Is the Putin Option Viable? A Response to Clayton Bishop

(Note: This article was originally published on my MakerSupport page in February 2018.)

Clayton Bishop recently wrote a thoughtful article at Identity Dixie. Titled “The Putin Option,” this piece addresses a few strategies commonly discussed on the Dissident Right.

The title of this article is derived from conservative writer Rob Dreher’s concept of the Benedict Option, which advocates that Christians should form intentional communities and isolate themselves to some degree from an increasingly liberal society. While I, too, share Rob Dreher’s concerns with our Weimar-esque social conditions, he and I differ in that I don’t advocate that right-wingers give up on the modern world; for to do so would be accepting defeat. Besides, fleeing from conflict in pursuit of serenity is, to borrow from Nietzsche, decadent.

But Clayton doesn’t grant much attention to the Benedict Option, which, given its obvious flaws, is fine with me.

Instead, he devotes much of the article to debunking the idea that an ethnostate will be achieved by means of an armed uprising. Aptly, Clayton identifies the main issue with such a scenario: the state is the strongest, meanest, and most well-equipped killing machine on the planet. And this doesn’t only apply to the federal government; as noted in the article, local police departments have been militarizing at an alarming rate.

Additionally, Clayton reminds us that the average person – including most right-wing, White Americans – would never support a White Nationalist armed uprising. Revolutions are bloody affairs, and without the support of the masses, revolutionaries can never hope to achieve that which is necessary to rule: legitimacy. (This isn’t to imply that support of the masses necessarily grants one legitimacy, or that a lack of popular support negates legitimacy. Louis XVI, for example, was, despite his flaws, the legitimate ruler of France. But violent revolutions do, typically, require some degree of popular support if they are to succeed.)

In short, White Nationalists will never overthrow the government, so this strategy should be abandoned – sorry SIEGE kiddies. Moreover, I would add that preaching the necessity of violent revolution will attract quite a few lunatics. White Sharia, anyone?

After confounding the idea of armed secession, Clayton proposes an alternative, which he refers to as the Putin Option. He briefly outlines how Putin came to power, which, obviously, did not involve a violent overthrow of the Soviet state. Instead, Putin was granted a historical opportunity – the collapse of the Soviet Union – which he skillfully seized.

Upon reading this, the Neoreactionary theory of Passivism immediately came to mind. For those unaware, Passivism is a path to power that eschews activism, politics, etc. and instead focuses on becoming worthy, accepting power, and ruling.

Regardless of Clayton’s knowledge of Neoreaction, I find it refreshing that others on the Right are beginning to move beyond the simplistic, unrealistic paradigm for social change found in the Turner Diaries. Clayton correctly argues that an increasingly fragmented, degenerated America will create a vacuum of power – a historical opportunity, capable of being seized by the worthy.

The question, thus, is how do we become worthy? Unfortunately, Clayton did not explore the answer in his article, but perhaps we can prod him to do so in the future.

I have given this matter – becoming worthy – a fair amount of thought, as have the Neoreactionaries. The way I see it, as the West crumbles, we need to be a societal force that is able to make the lives of our people better. And we can accomplish this by creating social capital, as outlined in this video.

Most social endeavors require – or, at the very least, benefit from – capital in all of its various forms: financial, social, human, physical, etc. As such, we need to focus on acquiring capital, building social networks, doing good deeds, and becoming the absolute best versions of ourselves.

This is how we can become worthy. The only remaining uncertainties, then, are what opportunity the forces of history will bestow upon us – and how we will rise to meet the challenge.

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