Posted on May 17, 2024

The American Right Grows Up

Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, May 17, 2024

Credit: Steven via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

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Auron MacIntyre, The Total State: How Liberal Democracies Become Tyrannies, Regnery, 2024, 208 pp.

The American Right talks about power, realism, and human nature. It acts politically like a naïve child. The American Left talks about equality, empathy, and compassion. It acts politically like a single-minded tribalist.

There are many reasons for this, but part is ideological. In one of his most overlooked and yet important articles, “The Other Side of Modernism: James Burnham and His Legacy” (1987), Sam Francis argued that the American Right did not so much fail to develop an intellectual framework to challenge the Left, but abandoned one. It took refuge in religious fantasies and libertarian delusions rather than develop the modern and realistic worldview of James Burnham. “The Left perceived that Burnham’s inversion of modernism was a far more serious threat to it than the anti-modern traditionalism that many conservatives represented,” he wrote. His warning was prophetic: “Among contemporary conservatives only James Burnham offered a theoretical framework and a practical application of modernist political ideas that challenge the conventional modernist categories as defined by the Left.”

Yet, a “Machiavellian” tradition of power relations and self-interest can seem unsatisfactory. The Left’s messianic appeal is real, which is why its followers can be driven to heights of frenzy. A political tradition that emphasizes that nothing exists except the coldly realistic is, itself, uninspiring, which is why Burnham accepted the power of myth. To urge the American Right to “give up” on its own political myths is to ask it to deny itself.

Sam Francis died with his work tragically unfinished, but his book Leviathan is the closest we have to a complete political testament. It is a detailed analysis of the way managerial elites engineer us from the top down in the system the media call “Our Democracy.” Many white advocates who know Sam Francis from his pithy, sarcastic, and scathing polemics on racial politics might find an academic tome on James Burnham’s political theories surprising or even boring. For “normal” conservatives, however, Francis’s work on power dynamics is safer to discuss than his racial politics.

President Reagan giving James Burnham the Presidential Medal of Freedom, February 23, 1983.

Mainstream American conservatives, however, still take refuge in myths about the Constitution, limited government, or the promise of a restoration under a political savior. The result is that American conservatism is either intellectually unserious or on the fringe. Sam Francis’s warnings about the intellectual failures of the American Right are as relevant now as they were 40 years ago. We need a conservative writer from the mainstream to get conservatives to think seriously about power, rather than someone from the Dissident Right offering another outsider critique.

The Total State by Auron MacIntyre is therefore the most important book on the American Right this year. It is a sort of NeoReaction 101 for conservatives, with Mr. MacIntyre leaning heavily on the work of Curtis Yarvin, Bertrand de Juvenal, Nick Land, Joseph de Maistre, and Gaetano Mosca. Yet it is not just a simplified, popularized version of the Dark Enlightenment for “normie” conservatives. Mr. MacIntyre is a talented writer who is familiar with academic theory but can follow up a sophisticated argument with a polemical summary or a powerful anecdote. Perhaps more importantly, Mr. MacIntyre is not on the fringe, and his gentle prodding of Americans, Christians, and conservatives to take their own side is very effective. The Total State is the perfect book by the perfect author to change the American Right.

The author is a former journalist and writes that “watching firsthand as journalists completely altered events and details to fit their pre-selected narratives” was “eye-opening.” He accuses them of not just twisting their subjects’ words but making them up or outright lying (11). My own view is that the media are the regime because shaping public opinion from the top down is what democracy now is. Mr. MacIntyre says that whatever was happening in politics, and whatever theory said about the way government should work, “the media narrative seemed to dominate all other priorities, shaping people’s actions in ways I had never thought possible.” This is not just another book whining about a “biased” media; it explains that willful deception by journalists is the tip of the spear for the entire system.

This system serves power, but it is not a simple command-and-control model like a “fascist” organization. “No shadowy cabal of overlords was handing down marching orders; no editorial meeting was held confirming an anti-Trump direction, but every low-level propogandist with a journalism degree suddenly thought it was their solemn duty to destroy the orange menace,” he writes. “No falsehood was too great, and any and every distortion of the truth could be justified in the name of damaging what these zealots saw as the second coming of Adolf Hitler.” (12) Conservatives must understand the cruelty of “the press and the ruling class they represented” and their eagerness to “exploit and destroy what they saw as backward hicks for fun and profit.” Yes, they really do hate you, and yes, what is being done to you is done on purpose.

The book answers many questions: Why did the Constitution so completely fail to limit government action during the COVID pandemic? Why were some Americans forbidden to attend church or go to meetings while others got free reign not just to rally but to riot? Why does the GOP refuse to take up even popular causes? Conservatives must wake up; their beloved constitutional republic does not work.

Who is the “ruling class”? Mr. MacIntyre answers in terms of its institutional role — an answer of “what” rather than “who.” This is one way of approaching the problem, but some will see it as unsatisfactory.

The “who” is important. Mr. MacIntyre repeatedly asserts that power always seeks to centralize. We know that the federal government tries to limit what is discussed online, to the point of demanding that specific people be deplatformed. The New York Times pushed the “1619 Project” to give Black Lives Matter an academic veneer. “When Harvard comes to a conclusion on an issue of public policy,” writes Mr. MacIntyre, “Yale is soon to follow, the media quickly reports the findings, government bureaucracy implements them, and schools are teaching them in short order.” (29)

If I have one quibble with this book, it is that The Total State claims that power centralizes but also that we live under a “decentralized atheistic theocracy,” in which “progressive liberalism” has swept through institutions, taken on a life of its own, and become useful to those seeking status and power. My own view is that this process is more consciously directed. We have seen an actual split at Ivy League colleges because of the pro-Palestine protests, with elites fighting over policy and personnel decisions rather than all following a universally understood program.

However, Mr. MacIntyre is right that modern progressivism is essentially religious. Paul Gottfried called our system a “secular theocracy” in 2004 in Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt, and it may not even be accurate to call it “secular” after 2020, when churches of all denominations prostrated themselves before George Floyd. Mr. MacIntyre identifies universities as the “churches” of the new regime and cites Curtis Yarvin’s model of the “Cathedral” — a “decentralized network of organizations and individuals responsible for manufacturing a cultural consensus” inside universities, the media, public education, and the bureaucracy. Mr. MacIntyre argues that because progressivism is a kind of religion, no conspiracy is needed because “those who manufacture the narrative of our civilization” all “go to the same house of worship.” Even if Mr. Yarvin’s view that there is no conscious conspiracy were correct, he and Mr. MacIntyre are right about its ability to force ordinary people “voluntarily” to conform. Joe Sobran called the Left “The Hive.”

Not long ago, even if we admitted that elites ruled, and “democracy” was a polite fiction, it did not mean we lived under a “total state.” Elites did not need to control all opinions, just enough to maintain power. However, the internet gave everyone a microphone and thus turned everyone into a potential threat.

Quoting Curtis Yarvin, Mr. MacIntyre writes that we are in a total state because “everyone and everything is infused with power” and thus “everyone is either a collaborator or a dissident.” There can be no private life, not just because the personal is political, but because the internet gives everyone the theoretical ability to turn personal views into a political force.

Despite the growth of government, the average person feels “liberated” because government took over the social obligations people once had to family or to intermediate institutions such as churches or guilds. Mr. MacIntyre argues that the modern state confiscates more taxes, imposes more surveillance, and commands more obligations than any absolute ruler of the past, but “so long as this is done while freeing the individual from traditional social obligations, not only do its citizens not feel oppressed, they see themselves as liberated.” (37) The desire to impose “neutrality” in government instead of personal rule does not lead to freedom, but builds a bureaucracy molded by incentives (including measures such as DEI) until it becomes monolithic. The absolute “liberation” of the individual leads to absolute subjugation to the state. Today, we see attempts by academics, media, and the state to “liberate” children from their families in the name of “transgenderism.” Ultimately, the more people are “liberated” and atomized, the more power flows into the hands of bureaucrats, politicians, media, and teachers.

It is a chicken-and-egg question whether such material interests cause an ideology of “liberation” or whether the ideology leads to a class that benefits from such a system. Either way, progressives love ever-expanding social engineering that overwhelms conservative appeals to equality before the law or institutional rights. “[Progressives] believe America is a place of deep inequality, that it has reached its position of privilege due to the immoral exploitation of that inequality, and that any action taken in the pursuit of rectifying that inequality is not just permissible but morally necessary,” Mr. MacIntyre writes. “The system is bigoted in every imaginable way, and so the acquisition of power is always the first priority as this is the only way to overcome such deeply entrenched injustice.” Thus, in 2020, fighting for “social justice” was more important than normal people going to work or school. Rioters got special permission to riot, while conservatives appealed vainly to universal, individual rights.

Some conservatives argue that the Constitution will save us, but Mr. MacIntyre shows it has already failed. “Division of powers” is pointless because each branch serves public opinion, which can be dictated by mass media, education, and marketing. “[M]aintaining power in a democratic system means maintaining control over how the populace perceives and understands the world around them,” writes Mr. MacIntyre. “As each branch of government becomes more vulnerable to the democratic process, control of power hinges increasingly on the ability to manipulate the masses.” (53) It may seem startling to conservatives to think of institutions becoming “vulnerable” to the democratic process, but Mr. MacIntyre makes this seem intuitive and natural. Manipulating public opinion becomes the only skill that matters in a democracy. Moreover, there is no purely “mechanical” system to guarantee a perfectly functioning government. A constitution is only a written distillation of what a people intuitively understands about the role of government, and if that people changes, so does that understanding.

Auron MacIntyre

Laws do not function in a vacuum, and it is wrong to speak of a government of laws, not men. Men always rule. Again, though, this seems to run counter to a premise of the book that the system runs almost mechanically in a decentralized way through the triumph of progressivism.

The Constitution will certainly not save us: “Relying too heavily on a written constitution simply incentivizes a nation’s leaders to become skilled at twisting and shaping language in order to circumvent the restrictions created by the formal meaning of the words.” (57) “Wokeness,” filled the metaphysical void left by Americans trusting in the ability of a document permanently to solve existential political questions.

Mr. MacIntyre cites Carl Schmitt on the existential nature of politics, which is ultimately about identity. A mainstream conservative citing Carl Schmitt (albeit regretting his “deeply unfortunate” involvement with Nazism) is a milestone. Yet it is necessary, and even the most liberal professor (until recently) would acknowledgment Schmitt’s importance. He dynamited the theoretical premises of liberalism, particularly liberalism’s promise to remove the friend/enemy distinction from politics by reducing it to a friendly debate in the marketplace of ideas where all parties have rights. In reality, because it is impossible to remove the friend/enemy distinction, what actually results is an “ever-expanding ideological empire,” with those who “serve to strengthen the power of the state” becoming friends and “those who seek to compete with or restrain it” becoming enemies. The “myth of the neutral institution,” or “value-free” institution lets the total state “obfuscate the advance of its own values inside the key structures of civilization.” (64)

Carl Schmitt

Mr. MacIntyre’s emphasis on deception, myth, and obfuscation is important because conservatives and libertarians are fooled by them. The idea of popular sovereignty is dangerous not just because it abolishes the separation between private society and the state, but because it conceals the reality that someone always rules.

“[In theory] the people rule, and so there is less need to think about who wields supreme authority,” he writes. “Which is very convenient for those who actually do wield supreme authority.” (65) Similarly, because (in Schmitt’s view) politics derives from theology, the state becomes essentially a god and “exceptions” — when normal laws are suspended — are like miracles. Much as a miracle shows the power of God, the state of exception shows who is sovereign and whose interests are served. The Enlightenment conceit that personal leadership is a problem and politics can be reduced to a neutral system is no protection against tyranny. Instead, trusting in a mere system advances tyranny by disguising sovereignty and concealing the truth that people wield power.

Mr. MacIntyre insists that there is no definable conspiracy or group we can point to that oversees the total state. However, citing Vilfredo Pareto and Machiavelli, Mr. MacIntyre offers a functional definition. Leaders can be classified as “lions” (conservative, capable of wielding force, favoring order) or “foxes” (skilled in manipulation of ideas, socially liberal, favorable to change). When societies mature, foxes tend to replace lions because the need for overt force declines. Mr. MacIntyre again destroys illusions by arguing that our “modern aversion to overt force” can mislead because all society rests on a monopoly of force. It may be more dangerous for people to pretend that they are exempt from this rule than bluntly to exercise power. Most people fear the truth.

Furthermore, just because “foxes” do not often use direct force does not mean that they do not use it. They rule through “deceit” and the “manipulation of systems along with the subtle control of information and data to maintain order.” (75) Democracy makes us more vulnerable to force by “obfuscate[ing] the source of power” away from a definable sovereign to a “nameless, faceless, ever-shifting process” that can never be held accountable. I have argued for years that no society can be meaningfully “free” if there is no awareness of who is sovereign. In contrast, we are ruled by an elite that uses control of information to govern both private and public institutions, ruthlessly vets bureaucrats for ideological conformity, and selectively enforces laws depending on political agendas.

Mr. MacIntyre links the elite to the “managerial class” defined by James Burnham and Sam Francis. He quotes Sam Francis extensively, which is gratifying for longtime AR readers. Francis said:

The corporation must promote the homogenization of society because of the nature of mass production and mass consumption. Mass production requires not only homogenous goods and services produced by the same molds and processes, but also homogenous consumers, who cannot vary in their tastes, values, and patterns of consumption and who must consume if the planning of the corporations is to be effective. . . . Managerial capitalism must therefore articulate and sponsor an ideology of cosmopolitanism that asserts universal identities, values, and loyalties, challenges the differentiations of the bourgeois order, and rationalizes the process of homogenization.

It is this that online rightists have taken to calling “GloboHomo,” short for Global Homogenization. It is also a dig at the homosexual rainbow flag that has become the banner of global corporations (until it was arguably displaced by the intersectional flag). The surface “diversity” preached by elites only undermines the real diversity of nations and peoples, much as the “diversity” on a college campus strengthens ideological uniformity. One can invent new sexual or gender identities or promote “pride” in various non-white races, but all these are varieties of consumerism. Instead of social mobility through independence, such supposedly diverse constituencies become client groups of the total state, its “social justice movements,” and justify ever-expanding government programs and NGO-based education programs.

The intersectional flag.

As a result, all levels of society are increasingly supervised by credentialed experts boasting university degrees, which Mr. MacIntyre calls “the genesis of the Cathedral,” and the origin of a memeplex of interlocking ideas that reinforce each other.

We can see how this works every day. “Experts” are the final authority not just in education but in the military, business, policing — everything. The universal cure for every social problem is more “education” and expert supervision. “Sam Francis outlines how even the legal system has become an important battlefield in the law between the old bourgeois and the new managerial elites,” Mr. MacIntyre writes. “Just as the capitalists used the principles of ‘rule of law’ and ‘equality before the law’ to limit and deconstruct the power of monarchs in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the managerial elite seeks to shift the law towards results-based administrative procedure.” (92) Thus, trials become contests of highly credentialed (and expensive) “experts” dueling over arcane points of administrative minutiae rather than anything the Framers would recognize.

Mr. MacIntyre credits Paul Gottfried with the concept of the “therapeutic state” — the way the managerial elite creates a continuous moral panic to justify its existence. War, crime, poverty, and other social problems cease to be part of the human condition and instead become pathologies that arise from flawed social institutions not yet under expert control. Mr. MacIntyre also quotes Sam Francis, who noted that “whether sincere or not,” the real effect of managerial political and social reforms is to ” ‘liberate’ the masses from the tyranny of bourgeois or prescriptive institutions, and to homogenize the mass population and bring it under the discipline of the mass organizations.” (94–95, quoted from Sam Francis in Leviathan) In other words, this is why almost every news story, education program, or government initiative ends with a call for more bureaucratic control and more funding.

Humans are not all identical, so it is not always easy to control them. The state will therefore “actively seek to shape the private and public lives of its citizens in order to homogenize influences that could introduce variance and instability.” This includes replacing sin and punishment with “medicalization of deviance.” What a prior generation would call evil can be fought through therapy, treatment, and programs, with a new clergy of professors and scientists replacing priests. “Under the total state’s model of behavior,” Mr. MacIntyre writes, “humans are inherently good, with the possible exception of straight white Christian males.” Education solves every problem — which means that traditional solutions, which tell men to behave with grace and honor in the face of eternal evils, are morally suspect and a surrender.

This means there are no inevitable tradeoffs — only errors of judgment, which encourage totalitarian rage against dissenters who stand in the way of progress. Of course, “the science” can be self-contradictory because it follows expedience, not facts. Why are sexual preferences supposedly inherent, but sex is no longer bound by biology? Why do genes set sexual orientation, but in-group preference is “racist”? Why are pedophiles “minor attracted persons” suffering from a tragic inherent misfortune, but men who desire fit, attractive women are morally deficient? Dissenters must never state an opinion, because we lack the credentials to be part of the “new priestly caste [that] will always favor the political priorities of the total state.” (102) So shut up, bigot.

From this perspective, compulsory state-funded education looks increasingly sinister, because it is the most effective way to break children away from family ties and inherent loyalties. Nothing is inherent or sacred because everything is a question of applying the proper technique to achieve the best social outcome. “A thoroughly secularized therapeutic culture would create the narrative justification for constant state intervention through the bureaucratic application of scientifically developed courses of treatment,” Mr. MacIntyre argues. “By stripping away the natural human preference for particular cultures, religions, moral systems, and aesthetics, social engineers can create subjects that are far easier to manage.” (107)

Human identity, insists Mr. MacIntyre, does not come from a set of rights, but from limitations. It is shaped “far more dramatically by what the individual is not than what he is free to become.” (111) This is critical, because the essential tenet of modern liberalism is that identity is invented. While the state promises to liberate man from unchosen social bonds, it actually unmakes him. This includes what Sam Francis called the “dematerialization of property and the replacement of the entrepreneurial firm as the dominant form of economic organization by the mass corporations and unions under managerial control.” In other words, the political forms and abstractions so beloved by conservatives and libertarians arise from distinctive material and social circumstances. Without them (namely “hard property and independent ownership”), those political forms cease to exist. Many conservatives will resist this conclusion, which may seem Marxist, that ideology grows out of material circumstances.

What has been done to the (largely white) American middle class is also being done to the rest of the world. Instead of building empires, experts bring modernization and “human rights” to the benighted. NGOs and “color revolutions” mobilize constituencies eager for liberalism, thus undermining national sovereignty. Mass media manipulate public opinion. New governments owe their power not to their own people, but to the West.

Both the First and Third Worlds are subject to the same international class of elites who have more cultural similarity to each other than to their own peoples. Mr. MacIntyre points out that this is not really Western exploitation of non-Western countries, because Western countries become just as economically dependent on the Third World, as managerial control imposes a complex, international trading system that strives to homogenize everyone. Ultimately, countries themselves become economic units at the service of international bureaucrats.

Mr. MacIntyre’s best contribution comes from his explanation of the NRx (Dark Enlightenment) dictum that “Cthulhu swims slowly, but he always swims to the left.” He explains Robert Conquest’s three laws: everyone is conservative about what he knows best, all organizations if not explicitly right-wing become left-wing, and every bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.

It is not merely that institutions lose track of their founding principles as time passes and systems grow more complex. It is that the mere fact of opening up foundational principles to debate serves to undermine them. “Once the core values of a social organization are up for debate, they are over.” “Once the foundational axioms of an organization have entered the realm of open discussion, it will always and inevitably move to the left.” This is true. To open discussion undermines what was once unchallengeable. Thus, even for those of us friendly to “free speech” as a principle, allowing free speech or open admissions in our own organizations may doom them. “Anyone who is not defending, maintaining, and gatekeeping the things they love and care about will watch them decay and eventually be destroyed,” Mr. MacIntyre argues. Even the most stalwart gatekeeper will fall to entropy, because chaos is inevitable. Conflict is eternal.

This happens within corporations, subcultures, fandoms, political movements, and countries. “Once the organization has birthed a bureaucracy that can prioritize its own needs over those it was designed to serve,” Mr. MacIntyre says, “a clear split develops in the incentive structure, and that split only widens over time.” This explains Mr. Conquest’s seemingly counterintuitive third rule, and why giving more resources to a bureaucracy may make it worse at fulfilling its supposed mission.

The interest of a bureaucrat within an organization is his own position, not the organization’s. Promoting conflict within an organization or developing a new power base leads to new opportunities for advancement. It is thus not surprising that the consistent cry in everything from politics to business and even to entertainment is that existing citizens, customers, or fans must be replaced by new “underrepresented” constituencies. The decision by a Bud Light executive to promote transgenderism to working-class beer drinkers may seem bizarre, but that executive might have made the right career move for herself.

Mr. MacIntyre suggests that all these trends doom an organization to eventual collapse, because entropy will come for the total state, too. “It is a common misconception that regimes fall when they become overbearing and totalitarian,” he says. “Regimes fall when they have grown weak and decadent, unable to control the population through the manipulation of the fox or the force of the lion. When elites close themselves off to the natural circulation of new talent, they grow soft, and those denied access can suddenly disrupt the status quo.”

Modern managers may not be adding value to our current institutions. “Both James Burnham and Samuel Francis would recognize that managers are essential for the operation of massified organizations, but [Alasdair] MacIntyre asserts that most modern bureaucracy is simply a product of the cancer-like growth of the managerial class and does not actually produce notable increases in efficiency,” the author says. “These layers of bureaucratic management exist only for the purpose of facilitating power.” DEI is the most obvious example. We are oppressed, but by impotence rather than power.

Mr. MacIntyre suggest that the total state will fail because “widely different peoples spread across vast distances cannot, and will not, be governed as one unified whole.” He also cites evidence that Americans’ quality of life is declining. Obviously, race realists and white advocates welcome the view that diversity is not strength. Human nature will eventually overcome social engineering.

However, I am reminded of Winston Smith’s feeble protest in 1984 that the spirit of man will somehow defeat the Party. The Total State has proven able to eradicate entire identities once thought immutable (such as white Southern identity) within just a few years and legitimize practices (such as child “transgenderism”) that would have sparked revolt not long ago.

It is also the most miserable, neurotic, and unhappy Americans who are the greatest supporters of the system. Young liberal women have high rates of depression and mental illness, but this is what makes them such reliable political soldiers. Our author reminds us of the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel about the price of hubris, but my fear is not that we are tempting judgment, but that there is no one to inflict it.

Still, Auron MacIntyre does not offer empty comfort. His final chapter is “The Only Way Out Is Though.” He brushes aside the idea that the Constitution can somehow be restored through a Convention of States. Moreover, returning to self-government, even if it were possible, would not make Americans the virtuous people for whom John Adams said our Constitution was designed. “Liberty is the fruit of virtue,” Mr. MacIntyre warns, “virtue is not the fruit of liberty.” He also dismisses the idea that “former” liberals will react against woke extremes and restore a saner moral climate. They cannot turn back.

We must always confront essential questions and there is no perfect technical system or cultural equilibrium that frees us from strife. “Questions of faith and sovereignty will continue to sit at the core of the human experience, just as they always have.” “Matters of meaning, identity, and existential conflict cannot be removed by the promise of cold objective reason and credentialed experts.” The cycle of rise and fall is eternal.

Our author considers three possibilities. First, that life will continue to get worse as the system hobbles along. I think this is the most likely, but he considers it least likely. The second alternative is Caesar, perhaps not a soldier, but a civilian. It is not unheard of in our time; we have only to look to El Salvador. With a clear sovereign who actually does the peoples’ wishes, the masses will not be obsessed with politics and thus free from propaganda. However, Mr. MacIntyre argues that the permanent progressive bureaucracy will remain, and still be at war with human nature. Unless that is abolished, a change at the top will not fix the problem.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele addresses more than 14,000 troops in San Juan Opico. The president of El Salvador announced that police and soldiers will set up sieges in cities to search for gang members during the eight months of the ongoing state of emergency that has more than 58,000 behind bars. November 23, 2022. (Credit Image: © Camilo Freedman/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire)

Instead, our author contends the most likely scenario is a gradual collapse. The managerial bureaucracy will be unable to meet the core functions of the total state. Outlying regions will gain more autonomy as the system becomes more openly authoritarian. The opportunities for conflict will increase between federal and local authorities. This will not necessarily be good for normal Americans. The quality of life will decline, but this will hasten the fall of centralized power and the return of local, organic organization. Thus, those who wish to take advantage of this transition must discipline themselves now, organizing and forgoing luxury. “Consolidating local power that is capable of resisting the authority of the total state is essential.” This in turn will further a consolidation of identity — exactly what white advocates want.

I believe Mr. MacIntyre is understating the difficulties. He has written a whole book that tells us the system is capable of mobilizing malcontents to further its own power, using a devastatingly powerful propaganda machine to remake humanity itself, appealing to greed and irresponsibility to convince people that slavery is freedom. Unless a decline were steep, who would choose an alternative? One of the key characteristics of Third World life is that most people tolerate chaos and dysfunction; an increasingly diverse America may adjust to continuous decline without reaction. In response, we may get even more social control and left-wing politics.

Yet, there is hope. The media have shed credibility and millions of Americans do not believe anything they say. The war in Gaza has divided the once united Cathedral. Some elites, notably Elon Musk, seem to be breaking from the social consensus of the Total State. The possibility President Donald Trump could return also introduces an element of chaos and disruption that could prove useful.

What is clear is that we will not be able to meet the future if we don’t understand how the system works. Millions must be made to understand this, and — to be blunt — no one in our movement can do this. Even Sam Francis could not, not because he lacked the knowledge or skill, but because he was Sam Francis. It takes a mainstream conservative to puncture myths that have crippled conservatism and to do so in an approachable, erudite, and compassionate way. It is a subtle art to tell people their most cherished beliefs are wrong. It is even harder to show them you are still on their side, are one of them, and can lead them to a better future.

Auron MacIntyre has done this. For white advocates, The Total State will be educational. For the American Right, it will be invaluable. And for Sam Francis, it is long overdue vindication.