Amerika

Universal Basic Income And The Right

The outpouring of enthusiasm and support for certain mainstream political candidates who support Universal Basic Income illustrates very well the dangers of abandoning the battle for the supremacy of paradigms, and devoting oneself to the triviality of the symbolic argument.

Some corners on the Right cultivate an attitude of genteel consideration for all kinds of subversive and decadent products of the present cultural and social milieu, not to speak of the thoroughly meaningless and compromised public discourse. According to such logic, whatever brings greater comparative popularity and appeal among the mass of followers is justifiable as a means to an end, and to remain on top of some trivial debate that never outlives the average person’s attention span is of highest importance.

More “open-minded” dissidents, who for the reasons of sentimentality cling to the purely material and in themselves insignificant products of mass culture of recent decades, seem more disposed to like popular film makers and dubious intellectuals than those who have not been blessed with the glamour and vanity that comes with being regarded as “controversial” by the mainstream media, yet who uphold values of a greater certainty from the point of view of traditional order.

No wonder then, that the so-called meta-politics of the Right more and more resemble the hodgepodge of contradicting ideas that otherwise typically manifests in the dishonesty of our opponents, for when one asserts himself through argument that has no firm foundation in principles, he can dwell on just about any side of it. As far as the Left is concerned, they are not in the least disturbed by such ambiguities, for their supreme principle is anarchy, of which polemics is only a subtle manifestation. In the ultimate account, it satisfies the anarchist’s overall need for a disintegrating and futile action.

Julius Evola, a philosopher whose often misunderstood precepts time seems to vindicate, had wisely warned that the Right must never abandon the principle of struggle. Considering the inexplicable groveling that accompanies the proposal to give every man what in essence boils down to the old bourgeoisie ideal of a “good living”, while expecting no display of worthiness on his part, it seems that he had realized that the greatest danger lies in defeatism and inertia. Truly enough, the idea takes as a pretext a valid point, namely, the state of disaffection found in every normal person who faces the humiliating and degrading prospect of a soulless and meaningless economical process. Modern market economy, augmented by the unparalleled advances in automation, demands ever greater commitment on the part of the individual to acquire a highly narrow set of skills, reducing everyone to a mere useful cog in the system, a cog that can moreover be replaced at any point. Thus, as other forms of existence become less and less relevant for the unholy paradigm that marches onward without regard, everything seems set for the submersion of mankind bellow the watermark of any distinction and personality.

Thus reformers say, why not embrace progress, and why not delegate all work to computers and machines, and enjoy the life of unprecedented leisure and idleness? Here and there, a few interventions might be in order to improve the overall state of mankind in terms of constitution and intelligence, but regarding the rest, people will better realize their full potential without the burden of earning their daily bread. Whenever necessary, they can cast their vote on relevant matters from the comfort of their sofas using smartphones, thereby apparently indulging the vulgar and reckless nature of our present social reality. The voting will be complemented with ceaseless debates on numerous social networks where free speech will doubtless be guaranteed. And it appears that the prospect of a future so conceived does not at all provoke a spontaneous feeling of disgust in our comrades, much less is it understood to what extent the narrative perfectly serves the purposes of the system.

Further it is claimed that in a future designed around such premise, people will be able to express creativity as they have never been before. Instead of performing mundane work, they will seek to unleash their creative and artistic capacities to the full, and as a consequence, our society will become more cultured, less susceptible to consumerism, and infinitely more humane. For is not the abundance of art the means to a more cultured and civilized life?

Disregarding the ample evidence indicating that the vast majority of people do not utilize their leisure time for any creative, noble, and truly distinguished activity — rather the opposite seems to be the case — the point is invalid for more elemental reasons. First, we ought to acknowledge once and for all that effete aestheticism is not the same thing as culture, and that art is not the essence of a great civilization, but rather the tangible expression of its ideals and form. The expression, not a cause, and much less its preeminent facet.

When the correct order of causes and consequences is established, one must begin to wonder: what kind of art will a society aspire to, which consumes time in frivolity and idleness, facing no struggle which separates the worthy from the unworthy? The very same question can be put forward regarding science, for not only is art the expression of a will that seeks to triumph over life and death, but it is in equal degree, if not more true when it comes to the pursuit of knowledge. If a mere intellectual whim can stir up innovation and discovery, it is only true to the extent that it spontaneously conforms to the principle which is conscious of the past and mindful of the future.

What will art resemble, and what will be its ultimate value, when it reflects the inner world of a people who are indifferent to pleasure and pain, to triumph and loss, to any higher ideal or supra-human reality, whose cornerstone are the Universal Basic Income, the smartphone and the sofa, and a whole host of surrogates for living a real life? Naturally, such art can only turn out decadent and degenerate, or at best mundane and frivolous, and likewise, science can only come to serve the necessities of idleness and whim, something that it already successfully performs.

If we consider these points, then what is the value of a “culture” defined along these lines? Why root for a future like that? The Right seems to be in fact reinforcing the effete ideal of man as the idle ponderer of infinite horizons, who has no conception of duty, least of all the duty to first and foremost be a man; the ideal of a bored tinkerer and a man-child who seeks to “express himself,” no matter how much that “self” must be insignificant and devoid of that manly and impersonal boundlessness.

Precisely in these terms the present paradigm wants to redefine the individual and the meaning of his capacity for action, and in this he seems to conform by substituting his former strength of character for the virtues of effete dialectics whose only purpose is self-aggrandizement. Such an individual will prove to be unable and unwilling to throw off the yoke of his thralldom to the economic ideal.

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