The new new right was forged in greed and white backlash


Attendees cheer JD Vance, Republican candidate for the Ohio Senate, as he speaks at the ‘Save America’ rally with former President Donald Trump at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Delaware, Ohio on 23 April 2022.

Photo: Eli Hiller/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Since the middle of the 20th century, the United States has seen no less than three political movements widely described as the “new right”. There was the early New Right of William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater and conservative student groups, with their libertarian right, anti-communism and emphasis on social values. The second generation to earn the moniker – the new right of Ronald Reagan, Jerry Falwell and the two George Bushes – leaned more towards conservative Christianity, populism and free markets.

These New Right waves were vastly different in tone and presentation; there was considerable overlap in ideology and even personnel. Buckley’s haughty conservatism and Bush’s flattering populism have never been oppositional approaches, despite attempts to explain them that way. Each version of the New Right has been propelled by a more or less explicit white supremacist reaction and solid funding.

Now, in our time of Trumpian reaction, we see reports of a new new right. Like the New Rights that preceded it, it is a loose constellation of self-identified, supposedly heterodox, anti-establishment reactionaries. The newest rights is also fueled by disaffection with the myths of liberal progress and united by white supremacist backlash – this time, with funding largely from billionaire Peter Thiel.

The new Nouvelle Droite has hit the headlines in recent weeks. In particular, Vanity Fair published an in-depth and thoughtful report detailing the emergence of a rising right-wing circle of highly educated Twitter posters, podcasters, artists, and even “online philosophers,” including neo blogger -monarchist Curtis Yarvin. . And the New York Times devoted a fluffy article to the creation of the niche online magazine Compact, which purports to present heterodox thinking but instead offers predictable contrarianism and tired social conservatism.

Alongside GOP candidates for positions like JD Vance and Blake Masters, this motley scene follows the ideological fabric of Trumpist nationalism, while alluding to greater intellectual and revolutionary ambitions, sometimes wearing cooler clothes and receiving lip service. money from Thiel.

The turn to the new right is a choice, by people with privilege and options, in favor of the white position, patriarchy and, above all, money.

The focus on these groups is fine: why shouldn’t the media do fair reporting on a burgeoning political trend? Yet there is the risk of reifying a motley cohort into a political-cultural force with more power than it otherwise would have.

More importantly, there is a glaring omission in the cover. Today’s New Right presents itself as the only force currently poised to fight against the “regime,” as Vance calls it, of the power of liberal capitalism’s establishment and the narratives that underlie it. “The fundamental premise of liberalism,” Yarvin told Vanity Fair’s James Pogue, “is that there’s this inexorable march toward progress. I don’t agree with that premise.

The problem is that characters like Yarvin had another choice; the march to the far right is no more inexorable than misplaced faith in liberal progress. There is a whole swathe of the contemporary left that also totally rejects the powers of the liberal establishment, the logic of the capitalist state and the myths of progress of liberalism. Rejection of liberal progressive propaganda has been a topic of leftist writing, including mine, for years, and I am not alone. Such positions are definitive of a radical, anti-fascist and anti-racist left.

DELAWARE, USA - APRIL 23: Donald Trump delivers remarks at a Save America event with guests JD Vance, Mike Carey, Max Miller, Madison Gesiotto Gilbert in Delaware, OH on April 23, 2022. (Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Donald Trump delivers remarks at a “Save America” ​​event with guests JD Vance, Mike Carey, Max Miller and Madison Gesiotto Gilbert in Delaware, Ohio on April 23, 2022.

Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

These leftists, liberators The tendencies may not be powerful within the Democratic Party, even on its left flank, but they are still present and active across the United States. They exist, they are accessible, and they raged against the contemporary power “regime” long before the current New Right took its embryonic form.

This is important when thinking about the forces of neo-reaction because it clarifies the kind of choices members of the New Right are making. While neo-reaction is indeed often based on rejection of the liberal mainstream and its empty promises, that rejection alone does not drive one to the New Right; anti-racist far-left movements can begin in exactly the same way.

So what sets the new right-hander apart? It is a choice, by people with privileges and options, in favor of the white position, patriarchy and, above all, money. You cannot discount money: there is serious money to be made, as long as your illiberalism maintains all other oppressive hierarchies. And it should be noted that the main source of funding – Thiel’s fortune – has skyrocketed due to President Donald Trump’s racist immigration policies, which remain almost entirely in place under the Biden administration. Ethnocentrism is now at the heart of Vance’s and Masters’ platforms.

The Vanity Fair article points out the irony that these so-called New Right anti-authoritarians, obsessed with the dystopianism of the contemporary United States, totally neglect “the more dystopian aspects of life. America: Our Vast Apparatus of Prisons and Policing”. .”

Pogue is far from gullible and has said in interviews that the subjects of his story – as heterogeneous as they claim to be – share an investment in authoritarianism. Yet the failure of New Right figures to speak out about prisons and the police is not an oversight: it is evidence of a white supremacism that does not need to be explicitly stated to get through this. movement. This strain of reaction, after all, comes in the wake of the greatest anti-racist uprisings of a generation, an uprising that cannot be called a liberal performance. The moment shows how this new right fits into the country’s unbroken history of white reaction.

The decision of the malcontents to join the forces of reaction may seem understandable when presented as the only path for those who want to challenge the yoke of liberal capitalism and its pieties. It is more difficult to justify in these terms when it is specified that there is an anti-capitalist left. The difference is that, unlike the new right, the far left abhors white supremacist patriarchy and rejects the obvious fallacy that there is something pro-worker, or anti-capitalist, about border rule and segmentation of work.

The question of money should not be underestimated. Radical left movements, unlike the New Right, are not popular among billionaire backers; this is what happens when the real “regime” of capital is contested. To highlight the path not chosen by the New Right is therefore to show its active desire not for liberation but for domination – which is nothing new at all on the right.


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