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Thoughts out of season – the future of traditionalism (Part Two)

By Mark Wegierski
web posted March 12, 2012

(The earliest drafts of this essay go back to October 1985. – Author's note)

One may sharply argue that the differences between the actual Final Ends (or telos) of liberalism and Marxism, as seen by traditionalist thought, are relatively minor. These may be characterized as the differences between the "Brave New World" of Aldous Huxley (where, to paraphrase the pre-eminent Canadian political philosopher, George Parkin Grant -- Truth has been abolished, and every orifice is incessantly satisfied in a never-ending mindless hedonism); and the Nineteen Eighty-Four nightmare of George Orwell. (That is, of course, the real Nineteen Eighty-Four of pure evil, not that of the trivialized common media usage.)

In the last three decades or so, we have also been proffered "new nightmares," as a possible terminal point for humankind -- such worlds as those represented in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (loosely based on Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?); John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar; Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange (audaciously filmed by Stanley Kubrick); Verhoeven's RoboCop; Terry Gilliam's Brazil; Robert Longo's Johnny Mnemonic (from the short story by William Gibson); the Terminator, Mad Max, and Aliens movie-series; Judge Dredd; as well as the Max Headroom TV series (which takes place "twenty minutes from now"). Two older movies are Logan's Run, which presents a sensual, Brave New World-type society, with one catch -- you are scheduled for termination at age thirty; and Outland, which presents a variant of the gritty future on a brutal mining colony near Saturn. The movies Wall Street, and Paddy Chayefsky's Network offer critical portrayals of our own, contemporary society. Finally, one must mention Jean Raspail's extraordinary book, The Camp of the Saints, which graphically explores problems of overpopulation and mass migration from the Third World to the First.

With every year, the traditionalist thinker would argue, the "friendly" control of the corporate/media tyranny over what were once the traditional societies of the West becomes ever tighter. The last vestiges of premodern society, including positions which have been held for virtually all of previous human history and prehistory, are ruthlessly offered up to the dark idols of radical freedom and radical equality, which have led humankind to the guillotines and beyond. Hardly anyone dares to publicly challenge the bloated sacred cows of the "consensus." The desiccation and destruction of a living history and past, and of authentic philosophy and authentic language proceeds apace -- in Economic Society, the human person is expected to live on the ever-thinning line of an ever-diminishing present of material bliss. The elected government -- "chosen by the people" -- increasingly appears as the least important element of late modern liberal society. Instead of Big Brother, we have the kindly face of Peter Mansbridge (or Dan Rather) telling us "the truth" (constructing "reality" for us), on the telescreens of CBC or ABC or NBC or CBS.

One may wonder why it is today that in Canada, for example, a typical political party convention (as in the January 1985 Tory leadership race in the province of Ontario) becomes a three-ring circus, a bedlam, a satiation of all the grossest appetites and impulses; that all politics seems degraded to the level of pork-barreling and petty intrigues over nothing substantial; that manipulators and sycophants and morons advance most rapidly in such parties? One possible answer is that the persons in such political parties have no real power; that they have sold out the chance of ever exercising real power; and it is only for the grossest material benefits that they join such "political parties." The politicians, it may be argued, are effectively at the beck and call of the real rulers of this society, the media oligarchs, who with a word can consign a person to ignominy, and with another elevate their champion.

To be continued. ESR

Mark Wegierski is a Canadian writer and historical researcher.

 

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