The following is a discussion which took place in the West Coast Reactionaries Skype group on the eleventh of November, 2016. It began about Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the race for the U.S. presidency, but moved into a conversation about mercy and virtue. The contrast between the Traditional and modern approaches are very clear to see in this conversation, hence I sought to archive it, as it serves as an important case-study for us contemporary Rightists and those of an illiberal bent to learn from.
James: I feel bad for her. All of her ambitions wasted because she clung onto such a chimera and couldn’t read the winds.
John: I kind of do as well, but then I remember that she totally deserves this.
Alexander: “I feel bad for her.” Lad…
James: She’s this grandmother that tried to do something. She’s formidable. Considering all of her setbacks I actually raise a glass to her. She really did fight hard. I don’t believe that she’s some martyr for her cause — I recognize the fact that she worked diligently and put on a strong face despite her husband being a total philanderer. She was trying to handle international diplomacy while not knowing how to use a personal computer. I respect her chops for aiming for something so high.
Alexander: Is this a new meme?
James: Maybe if you stopped thinking in memetic tones all the time, Alex, you’d understand humanity a bit more.
Alexander: Why respect objectively wicked people?
Rapture: James is dead to me.
Alexander: I think he’s looking for the person behind the politician, but there isn’t one.
Rapture: Yeah, just kidding. I get it: it is good we have these human sympathies for our fellow man. but too much of course gets us into this mess to begin with.
James: I find it to be the more adult thing to be able to withstand respecting someone for their effort and still be immune to being seduced by them.
John: Ambition for ambition’s sake is not really worthy of praise in my book. I’m not one for kicking people when they’re down, but we’re talking about a truly vile sociopath here that deserved what she got.
James: I don’t need to resort to the lobotomy of demonization in order to stay clear of someone. I can still appreciate the angelic creation of Satan’s being without worshipping him. The fact that Hillary has done all of this while being a frail grandmother is far greater than the surging masses that simply went along with the “movement.”
Rapture: I make more sacrifices for my dog than she does for her grandchild.
John: I don’t respect people just because they lost. Sometimes losses are more than deserved. The fact that she is an old woman does not change that. I wish her luck with the rest of her life, and hope she stays permanently out of any public office.
Rapture: The problem with praising Hillary is that it is basically akin to praising egalitarianism in a de facto way. I respect, I suppose, her energy and ambition, and relentlessness… but yeah…
James: Quod erat demonstrandum. The magnanimity of the victor is often demonstrated in the mercy and compassion he has to the vanquished.
John: Well that’s exactly what Trump said, isn’t it?
Rapture: “It can be shown.” Yes, but our magnanimity has given us the rise of the dindu.
James: That isn’t magnanimity because the magnanimity I speak of implies that the opponent has been defeated. You are confusing concession for magnanimity. No one has ever, yet, truly defeated the “dindu,” so anything magnanimous towards such a thing hasn’t even happened yet.
John: “The magnanimity of the victor is often demonstrated in the mercy and compassion he has to the vanquished.” Misguided mercy and compassion is what has led us down the path of ruin and necessitated the rise of Trump in the first place. Hillary is not “vanquished” so long as the system she is a part of is not “vanquished.” Only if she retreats from public life and stops advocating on behalf of the system will I even consider mercy and compassion.
James: It is men not having the courage to be merciful and compassionate — two parts of the overall solidity of real virtue — which has led us down the path of ruin. To say it is otherwise — to blame the “other” for it is short-sighted.
Rapture: I was a liberal not too long ago, so I totally understand and maintain reverence for magnanimity/empathy/compassion. Truth is, I wish I could exercise more of it, but I can’t.
James: Mercy and compassion are not things we put aside just to achieve some political end later. They have to be part of our very being, even while we’re fighting. It is not victory at all costs but victory for the right cause. Your siege mentality and resorting to titanic “chaos magic” — your autolobotomy in order to be the better warrior — is a disservice to your soul. One does not need to be a Hulk to win, one must be a paladin. It is not enough to be a soldier, one must be a knight — and one can have both the virtue and the tenacity to fight.
Rapture: That is similar to what the liberal protesters are thinking now as they march in U.S. streets, but they don’t see their own dissolution.
John: We have been more than merciful to every oppressed and marginalized group under the Sun, to our own ruin. Surely you see this James?
James: That is what you call “mercy,” but even if I were to pretend for a moment that you mean the same thing I do, the answer to an abundance of mercy is not to switch to severity, but to mix severity with mercy together; it is not to abandon mercy altogether, but to realize what was missing in the first place. The solution is not to become bipolar but to be individuated, constituted, resolved. You swing too far the other way as a reaction.
John: That sounds better.
Rapture: I assume most of us have become used to playing the part of villain. Someone has to pull the trigger. Sounds simplistic, but reality is ugly. I prefer ivory towers and musty tomes but our peoples are dying.
James: The question is whether you wallow in that ugliness or attempt to present an idealization to synthesize between the good and the ugly — to sanctify it and make it holy.
John: What if your ideals destroy you?
James: Better to die once than to die a thousand times through compromise.
Alexander: I like the way you think.
James: If your ideals destroy you, then show me the courage of your ideals, unless you are a coward, John Doe, who would rather live.
Alexander: Only cowards don’t respect Clinton? I’ve been away.
James: No, not just cowards. Cowards implies that there was an expectation to be courageous in the first place. I don’t expect the peasants or the bourgie intellectuals to actually stick to ideals, so they have no call to be courageous. So, if you want to plead exemption from having to die for ideals, then go right ahead.
Rapture: I agree in as much as I am curious to study the Arthurian mythos in an attempt to learn more about English chivalry, et cetera. Still, we cannot allow ourselves to be inactive out of a sense of mercy.
James: Inactivity and mercy are oxymorons. One must be active in order to be merciful. It is a common modern misconception to confuse mercy for inaction or permissiveness.
Alexander: If you’re willing to die for your ideals are you willing to kill others for them?
James: Killing someone, like in an auto de fe, was also a mercy because it recognized the dignity of their person. Character assassination is wholly different.
Alexander: Would it be mercy to just hang Clinton at this point?
John: A lot of our problems in the West stem from a misguided belief in ideals. Look at Merkel. She has destroyed the future of Germany as we know it in order to strive for her ideals of inclusivity, compassion and mercy. Clearly there is something horrifying and perverse with this picture.
James: But the problem is not whether or not we should stick to ideals, but what ideals.
James Hence the ideal of synthesizing both mercy and severity. This is why justice is presented as a scale.
John: But you just mentioned compassion and mercy, so there you go. That’s Merkel right there.
James: She isn’t merciful or compassionate — or are you saying about how I treat her?
John: She is towards the migrants. She’s “Mama Merkel” to them while German women are being raped.
James: That isn’t merciful. Merciful to migrants would be to seek their good; transplanting them to a foreign place and putting them in an occasion of sin is tantamount to pandering to their lower selves — that isn’t mercy at all. (And to compare my respect for Clinton’s tenacity for Merkel’s passivity is laughable.)
John: Does it not benefit the migrants to live in wealthy Germany? Of course it does, at least materially speaking.
James: Materially? Well, then, John Doe, if all you’re seeking is material largeness, then by all means, suck the cock of Mammon all day and call it mercy! But that isn’t at all what the real word means.
Rapture: The problem with this line of argumentation is that you are basically shirking the possible necessity to commit ugly acts in defense of your group. In a way, it is the same as thinking some mindless goon can sacrifice himself through violence while you keep your hands clean and focus on philosophy.
John: [To James] I’m not saying I support it (I don’t), I’m just saying that this “ideals” business can turn ugly very quickly.
James: Of course it can turn ugly. Anything can turn ugly. The solution is not to abandon the ideal but to stick to it. Chastity for clergy can turn ugly, but that doesn’t mean we give up on it, for example. Anything can be abused, that doesn’t negate the necessity of it.
Rapture: We are amongst the most extreme around. If we aren’t willing to defend ourselves, less extreme people will not either.
John: What if the ideal itself causes problems?
James: Depends on the problem. The only problem would be if the ideal itself was false, but we are speaking about two different things — three, actually. One is whether or not one should follow and die for his ideals. The other is whether or not what I said about Clinton is the same as Merkel’s permissiveness — it is categorically not: a true man can respect his enemies while vanquishing them.
And Rapture, of course you should defend yourself. But external threats are not the only attack. You must also defend yourself from interior degradation. It was that degradation that caused all of this in the first place. It was the sacrifice of interior principles in order to achieve external aim which brought about the modern world.
Rapture: Okay. I think we are on the same page. I didn’t mean to imply that I had become devoid of magnanimity, etc..
John: Most ideals are not beneficial in all circumstances. Which is why I am skeptical of ideals in the first place. Mercy can be an ideal to strive for in certain circumstances, but can be disastrous in others.
James: You are taking a democratic mentality to ideals, John.
Rapture: Look at South Africa. They Afrikaners basically have to leave now. They could have wiped out the Zulu but it’s practically too late.
James: Who cares if the plurality of the application of what people call mercy turns out bad? What only matters is if the ideal of mercy can be exercised. You need to shake off these modern, democratic ideas of statistics and polls and the plurality of “examples.” Who cares if most monarchies are now debauched and impotent? Who cares if a great portion of priests molest boys? Even if eighty percent of priests molested boys, does it negate the fact that their hands transform bread into Christ? It doesn’t matter if mercy is used as a tool by the wicked (what they call mercy at least); it doesn’t negate your obligation to be chivalrous.
Rapture: I think we all agree, and are basically arguing for the same thing but from different angles.
James: I think you’re right, but I am so used to playing the villain I wanted to be coy about it.
John: I would agree James, but we have to be very careful about each and every circumstance that we find ourselves in, and treat it on a case by case basis. We need wisdom and discernment. In the case of Clinton, I think it’s fine to respect her zeal and passion, but at the same time we cannot be blinded to the fact that she still has quite a lot of power in the public arena, and that she will more than likely use it in the service of an ideology that is utterly opposed to all of our ideals.
James: It took a few minutes but thankfully we went from “why respect wicked people” to what you said. I consider that to be a good synthesis
Rapture: For example, if Trump was looking for deportation squad volunteers to raid illegals’ homes and drag them out into buses, I’d sign up. Not because I would like doing it, but because I am still physically capable of contributing, and know it is the right course of action. I use ugly examples, but they cut to the point.
Octavian: This is the way I see it. Plutarch wrote a biography about the life of Cornelius Sulla and compared him with the life of Spartan Admiral Lysander. He writes that although Lysander was more honourable and exhibited more clemency to his enemies, he was ultimately unsuccessful in subduing Athens, whereas Sulla was more brutal and ruthless and arguably dishonourable, he was much more successful in subduing Athens, (and Rome herself later on). So, while I admit that I have respect for Hillary as a human-being, her ambitions were ultimately self-focused, and not one of service. Hence why such a person is ripe for corruption. Whether her intentions were good or not is beside the point: one must be careful when exhibiting mercy and clemency. Many who seek a conciliatory attitude usually do-so only to save their own skin. So yes, when necessary, seek a merciful, conciliatory resolution. But do not fool yourself into a corner. To those who remain a threat, show no mercy. Otherwise you set yourself up for betrayal later on, as your enemies regroup and re-strategise. I may be criticised for my Machiavellianism.