The Real Right/Left and the Political OODA Loop
June 1, 2019
There has been some degree of contention as to whether the terms “left” and “right” actually confer anything of value to contemporary politics. Ethno-nationalists agree with the Marxist Left about the state of Israel, environmentalism and capitalism, but diverge on egalitarian politics, hierarchy and tolerance for the various forms of non-conforming outliers in the LGBT sphere. Conversely, the center of both the left and right seem to be just fine with Capital, providing it assumes the form of either a socialist redistributive variety that prioritizes the worker and consumer, or a bootstraps propertarian perspective that celebrates business owners and Fortune 500s. Leave it to the Boomers to be so acutely banal. It may even be prudent to argue that there is no genuine right wing in American politics, and never has been in a truly classical sense. If one were to assume “right-wing” meant an endorsement of absolute monarchy, then such a thing is antithetical to the very existence of America as a nation. To be sure, every agent of conventional American politics – be it in Congress, a bank, or a school – is a leftist merely on the pretense of supporting representative politics alone. It’s in this sense that one could interpret a certain obsolescence to genuine right-wing thinking, but that person would be wrong.
Through the advent of people like Moldbug and the coming of a broader neo-reactionary upswing, it can be observed that genuine right-wingers still exist. Leaving the failed experiment of natural order implicit in a divinity-induced sovereign behind, NRx types have instead appropriated the only force of modern politics worth its weight in salt – Capital – and have used it to conceive of a for-profit framework that bestows legitimacy in an absolute profit-minded ruler who won’t kill us all and convert us into bio-fuel because that would put him in the red. Neat! It’s demonstrably a functional idea, and one seen omnipresent in a world of Woke Capital where seemingly every name brand from razors to ice cream is adopting a morality it thinks its customers want. Regardless as to whether Progressivism sells is besides the point. Gillette telling us all we should feel more gay when we shave or something is endemic of the idea that companies want to make us all feel warm and cozy to make more money, and they can’t do that if they kill us all or extort us. In a Moldbuggian future, society would look like a patchwork. A landmass would be federated along lines determined by SovCorps, for-profit city states with a single executive board-appointed ruler with absolute control over all things. The efficiency of all things in this SovCorp would be determined by its need for competition with other SovCorps, all of them vying for entrants that sign literal contracts into said SovCorps for the promise of property tax paid to each CEO in exchange for something other than neoliberal democracy. Sounds pretty right-wing, right? Well, this is only a form of a broader political proclivity amongst disaffected types called “accelerationism”, but even in this line of thinking there are those endeavoring to speed things along to get to explicitly egalitarian outcomes they believe impossible in the current political landscape, including communists.
For all the deliberate thought that goes into recapturing a certain prevailing worldview and then practically affecting it in politics, the fact remains that any prevailing symptom of politics is going to see appropriation by both the left and right. The confusing overlap between the two is the result of an error on the part of the political observer who has been conditioned to look at the mere observation or use of a tool as a value judgment of said tool. Capital is the most obvious example of this, perhaps puzzlingly so, considering almost all of the most contemptible examples of big capital in America seem to act like Marxists, and still people seem blind to this lesson. In truth, the distinction is simple: use of a tool does not equivocate to endorsement of it. Capital is not a value system, nor does it confer morality. Capital is a tool. It is both celebrated and condemned by members of both sides of the aisle, and as such, does more to confuse the sides than anything else.
So, if not Capital and the things downstream from it – property, worker rights, etc. – then what could be the real defining characteristic between a left-winger and a right-winger? Is it a desire for a genuine conservatism contrasted with that of an ambition to move forward against all assailing winds, establishing new traditions along the way? Or is it a desire to maintain a static human essence, conflicting with an unfettered pursuit of changing humanity? I suppose you could find correlations between those identifying as right or left respectively, but these are ultimately abstractions. Machiavelli was right; politics is meant to be functional. To that end, there is but one distinction that can be observed in isolation of variables like modernity, capitalism, and either an endorsement or indictment of egalitarian representative politics: the echolocation of contempt. Think of politics as a radio wave. To hear it in such a way that it makes sense, either the frequency or amplitude must be modulated in a specific manner with sufficient enough reception. Electoral politics has mostly distilled to the absolute most basic level, which is seething contempt. Congress sits at an approval rating below, 10%. Donald J. Trump became president on a protest vote. Progressives ritualistically obliterate the presence of any large dissenting voice on their respective platforms. America is rocking back and forth at fever pitch, and despite all of the shit-slinging that goes over the fence to the other side, neither is really at war with each other. Contempt, as it were, decides this fact. Plainly put, the Real Left hates itself and the Real Right hates its leaders.
One observing the left’s visceral reaction to every word Trump utters – such to the point that their actual sanity seems to hinge on it – might be keen to dispute this take, but there is more explanation owed. It would be prudent to remember what the classical right/left divide actually was, that is to say absolute monarchists against literally everyone else. All make and manner of reformists from constitutional monarchists to democratic republicans were subject to placement on the left side of the aisle. These were people who believed in checks on any leader’s power as opposed to simply putting the right person in power, and so the responsibility of a state’s future changes hands. Now, instead of one person destroying the entire affair, that honor resides with millions. The leftist gamble was always predicated on the assumption that enough responsibility diffused over the right number of people couldn’t possibly fuck things up as much as a king could. Whether it was a republican government, a purely democratic one, or even one that simply endeavored to provide a certain degree of baseline rights for the citizenry to leverage against the king, the risk was always believing more people having political power would create preferable results. The unconscious grief of how abjectly wrong this gamble was is the black hole that consumes all leftist dread. If Donald J. Trump gets into the Oval Office, it’s YOUR fault. You voted wrong. You did bad democracy. You are all to blame. Examine the rhetoric of election night in 2016 and in the immediate aftermath. “You voted for Bernie, comrade? You dipshit. You NEEDED to vote for Hillary if you didn’t want Trump! Oh, what? Jill Stein, huh? Hey, retard, didn’t anyone tell you an endorsement for genuine plurality nets you nothing except scorn? Third-party candidates? Why even vote if you don’t vote the right way?”
Democracy’s first failure point is the voter. As stupid as the average leftist is, they know this. If somebody like Trump gets into power, it’s because you have simply voted incorrectly. Surely they hate Trump, but they expect him as a consequence of the people they are trying to out-breed, de-platform, and probably put in camps. The real scorn is directed toward the people they feel have a moral obligations to act in accordance with progressive politics’ prescribed outcomes. If the entire leftist conceit is that power is bad by default, how much blame can really be laid at the feet of a politician? The right-wing conceit stands in opposition to the leftist one. Power is not good or bad, it simply is. It is amoral. It is viewed as more affirmatively the tool that it is. The classical right-wing perspective of hierarchy, egalitarianism, and suffrage says well enough what a real right-winger would think of an electorate. The voter is stupid, ill-informed, and likely does not even know what is in his self-interest, let alone votes in a way congruent to it. As such, how much blame can really be levied against the voter in a real right-winger’s opinion? The real fault, as right-wingers see it, lies with the “elite”. The right-wing critique is found primarily in a lack of a genuine elite. Would a right-winger be more apt to bemoan the Supreme Court, or the universities? One of these is a foundation for the elite to leverage power, and the other is meant to train them. At the heart of right-wing contempt is a repulsion. It is inflicted upon them as the result of observing the people meant to make decisions, and the people meant to train the decision-makers.
The biggest problem with the traditional understanding of the left/right divide is a consequence of the failure to do four things: observe, orient, decide, act. These things form the OODA Loop, a system for combating enemies in the air, championed by USAF Colonel John Boyd. It was eventually applied to warfare in its entirety, and it all revolves around the efficiency of actually doing things. If the application of military tactics in the American political sphere being conferred via a publication meant to stir weapons-grade autists from their proverbial slumber provides any manner of reassurance to a patron of the American political experience, it might be because one can clearly see just about all of these things are lacking and the patron is perhaps beginning to understand why. Leftists are in an indefinite OODA Loop…loop. It is all democracy can offer its denizens. Vote, vote, vote, vote, vote. There is a single acceptable and arguably practical means for affecting a result. The sense of dejection this brings when it invariably fails is precisely why leftists have gotten into the habit of cannibalizing one another when things go wrong. The right has a different problem, which is that it is seemingly stuck between observe and orient. This is mostly due to the two main sects of the right locked in something of a civil war, one side of which, is likely not even right-wing. The neoliberal sect of the American right, represented by people such as David French, will likely see itself obsoleted the same way monarchy was. The rest – your neo-reactionary or blood & soil types – will likely live on. Once that time comes, the Real Right might actually find a way to make it to Decide. That decision might be the only meaningful political moment of the last few decades.