In general I think there should be more unity on the right. Big issue. Today, a minor issue: nazi-bashing. “No punching right” is a strategy that works because when a right-winger punches some “right-wing extremist group” to signal how moderate and principled he is, that only encourages the left to label every policy they don’t like as “right-wing extremism” to force the right-wing to denounce it. If you say “I’m on the right, but I draw the line at hate groups”, suddenly every right-wing group will be a “hate group”. If you say “I’m on the right, but I draw the line at neo-nazis,” every right-wing principle will be exposed as “nazism”.
That’s how I understand it.
It was disappointing to see Vox Day, who probably did more than anyone to popularize and explain this strategy, embrace nazi-bashing last October. Not because I am a nazi (*twirls villainous moustaches*), but because the entire purpose of the strategy is to dismantle the Left’s rhetorical super-weapons. The more effort he invests into arguing that he’s not a nazi and he hates nazis, the more pressure he’ll be under when Heat Street (are they still around?) urges him to condemn obviously-nazi-things like bloodright citizenship.
Vox Day defended himself by noting that he is not attacking nazis for being too far to the right, but for being too far to the left. This was unworthy of him. “Teh dems are teh reel nazis” is the chorus of D.C.’s conservative castrati, which I doubt Vox is quite ready to join. Whether nazi-bashing is virtue signaling doesn’t depend on the true relative position of National Socialism on the continuum of political ideologies, but on whether it is the most extreme of the “bad boy, go to your room” insults in the Leftist arsenal.
(That’s not all: as all QL readers are surely aware, there is no objective orientation of the political issue-space into left and right, independent of the need to organize against leftist parties. But I wouldn’t expect Vox Day to think in this way, so I can’t blame him for searching for the objectively-gauche characteristics of the Nazi Party.)
Regardless, Vox has shown good judgment in the past so, as I type this, I can only hope he knows what he’s doing. He also lives in the EU, where being designated as a nazi leads to jail time. And even if the strategy he is following is collectively suicide for the right, it may well be that he can successfully emphasize the differences between his homebrew libertarian-nativism and the tenets of National Socialism.
(All I wanted was Zionism for white people!, says the increasingly nervous novelist for the sixth time.)
NRx’ers don’t have either of these excuses so I don’t know exactly what the hell they think they’re doing when they nazi-bash. Some of them may have been inspired by Moldbug’s critique of demotism. But ask yourself this question: is the rhetorical function of claiming that Roosevelt’s America, Stalin’s Russia, and Hitler’s Germany all had the same form of government to smack down Uncle Adolf? I don’t think so.
The tenets of National Socialism and the role of the word “nahtsee” in your rhetorical strategy are two distinctly different things. (This, by the way, is a Moldbuggian axiom: an ideology’s label and its structure must be treated separately.) Even if you don’t want a NatSoc metapolitical strategy or social policy, nothing is forcing you to go out there and nazi-bash, disavow, distance, or otherwise punch the people leftists identify as being to the right of you, politically.
But here’s the dirty secret about formalism. (Ready?) Neo-cameralism, wherein a board of directors who collectively owned the productive capacities of society wield absolute power over it, sounds strikingly similar to the ideal-type definition of fascism developed by the USSR and its puppets. This wasn’t even something the commies believed to be true about the regimes they derided as “fascist”, it was a clumsy attempt to fit historical fascism into Marx’s theoretical categories, which all twentieth-century capitalist states supposedly approximated, to a greater or lesser degree. And the original proposal for formalization, wherein each institution’s/faction’s relative social power is commuted into voting shares in the government, sounds exactly like the corporatist social policy implemented by Mussolini’s Fascisti.
Has anyone who claims to be nazi-bashing from a neo-reactionary perspective thought this through?
A “constitutional conservative” can at least imagine coming out ahead after defecting from the Right’s optimal metapolitical strategy. So can a “but Israel does it!” populist. Hell, even Dick Spencer could hypothetically pull it off — despite the hellish aura the media projects on him, his policy proposals read like they’re straight out of Kant’s Perpetual Peace.
Personally, I’m just an easily confused nationalist populist who happens to want to see all sovereign power vested formally in a unitary ruling body. (Is that so much to ask?) I don’t have a dog in this fight. But if you, dear reader, are committed to neo-cameralism as the final solution, please don’t nazi-bash. Worse than being bad strategy, it’s embarrassing.