THOUGHTS ON THE CLASSICS, ALT-RIGHT AND MODERN THEOSOPHY
In the mid-point to the last quarter of 2018, many articles were written across platforms and the internet on how the Alt-Right and Conservatives were appropriating “the Greek and Latin Classics” to lend credibility to vicious and vindictive white supremacist and Identitarian ideology. I must state clearly, as the creator and author of MINVRA — for the sole reason of making it plain and not to appease or relieve — I loathe the Alt-Right. I am also, admittedly jealous of the success of its radicalization and pervasive terminology in the minds, and thinking of many men through the “manosphere” and Red Pill. Rather than merely appropriating — which in itself is not a negative action — the identity, ideal and romanticization of the Classics, of “Antiquity,” and the Pre-Classical World is inseparable from not only us, but from both Theosophy, and even Liberalism itself (which originally valued these things).
The United States Republic is built on a romanticization of the high-points of Ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian civilization, like a flame passed to another torch. Romanticism and Romanticization have become nearly always negative references. The fervor and education of many of these writers in the Alt-Right, including myself not apart of them, about the Classics, are not always so average; since, the Classics are not just an interest of liberals, but also of conservative intellectuals. It is History, Literature, and Philosophy, and some of these persons know their History, Literature, and Philosophy, despite their racialist tone. They do often times gain the upper-hand in debates against smug and unprepared individuals. We have yet to see an Oxford debate of Classicists and Identitarians to settle it in the public. It is badly thought, that writing articles using the psychological tactic of mere negative word reference works; or that by calling a spade a spade (racists, white supremacists, etc), this will do. It actually does not work, especially given the capability of the propaganda to proliferate, infect the culture, and feed social media bubbles. These ideas and buzzwords are being adopted by the generation and persons, not even remotely Alt-Right, or Identitarian.
In my frank view, the reaction of classicists, on the visual rhetoric and associative logic of Identitarians and other alt-right to Greco-Roman antiquity and aesthetic, is primarily descriptive. Hardly anything is however refuted in all. If the refutations are prepared, then debates should be on public stage.
The ideology and arguments of the Identitarians remain pervasive, because they are not categorically, or point-by-point negated, or invalidated. The thinking of people in the past do at times lend itself credence to their views on nationhood, the destiny of peoples and civilizations, and gender roles. The same classicists criticizing the Alt-Right for appropriating the Classics, have led some of their followers to be put-off by the use of quotes that read as critiques of modern politicians; and some because they probably do support the ethno-nationalist movements arising, and Trump-Republican movement. Others, expecting apolitical readings of history and reacting to them, as the classicists point out, are just not aware of the politics and political implications in the ideas of the ancient thinkers they cover. This was the same issue explained in the history of Theosophy in the current of romanticism and nationalism in the nineteenth-century.
Observing Donna Zuckerberg’s article, I find this way of dealing with, or talking about the alt-right to not be aggressive, but descriptive.
How to Be a Good Classicist Under a Bad Emperor
“A specter is haunting the Internet — the specter of the “alt-right.” The forces of white supremacy and toxic masculinity, fueled by a sense of entitlement dwarfed only by their inflated estimation of their own intelligence, have entered into an unholy alliance to remove feminism, political correctness, and multiculturalism from America. And on November 8th, 2016, after enduring years of mockery, months of being told that the arc of the moral universe would never let it win, the Alt-Right scored its first significant political victory: the election of Donald Trump to the highest office of the most powerful country in the world.
Who are these people? They are part of a group of a few hundred thousand men who have “swallowed the red pill” and belong to a few allied online movements: not just the Alt-Right, but also men’s rights activists, the manosphere, and GamerGate. At times these groups seem more clearly defined by what they oppose than what they support, but they’ve also mobilized to fight for men’s rights in a “gynocentric” society, harass women on Twitter, and redefine Pepe the Frog. They are younger than the typical conservative establishment, white, and male. They are antisemitic, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic. Some are self-described Neo-Nazis.
They also love the classics.”
— Continue Reading How to Be a Good Classicist Under a Bad Emperor.
If you study into these virtual communities further, many of them criticize the conservative intellectuals for contemplating too much on the classics and tradition, rather than as they themselves are concerned with — bringing ideas into action, and moving through on their agendas and policy advocacy with a sense of desperation. Alone can a cultish fervor built on fear move something so quickly and desperately, and yet what we found written throughout 2018 about this desperation (e.g., white birth-rate decline and frankly-speaking, wild logic and stupid things liberals say about it in positions of power in relation to migration policy) is mostly again, descriptive.
As explained by editor-in-chief of Eidolon, classics scholar and the author of “Not All Dead White Men,” Donna Zuckerberg (sister of Mark Zuckerberg):
“For years, champions of Greek and Roman classical literature have worried about its declining prominence in American culture. In 1998, for instance, classicists Victor Davis Hanson and John Heath, in “Who Killed Homer?,” blamed overspecialized, jargon-spouting academics for losing sight of everything about the ancient Greeks that made them worth studying — and for not “demonstrating to the living the importance and relevance of the long-ago dead.”
Today, economic worries are further sidelining the classics. Debt-burdened students are shifting away from liberal arts to supposedly more-lucrative majors, like business, and some colleges are dropping classics and other humanities majors. But recently, a surprising group outside the university walls has taken up the mantle of explaining why the study of the ancient Greeks and Romans remains vitally important: the alt-right.
Along with related far-right online communities that share similar politics — pickup artists, men’s rights activists and others — the alt-right is fascinated by the ancient Mediterranean and often references its texts and historical figures to promote a reactionary ideology. It’s not the revival that advocates of the classics expected or wanted, but there is no denying the fervor of these writers.
Outsiders may know the alt-right from its disdain for liberal democracy, its belief in hard-wired racial and gender distinctions, and its use of crude online memes to promote President Trump and ridicule its enemies (disproportionately women, Jews and members of minority groups). But the alt-right is also fiercely committed to preserving and championing the great works of Western civilization. In its adherents’ eyes, politically correct “social justice warriors” want to kill the classics, maliciously, as part of a larger project of “white genocide,” which they define as the erasure of the white race and its culture through interracial reproduction and the celebration of diversity.
Defending the classics against this purported coldblooded attempted murder has been of paramount importance to the alt-right almost since its inception.”
— Guess who’s championing Homer? Radical online conservatives, Nov. 2. 2018.
Yes, the alt-right has a formula, a cause, a movement, a ceaseless factory of meme-production and workers to boot, and a party of a young right fascinated by them. The classicists, nor any theosophically-minded person has initiated a counter-movement. The contemporary nationalists and nativists among the common man to the avowed alt-right ideologue fills a vacuum, or wants a vacuum filled, while liberals have agitated the situations they’re desiring relief from. Classics and the Alt-Right Conundrum featured three classicists to react to this same topic with Denise Eileen McCoskey, Donna Zuckerberg, and Curtis Dozier on an episode of History Talk, hosted by Jessica Viñas-Nelson and Brenna Miller. It can be listened to here.
Regarding Fascism and the Identity of this Site
It is certain, that I do write often about Fascism and Fascist Philosophy, but the official philosophies and objective of the writings concerns the History and Heritage of Republicanism and Theosophical Tradition. This is not an appropriation of the Classics. It is the Classics. It is part of the education; and once it gets into the history and the site, the more you find the author actually picking out flaws and critiquing, rather than romanticizing. The Fascist intellectuals aimed toward education in classicism as well, and believed they could produce better classical scholarship and appreciation than the liberals. However, Fascism took different directions than its formative idealizations. It never really developed fully, and it morphed and responded according to circumstances poorly through the choices of its movement’s leaders. Nevertheless, those who claim to be intellectuals are suddenly ignorant and shallow when it comes to Fascism; and stumped by the very idea they could be “intellectuals” at all. The Post-Risorgimento Italian revolutionaries from Synarchists, Socialists and Fascists, such as Mussolini, had the advantage of the claim to Roman and Etruscan heritage, to Empire, and to Europe; and I do not really find them comparable to the tikki-torch carrying identitarians of our day. The American People have an identity and foundations also (beyond just White and European ethno-cultural heritage). All of these stories must be told and considered as giving identity and expression to the People constituting the two continents. You will never find me utterly demonizing European ethnic groups, cultures, and heritage, often excessively demonized, and defined to its core as oppressive and supremacist.
Nevertheless, there are certain civilizational duties and priorities that rise above scholarship, and in such a digital age, there is nothing owed to those who play fair and care for facts. Stepping outside of the comfort zone of academic journals and magazines, and onto the world and public stage as faces, as logicians, and philosophers in action could stir the kind of revivalist and counter-movements written and only dreamed about. This regards the present year and going forward.