Almost a century ago, Hilaire Belloc wrote two books about 21st century American politics.1 At the time Belloc did not know he was writing about Donald Trump and the alt-right, but his prescient observations perfectly fit this amazing year because our current pre-revolutionary state mimics what has been periodically recurring for millennia. Belloc’s first book, The Free Press: An Essay on the Manipulation of News and Opinion, and how to Counter It, should be studied by everyone combating the pervasive influence of The Cathedral. The Free Press describes early 20th century media hegemony and the few free papers that were crying in the wilderness against the establishment.
Belloc’s general outline is also an accurate history of the rise of the alt-right in reaction to our 21st century governing cabal of bureaucrats and journalists. Belloc considers all anti-establishment dissenters, from nationalists to anti-semites to communists, to be part of the Free Press. The following description and analysis will therefore encompass many politically incorrect movements that are not properly part of the alt-right, including the alt-lite, civic nationalists, the manosphere, and Neoreactionaries. Thankfully, Belloc’s analysis is so rich that his 86 page book includes almost every possible criticism of the Establishment; Hillary Clinton’s fabricated political persona, the laziness of the legacy media, the corrupting influence of George Soros, the persecution of Mark Steyn, and even Kek and meme magic are depicted in their pre-internet forms. Here is the executive summary for the alt-right: We are winning. Winning, as General Suvorov advised, with ability and not with numbers.2 The hard task of rebuilding a civilization is still ahead, but our attacks on the current order are taking their toll. At the moment of change it is hard to believe the liberal social order is crumbling, but upon reflection the currents of American politics are eerily similar to those described by Belloc in The Free Press in 1918. 3
A Brief History of the Press
Belloc begins by describing the evolution and decadence of the Press. A Catholic traditionalist, Belloc’s time horizon is measured in centuries, not decades, and he blithely traces the origins of the press back to the Renaissance and the Reformation. Printed news begins as an efficient way to expand the scope and range of word of mouth communication. Replacing the town gossip with a newspaper also standardizes, formalizes and narrows the scope of what is considered news. While every village may have its own noteworthy events, suddenly the opinions of the populace matter less than that of a single editor, who can have the entire countryside talking about the one story he finds most interesting. As the cost of printing news increases, editors find themselves at the mercy of advertisers, and advertisers soon realize that owning the source of news is infinitely more effective than the quaint expedient of taking out an ad. The power of the Press is eventually controlled by a small clique of advertiser-owners like our current overlords Zuckerberg, Bezos and Slim. The modern Cathedral takes shape as Finance funds the State, Capitalism fund the Press, and the Press shapes public opinion in favor of Finance and Capitalism:
Another cognate fruit was what today we call Finance, that is, the domination of the State by private Capitalists who, taking advantage of the necessities of the State, fix an increasing mortgage upon the State and work perpetually for fluidity, anonymity and irresponsibility in their arrangements. It was in England, again, that this began and vigorously began with what I think was the first true “National Debt”; a product contemporary in its origins with industrial Capitalism. p 28
Throughout the 20th century the public became more and more suspicious of the Press. Belloc and G.K. Chesterton were instrumental in warning the reading public of their danger in the 1920’s and 1930’s, just as the example of Soviet propaganda was first entering the Western consciousness. By mid-century C.S. Lewis was saddened to find British troops who expected newspaper accounts of the Second World War to be fabrications, and films like It Happened One Night and His Girl Friday made the cynicism of the news industry into familiar tropes. Public mistrust was growing, but the incestuous relationship between the Press and Capitalism proved to be the salvation of the Press. The anti-communist economic ideology that would eventually take the name of Libertarianism was already fetishizing the free market. By conflating the existing market with pure economics, proto-libertarians helped convince the public that nothing could be done to improve the Press because the free market already ensured the best possible outcomes. After all, who would act contrary to their own best interests? In theory, readers will not buy a paper that lies to them, so editors and owners will never print falsehoods, knowing lies are bad for business. As Belloc points out, if everyone deceives the public, readers will not have any papers to choose from:
“In pure economics, exchange is exactly balanced by the respective advantages of the exchangers…In the immense complexity of the real world…other conscious passions besides those of mere avarice affect exchange: there are a million half-conscious and sub-conscious motives at work as well. The large advertiser still mainly paid for advertisement according to circulation, but he also began to be influenced by less direct intentions. He would not advertise in papers which he thought might by their publication of opinion ultimately hurt Capitalism as a whole…The advertiser came to see that he could actually dictate policy and opinion; and that he had also another most powerful and novel weapon in his hand, which was the suppression of news…But there is now a graver corruption at work even than this…It is the advent of the great newspaper owner as the true governing power in the political machinery of the State, superior to the officials in the State, nominating ministers and dismissing them, imposing policies, and, in general, usurping sovereignty- all this secretly and without responsibility.” p 36-38
The Press goes far beyond its original task of passing on information and becomes an opinion maker for the literate masses. Everyone susceptible to the control of the Press becomes a mindless consumer, to the benefit of the capitalist owners of the Press. We see here the cause of media hostility toward a rural (or any truly unplugged) lifestyle. Small, cohesive, homogeneous communities are naturally less concerned about the opinions of faraway strangers. With words to warm the hearts of Neoreactionaries and traditionalists, Belloc deftly exposes the true function of huge, anonymous cities and atomized societies:
“The country folk in my own neighbourhood can read as well as I can; but they prefer to talk among themselves when they are at leisure or, at the most, to seize in a few moments the main items of news about the war; they prefer this, I say, as a habit of mind, to the poring over square yards of printed matter which…are now food for their fellows in the town. That is because in the country a man has true neighbors, whereas the towns are a dust of isolated beings, mentally (and often physically) starved.” p 32
News, Normies, and Trump
One of the enduring tasks of the Press, even in this age of pervasive video, is staging the public image of the political class. Everyone interested in political trivia knows that the perceptions of stupid Dan Quayle or clumsy Gerald Ford owed more to the nightly newscasts than they did to reality. The Press can also make politicians seem far more competent than they actually are. As P.J. O’Rourke remarked in Parliament of Whores, “The members of the House are, to a man…ridiculously bad at public speaking. Indeed, they don’t speak at all; they read from prepared texts and are ridiculously bad at reading.”4 Now that their view is created and conditioned by television news the average American voter arguably has a less accurate impression of presidential candidates than 19th century attendees of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Consider how close we came to having an election in which no one had confirmation of Hillary Clinton’s health problems. If not for a single cellphone video at a 9/11 memorial the nation would have heard blind rumors, easily dismissed as crackpot theories, instead of seeing incontrovertible evidence before their eyes:
“No straightforward, commonsense, real description of any professional politician- his manners, capacities, way of speaking, intelligence- ever appears today in any of the great papers. We never have anything within a thousand miles of what men who meet them say…Once let the public know what sort of mediocrities the politicians are and they lose power. Once let them lose power and their hidden masters lose power.” p 45-46
Much of Belloc’s description is depressing, even fatalistic, about the sinister effects of the Press. Once the talons of the media have dug into society’s collective consciousness, how can the public free itself? The election of 2016 provided the escalator-riding answer. The Press felt so secure that they became complacent about policing the boundaries of polite society. The public could not free itself from their grasp, but an outside force could dislodge the Press. Donald Trump amassed a private fortune, created a uniquely unassailable persona, and exploited technology to communicate directly with the people. Journalists overestimated their own power because they deceived themselves about the nature of their power. Progressives believe they are on a moral crusade that is strong because it is on the Right Side of History. If they ever read anything besides Lena Dunham’s blog they may have recognized the danger Trump posed earlier in the political cycle:
“For the strength of a newspaper owner lies in his power to deceive the public and to withhold or to publish at will hidden things: his power in this terrifies the professional politicians who hold nominal authority: in a word, the newspaper owner controls the professional politician, especially upon his private life…[H]e can only command a large public…by interesting that public and even by flattering it that it has its opinions reflected-not created-for it. The power of the press is not a direct and open power. It depends upon a trick of deception; and no trick of deception works if the trickster passes a certain degree of cynicism.” p 44
Because the Press willed it, the scandals of Hastert, Spitzer and Weiner remained long time open secrets among elites in D.C. and New York even as the public happily and obliviously reelected their “representatives”. Against the will of the press, the combined force of Republican operatives, talk radio and the Tea Party failed to make Obama’s scandalous compatriots Tony Rezko, Jeremiah Wright, and Bill Ayers anything more than fringe talking points whose significance is still lost on the general public. Trump alone recognized as insupportable the level of cynicism in a Press that would compare Bush to Hitler and Obama to Cicero, and he singlehandedly nullified the power of the Press by shamelessly broadcasting (almost) every hidden thing that they could hope to reveal about him. Trump campaigned against the media and came dangerously close to connecting all the dots between the Press, the government, and international finance in several speeches late in the campaign. None of the essential features of the Press have changed in the 98 years since Belloc wrote his analysis of the JQ (that’s the Journalist Question):
“What has grown up here is a Press organization of support and favour to the system of professional politics which colours the whole of our great Capitalist papers today…This gives them so distinct a character of parliamentary falsehood, and that falsehood is so clearly dictated by their connection with the executive power that they merit the title “Official”…If anyone doubts that this adjective “Official” can properly be applied to our Capitalist Press today, let him ask himself first what the forces are which govern the nation, and next, whether these forces… could be better served even under a system of permanent censorship than it is in the great dailies…Is not everything which the regime desires to be suppressed, suppressed? Is not everything which it desires suggested, suggested? And is there any public question which would weaken the regime, and the discussion of which is ever allowed to appear in the great Capitalist journals? ” p 49-50
Trump scares the Press because he is able to command a large, passionate audience independent of the news reports about him. Trump’s twitter account is one of the few weapons that can challenge the Official Press as Belloc describes it. The Republicans trying to abolish the Congressional Ethics Office forgot this, even after a year and more of examples. Trump can ask public questions and suggest topics that weaken the minority occupation government of the USA, and he will elevate the Presidential bully pulpit to undreamed of heights. He will need every bit of skill he has to bring the people along with him. Trump won by addressing the suspicions of the masses about the Press and the State. The majority of Trump voters are only partly awake, as evidenced by their willingness to praise Fox News when it occasionally aligns with their own views:
“[T]he mass of Englishmen have ceased to obtain, or even to expect, information upon the way they are governed. They are beginning to feel a certain uneasiness. They know that their old power of observation over public servants has slipped from them. They suspect that the known gross corruption of the House of Commons is entrenched behind a conspiracy of silence on the part of those very few who have the power to inform them. But, as yet, they have not passed the stage of such suspicion…They are still, for the most part, duped.” p 51
Trump must take voters beyond mere suspicion of the Press, and for this he will have to turn on members of his own social class. Despite his ability to exploit the weaknesses of the ruling class for his own gain, Trump is still within The Cathedral because he made his fortune playing by its rules and is about to ascend to an office that is an integral part of it. Trump should point out, as Belloc did, that power in the hands of the mediocrities we call judges, senators and representatives is bad, but the true state of the nation is even worse:
“Above all, it gives immense and irresponsible power to a handful of wealthy men- and especially to the one most wealthy and unscrupulous among them- whose wealth is an accident of speculation, whose origins are repulsive, and whose characters have, as a rule, the weakness and baseness developed by this sort of adventure.” p 51
There are plenty of guilty men who are already despised by normies, cucks, and Republicans. To start with, Belloc’s description of the power behind the throne deserves to be added to George Soros’s Wikipedia entry. In 1918 Belloc and his friends in the Free Press led the opposition to the international financiers of their day, and what Belloc terms the Free Press is the functional equivalent of the alt-right. It is precisely the overreach of men of Soros and men like him that has provoked the alt-right reaction today.
The Rise of the Alt Right
Unlike the average Trump voter, the alt-right has been far ahead of the politicians, let alone the voters, in its opposition to The Cathedral. Describing the alt-right with quotations from Belloc is when The Free Press becomes truly eerie. It is as if Belloc had a time-machine and the only things he forgot to write down during his visit to the 21st century were the names of the movement’s participants. (Perhaps that was just a courtesy to avoid doxxing anyone.) It is encouraging to think that Belloc could see the future so clearly just by his careful attention to history and philosophy:
“Now to every human evil of a political sort that has appeared in history (to every evil, that is, affecting the State, and proceeding from the will of man- not from ungovernable natural forces outside man) there comes a term and a reaction…which I will call for lack of a better name “the Free Press.” p 52 “Three distinct moral motives lay behind it and converged upon it. The first motive apparent, coming much earlier than either of the other two, was the motive of (A) Propaganda. The second motive was (B) Indignation against the concealment of Truth, and the third motive was (C) Indignation against irresponsible power: the sense of oppression which an immoral irresponsibility in power breeds among those who are unhappily subject to it.” p 54
Though Belloc was far from being a white nationalist in the modern sense of the term, he was to a certain extent an ethno-nationalist. Belloc, along with most men of his era, recognized that even if cultures can bend to admit a certain amount of ethnic diversity, the race differences inherent in humanity manifest themselves through differing propensities and traits. Living in an almost entirely white nation on an almost entirely white continent, Belloc objected to the statist social engineering programs of eugenicists and the frankly laughable propaganda that was used to bolster German nationalism at the time. Even so, Belloc would be considered embarrassingly racist by cuckservatives today. Read his account in The Crusades in which the dilution of Gallic blood by intermarriage with Semitic peoples is one of the key factors in military defeat. Belloc identifies the key spiritual deficiency of The Cathedral, which was mainly applicable to religious questions in 1918, but is now true of every essential debate including race-realism. In short, the Press has become the Pajama Boy of all ethical and philosophical disputes:
“The motive of Propaganda…concerned Religions, and also certain racial enthusiasms or political doctrines which, by their sincerity and readiness to sacrifice, had half the force of Religions. Men found the great papers…refused to talk about anything really important in Religion. They dared do nothing but repeat very discreetly the vaguest ethical platitudes. They hardly dared do even that. They took for granted a sort of invertebrate common opinion…Great bodies of men who cared intensely for a definite creed found that expression for it was lacking…The “organs of opinion” professed a genteel ignorance of that idea which was most widespread, most intense and most formative.” p 55
All the enlightenment modernism spread by the American, French, and Russian revolutions is fundamentally opposed to tradition, hierarchy, and race-realism. For all the secular individuals on the alt-right, the movement as a whole is quite religious in the sense that it reacts against the secular religion of Progressivism. We want a definite creed, whether it be Catholic, Nietzschean, or neo-Pagan. The spiritual aspect of the alt-right is not immediately apparent. It is so deep in the human psyche that despite its importance it is one of the last things to be discussed and analyzed. Much more obvious to the casual observer is Belloc’s second motive, indignation against the concealment of truth. As you read the next quotation just imagine Jared Taylor giving this response verbatim to a reporter:
“Men gradually came to notice that one thing after another of great public interest, sometimes of vital public interest, was deliberately suppressed in the principal great official papers, and that positive falsehoods were increasingly suggested or stated…Why should this or that vulgarian (men began to say) exercise the power to keep the people ignorant upon matters vital to us all? To distort, to lie? The sheer necessity of getting certain truths told…was a force working at high potential and almost compelling the production of Free Papers…That is why you nearly always find the Free Press directed by men of intelligence and cultivation- of exceptional intelligence and cultivation. And that is where it contrasts most with its opponents.” p 60
Jared Taylor is far too cultivated to ever brag about his own intelligence in this way. He does not need to, because it is already an indictment of modern journalism, though not a very surprising one, that no depiction of Mr. Taylor given by reporters who attend American Renaissance conferences can rise to the level of a British writer who died in 1953. Everyone willing, like Jared Taylor, to use their real name within this movement deserves to be commended. Their righteous indignation has overcome the expedience of anonymity. As men like Taylor, Spencer and Brimelow lead the way, those who can not come forward publicly also contribute unique gifts to the movement. Belloc’s third cause, indignation at irresponsible power, applies particularly to the populist elements of the alt-right, whose impulse to reform and save the beloved homeland found succinct expression in the MAGA hashtag:
“Only a small number of people were acquainted with such particular truths. But that small number knew very well that we were thus in reality governed by men responsible to no one, and hidden from public blame. The determination to be rid of such a secret monopoly of power compelled a reaction: and that reaction was the Free Press.” p 61
Alt-right opinion of America divides along the Batman-League of Shadows axis. Vox Day is much more optimistic about the European adoption of race realism, for instance. America is the land of Cultural Marxism, and Cultural Marxism is our number one export, spread by trade and war. A country that can fund the militaries of both ISIS and Israel while condemning Russia and Uganda for their homophobia has lost all coherence and legitimacy. When America ceases to exist in its current state many problems will disappear with it. On the other hand, removing America’s minority occupation government would go a long way toward correcting these deficiencies. If the Left could make a Long March through the institutions the alt-right can as well. Breaking the spell of multiculturalism would bring a sizable majority of Americans back to historical norms. This debate is one for the alt-right to handle internally and at a later date, because even our slight victories in 2016 have provoked a counter-reaction from The Cathedral.
The Media Counter-Attack
The vast resources of the Press and now the State are being deployed more effectively against the alt-right with every passing day. Anarcho-tyranny is a new term for a very old phenomenon. Harvey Silvergate wrote the book Three Felonies a Day about the byzantine legal code that every American has already violated in the course of their normal lives. The Justice Department already has a case against every citizen, should they choose to prosecute. Countless citizens have noticed the double standard applied to the ruling class and the opposition, but the social cost of combatting the elites is too high. Even noticing the lies is often dangerous, as Conrad Black and Mark Basseley Youssef, the anti-Islam filmmaker blamed for the Benghazi attack, can attest:
“Whether after exposing a political scandal you shall or shall not be subject to the risk of ruin or loss of liberty…depends negatively upon the Legal Guild. That is, so long as the lawyers support the politicians you have no redress…You may, of course, commit any crime with impunity if the professional politicians among the lawyers refuse to prosecute…you may conversely be put at the risk of any penalty if they desire to put you at risk: for the modern secret police being ubiquitous and privileged, their opponent can be decoyed into peril at the will of those who govern.” p 70
Hillary Clinton is perfectly safe from prosecution for the exact reason that Edward Snowden can never return to his home: the will of the prosecutors. Other examples of this exercise of arbitrary power abound. Mark Steyn’s successive show-trials in Canada and Washington D.C., first on human rights charges for stating the truth about Islam in Maclean’s magazine, next for questioning the authority of a global warming scientist, fit the description. As Steyn himself has said, his legal victory in Canada is entirely hollow because every publisher saw the court costs mount. Despite the rightness of their cause, no one can afford to defend the truth in court so they will self-censor rather than risk being falsely accused of a crime:
“There is not an editor responsible for the management of any free Paper who will not tell you that a thousand times he has had to consider whether it were possible to tell a particular truth, however important that truth might be to the commonwealth. And the fear which restrains him is the fear of destruction which the combination of the professional politician and lawyer holds in his hand.” p 72
The lawyerly imposition of financial burdens may not be as viscerally satisfying as the guillotine, but it is just as effective. Now that every aspect of American life has been politicized The Cathedral need only bring pressure to bear on a small class of decision makers rather than the public at large. See for example John Robert’s opinion on the Obamacare mandate:
“Whether it shall lead to his actual ruin or no is again in the hands of members of the legal guild; the judge may withstand the politicians (by whom he was made, to whom he often belongs, and upon whom his general position today depends). He may stand out, or- as nearly always now- he will identify himself with the political system and act as its mouthpiece.” p 71
No one marches in front of the Supreme Court building with more optimism than evangelical conservatives, for whom the US Constitution is the 67th book of the Bible and America is the lost tribe of Israel. No one is more bitterly disappointed at every ruling than these Christians who should know that the State is no friend of the Church. The gullibility of normies has been strained almost to breaking. The evangelical sub-culture is a convenient microcosm to study, and the tenor of their pastors and blogs in the past year has become distinctly somber. A decade ago the attitude was one of imminent victory; just one more fund-raising campaign or one more call to your Congressman and the theocracy will be at hand. Fatalism has crept into many churches; a resignation strengthened by the conviction that we should not resist what is obviously the just punishment of God for our wayward nation. No conservative pastor endorsed Hillary Clinton, but the excoriation of Jerry Falwell Jr. when he endorsed Trump was unending. The hard Left and the alt-right long ago abandoned hope of being represented in the halls of power, but now groups that were once the most invested in the American Experiment are also hedging their bets. Unfortunately, the social pressure exerted by the Press ensures that when frustrated most so-called conservatives will lash out against the Right, not the Left.
Nothing the Left can do to the alt-right is as effective as having Republican cuckservatives attack the alt-right on their behalf. The disapproval of Glenn Beck is insurance against disgruntled Republican voters ever exploring the alt-right. Conservatism Inc. is enough of a part of The Cathedral that Leftist threats and intimidation are very effective against churches and magazines like National Review. At one time the purges from National Review were probably initiated for the greater good- to avoid the destruction at the hands of politicians and lawyers that Belloc mentions. William F. Buckley probably genuinely feared that the important anti-communist message of National Review would be obliterated if convenient targets of the Left like the Birchers remained at the magazine. When Ann Coulter and John Derbyshire were dismissed, National Review declined into the intricate verbal jiu jitsu of Jonah-We didn’t stop publishing those authors, they just made themselves the kind of people whose views do not get printed in our magazine-Goldberg. With the case of Mark Steyn National Review descended into parodic insanity. Steyn was purged because his homosexual editor objected to the quotation of a 1950’s Bob Hope joke about gays in Steyn’s article about free speech and political correctness. With friends like these, conservatives have as much to fear from their own side as from the Left, which is why more disillusioned conservatives are entering the ranks of the alt-right every day.
Advantages of the Alt-Right
The alt-right is growing in both size, because the incoherent worldview of the Left has gone from being merely laughable to being literally deadly, and quality, because only above average conservatives have the wit and courage to notice why this is happening and then take action. Barbarian realities are crashing through the veneer of multicultural harmony faster than the Press can explain them away. Anyone who questions the lies of The Cathedral, no matter how much they want to remain alt-lite, will eventually acquiesce to self-deception or join the alt-right. Belloc is optimistic about the chances of a movement so constituted:
“The first thing to note is that the Free Press is not read perfunctorily, but with close attention. The audience it has, if small, is an audience which never misses its pronouncements whether it agrees or disagrees with them, and which is absorbed in its opinions, its statements of fact and its arguments. Look narrowly at History and you will find that all great reforms have started thus; not through a widespread control acting downwards, but through spontaneous energy, local and intensive, acting upwards. You cannot say this of the Official Press, for the simple reason that the Official Press is only of real political interest on rare and brief occasions…One of the proofs of this – a curious, a comic, but a most conclusive proof- is the dependence of the great daily papers on the headline. Ninety-nine people out of a hundred retain this and nothing more, because the matter below is but a flaccid expression of the headline.” p 74
Belloc’s observation of the centrality of the headline is more true in the age of Google News than it was in the days of newspapers. At one time perhaps the editors were ashamed that they could not induce readers to go past the headline, but now the headline is a weapon. Instead of writing articles that are dry restatements of the headline, the Press now conjures up headlines that obscure or even state the exact opposite of what is in the article. The first week of 2017 produced several gems, including, Four arrested after torturing a man live on facebook and, Hate crimes against whites remain rare, despite shocking Facebook torture video. In this the Press has complacently passed the normal bounds of cynicism, which enables the alt-right to easily gain credibility by pointing out obvious Leftist lies on a daily basis. The simple act of exposing deception is effectively a two-pronged attack. The unfortunate dupes of the Press become aware of their status, and journalists confident in their own abilities are shaken when confronted with opponents who do not simply roll over and play dead. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, overtly snubbing the only serious opposition is the sincerest show of fear. Jared Taylor, Peter Brimelow, and Steve Sailer have produced superior content for decades without a hint of their existence appearing in the public consciousness. I have replaced the names of 20th century free journals with our modern equivalents in the following quotation, but the circumstances are the same right down to the fear of becoming controlled opposition:
“Next let it be noted that the Free Press powerfully affects, even when they disagree with it, and most of all when they hate it, the small class through whom in the modern world ideas are spread. There never was a time in European history when the mass of people thought so little for themselves, and depended so much (for the ultimate form of their society) upon the conclusions and vocabulary of a restricted leisured body…So strict has been the boycott…that the editors of, and writers upon, the Free Press probably underestimate their own effect even now…It is almost a point of honour with the Official Press to turn a phrase upside down, or, if they must quote, to quote in the most roundabout fashion, rather than print in plain black and white. One hears of orders given by a politician which prove his fear of the Free Press: of approaches made by this or that Capitalist to obtain control of a free journal: sometimes of a policy initiated, an official document drawn up, a memorandum filed, which proceeded directly from the advise, suggestion, or argument of a Free Paper which no one but its own readers is allowed to hear of, and of whose very existence the suburbs would be sceptical.” p 75-77
The Press fears even the most moderate members of the alt-lite because of the power of truth. A civic nationalist like Trump only reveals the most trite, mild truths to the masses, but once the instinct to question is encouraged the entire Cathedral is at risk. The balance of grievances and thoughtcrimes that support egalitarian multiculturalism is so precarious that a quizzical look would be enough to topple the whole thing. The attention to detail required by political correctness is becoming exhaustingly excessive. A muslim shooting gays at a nightclub is less of an outrage than the Confederate flag flying in South Carolina. Police questioning a BLM protestor is worse than a black activist killing five cops. A black woman making homophobic remarks is worse than a gay man making sexist remarks but not as bad as gays making racist jokes. Looting in Ferguson is less bad than looting in Baltimore, but declaring the white cop not guilty in Baltimore is worse than the same declaration in Ferguson. No wonder the dimwits at Buzzfeed cannot keep up with it all. For all the effort put into building and maintaining political correctness one would think it would be more durable. But a single joke at a Trump rally can sweep it all away. If you do not have the time or inclination to wade through the last 18 months of Scott Adams’s blog posts about Trump being a Master Wizard or Master Persuader, Belloc gets all of the main points into one long paragraph:
“Next consider this powerful factor in the business. The truth confirms itself. If they had not read anything suggesting the truth, it is quite upon the cards that the false suggestion would still have weight with them, in spite of the evidence of their senses. Men are so built that uncontradicted falsehood sufficiently repeated does have that curious power of illusion. A man having heard the speech delivered by the old gentleman, if there were nothing but the Official Press to inform opinion, might go away saying to himself: “I was not very much impressed, but no doubt that was due to my own weariness. I cannot but believe that the general reputation he bears is well founded. He must be a great orator, for I have always heard him called one… The man who tells the truth when his colleagues around him are lying, always enjoys a certain restricted power of prophecy… This power of prophecy, which is an adjunct of truth telling, I have noticed to affect people very profoundly.” p 78-80
Mere truth telling is effective for alt-lite politicians and civic nationalists; the true province of the alt-right is the white magic of memes. Belloc serves the one true God, higher than Kek, who dispenses all good gifts to men, including the external confirmation of our sincerest prayers. The God who, as H.L. Mencken said, is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh, is not averse to sending a plague of frogs at an opportune moment.5 Belloc calls it a superstition, but anyone familiar with alt-right Twitter accounts knows that meme magic is a fine art:
“There is not a single thing which the Free Papers have earnestly said during the last few years which has not been borne out by events- and sometimes borne out with astonishing rapidity and identity of detail. It would, perhaps, be superstitious to believe that strong and courageous truth-telling calls down from Heaven, new, unexpected, and vivid examples to support it. But, really, the events of the last few years would almost incline one to that superstition. The Free Press has hardly to point out some political truth which the Official Press has refused to publish, when the stars in their courses seem to fight for that truth. It is thrust into the public gaze by some abnormal accident immediately after!” p 81
Belloc ascribes a limited mandate of heaven to truth-tellers in any era, and he has a higher opinion of the Free Press than of the Official Press. We should not take too sanguine a view of our present circumstances on that account; Belloc was a member of Parliament, not an ostracized crank, yet the Free Press of the 1920’s could not prevent Britain’s slide into socialism and post-colonial white guilt. It is possible that the rise of the alt-right is the last flicker of opposition before a long period of stagnation. The multicultural world order may have to end in a conflagration just as European civilization died in the World Wars. We stand a better chance of avoiding that fate if we can improve the alt-right by addressing Belloc’s criticisms.
Problems for the Alt-Right
Belloc’s critique of the Free Press divides into two categories, circumstantial problems and intrinsic problems. The nature of The Cathedral has not allowed the alt-right to develop as we may have hoped. We lack support from academic and social institutions, relying instead on passionate individuals. The only way to improve the alt-right in this respect is to grow and win. Circumstantial problems, on the other hand, can be addressed by the movement in its present form. Belloc could not foresee the potential for effective anonymous activism that arrived with the internet. Raising funds and becoming a mass movement were much more difficult a century ago. Online platforms may well be a Kekist intervention in reality; they seem so specially designed to overcome the difficulties the Free Press faced in the past. The alt-right has more efficient ways to harness available talent than the Free Press in any previous era, but divergent levels of seriousness and professionalism can still be a problem:
“The Free Press in its beginnings did not attack as an enemy. It only timidly claimed to be heard. It regarded itself as a “specialty.”…And there went with it a mass of excentric stuff… This Propagandist origin of the Free Press stamped it from its outset with a character it still bears, and will continue to bear, until it has had the effect in correcting, and, perhaps, destroying, the Official Press…The Free Press gives you the truth; but only in disjointed sections, for it is disparate and it is particularist: it is marked with isolation.” p 57-59
“[Y]ou get the fact that the Free Press has come to depend upon individuals, and thus fails to be as yet an institution. It is difficult to see how any of the papers I have named would long survive the loss of their present editorship…The Free Press, therefore, so long as it springs from many and varied minorities, not only suffers everywhere from an audience restricted…but from preaching to the converted. It does get hold of a certain outside public which increases slowly, but it captures no great area of public attention at any one time.” p 66
If journalists were smart they would leave the alt-right in their corner of the internet preaching to the converted while the country passes the demographic point of no return. That crusading SJW mentality is too strong to resist, so very simple trolling efforts yield national news coverage, interviews and notoriety. Several blogs also aggregate the best alt-right content each week, so we are already overcoming our isolation and lack of public attention. A few journalists are seeking to create an alt-right Emmanuel Goldstein for the public to hate. Richard Spencer was a leading candidate after the 2016 NPI conference, but the panic induced on the Left every time a normie googles Radix Journal is probably too much for most journalists to stomach. The ingrained habits of the news-reading public do work to the advantage of the Official Press. No one wants to hear that they have invested hours of their day in nonsense and lies, so the first response of many normies is to roll their eyes at the egotism of the alt-right:
“With the mass even of well-educated and observant men the feeling created by the novel power of the great papers was little more than a vague ill ease…Men had for some time made it a normal thing to read their daily paper; to believe what it told them to be facts, and even in a great measure to accept its opinions. A new voice criticizing by implication, or directly blaming or ridiculing a habit so formed, was necessarily an unpopular voice with the mass of readers.” p 61-63
Despite what any republican would like to believe, humanity craves authority, and the imprimatur of the fancy letterhead atop the New York Times front page is not nothing. A reference to a completely factual blog post does not carry the same weight as a reference to a cable news channel or university. I once asked a philosophy professor for his opinion of a particular academic book. Without knowing anything about the author or content, he glanced at the title page and said, “Well, it is from Princeton University Press, so it must be good.” I sold the book the next week. Trust of respected sources solely because of their level of social acceptability is inversely correlated to an individual’s level of red-pilling. One of Glenn Beck’s recurring nightmares is that the alt-right will look so professional and reasonable that otherwise solid conservatives may be tricked into supporting white European interests. The Press keeps the alt-right socially unacceptable by choking off any supply of funds that would aid in professionalization:
“Stupidity, for instance, would account for the great advertisers not advertising articles of luxury in a paper with only a three thousand a week circulation, even if that paper were read from cover to cover by all the rich people in England; but it would not account for absence in the Free Press alone of advertisements appearing in every other kind of paper, and in many organs of far smaller circulation than the Free Press papers have. The boycott is deliberate, and is persistently maintained… It is not only a boycott of advertisement: it is a boycott of quotation. Most of the governing class know the Free Press. The vast lower middle class does not yet know that it exists.” p 67
Finally, Belloc noticed the beginnings of the society Huxley depicted in Brave New World, a society in which the lower middle class does not even want to know about the Free Press so long as The Cathedral provides basic material comforts. In this passage Belloc truly shows himself to be a century ahead of his time. As bad as the situation was in the England of 1918, the final destructive stage of Leftism had not yet been reached. In the early 20th century all politicians said, and many believed, that the measures they proposed would benefit their citizenry. Only in the past few decades has demographic displacement of the white race been globalized, institutionalized, and openly avowed by politicians and academics. It was too much to hope that the average worker in 1918 would react to the irresponsibility of elites by demanding a total reform of the government, but there is hope that the dire circumstances of 2017 will create a reaction more fundamental and far-reaching than the election of Donald Trump:
“What I do doubt in the approaching and already apparent success of the Free Press is its power to effect democratic reform. It will succeed at last in getting the truth told pretty openly and pretty thoroughly…But what I do not see is the avenue whereby the great mass of the people can now be restored to an interest in the way in which they are governed, or even in the re-establishment of their own economic independence. So far as I can gather from the life around me, the popular appetite for freedom and even for criticism has disappeared. The wage-earner demands sufficient and regular subsistence, including a system of pensions, and, as part of his definition of subsistence and sufficiency, a due portion of leisure. That he demands a property in the means of production, I can see no sign whatever…All we can hope to do is, for the moment, negative: in my view at least. We can undermine the power of the Capitalist Press. We can expose it as we have exposed the Politicians. It is very powerful but very vulnerable- as are all human things that repose on a lie.” p 84
Belloc’s analysis of the Press can hardly be improved upon. The examples are a bit out of date, but the philosophy is sound. European civilization created the Press as an efficient means of disseminating information, but Capitalism and Finance began to use the Press for their own purposes. Most citizens now have access only to such ideas and topics as their masters desire them to see. Those unhappy few who noticed the dichotomy between reality and the news have become almost unwillingly the founders of the new alt-right movement. The alt-right has passion, truth, and wit to match against time and money, which favor the Official Press. Our victory as critics of the Official Press is all but assured, but the much more difficult task of reforming society depends on awakening a majority of the people to their peril. That victory is far less certain.
I leave the final space in this essay for Belloc’s last words in The Free Press. This is the animating spirit of the alt-right. We are the inheritors of a great tradition, and we cannot let our lives slip by without speaking in defense of the civilization of our ancestors, whatever the consequences:
“No man who has the truth to tell and the power to tell it can long remain hiding it from fear or even from despair without ignominy. To release the truth against whatever odds, even if so doing can no longer help the Commonwealth, is a necessity for the soul. We have also this last consolation, that those who leave us and attach themselves from fear or greed to the stronger party of dissemblers gradually lose thereby their chance of fame in letters. Sound writing cannot survive in the air of mechanical hypocrisy. They with their enormous modern audiences are the hacks doomed to oblivion. We, under the modern silence, are the inheritors of those who built up the political greatness of England upon a foundation of free speech, and of the prose which it begets. Those who prefer to sell themselves or to be cowed gain, as a rule, not even that ephemeral security for which they betrayed their fellows; meanwhile, they leave to us the only solid and permanent form of political power, which is the gift of mastery through persuasion.” p 86
- Belloc is one of the most undervalued commentators of the 20th century. He has been deliberately forgotten because as a Catholic traditionalist he attacked in print, among other things, Industrial Capitalism, Communism, Islam, and Protestantism. Oh, and he wrote a book entitled The Jews. Sample quote: “The Jews are an alien body within the society they inhabit-hence irritation and friction-a problem is presented by the strains thus set up-the solution of that problem is urgently necessary. An alien body in an organism is disposed of in one of two ways: elimination and segregation.”
- Military Pedagogy: A Soviet View, Chapter 2.
- All page references are to the 2002 IHS Press edition of The Free Press.
- Parliament of Whores, Chapter 5.
- The full quotation reads, “Creator: A comedian whose audience is afraid to laugh. Three proofs of his humor: democracy, hay fever, any fat woman.” A Book of Burlesques, Chapter 11.