Furthest Right

The Radical Tradition edited by Troy Southgate

The Radical Tradition
edited by Troy Southgate
186 pages, Primordial Traditions, $33

It was probably stupid of me to submit a piece for inclusion in this book, because (a) the other pieces are so good I’m now wondering if I look like a moron and (b) it kept me from reviewing this for some time. With my participation disclosed, however, my ethical self rests if I write about what others wrote, which is the better part of this book anyway.

Tradition is hard to define for many, but can be revealed in a simple confluence of thoughts. First, the order of this universe is not found in its parts, but enclosing its parts. Second, in reverence to this metaphysical or non-visible order, people have found eternal ways of life — not only are they functional strategies, but they bestow to life reverence, grace, transcendence and other intangibles. Finally, Tradition is a lens through which we can view history and thus understand our modern time in context.

The radical tradition is for those who recognize that we are in a stage of Late Empire, or part of the historical cycle by which civilizations are born, thrive, age, and finally, collapse inward. Radical Traditionalists recognize that our day-to-day life is out of sync with the natural order, and as such, constitutes a “radical evil” — a commonly accepted process that is nonetheless a path to the death of all good things. Radical Traditionalists are staging a conservative revolution that shames our media-fed “conservatives” and shows us not just a set of issues, but an entirely better way to live.

In this short volume, writers tackle explaining all that heady stuff, but they do it in a way that all of us can understand: through example and discussion of vital points that exemplify the belief. This spares us the stormy manifestos and grand unification theories of other manuscripts; instead, we get an accessible view into the mentality of Radical Traditionalists, through topics that are both bite-sized and familiar to us.

Looking at the submitters, barring the incoherent ramblings I submitted, we see a vanguard not of the old conservative order but of a new one. These writers are not content to duke it out with surface issues, but are interested in conservatism as an order that renews the soul, and avoids the lugubrious mental instability and corresponding bad behavior of the modern time. A brief list of highlights:

  • Tomislav Sunic analyzes modern decline through the lens of Oswald Spengler, who wrote of history as a cycle that ended with civilization become a lynch mob ruled by money and hollow passions. The George Orwells and Jared Diamonds of the world stand revealed as tinny voices next to this grand study of how things fall apart, and Sunic explicates it brilliantly through the eyes of other writers and nearby theories. If you wanted a great introduction to radicalism of the only true sort, it is here.
  • Gwendolyn Toynton writes an academically credible but impassioned description of how shared values systems and ideas, routed in organic culture, unify a population and thus can enable a group to re-make a dying civilization into a more cohesive and elegant society. This brief essay provides solid critical thinking of the design flaws of our society and how to correct them; it’s hopeful in the sense of seeing a hard day’s work ahead through the point of view of the results that will come.
  • Jonathan Bowden writes about cinema and the symbolism therein. His analysis of the Vlad Dracula story as depicted in film gives us an insight into the underlying issues that, in an all too human way, must be communicated through a film about far-off mystical and occult powers in order to allow us to slowly apply them to our present situation.
  • Troy Southgate, who also edited the volume, portrays Heidegger in a new light as a man trying to separate meaning from the representation of it; he is like a shadow discipline to postmodernism, in that instead of creating meaning unbound from reality through deconstruction, he deconstructs that unrelated false reality and offers us vague, almost Zen master levels of gnomic insight into how we might rebirth meaning for ourselves.
  • Wayne John Sturgeon offers a brief piece revealing his experiences as a national anarchist, or someone who cannot find friends on either side of the political equation but finds clarity in a concise concept, even if a work in progress.
  • Alex Kurtagic gives a startling insider account of the music industry and the last genres popular music burped out before become a truly pastiche product, namely some of the more warlike heavy metal out there. This was the first I’d read from Kurtagic, and it left me wanting to read more, as his idiosyncratic style conveys more than is at first discernible.
  • Dr. K.R. Bolton takes us deep into the cultural war that fragments the West, namely the battle between a negated culture (a culture of non-culture, or random culture) and the remnants of national cultures and other organic outpourings of culture. Another writer I’d like to watch here.

This is but a sampling of what is offered; in the interests of keeping this piece short, I will not explore each of them, but suffice it to say that this brief description reveals less than half of what you will find in this short but on-point work.

As a companion to another Primordial Traditions release, The Northern Traditions, this book serves as both an excellent introduction and a work of frequent reference, as every aspect of life is touched on in some way or another, in text you would find at home at the modern University or think-tank.

While right now most people would find this radical in the sense of being a sudden re-introduction to common sense and high expectations from one’s own mortal time on planet earth, it represents a philosophy of the near future — a philosophy of renewal. No words are minced on this account.

As Toynton writes in the introduction:

Our civilization is dying. I make no atonement and pull no punches for this dramatic and bold opening assertion. Our day is gone, the empire has fallen — may its death knell awaken the survivors from their slumber. Amongst the ruins of an empire toppled, a world in tatters awaits our rebirth….This is the true crux of this issue: the chasm of oblivion looms deeper than even Spengler predicted for the West. What serves to tie our community together? There are no ties of kindred, no bonds of affection betwixt the masses of faceless individuals that compose our cities — the average man can barely stand to look his neighbor in the eyes…[The Radical Tradition] is radical not by being part of any existing political framework, but rather because it dares to question the authority of the status quo. The current models of contemporary political discourse are dated, based on paradigms which no longer merit society or attribute to any structures of true value. We are ruled by greed, and greed alone. The only route to bypass this rule of the almighty dollar is to transcend its value, to enact the transubstantiation itself and create gold from the plastic which is the soul of this era.

This book is radical not by extremism, but because it encourages thinking that is honestly “outside the box,” and thus without the comforting talking points that are beaten into our heads by rote through government pamphlets, advertising, and the social chatter of others. These are uncharted waters for most of us.

Luckily, this book offers a guiding light through the fog, and by tackling some of the largest issues in concrete example form, gives us a channel into this potent philosophy that no other single venue can offer. In many ways, it is the book one should read before delving into extensive political and philosophical “big picture” works. It is a big picture made from familiar elements.

At just under 200 pages, The Radical Tradition is a fast read that will leave you chewing over its concepts for weeks, months or years. Lucid and digestible, it offers a pathway through darkness, even as all of those around us chant in unison a denial of darkness itself.

Tags: , , ,

Share on FacebookShare on RedditTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn