The New Right: A Journey to the Fringe of American Politics looks at the recent evolution of political discourse in America from the unclouded perspective of celebrated anarcho-capitalist Michael Malice. Specifically, Malice traces the origins of anti-progressive ideas and organizations from the various 20th century intellectuals who instigated them and the 21st century activists who made them into a force to be reckoned with. Though the topics are serious, Malice uses his irreverent and jolting style to beat humor out of them like candy from a piñata.
Malice opens The New Right with a devastating quote by Murray Rothbard and only waits until the second page to break it to the reader that he is an anarchist and this is not going to be a typical book about politics. Instead, he lays out his definition of the New Right and begins an unwavering survey of the key people and ideas, saying that they are:
A loosely connected group of individuals united by their opposition to progressivism, which they perceive to be a thinly veiled fundamentalist religion dedicated to egalitarian principles and intent on totalitarian world domination via globalist hegemony.
Malice is fair, but not always kind, to current members of the New Right, including Mencius Moldbug, Mike Cernovich, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Anne Coulter, Jared Taylor, Chris Cantwell, and others. Malice never hesitates to point out the flaws in any person’s perspective, but he also makes sure to credit the reasonable ideas therein.
Especially interesting to ancaps is the origin story of the New Right. Malice traces the history of the movement back to Murray Rothbard and Pat Buchanan:
The dirty little secret is that the New Right actually isn’t all that new. Rather, this subculture has its roots in what was known as the Old Right, emerging at the moment when the “paleolibertarians” (meaning Rothbard and his people) teamed up with the “paleoconservatives” (i.e., Buchanan et al.).
The history lesson includes a cast of characters that ancaps will enjoy: Leonard Read, Ayn Rand, Ludwig von Mises, Lysander Spooner, Ron Paul, Murray Rothbard, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, and others. The most instructive intersection though, is Rothbard and Buchanan:
The enemy of my enemy is my friend, both Rothbard and Buchanan decided. So it was that Rothbard came on board the 1992 Buchanan presidential campaign. Buchanan remained a pro-labor, religious protectionist… Rothbard was still an anarchist, opposed to the government always and in all ways. Both were far more united in what they were against–namely, progressivism in all its forms–than in what they were for. But both also shared a complete contempt for the political establishment, left and right. Both presaged the New Right in its entirety.
But Malice does not give libertarians a free pass, either. He shines the light on present-day libertarians who engage in idiotic, counter-productive, and even unlibertarian practices. He also takes both Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard to task for their theoretical and tactical mistakes. Of Rand he says:
One of the big differences between Rand and myself was that she was a minarchist, a believer in minimal, limited government. I am an anarchist, someone who does not believe in the legitimacy of government at all. There’s a joke in these sorts of circles: “What’s the difference between a minarchist and an anarchist? Six months.”
And to Rothbard he attributes the tactical mistake of reading things into politicians that aren’t really there. On the other hand, Malice praises the tactics of the New Right, and their effective use of the internet, memes, and culture to combat progressivism. He also explores the New Right’s strategy of fighting not just the government, but the media and universities as well, saying that:
The three legs of the progressive stool are the universities, the media, and the government. For the New Right, the universities are the source of the other two.
It is yet to be seen whether the New Right will win out over progressivism but, as Malice demonstrates, it has already had a big enough impact that it is time to stop and take notice.
An unflinching look at how ideas have shaped modern culture and political climate. Five Murrays.
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