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On reactionary conservatism

On reactionary conservatism

“It is curious how the reactionary conservatist and fascistoid obsession with tradition and culture never really focuses on the actual, living and near traditions, never on the ambitions and hopes of those living two, three, four generations back, who worked hard at making society better, often living under very harsh and oppressive circumstances, making great sacrifices in the process.
 
Instead the focus is on timewise quite distant cultures and traditions millennias or at least several centuries back, predating the French Revolution and “modern society”, completely rejecting democracy and strive for equal opportunity. In that it literally is against the dreams, traditions and culture of our closer ancestors of the last 150 years or so, and against their hardwon legacy, rejecting them as not part of tradition, while in reality it is very much a consequence of our history, our culture and our traditions, and something which has been constantly debated and fought over for millennias in our societies, not least in the past times these people choose to look to, even in the Talmud, the Bible and the Koran, and certainly in Greek, Roman, medieval and Renaissance philosophy.
 
It is a pure fantasy of a time with no connection to anyone alive, outside of theory and book reading, and often quite ill-informed, built on romanticized stereotypes and cherry-picking of pretty and cool pieces of times which for the majority were very far from what most of us would want or desire. It is more a reflection of a very human and here quite modern desire for an ideal world different from the now, than a true ambition to celebrate and continue our actual tradition and culture. And it is at its core quite false, but still deeply dangerous to society, seeking to tear it apart and rebuild it according to that fantasy. It is ideological extremism, pure and simple, only masquerading as love of culture and tradition, but in reality seeking to break with it. And something which would have been fiercely fought against by our closer ancestors.”
What to fight over and what is at stake

What to fight over and what is at stake

‘Any ideological “war” has to also be fought in the same arenas as the ones chosen by the opponent, using the same tools, tactically and with consideration. Focusing on single issues, like e.g. racism, is doomed to fail simply because it just doesn’t affect the majority or move them deeply enough.
 
This ideological war is not simply on fighting the opponents of the extremes, or about convincing those on our side, but more so about influencing all the ones caught in no man’s land, all the ones not committed or even particularly aware of what or how much is at stake, or how they are being manipulated and deceived by the reactionary. It is primarily over them that this war is fought. And while the minorities will benefit greatly from this, this is really not a war of minorities, but one of the majority, just as it was for our ancestors who sacrificed so much to leave us this great legacy.
 
So, it is necessary to broaden the scope, to show how a move towards reactionary conservatism and fascism fundamentally changes the lives of everyone, deeply, at its core, literally removing democracy, removing the right for everyone to vote and the opportunity to have a little influence on their own lives, and a chance to a dignified life, replacing it with a rule by the very elite, replacing it with a separation of people who already live together and have done so for generations. It would inevitably mean losing many hardearned rights as a citizen, as an employee, as a student, as a parent and as a life partner, and would put society even more in the hands of the elite, in the hands of those who have simply been born into a family with the right connections, and with a chance for higher education, having been streamlined into positions of power and influence over generations, just as has been the case for millennias before, and is blatantly evident even now.
 
And the propaganda machines of the reactionary, the fascistoid, the identitarian and outright nazis have been active for years in reversing the common perception of political beliefs, seeking to associate antiracism with being racist, feminism with being sexist, antifascism with being fascist, politeness and decency with being “politically correct”, associating being a white male with being an oppressed minority, being reactionary with being pro-workers, and being extremist with being moderate or even apolitical, etc, etc. And of course portraying any reaction to any of this as being a snowflake and a “social justice warrior” worthy of nothing more than ridicule and complete disrespect.
It is absolutely vital to reverse this process, showing how in reality, with a rare few exceptions, it is false and nothing but crude propaganda, as is easily proven by both historical record and actual statistics.
 
So, if they speak of tradition, show your love and understanding of our traditions. If they speak of culture, show your love and understanding of our cultures. If they speak of history, show your understanding of real history, with all aspects of it, if they speak of honour, decency and pride, show how you also value these things, and if they speak of nationalism, show what you love about your country and the legacy we have been given by our ancestors and benefit from today, because the majority of us do know and love many of these things and we mustn’t let them be stolen by extremists.
 
Social media is the arena, and information and love are our weapons. And we need to learn to employ our weapons with control and with a tactical mind and long term strategy, not acting rashly, or carelessly, out of emotion or frustration, not just targeting the obvious opponents as that will have little effect outside of possibly changing the common perception of them, although the likelihood of them using any such attack for propaganda, portraying themselves as martyrs and victims is very strong, and a negative blowback quite likely, especially when aimed at already respected opponents with influence. Most importantly, we need to mind how to safeguard those in the middle, with their perception of things constantly in mind, showing how the emperor is indeed naked.’
On hypermasculinity

On hypermasculinity

“It is curious how we have come to a time of idealized hypermasculinity. Now more than ever, media shows us men very muscular, toned and fit, and capable of withstanding and delivering more and more brutal violence than ever before. Looking back to the idealized decades and centuries before, people were in reality, in some ways likely more resistant, while in other ways likely less so, but the concept of manhood was quite different to how it is perceived today, and quite a bit less focused on muscles and raw violence. Just going back to the 60s and 70s shows how even the hero at times is knocked out by a single punch and by comparison is commonly quite skinny or chubby compared to today’s ‘heros’.

And the violence was commonly extremely tame in comparison to the extended scenes of blood and assault of even standard dramas of the current time, now constantly pushing the edges. Of course one aspect of hypermasculinity peaked already in the 90s with the new bodybuilding and martial arts subcultures, but other aspects continue, not least with a hypermasculinity tied to never displaying emotion, and not shying away from the most brutal of violence or even cruelty. We seem to, with a few rare exceptions, be moving away from the clever and witty hero, who acts with compassion and solves issues using his intelligence, as opposed to the simple, brutal and violent nature of the evil and criminal protagonists. It’s a move away from inner greatness, to outer one. From the strength of the righteous, to the righteousness of the strong.

And while it is true that for a large part of our history, a certain readiness for violence has been part of some aspects of idealized manhood, especially in burgher and aristocratic context, it was a tempered and controlled violence, to be governed by noble judgment, and only used with just cause, and not more than required, and in real life hotly debated as this commonly failed. In contrast to that, we have now for decades seen a shift towards an admiration for the capacity of violence and cruelty itself, both in media and in real life, with street gangs seeking to humiliate their victims rather than robbing them, with the cruelty being idolized.

Likewise, the male touch is now mostly restricted to across the genders, and to close family, and while it for a time has been changing and is different with some younger generations, there is also a backlash against it. Going back some 70 years however, men touching male friends in what would now be considered quite intimate ways was a common thing. Today, many generations of men struggle to even touch or comfort a male friend who really needs it. Touching is primarily sexualized. And combined with the much greater awareness of pedophiles, even touching a child in need is something which a man can now hesitate before.
And the same is true for male crying in public. Male crying was for large parts of our history even regarded as a noble and good thing, and admired and celebrated, not seen as something to be ashamed of or to hide, but rather be proud of, and something to display in public, as it showed passion and compassion.

Part of this is of course a counterreaction to the changing views of gender and roles, with a growing need for men to publicly define who and what they are, out of fear of becoming perceived as something they don’t want to be perceived as. It used to be far simpler, with pretty much only one option, while today, things are more complex.
This counterreaction is also part of ideological and political changes, seeking to rewind the tape to ‘simpler times’, removing the cause for this need of definition.

In a way, with the broader acceptance of a wider range of accepted lifestyles for both men and women, we appear to also have lost something vital in the move towards hypermasculinity, i.e. the softer and more humane manhood that we had for centuries, a manhood not revolving around muscles, violence and brutality, but around compassion, bravery, cleverness, knowledge and fortitude. And this loss is a result, not of the change, but from the fear of the change. It is sad and worrying, but also something quite certain to change again, as our perception of what it means to be a good and decent man and woman has always been in constant change.”

Everything matters

“Every single word spoken or not spoken, every single action taken or not taken, counts and matters, as in some way your choices have changed the life of someone else. The final question is whether it was for the better or not.”

He will make mistakes

“You, on the other hand, are a creature placed in charge, and a particle of God himself; there is a bit of God within you.

When you eat, bear in mind who it is exactly you are feeding. When you have sex, reflect who you are during the act. In conversation, exercise, discourse – do you remember that it is God you are feeding? God you are exercising? You carry God around with you, and don’t know it, poor fool!
– – –
What are we anxious about when we graduate a young man from school and out into the real world? That he will make mistakes, eat poorly, have sexual affairs, humiliate himself and go around in rags, or else affect the latest fashions. And why? Because he is ignorant of his personal god and does not realize who goes with him when he leaves school and his former friends. Yet we indulge him when he writes to us to say: ‘I wish you were here with me!’ You have God there with you – Who else do you need?

Epictetus, Discourses, ca 130AD