The Black Pill: Yockey and the End of History
by James Shellshear
FRANCIS PARKER Yockey was born a hundred years ago this year, and his masterpiece, Imperium, was written seventy years ago. It is appropriate, then, to re-examine Yockey’s work and ask the question: Did his predictions turn out to be right?
Yockey believed, at the time of writing Imperium, that the Resurgence of Authority – which had been crushed in Europe by the combined might of the Allied and Soviet armies – would return in the decades to come. At times, he even declares that ‘By 1980’ or ‘By 2000’ that the values he champions in Imperium – hierarchy, discipline, authoritarianism, veneration for the West and for ‘race’ – would triumph, that the men who ruled the Continent of Europe from 1941 to 1944 would rule it again, and that the period’s most outstanding and pre-eminent European statesman (who Yockey refers to obliquely as ‘The Hero’) would become an inspiration and a model to Europeans of future generations.
Yockey, to a certain extent, was justified in believing this. At the time of writing, Europe lay in ruins, and millions of Germans were being starved, ethnically cleansed, killed. The leadership caste of Europe – what Yockey calls the ‘Culture-bearing stratum’ – were interned in camps and prisons, and certain of them had been put on trial, tortured, executed by the Soviets and the Allies. But – and here the silver lining emerged in the cloud – a large number of that ‘Stratum’ survived the Allied purge and terror (Yockey puts their numbers at around 250,000). Given that this cadre would go on to exert some influence in the Europe to come, given that the Resurgence of Authority was a recent memory (the war had ended five minutes, so to speak, before the writing of Imperium), given that the Allied and Soviet occupiers had failed to improve the lives of the defeated population of Europe clinging to a miserable existence in the rubble – it was not unreasonable to suppose that the Resurgence of Authority would rise like a phoenix from the ashes.
But it was not to be. The forties passed in to the fifties. By 1950, the Soviets and Allies stopped persecuting and exterminating the Germans, and the Japanese and German economic miracles – propelled by tax cuts and currencies fixed to the US dollar – had begun. The survivors of the war seemed to want to forget it, understandably enough, and as a result, prospects seemed grim for the Resurgence of Authority. Yockey’s last published piece of writing, ‘The World in Flames’, written in 1960, the year of his death, strikes a cynical and pessimistic note. Gone is the fervent optimism of Imperium. The world is divided up between two geopolitical players, the US and the USSR, and Yockey’s pan-European Imperium is no longer waiting around the corner. And this state of affairs – in which Washington Jews and Russian Mongols wield all the power, and Europe is caught in the middle – will continue, he says, without respite into the foreseeable future.
The newspaper tag of “East versus West” is meaningless. It is East versus East, with the West supplying the lives and treasure for destruction.
If Russia represents the Principle of Stupidity, then Zionism represents the Principle of Malice. Of course neither of the two is without the leading characteristic of the other, but stupidity reigns in Moscow, and Malice in Washington.
The orchestra is in the pit, the spectators gape uncomprehending, the curtains rustle with expectation. The play is entitled “Where Ignorant Armies Clash by Night.” Stupidity is in the lead, supported by Malice. The producer is Destruction, and the company is called The Forces of Darkness.
Yockey had swallowed, in the parlance of the Alt-Right, the ‘black pill’. It is now fifty-seven years later. The geopolitical conditions outlined in ‘World-‘ have remained more or less the same; the only real difference is that the ‘Mongols in the Kremlin’, as Yockey called them, have ditched communism for state capitalism. They also gave up Eastern Europe, and their half of Germany (but, under Putin, show all the signs of wanting them back).
But how do things look for the Resurgence of Authority? Relatively speaking, good; overall, bad. The last twenty years has seen an explosion of interest in our movement, thanks largely to the Internet; Yockey’s own works have now become available, online, in every home, something he could not have foreseen in 1960. As well as that, Washington – and Israel – have seen a steady decline in power since the start of the 21st century. Washington has lost wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel in Gaza and Lebanon. Yockey explains, in Imperium and elsewhere, that military defeats do not necessarily lead to political ones. But in general, they coincide. And if political power flows away from one political entity, it must end up elsewhere – somewhere. Under the aegis of the Obamas, the Hollandes, the Merkels, the Camerons, the liberal establishment which rules the West has seen a steady erosion in its power, and as a consequence, some of that power has wound up in the hands of the ‘Far Right’.
These power-shifts manifest themselves in the sphere of ideas. Yockey, on being told of the above, would say ‘Excellent – belief in the ideas of my enemies is declining, so belief in my ideas (and those of my political comrades-in-arms, Julius Evola, Leon Degrelle, Otto Remer, Maurice Bardèche) must be rising’. But not so fast. In the present decade, the European Far-Right populists have benefited, and so have the Duginists (the advocates of Eurasianism and the ‘Fourth Political Theory’), but as a whole, the Far Right has moved no closer – or only imperceptibly closer – to a renewed embrace of the Resurgence of Authority. We only need to look at the “Alt-Right.” A distinction can be made between the ‘soft’ Alt-Lite and the ‘hard’ Alt-Right, but both of them share one thing in common: conservatism. Both the Alt-Rightists [many of them, anyway — Ed.] and Alt-Lightists are conservatives in disguise – not radicals, like Yockey.
This year sees the hundredth anniversary, not only of Yockey’s birth, but of the Russian October revolution. Certain prominent agitators and intellectuals on the Far Left are using the occasion to make the argument that a return to Lenin, and to Bolshevism, is needed. The Left is forever living in the past, and in one section of the past. They focus obsessively on the Lenin years of the Soviet Union, and produce endless treatises and reprints of material from that period; the Soviet Union of the Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Gorbachev years is studiously ignored. And equally ignored is the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. No word of that bad news must reach the ears of the Marxist-Leninist; otherwise, the foundations of their thought would give way. And so would their strategy. The events of 1989 to 1991 raise for them some uncomfortable questions of strategy and tactics. For starters: How are the state capitalists (or market socialists) who run today’s Russia, China, Vietnam to be overthrown? How, after 75 years of trying Marxism, is Russia to be persuaded to take Bolshevism up again?
Marxism places an undue emphasis on history and predicting history’s twists and turns; it was founded on the historicist philosophy of Hegel, Marx, and Engels. Marxism’s ultimate justification was that history would prove it right; its truth would be confirmed by practice, not by theory. Real-world political events would play the decisive role, not economic textbook hypotheses. But by 1991, it had become clear to the world – but not to the Marxist intellectuals – that, irony of ironies, Marxism had wound up in the dustbin of history. It had been superseded.
Marxism’s moment had passed. Europe and the West had entered a new era – the era of postmodernism and Francis Fukuyama’s End of History and the Last Man (1992), a popularisation, or one could say vulgarisation, of the ideas of the French philosopher Alexandre Kojève.
How does this bear on the Far Right? The answer is that we, perhaps, are guilty of making the same mistakes as the Marxist intellectuals. Many Trotskyites seem to believe that Soviet history, and world history, came to an end somewhere around 1940, the year of Trotsky’s death. As a consequence, they were unable to respond to actual political developments, which were viewed through the prism of Trotskyite ideas. Khrushchev, Brezhnev, even Gorbachev were all characterised as ‘Stalinists’, as were Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Castro… The Far Right should not place itself in the position as the Trotskyists – who even today are proclaiming that ‘Back to Lenin’ and ‘Back to Trotsky’ is the answer – and come up with counterpart slogans, ‘Back to Yockey’, ‘Back to Evola’, ‘Back to Degrelle’…
The corollary to this is that we should recognise modern realities. Yockey demands great struggle, heroism, self-sacrifice, renunciation, from his followers – the manly virtues, the martial virtues. But, following Kojève and Fukuyama, it is arguable that our age – especially since the collapse of communism – should be regarded as one where struggle is absent. It also marked by irony and blaséness, which stand in contrast to Yockey’s almost Wagnerian seriousness and apocalypticism. We have reached the ‘end of history’, meaning that the political struggle over what ideas are best and what is the most perfect means or ordering our lives has come to an end. There will be no more ‘fights’, that is, no more serious struggles of the sort we saw in the Second World War and every significant war in Western history before that. Hegel believed that history had come to an end with the French Revolution and Napoleon, who had swept away the ancien régime and the institution of absolute monarchy and had replaced them with (what then were) two dangerous ideas: nationalism and democracy. The social and political arrangement of the post-Napoleonic era would prove to be the last, argued Hegel: History would henceforth come to an end (but not time, which flows on regardless). Kojève had expanded on the argument, and had identified the Second World War (which had removed the very last vestiges of feudalism from Europe) as history’s end. Fukuyama, in turn, identified the collapse of Soviet communism in the early 1990s as the end, and saw liberal democracy as the fulfilment of Hegel’s Idea. (Fukuyama should be credited with showing prescience: he first argued for his thesis in an essay, ‘The End of History?’, which was published in the summer of 1989, right before the collapse of the Berlin wall). [Perhaps all these “alternate endings” simply prove that history, like the struggle of organisms to survive, has not ended, and indeed cannot end. — Ed.]
The end of history shall be distinguished, according to Kojève, by its extreme lack of seriousness and its hedonism – what he calls ‘play’. This makes a perfect fit with postmodernism’s favourite themes: irony, jokiness, vacuousness, inanity, rootlessness and vapid enjoyment of consumer culture. Nothing embodies the postmodern Zeitgeist better than the Jewish-American TV show Seinfeld (1989-1998), the self-declared ‘show about nothing’. The insipid characters live in prosperous New York and experience no wants, worries, disappointments, grand passions, tragedy. They take nothing seriously. The famous episode ‘The Limo’ (1992), satirises American White nationalism; George Costanzas (played by the Jewish actor Jason Alexander) is mistaken for a generic White nationalist leader, Donald O’Brien, head of the Aryan Union. O’Brien is based on either David Duke, Tom Metzger, or William Pierce, but the Jewish writers of the show do not regard him with hatred and hysteria; they do not react to him in the way that the Anti-Defamation League or the Southern Poverty Law Centre or the antifascist Left would. ‘Nobody lies so much as the indignant man’, says Nietzsche, the inspiration of all postmodern thinkers, and treating O’Brien in an unironic fashion would have not been in keeping with the postmodern spirit of Seinfeld.
Postmodernism began its life in France; it was founded by the poststructuralist thinkers Derrida, Foucault, Barthes, Baudrillard, and Lyotard. These were not men of Yockey’s generation – most of them were born in the 1920s – and so had lived through, but not participated, in the struggles of the 1940s. They were Marxists, but ended up abandoning Marxism, around the time of the French Left’s failed revolution of 1968.
This post-Marxist approach situated them to take advantage of the collapse of communism in 1991. Poststructuralism was conceived in the 1960s and 1970s and expanded rapidly in the 1980s, becoming a sort of intellectual consumer item every academic had to own; it took root mainly in North American literature and art history departments. By the 1990s, it attained full maturity. The old, economic Marxism of Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao had been replaced by the new, cultural Marxism of Foucault, Baudrillard, Derrida. It was around this time “queer theory,” women’s studies, Black studies first appeared on university campuses in the West. It is the poststructuralists, and not the much-earlier Frankfurt School, who should rightfully be seen as the originators of Political Correctness.
Why did poststructuralism and postmodernism succeed? Many reasons, but the main was the cachet enjoyed by France in America, a country which with France has had a long and complicated relationship. Nowadays, France has been Africanised, Islamised. But at the time that postmodernism first landed on American shores, France seemed desirable and glamorous; in the popular imagination the word France evoked women’s fashions, New Wave cinema, intellectuals smoking gauloises in West Bank cafés … France as a country venerated its thinkers and made them public figures, media personalities, celebrities; to North American academics, France treated intellectuals with the seriousness they deserved.
One has to ask what the poststructuralist thinkers – who are now all dead – would have thought of today’s France; what would their honest opinions have been of France’s Africanisation and Islamisation. Surely they could not have been pleased. All the heroes of their pantheon – the thinkers Marx, Freud, Heidegger, Husserl, Nietzsche, de Saussure, Kant, Hegel, the writers Joyce, Mallarmé, Racine – were “white”; never mind the fact that Marx, Freud, Husserl were Jews, and (in the case of Husserl and Freud) Jews persecuted by the Resurgence of Authority: The immigrants in France regard them as White and poststructuralism as a White man’s affair.
The curious thing is that, with the passage of time, these leftist, post-Marxist French thinkers have come to symbolise a long-lost White France. To paraphrase Richard Spencer, they are the last stand of implicit White identity.
The argument could be made that none of this matters, as postmodernism turned out to be an intellectual fad, and died after it reached its peak in the nineties – that it, rightly considered, is a relic of the nineties. After the 9/11 terrorist attack, and the American invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, a new sincerity, a new seriousness, overtook the West; the pleasant, jokey, nihilistic irony of Seinfeld and the postmodernists was done away with – thrown into the dustbin of history, one might say. The French thinkers lacked depth and substance, and staying power, and their thought, while suited to the nineties, was unsuited to the 2000s. The Left by and large has discarded them and reverted to the street violence, mob action, and ‘community organising’ of the sixties and seventies. They slander, smear, and calumniate their opponents and call for their destruction. The ultra-serious politics of Germany in the Weimar era has returned. Yockey would have been delighted.
But this could be another instance of history appearing the first time as tragedy, the second as farce, to borrow Marx’s phrase. The second time around, the Resurgence of Authority looks like a joke, an ironical, affected attitude. This proves that postmodernism never died, it went underground. As evidence of this, one only has to look at the quirky irony of the Alt-Right, its Chan culture, its ‘fashy memes’. Are the ‘autists’ of the Chan culture really advocating a return to the Resurgence of Authority and the politics of Yockey’s ‘Hero’ – or are they playing games? Are they merely trying to get a rise out of their opponents? Is their Jew-baiting, their use of the symbols of the Resurgence of Authority simply ‘trolling’, or is it for real? If the answer is the former, and not the latter, one must ask: is this what nationalist and Far Right politics come down to: teasing?
As to what Yockey would have made of this is anyone’s guess.
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Source: Nationalist Alternative