Paleoconservatism

  • Posted on: 29 July 2017
  • By: benfell

Paleoconservatives are often conflated with traditionalist conservatives, but are, if anything, less trusting in capitalism. They also appear more populist, and thus seem to bear a greater resemblance to authoritarian populists. Finally, they favor (European) ethnic segregation. They align with traditionalists and with capitalist libertarians in opposition to the militarism of neoconservatives. They are frequently accused of anti-Semitism, although this accusation often seems to confound opposition to Israeli government policies with anti-Semitism. They are also often accused of racism.1

Hierarchically Invidious Monism

The following passage suggests that like authoritarian populists, paleoconservatives may, in the guise of dualisms, subscribe to hierarchically invidious monisms centering on “us” against “them.”

A nationalist wants inclusion of his own people only. Anything other than his people should be excluded. This is not a personal judgment, or even a values judgment at all. They don’t fit: happy nations are homogenous in culture, heritage and values. By that definition, implied in reciprocal, any person who does not fit this type should be excluded. Even if they have 1,000 IQ points and never commit any crimes, they do not belong among Us because they are Them and should be excluded.
Hate groups arise because governments or economies force diversity upon populations. Those then retaliate by attacking the immediate cause of their discomfort, which is the presence of others among them. Unless individuals choose to join the pretense wagon of “it doesn’t bother me, all my neighbors are lovely,” which only fools the kind of people who weep over the “profound” messages on greeting cards, all people possess a natural instinct to group with people like themselves, not just in origins but behavior and morality, encompassed by the triad of culture, heritage and values.2

The claim that this is not about supremacy, especially white supremacy, is undermined when the author of the foregoing later argues that the aim of racial mixing is a “standardless world,” that is, a world in which stupidity is accepted along with excellence.3

Another article uses a “tooth-to-tail ratio” to explain how Muslims who are not directly involved in fighting could, nonetheless, be supportive of that fight, then cites unspecified polls to suggest that a majority of Muslims, both in majority-Islamic countries and in the West are supportive of Islamist interpretations of Sharia law, and finally makes the move into hierarchically invidious monism, by relying on a particular interpretation of the Quran to allege that “the so-called ‘moderate’ Muslim is not a peaceful person – if he were peaceful, he would contradict the teachings of the Quran and the actions of the Prophet Mohammed, which would be blasphemy” and, “A Nazi is a Nazi. Period. A Commie is a Commie. Period. A Muzzie is a Muzzie. Period.”4

Ethnic segregation

In general, the notion of segregation by ethnicity appears to be a paleoconservative fixation. An article on a crisis in Iraq which arose as the extremely violent Islamic State gained control of much of the northern portion of the country ends up using Iraq as an example as to why integration in the United States could not last.5 The belief seems to be that when mixed, people of different ethnicities are inherently at odds with and a mortal threat to each other. Hence, in a relatively diverse United States, “we” (whites) face genocide, even if we do not recognize that “we” are under threat.6

Brett Stevens explains it this way, projecting his own desires onto everyone else:

Each of us has his own country or rather the group within it with whom we identify. Mainstream conservatives want to magically turn everyone into brown-painted WASPs, worshiping at the altar of America, apple pie and “freedom.”
The truth is that people do not want actual freedom, no matter how much they talk it up as an ideal. They want a social group they can stand with and be proud of, an identity. This is always a combination of race, ethnicity, heritage, religion, class, and culture.7

In practice, such a segregation might look something like figure 1: Image: Vox, fair use.

(Image: Vox, July 4, 2014, fair use..8)

Anti-Semitism

Jews, even when acknowledged as having been shoved “at bayonet point into gas chambers or bur[ied] alive in quicklime,” remain the Other, and a paleoconservative article that acknowledges anti-Semitism as part of the movement also notes that this view has been rejected by “a great part of our people [whites], in fact the vast majority.”9

One of the main paradoxes [of White nationalism] is that we are like the proverbial priest trying to save the agnostic alcoholic from ending up in the canal. Our attentions, no matter how laudable, are not wanted. The White race has effectively told us to “bugger off” and has headed straight for the nearest ideological off-licence to drown his consciousness. Nor is the day at hand when we can ensure our survival by creating racially conscious communities. Unless you are prepared to isolate yourself from friends and family and go live as part of some transitory cult, probably headed by a manipulative sociopath, that is simply not an option.10

The article is accompanied by a photograph featuring neo-Nazi flags. Colin Liddell, however, argues against paleoconservatives isolating themselves from their opponents:

The Daily Stormer, which I have described in the past as being effectively a Jewish Surpremacist [sic] site, certainly understands how to turn the butt hurt of White nationalists to its own account. But just as actual ghettoizing makes us impotent and separates us from the only true hope of the White race – the Great Awakening – so virtual self-ghettoizing has a similar effect.
To keep our intellectual vigour and, more importantly our ability to transmit our own ideological insomnia to our target group, we need to constantly keep our friends near and our enemies nearer still.11
Fascism

Fascists are among the more extreme and violent paleoconservatives. While some, perhaps many, white supremacists may be fascists, there is nothing in the definition of fascism that restricts it to any particular bigotry.

Publications

(Some RSS feeds)
(from Wikipedia)

  • American Conservative - despite the association between this publication, which is sometimes identified as paleoconservative,12 and Patrick Buchanan,13 this journal reads much more like traditionalist conservatism than paleoconservatism.14 It seems entirely to lack the ethnic segregationist fervor of paleoconservatism.15 Perhaps most explicitly, Gene Callahan writes in this journal, “A healthy level of immigration is a positive good for a community or a nation: it keeps it open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, and helps prevent ossification.”16 That is something a paleoconservative would never say.
  • American Renaissance - described as white supremacist by the Anti-Defamation League.17
  • VDARE - apparently a hate group; it is listed as a ‘white nationalist’ group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.18