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Radical style or radical

March 22, 2017

George Soros supported the Velvet Revolution led by Czech novelist Vaclav Havel. It would be easy to assume that this was motivated by anti-communism that was sweeping East and Central Europe in 1989.  But, those Americans who responded to Soros were not anti–communist, they were simply revolutionaries.

The desire to reject reality, to replace it with a second reality, or just to engage in revolution appealed to Western intellectuals since 1848. Marx crafted an idea structure that Lenin made into a movement, and that Idea appealed to communists and what Lenin called in 1920 the  “infantile disorder” of Left-wing socialism.

Today that infantile disorder is visible in a radical style visible in what activists wear, the manner of their speech, and the sensationalism with which they present their ideas. Andrew Breitbart is a prototype of what Lenin would have called an “infantile disorder,” but in the context of a dominant Left-wing media and a Left University, the adoption of a radical style can be justified because “it works.”

That seems to explain the political style of Andrew Breitbart and later the Faggot Tour of Breitbart editor, Milo Yiannopoulos,  who uses outrageous language for political effect.

The idea expressed by Stephen K. Bannon, now counselor to President Trump, that we must destroy the administrative state has been present within the Libertarian movement from its inception and was epitomized by Frank Chodorov’s founding of an organization to counter the Intercollegiate Socialist Society that he called the Intercollegiate Society of Individualists (ISI).

That individualism, which Chodorov associated with Albert Jay Nock and classical Liberalism , espoused free market economics and limited government was wiped out by the Great Depression and the successful promotion of an unlimited state by the New Deal. World War I effectively destroyed what was left of Libertarian anti-war ideas and the America First movement–until now.

Bannon’s individualism has revived that anti-war position, hostility to the state and antagonism to free trade.  His lifestyle, like that of Breitbart, is reminiscent of revolutionaries of the 18th century who advocated rejection of traditional order. Though Bannon’s “alt right” seems new,  that concept was used to describe the “Old Right” of Frank Chodorov.

Albert Jay Nock, Chodorow–and later Breitbart and Bannon–are not “conservative” nor are they Republicans.  They are radical individualists. That their ideas are similar to their opponents on the Left is little appreciated and should cause us to ask, “Radical style or just radical?”

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