The Importance Of Humility On The Right

Any astute reader of the Old Testament can see numerous examples of groups or large clusters of people (such as cities or tribes) committing great transgressions against God. The biggest instance that comes to mind would be the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. Additionally, for those who scour through the prophets, we witness Israel itself falling into sin against God on multiple occasions.

If we shift our examination of a society’s sins from the Old Testament to today, we see the exact same patterns playing out. Whether it is our modern culture’s propensity to atheism, materialism, and all other forms of degeneracy, we are living in a time of great misconduct. A society-wide period of repentance of sorts is certainly in order following the Restoration.

As men of the Right, we have a tendency to embrace the Jeremiad. Everything around us literally is going to hell, and we definitively know reasons X, Y, and Z, for why that is, or at least have hypotheses A, B, and C, which require some testing. While many things, such as the problem of chronic kinglessness or the impossibility of assimilating an alien and openly hostile foreign horde into the modern West appear self-evident to us, the difficulty in convincing others about the truth or encouraging them to speak up is on par with the numerous prophets sent to warn Israel of their folly – in short, they don’t want to hear it.

This is not necessarily a problem, as we all know public opinion and the resultant ballot-boxing is not an effective way of securing effective and responsible governance. Yet too often do we lament the fallen state of Western Civilization that we miss the planks in our own eye. Even from a non-Christian perspective, this can turn into a grave problem, should we ignore it moving forward.

The question becomes: what is the Outer Right’s sin? Or, perhaps more accurately, what is the transgression we in this dark corner of the internet are typically predisposed to? The answer: hubris.

Before appearing too hasty in casting judgment on the inclinations of an entire group of people, let me offer a personal analogy to illustrate our predicament:

I am a convert to Orthodox Christianity. As someone who professes having left behind my “former delusion,” I fully assert that I have found the fullness of the Christian faith. During the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, we further chant the following lines after partaking of the Eucharist – “We have seen the True Light… We have found the True Faith.” The Orthodox Church, unlike many of the churches in the West, does not shy away from declaring its possession of the Truth in contrast to the world or other denominations or faiths. As one could presume such a bold and absolute declaration has the tendency to lead some, such as the sinful author of this piece, into haughtiness and delusion to our own detriment.

In the same way that the Orthodox Church unequivocally holds that they profess truth surrounded by a sea of error, the reactionary equally proclaims truth whilst encompassed by a sea of error. It is natural for many discovering our tiny hobbit-hole of a sphere on the internet to notice the veracity coming from some of our observations on society, history, or other areas of study and thought and to swell with pride and excitement at having found their “true light.” Alas, this is the outcome for many when they stumble upon samizdat.

Many of you may wonder why this propensity towards hubris on the Outer Right is problematic. I would naturally respond that it is because we are called to renounce the blindness of pride and robe ourselves in humility – not a very convincing argument for the less religiously inclined in the sphere. If we turn to the definition of hubris though, we can see the sickness that follows this sin does have numerous harmful effects on groups attempting to affect the direction of our decaying civilization. From La Wik:

Hubris describes a personality quality of extreme or foolish pride or dangerous over-confidence. In its ancient Greek context, it typically describes behavior that defies the norms of behavior or challenges the gods, and which in turn brings about the downfall, or nemesis, of the perpetrator of hubris. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence, accomplishments or capabilities. [Emphasis mine]

Neoreaction and the Restorationist program are both founded on the shunning of the progressive narratives in favor of adherence to reality. The same could be said about many pockets of the alt-right. This explains the importance of concepts such as Gnon in our worldview – no matter how hard you try to escape it, Gnon will always bite back. We do not claim to despise democracy because our team lost so thoroughly and so repeatedly that we decided to steal the ball and play our own game with our own rules; no, we despise democracy because it does not conform to human nature or the reality of group dynamics, among other numerous problems. Nostalgia is not and will never be a sufficient impetus for secure, effective, and responsible government, but by shunning our upbringing in Whig History in favor of a more realistic glance into the past, we often find ourselves sighing and proclaiming: “Our ancestors had it right.”

To declare oneself a member of any one of the segments of the Outer Right thus requires humility. Any hubristic exultations of truth have the possibility of turning what was once an open-minded examination of history, politics, sociology, or the like into a rigid and inflexible worldview. In any upstart reactionary organization, that is, a group with a specific telos, humble submission to the authority of the leaders by the group’s laity ensures group harmony as long as the authority avoids pompous and disconnected leadership in return. Humility is a two-way street.

Any straying from this leads to either a cult surrounding the leader and his doctrines or an extremely atomized and factionalized organization. In a movement, on the other hand, the atomized and decentralized nature ensures this two-way street is never reached. A movement does not have telos or a specific azimuth; it merely has an impetus to move and a general direction of movement. This gives us the prevalence of punching right, a ritual adherents of various factionalized theories of order engage in that has on occasion metaphorically descended into all-out street brawls in comments sections. Unless there is an absolute consensus in the sphere on a particular topic or issue (such as the DQ – the Democracy Question), it is better to engage in dialogue with others with a hand of restraint and an open mind. Ad hominems and shouting matches in various places only demonstrates the solidification that occurs when what was once a pragmatic examination of matters evolves into the equivalent of entrenched political platform. To quote the brilliant Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus:

Those of us in Tradition and neoreaction should take care that we avoid the same sort of narrative building that would similarly place us out of accord with reality.  Our ideology should first and foremost be one that rests upon the foundational basis of pragmatic realism. It must be granted that differences of opinion can and will occur. We should also recognise that these differences can exist on the basis of rational and pragmatic reasoning. We really should avoid “eating our own.”  Nevertheless, some of the ideas or positions advanced within our movement may not be as much based in reality as their proponents would like to believe.  Thus, it is incumbent upon us to apply pragmatic standards to our own beliefs just as much as to those of the progressives and liberals.

The remedy for the plight of rightist hubris is, as mentioned, humility. However, this word has become bastardized and transformed into one depicting weakness and passivity. That is not the case. The best way I’ve heard it described is that humility is not the exact opposite of pride – that title is awarded to self-abasement. If the former is the propping up of oneself and one’s capabilities and the latter is the humiliating belittling of oneself, humility rightly occupies the middle ground like all virtues, a position of moderation. Humility does not declare “I am the best”–nor does it cry out, “I am absolute scum” because neither of those are truly grounded in reality. Instead, proper attitudes of humility are exemplified by the claim of St. Paul that he is “chief among sinners” or by Socrates when he declared, “I know one thing, that I know nothing.” It is firmly based in reality but contains not an entrenchment in weakness but a striving towards a different state – to virtue in one instance and wisdom in the other.

If we fail at pursuing this path, we risk establishing in ourselves a false framework in which to view the world, a paradigm not founded in reality but in ourselves and the way we wish to view the world. We furthermore risk vain mistakes through our own haughtiness. Our duty is a lofty one, but that does not mean we must keep our head in the clouds as well. Let us not declare ourselves gods or masters while we still live in the age that we find ourselves in.

We are all called to be virtuous men and masters of ourselves, a rather rebellious undertaking in this particular epoch of man’s history.

If you need any exhortations to dismiss hubristic worldviews and embrace reality with humility beyond those examples found in the canon of the great saints or kingly rulers of our ancestors, call to mind the archetype of a responsible and capable ruler:

We want a man who is wise but does not think himself all-knowing.

We want a man who is strong but recognizes the bounds of his strength and the weak points in his armor.

We want a man who is active and ambitious but knows the limits of himself, his kin, and his realm.

We want a man who is virtuous and battles the passions that are within him.

We want a man who is proud of his accomplishments but does not let vain legacy building overshadow the work at hand.

We want a man who does not take anything he has for granted till the day of his repose.

Become that man yourself. Do not settle for Pyrrhic victories, as this is a long-game and we are all in it for the long haul. When you establish your organization, be it the antiversity or your local mannerbund, ensure you root out any hubris in your members and, most importantly, in yourself. Above all, know your capabilities and know your limits.

Carry the fire and live nobly. But proceed with humility.

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2 Comments

  1. Along these lines, I often find it interesting to note what subjects an author professes to not understand, or opinions that he holds only tentatively. When someone writes a lot, and never seems to mention anything in those categories, it tends to make me somewhat skeptical – they either know absolutely everything in their chosen field, or don’t know what they don’t know.

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  2. I believe Micah 6:8 pertains here. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
    (KJV)

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