Having finished Mark Collett’s “The Fall of Western Man” I’m left with some thoughts on some of the topics he brought up. I don’t have much to add to his very comprehensive and excellent analysis of the roots of the problem plaguing Western civilization. His take on the issue is novel, in that he views it through a psychological lens. Collett talks repeatedly about the conflicts taking place between the id and superego. Coming from a libertarian background myself, I greatly appreciate his elevation of this aspect, as it is greatly needed.
His critique of libertarianism is on point when it comes to a focus on individualism to the exclusion of interest in the collective good. It is clear for all to see that the failure of libertarians to properly address the topic of demographics is a dereliction of duty. Non-Western immigration is making the realization of libertarian ideals increasingly difficult, if not impossible. Non-Whites are less interested in smaller government and are more positive towards an all-encompassing state with great control over our lives. Libertarians agree with the concept of free association. Collett’s case study for taking down libertarianism, in which he portrays a street with clearly non-desirable behavior on the part of one’s neighbors fails to take this into consideration. In real life we can see that people self-segregate to the extent that they are allowed to do so. His example of horror thus feels artificial and “strawmanish”.
That being said, I increasingly feel that libertarianism and nationalism should be yin to each other’s yang. In this context, I’m using the word nationalism as a stand in for caring about one’s civilization, desirable behavior and so on. Another way to say this is my personal stance towards various human behavior. When it comes to what I think should be legal I’m very “liberal” or tolerant if you will. When it comes to what people should do, I’m “conservative” or traditional. These aren’t mutually exclusive, and Collett’s analysis could benefit from the inclusion of this distinction.
In the same vein, nationalism fails to satisfyingly address the form or nature of the state. Where libertarians neglect to address the desirability of various behavior and perhaps displays a naive tolerance for others at times, nationalism leaves many questions unanswered when it comes to the nature of the state. Libertarianism’s concern with individual rights and oppositions to abuses of power should be married to nationalism’s concern for the group at large. Both could learn from and adapt aspects from the other.
Collett’s takedown of conservatism is spot on. Two aspects in particular I find to be right on target. The inherently defensive nature is a major point of valid criticism. That conservatives never either work towards or actually accomplish the reclamation of lost ground is very telling. They appear to man the barricades and say, “you shall not pass!” until that line is crossed. They then move down the road to the next line in the sand and repeat the process. Fighting back or going on the offensive eludes them. Holding their intellectual and political opponents to the same standard that they hold themselves is also something they aren’t particularly good at. Collett is therefore entirely correct in his assertion that conservatism isn’t a viable solution to the problems facing the west.
I wish that the fringes of the Alt-Right known as the “Alt-Reich” would heed the words of Collett in his beautiful deconstruction of Neo-Nazism. I found his in-depth analysis more satisfying than the typical surface layer dismissals of Neo-Nazism. Collett points out that modern Neo-Nazis are the complete opposite of the desirable aspects displayed by pre-war German National Socialists. The contemporary variety is undisciplined, degenerate, violent and destructive. I don’t doubt his assertion that they would be the first ones put into the camps had they lived 80 years ago. The only thing they excel at is driving curious people away from desirable aspects of nationalism. Consequently, they are doing significantly more harm than good. Although Collett addresses “skinhead” culture, I find his analysis just as accurate in addressing the Alt-Reich or “Nazi larpers” prominently displayed at Charlottesville. They are undistinguishable from the degenerate subcultures on the left that they claim to oppose.
To go a little further in this vein, the desirability of great ego strength is perhaps Collett’s most important contribution to the debate over the future of Western civilization. The Alt-Reich, the tiki-torch marchers and their ilk are succumbing to their id. It feels good to be a part of a unified group in the moment, failing to take into consideration the long term implications. Most of their actions fell right into the lap of the enemies of Western civilization, particularly in the media. They could easily be dismissed as Neo-Nazi, white supremacists, allowing the public at large to refrain from looking deeper into their arguments or what actually took place. This isn’t to dismiss the faults found in how the Charlottesville Police Department or their political masters handled the events that day. They certainly shoulder the greatest part of the blame for the violence that befell that day in their complete failure to police properly. But that doesn’t vindicate the Alt-Reich from their stupidity when it comes to political optics. Claiming that Charlottesville was a victory is delusional, unless scaring away prospects from the wider New Right movement is a condition for victory.
Tying this into Collett’s psychological analysis, what would a strong superego look like when we are talking about events like Charlottesville? Focusing on winning, what actually works, not on what feels good in the moment. Discipline means holding back when appropriate. Spreading your message requires unity and deference in the face of the realities tied to political optics. Being right doesn’t matter, public perception and persuasion is everything. If the Alt-Right is going to be a valuable part of the wider New Right they need to step up their game and distance themselves from those who are unable to move beyond their id. Although not a part of it myself, I find the Alt-Right useful in their elevation of issues tied to demographics.
If you’re interested in the New Right, Alt-Right or the future of the West I would heartily recommend Collett’s “The Fall of Western Man”. It certainly warrants inclusion into my list of books that should be required reading in the education system.