Our project is statecraft. Our context is the American Empire. We need a mindset that is appropriate to this task.
I’ve written before about the need for “Golden Age Statesmen“. We should be asking ourselves, when we think and act, what would a golden age statesman think? What would a golden age statesman do? The mindset of a golden age statesmen is what I will call “Imperial Mindset”.
The biggest, and sometimes most elusive, part of any project is getting your mindset right. What problem are you even trying to solve? Have you understood that at a deep enough psychological level that it actually changes how you think and behave? Often the answer to these questions is murky. Having it wrong means you are motivated by the wrong things. You are not even striking at the target.
We see this a lot on the right. There are a few common archetypes:
- The Edgelord is in “political” circles to rebel against the man, do something edgy, be where the cool kids are, and say the most extreme stuff on the internet. When effective political action deviates from what’s edgy and exciting, he stops being interested.
- The Temperamental Anarchist just wants to smash the system. He doesn’t want to be ruled, doesn’t have a well thought out view of how things should work, and just thinks we need to get rid of whoever is in charge right now. He may not even want to cooperate in a disciplined political machine.
- The Revanchist has been personally offended by the losses of the 20th century, and wants to make sure those responsible pay for their crimes. He’s not trying to be magnanimous, or to plot out a way the future could work better; he is fixated on the past.
- The Resentment Politician hates the elites, what they’ve done, and identifies as the underdog. He does not imagine himself carefully weighing political decisions and responsibly applying power to steer civilization; he just wants the boot off his neck.
- The Conservative believes in the system and his sense of civic duty compels him to go in to fight for what he believes to be right, especially against the latest madness. He doesn’t think in too much depth about political maneuvering, crushing his enemies, or building power; he finds that stuff distasteful to his sense of good conduct.
- The Intellectual Tourist just wants to meet like-minded people and be exposed to the most interesting ideas of the day. He wants information and ideas that he can bring up in conversation with other “interesting” people to gain social points.
- The Thinkfluencer is primarily concerned with having sophisticated, true, careful analysis. He thinks if everyone just knew better, maybe if the data were better presented, things could be run better. But the gritty details of power and negotiation are not his direct interest.
These are not necessarily natural categories, just prototypical specimens. The common thread is that these people are not thinking about how to rule. They may even think what they’re doing will save the world. But something hasn’t quite connected in their minds.
The default approaches are so pervasive and obvious to the mass of people, and the alternative so psychologically difficult and demanding that it is understandable that most people don’t have an imperial mindset.
Without imperial mindset, we think that all politics requires of us is that we show up and fight, that we can do it for fun, and that it won’t make large demands of self-reconstruction. Thinking about politics seriously, though, we have to take a personal responsibility for the full consequences and scope of political action. We have to think about how our plans will carry through for the next few hundred years, we have to face the much larger task of working out the whole of the matter of how to rule, and we have to break down and reconstruct those parts of ourselves that come with the wrong way of thinking and are stuck in edginess and resentment. This is such an enormous burden compared to the lazier approach that our minds just slide off of it and go back to what is easy.
But we have to resist the impulse to take the easy but ultimately pointless approach everyone else is taking to politics, namely by understanding the true nature of politics and power and committing ourselves to what we are actually trying to do.
The above archetypes and the people who embody them can be useful. Some more than others. But there is an important distinction to be made between the Supporter, who is just contributing work and resources, whose motivations don’t matter because they will not be tested, and the Member, who is contributing his agency and being relied on, whose motivations do matter. So the above archetypes are best suited to supporter roles, and the core of a serious project must have imperial mindset.
There are many ways to deviate from the correct political mindset, but only one way to do it right. You have to actually think about what it would mean to govern an empire well. If our problem is to restore statecraft and political sanity, we need people who know how to rule properly. To know how to rule properly, you have to think from the perspective of a ruler and build out that whole worldview. Someone, ideally a thousand very competent someones, needs to put themselves into imperial mindset and start thinking about rule.
Someone who is truly thinking about responsible approaches to solve the world’s problems, given some belief in their own ability to actually implement their ideas, is never resentful and never talking about “how to get our country back”. Their tone of thought is “we are the ruling class, or will be. Let us think how to responsibly guide this thing in a better direction in response to these complex challenges”.
When it becomes obvious that they are not the current ruling class, those with the imperial mindset don’t slip back into anarchism or resentment politics. They think like a ruling class in exile, which believes in its own mandate and competence. They see the current occupants of the imperial seat as a ridiculous pack of monkeys who don’t take their duties seriously and aren’t organized to carry them out.
One important point that must be made is the relation of the imperial mindset to the Indo-Aryan tripartite caste system and the social castes of the United States.
Imperial mindset is the way of the Kshatriyas, the caste of kings and warriors, who deal in power. Of the approaches to rightist politics listed above, the Conservative and the Resentment Politician are particularly Vaisya, the caste of hardworking wealth-producers. The Thinkfluencer and Intellectual Tourist are particularly Brahmin, the caste of priests and thinkers.
The reason we have to adopt the mindset of Kshatriyas, a proper imperial mindset, is that Brahmins and Vaisyas are unfit to rule. They are important, in their own ways, even to a political project such as ours; how could we succeed without the ideas of Brahmins and the support of virtuous Vaisyas? But our project must be led by and of the Kshatriya caste, because the others are simply in a different line of business and lack the appropriate perspective and orientation.
Which puts us in a funny position, because America’s Kshatriya caste is weak and spiritually dominated by the hybrid mandarin/Brahmin caste. We generally have to work with Amerikaner Vaisyas and coastal urban SWPL Brahmins.
American Vaisyas instinctively understand elements of the right policies, because they are mostly on the receiving end of the current madness. But they have a very hard time getting out of the conservative mindset, which fails to understand the realities of power and politics. When they do, they tend to get stuck in resentment politics, because the idea of actually negotiating with the existing elite, recruiting Brahmins, and applying power to properly rule the empire is too distasteful. It just doesn’t work with Vaisya morality.
American Brahmins can be better. They already have the idea that the thing to do is think about how things should be ruled. They already think of themselves as an elite with automatic legitimacy. They already think their political enemies are a ridiculous pack of monkeys. Unfortunately, the default Brahmin politics, liberal progressivism, is all kinds of naive and evil. Relatedly, as Brahmins and mandarins, they don’t believe in personal responsibility and personal rule. They talk about what should be done, but do so out of desire to be a good person in abstract, rather than to solve the problems in their empire. They launder their rule through a byzantine system of responsibility-erasing “civil society”.
The Brahmin is actually ahead on imperial mindset, but still needs to realize the evilness and insanity of progressivism and liberalism, the divided-power democratic republic, and the idea of leaderless “civil society”. Once he gets through that, the Brahmin will often get stuck as an intellectual tourist or thinkfluencer. The key to getting past these traps is the realization of personal responsibility and the growth of motivation to personally contribute to the organization of power and apply power to the solution of the world’s most important problems. This is something Brahmins have trouble with. It is distasteful in Brahmin morality to personally own power or personally wade in and fight to fix institutions that have potential.
Advancement out of these sub-imperial mindsets, and into the imperial mindset of the true aristocratic Kshatriya is key to achievement of Restoration. Relatedly, Restoration will entail a large recalibration of America’s castes: Kshatriyas, insofar as they exist in America, need to grow some balls and stop believing in the idea of the republic and the temporal authority of the Brahmin. Vaisyas need to either put aside their aversions to power and become Kshatriyas, or stay Vaisyas and accept that politics is not their business. Brahmins need to either detach themselves more fully from worldly things and focus on pursuit of truth, get a real job, and become Vaisyas, or accept the burden of personal responsibility for power and become Kshatriyas.
The process of actually cultivating this approach will be challenging for all of us. We don’t yet know all the details, or how it applies. These are all things we must figure out. The cultivation of a true imperial mindset is one of the primary inner challenges of the Restoration. But we know it is necessary.
To be clear, the imperial mindset approach to opposition politics is to develop a crushing advantage at virtue, knowledge of the field, practical restoration program details, and organizational competence, and then, gently or otherwise, relieve the monkeys of their posts.
The image to aim for is not the democratic swarm of rats overpowering the owner of house, but the aristocratic owner coming home and purging the house of rats so he can begin the process of renewal. Don’t abdicate, don’t approach politics as a signalling game. Make plans, alliances, and institutions. Become worthy and rule. Cultivate imperial mindset.