I have been an advocate of dialog on the Right. And recently there has been quite a bit of it. And now I think I can see the present limits of what can be achieved by dialog. Based on what I have seen I would say that at the point on the Dissident Right where Civic Nationalism starts to be viewed as anathema, then from there on, common ground can no longer exist with the more mainstream right. The level of hostility is too extreme to allow for civility or even meaningful communication.
So be it. But that still leaves plenty of latitude for dialog. After all, the Z-Man and Paul Gottfried have several times shared the stage on various podcasts and they have been extremely cordial. And Gottfried and Anton have debated on the pages of various right-wing publications with clearly evident collegial respect and politeness. So, there is a bridge across the chasm but it is more of a shuttle that on its own can visit the two sides.
I can see the point of view of both these sides. But I will say I have more sympathy for Anton because he has extended himself to try to communicate across the divide in a friendly manner. The Z-Man was far from friendly. In fact, he was pointedly hostile and rude. And maybe that’s the requirement of the position he has staked out. He has readers who exceed him in their anger toward any moderate figure or group in America. Maybe politeness toward someone like Anton is a disqualifying act. But maybe I’m wrong about that. Maybe he truly feels that Anton is part of the enemy he faces. And that is every man’s prerogative; to select his own friends and enemies. But I give the moral high ground to Anton. He wasn’t demanding any concessions, only extending an olive branch or a flag of truce for a parlay.
Almost equally I think I know why the Dissident Right resents the Civic Nationalists. They see them as the descendants of the mainstream conservatives who allowed themselves to be led along by the Buckleyites and the Neo-Conservatives and never did anything to prevent the takeover of the country by the Left. They see the egalitarianism of the Civic Nationalists as the stepping stone to all the evils we see today; the LGBTQ madness and the destruction of personal freedoms in the name of diversity, equity and inclusion. And there’s some truth in that. In fact, I feel I was one of the pawns who believed in men like George Bush Jr. and his endless wars that accomplished nothing but killing Americans.
I see myself as someone who sees both sides of this divide. But even though I have sympathy for the dissidents I think Anton’s side is where there may be a chance to take constructive action. Someone like Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis will reach out to a Michael Anton or a JD Vance because they are interested in practical steps that can actually be accomplished. Anton has reached out to people on the fringes of the Right like Curtis Yarvin and BAP in order to try to understand their point of view. And while his viewpoint is still quite different from any of these people he is at least engaging in dialog. And if nothing else it allows for some measure of coordination on practical things like supporting political candidates and networking.
I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised at how this contact between two worlds ended up. But I am a little disappointed. I wasn’t hoping for rapprochement but some kind of dialog and détente with a little glasnost thrown in for good measure. Oh well.
But something was learned and nowadays that’s the first step to constructive actions. Apparently, it’s not yet time for the opposite ends of the Right to talk to each other. Whatever coordination gets done it will not include the Dissident Right. At least not yet.