Traditionalists of the Alternative Right, or New Right, often find themselves bewildered when trying to explain how it is they consider themselves right-wing given what most people think when they think right-wing. There’s a feeling somewhere inside of us saying, “These are our people. With just a little nudge they might see the light.” But at the same time we embrace causes associated, for decades now, with the Left, such as: drug legalization, environmental concerns, anti-globalization, and crusades against factory farming that likely drive them away.
For myself, I know a mainstream conservative can bring me to the brink of an aneurysm through their habit of parroting the views of a handful of “conservative” TV and radio personalities, views that actually lead to the polar opposite of what were once regarded as conservative positions. Thus, nativism has been replaced by (legal) mass immigration, and isolationism has been replaced by military adventurism, almost always in the interests of the sacred economy. How then can the New Right and conservatives be considered teammates in any way?
To gain some perspective, and hopefully unravel this mystery, I looked to the wise conservatives of the past. In stumbling across this famous quote by the great 20th century writer and social critic, G.K. Chesterton, I may have arrived at an answer:
“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of their birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death.”
All joking aside about the time-honored practice of Democrats casting ballots on behalf of dead folk, what Chesterton describes here is at the root of what separates the Right from the Left. The very fact that I looked to Chesterton for answers is what makes me a right-winger. The Right, in any of its permutations, is the voice of the dead: be they Orthodox Christians looking to their saints for guidance, a Russian recalling the heroes of the Great Patriotic War when resisting NATO and Western financial powers, or a conservative looking to America’s Founding Fathers when evaluating the missteps of today’s USA. In all of these cases we seek answers from the dead, or more pointedly, the exceptional dead.
Many of the Left will balk at this, no doubt. What of their reverence for Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Chairman Mao, and Karl Marx? There is no denying these were Leftist heroes, but is the love for these men a Left thing or a Right thing? I would submit to you that the moment a black mother of a reckless, teenage thug invokes the memory of civil rights crusaders, in hopes of setting her child upon a more fruitful path, she takes a giant step rightward within the embryonic black American nation. So, too, a Chinese man who might recall the idealism of those who participated in their Long March when confronting material excess by an emerging class of Chinese hedonists.
The irony here is just beautiful. As Leftists, their job was to sweep away any signs of the past, bulldoze into a flaming pyre the memories of those “Dead white men,” or the cultural equivalent, even if in doing so they murdered the living who actively honored the dead. To the Left, those men and women who have passed into legendary status, their world, their culture, and those who revere them are mere obstacles on the road to a temporal paradise. The thug and hedonist mentioned above are not Leftists by virtue of some membership card of a Leftist organization but because of their disregard for their dead in the interest of their individual pursuits.
In a twist of perspective, this special relationship to the dead is likely the reason the Right is often associated with pro-Life movements. Could it be, on some level, that their reverence for the dead instills a sensitivity toward life? You cannot have a class of noteworthy dead without vibrant life, where the living may thrive and possibly become celebrated. How many of us, who were once Leftists, turned rightward once we had children of our own and were confronted by this truth? We knew they’d probably end up average but still imagined greatness for them. Small wonder, then, that the Right tends to be religious. The afterlife is not theory or belief to them, it is fact! Heroes, now dead, still live among us.
In contrast, the Left makes shallow stabs toward individuality just for the sake of being an individual. This might help them stand out from mom and dad at the next holiday gathering, but it isn’t likely to help them work their way into a nation’s conscience. At the core of their half-hearted efforts lies a bland world of fear, where life is stamped into conformity via media, prison, rifle, bulldozer, and bomb. To the Left there is no room for exceptionalism. Can a bundle of chemicals and electronic nervous impulses, that defines human life in their eyes, really be that great? This would disrupt their paradigm of the same, the Dreamland of Equality.
The Right celebrates life and accepts natural death in a conflict-ridden world, honoring those who have lived as lions. The Left forces unnatural death and encourages a lamb-like existence, stamping out those who refuse to conform to the promise of an imaginary Utopia. Herein lays the source of the rift between the factions claiming to be right-wing. We are all, to some degree, infected with the Left.
The Leftism is exposed in you, Likudniks and American conservatives, when you so callously shrug your shoulders as your bombs drop onto innocent civilians who didn’t have a thing to do with any homemade rockets launched from that land that is really just a concentration camp for non-Jews, complete with barbwire, concrete fences, armed watchtowers, spies, checkpoints, etc. You are not defending anything; you are stamping out that which stands in the way of your sub-celestial paradise. A paradise that can be developed into magnificent beach-front property once those pesky Arabs have been removed and a healthy injection of U.S dollars starts to flood in. On the contrary, it is the Palestinians who are standing for their people, their ancestors, and their land, which was stolen from them. They are the Right in this equation, you, the Left.
Beware, too, those of you on the New Right. How many of you wish to employ the crushing power of the State in order to impose your version of Heaven? Consider an alternative. Construct a world where those who have lived the life of the hero are forever heard. At this very moment Leftists are rewriting the voices of your heroes while you did – what? – expanded your iTunes library? Redecorated your home? Spent countless hours commenting on your friends uploaded Halloween photos? That’s what I’ve been doing. When we allow meaningless comfort and trivia to get in the way of ensuring ourselves or our possible offspring, real life, we too become the Left.
The desire to expose the seductive pull of the Left’s soulless egalitarianism is what calls us to the Right. Conquering that Hellish impulse within ourselves is what may ultimately unite us. None of this is possible without also listening to the voices of our dead.