Conservatism, Inc. has a very contemptible record of actually conserving anything. They seem to be concerned with only preserving the current status quo, regardless of what today’s status quo actually is. When the left changes the status quo, they immediately defend the new status quo and resist all attempts to roll it back. There are many explanations offered as to why they behave in such an odd and counterintuitive way, but the underlying one that never gets discussed is a simple explanation: they are neutralists, not right-wingers.
So what is a neutralist? A neutralist is someone who sees being completely and utterly neutral and indifferent as the highest good. The neutralist believes himself to be above petty things, and able to judge fairly and rationally. They believe that passionate men cannot think clearly and make good decisions, and that the masses are myopic and short-sighted. In the neutralist’s eyes, the majority of men would gladly die dumb like lemmings for pointless or frivolous reasons, and therefore must have their tempers restrained if mankind is to avoid senselessly slaughtering itself into extinction. This mentality also has positivist attitudes, believing that if we all stopped meddling in one anothers’ lives, all of our problems would sort themselves out naturally and justly.
This attitude, shared by both Conservatism, Inc. and the Libertarian movement, sees true right-wingers who want to roll back the modernist revolution and restore what has been taken away from us as foolish and out of control. Because they view indifference as a virtue, they consider us and the modernists both to be the hyperemotional bad guys- we both apparently want unnecessary violence and to impose unfair and unjust rules onto the unwilling for no good reason. Herein lies the fundamental flaw of neutralism: it refuses to consider the ends.
While it is true that the ends do not automatically justify the means, the ends still do matter, and means without ends result in endless problems and mediocrity. The neutralists focus solely on the means, and therefore lose sight of the ends. They justify this by suggesting that if we on the side of Light attempt to roll back the tide of evil, then we will be fundamentally no different from them. If we hit back, we are “descending to their level” or “playing right into their hands,” and therefore losing all moral credibility. They also accuse us of having “black and white thinking,” without realizing the irony of proposing that seeing the world in two colors is more simplistic than seeing it in only one color (shades of grey). The fact that the modernist revolutionaries want an anarchist civilization build on a foundation of genocide, while we don’t, is irrelevant to them. All they care about is that we do not “descend to their level,” and forget about what happens next.
So why does neutralism have such strength in America? After all, if a guy bombs an abortion clinic the right turns him in to the police straightaway. Neutralism has always been a part of American culture, since it is directly tied to the circumstances of our founding. America was founded during the Enlightenment, and the nation was founded by men with a merchant-class (called bourgeois in French) culture. Like the Boers of South Africa (called “burghers,” i.e. merchants), America never has had a peasant culture like Latin America has. As Christopher Dawson wrote in an excellent 1935 essay, the merchant bourgeois culture used to be a separate social body, but with the coming of the Protestants it became imbued into the fabric of all society. Marx incorrectly believed that class distinctions would grow sharper over time, but America is proof of the opposite occurring. America is fundamentally a Middle-class and Working-class nation and culture, regardless of actual wealth or employment, and has been so from day one.
The connection between the merchant-class/Protestant culture and neutralism is as follows: the merchant-class mindset is quantitative, and its ideal is a respectable average. Rather than being carried away by ecstasies and passions, the goal is to keep a stiff upper lip and be too good for such pettiness. After all, a moneymaker who lets his passions get in the way of his mathematical judgement will not be very profitable. Protestantism, and in particular Puritanism, adopted this same mentality because John Calvin’s philosophy was legalistic, and saw God as more of a harsh banker or judge than as a father figure. Since Calvin and his followers believed that God would render a strict accounting of every act at judgement, with no room for error, idleness was to be strictly avoided. From lack of idleness or leisure came a civilization which existed solely for work and the production of wealth, and with it a purely economic mindset. From an economic mindset in a merchant-class culture that had no peasant culture heritage came a high regard for neutrality, indifference, and honesty. Thus, neutralism felt only natural as the most refined of all mentalities. If a civilization comes to see everything the same way they see a monetary transaction, then judging something morally neutral looks foolish and regressive, while focusing solely on developing the best means to any end looks clever and successful. This also combined with the sheer newness of the American experience, and thus any broader political, religious, or cultural perspective that was older than the country was not part of the national psyche.
Thus, American neutralism is not a conspiracy but a character flaw. Lest the reader think that this is a faulty reading of history, one can readily look to the issue of slavery before the Civil War. The Whigs were the neutralist party, while the Democratic Party was split between the northern and southern branches. The Whigs, as neutralists, had no intention of snuffing out slavery, since it was “not their choice to make.” They were willing to compromise on the issue of spreading slavery to new territories, and when Southern Democrats stuffed the ballots in Kansas to fraudulently make the state into a slave state, they had no response. After the Civil War, when the Republican Party had replaced the Whig Party by refusing to compromise on slavery, it was once again beset by a neutralist attitude towards Reconstruction. The Radical Republicans, who said that every social and economic aspect of slavery had to be ripped out by the roots in order for the peace to last, were outnumbered by the neutralists and moderates, who were tired of the killing and just wanted to ignore the problems outside their states. Had the Radical Republicans had their way, there would have been no Civil Rights Era in the 1960s, because all of their victories would have been accomplished by 1900. Neutralism allowed the evils of slavery to persist through Jim Crow until forced by moral arguments to come out against this Sharia-like problem. And to top it all off, during the 1920 Christero War in Mexico, many Americans were either only concerned about the oil rights, or actively supported the Marxist government because it was killing Catholic peasants. For most of America’s history, neutralism could argue that it was still right-wing, but this is no longer possible due to the shift in the Overton Window.
Today, it is abortion that has become the new defining issue. The defenders of abortion use the same arguments as the old defenders of slavery did (and are equally as willing to use violence), and the neutralists continue to insist that we can’t legislate morality or be control freaks over a woman’s body (which they also argued about slavery in 1840 and Jim Crow in 1870). As before, the only way to overcome neutralism is through moral arguments and refusing to accept a shades-of-grey worldview. America’s survival depends on whether we can shake off the notion that problems are systemic and amoral, rather than moral and personal, and the true right-wing must agree on a moral code that everyone must adhere to. This will be an even harder problem, as our neutralist/liberal attitude towards religion allows every man to do what is right in his own eyes (33,000+ denominations and counting). While it will be a bitter pill to swallow, there is only one Christian faith that possesses this unity, and it was members of this faith who observed the neutralist character flaws in America decades before the Civil War broke out. So long as our civilization is purely an economic one, we will lose to the Communists and their thralls. It is in religion, mysticism, and warrior monks that America, and indeed all civilizations, will be saved. The true right-winger must be a man of piety, or at least one who accepts the centrality of religion in western civilization’s strength.
So what do we do? Let’s start by referring to the “conservative” dead ducks as “neutralists” and “sheep,” and be the morally unapologetic sheepdogs in our personal lives, our families, our churches, and our homelands. Set aside time for prayer and contemplation, both individually and as a family. Let parents reclaim their authority over their own children, and let no tongue be silent when it comes to defending the truth. If the clergy roll over and grab their ankles for evil, aggressively push back. And, if necessary, let us be ready to kill. Daily remind yourself that one day you will die, keeping your eyes on Heaven, and you will not fear death when it comes.
Michael Gladius is the pseudonym for a budding commentator in the fields of military history and theory. His goal is to blend the lessons of history, principles of human behavior, and practical wisdom in order to draw upon a wide array of factors for optimized solutions and problem-solving. He is currently studying in Europe. Some examples of his work include Small Wars Journal and RealClear Defense.