The Dissident Right and Debates by Wald

The Lonely Tower, 1879, Samuel Palmer

What we see in dissident circles, and online movements in general, is not debate or serious discussion. It is rather a descendent of immature polemics, a type of propaganda of the isolated and forgotten. Retweet the news and you are suddenly a political organisation of one, a monarch of social media. What we have after the collapse of the old media is an opinion or reaction plutocracy.

It is also completely wrong to say that debate has served no purpose in revolutionary circles. The exact opposite is true, debate was central to the liberal revolutions, the nationalist movement, the anarchists and communists, the conservatives and fascists. Every revolutionary movement was formed of debate and would have said little of relevance without it. Worse, the debates have almost always served the majority, a greater mass which destroyed their opponents mainly through technical means and pure quantity. Of course, the victors were almost always the party in the wrong.

More importantly, outside of revolutionary circles all the great thinkers were constantly engaged in discussion. In the 18th century, for example, they would rewrite letters three or four times before sending them. This was essential to the development of ideas, even Goethe pointed out the importance of the most anonymous members of literature circles. To suggest a revolutionary movement without discussion is the same as suggesting a war strategy without the coordination of officers.

It should be acknowledged that technical means, the medium of debate, has taken over discussion itself. We see this in various measures of deplatforming, muddying the waters, doxxing, permanent hangouts, banning, and branding by way of atomisation. A sort of sophistry of the machines has taken over. Because of this there should be a total abandonment of dependence on technicians. Considering they are the ones who have caused most of our problems and have lowered all discussion to a type of war of opinion, they need to be seen for what they are, something lower than the classes. Whoever can post the most and has the time to post the most wins. Otherwise there is an extreme commonality of character which allows the perfect last man to rise to the top. Anyone who disagrees with this denies the social media algorithms which distribute their status credit. We have seen the results of this on the Left and Right, and none of the effects are positive.

Of course, we are forced into this levelled type of discussion, but anyone who advocates for new platforms should be thinking of ways of struggling against levelling and nihilism. To elevate discussion would be more useful than anything else today. This is undeniable when one looks at the total impoverishment around us.

The reality is that there are too many people who are great at forming and distributing terrible opinions. It is marketability and a character suited to being marketed to that drives most opinions. Behind the surface-level engagement of views and likes it’s easy to look at comments to see the real quality of engagement. Most often the comment sections are dominated by vulgar humour, outright nihilism, and variations of upvotes.

A serious discussion of mythology, the philosophy of history, second religiousness, or nihilism today would only draw a few dozen people willing to seriously engage. And then only if you already have the base, which requires a bit of luck, to find these people scattered around the world.

But the billionth post complaining about trannies will get 10,000 views. And the trillionth post crying about a lack of action will get 1,000 likes.

In short, no one is really against debate, only a specific type of debate. But if we want to move away from materialistic thinking we have to move away from the extreme subjectivity that dominates even in right-wing circles where authoritarian and militaristic virtues are supposed to dominate.

What are illiberal dialectics? And what type of discussion will reinforce them? These are the questions that should be asked. To stand for authoritarian values once meant elitism, not of feeling but actual result and contest. The creation of a caste of intellectuals and artists who serve the state is the goal. Developing a brand and isolating yourself from criticism is the opposite of this. It is a mirror of the political parties and social media moderators who want to be free from all criticism.

It is the purest type of liberalism, technical liberalism without any of the predetermined qualities. Who will tell their followers to stop reading? That general education and its consequences has been a disaster for the human race?
Perhaps it doesn’t matter. Not even Nietzsche’s polemics can have an effect today. So we need to look for other solutions.


Read more of Wald’s writings at his substack here: Actaeon Journal | Der Schattige Wald | Substack

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