There was a time not very long ago when I wanted to become an Anglican priest. I thought I had discovered my vocation; it filled me with hope for the future. Now, however, I cannot think of a more unattractive prospect.
I was warned. At a book signing a couple of years ago, a non-stipendiary priest looked at me and said that the Church of England would eat me up. Another priest expressed such a lack of enthusiasm for his role that he might as well have told me to convert to atheism. I could hardly gainsay them. It wasn’t my place to claim that I would have been a moral, spiritual or intellectual asset to the Anglican fold – though, admittedly, I did wish to ape those clever, eccentric country parsons who so enriched the culture. As Bill Bryson wrote in his book Home:
“Never in history have a group of people engaged in a broader range of creditable activities for which they were not in any sense actually employed.”
The first history of dirty jokes, the Jack Russell terrier, Bayes’ Theorem, the power loom, Tristram Shandy, and even the submarine were all products of bored clergymen.
Of course, to believe that today’s Church of England resembled yesterday’s was my own, rose-tinted failing. Deep down, I knew it had changed almost beyond recognition. But change is inevitable – and often salutary. I could perhaps have embraced the 21st century Church of England. Unfortunately, I doubt it would embrace me. Its recent “yeeting” (to use the scientific term) of Calvin Robinson alerted me to just how far the Church has fallen. Robinson’s politics comport with my own as do his convictions: pride is a sin, marriage is between a man and a woman, and the Gospel is rather more significant than an imported racial ideology, of which Black Lives Matter is the conduit. Robinson’s treatment showed that the Church of England’s hierarchy is committing slow-motion idolatry.
When Robinson rails against what has happened to him, I have no doubt that he speaks for many, if not the majority, of churchgoers, who all but despair of what has happened to our national Church. But Robinson has a platform. We hear less often from young Anglicans, for whom the Church’s every statement seems designed to cater. Thus we get mini-golf courses and helter-skelters in our cathedrals, pride and NHS flags draped over our altars, and statements to the effect that the Church is racist but you should join it anyway. My own local church recently played host to a rock concert, for which the altar was whisked embarrassedly out of sight. Would a mosque tolerate such a thing? No, and nor should it. And of course, the Church hierarchy announced only a couple of weeks ago that they, too, couldn’t make heads or tails of what a woman was – undoing centuries of dogma and theology, not to mention insulting women.
It would be remiss of me to claim to be able to speak on behalf of all young Anglicans, especially given my continuing attraction to both Rome and Constantinople. But, after years of contact with other young Anglicans, I am confident that what I have to say now would attract something close to a consensus. So, Mr Welby, if you’re listening (which I suspect you’re not): we don’t want what you’re offering. We want heaven and hell. We want angels, powers and principalities. We want prayer, orthodoxy and conviction. We want good and evil, right and wrong. Above all, we want Christ. Your generation – the children of the 1960s – became enamoured by the secular. You think that heaven on earth is possible, if only we join the right causes and shun the wrong politic – you have surrendered to the world. But the Kingdom is not of this world. As T.S. wrote in Thoughts After Lambeth:
“Thought, study, mortification, sacrifice: it is such notions as these that should be impressed upon the young—who differ from the young of other times merely in having a different middle-aged generation behind them. You will never attract the young by making Christianity easy; but a good many can be attracted by finding it difficult: difficult both to the disorderly mind and to the unruly passions.”
If this truth isn’t soon heeded, I fear that the Church of England will be all but extinct in a decade or two. It will linger on in London and Birmingham, perhaps, where immigrant Christians still take seriously what the English do not. But it will no longer be the spiritual organ of the nation. Possibly the Catholic Church will fill the vacuum. Who knows?
I say all this as someone who is, technically, a member of the newly established religion: LGBT. It is said to be a community, though I’ve never seen it except when it rears its sponsored head to bully some poor recalcitrant for saying the wrong thing about gay marriage. Exactly this was what happened in my town last year. A Christian councilman said to some committee or other that, while he supported the right of gay people to live happy lives, he could not condone gay marriage. It has become a cliche to compare cancel culture to witch hunts, for good reason but the councilman was subjected to weeks of bullying and the foulest of threats and insults all, of course, in the name of tolerance and compassion. It upset me that the local Anglican church did nothing to snuff the flames – and may even have wished secretly to fan them.
There is, I believe, a ground swell of small-o orthodoxy among the young. New atheism (of which I was a devotee) proved insufficient in answering our moral, spiritual and intellectual needs. Many of us turned to God, whatever our politics. But if we were conservative, we naturally sought sustenance in the Church of England. I cannot be alone in saying that to find it so debased has been one of the great sadnesses of my early life. As Lear says, “we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools”.
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By Zak Mudie — 9 months ago
An unfortunate reality which I am determined to alter is the prevalence of economic arguments for The British Monarchy. Many in The Mallard have wrote fantastic pieces on the Monarchy, for example Xander West’s article exploring of the “Republican Option” was an excellently written and intellectually brilliant piece in its deconstruction of the abysmal yet ever prevalent republican argument.
My issue in this article is not so much the republican argument, but the royalist one. More specifically the economic argument for the Monarchy. This argument often relates to tourism, or other businesses which profit from the Royal Family, and while there are truths and falsities to these arguments in various manners, I believe they completely miss the mark on the advantages of The Monarchy. In fact, I find the inability to assert an effective non-economic argument for the Monarchy illustrates a lack of true respect and support for the most important institution in our Great Nation.
Looking at the world through monetary value alone is a sad consequence of liberalism’s iron grip on society, and the Monarchy for the most part hasn’t escaped this sad reality. Many seek to promote the necessity of the Monarchy for financial reasons, and I believe that this can only be understood as arguing that the main advantage of a car is its paint colour while ignoring the true substance of the vehicle. The Monarchy was never intended to be a money maker, because it was never something crafted or forged to serve the people, rather it was the other way around. This flip of perspective has relegated the Monarchy to the post-metaphysical level, and thus removes it of its core value and its actual importance. In a sense, this switch of the Monarchy serving us as a monetary gain, over the joint relationship of service both ways for a stronger symbol of the nation and its values is in effect cutting the meat off the bone and throwing it all away.
Conservatives are passionately aware of the Monarchy’s true value, and standing, because more often than not we are metaphysical in our thought. We seek to attribute special value beyond materialism, and the monetary nature of our liberal society. The Monarchy is something which goes beyond money, it is a symbol of our nation itself. Not a reflection, an idea which is often asserted. The Monarchy is not a reflection, instead it is the ideal to strive towards. The Monarchy is a guiding force through the calamity of the postmodern world, and all of the consequences which come of it. Our Monarchy is steeped in the legitimacy of the centuries by which it has presided and led our Great Nation. Money is nothing in comparison to our rich history, and special traditions. When our Monarch sits to open Parliament in front of that grand gold display, enacting a tradition centuries old in a building which will soon reach 1000 years of age, something special is occurring. The fibre of goodness which is left in the liberal melting pot of modern Britain comes to the forefront, and when our armed forces march with determination and people fly their flags in pride of their Monarch and nation, the reality of our Monarchy shines brighter than the bleak alternative of a republic.
Tourism and money cannot match the respect, reverence and admiration of the world when they see our Royal Family. Money cannot reach the levels of symbolism and leadership our Monarchy provides. Simply put, our Monarchy is more than money, and to reduce it to such material levels is a shameful reminder and promotion of liberalism’s destructive presence in royalism today.
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By Alfie Riden — 9 months ago
The modern English are a deracinated people. They know nothing of their great artists, poets and writers but most importantly, they’ve been uprooted from their history. History is a socially adhesive force, binding the dead to the living and those yet unborn with the unending assault on our culture and customs over the last 60-70 years having its intended outcome – a docile mass of atomised consumers.
The modern English care nothing for Elgar’s marches or the works of Shakespeare. Instead, they prefer instantaneous access to subscription-based services like Netflix and Spotify, where they can fry what remains of their brain circuitry watching Lizzo twerking her fat arse. Ask an English teenager “Who was Admiral Nelson?” and more likely than not they’d reply with something about a Multi-Car insurance policy rather than the Battle of Trafalgar. Joking aside, our material opulence and abject lack of transcendental belief has exacerbated this totalising apathy and ignorance. Moderns only care for the evisceration of their attention spans by short-term dopamine-driven feedback loops and satiating their basest desires. The average Zoomer can’t watch a video about the war in Ukraine without a pretty Tiktok girl dancing along to it – it would demand too much of their concentration capacity. This stark reality begs the question: can Zoomers and their coming generational successors focus long enough to read about their history? The answer of course is no – so it matters what they’re taught.
Upon leaving my secondary school after my A-Levels, I had the pleasure of being in a class with a militant communist who draped our Sixth Form building with a flag of the USSR on leaving day. This same individual was successful in petitioning our school to include a module on the history of migration throughout British history a few years after leaving. This module, ‘Migrants in Britain, c800-present’, is run by the Edexcel exam board for GCSE students and it is as insidious and subversive as it sounds. The goal of the course is to present a narrative that England and Britain have always been cornucopias of ethnic diversity, that ‘migration’ has been an ever-present facet of English society, and that, just like the United States, we really are a ‘nation of immigrants’.
A brief specification outline for this module is as follows:
• c800–c1500: Migration in medieval England
o The experience and impact of migrants
o Case study: the city of York under the Vikings
• c1500–c1700: Migration in early modern England
o Case study: Sandwich and Canterbury in the 16th century, and Huguenots in 17th-century England
• c1700–c1900: Migration in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain
o Case study: Liverpool in the 19th century, and the experience of Jewish migrants in the East End of London in the late nineteenth century
• c1900–present: Migration in modern Britain
o Political changes: the creation of the BUF and the BNP; laws to restrict immigration; laws to establish equality for migrants.
o Case study: Bristol in the mid-twentieth century, and the experience of Asian migrants in Leicester from 1945
o Social attitudes: the hostility of far-right groups; Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech; attacks on Jews, e.g. Battle of Cable Street, 1936, race riots in 1981 and Burnley, 2001.
To be succinct, I shall tackle two of these subsections: ‘c800–c1500: Migration in medieval England’ and ‘c1900–present: Migration in modern Britain’.
Migration in Medieval England
It’s 867AD, and Viking ‘migrants’ are peacefully integrating into the city of York; they’re skipping down the streets with Anglo-Saxon children and making daisy chains to express their gratitude at how hospitable the locals have been. Just like the immigrants of today, they undoubtedly want the best for the country they’re ‘migrating’ to and yearn for nothing more than seamless assimilation, equality and GDP growth. I am of course painting a caricature of what this module is implying, though the fact remains that the Vikings were not ‘migrants’ at all – they were invaders.
The Kingdom of Northumbria was already deeply embroiled in a civil war between two rival Kings, Ælla and Osberht when the Vikings began a raid of the city. Norse tradition holds that upon defeat the two Kings were blood-eagled and the Vikings ultimately triumphed in a battle of excessive violence. The Vikings proceeded to seize control and established the Kingdom of Jórvík centred around York. I could spend an age deliberating on the minutia of these events but the pressing issue at hand is the insidious language being woven into the modern teaching of history.
Something the right is truly awful at is effectively resisting the linguistic warfare being callously waged upon us. The merciless brutality of the Battle of York highlights the underhanded substitution of the term ‘invader’ for ‘migrant’; this surreptitious move undoubtedly has the politically motivated goal of the student not distinguishing between modern mass immigration and medieval Viking invasion. They’re dying to hear their indoctrinated students say “Immigration has always been a staple of our culture”, and hoping they question no further.
The usage of the word continues to be applied liberally throughout the module – the specification defines a migrant as “encompassing those affected by both voluntary and forced migration, temporary migrants, migrants from abroad and internal migrants within Britain”. This definition would have you believe that Alan from Gloucester, who is moving to Chippenham for a consulting job, is exactly the same as Ali, a Pakistani immigrant, travelling halfway across the world from a culturally alien society to start a grooming gang in Rotherham. I think you’d agree that the term possesses little currency if the scope of its meaning is so vast and clouded.
If one wishes to engage in semantics, the Vikings were technically ‘migrants’, but to give an inch to subversives and indeed to even entertain their lexical framing is to lose the battle entirely. The writers of this module wish to create the impression that England and Britain were always multi-ethnic societies. To be clear, England was never a multi-ethnic society – not in its conception, nor reality – it was a monoethnic society of Anglo-Saxons established by King Æthelstan in 927AD. Celtic peoples resided in northern parts of the Kingdom as well as Cornwall if you wish to be pedantic, but the meta-narrative of the nation was inextricably bounded to King Alfred and the Anglo-Saxon ethnicity.
Migration in Modern Britain
One positive of this module section is the use of the word ‘migration’ in the title – it is more congruent with the socially understood meaning of the term. The substantially larger downside is that it is packed with unabashed lies, outright deception and vindictive demonisation of the native population.
Mass migration into Britain began in June 1948 with the arrival of the HMS Windrush at Tilbury Dock and, unsurprisingly, the module writers immediately begin to deceive their confiding students. Reading this module or watching any modern documentary on the subject, you’d be presented with an allegory of noble West Indians altruistically surrendering their way of life to help unwelcoming Londoners rebuild their city after the war. This narrative is xenophilic, self-hating garbage.
The Windrush was operated by the New Zealand Shipping Company on behalf of the Ministry of Transport and it was half empty when docked in Kingston, Jamaica in April 1945. The company had the brilliant idea of selling Jamaicans cheap tickets to England to pocket a little extra cash, all the while giving the English no prior warning. The politicians at the time were taken aback by the arrival of the ship and even had to make emergency provisions for them. Accounts of the passengers on the Windrush make no mention of ever being invited to work in England. Don’t believe me? Have a read of some personal accounts from the BBC website yourself. They, like most people who emigrate, did so for what they deemed a better lifestyle and as a calculation of economic self-interest.
The weaving of this myth deliberately portrays Londoners as ungrateful and cruel as well as falsifying and obfuscating key details of the event; fanning the flames of anti-white hatred. Unfortunately, when these distortions and fabrications enter public consciousness, the symbolistic power they are imbued with can prove difficult to dispel.
The module goes on to demonise Mr Enoch Powell, possibly the most erudite politician of the 20th century. Powell lived an amazing life and achieved many outstanding feats. Powell was the youngest brigadier in the British army, became a professor of Greek at the age of 25, and spoke nine languages to name just a few of his achievements. However, the most notable characteristic about Powell didn’t end up being his encyclopaedic knowledge but his intellectual fearlessness.
On April 20th 1968, Powell gave his famous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech and the module would have you believe that Powell was motivated by unbridled hatred of immigrants rather than a love of hearth and homeland. When Powell took pleasure in speaking Urdu in Indian restaurants, when he became an expert in the country and town planning, and even when he placed value in the continuity and traditions of Britain, he was always undoubtedly guided by hatred. Contrary to mainstream perception, Powell was actually very liberal on various issues from divorce law reform to opposing capital punishment to name but two (a far cry from the crypto-fascist authoritarian picture being painted).
The simple fact is that Powell was an ethnocentric man like most other people on the planet and sought to protect his nation from what he saw as catastrophic demographic collapse. Powell’s dynamism and oratory prowess struck an emphatic chord with the people and the prescience of his observations is undeniable to anyone today.
Our ‘Educators’ and Rectifying the Problem
Gaetano Mosca, the progenitor of what came to be the school of Italian Elite Theory, came up with the idea of the ‘Political Formula’ i.e. the philosophy that justifies the rule of an elite. Our current elite’s political formula is something along the lines of: ‘diversity, tolerance and inclusion’ and holds that individual self-expression is the ultimate good, from this it would follow that collective identities are the ultimate evil due to their exclusivity. Nationalism is a form of collective identity, and collective identities exclude and alienate people by their very nature; what value does an identity hold if everyone can possess it? Not much. Nationalism and group identity are therefore a spit in the face of our elite’s political formula, specifically directed towards their sacrosanct value of inclusion.
Coupled with this political formula, our elite possesses a managerial and technocratic ethos, pursuing economic growth above anything transcendent; the notion of ‘Homo Economicus’ is ever-present. This hyper-individualistic and material mindset has a direct impact on how our elites view their own history – it tolerates no deviation, and trickles down to our teachers.
Rectifying this problem begins with assailing the current political formula and the Boomer Truth Regime we live under. The political formula of the Right should be one of hierarchy, dynamism and vitality. Life-affirming masculine narratives of our greatness should be taught to our students – national heroes like Drake, Nelson and Wellington would be mandatory course material. The endless self-flagellation we’ve been subjected to is not in the character of our people and should be thrown onto the dumpster fire as duplicitous crap. Harping on about our supposed moral shortcomings and historical wrongs is not in the best interests of our people – they need something different.
The insidious aims of these module planners are all unspoken of and intentionally so; incrementalism is a powerful tool – slowly boiling the frog has too often proved effective, but leftist chicanery need only be unearthed by a man willing to do the digging. Clandestine word games and their political goals become painstakingly clear when intellectually challenged and vast portions of our people yearn for well-grounded positions against them. This fact only further necessitates that the linguistic framework we find ourselves in requires a radical counteroffensive – this is of paramount importance.
People are not governed by rationality, their opinions are governed by belief, superstition, feelings and base instincts. Following this logic, a nationalistic outlook is branded into the minds of most healthy people, all that is required is a little cudgelling to get them in line with our vision. I believe the average Englishman is instinctually aware of the intellectual deconstruction of his culture but articulating it coherently is another matter.
Modern sensibilities demand that not only we English, but all European nations simply give up the exclusive nature of their identities, sacrificing them on the altar of inclusivity when no other peoples are expected to do so. Only we bear the moral responsibility of safeguarding our identity from these malicious attacks – permissiveness from others and within ourselves must not be tolerated.
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By Samuel Martin — 6 months ago
Last year, The Mallard’s Chairman, Jake Scott, wrote two essays titled “The Original Right-Wing Gramscians”, detailing the history, ideology, and influence of free-market think-tanks in post-war Britain.
However, unlike the post-war free marketeers, whose “right-wing Gramscian” descriptor has been added retroactively, the French ‘New Right’ (Nouvelle Droite) openly characterised themselves, as did others, as “Gramscians of the Right” – both during their intellectual ascendancy in the 1970s, and during revived interest in their movement around the turn of the millennium.
Whilst technically established in 1968 with the foundation of the ‘Groupement de Recherche et d’Etudes pour la Civilisation Européenne’ (GRECE; Research and Study Group for European Civilization), the most recent attempt at a unified doctrine for the French (and, by extension, European) New Right is found in an essay titled “The French New Right in The Year 2000” (FNR2K).
A relatively short work, the FNR2K reads less as a political manifesto and more as an intellectual one. Granted, the content is political, but it doesn’t confine itself to the trappings of electoral politics. After all, the French New Right (FNR) grew out of electoral alienation, instigated by consecutive right-wing electoral defeats throughout the 1960s.
This prioritisation of intellectualism over electoralism is made clear off-the-bat when Alain De Benoist, often dubbed the FNR’s leading figure, dispels the idea that the FNR constitutes a “political strategy”. Instead, the FNR is defined as a “school of thought” attempting to “formulate a metapolitical perspective”.
Metapolitics, Benoist continues, is “not politics by other means”. Rather, it is the idea that “ideas play a fundamental role in collective consciousness”. All human actions, trivial or revolutionary, take place within a framework of “convictions, beliefs, and representations which provide meaning and direction”. These “convictions, beliefs, and representations” are the focus of the FNR’s work. In simpler terms, metapolitics is that which is outside, but shapes, the development of politics.
FNR2K is divided into three sections: Predicaments, Foundations, and Positions. ‘Predicaments’ is divided into three sub-divisions: What is Modernity?, The Crisis of Modernity, and Liberalism: The Main Enemy, all of which provide context to the FNR’s intellectual work.
‘Foundations’ establishes the FNR’s theoretical first principles in relation to a variety of topics: man, society, politics, economics, ethics, technology, the world, and cosmos. Throughout, these first principles are juxtaposed with the theoretical first principles found in liberal modernity.
Finally, ‘Positions’ summarises that which the FNR is for and against, as well as an additional 13th stand-alone commitment to promoting “independence of thought and a return to discussion of ideas”.
The FNR interprets Modernity as a convergence of five processes: Individualization (the destruction of traditional communal life), Massification (the adoption of standardised lifestyles), Desacralization (the replacement of religious understanding with scientific understanding), Rationalization (the hegemony of “instrumental reason” via capital and technology), and Universalization (the globalisation of assumed-to-be superior models of social organisation).
The Crisis of Modernity refers to the failure of these processes to produce their initial promises of Freedom and Equality. Freedom has been reduced to a procedural formality; it means to operate “within the marketplace, technoscience or communications without ever being able to influence their course”. Erstwhile, Equality has failed two-fold. It has both “betrayed” the people it allegedly sought to benefit (e.g. the murderous nature of communist regimes) and has been “trivialized” (e.g. growing economic inequality under capitalism). Specifically, this has happened despite Equality being the foundational principle of both communism (equal access to means of production) and capitalism (equal opportunity to prosper within a market economy).
As such, the end result of Modernity is “the most empty civilization mankind has ever known”. Contrary to a free and equal paradise, “the language of advertising serves as the paradigm for public discourse, the primacy of money has made commodities an omnipresent feature of society. Man has turned from a social animal to a hedonistic object; he occupies an unreal world of drugs, virtual reality, media-hyped sports” – he operates as a “solitary individual” amid an “anonymous and hostile crowd”.
Considered to be “the dominant ideology of modernity”, it follows that Liberalism is the FNR’s primary intellectual target. Attacked for reducing life to individualistic economic competition, erstwhile imposing a hypocritical notion of value-neutrality, the FNR considers Liberalism responsible for creating a barren existence: survival for the sake of survival, an existence devoid of higher purpose or aspiration.
However, Liberalism is not the only target. Whilst charitably described as a “legitimate reaction”, the FNR dismisses Marxism as a counter-productive and misdirected response to the problems arising from Liberalism, being rooted in common modern presuppositions.
As an example, Benoist points to the modern welfare state. Emerging as a reaction to the autonomous market, the welfare state does not restore historic communal ties undone by Liberalism. Rather, it assisted in re-engineering society to adhere to the matrix of mere production and consumption. Whilst Liberalism is nothing more than a “global system of production and reproduction”, Marxism has created conformity around “an opaque redistributive structure”, one which has “generalised irresponsibility” and has transformed members of society into “nothing more than recipients of the public system”.
In summary, Modernity has reduced humanity to the lowest-common denominator; to the barebones of production and consumption, supplementing its constituents with a hypermodern array of metastasized rights and a dehumanising system of welfare. Compounded, the end result is a frightful and depersonalised lumpen.
In response to this hellish existence, the FNR begins to lay the ‘Foundations’ of its counter-ideology. At bottom-level, this means recognising a distinction between Pluriversuum and Continuum; a distinction between what is diverse and particular (‘plural’) and what is constant and universal (‘continuous’).
Contrary to Modern depictions of man, either as an “infinitely malleable” atomised individual or the sum of a single specialised factor (i.e., economy; homo economicus) – man is neither wholly determinable or determined.
For example, one can’t change his ethnicity or family, but can, in a moral sense, choose to “go beyond himself or debase himself”. In this instance, the Pluriversuum of man is exemplified by the natural diversity of communities which exist in the world, whilst the Continuum of man is exemplified by his ability to engage in decisions, irrespective of his particular community and its customs. Neither is more key to man’s nature than the other; they are distinct but equally important aspects of what he truly is.
Against the backdrop of the first section, the FNR sees Modernity as reducing Earthly existence to Continuum (technical decision-making within a globalised system of production and consumption) at the expense of Pluriversum; liberal modernity means global homogenization (or, as it has become known in some circles: globohomo).
Given this, it follows that the origins of man, a social animal, as well as the affairs of his society, are also beholden to this logic. Society cannot be reduced to a homogenised collective or aggregated individuals, but a “body of communities” – families, neighbourhoods, localities, national ethnicities and supranational groups; they are distinct and defined by their respective, precise, and unique relation to each other.
Politics is an art, offering a vibrant plurality of forms, renditions, improvements and cultivations, unlike the Modern understanding which situates politics as a system of management; decisions are made to be purely technical and “neutral”, denying any fundamental alternatives to the machine, reducing politics to a matter of stability, rather than the deliberation and actualisation of ideas.
Economics (oikos-nomos; family law) must be recontextualised, from the narrow realm of immediate and quantifiable transaction to a broader understanding which incorporates distinctly qualitative values, such as beauty, ecology, family, and ethics.
Ethical values, whilst universally contingent on the distinction between good and bad, and other such related categories, must be allowed to organically develop into specific customs appropriate for particular societies. The universal reduction of morality to “practical materialism” must be resisted. This principle of striving towards excellence, provided specific meaning by context, is also true of different modes of life within a community; a good plumber is better than a bad philosopher.
Technology, whilst celebrated for its “Promethean” capabilities, must be harmoniously balanced with environmental custodianship. Concern for the natural world should stem not from government regulation or technophobia, but from a shared moral conscience; one which earnestly wishes for future generations to inherit a world “no less beautiful, no less rich, and no less diverse than the world we know today”.
Having established their given context and theoretical response to said context, the FNR2K concludes with its ‘Positions’ – what it is against and for:
Against Uprooting, For Strong Community Identities; Against Racism, For Difference; Against Immigration, For Cooperation; Against Sexism, For Gender; Against The New Class, For Bottom-Up Autonomy; Against Jacobinism, For a Federal Europe; Against Depoliticization, For Democracy; Against Productivism, For New Forms of Labour; Against Ruthless Economic Policies, For Economy at the Service of the People; Against Gigantism, For Local Communities; Against Megalopolis, For Cities on a Human Scale; Against Unbridled Technology, For Integral Ecology; For Independence of Thought and a Return to Discussion of Ideas.
Many of these points will be intuitively, if not immediately, understood, such as the first, third, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth. After all, these are matters regularly discussed and supported by more traditional conservatives: social cohesion, national identity, strong borders, developing social and economic capital, aesthetical refinement of all kinds, and environmental custodianship.
Although there has been strong pushback against ‘gender ideology’ and corresponding issues (i.e. transgenderism), one shouldn’t be misinterpret De Benoist’s use of ‘gender’ – he’s saying very much the same thing: men and women are ontologically different and one cannot, and should not, become the other.
Even unfamiliar terms like “The New Class” immediately become familiar once De Benoist pins down a summary:
“…the manpower for the media, large national and multinational firms, and international organisations. This New Class produces and reproduces… the same type of person: cold-blooded specialists, rationality detached from day to day realities… engenders abstract individualism, utilitarian beliefs, a superficial humanitarianism, indifference to history, an obvious lack of culture, isolation from the real world, the sacrifice of the real to the virtual, an inclination to corruption, nepotism and to buying votes… The New Class depersonalises the leadership of Western societies and… lessens their sense of responsibility.”
All this said, some points are likely less understood from the get-go. Despite being listed second, the commitment to ‘difference’ is perhaps the central defining tenet of the FNR. Dubbed “the right to difference” De Benoist suggests, as a matter of principle, that diversity is good – diversity of people, cultures, systems, products, religions, and ideas.
Placing primary emphasis on ethnocultural diversity, the “right to difference” is meant to counteract what De Benoist sees and refers to as “the ideology of sameness” – an all-encompassing term for global homogenization and all its various forms: mass immigration, economic and cultural globalisation, philosophical universalism, egalitarianism, and so on.
However, whilst the “right to difference” forms the basis for the FNR’s support for group-based, individual, and ideological differences, it also provides a basis for conserving differences in a whole host of other domains.
Democracy is, first and foremost, understood as a rejection of universal equality; it recognises “a people” – defined by a common, but distinct, sense of membership – as the basis for legitimate deliberation and decision-making, both in the name of the common good and as an expression of individual agency. This is situated in contrast to depoliticization, which does not recognise the existence of a people, and by extension the sovereignty of the people, allowing bureaucrats, technocrats, and lobbyists to forego pluralism and disqualify certain political programs at will.
Similarly, instead of a “Europe of Nations” or a “European Nation”, the FNR2K poses organic regional secession from existing European nation-states, and the ‘bottom-up’ federalized along Eurocultural lines (including Russia), affording distinct identities and devolved powers to all principalities, with the exception of “those matters which escape the competence of the lower level” and apply to “all the federal communities” of Europe, such as major military, diplomatic, legal, environmental, and infrastructural matters.
The FNR believes: “the nation-state is now too big to manage little problems and too small to address big ones” – civilizational superorganisms, organised in a polycentric patchwork, albeit with integrated research, industry, communications, and currency, are necessary for securing autonomy, tranquillity, and difference.
Labour must be reinterpreted beyond a ‘productivist’ understanding – it must incorporate work that is conducted and valued for qualitative, rather than merely quantitative, reasons; this ranges from labours of love and duty to ensuring the fruits of labour strive for timelessness, rather than obsolescence.
Additionally, modernity has created a society “where payment by salary is the principal means of integration into social life”. As such, the mission of reimagining labour is two-fold: “to work less in order to work better and in order to have some time for oneself to live and enjoy life”.
Tell me: doesn’t it feel as though you’ve heard all of this before? That you have felt, read, or even articulated such sentiments yourself? To be clear: I am not remarking on the originality or unoriginality of the FNR2K. After all, what good would such a point prove? ‘Originality’ – the moralist insistence to reinvent, the insistence of newness as a virtue – is a cornerstone of modernity.
Rather, I am remarking on how a document published over 20 years ago still bears an uncanny resemblance to matters the British right has, seemingly, only begun to publicly engage with, even if only peripherally, over the past few years: disaffection with liberalism, deracination in a society struggling to be cosmopolitan, the ‘bloatedness’ of institutions, the sense of ennui amid barely managed decline, the ‘re-emersion’ of tribal and class antagonism, the vicious discourse surrounding hereditarian innateness and social malleability, the homogenisation of everything from brand logos to community identities, from the sound of music to values and customs, from architecture to our options at election time.
Despite this, Francophobia has become something of an informal cornerstone of the British right’s identity; THB Britain Should Invade France, etc. Such parochialism, whether sincere principle or hollow performance, does not aid our political or intellectual development.
If the British right is prepared to concede, as it has done so before, that despite historic animosity and cultural differences, Britain and France share common civilisational challenges (multi-faceted demographic change, the future of freedom, sclerotic and hostile institutions, etc.) then it should also be prepared to engage with and learn from French – and more broadly, European – interpretations of affairs.
It’s no debate. The French right talks about positive visions for the future, the British right talks about the Plank of the Week. Whilst the British right mobilised to find footage of Keir Starmer not wearing a seatbelt, the French right almost made Eric Zemmour president of the republic. In Britain, we’ve only just got around to discussing illegal immigration. By contrast, France is way ahead of us.
It’s clear that many of our problems are here at home, not with the “Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys”. Given how intellectually barren the political landscape is generally, particularly on the right, perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to look beyond the English Channel, and see what our continental adjacents can offer as inspiration.
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