The wires of the internet are alive with bloviation about a “horseshoe theory” and “false Left-Right paradigm.” As with anything popular and trending, these too are stupid and illusory, but they refer to something else we should pay attention to which the herd has poorly articulated.
So what are we missing?
Andy Nowicki gives us part of the vision with a look into the futility of mass politics:
For in casting one’s vote for or otherwise throwing one’s weight behind one side—be it the yin or the yang—of a binary, duopolic, Manichean paradigm, one is in fact not only selling one’s soul (which is to say, serving a master who is not God), or supporting evil in order to oppose what one takes to be a greater evil… no, one is not merely guilty of these betrayals ; one is also in a sense propping up the other side, the side one recognizes as being the worse of the two factions.
For in a world ruled by a duopoly, each side of the yin-yang spectrum parasitically feeds off the other for its own sustenance. One side could not be what it is without the active contrivance of its supposed opposite, and vice versa. Both yin and yang are fortified by the other’s scorn, contempt, and hostility; each digs in all the more when it perceives itself being threatened, and by digging in, thereby causes the other side to feel threatened, which in turn enhances the other side’s sense of righteous hysteria, leading to a never-ending cycle of rationalized provocations and self-justified aggressions.
What he describes is a feedback loop, or what occurs when there are two or more entities in a system interacting with one another. The first does something, the second reacts to it, and then the first reacts to that, perpetuating a cycle. The classic feedback loop as described by William Gibson is a child playing a video game, with computer and human both responding to the other and then triggering the next iteration of responses.
When we support one side of a duality, it strengthens the other by making it necessary, since the first is based on its relationship to the other. The two are defined relatively. This even applies to multiple parties, in that if all participants in a system adjust their behavior based on what others do, to support one is to cause interaction with the others.
However, this model fails when we step outside the democratic paradigm and as a result, stop treating politics like a conflict between football teams. The goal of politics is not to fight the other guy, but to assert what is the right type of society to have. This is why Leftists and Rightists are incompatible: we want entirely different types of civilizations.
The difference between Left and Right comes down to a war of ideas:
The very idea of a political spectrum fosters the illusion that if two schools of thought are both on the Right, they must be just two versions of the same thing, differing only in matters of degree. But of course Right and Left are on the same political spectrum as well, and we do not think they differ only in degree. Political philosophies differ fundamentally in terms of their basic principles and their political goals. This is true of Left vs. Right, and it is true of one Right vs. another. The only thing that really unites the different camps of the Right is a negative belief, namely rejecting the idea that equality is the highest political value. (The camps of the Left are more unified because they all affirm a positive, namely that equality is the highest political value.)
…ultimately White Nationalists believe and want very different things than the civic nationalists, classical liberals, neoconservatives, and Christian conservatives who oppose us. They have different philosophies and goals. They don’t want to be like us. They have nothing to gain from us — except looking more moderate and reasonable to centrist eyes, which is really the only reason they mention us at all.
…We will be a lot more effective if we stop being threatened by principled intellectual disagreement and start taking ideas a bit more seriously.
The basic argument above — that this is a war of ideas, and we must discuss ideas to clarify them, even through argument and debate — is a healthy and sensible one. There are a few points upon which elaboration is necessary.
First, most people do not understand that in a war of ideas, each idea is a sub-archetype of some fundamental philosophy that represents more of a direction/purpose in life and an explanation of how life works than a distinct and new direction in itself. Even if we accept that Rightism is not a spectrum, we can see how all Rightist beliefs are unified by some ancestor in thought.
On Amerika, we have identified the Right as consequentialists who also strive for transcendental goodness. To be an extreme realist like a consequentialist is to believe that we get anywhere only by understanding our world in detail, but that tells us method, and we then must know toward what we should strive.
The answer comes from reality itself: like Darwinian evolution, or even self-discipline, we strive for qualitative improvement based on our lot in life “as it is” according to realism. To do that, we must seek that which is good and beautiful in life, exploring our own capacity for virtue, so that we know what to do with what we know of how reality works.
It is not as simple as saying that the Right opposes equality. We do oppose it, but mainly because it is unrealistic. It is also moral sabotage, but that is minor compared to the fact that equality clashes with the mathematics underlying our universe and, as a result, leads to accelerated entropy and decrepitude.
More importantly, the Right desires a society that is based on an order higher than the individual; this is part of consequentialism, or measuring our actions in terms of their results and not how humans judge them. The other extreme, egalitarianism, figures that whatever is popular is right, simply because it is what the individual wants. This is the secret meaning behind equality: no one can rise above the herd, and whatever the herd desires, is presumed to be right, especially if it contradicts what more intelligent, honorable or wiser people know.
So while the “official” Leftist and Rightist parties — or even a host of parties including Greens, Communitarians, and other permutations, all of which boil down to one ideological ancestor of the other — are engaged in a football game of Red Team versus Blue Team, the battle between Rightist (realism) and Leftism (individualism) is real.
Those official parties are allegorically similar to the difference between a McDonald’s cheeseburger and the abstract notion of cooked meat. The Right-wing parties sometimes do something vaguely Right-wing, true, but most of the time they are buying votes just like the Left-wing party. The difference is that buying votes and other attributes of democracy push further toward the Left, because democracy itself as the political wing of egalitarianism tends toward the Left. Whether this is done through elections, judges, shifts in meaning to common terms or all of the above is irrelevant at that point. Any participation in democracy strengthens the Left.
In addition, democracy is doomed because it always favors what is not real. In a democracy, those who offer the words that make most people feel warm and happy inside become the winners. There is no obligation to follow up. That means that we are choosing actors, not leaders, and that they will do as little as possible to change the course of history because doing so would endanger their personal place within the hierarchy. In addition, there is no accountability for the people making the decisions in question, because the voters cast their lot like throwing dice and then blame everyone else for whatever they get.
Now let us return to the horseshoe theory which states that at their extremes, Rightism and Leftism resemble each other because both become authoritarian. Looking at this more sagely, it is clear that “government” — as opposed to leadership as in a monarchy — itself is a creation of modernity, which is the time period that arose after the individualism of the Renaissance™ became the egalitarianism of the Enlightement™ and finally, mutated into a collectivism and conformist version of those.
Equality is the root of modernity and government. However, government does not work; it is a self-serving corporation that becomes parasitic to the nations in which it holds power. As a result, it becomes unstable over time and must become authoritarian in order to remain in power by retaining control. The “horseshoe theory” applies to government, not political inclinations.
Rightism, as you no doubt recall, was the name given to those who liked the way things were before the French Revolution. All conservatives have this in common, and the use of time-honored methods represented a variant of the Rightist idea of extreme realism plus existential well-being through qualitative improvement. Kings are the only stable method of leadership; this can be improved qualitatively, but not changed.
If you are not an egalitarian, you are most likely a Rightist, but this is because of a lack of other options. You either believe in an order above human intentions, or an order of human intentions. You can avoid the question entirely, but there is no “third front” or “third way.” The Egalitarianism Question (EQ) divides all theories into these two camps.
We know that government is doom; how would a rightist pick something… better? One answer comes to us from civic engagement and social capital, which are both not-government and not-anarchy:
Especially with regard to the postcommunist countries, scholars and democratic activists alike have lamented the absence or obliteration of traditions of independent civic engagement and a widespread tendency toward passive reliance on the state.
…When Tocqueville visited the United States in the 1830s, it was the Americans’ propensity for civic association that most impressed him as the key to their unprecedented ability to make democracy work. “Americans of all ages, all stations in life, and all types of disposition,” he observed, “are forever forming associations. There are not only commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but others of a thousand different types–religious, moral, serious, futile, very general and very limited, immensely large and very minute. . . . Nothing, in my view, deserves more attention than the intellectual and moral associations in America.”
Recently, American social scientists of a neo-Tocquevillean bent have unearthed a wide range of empirical evidence that the quality of public life and the performance of social institutions (and not only in America) are indeed powerfully influenced by norms and networks of civic engagement. Researchers in such fields as education, urban poverty, unemployment, the control of crime and drug abuse, and even health have discovered that successful outcomes are more likely in civically engaged communities.
These civic engagements only exist for so long as they are protected by a conservative social order, however, because the “me first” individualist order of egalitarianism erodes them by demanding attention to the individual, and not the shared social space. In effect, when each individual can take power, a “tragedy of the commons” results where each person seizes power for themselves, and none is allowed to remain shared between the citizens; the paradox of this is that for power to remain shared, it must be owned by someone so that there is actual accountability, because otherwise people take what they want and then blame others or the group for the collective tragedy.
This tragedy of the commons takes effect anywhere humans go, and constitutes part of The Human Problem, which is how every human organization decays. The goal of the group is eroded under waves of individual need. As individuals exploit their own need, they see no reason to be limited in doing so, because if they do, others will win out. Only when a factor like a shared goal or higher order intervenes can people be induced to stop competing with one another and cooperate, but at that point, those who do not cooperate — “free riders” — gain power.
Ironically, success brings about this condition. A society that is thriving has extra wealth that it can squander on various forms of non-productive or even destructive behavior. In societies where every moment and morsel count, there is less tolerance for getting it wrong, and so the individuals in those societies develop social codes based on long-term thinking, honor, fidelity and shared goals. Where there is tolerance for getting it wrong, The Human Problem accelerates. This may be why the original Western Civilization originated in people who emerged from the Arctic Circle, where sloppiness or parasitism resulted in death, and were punished accordingly.
Egalitarianism, on the other hand, says that sloppiness and parasitism are just fine because everyone is equal and therefore, should be accepted even if they are unproductive, screw up a lot or have bad faith participation. Leftism is the philosophy of egalitarianism, much as democracy is its political arm. For that reason, the West cannot be Leftist:
The Alt-Right certainly doesn’t believe the West is “liberal values.” Western civilization existed for centuries before the Enlightenment. It was the product of a particular people, their religion, history and culture. It used to be a very illiberal place in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Early Modern Era. The Left admits this by saying we should be ashamed to be Westerners because we weren’t always so liberal.
We believe that liberalism is destroying Western civilization. It has led to this crippling sense of racial guilt and cultural malaise. It has opened our borders to the ongoing Third World invasion. It has unraveled and debauched our culture. We’ve degenerated to the point where we celebrate the death of our own children as “freedom.” We can’t even reproduce ourselves anymore or assert our own identity and interests. It will suffice to say that liberalism is the philosophy of Western suicide.
In other words, the West is its people, and those people only thrive when subjected to natural selection, such that those who are productive, intelligent and morally good are advanced above the rest and keep that herd under control, because otherwise the herd discovers egalitarianism and promptly exploits civilization in a tragedy of the commons.
So now we come full-circle. The horseshoe theory is nonsense if applied to Left and Right, but describes exactly what happens as government decays. The Left-Right paradigm is not false at all, but taking sides based on the parties and not the philosophies that they in theory espouse, is in fact nonsensical and merely strengthens the Left-leaning system. And Leftism, like all forms of herd morality, is our death.