Translate

Friday, July 4, 2014

A cogent critique of conservatism


From an unexpected angle:

Why Metal is Right-Wing
When conservatism was serious, local institutions were prized for their own sake, with communities serving as the proper basis for affection--the "little platoons" in Edmund Burke's phrase. Today, conservatism is composed of 20-somethings making 20 something a year plotting to give deracinated corporations tax breaks. For me, it's the same conflict as listening to a new band on a metal playlist or hearing the same Rihanna "song" yet again on a "professional" station. The latter can only be called "culture" by a true cynic and serves as evidence that popular choices are imposed from above rather than the spontaneous "free market" of conservative/libertarian fantasies.

Metal as a genre, even in its lowest form, relies upon musicianship. At its best, it can sublimate profound themes within complicated melodic structures. You can't "fake" good metal. It's no accident that many younger metalheads find that they "graduate" to classical when they get older, in the same way that the talented musicians who pioneered the genre owe a debt to the maestros of Vienna and Bayreuth.

In today's popular music, you can substitute Ke$ha, Katy Perry, Rihanna, the animated corpse of Britney Spears, and whatever else they are promoting in and out of any given melody. It's hard to say if anyone would even notice--as long as you keep the autotune on. The themes are predictable, the melodies hackneyed, the "message" cliched--express yourself, even (especially) when you have nothing to say. Popular music is the soundtrack to American-style democracy, and I can think of no greater condemnation. If I can slightly borrow a famous phrase, when someone tells me the pop station is "culture," I release the safety catch on my revolver.

Clearly, if conservatism is about upholding the established order, heavy metal music is hardly the kind of thing champions of the long extinguished Ancien Regime would be comfortable with. Of course, that's sort of the point. We don't live in a world where the "Establishment" is patriotic landed aristocrats defending the interests of Church and Crown. We live in a world where Fortune 500 companies fund groups that combat "white privilege," where multiculturalism has joined hands with Goldman Sachs, where the justification for this System is outlined for you in your mandatory diversity training in the classroom and the corporate boardroom. It's their system, not ours. Why do we want to make it more efficient or cut their taxes?
(Via Radix).

I've repeated my own trope: conservatives at this point are conserving 20th century American progressivism. When I've mentioned this out in the real world, it provokes actual hostility. I'm reminded of my discussions with shell-shocked Syrian immigrants. They could not believe that their country disappeared before their eyes; it's still a topic you don't bring up in order to be polite. Incredibly, they never saw it coming, even as they were becoming outnumbered 5:1. Conservatives think it's just a matter of winning a debate; it's not. The debate is over, the winners have been decided, and the audience is leaving for the exits.

Speaking of Syria, what is it with the whole world's radio silence on that region? Two countries drawn up by the British and French last century are disappearing, and ... nothing. I thought it was kind of a big deal when two states where millions of people live start disappearing. Maybe this is just me.

We are some distance away from anything like the situations in Syria and Iraq, but the social and economic trends already in unstoppable motion are going to result in a huge reset, and it could easily be in our children's lifetimes. And conservatives are arguing over corporate tax deductions.

Oh, and happy Independence Day.

6 comments:

BnG said...

Most people just don't seem to understand demographics. I know lots of people here in Texas who sneer at Europe for being overrun with muslims; totally oblivious to the tidal wave of central americans washing over their own state. This is probably related to the innate difficulty humans have with statistics, probability, and complex, large-scale phenomena in general.

It's also easy to delude yourself and live in comfortable denial when you live in a gated community and never see the sprawling barios and shantytowns that grow out of sight like tumors until they finally metastasize and kill the host

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Conservatives think it's a matter of winning the debate. You can look up a couple of posts I've made on Bruce Charlton.

The terms of public debate in the US are restricted, and everybody's comfortable so it's pretty appalling to them when you say the trends are locked in and armed conflict is inevitable. Or if it's not, it just means that you are going to wake up one day and realize you live in Brazil.

I went to a fireworks display last night, and for prole-class Americans, it is really grim. Lots of drunkenness, tattoos, reckless behavior. They are falling fast.

IA said...

I read the article too. Not bad but I was and am mystified why writers over there hate corporations so much. If the world is becoming more non-euro, i.e., more corrupt, why would you want to centralize power?

I've noticed this same fear and loathing of private enterprise at a number of race conscious web sites. What gives? Don't they know corporations must bend to the zeitgeist or go out if business? Look at the public pillorying of the Koch brothers, Walmart, Chick-a-fil, etc.

When you use the western male culture of feedback corporations win. As do whites. In the ROW, rest of the world, feedback to superiors causes loss of face and cannot be tolerated. This passive culture cannot create or maintain quality or compete with trad euro/male culture.

Anonymous said...

Radix is a peculiarly ugly journal with an uglier readership - no surprise to see an ugly music genre praised.}

Bernard Brandt said...

In fairness to Prof. Charlton, I've read any number of entries that Prof. C. has made as to Political Correctness, the current scientific establishment, and elsewhere, and his prognosis of any change or improvement is dismal. His attitude is not one of a Marcus Tullius Cicero, that of the great orator holding back the fall of the Republic to the Empire, but that of a Cassandra who knows that Doom is coming, and no one will listen to what he (or that past Cassandra) has to say.

For my own part, like Dr. Pournelle, I'm a bit to the right of Attila the Hun. Which is to say, I prefer rule by the one, the few, and the many (in other words, a respublica or republic. In short, I like to say that I'm a Roman Republican.

I will quite agree with you, alas, that the majority of so called conservatives are just early 20th century progressives, or as I like to label them, 'progs'. That lot (modern or neo-conservatives) are so absent of clue that, like William F. Buckley before them, they seem to believe that 'standing athwart History, yelling 'STOP', is the height of reason. I have long considered that to be pretty effing stupid, myself.

I, however, live in an interesting area of Los Angeles, which is part Union-town, part Cholo-land, and part gated Country Club. Yesterday was a free fire zone of festivity, where in a hundred places, from the hills to the flatlands, private citizens were launching from mortars either professional fireworks from Mexico, or monster doom bombs of their own manufacture. It gave me some idea of what would happen post SHTF.

Happy dreams.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

That might be Bruce up there at 8:26.