Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Yer doin’ it wrong

Zman gets specific on why populist reform movements always seem to fail.

A common theme to all of these failed opposition movements is the decision to engage in the established political system. Once they connect to the system, the system releases a virus that either assimilates the new group, turning it into a feature of the system, or kills off the threat. The former case is a universal in life. When the king recognizes a threat to his rule, the first move is to buy off the threat. Offering him a position in the system, in exchange for him adding his legitimacy to the king and his ruling order.

The latter is the one that is most puzzling, as it suggests legitimate opposition lacks the right antibodies to function in a modern liberal democracy. A recent example in America was the alt-right. When it was a humorous on-line enterprise, operating outside the political system, it was effective at introducing paleocon ideas into the flow of social media. Those memes making sport of ruling class piety were highly effective. The alt-right operated like a highly diffuse guerrilla movement, using mockery and satire to undermine order.

Then Richard Spencer started imagining himself as the leader of a vanguard and started to stage protests and go on speaking tours. The shift from underground guerrilla movement to above ground political activism was a disaster. Quickly, Spencer became David Duke 2.0, which gave the Left cover to send in their street mobs. Woke capital joined in and the entire dissident scene was subjected to an ongoing pogrom that persists to this day. The alt-right exploded and has followed the Tea Party into the dustbin.

Decades ago, Sam Francis observed that the Buckley brand of conservatism was bound to fail, because it sought to engage in politics on Progressive terms. By engaging in conventional politics, Buckley was legitimizing not only the rules of the game, but the roles for the participants as created by the Left. Since the Left controlled the institutions, they would always set the rules so they would win and the Buckleyites would lose. That is, of course, exactly how things unfolded. Conservatism was a failure.

Something similar happened with the Tea Party, the alt-right and now the Gilets Jaunes in France. By trying to play by the rules, they legitimize that which they claim to oppose, at least at a meta-political level. It also removes from them the one weapon all outsider movements possess. That is the willingness to break the rules. The flipping over of tables inside the temple is how these movements gain attention and attract followers. To then be seen putting the tables back and sitting behind them robs the movement of energy.

Something else seems to be at work. These movements all suffered from poor leadership and poor organization. The first Tea Party folks were honest, energetic, but wildly naive about the reality of political organization. The alt-right figures that rose up in 2015 were good at getting attention, but incapable of building organizations. Richard Spencer is media savvy, but you would not put him in charge of anything. The Gilets Jaunes appears to also lack capable leadership, which is why they have been taken over by the Left.

What this suggests is that any legitimate opposition must first insulate itself from the political system. Its guerrilla phase cannot be where they start, but where the end, in order to function as a subversive subculture in opposition to the prevailing order. The Vietcong and the Khmer Rouge did not fully come out of the shadows until the prevailing order was collapsing. It was at that point they rushed into fill the void. If there is to be a legitimate opposition in the West, it is going to operate in the shadows.

He’s definitely onto something here. These systems are static, inflexible, and way too firmly entrenched to be amenable to real change. That in turn renders any notion of “reform” null and void, a naive pipe dream. It can’t come as much of a surprise, then, that “working within the system” is futile, a waste of time.


10 thoughts on “Yer doin’ it wrong

  1. There is a movement among those feeling betrayed by Trump. Many of them are getting behind Democratic candidate Andrew Yang and his Universal Basic Income idea. If the system is stacked against us, we might as well get something out of it; that seems to be their sentiment. Conventional politics is a rigged game, so why play it?

    1. These would be the same long-game geniuses who voted in Bill Clinton to punish Bush (41) for that whole “Read My Lips; No New Taxes” debacle, right?

      So, how’d that work out for them?

      Asking for a friend.

      1. Quite well, thank you! The bastards who voted for Slick were the hive dweller sewage who LUVS them some Big Government. And Slick gave that to them in spades. As did Shrub II. As did Barry Soetoro. God damn every one of them to hell where they belong.

      2. The posts and comments I’ve been reading are not about doing this to punish anyone for not being doctrinaire. This is not about the left/right binary paradigm. Both sides are seen as corrupt and unresponsive. Economic and social fragility is a real worry for those people. They want answers beyond, “What’s good for Wall Street?” Automation of jobs, cultural disintegration, technology being used to control us, opioid addiction, etc., are often mentioned. You’re mistaken to make this merely into “but Republicans, because more money.”

        1. I have made it no such thing.
          We have a binary electoral system.

          If you can make the Republicans the Whigs of the 21st century, have at it.

          Until then, what one may wish is irrelevant compared to what is.

          1. Supporting Trump was an effort to change what was dysfunctional in the political and cultural systems of our country. In many ways, that dysfunction has gotten worse. So, some are frustrated, and going in a different direction.

            We have a binary party system, of course, but this isn’t about being liberal or conservative. It’s about getting something out of a system seen as working against the people under its control. And it’s not about me. This is something I’m seeing written about more and more. I’m wondering if some of the same forces that helped Trump will now assist Yang.

      3. Those “geniuses” would be 44 today, at minimum. This revolt is on the part of people an entire generation younger. Please refresh your sneering points to take into account the passage of time.

        1. Son of Stupid is still in the Stupid family, even if only their spiritual offspring.

          The apples don’t fall far from the tree.

          Stop getting wrapped around the literality of the lesson, and pay attention to the fundamental truth of it.

          If someone’s mother never asked “If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you jump off one too?”, and they then grasped the greater point, they weren’t raised, they were simply fed.

          This isn’t a revolt.
          It’s the consequences of soft-headed jackasses raising generations of soft-headed offspring.

  2. Okay. So conservatives have been doing it all wrong, playing a rigged game where the leftists make the rules. Okay, fine. So how, exactly, do we make them play by our rules? What specifically do we need to do, and what must we avoid doing from now on? What would flipping the tables over look like, exactly? What would one example, or several examples of doing it right consist of?

    The left does not need to try very hard at all to do it right, and to have things go their way most of the time, as they have most government, university, and media institutions on their side. They have the Communist fifth column Mainstream Media relentlessly parroting the left’s false narratives 24/7/365. Imagine what our side could accomplish with an advantage like that.

    In 2016 the left made the mistake of believing their own BS polls and the MSM’s deliberate disinformation. At the same time, the Alt-Right did a good job of mocking the left, and skewering them with their own false narratives. When the left denounced Pepe the frog as racist, the Alt-Right went into overdrive giving them 100 times more Pepe the frog. When the left denounced the very name of Trump as racist and threatening to college students, ‘The Trumpening’ chalkings began appearing all over college campuses.

    So again, what do we do for 2020 that would be playing by our own new rules, and not playing the left’s rigged game? My biggest fear is that they will be allowed to get away with their voter fraud, which is going to be truly massive in 2020. All the mocking of them and all the hoisting of them on their own petards is not going to overcome their embedded algorithms in the electronic voting machines or their latest ballot harvesting scam. I submit that allowing them to perpetrate their massive voter fraud IS THE VERY DEFINITION of playing by their rules in their blatantly rigged game.

  3. He’s an ahistorical quack.

    The Viet Cong did not hide and then usurp the crumbling order.

    They were wholly wiped out during Tet in 1968, paving the way for the subsequent conflict to be a wholly Hanoi-directed NVA affair, and it was NVA tanks that stormed the country in 1975 in a classic armored blitzkrieg, not any sort of Viet Cong victory.

    And the second people rounded up and sent to “re-education” camps after that victory, (usually consisting of a curriculum measured in grains of lead) were the few pitiful survivors of the Viet Cong in the South.
    The absolute last thing a dictatorship wants is people hanging around who’re skilled in guerrilla warfare, and Ho’s successors ruthlessly exterminated that threat.

    If one cannot get the historical lessons right, any prognostication based upon such rampant misdiagnosis is bound to be full of Schiff.

    And no, that isn’t a typo.

Comments are closed.



"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

"To put it simply, the Left is the stupid and the insane, led by the evil. You can’t persuade the stupid or the insane and you had damn well better fight the evil." - Skeptic

"Give me the media and I will make of any nation a herd of swine." - Joseph Goebbels

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