The Problem is Indifference | Samuel Martin
“If pacifist hostility toward war were so strong as to drive pacifists into a war against non-pacifists, in a war against war, that would prove that pacifism truly possesses political energy because it is sufficiently strong to group men according to friend and enemy” – Carl Schmitt [Concept of the Political, 1932]
Indifference, marked by Permissiveness, Pessimism, and Pacifism, is a three-headed beast. Like Cerberus, it vigilantly patrols the despairful depths, policing the dead to stay dead, standing on guard against daredevils and other heroic fools that threaten to vault over the gates, and sprint like madmen into the light. This is the Herculean task of the Right. Indifference, both within and beyond ourselves, must be subdued if we want to win. After all, Politics is about Winning.
Let us begin with Indifference as it appears beyond our individual selves. One of the core problems with Indifference is that it isn’t sustainable. Indifference, in the truest sense of the word, does not care about outcomes or ethics. It does not care about how an act is conducted or how something is talked about; it is by nature amoral and antithetical to action.
However, from my personal experience (and I expect many others), it has been the Profusely Indifferent, those who pride themselves on not caring about something, their apathetic, and having a laissez-faire approach (liberal, some would say) to a subject matter, have been the most fixated on whatever it is they profess to be indifferent towards. This is clearly an irreconcilable contradiction given what we know Indifference to be (amoral, inactive, unaffected by consequence, etc.).
Therefore, those purporting to be Indifferent must either a) seek to persuade or coerce others into being “Indifferent” to a subject matter, thereby undermining the essence of Indifference (being indifferent), or b) accept that discussion or struggle regarding a subject matter will not be occupied by voices that express Indifference, thereby ceding they are powerless in a directional sense. How could they preach Indifference whilst aspiring to see others conform to their outlook?
Indifference can only be either a) a force for [social] permissiveness, and therefore dishonest in its intentions, or b) impotent, and therefore [politically] redundant. As with all hegemonic ideology, Liberalism disguises itself as Apolitical and Neutral. It is no surprise that Indifference often masks a desire to adopt a (l)iberal position towards a subject matter, rather than honest indifference which would be removed in its entirety.
Another of Indifference’s core problems was revealed in the previous: impotence. In an equally hypocritical vein, impotence gives life to two of the three heads of Indifference: Pessimism and Pacifism.
Pessimism is not inherently evil. There are plenty of reasons for rightists to be pessimistic, it is another thing to suggest that we should distil pessimism and use it as a substitute for the higher forms of wisdom it enables: that human nature is to be navigated, not malformed or cowered from.
Whilst tempting, this is why I consider the Blackpill to be dangerous. On the one hand, it can discourage us and domesticate us into a state of disgruntled complicity, a state of mind which inadvertently accelerates the erosion of the already dwindling number of things we hold dear. Alternatively, it can encourage those who are “Blackpilled” to evangelise others to their pessimistic creed. This is not only a contradiction for their trademark Indifference (IT’S OVER!) but also makes for a highly repulsive aesthetic.
We must not be afraid to question those who cannot muster the strength to find a silver lining or a positive note but can evoke extraordinary determination in their quest to discourage anyone from daring to try. This is not an attempt to promote false hope, or even optimism! Rather, this is intended as a warning, one against unconstrained negativity within us, towards our friends, and potential fellow travellers. Surely there is wisdom and virtue in preparing for the worst, but striving for best regardless? Optimism is cowardice, but pessimism, pure pessimism, is slavery; it is the precursor of inaction. Fatalists should be wary about fulfilling their own prophecies.
The final head of the beast is Pacifism. The natural conclusion of distilled Pessimism, is the acceptance of the boot. Often accompanied by a certain smugness, the demonstration of one’s capacity to suffer without exerting resistance (besides perhaps verbal dissatisfaction) is completely inseparable from Nietzschean slave morality. To the pure-pessimist, action is indicative of delusion, it indicates a belief in definite or near-definite success. This is not true. This is cope! Are we believers in willpower desperate? Perhaps. Does it matter? Does a man denied water in the desert need to justify his thirst? No! Behold, the Overman! He has died of thirst! Likewise, denying your convictions and their artful imposition is draining.
Just as freedom grants the capacity for morality, hardship grants us the capacity for creativity. Not all is lost, but even if it was that would not change the virtue of action. Life is finite! Life is suffering! Should we resign? Should we cut ourselves off from avenues of exploration? Should we be slaves to life’s suffering? No! We will play the hand we have been dealt and if we fail, we shall fail remarkably.
Before I conclude, I should note that bystanders cannot and should not be coerced or manipulated into causes they do not stake their hearts on. A refusal to assist one army is not an oath of allegiance to the other! Paradoxically, the desire to remain uninvolved may need to be sustained through involvement. This is not Indifference; this is the last resort of the Disaffected, and the desire to be ‘un-opinionated’.
As David Hume put it: “reason is the slave of the passions”. I quite agree. Unfortunately, the Right’s passion has been lacking, as manifested in its lax wielding of the whip hand.
In the face of adversity, it is the inescapable truth that resolution (or at least something resembling it) begins with the desire to risk failure in the pursuit of a resolution. Indifference is the antithesis of this Promethean desire. It cannot comprehend its enlightened zealotry, its heroic naivete, the idea that remnants of success are better than no remnants at all. Who could speak of the virtue of visions if one has no visions at all?
Anti-political pretenders of all forms will declare the obsolescence of political resolutions. Cowardice! As long as there are men and women willing to carry the torch of tradition, politics is never over.
“If he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt [Man in the Arena Speech, 1910]