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Dispatches from the War on Corona

3,789 words

In March 2020, the world declared war on COVID-19.

The use of martial rhetoric with reference to peacetime political conflicts — the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, the domestic arena of the War on Terror — has a long and dubious history in American politics. The appeal is obvious. Warlike language depicts every conflict as a life-or-death struggle, encourages mass mobilization, justifies significant intrusion into people’s lives, and provides a pretext for novel (and possibly illegal) political solutions.

Of course, the “War on Coronavirus” rhetoric has been criticized by all the predictable parties. Most obviously, this includes leftists [1] who disapprove of the valorization of war and are suspicious of anything suggested by the Trump administration. It also includes those on the Right who believe that the pandemic is overblown and that a few thousand deaths do not justify the massive social and economic costs of our current shutdown.

To speak in its favor, the martial mystique is still quite powerful, even in this effeminate age. Declarations of war, therefore, may still possess the power to garner support and motivate the populace. It provides a sense of purpose and finality to people, and thus is likely to be more inspiring to action than “oh my God, I’d better stay at home or I’ll die.” It could have a galvanizing effect in awakening people to certain political realities and renewing an actual sense of community among America’s atomized WASPS.

However, critics do make the valid point that, when we liken the present struggle to war, the clear implication is that Americans just need to “hunker down” and wait for our leaders to save us. There is not much official guidance offered as to how citizens might actually contribute to this wartime effort. Famously, during WWII civilians were mobilized to adopt a number of changes in order to contribute: in addition to actually enlisting in the military, they were encouraged to strictly ration necessities, recycle, grow their own food, buy war bonds, work in war industries, etc.

Unless you happen to be a medical professional, the current “war” is much different. Rather than volunteering in the community, we are told to isolate ourselves at home and stay six feet away from anything that breathes. Rather than growing our own food, rationing, and adopting austerity measures, we are told to spend as much money as possible and order carry-out from restaurants in order to keep struggling businesses afloat. Rather than social pressure and propaganda posters to “do our part,” we are treated to articles offering the “best new Netflix series to binge-watch while social distancing.” Even those that proffer some positive program of action usually don’t go much further than “wash your hands, spend money, thank a nurse.” Necessary stuff, but not exactly inspiring.

In many ways this is akin to the situation after 9/11, when many Americans — eager to serve their country in some capacity — were told that the best way to help is to “take in a Broadway show” [2] and otherwise return to our lifestyles of insatiable consumption. Massive amounts of goodwill and civic spirit were squandered by this lackluster response, and in the endless wars that followed. This is typical of our present political system, in which the veneer of civic republicanism merely survives to legitimize the machinations of the Deep State (which has little to ask of the masses beyond working, spending money, and not asking questions). That being said, perhaps in 2001 there wasn’t much that ordinary people could actually do to contribute, given that the 9/11 attacks were specific to NYC and the War on Terror that followed was restricted to military personnel. The current “Corona War” affects everyone throughout the nation, and its social and political aftershocks are likely to be far greater.

Despite my intellectual bent, as a man of Kshatriya [3] temperament I am inclined towards a life of action. It is my aspiration to play some role in the world and actualize my ideals. A perennial frustration for me, which is likely shared by many in this movement, is that I can find no clear way to do so on a satisfactorily broad scale. Of course, we can have children and inculcate them with our values; of course, we can cultivate a circle of friends who share our ideas; of course, we can strive to have some small impact on our communities; of course, we can write and speak and disseminate our ideas to the wider world — this is all essential, but I cannot help but feel that these activities pale in comparison to the concrete political action undertaken by previous political movements.

It may be naïve of me, but I would like to suggest that this Corona War may be just what is needed, not only to cast doubt on the reigning ideology of the West, but to provide us Men of the Right with a concrete arena in which to act, one which goes beyond the official “stay at home, buy stuff, binge watch” injunctions.

I want to make something clear at the outset: in suggesting that we adopt this wartime stance, I do not mean to say that I wholeheartedly adopt the panicked attitudes of the mainstream media. I will not bother, at this point, to debate whether or not “it’s the flu, bro,” that the pandemic has been overblown, or that the cure is worse than the disease. I certainly understand having a visceral distrust for all credentialed experts and media personalities, to the point that I am seriously inclined to believe pretty much the opposite of everything that comes out of their mouths.

Moreover, I have not personally known anyone infected by COVID-19, so for all I know it really is an invention of Hollywood, Madison Avenue, at the Deep State to reduce us Heartlanders to serfdom. Only time will tell.

But what I can say with confidence is this: People are dying, our people are dying, and millions more have been severely affected by the steps taken to combat it. Whatever the true nature of the disease itself, there is a war going on here — not just against a virus, but against those who would use this virus to push their own insidious agenda. Thus, we are all combatants, whether we are on the front lines or not, and our success against this plague as well as our ability to shape the aftermath will depend upon our actions now. 

What I hope will become clear is that, even if this crisis passes swiftly away or is determined, in retrospect, to be totally overblown, we can learn something from this period of mobilization.

I would like to offer the following suggestions for action that a disciplined Rightist might take in the face of this war. Some of it may be unworkable, some may be quickly outdated, and some readers might have better ideas. I’m no expert, and I welcome any suggestions or critiques.

Doing our Duty

Though I am fortunate enough to remain employed, my work requires interacting with broad segments of the community in many different environments, including their homes. This places me at a certain risk for exposure, and while I might still harbor some youthful illusions of immortality, it does make me concerned about the safety of my family and any older people I might interact with. If things get as bad as some models predict (which thankfully looks increasingly unlikely), the temptation to quit will be pretty strong for those engaged in these fields, especially as it is clear that the bureaucrats don’t really give a damn about the frontline workers. At these times, it is important to remember the duties that we undertake, and attempt to go about them with as much diligence as possible. For those who try to live their lives in accordance with Stoicism, Bushido, or the Bhagavad Gita — these teachings are meant for such times.

If you have the dubious honor of being considered an “essential worker,” whether you are in healthcare, public safety, or vital services, go about your duties carefully but manfully. For those of you actually in a relevant medical field, you truly are the frontline soldiers in this particular struggle. You will have to deal with treating surging numbers of the infected, the constant threat of exposure, the inconveniences of quarantines, and an ossified bureaucracy.

Even if you are not in healthcare, if your work entails playing some part to keep society going, this is applicable to you. This may be considered the WWII equivalent of “enlisting” or working in a “war industry.” There are, of course, several of us who are not able to work at the moment, due to the nature of this particular shutdown. If this is the case, then try to use this time to advantage and provide essential services to the community in other ways, discussed below, in order to help our people make it through this time of social upheaval.

More generally, even beyond the current war, it makes life much richer and more meaningful if we imbue our work with a sense of purpose, and direct all that we do towards the betterment of our families, our people, and our own souls. It is my earnest hope that this crisis will make many of our people reevaluate their priorities, and realize how much of what they were previously fixated on (including their wage slavery) pales in comparison to their true duties as Men of the West.

Supporting Local Business

Even if we are spared the worst effects of the disease itself, the current lockdown is causing a great deal of suffering, and we should seek some means of serving our people in this time of crisis. Unfortunately, the official mandate to strictly limit social interaction does place some limits upon how we might do this. So, despite my railing against the “buy stuff” mantra emanating from on high, I must admit that providing monetary support to local businesses at risk of collapse may be one of the better ways to use that stimulus check. One unfortunate side effect of this shutdown will be to immiserate small businesses and place American towns even more solidly in the grip of multinational corporations and the state. If you can support friendly local businesses, even if it just delays the inevitable, then do so. This is the WWII equivalent of buying “war bonds.”

There are, of course, several charitable organizations to which you could donate in order to alleviate some of the suffering during this period of crisis. If, like me, you are naturally suspicious of nonprofits headquartered in NYC or San Francisco, think locally. Donate to local fraternal organizations or churches that are providing disaster relief, or organize your own food drive if you have the right connections. The key is to actually provide assistance to our own people and communities in need.

Again, this is a habit that should be maintained even in peacetime. It’s an added expense, to be sure, but for those with the financial means, we should support our own people and local businesses rather than those of deracinated elites. In the best-case scenario, this crisis will lead to the reestablishment of our domestic industries, but this is dependent upon a number of political factors that may not materialize. It is up to all of us to defend our communities against assimilation.

Minimize Waste

Besides simply giving money to businesses and services, there are tangible ways that we can offer assistance at this time. Some of this consists of doing without, or reusing things, or providing cheaper alternatives to loved ones. If anyone in your family has some skill at sewing, offer to make face masks for others in your extended family or social circle. This enables us to save scarce medical supplies for others. If you have medical supplies you do not need, donate them and go without if you can. Donate blood. Grow a garden and help provide food for families suffering from the economic crisis.

This is probably the closest analog to WWII wartime rationing and “making do” that we are currently faced with — and, as with that time, this can be used to advantage. Austerity can be good in itself. It helps people to realize the things that they take for granted that they can do without, and the sheer number of distractions that proliferate in their lives (as I mentioned before, the fact that this began in the season of Lent may be providential). It cultivates self-reliance among our people and withdraws our support from the worst elements of modernity. It is in some tension with the official policy of “buy as much as you can to keep the economy going,” but simply staying home and ordering carry-out every night is unlikely to meet every need.

Wartime Services

Beyond doing our jobs, limiting waste, and spending our money purposefully, another means of serving manfully in the present war is through various forms of community service. Rigorous quarantines make this tricky right now, but here are a few suggestions for engaging with our community during this time of crisis — and hopefully setting a model for doing so even after it has passed.

One means of service is to assist members of our communities who are prohibited from leaving their homes, either due to age or increased health risks. Check in on your grandparents, elderly neighbors, church members, neighborhood elders, anyone else you might know who is particularly at risk and unable to leave the home. Offer to assist with obtaining essentials for older people and parents who cannot take their children to the grocery store. On a broader scale, assist with delivering food, water, and other necessities to broader segments of the community. I am aware of a national group of volunteers performing this very task in the UK [4], but I have not heard of anything comparable in the United States. These times of isolation are psychologically trying for the elderly, especially in our atomized societies, where many people have consigned their parents to assisted living or nursing homes and have only minimal interaction with them. This is particularly acute now, but members of our people languishing away through neglect is a problem that will always need addressing.

In addition, during times of panic, mass unemployment, and general uncertainty, there is certainly going to be an upturn in substance abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, and mental health crises. Our community, in particular, has been ravaged by opioid abuse and alcoholism, leading to innumerable lost souls and broken homes. Be a watchdog, and keep an eye on those in your circle and neighborhood who might be going downhill. Do what you can to help people stay sane. Volunteer in some capacity for drug treatment or other programs. Again, the need is particularly acute right now, but will always be there. It is tempting to give up on some of these lost souls, and I admit from experience that disappointment is more the rule than the exception. But many of these people are suffering unduly due to lack of treatment as well as the vagaries of our neoliberal economy, and could still be good fathers, mothers, and contributors to their race if simply given the proper direction.

Now that schools and daycares have been closed indefinitely in many places, parents are struggling with childcare and education for their children. If you feel comfortable with it and have the time, offer to babysit or tutor children. In addition to the sheer pleasure of interacting with younger and less-corrupted minds, interaction with the young could hopefully turn into a more long-term relationship in which you are able to positively influence their values. While the observation that “it takes a village” is frequently mocked by the Right, the communitarian insight that children are influenced by far more than their own immediate family circle is undeniable. If you can create an actual network of people who share the same values and can contribute to the education of each other’s children, then some homeschooling circle might be viable — one which could be maintained even after this crisis has passed.

Better Yourself

I’ve come to loathe the horrifically overused phrases “social distancing” and “shelter-in-place,” but the principle remains sound: physically isolating ourselves and limiting all non-essential travel is the best way to slow the spread of this virus. It is, at any rate, mandated in many places. In a sense, this inability to see our family and friends constitutes the greatest sacrifice that the current war is imposing upon us. Introvert and homebody that I am, being stuck at home for prolonged periods of time with two young children definitely feels like a penitential exercise at times.

However, this can be used to advantage. If you are not currently working, working from home, or simply not doing much in your off-hours, then don’t just spend your newfound freedom drinking and binge-watching Netflix, like our overseers wish. Study, write, train your body, bond with your children, reconnect with family and friends, pray, meditate. It’s springtime — go outside, for Christ’s sake. With all the death around us, it is essential to remind ourselves that we are not immortal and that our time on earth is finite. This time can be a golden opportunity, despite its difficulties. We have an obligation to be better than the common run, and to model better behavior for our families, our communities, and our people.

“Defend America First”

One form of service that you will never see promoted in the official propaganda is political action. Of course, we are encouraged to vote and write our senators and so forth; but actual political engagement that truly threatens the Cathedral is naturally frowned upon and considered treasonous.

Though I’ve had my doubts about the efficacy of political action in general, now is the ideal time to promulgate our view of reality and press for change — because change is coming, one way or another. The leftists have already taken the lead in that arena, filling their relief package with policy victories and boasting that this crisis will allow them to “restructure things according to [their] vision.” [5] But we know that our interpretation of reality is the correct one, and we have an obligation to make our voices heard and to explain how this disaster was exacerbated by globalism, outsourcing, mass immigration, neoliberal capitalism, cynical political correctness, and the echo chamber of credentialed experts. And how our proffered solutions — nationalism, ethnic homogeneity, closed borders, and an end to the dominion of finance capital — offers the only way to avoid or manage such crises in the future.

One major potential consequence of this pandemic is the wide-scale death of older people, those who are generally more conservative by instinct. This is lamentable on many levels, given how much history and wisdom will die with them. Nevertheless, from a political perspective, the conservatism of the last generation was not really representative of the True Right. They were simply the liberals of yesteryear, which (though preferable to contemporary leftist insanity) still makes them sorely lacking. The most pressing task remains to convert young people to the Rightist position, appealing to their heroism, idealism, and desire for disciplined action and service. Times of national crisis — particularly when the youth find themselves unemployed and saddled with enormous debt — are historically the best times for recruiting to dissident movements. Especially as the current regime reveals more of its hand and discredits itself, and the reign of political correctness hopefully loses its grip on people’s minds.

Never Forget

Based on the changes already wrought, and the lasting repercussions of this catastrophe, this epidemic will likely be a defining event of people’s lives, akin to 9/11 or Vietnam for previous generations. Wouldn’t you like to be able to tell your children or grandchildren that you contributed in some way to victory in this war? For those who are so inclined, I would recommend writing down your experience of these events, especially the role you played in them. And ensure that we never forget or forgive the malefactors who betrayed our country during this time of suffering.

* * *

Despite widespread death, economic chaos, immiseration of the white working class, and irreversible political changes, I maintain that this pandemic could have a salutary effect for ethnic consciousness. This is particularly true if the ethos of wartime mobilization is maintained, with the understanding that we are and will remain at war — if not against a virus than against those who would use it to tighten their grip on power.

A guiding principle of my life is the notion that we are all combatants in an “occult war [6],” to use Evola’s phrase: The world is a battleground between Order and Chaos, light and darkness, good and evil, God and Satan, Morgoth and Illuvatar, and all of our decisions lead to the victory of one or the other side. This includes the most private spiritual exercises, the choices we make concerning our family and profession, and extends to all forms of political action. Most of the time, there is no clear way for us to contribute directly to the triumph of the good, except in times of open war. We are forced to adopt the Ranger ethos [7], trying to do good within our limited spheres while holding the memory and hope for an age of rebirth.

Well, now, open war is upon us. Now the Dúnedain can join together and work towards a concerted end — the preservation of our communities and our people against this plague and its social effects, certainly, but most importantly in playing some role to shape the aftermath. As always, it may be a fruitless exercise. But as Men of the West, whose consciousness has been shaped by Ragnarok and the Apocalypse of John, the prospect of material failure can be no deterrent. In the words of Oswald Spengler [8]:

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who, during the eruption of Vesuvius, died at his post because they forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one thing that cannot be taken from a man.”

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