Friday, February 18, 2011

The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement by Eric Heubeck

The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement 

by Eric Heubeck

This seems to have been basically Paul Weyrich's vision for movement conservativism from around 2000. It was written with the guidance of Weyrich by Eric Heubeck.  It used to be posted on the Free Congress Foundation / Center for Cultural Conservativism website till they decided not to give it so much exposure, so now we must get it from a snapshot archived at on 7/13/01.

Let me just throw out a few quotes to whet your appetite:

This essay is based on the belief that the truth of an idea is not the primary reason for its acceptance. Far more important is the energy and dedication of the idea's promoters--in other words, the individuals composing a social or political movement

... conservatives have failed to devote the proper amount of energy to developing an alternative cultural world-view opposed to the dominant leftist one... (well, that's no longer true)

Our movement will be entirely destructive, and entirely constructive. We will not try to reform the existing institutions. We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them.

  We will attack the very legitimacy of the Left. We will not give them a moment's rest. We will endeavor to prove that the Left does not deserve to hold sway over the heart and mind of a single American.

 We will use guerrilla tactics to undermine the legitimacy of the dominant regime. We will take advantage of every available opportunity to spread the idea that there is something fundamentally wrong with the existing state of affairs. For example, we could have every member of the movement put a bumper sticker on his car that says something to the effect of "Public Education is Rotten; Homeschool Your Kids." This will change nobody's mind immediately; no one will choose to stop sending his children to public schools immediately after seeing such a bumper sticker; but it will raise awareness and consciousness that there is a problem. Most of all, it will contribute to a vague sense of uneasiness and dissatisfaction with existing society.

 In terms of our long term prospects, because we will be seen as a purely defensive movement, not interested in imposing our views on anyone, only interested in being left alone, we will surely gain the sympathy of the public.

  Our goal should be to teach the cultural elite, and all people, to find meaning in their lives outside of politics. (I think it is clear from the context that he means their cultural elite, rather than the cultural elite.  It's like Fox saying "This media does this/that -- oh but we're not the media"

Movement Must Serve as a Force of Social Intimidation in Its Intermediate Stage

We must create a countervailing force that is just as adept as the Left at intimidating people and institutions that are used as tools of left-wing activism but are not ideologically committed, such as Hollywood celebrities, multinational corporations, and university administrators. We must be feared, so that they will think twice before opening their mouths.

  We must always operate based on this cardinal principle: Leftists are never morally responsible for the evil they commit; ... We must learn to treat leftists as natural disasters or rabid dogs.

 We will initially operate according to the belief that it is more important to win over the elites (or create a new, better one) than to build up a mass movement. Furthermore, it is more important to have a few impassioned members than a large number of largely indifferent members.
(Right, that was the distinction Lenin made between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks - the Mensheviks wanted to put up with all that useless rabble).

 The new movement must be, in part, exclusive and elite. It must not be afraid to pass along a body of knowledge that is not readily accessible to and understandable by everyone. The strong appeal of a feeling of exclusivity and superiority will give our members a reason to endure the slings and arrows of popular disapproval.

 The New Traditionalist movement will appeal to the masses, but not immediately. The ideas of the masses never come from the masses.

 We must recognize that literature and philosophy do not appeal to the masses. This is why we must develop ways to spread our philosophy using non-rational means--especially the moving image.

  There must be a common repository of books and movies that everyone in our movement is familiar with and inspired by, so anyone can quote a line that will be recognized by everyone else. Young people already do this, only with the wrong movies, songs, and other products of popular culture. ... The films Braveheart and Gladiator are possible examples from current popular culture

 There is no medium more conducive to propagandistic purposes than the moving image .... A skillfully produced motion picture or television documentary has ... the power to bypass not only the old prejudices ..., but also the innate skepticism of the viewer, the resistance to new ideas. Rational arguments simply do not have this power, and all arguments made in print tend to appeal to the rational, critical faculties of the mind to a greater or lesser degree.

 Movement Must Be Based on the Transmission of Ideas, Not Their Creation

This movement is not about the creation of ideas, it is about the transmission and dissemination of ideas. (Hence endless repetition)

Ideas ... do not have an impact in direct proportion to the truth they contain. (This is certainly true and realistic, in a realpolitik sort of way, but if the person who says this is shocked, shocked, that the other side is using propaganda rather than rational argument, we ought to have a good laugh over that).

The Movement Must Be Willing to Appear Obnoxious

Our movement must be highly provocative. The thing we have most to fear is that we will be ignored. (I'm sure Saul Alinsky couldn't have said it better).

We need more people with fire in the belly, and we need a message that attracts those kinds of people. As Plato said, "madness comes from God, whereas sober sense is merely human."

  Putting the debate in terms of mere freedom, the "leave us alone" mentality, does not inspire apocalyptic fervor.

The rest concerns the setting up of elite study groups, and how to attract the sort of lukewarm fellow travellers, by means of book clubs,  and such devices, so that new candidates for the real workers can be spotted and recruited.

Our people must learn to have contempt and scorn for the wider society, and reject it in all ways. This will never happen so long as our people seek accommodation with it.

It is important that we form fully well-rounded people who feel that they are lacking nothing that the dominant leftist culture can offer them. For example, sports leagues will be included for young people in the intermediate stage, in order to bring in people who might not otherwise be interested in joining.


  1. This is good stuff. The Left has its Alinsky's, Piven's, et al., and the Right has these creeps. And they wonder why I hate the elites that comprising our ruling class and their "two sides of the same coin" political parties.

  2. I think Alinsky's mostly long forgotten except as a whipping boy for the right. Piven? New to me. Bio says "wrote an article in the May 1966 issue of The Nation titled "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty" advocating increased enrollment in social welfare programs in order to collapse that system and force reforms, leading to a guaranteed annual income". Sounds very ineffective, not that I'd wish for the goal either.

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