Articles have been published alleging that Stephen Bannon is a fan of Mencius Moldbug and Julius Evola. I am amused by the thought of Bannon sitting down to his nightly dose of the turgid, repetitious Unqualified Reservations. Macaulay notes somewhere that an Italian prisoner was given the choice between being clapped in irons as a galley-slave, or reading Guicciardini’s four-volume History of Italy. He chose the history, only to be defeated by the style, which drove him to the oars. Reading Moldbug is like reading Carlyle with the fury removed; which is rather like a watching a thunderstorm without any thunder. His prose limps weakly from sentence to sentence like a loaf that fails to rise, or half-baked cakes. Mad indigestion hurt Carlyle into poetry, and Moldbug lacks the cruelty and hypochondria to write anything as half as good. I doubt whether Bannon’s knowledge of Evola is more than recognition deep.
The desire, on the left, to find an ideological background to Trump is mistaken. Trump is the political equivalent of a kettle left too long on the hob, with voters as the screaming whistle. There is a sort of Jacksonian, Buchananite quality to his politics, but most of this is inchoate and instinctual, rather than explicit. The danger is that Trump, being both vain and inarticulate, is liable to shift about in the wind, or perform about-turns depending on who last spoke to him. His anti-NATO stance has been reversed, which is significant as it shows that on deeply-felt issues – as opposed to abortion or anything trivial – his judgment can be changed. He is likely to build the wall, but the difficulty in applying his ‘muslim ban’ suggests either incompetence or a lack of understanding about the power of an entrenched judiciary and bureaucracy. Cynically, one could suggest that Trump is engaging in triangulation: his team are aware that the ban would fail, but need to be seen to be doing something, as well as redirecting voter anger towards the judge who lifted the ban. I doubt that this is the case and I do think that the administration means well.
Someone, I forget who, pointed out that the role of figures like Bannon and Stephen Miller is to provide Trump with a framework onto which he can hang his prejudices. Miller has a long history as a conservative provocateur, morphing into an immigration restrictionist. Bannon has a frankly strange background, starting out life in a working class Irish-American family, leading to careers as a naval officer, Goldman Sachs investment banker, and film producer. Both men are self-declared economic nationalists. Both have been successful in shifting American political life rightwards, forcing people like Paul Ryan and the Republican Party to take positions which would have been unthinkable a year ago. A similar process is at work in Britain, where once staunchly pro-EU MPs line up in the division lobby to trigger Article 50. The speed of their change is astonishing, suggesting that their views were never deeply held. Most of these people gladly acquiesce to the spirit of the age. A hundred years ago, Jeremy Corbyn would have been a teetotaling Methodist, grimly opposed to the slightest hint of sexual impropriety. 350 years ago, he would have been a ranting Presbyterian maniac, like Balfour of Burley in Old Mortality.
This is rather thin gruel. Having lost for so long, we are inclined to take whatever victory we can get, just as the starving man under siege will gladly eat rat or dog. I have to emphasise that I am not an Eeyore! But the Bannonite vision, which will ultimately be an Autarkic Brazil with a trade surplus, is doomed to failure. The parallel British vision of a free-trading island detached from the continent economically is equally deranged in the long-term. Theresa May is a broken reed with no policies, who pretends to be the stoic daughter of a vicar; her sick-making mediocrity will set the tone for our political life. This vile, third-rater scurries around the house that once governed a quarter of the world, as she presides over our racial oblivion. Leaving the European Union was a Rorschach test onto which you could project whatever fantasy you liked. The vision which will likely prevail is that of Daniel Hannan, who influenced so many of his colleagues to join the Leave campaign. He combines a saccharine sentimentality about the countryside with an utter indifference to the annihilation of northern industry, or any of the other issues that nationalists care about.
In 2050, Britain will be free of the EU and much more ethnically divided than it is now. The real question that nationalists must address is whether repatriation is feasible. The ethnic cleansing of millions of people, even peacefully, is extremely difficult. It would have been plausible to introduce voluntary repatriation in 1968 when the non-white population was still small. Now that we have 8 million non-whites with high birth-rates and a growing advantage in the number of military-aged males, the prospect is dubious. In 30 years time, the situation will be even gloomier. For legal reasons, I’ll skip over the question of what that implies, if we want a white Britain. I have to emphasise that I don’t want or condone violence. But the Yugoslavian precedent is not a happy one.
But we do have to try to take power. Political nationalism is moribund in Britain because of our electoral system. There are advantages that we have over our continental and American comrades. But the first past the post electoral system is a huge barrier to nationalist movements breaking into the mainstream. UKIP would have received 80 seats at the last election if it had been conducted under PR. We also lack the presidential systems of France or America which allow for top-down revolutions. Somebody lamented to Enoch Powell in 1970 that if Britain had had presidential elections, he would have swept to power on a landslide. Given that the system is unlikely to change, British nationalists have to learn how to deal with this.
During the 1950s, both Labour and the Conservatives took over 90% of the vote between them. At the last election in 2015, that had been reduced to 65%. As the system fractures, both parties are still able to win majorities with tiny shares of the vote, and on a much reduced turnout from the 90s. To compare, in 1992 the Conservatives took 14 million votes and 42%; Labour received 11 and a half million votes and 34.4%. John Major had a majority of 21 and the turnout was exceptional at 77%. If we then move to 2005, the change is astonishing. Turnout was a measly 61%. Labour received 35% of the vote with 9 and a half million votes. This gave them a majority of 66: 3x greater than the one enjoyed by John Major, and with 4 and a half million fewer votes! In 2015, the Conservatives won 11.3 million votes with 37%, giving them a majority of 12. In essence, the system has decoupled from reality. On a minor level, this is already visible in Northern Ireland, where an SDLP candidate won Belfast South with 24.5% because of party fragmentation.
No nationalist party on the continent is likely to get over 50% of the vote. In the July 1932 elections, the Nazis were only able to get 37%, and this was during a period of 30% unemployment, and before Nazi or Fascist became incantatory terms beyond the interpretation of human reason. If a nationalist party ever came close to power under a PR system, the other parties would form a grand coalition against them. But a British nationalist party would be able to take power on as little as 33% of the vote. There is no need to repeat the mistake of the BNP in standing people in places where we can’t win. All that will do is bankrupt us and spread our resources thin. It would be much better if we identified 10 highly susceptible constituencies, threw all of our resources at them, and then branched out from there.
What we do when we get into power is a harder question.