Urban vs. Rural, Notional vs. Real

For my own part, I think you should flee the cities and the suburbs as quickly as you can. Rural life is really no safe refuge against the onslaught of leftist aggression, and small-town life is fraught with problems, though nothing remotely comparable to those of city life. The main reason to escape the cities (if you can) is to experience the vestiges of life before the phantasms of television and computer existence replaced what was known as reality for every other generation of humans beforehand. In small towns, there still exists a generation that came of age before the Revolution of 1968. Men whose ideal of dress is plaid shirts, suspenders and slacks, and women whose idea of sociality is bringing casseroles and cakes to neighbors. There are still diners that didn’t get squashed by Applebee’s that don’t blare classic rock and coffee shops that play the local lousy Christian station rather than acoustic noodling and hipster groans.

This generation is passing, like I said, and those places are fading away. If you live near, say, a turkey plant, it’s like your town has already been replaced by Guatemalans and Somalis. But where the remnants of the old ways still exist, you are simply more free, and you will be able to better teach your children what real freedom looks like. The local tattoo artists and librarians might put up rainbows for Pride Month, but they don’t bedeck the streets like in the cities. In the cities, the tenor of life is set by activist freaks, violent criminals, and bohemians of one sort or another; in the suburbs it is set by professionals and bureaucrats, who pave over everything and leave nothing for the individual. In small towns the tenor of life is still set by men, the ones of the past who erected downtowns on a human scale, and those of the present who still work in the fields or the factories.

Like I said, all this is passing away. But seeing the remnants of a world that my grandparents and all the generations before them knew is useful not only for personal happiness but for a reminder of what the *real* is.

Many of the perennial conflicts on the right arise from an inability to differentiate between the real and the notional. What is the “real?” It is life as the human race has commonly thought of it: Nature, towns, race, religion, friendships, kin groups, and the like. The notional is the ideological battle, now waged almost solely in the digital sphere, with Twitter at the forefront of them; it subsists in memes and “vibe shifts” and the “Overton window.” It exists wholly in the mind, and it achieves “victories” by capturing enough minds to a given ideological system. Hence the need for the “meme war.” Hence Elon Musk’s claims that control of Twitter can determine the death or life of Western Civilization.

That everyone takes these claims in stride is worth reflecting upon. In all times past, for ideology to hold such sway over the actual course of civilization, it required the smashing of altars, the commandeering of troops, the murder of a couple thousand or hundred-thousand or million peasants. In the past, ideology could not far outpace the real situation of the times. The Jacobins could blather about Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity precisely because a market economy and the centralized bureaucracy had already gone far in upending and deracinating the position of peasant and noble. The real conditions of the social order accommodated for the ideological tenets of the Jacobin. Likewise, it was the vast and disgusting factory system that made Marx’s dictatorship of the proletariat seem ideologically feasible but, at times, preferable for a large number of workers. The real created the conditions in which ideology was seen as feasible or not.

In the present day, there are no classes in any meaningful sense. One needs to have production before questions of the “means of production” are salient, but in the “information economy” where services take the place of goods, class analysis is a feckless and outdated task. Nor do other aspects of real life meaningfully exist any longer. You cannot have a kin group where no one is interested in having children. You cannot have a true community when your community is designed by suburban planners and neutered by Civil Rights law. You cannot even have a social club where the government has veto power over its members and its very ability to get together in public. As Robert Putnam noted long ago, the age of the bowling club is dead, supplanted by television and Civil Rights law. You cannot have a parish or a church or any form of orthodoxy where services are offered via TV. What is inherently personal must remain personal if it is to have any real effect on us.

People now live a supermajority of their lives in front of screens. Their most important “social interactions” occur there. Play once done in fields is now done in video games. Political life does not take place at local conventions but by blathering on twitter. For the legion of pornography consumers, their sexual impulses are released there. Of course the chat room, the video game, the porn site are all fake places, created and maintained by a legion of nerds and so manipulated as those nerds so desire. The human race every year becomes dependent on a smaller and smaller number of nerds to maintain basic levels of sociality.  

The leftist project always goes hand-in-hand with the triumph of the notional over the real. It is and always has been intrinsic to the leftist project to eradicate the real and replace it with notional concerns, thereby shifting power to the perverts and half-men who control the regulation of these notions. Nation, race, people—these once had concrete meaning to men, but have been popularly eradicated, deemed the figments of deluded racists and wicked reactionaries. And why shouldn’t this be the case, when true freedom is achieved on a computer screen or behind an avatar? The same process is occurring with biological sex. Why should we adhere to the dictates of God and gamete when all sexual functioning is essentially masturbatory, in which one’s “sexuality” is determined by the receptacle of this act? Even biological health is now being treated as a notional thing. Hence racism and sexism are now components of the “public health crisis” afflicting the world, and the CDC can recommend treatments not because they have anything to do with actual biological health, but only because “public health” may suffer in the alternative.

The whole world becomes year after year more of a notional thing, more of a digital figment. Idiots and cucks babble about “gnosticism,” a word they don’t understand in the least bit, but whose use is nonetheless telling. Any attempt to develop knowledge and practice of things outside the digital sphere is now gnosticism. And this is fitting, because the digital sphere is the only legitimate realm of politics; to act outside the sphere of memes and hashtags is to tap into some kind of “gnosis” beyond the realm of thought-influencers. For all the ugly, perverted freaks who are in or aspire to be part of our ruling class, such a prospect is beyond the pale. 

But this is what all the best factions of the right are doing. Establishing and grounding oneself in the real is the first task for any genuine right-wing movement. It is the first step in reestablishing sanity on both a personal and political level. Bodybuilding is still a very real activity. The mannerbund still holds promise of real social engagement. Nothing is more real than taking a wife and raising children. It places you in the position of nearly every human who has ever lived through the millennia. None of these things are sufficient to effect political or even personal change. But they are necessary precursors to reorienting the mind and heart towards what any real reaction must pursue.

When rightists talk about moving to rural areas and the prospects of national divorce, they are discussing real concerns, not simply the info war which can proceed in the gayest metropolis and in the heart of the empire. Put simply, if you care about your own health and the health of your family, you should undoubtedly leave the cities. But the Shake Shack types have it right: there is no sure refuge in small towns and rural areas. The institutions are tainted there too–though never as much as in the city or suburbs. More people find guidance from online communities than churches–this is true. But the solution to this is to rebuild the churches, not abandon them for the digital mosque.

Trump’s biggest feats were making immigration an issue—huge to men for whom America is not an ideological construct but a concrete place—and imposing trade rules that made it possible to work, earn, and create on domestic soil once again. The entire “trans movement” is premised on sex itself being a notional thing; anyone who looks at it honestly sees that it is a disease grown out of the digital environs and not a thing in itself. Trump himself is an apt reflection of the real/notional divide. He has existed since the 1990s more for his brand than anything he’s actually built or done, yet at the same time that brand has been centered around very real and normal things: accumulating genuine opulence, personal rule over business, normal sexual desires, a large and caring family. People like the Trump brand because it flies in the face of the beige technocratic rule. Because it is real and person, and they strive to have a lesser form of it in their own lives.

The split between “trads” and other rightists is likewise determined by the real/notional split. Having a family is not in itself a political statement. But it provides the ground on which real politics should be based. This is true not only in Aristotle’s sense that the family is a microcosm of the state, but in a more pressing way in the modern age: That the family structure thoroughly grounds a man in the real versus the notional, the concrete versus the ideological. A young man can rant about whatever ideology he wants, but when he has a wife and child in his care that he would spill his blood for, he is constrained by the politics that will protect them. Not all men are destined to hunt in the Savannah or to write their will on the pages of history; for the vast majority of men, having a family is the most real thing they will ever do. To properly appreciate one’s family is to recall that digital chatter is just chatter, and it is only good so long as it acts as a tool towards achieving real ends.

A divide forms in the online right in the fact that the ideas discussed online would be fireable or arrestable offenses in the real world. It is only in the digital sphere that the recrudescence of the real can be contemplated and discussed. The alternative is being led around by snide women and woke capital who control every institution. But the goal must be to reclaim real spaces. To keep such conversations going, but this time in diners and meeting halls, with friends you can see, hear, and shake hands with. Even if this isn’t feasible for us, then it is the goal of what we want to leave to our children. The goal isn’t to score merely intellectual victories, but to reorient the use of technology towards the establishment of real place.

A gay rapper talking about Hitler may very well shift the “Overton window” but it’s meaningless. In the end you’ll still be ruled by twink perverts pounding jungle beats into your ear until your dying day. All you end up with is a bunch of sexual fetishists making gas chamber jokes before they molest your neighbor’s kids. 

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Scott Dinger says:

    Always appreciate a complete thought. Even if it ends like a statement of side effects for prescription drugs.

    I live in a once rural, or small town part of our country. We’ve been overrun in the past decade. I try my best to stress newcomers assimilate. It’s a losing battle. We are the virus.

    Like

    1. Aeoli Pera says:

      This was a compelling article, but ultimately incoherent. I’d call it a good start. Bodybuilding, mannerbunds, and even families are all manifestations of ideology, even if they are performed without a sense of self-consciousness. The “real” that you’re getting at is not defined by the distance between means and ends or intrinsic versus extrinsic motivations, but rather the absence of self-delusion. When a man reads Twitter for reactions to Kanye’s antics and thinks “I am doing this for politics” it’s merely “notional” because he’s lying to himself. So to reiterate, the difference is between the nominal reason for doing something and the real reason, and when these are aligned it’s impossible to spend 8 hours per day on Twitter.

      My practical advice is to practice confessing your sins, that gets real real quick.

      This was a good effort, solid B essay.

      Like

      1. Aeoli Pera says:

        Forgot to include this quote:

        “Every right-minded man has a philosophy of life, whether he knows it or not. Hidden away in his mind are certain governing principles, whether he formulates them in words or not, which govern his life. ”

        –John D. Rockefeller, Random Reminiscences of Men and Events

        Like

  2. Zarathustra's Eagle says:

    “It is a self-deception of philosophers and moralists to imagine that they escape decadence by opposing it. That is beyond their will; and, however little they acknowledge it, one later discovers that they were among the most powerful promoters of decadence.”

    Like

  3. This is probably the most even handed and sensible take I’ve read on the urban/rural and digital/real divides.

    Like

  4. Nemo says:

    I think a better title, at least from my own experience, is “Turning 25 in the 2020’s”. Growing up in touch with the right, all the messages hit harder when youth ends and you realize what you have been reading about and promoting is thousands of years of ancestors passing down knowledge on how to keep the folk, the family, the network of families, alive and fed, and in decent enough shape to raise the next generation.

    Like

  5. Gayberry RFD says:

    Even growing up during the degraded Karl Rove era of political conservamative “sorcery” (read: “prostitution”), the guy who said he would be the next Mark Hanna via Hispanics against gay marriage in Israel, or something, I always considered that Nashville jug-band Reba McEntire lifestyle promoted by Rupert Murdoch’s media properties to be Falsch Und Schwul (then again, I would say this, I am from Southern California where they film all those dog/truck/boots music videos)

    Like

  6. I appreciated your segment on Gnosticism, which has become something of a bogeyman.

    Anywhere. There may come a time when, after the real is done being raped and ravaged, that a new reality might be based on the notional. One can argue, notionally speaking, that it’s been done before.

    Either way. Great read.

    Like

  7. bert33 says:

    On abandoning the internet and reclaiming your brain: If the information stream you are being subjected to is causing problems emotional mental and so forth, then it is time to disconnect yourself from it and seek out more reliable, traditional information sources with and from which you can mentally edify yourself. Most of what the internet provides is kinda useless, especially for adults, and for kids its causing emotional and other problems. For all affected, de-habituation will be hard, the longer you’ve been using, the more difficult probably but the rewards include calm, focus, better sleep etc. Blessed be.

    Like

  8. NC says:

    YOu saved the best for last
    “A gay rapper talking about Hitler may very well shift the “Overton window” but it’s meaningless.” ===LOL

    Thanks again for the latest Mot20C episode!

    Like

  9. Vxxc says:

    No, stay away. You are weak, that’s why you ran. This is your worst but not only problem.

    Stay.Away.

    Like

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