2016: The Year of the Reaction
As this last few hours of the year of our Lord, 2016, pass by there has been no shortage of pundits and politicos and armchair philosophers of all stripes opening on its significance and what its events truly mean. The irony is apparently lost on many of them, this being a year that more than any in recent memory showed how utterly clueless so many of them actually are. Still, that 2016 will be remembered as significant is beyond doubt. In some ways it was horrid: beloved celebrity figures much loved and admired died in record numbers, bloodshed and terror proliferated across the globe as chaos filled the void brought about by the final retreat of Pax Americana, and it would seem the West is now threatened in a way not aen in nearly a generation by a rising tide of jackels sensing it has become a lion in autumn ripe for taking down. Amongst this simmering winter of discontent, though, there have also been many hopeful signs of a coming spring, one long waited for by some of us.For amidst all the horrors and malaise, 2016 was also the year that saw the beginnings of a reaction, if the THE Reaction; an 1848 but only in reverse. For almost seventy years we were told that there was only one way, and that was the way of liberal, cosmopolitan, global order. Stand in its way and you were on the wrong side of history and would shortly be consigned to its trashbin. The end of history had arrived, and it was here to stay, or so the progressives told themselves so contentedly in their echo chambers.
Perhaps they should have actually tried reading some history, for had they done so they might have learned that it is when you are most powerful and most confident that you are least able to see those emerging threats off on those blank spaces of the map. Liberals became so convinced of the sheer righteousness of their cause, and so certain that no one could feel otherwise who was not a bigot or an ignoramus, that they simply stopped making the case for it and began imposing it (woe to anyone who objected) and in 2016 it all finally came to a head.
For as it turned out not everyone was actually on board with this overreaching progressive agenda, and many of them were not bigots or ignoramuses but simple and decent ordinary people who had realized this wonderful golden age had not turned out so wonderful for them at all. It was once, it must be conceded; in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War the great surge of prosperity did create a rising tide that lifted all boats, but that eventually receded leaving behind a vast disconnect between those for whom things only seemed to get better and better and those for whom it only got worse. In one camp were the crelative class, the progressive elites, the pundits, and politicos, and the academics for whom it all meant trendy Thai fusion bistros, and Frequent Flyer Miles’ vacations, and grande lattes. In the other was everyone else, for whom it meant lost jobs and precarious work, broken homes, and endless derision. In 2016 that latter camp finally found their voice.
At times it was an ugly one, but finally it was heard and at such a volume it shattered the bubble that was the progressives’ self-absorbed paradise. It was in many ways a modern day peasants revolt, and it landed not one but many blows against tthehe Enlightenment Consensus that has governed unchallenged for decades, possibly the greatest of which was the election of Donald Trump. Tired of being forgotten, and voiceless, and sneered at, the silent majority was silent no more and used the one weapon left in their arsenal, their votes at the ballot box, to shake the very foundations of the Cathedral itself.
The challenge now is what do we do with this? The words of Joseph de Maistre should be heeded: Counter revolution is not revolution in the opposite direction but the opposite of revolution. True, there is opportunity but also peril. I have long argued that tthe great plight of modernity in the West is not that we have forgotten who we are but that instead far too many of us never learned in the first place. The evidence of this can be seen in the nastier elements of the Alt-Right with its ethnonationalism, and conspiracy theory racism, and faux-history of Western civilization. It is true that finally there is some grasping of the problems of modernity, and the flaced Enlightenment that spawned it, but the answer to it must be genuine solutions.
So it is more important than ever that those of us on the Old Right, we believers of faith, family, tradition, and hierarchy, step out of the shadows and argue our case. We may finally have a chance, possibly our best and last one, to reassert ourselves in the public dialogue and argue against the false god of progressive modernity and just as we have embraced the true one that rose from the dead all those long years ago. This can either be our Paris Commune or our French Revolution. The choice is ultimately ours.
Happy New Years.