinds of personal attacks from “the right wing of my coalition,” even among people with whom I have significant differences. The only exceptions are rare nutcases like one fellow whose ideology was some kind of Hitler-Stalin synthesis (“Aryan Communism”). Also, I’ve noticed that it’s the right-wingers who are better at policing their own movements, e.g., not tolerating shitty behavior from favored in-groups while “calling out” everyone else’s real or imaginary offenses, and responding with indignation to every cross word thrown in their direction.
Once again, I’m also being given too much credit in some respects. There is no “anti-Empire” movement in North America beyond scattered individuals and tiny groups. The real anti-Empire movement is in places like Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, and, to some degree, Russia. Also, as I indicated, this conflict between me and the “cultural left” is nothing new. It’s been going on as long as I’ve advocated these positions. For instance, the Infoshop.Org crowd has been attacking me for years now, and in the same manner and for the same reasons. Attack the System came under assault from the cultural left, commies and anarcho-leftoids from the moment we first went online eight or nine years ago. Likewise, the overwhelming majority of the “left-libertarian” milieu in which we are swimming at the moment has always rejected my own pan-secessionist, third-positionist outlook. It certainly didn’t start with my “sodomy” essay, nor did it start with my conflicts with Aster and her cohorts.
If my choice is between “self-hating whites, bearded ladies, cock-ringed queers, or persons of one or another surgically altered ‘gender identity’,” and Nazis, Klansmen and white nationalists, I know which side I’ll take.
There are no Nazis in my circle, except occasional gate-crashers on the periphery. To my knowledge, there are no Klansmen. As for white nationalists, that’s a term that’s about as varied as “socialists.” See here and here . Just as not every socialist is a Pol Potian, every white nationalist is not a Nazi. Raimondo has a current piece critiquing white nationalism. While I would agree with many of Raimondo’s criticisms, I wouldn’t dismiss someone like Jared Taylor quite as quickly, given that Taylor raised questions that ought to at least get a fair hearing, but that no one is allowed to ask.
I do not ask that you revise your original strategic assessment that the threat of Empire justifies a broad secessionist coalition that includes some (in my opinion) very objectionable people on the right. I do not ask that you share my judgment that such objectionable people alienate more potential support than do those on the cultural left. I ask only that you 1) repudiate the flame-war quality of demeaning rhetoric that you have increasingly adopted toward sexual minorities since your breach with Aster,
I will go further than that and cease participation in the “left-libertarian” milieu altogether, on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” with two exceptions. One exception will be for my relationships and associations with those individual left-libertarians who are also part of the pan-secessionist, national-anarchist, anarcho-pluralist, New Right, left-conservative or other movements that I am also associated with. There are more of these than some might think. The other exception will be for the promotion of left-libertarian scholars whose work I respect (such as Kevin).
As for the issue of my prior rhetoric concerning sexual minorities, I suppose I would respond to that in the same way I might respond to someone who criticized me for calling the cops “PIGS” as I consistently do. There are no doubt some cops who are good people just trying to do a job, and hoping they might actually help out some crime victim, accident victim, missing child, etc. in the process. To those cops, I would say: If you’re a cool cop, then don’t take my “pig” rhetoric personally, because it’s not about you. Likewise, with sexual minorities, if you’re a cool Joe/Jane Sixpack gay guy, lesbian, transgendered person, transvestite or whomever, and you just want to be left alone to do your own thing without anyone messing you, then you’re okay with me. Don’t take it personally, because it’s not about you.and acknowledge that you allowed a personal grudge to goad you into overreaction on that score.
and acknowledge that you allowed a personal grudge to goad you into overreaction on that score.
No, it’s about a whole lot more than that. As I said, the battle between me and the “anarcho-leftoids” began years ago, long before I ever heard of Aster. It is certainly true that the battle has intensified within the left-libertarian milieu itself in more recent times, and that Aster’s persistent attacks on me and my counterattacks have been a big part of that.
and 2) repudiate your call for a purge of anti-racists, gays, transgender people and the cultural left in order to appease the majority.
Again, that’s taking me way too seriously. I have no power to “purge” anything except a turd out my own ass. I will “re-phrase” what I originally said. In the context of a revolutionary anti-state, pan-secessionist movement, I have no problem with the participation of individuals who happen to be anti-racists, gays, transgender people or who might think of themselves as “cultural leftists.” For instance, I have no problem with these categories of persons being in a revolutionary guerrilla force, militia, cooperative business enterprise, copwatch or neighborhood watch program, alternative media project, non-state social services project or other such alternative or intermediary institutions. I have no problem with them holding leadership positions, or being “equal” members of secessionist organizations or support organizations, just as I have no problem with Mormons, pot-smokers, punk rockers, snake-handlers, Christian Scientists, vegetarians, or persons with tattoos and piercings being engaged in similar participation. I have no problem with them having separate organizations to promote their own interests or simply for fraternal purposes. In fact, I would encourage them to do so. Nor do I have any problem with individual secession movements within a broader pan-secessionist alliance having an explicitly “cultural left” or “sexual minority” orientation. Nor would I have any problem with a secessionist tendency specifically oriented towards racial/ethnic minorities being part of a pan-secessionist alliance. For instance, the Peoples’ Democratic Uhuru Movement advocated an independent black city-state in the majority black section of St. Petersburg, Florida some years ago. Then as now, I supported them in their ambitions.
I would view sexual minorities in the same manner that I would view other marginal social groups like drug users, prostitutes or polygamists, or fringe religious sects like Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Scientologists, or subcultures like Grateful Deadheads, bikers, or heavy metal rockers. I would gladly undertake a lengthy battle with those who wished to engage in the genuine persecution of such groups. In fact, though I started out as a foreign policy radical, it wasn’t until I began to notice the “war on drugs,” and the related police-state and prison-industrial complex, and the police state atrocities at Ruby Ridge and Waco which involved precisely the sort of oppression or marginal religious sects I’m discussing here, that I began to turn my attention to domestic political matters within the United States.
What I do reject is the claim that a revolutionary anti-state, pan-secessionist movement should be built up around such proclivities, or that other people with different value systems should be excluded for not sharing or agreeing with such proclivities. Here’s an illustration: Within the context of the present day secessionist movement in North America, many of the groups involved have something of a “right-wing populist” orientation, such as the League of the South, Christian Exodus, Alaskan Independence Party, and the Republic of Texas. Some of these right-wing secessionists are explicitly Christian, while others are not. Others are oriented towards indigenous peoples of different kinds, such as the Lakota Republic, the Kingdom of Hawaii or the movement for Puerto Rican independence. Some are ideological libertarians, like the Free State Project and United Texas Republic. Others are non-ideological and advocate secession for its own sake, like the movement for Long Island independence. Some seem to be rather centrist (or perhaps “radical middle) in their actual politics, like the proposed New England Confederation. Still others involve people who have their roots on the Left, such as the Second Vermont Republic , Novocadia Independence Party, and Cascadia, and secessionists from the Left often have a very strong green-decentralist-ecologist-bioregionalist orientation. The North Star Republic, which is based in Illinois, is self-described as “Marxist-Leninist.”
Now, in my view, this is precisely what a pan-secessionist movement would and should look like. It makes perfect sense that secessionists in “conservative” regions would generally hold conservative values, and secessionists in “liberal” regions would generally hold liberal values and so forth. However, as we might expect, “left-wing” secessionists like the Second Vermont Republic have been attacked by various forces of liberal-totalitarianism, such as the $outhern Poverty Law Center, for being part of an alliance that also includes factions from the Right. I think Kirkpatrick Sale’s answer to these critics has been both cogent and correct:
Concern has arisen in some quarters in recent weeks regarding secessionist organizations that express values—or are charged with expressing values—that others do not like, and questions have been raised about alliances with such groups. The Middlebury Institute would like to establish a basic response to such concerns and questions.
First, the secessionist movement is made up of organizations of many different kinds that are alike in their advocacy of secession—of secession in general and of secession of their particular part of the planet. That is what makes them colleagues and allies—because in this difficult task of making secession and separatism a legitimate political goal they stand shoulder to shoulder with each other.
Second, it is not up to any organization in the movement (or its friends) to judge the attitudes, philosophies, or beliefs of others. While one would hope to have those compatible with one’s own, it must be understood that different people in different places will have different ideas, desires, goals, and strategies—that, after all, is the whole point of secession. A group is for secession precisely because it does not want to be part of a larger entity whose beliefs and actions it does not like, and wishes to live free on its own terms.
Third, the kind of people who insist on telling others how to live and think so as to have one unanimous right-minded uniformity are dangerous people and precisely the kind that establish national governments and pass laws applicable to entire populations. Fascism is one obvious and ugly form of this, but mass industrial democracy is a similar, if often more benign, form. And it is exactly this that secession and separatism are opposed to.
Fourth, as to the League of the South, it is demonstrable that as an organization it is not racist and would not establish a racist state if they were successful in secession. The Middlebury Institute has offered to be a co-sponsor with the LOS of the next Secessionist Convention this year squarely because it believes it to be an honorable and legitimate—and non-racist—organization sincerely and intelligently devoted to peaceful secession from the empire.
We accept the fact that there may be people in the LOS who have expressed intemperate and intolerant opinions—but of what group, we ask, could that not be said? (And the scare-mongering charges along these lines by the Southern Poverty Law Center have much more to do with its desire to squeeze money out of people made to be afraid of hobgoblins than by any genuine exposure of misbehavior.] Moreover, even if there are, as individuals, LOS people we could from our point of view deem racist, that would matter not one whit as to whether they were legitimate colleagues in the secessionist movement. It is irrelevant.
People turn to secession because they want their own form of government, on their own terms, and hope to create a state that will live out their beliefs, principles, ideals. It is no more justifiable for one organization to question or criticize or castigate those goals if they work toward a Christian-directed government that outlaws abortion and adultery than if they work for a secular democracy favoring gun-control and same-sex marriages. The beauty of secession is that it looks toward having a world where those and many other kinds of states can exist, free and independent, and not impose its ideas on others or have others’ ideas imposed on it.
Ultimately we in the secessionist movement stand divided, but we standtogether. We believe in secession, each of us, and though the ends we work for may be different—and what a thriving, vibrant, multi-variant world that would bring us to—the means we use unites us all.
What Sale is saying here is simple: The purpose of the pan-secessionist movement is to promote pan-secessionism, not to promote any one faction’s cultural particularities, ideological specifics or lifestyle interests, and certainly not to allow outsiders who oppose or are indifferent to secessionism in the first place to dictate who may or may not join a pan-secessionist movement or to dictate what sort of political or cultural values they must hold. Ditto.
I envision the future political struggle in the United States as something that will constitute an intra-Left struggle that essentially pits whiteys against whiteys, rather than a racial struggle or a Left vs Right struggle. Most of the political groups that now constitute the Right represent cultural, generational or demographic factions that are in decline. I’ve discussed that a bit here. I see two lefts emerging. One of these will be an establishment Left oriented towards political correctness, therapeutism, multiculturalism, what I have called “totalitarian humanism,” globalism and corporate social democracy. In other words, the present-day center-left coalition that is currently seizing the reins of power and consolidating its position. The other will be a kind of revolutionary left that transcends current left/right boundaries. This will happen for a number of reasons:
1) Over the next few decades the inherent problems associated with mass immigration will become painfully obvious. Consequently, the new revolutionary left will take a more skeptical view of multiculturalism.
2) As political correctness becomes more deeply entrenched in institutions, it will be ever more bold about showing its fangs. Hence, many people will get a wake-up call.
3) The present day left-wing coalition of traditional outgroups will splinter. This will happen for several reasons: a-growing class divisions that transcend such boundaries, b-ideological differences among the left (multicultural vs universalism), c-the incompatibility of some of the left’s constituent groups (socially conservative blacks and homosexuals, for instance),d-the decline of the traditional Right as a common enemy and unifying force for the center-left, e-the economic bankruptcy of state-socialism
4) A decisive factor will be the increased opposition to Zionism, the Israel Lobby, AIPAC, however one wishes to term it in the years ahead. The cat is out of the bag on this issue, and there is nothing that is currently more divisive among the Left than the Israel question. Recent anti-Zionist demonstrations I have observed have featured leftists, nationalists, anarchists, national-anarchists, Communists, anti-Zionist Jews, anti-Semites, libertarians, gays, transgendereds, minorities, racists, feminists, male chauvinist pigs, Greens and Muslims under the same political banners. I suspect such a “third position” left is the future of the Left, as left-liberalism becomes ever more status quo. Indeed, I suspect the PC Left will become with increasing frequency the enforcement arm of PC statism. These “anti-racist” and “antifa” hoodlums, for instance, maybe even some reading this right now, may well be the secret police of the future.
As for the relevance of all this to my wider pan-secessionist, anarcho-pluralist outlook, see here, here, here, and here. In American political conflagrations of the past, the various out-groups of the era tended to end up on both sides of the fence. For instance, there were blacks and Indians on both sides on the American Revolution, Indians, Germans, Jews and Irish on both sides of the Civil war, even a few black Confederates. There were blacks, civil rights liberals and segregationists in the New Deal coalition. I suspect a pan-secessionist movement, for instance, a movement where, say 30 states and 50 major cities attempt to leave the U.S., would include gays, transgendereds, blacks, Jews, Hispanics, etc. on both sides of the fence, but for the most part it would be a white vs white conflict.
The Question of Empathy
As a final word, I will note that some have criticized my alleged “lack of empathy.” While I in no sense consider myself to be a liberal-humanist-humanitarian, I have been involved in the past in a good number of efforts on behalf of the genuinely downtrodden. In fact, I suspect some would be shocked by some of the activities of bad old Nazi/fascist/racist/bigoted/terrorist Keith Preston in this regard. However, I prefer to keep such things separate from my wider political agenda (as it’s mostly irrelevant). There also reasons of prudence why such things should not be broadcast too loudly. Lastly, perhaps the one aspect of my Christian upbringing that I retained was the view that actions of piety or virtue are best done in secret rather than in the public square.