06JUN2023 – Interesting Interview With Michael Anton

The interviewer is asking about both the past and the future.  Anton talks about his experiences in the 2016 election and in the Trump administration.  And then he asks about 2024.  Here Anton sounds very much like those on the dissident right who feel that the time for elections fixing things is over.  It feels like there is a convergence going on on the Right.

Am. Greatness Publishes Rambling Ravings of Some Crackpot Named photog

So after Michael Anton wrote his final defense of natural rights in which he very interestingly quoted one of my posts, I found a number of reactions in the comments section thought provoking.  Mostly they were apologies for the Z-Man based on the premise (which is one of the underpinnings of the Dissident Right) that a multiracial society is doomed to failure because of the biological differences between people.

I thought that was worth discussing further and so I wrote my article and I was happy to find that American Greatness was willing to feature it on their worthy site.  So here is the link and I hope everyone goes over and reads it and leaves all kinds of interesting and highly complimentary comments that proclaim my groundbreaking insights and the general brilliance of Orion’s Cold Fire as both a font of political wisdom and also a source of entertaining cultural content.

Does Inequality Make America Impossible?

 

All Men Are Created Unequal. Does That Make America Impossible?

In the comments section that followed Michael Anton’s recent post about natural rights (“Farewell to Z-Man!

Once More on the Question of Natural Right”), a commentor said,

“Z-man is anonymous because he writes about biological differences, which is a capital offense in our society. Anton is a colorblind civic nationalist, so he doesn’t have to fear having his life destroyed for his views.

I agree that Anton and Z-man would better spend their time fighting the Left, but the schism between those on the Right who believe that there are biological differences among the various peoples of the Earth and those who don’t believe that is fundamental.

That is at the core of the debate between Anton and Z-man. Anton says that natural rights are universal and ever-present. That implies are all peoples are the same at all times. Anton rejects biological differences. Z-man says that the rights put forth by the Founding Fathers were based on their nature. The rights grew out of the particular biology of that people, Anglo-Americans.

For Z-man, culture is downstream from biology. For Anton, biology doesn’t matter at all. That is a fundamental difference.

Anton is a colorblind civic nationalist. He doesn’t believe that culture stems from biology.

His issue with the refugees is that they come from a culture that despises American values. That makes complete sense. However, for Anton, it’s about the culture, not the people. It’s why people like Anton has such a hard time arguing with the Left about immigration.

The Left says we should have open borders or, at least, very large immigration, especially, refugees because we’re all the same so why keep people out. Anton tries to refute this by arguing that we can only let in so many so that they can absorb our culture and truly accept American values. The Left calls him cold-hearted.

Anton has no response other (than) technical arguments because he accepts the Left’s morality: that all people are (literally) created equal so the burden of proof is on him to show why some people shouldn’t be allowed in.

Z-man doesn’t accept the Left’s morality. His argument for why we should reject the Afghani refugees is that they are a different people who will never accept our culture because their biology is different.

And before you start acting like the Left and call Z-man (or me) a racist, just remember that Z-man’s beliefs are pretty much the same as most people around the world, including Israelis and Japanese.

If this was Israel or Japan, their version of Anton would simply say, “No. We will not let in these refugees because they aren’t Jewish or Japanese.”

Anton disagrees with the Israelis and Japanese. He and the Left believe in the Blank Slate, that we are all lumps of clay that can be molded into any form if you just get the culture right.

Ironically, Anton rejects nature’s role in culture.”

Much of what is said here is essentially an accurate description of the difference of positions between the Dissident Right (e.g., the Z-Man) and the Civic Nationalists (e.g., Michael Anton, me).  But there are some subtle differences that I think need to be addressed.  I won’t speak for all Civic Nationalists but I will say for myself that I categorically deny that all human beings are equal in their abilities and have the same temperaments.  In fact, I’ll go as far as saying that human beings are heterogeneous at almost every level.  Even within the same nuclear family there will be remarkable differences of intellect, physique, personality and appearance among siblings.  And between different ethnicities and races the differences will be even larger.  You don’t have to leave the same continent to find the pygmies and the Tutsi.  The first group are hunter gatherers who average less than 4’ 10” in height while the latter are pastoralists that average 6’ but are not uncommonly over 7’ in height.  As far as differences of intelligence and temperament between groups of people there are all kinds of scientific studies and popular descriptions to provide speculation for these differences.

But the basic question isn’t whether these differences exist.  The question is do these differences prevent us from living together in a meritocracy?  In other words, if I’m stupider than my neighbor Bob will that mean we can’t live in the same society without eventually being at each other’s throats?  My belief is we can live together.

The Dissident Right does not believe this.  And as proof they point to the present nightmare we’re living through with “Black Lives Matter,” George Floyd and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion racket being run against white people.

Well, that’s a pretty powerful argument.  Add that to the fifty years of affirmative action and forced integration and you have a pretty bleak picture.

But the Left has been using this equality of outcome scam for decades as a proof that white people are discriminating against blacks.  And for whatever reason we’ve been letting them get away with it.  I no longer think it’s a convincing argument.  America is a multi-ethnic, multi-racial society and there is every combination of races and capacities on display.  And what is clearest is that trying to hire people according to their skin color is a recipe for disaster.  Everyone has probably seen or heard of people who were hired under affirmative action quotas and were completely unqualified for the job.  And what is also extremely clear is that African Americans are not the object of systemic racism.  Currently heterosexual white men are the ones being discriminated against and openly.  It seems clear that demanding the end of affirmative action and other anti-white policies and a return to a meritocratic system is the correct way to put all this racialist nonsense behind us.

To do this it will require places like Florida that have a Republican government to refuse to allow anti-white, affirmative action programs to continue.  And the very color-blind approach that the above commentor seems to disparage is the correct approach.  The United States need to get out of the race business.  In fact, I don’t think we should even list it on birth certificates or other government documents at all.  You might as well list my blood type and what kind of belly button I have too.  Instead, we should be concentrating more on things like SAT scores and which computer languages have been mastered.

Now of course maybe the Z-Man is right and the Republicans are hopelessly unable to fend off accusations of racism and they will always be the losers when the Left plays this racket.  If this is so we’ll see this play out.  But I’d like to believe someone like Ron DeSantis is the future.  He recently rejected the High School Advanced Placement curriculum for African American Studies because it was filled with lies.  This is the way to change things.  Just say no and then make it stick.  It’s not easy.  It’s a slog and a fight.  But if we choose fighters to represent us, we will get results.  If we choose squishes like Jeb! Bush, we get what we have now.

So sure, things are bad but I’m not ready to start the race war.  I think we can have a first world country without a civil war.  But it remains to be seen whether the people who claim to be our leaders are willing to fight to save it.  If they’re not then the Dissident Right will be correct.

Michael Anton Quotes From OCF – That’s Pretty Cool

 

Back in the before time when 2016 was shaping up to be a contest between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush I first read Michael Anton’s essay “The Flight 93 Election”.  And the fact that someone with an academic background and a connection to Washington understood just how bleak the Uniparty options were for this country impressed me greatly.

And afterwards as I perceived that he was pursuing those at at the far outer edges of conservative thought to provide fresh ideas for a political movement that was hollowed out at the top I was encouraged   Because we really do need much more coordination and honest dialog if we’re even going to survive the onslaught of the monolithic Left.

Now I’m not a great thinker.  I’m just a schmoe who got tired of being thrown off of photography and science fiction websites because I didn’t kowtow to the Left’s shibboleths and put together my own site where I can say whatever damn thing I want to.  But I practiced in my own humble way what Anton was doing.  I read far and wide on the on the internet.  Back in 2015 and 2016 there were all kinds of crazy people involved in the pro-Trump movement.  And beyond the pro-Trump movement there were the dissidents for whom Trump was just a symptom.  And I learned quite a bit about the various factions and ideologies and to be honest, the various hates that exist on the Right.

And I can see that there are strengths and weaknesses in each of them.  But what is also true is that the Left’s use of surrogates on the Right to disqualify anyone dangerous to the Left has been one of their most successful strategies.  William F. Buckley was famous for this.

And the neocons tried to do it to Donald Trump to stop him from being elected.  So I made a point to keep an open mind about fringe thinkers.  And so I read people like the Z-Man.  And I’ve found him to be spot on about a whole raft of things that affect our lives.  He’s a very smart guy.

But he’s just one guy.  We need about thirty million guys working together just to stop this train from going off the cliff.  So on balance I have to give the prize to people like Anton and even Gottfried who may disagree on a multitude of intellectual points but at least are willing to hold a discussion about their differences.  To my mind honest disagreement can be enlightening for both sides.  You don’t have to convince the other guy but you do have to make an effort to clarify your position for the readers.  And I believe that’s how we’ll end up with some kind of a coalition.

So I woke up this morning and I saw I had some traffic coming over from American Greatness.  Now I wrote a couple of posts for them a few years back but nothing recently so i was interested.  and there I saw this post by Michael Anton.  He quoted a blog post I wrote a week or two ago going over my thoughts on the Anton / Z-Man war.

I won’t deny I was pretty happy thinking that somehow Michael Anton had visited my site.  After all I had read his article about seven years ago and it had been one of the inspirations for my blogging and many other activities I had engaged in over the years.  He had crystallized many of the thoughts that had been growing in my mind ever since the George Bush presidency had destroyed my belief in the Republican establishment.

But beyond my own private satisfaction in being noticed, it gives me hope that there are people trying to build something bigger than just Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis or Twitter.  We need an actual identity and a mission to save this country.  We at least have to agree on what we’re trying to save.  I think Anton believes that.

It’s a start.

Michael Anton, Paul Gottfried and the Z-Man – A Fractured Spectrum on the Right

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 parley.

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.

When Our Worlds Collide

When a chemical engineer is tasked with designing a mixing system for insoluble liquids, he has to calculate the amount of energy needed to turn the liquids into an emulsion.  So, these liquids that completely repel each other like water and oil can be suspended in each other and thereby come in intimate contact with each other.  And in that state they can be smoothly reacted with each other by some catalyst or chemical.

Something similar has occurred between the different camps on the Right.  Michael Anton describes himself as a lecturer and research fellow at Hillsdale College, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, and a former national security official in the Trump Administration.  He became well-known for writing the “Flight 93 Election” back before the 2016 presidential election when he advocated for Donald Trump as our last chance to stop the country from sliding into leftist tyranny.

He is as far philosophically as anyone on the real Right can be from the Z-Man when it comes to beliefs about the nature of government.  And yet these two men have now made contact.  Specifically, Anton has written a (very) long post at American Greatness defending the concept of natural rights against an assertion that the Z-Man made that natural rights do not exist.  And in fact, the Z-Man’s post was a reaction to an Anton post that was itself a reaction to an essay by yet another personality on the Right the paleoconservative Paul Gottfried.  Enough agitation is occurring in our environment to bring these various species in contact with each other and the interaction is yielding change and reaction.

Now suffice it to say that what passes for debate here is more like low intensity warfare (especially in the comments sections).  But I think the fact that, at least, they are beginning to acknowledge each other’s existence is the beginning of communication.  And this communication is important.  Not so much for the writers but for the readers.  Currently the ideas of the various groups on the Right are pretty thoroughly siloed.  Having the readers get a taste of the other opinions around is all for the good.  These ideas need to be banged around against each other a good deal for some clarity to emerge.  People need to compare the words to the world around them and decide which model is right or mostly right.  Because chances are no one model is completely correct.  There could be valuable insights from more than one camp.  And it’s possible that minds could be changed on certain points if a wider consensus is formed.

So, this is just talk.  But it’s a beginning.  One thing that’s been totally lacking on the right is any kind of open discussion of the taboo subjects.  We’ve allowed the Left to control the allowable agenda for discussion on the Right for generations.  What we’re seeing is the beginning of the breakdown of that control.  It hasn’t reached the point where the establishment Right will acknowledge the relevance of the dissident opinions but the middle is starting to address them.  Once the majority of the non-Left has shifted to the edge of the dissident territory the establishment will be forced kicking and screaming to the right.  What happens after that is unknown.

It may turn out that the Left will outright win and all this will be moot.  But if the Right manages to push the country in our direction, then the establishment Right will convince themselves that they were always in the vanguard of this great movement and deserve all the praise and benefits.  And eventually the Right will overstep itself and some reaction will occur.

But that’s hardly anything for us to worry about.  It will take a generation just to stop the leftward swing of the cultural pendulum, never mind getting it back to the center.  But it is encouraging to see the center acknowledge the dissident position and even begin to give grudging approval to some of their ideas.  Let’s see what’s next.

Michael Anton Analyzes “The Godfather” through the Lens of Machiavelli

Michael Anton is a devotee of Leo Strauss who wrote an important paper on Machiavelli.  Naturally Anton will evaluate a movie about power through his understanding of the quintessential champion of immoral power politics Machiavelli.

I thought it was an interesting read.  And I’m not a huge fan of gangster movies in general or the Puzo story in particular.  Your milage may vary.

 

 

 

A Series of articles on Red State Autonomy by Dave Reaboi

Substack is full of writers from our side Dave Reaboi has a site called Late Republic Nonsense.  He’s a friend of Michael Anton and he seems to know a bunch of interesting people.  He even sponsors some idiosyncratic content like haute cuisine cooking lessons from Michael Anton.  How’s that for unexpected.

Anyway I’ve been talking for a while about Red State Autonomy.  Reaboi calls it Red America autonomy.  Putaituh, putatuh, whatever.

Anyway here are the links.  So far it seems sort of introductory.  But I’ll bookmark his links and follow along to see what he comes up with.  After all he seems to know some movers and shakers.  And he has some interesting stuff on his site.

https://davereaboi.substack.com/p/autonomy-for-red-america-part-1

https://davereaboi.substack.com/p/autonomy-for-red-america-part-2

I’ll have to pass the Michael Anton cooking links onto Camera Girl.  This could be my way of bringing her over to the Right.  She’s not very political but her instincts are good.

 

 

 

 

Michael Anton Provides an Analysis of Bush’s Wars and How Stupid They Were

Anton was a part of the Bush administration and he knows the thinking that went into the awful idea of turning Afghanistan and Iraq into democracies.  He lays out the mindset that went into it and then describes how all that played out over the last twenty years.  Once again we see the fear of admitting that not all people are exactly alike causing untold damage.  Saying that Arabs and Afghans don’t care about democracy but do care about their traditional beliefs might have saved us from wasting thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.  Hopefully the next president will hold up the Bush and Obama administrations as examples of how allowing nonsense to be the basis of foreign policy is too dangerous to allow.  Trying to turn Afghans into woke westerners who fly rainbow flags and believe in transgender rights is just about the stupidest thing imaginable.  All our experiment is going to achieve is cause untold thousands of young Afghans to be whiplashed by the change from American progressive mindset to medieval Muslim practices.  Many of them will be lucky to get off with some whip marks on their backs.  The unlucky ones may get stoned or beheaded.

Curtis Yarvin Talks About Regime Change and How it Can be Done

I’m a non-paying reader of Curtis Yarvin’s substack page Gray Mirror.  His latest article was a response to a journalist named Damon Linker at the The Week becoming upset at the content of a discussion between Yarvin and Michael Anton in an American Mind podcast.  Apparently, the idea of these two men discussing the idea of a monarchical government for the United States is so beyond the pale that Mr. Linker started getting the vapors.  Meanwhile, roving mobs of masked thugs burning down police stations and private businesses is just good old democratic horse trading to him I suppose.

Yarvin uses Linker’s outrage as a jumping off point to go into his hypotheses about what will and won’t work at reforming American government.

I’ll paraphrase these:

  • The only choices with respect to the present regime are leave it alone or replace it completely.
  • To replace the present regime we will have to elect a president and allow him to assume absolute power.
  • The process of making this change can be completely non-violent.
  • That the actions embodied in these hypotheses are just as practical as any other reform program being contemplated.

I recommend reading Yarvin’s essay.  It is worth thinking about.  The present oligarchic regime is extremely powerful and has figured out all the angles for rigging our elections and even ignoring the leaders we do manage to get elected.  Yarvin may be right about the need for a total reset.  The part about it being violence free is the thing I have my doubts about.  Read it for yourself and tell me what you think.