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Ruminations on Moral Cowardice

By Cory Lanus

Yesterday I wrote a piece on Christianity where I referenced the ‘atom of unreasonability’ at the heart of the faith as one of reasons it has been so powerful. The idea that at its core, a moral system must have an atom or unreasonability, an essence of irrationality, is hardly original, but the more I think on it, the more valuable I perceive it to be. George Bernard Shaw once famously said: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man”. We are called on every day to be reasonable, and told that the only way to personal wellbeing, comfort, and security is to be reasonable. One dares not rock the boat or call attention to themselves. It is easier to become a victim to groupthink and an accomplice by inaction to wrongdoing than it is to stand against predators and evil doers.

Let me take this lofty principle and apply it to practical situations. In the low rent showbiz environment that is dissident right and / or white nationalist entertainment, there are people widely reputed to be scumbags, often with good reason. Just like in real showbiz, of course. People, despite knowing and seeing some of these characters act in a loathsome manner, continue to watch, donate, go on, and promote for such individuals because the good they are perceived to accomplish by amassing an audience is seen to outweigh whatever individual flaws they have.  These people, themselves, are not ignorant of this specific bit of cognitive dissonance, and in fact often exploit it intentionally. Soon enough we end up with a chattering class filled with narcissists, grifters, subversives, deviants and a whole galaxy of sexual, physical, emotional, and chemical abusers. Little things, like taking care of the prisoners, or actually fighting for the cause get left by the wayside. After all, it is much more reasonable to go along with such a system than to be unreasonable and earn its ire.

The Shining Path guerillas in Peru are a good example of how this path works and where it leads. For a while they were one of the more successful Maoist revolutionary groups outside of China. Battlefield setbacks and attacks on the leadership led to the remaining leadership changing tact. They decided that fighting the revolution was too hard and dangerous, especially for those rebel leaders who were calling the shots. So they instead began to prioritize dealing drugs. At first, it seemed very reasonable. How else does one fund a national revolutionary campaign? But soon the leadership realized that there was far more profit and much less danger in selling drugs than in fighting the army. I’m sure they communicated the strategic shift to their underlings with much deftness and appeals to Maoist principles. But of course, no matter how much money they made off selling drugs, it never was enough to justify returning to the struggle in a serious way. Eventually, it just seemed reasonable to these ideological revolutionaries that they should be cynical narcos.

The concept of Europeans’ ‘Faustian Spirit’ is tied into this unreasonability. The problem for advocates of this philosophy is that this very unreasonability is at cross purposes with creating and leading a political movement. The unreasonable man does not accept compromise, nor does he see the ‘lesser evil’. The unreasonable man does not care about optics, and is not worried about getting into the GOP or onto Fox News. The unreasonable man demands action and seeks martyrdom, despite the costs of such things. Us westerners have great difficulty understanding the psychology of suicide bombers, precisely because such a thing is seen as being unreasonable. We grapple morally with the actions of men such as McVeigh, Brevik, and Tarrant because they are so at odds with what is seen as rational. No ‘leader’ could possibly see there being any reason to expose themselves to as much personal and reputational harm in such a manner. I will reserve judgement of these men and analysis of their actions for another day, but I will say this: they were not moral cowards.

This leads us to the real problem that being reasonable has created, an environment of moral cowardice. Men and boys who have never held real jobs, and can now never hold real jobs tell you to dox yourself and join them on their children’s crusade. They say you are a coward if you do not expose yourself foolishly as they have. It is hilarious to see this sort attack the disciples of Buckley, when in a serious way they are his modern inheritors. Instead of purging you for being a Bircher, now you will be purged for being a wignat, or wanting to stay anonymous, or not disavowing violent acts. These Buckleyites are the true moral cowards, seeking to appease the powers that are attempting to destroy their people. They think if they just purge enough, if they appease enough, they can get into the country club, that the GOP and its auxiliaries will embrace them and the left will stop calling them nazis.

We are different from the majority in that we have been awoken to a terrible moral evil being perpetrated that most are content to ignore and some cynically embrace. What is happening to Europeans and their descendents globally is a moral issue. Zionism is a moral issue. Things should be fought not because it is convenient or politic but because it is the right thing to do. Taking a practical stand instead of a principled stand is the height of moral cowardice and to be honest when I hear people use such rhetoric, it sickens me. The problem that such practical and reasonable people bring is this practicality and reasonability leads to groupthink and bad strategic decisions being made. Leaders are terrified to risk what shreds of respectability and comfort they have, so they strive to be reasonable and practical. Well meaning people are often brought into the tent of reasonable and practical people and become complicit in their moral cowardice because of personal respect or lack of an alternative.

Barry Goldwater, the 1964 GOP’s stand in for Uriah declared: “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”, and while Mr. Goldwater and I may debate the virtues of liberty at a later point, his point here is sound. It is not being an extremist or having moderation that justifies or defends your beliefs, it is the moral principles on which they reside. If your cause is based on a clear moral argument, then do not concern yourself with optics, reasonability, practical personal politics, or any of the multitude of other concerns of self envisioned leaders. Worry about staying moral and being effective, and leave the drug dealing to the Buckleyites.

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