In my copy of Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political, the previous owner angrily scrawled in the margins of page 49 where Schmitt writes, “War… has no normative meaning, but an existential meaning only, particularly in a real combat situation with a real enemy.” The previous owner raged against this statement in pencil, furiously accusing Schmitt of writing nonsense, the words tiny and compact as to fit as many as possible across the edges of the paper. This person refused to accept the notion that the experience of existential threat voids all claims of rationality and ideology.
Schmitt is right, however, that when faced with the prospect of death, the only imperative is to survive, to conquer, to win. In other words, to quote Publilius Syrus, nihil aliud scit necessitas quam vincere.
I don’t know if the person who wrote in my book was a liberal or conservative. It is a sign of the times that the language being used is so prevalent in Western politics that their author’s ideology is not exposed through his objection to Schmitt. In this case, however, the opacity of the scrawler’s political preference is exactly the point; whether it was a Cruz supporter or Bernie boy, it reflects a failure of understanding on the part of the modern American ideologue.
Schmitt’s major argument here is not that modern ethics of war and conflict are hypocritical; the apparent hypocrisy is, at best, beside the point. The point Schmitt is making is that in the heat of conflict rationalizations are irrelevant. Reality exists under its own power and logic, regardless of our attempt to make it conform to an ethical system. Schmitt rejects Von Clausewitz’s claim that war is politics by other means, but I believe he rejects it because he asserts the inverse in his understanding of politics: politics is war by other means. By making the political the fundamental distinction of friend and enemy, in which there must be the potential of armed conflict between the collective one and the collective other, he makes war fundamental to human nature and social organization. To be involved in the political is to be involved in war, even if the guns-and-bullets aspect is only potential, not actualized. To be involved in politics means to be involved in existential struggle, and as Schmitt tells us, the norms and ideologies ultimately fade away in the face of the fundamental friend-enemy distinction.
What we have in Schmitt is an insight into the political struggle: in the existential moment, the ideological character of the fight is irrelevant. In the existential moment of politics, the ideologies only signify friendship or enmity. When one is in the trenches, gripping a short-handled spade, facing another human being with a bayonet, it doesn’t really matter what the other man believes. It doesn’t matter if he is communist or royalist, liberal or conservative. If he is the Enemy, there will be a bloody struggle for life. Both soldiers will use everything they have in order to win. Politics, being such an existential battle for survival between two collectives, as Schmitt describes, must likewise be fought on these terms. In the face of the destruction of your people, the norms and ideology of your society are meaningless. You must do whatever is necessary to defeat the other.
“Taking the high road” is a fancy way of saying that you prefer suicide to struggle.
What this means is that the conservative attempt to deal liberalism a crushing, rhetorical blow is ultimately hollow. The Right has taken the notion that Ideas Have Consequences far too seriously, and perhaps Weaver’s vocation as a rhetorician has opened him to the false conclusion that wars can be won with words, or that the Left is not really the enemy. Given my understanding of the mainstream Right, it is likely that both are true at the same time. This should be nothing new to reactionary thought, however, as it is almost cliché to say that a conservative is simply a leftist who has fallen a little behind the herd.
Unlike Sam Francis, though, I do not believe that Weaver’s insights are invalid; the content of leftist ideology does have inevitable consequences when applied to politics. If you attempt to level society through governmental action, the result will fall along certain, predictable lines. Where modern conservatives take this too far is to treat this as a deterministic model, where leftism inevitably collapses under its own contradictions and the respectable Right is ushered into power by a relieved electorate who finally understands and appreciates the doctrines of mainline conservatism. Power can preserve a corrupt system far longer than one would expect.
What we need to learn, then, is not to treat politics like a debating club and to treat it like a war, the way the Left does.
In James Delingpole’s Breitbart piece, he has a section labelled, “We will always remember that we are better than them,” which illuminates the continuing trend on the Right to act like this struggle is a game. He argues that the Right should abstain from the dirty tactics of the Left, such as doxing, disemployment, and no-platforming. If we take Delingpole’s advice, then we have failed to learn from Schmitt and will repeat the demise of the conservative movement. The Left is an existential enemy. We should not treat them like opponents in a game. They must be destroyed.
Let me make this my Cato moment: Sinistra delenda est.
The discussions of monarchy versus democracy are important. There is a great deal of theoretical work to do on the maintenance of political order. I do not deny the significance of any part of the reactionary project. Nevertheless, when it comes to the actual conflict with the Left, none of this is relevant. Politics is war, as Schmitt confirms, and in war the enemy is destroyed or you are. There is neither a leftist way to fight nor a rightist way to fight; there is the way which ends the enemy and the way in which one ends oneself. Until the Right realizes that the Left is the Enemy in the Schmittian sense, it will continue to be the victim of leftist aggression, as they have no problem declaring us as their enemy.
The great work of a reactionary movement in theory, philosophy, art, and culture is work that needs doing and is absolutely necessary to the establishment of a truly humane and sustainable regime. When the existential moment of Schmittian politics arrive, however, there is no reaction versus liberalism but only Friend versus Enemy. This moment is not “the Reset” or the “Second Great Depression” that many on the Right LARP over. It is the moment in an ordinary day when you are thrust into a confrontation with a leftist. It will not be grandiose. You might not notice it at first, until your boss calls you in for a talk. It is the subject of Vox Day’s SJW’s Always Lie. In this conflict, one must be willing to crush the enemy, to in short, ruin the lives of anyone who stands on the side of the Enemy. They will do whatever they can to annihilate you. Their very existence is a threat to yours. They must be destroyed. There can be no pangs of conscience or mercy for the Enemy.
In his book Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder, Nassim Nicholas Taleb makes an interesting point about antifragility. If you place stress on an organic subject, it becomes stronger. If you do so several times, it becomes progressively stronger; this is one of the principles of weightlifting. If you wish to break an organic subject, you must push it to the point where its inherent antifragility is overcome and regeneration is impossible. This is why Delingpole’s advice is so pernicious; if the Left is merely inconvenienced and annoyed, they will come back stronger than ever. We cannot be “better” than them if we wish to conquer them. We must be willing to destroy them to the point where they cannot recover. In the aftermath of the JournoList scandal, voices on the Right called for certain individuals to become permanently unemployable in journalism. The failure to see this carried out has had untold consequences since then, as Fake News has proliferated in the wake of JournoList.
The great question, “Who Are We,” is ultimately irrelevant in the moment of war, which is the struggle for existence. As Schmitt tells us, all politics is such a struggle, and until we are clear that the Left and all its minions are enemies deserving of destruction, we do not deserve victory. This means no pity , and it means that nothing and no place is off limits for political retribution. It means erasing everything the enemy is and has done. To take one, tiny first step, I grab my soft rubber eraser and reach out for my copy of The Concept of the Political. As the words of my enemy disappear forever, nothing is left but little rubber fragments which, at a breath, disappear forever.
 This article, of course, does not advocate the violation of any law, in whatever jurisdiction is applicable to the reader.