[Morgoth reviews John Neal’s book, “American Extremist” in which the real extremism comes from the current (((ruling system))), which conveniently labels anything in opposition to its destructive agenda and power as “extremist“.
By Josh Neal
Feb 6, 2021
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Published on Feb 6, 2021
Reading ”American Extremist” By Josh Neal
•Feb 6, 2021
Imperium Press/ Book discussed
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Hello there folks. So this week I’ve been reading a book by Josh Neal who is in our circles. And I mainly knew of Josh Neal from doing a podcast with Tyler Hamilton and a few others. He’s worked with Richard Spencer in the past. He seems to have a background in psychology. And he’s written a very interesting book called “American Extremist” which I’ve read this week and I thought I’d just sort of pick up on a few of the points, because I thought was really interesting. I also think it’s great to see that it was published by Imperial Press.
And I think it’s great to see that in this time of ramp and censorship not only do we have our own writers. And then there’s some really good ideas in this book. But then we’ve also established our own printing houses. So we have like a complete sort of, we’re building this intellectual network which is completely separate from the mainstream. And I like that. I think that’s a good thing.
So Neal’s book then it’s as if he’s putting America on the couch and psycho analyzing America in the 21st century. Now, I don’t have a much of a knowledge about psychiatry and he obviously does. But nevertheless, I wouldn’t let that put you off. It’s explained very well even though some of the concepts are quite in-depth and quite deep.
I mean, I was actually quite surprised when I saw the title “American Extremist” I thought it was going to be kind of about how the mainstream is persecuting American dissidents. And a lot of stories of injustice and unfairness. And it isn’t actually there. There’s a bit of that in there, which it has to be, because of the subject matter. But that’s not really what he’s interested in.
What Neal’s really trying to get at is what makes America tick! Like, why is it the way it is, or what and how do you actually define an “extremist” in the American system, or in the American cultural life as it is today? And he’s got some very interesting takes on that. And ways of framing this, that I’ve never come across before. Mainly, because I’ve never been that interested in psychiatry, or psychoanalysis.
And he kind of brings us in, he eases our way in there, by explaining that in a healthy functioning society it runs — and this is something that I get into a lot on this channel — it runs on a set of myths. He uses the word “myth”. I would usually use the word narrative, or stories, however you want to put it. It runs on a certain set of myths and that are a priori, and that people use to make sense of the system that they’re in.
And the problem, as Neal points out, is that in America — it’s actually across the west, but in America in this case. The problem is that the system actually breaks that down and deconstructs all of these things. And so people are left sort of, … When we talk about “atomized”, it isn’t just this vision that you get in your mind of somebody sitting in a like a little flat, and only like living so that they can go out work and sit behind their computer all day. And then they come home to a lonely flat and watch Netflix, and this kind of thing. That’s a part of it.
But as Neal points out it actually runs deeper than that, where the myths that give meaning to our lives are being deconstructed and debunked. And what he calls the “self-understanding” for an American has been hijacked by the system, and then subverted and weaponized, and used against the American people. I mean, look we’ve got to read between the lines. He’s been a lot more specific in the book, but I’m doing this on YouTube so I’ve got to be more careful.
But I mean, he says because myths have no authors they can be seen as part of the commons, belonging to the public domain. And therefore subject to an unending sequence of reappropriations.
So what he’s getting at is that when we took for granted that certain concepts, certain myths, about the culture that we lived in, that it belongs to the people, that nobody really had ownership of them. If you think, as he uses the example of the Greek myths, or something. You can see it in the way that Marvel [comics] treats the Nordic myths around Thor and how the ethnic background of Thor’s kind of trashed!
And essentially that’s, because we assumed that we had kind of ownership of them. That they were just in the public domain. And that nobody would mess around with them that much. And, in actual fact, what Neal’s getting that is that the system has just taken ownership of them, commodified them, trashed them! And this leaves people on the outside kind of confused and without a real way to frame where they’re coming from.
But there are myths which he’s then going to move on to. So the myths and the narratives of the common man, he’s lost that! He’s lost ownership of them. And they’ve been destroyed. You read Neal and it’s like they’ve been fed into this neo-liberal kind of shredder! And then what the average American gets when they come out on the other side is just these shredded pieces of paper, which make no sense! But the system does have its own myths, which is what he’s going to go on.
But moving on from that a little bit, which is related, and the creation of the myth of the system, and how it perpetuates itself. When we get really into it on Part One, which was a part that I really liked, which was on journalists. Yeah, as you might imagine from somebody in our circles, Josh Neal really doesn’t have much time for journalists at all! [chuckling]
But there’s a deeper reason for that. And it’s because the system, it does have its own myths. And they are perpetuated primarily through journalists, through the journals, that we all hate! Let’s just put it that way. They are like the shock troops of the ideology of the system. And he’s going to say a lot more about ideology later on. I mean, in ways I’ve never even come across before.
But just in this on the journalists, which I think is a nice way to ease our way in. I mean, he says:
“As relates to questions of mental fitness, the prevalence rate of post-traumatic stress disorder is high among journalists than the general population. 96 percent claim their personal values and beliefs inform their work.”
So for the journalists it’s not just the job, it’s a part of their identity. And they are then perpetuating the myths and the ideology which are kind of similar and come from a deep-rooted place, which we will come to later.
And then he also moves on and says “in the neoliberal” — this is a good one actually:
“In the neoliberal journalist we see the importance of myth. Leftists in the media complex are galvanized by a Manichean world view with brave heroes, sinister villains, and the gallery of political saints and martyrs, which grows with each passing day.
Even if they live their day-to-day lives as secular humanists they regard their politics with the same zealotry as a medieval crusader. So committed over it to their mythological worldview that realer than real experience of their own lives, the journalistic class are totally blind to the material fact of their existence. Journalists being ensconced in their bubbles of privilege and ideological conformity, imagine themselves to be speaking truth to power, when, in fact, they are merely reinforcing existing power structures.
The illusion of the dispassionate and objective reporter, or journalist, is shattered when we understand that their true north is often found by simply taking note of which direction their ideological overlords happen to be pointing in.
So the myths that we live by are coming from the establishment, via journalists, or at least they’re the vanguard. While at the same time the system chews up and spits out the traditional myths we used. The system has taken ownership of then our identity. And it’s also been commodified.”
And then he moves on says:
“Given this analysis, we may say that the character of the Left journalist in particular is one of arrogance and gluttony, narcissism, and pedentry, passive-aggressively confrontational, and possessing a uniquely religious quality of pettiness and vengeance seeking!
But it gets worse! And it gets worse in the digital sphere when their work, and the perpetuation of the system’s narratives it operates through clicks, and likes, and ad revenue, and social media reach.”
And it’s an important thing the which is raised here as well, as that he points out, that actually the journalists, the sort of the blue ticks on Twitter and all this, they don’t actually make a killing on this. It isn’t like a highly lucrative career! Precisely, because the internet doesn’t actually make very many people rich. Especially if you’re relying on our revenue, and things like that.
So what is then the point? What is the incentive? Well the incentive is that they get this catharsis from being on the winning team, and then sort of slaying the enemies of their own myth! As he said earlier, these are the dragons and the demons. And they are people on the Right, people who are politically incorrect.
And so instead of earning a huge salary the blue tick social justice activists, which are at the bottom of the hierarchy of the system, pretty much, what they get instead is a feeling of righteousness and catharsis, rather than material gain.
And so what Neal’s doing is laying down the groundwork here for which he’s going to expand on, and get really deep into. That the American life is one of a chaotic one. Everything is being broken apart. All these myths, and what people use to make sense of their lives are being abolished, and then warped, and hijacked, by the system and regurgitated. But at the same time they’re also being commodified. And this is going to have an effect on the political landscape.
So he’s laid the foundation work there. And the political landscape is where I think he really gets some good points in. Because what he’s coming out with, what he’s saying is that the defining characteristic of all of this, both Left and Right, because it’s such a divided nation, is anti-authoritarianism, and where that comes from.
I mean, this will surprise people, because when we think of the Left today we think of authoritarianism, we think of censorship. And all of this. But as Neal points out, within their own framework, they too are fighting authoritarianism. It’s just they would see it differently. They would see the patriarchy, or White supremacy, or restrictions on people’s sexuality. Maybe the sort of traditional Christianity would seem authoritarian to the Left as well, for example.
And then I mean, as I expected from a sort of outright luminary conservative, sort of standard normie conservatism, comes in for a bit of a drubbing from Neal as well! [chuckling] And I wasn’t disappointed.
For Neal — and the argument is a powerful one — the frontier spirit which sort of is still there in a latent form on the American like normie right, the frontier spirit, individualism, markets, and finance, you’ll find that here they are always also running from authority, running from power.
So on the one side of this, on the Left side of this, you’ve got the Left who are opposing authority and power. And then you’ve got the same on the Right. So both sides of this are, of course, rooted in a particular American — well it originally it’s English, but for some reason it isn’t even as extreme as that in England — in America you have a country founded on these classic liberal values. And you get that old thing, let’s say the libertarians, you know, on the Right. And it’s always this moving away from central power. It’s always moving away from authority.
But what’s a good insight here is that’s also to be found over on the American Left as well! Because they’re going to look as not just at the standard traditions of America, of any European country. But in America they would regard restrictions on abortion, Christianity, they would regard this as being authoritarianism.
But then, of course, you move on beyond that and they will also look to Europe and say, well all of European history really, [chuckling] but in particular the 1930s, fascism, things like that. So that would be the authoritarianism that they are always fleeing from, and that they are paranoid about coming in.
Meanwhile over on the Right you get all of these scares about communism coming in. In actual fact, it’s neither are really true. The system they’ve got is actually the totalitarianism that’s making everybody mad! I mean, I know that’s not as deep of a psychological take as what Neal’s capable of but it does seem like in a society which has driven itself mad, because everybody is trying to flee from any kind of authority, or in that what would become a central galvanizing narrative which would unite the country, you can’t do it, because everybody’s going to run from it straight away.
So what we have is a weird system entirely based on being terrified of which group has the levers of power. It results in a sort of sociopathic individualism. America’s core idea has become kind of rotten and unhinged. And then neoliberalism exacerbates the problem and creates incentives towards sociopathy. You see all of these sort of psychological terms coming in.
It reminds me of Game Theory as well. Because the game theory is where everybody is a self-interested individual. That’s what it’s predicated on. It turns out that it’s been catastrophic! And it was catastrophic in England as well. But in the case of America you can see it.
So in game theory the idea is everybody is just a rational individual and they will look after themselves first to the detriment to everybody else. Now that’s a model which has in large part comes hand in hand with neoliberalism, which is imposed, well hold on, being imposed on the European people, everywhere. It turns out that it’s a completely flawed idea. But it’s massively destructive! Because it incentivizes people to think only of themselves.
Now you can then, if you already have a society like America which is already highly individualistic, then you can think, well in this case it’s gonna like put a turbo charge on that. And so you’re gonna see people who sort of find an ideology, there’s a reason why the ideological landscape is so fractured in America, which Neal’s also going to get into soon.
But you’ll see that they are then incentivized to go to further and further extremes. You think of the social media Lefty, or whatever it happens to be. They’re all gonna go off, they’ve all got an incentive to double down and sort of draw out their position to its logical extreme. That’s kind of like what he’s getting at. That was my understanding of it.
But then that brings us to extremism itself, which, you know, it’s called “American Extremism”. And I think this is where he begins to come into his own. And you’ve got all of these “anti-hate” organizations. And Neal says:
“Our conception of extremism is itself a result of highly partisan institutions. In particular the Anti Defamation League and the southern poverty law center, ironically named. I mean, he gets a little joke in. Ironically named as the former traffics almost exclusively in defamation, while the latter can in no way be seen as concerned with the problem of economic inequality in the south. How do we define what an extremist is? Somebody in opposition to the establishment you would think.”
And so Neal says:
“Critics of global finance, open borders, multiculturalism, radical individuality, feminism, identity politics, etc., scientism, institutionalized art, and media, and the sexual revolution, being chief among them, are the modern day heretics of the American empire! Merely alluding to such critiques as sufficient in the eyes of the establishment and everyone who has been ideologically, or economically captured, by it to be dubbed an extremist.”
So this raises a lot of questions, because the consensus, this paradigm is of the elites. And what’s more Neal’s wider point is that in the great awokening period of 2011, 2012, the establishment radicalized it’s own base against middle America.
But that holds true for Britain, if you think of a term like “gammon” being thrown around, which was actively encouraged by the establishment. The same thing happened in America where the system radicalized it’s own support base against the normal people!
And it isn’t just about ideology, or power. An “extremist” is just somebody opposed to the dominant power of the day, whatever that power happens to be. So you can kind of leave the ideological framework and just say that this is something, which is eternal. The extremist is just somebody who is against the dominant power. And in this case it’s, yeah, global homosexual.
And you can lay empirical data at the feet of the power structure and still be called an extremist, because it isn’t interested in truth, it’s interested in power. I mean, this is a slightly different slant on it to what Neal gets into in the book. But from this perspective the power structure is unhinged, and the person with the data is then cast out as the extremist, with empirical facts! Well it doesn’t matter! They don’t care! And what one has is power, not truth!
Neal makes some very interesting points on how the present power structure massively amplifies odd, or rare, stories and narratives. And then a weighty passage on the Lakanian [?] psychology gets deep — I mean, very deep for me — in how ideology is formed in the mind of the subject. And then how it crashes into the chaotic life of hyper capitalism.
So as I understand this, the subject is left adrift in the world. And they’re going to try and order their understanding of the world and put it into some sort of meaningful framework. And that’s what leads to ideology. An ideology is an ordering of thoughts into a coherent myth, or narrative.
The problem that we have in a country like in America, and where it is now, especially is that there’s a multitude of different competing ideologies, where it becomes infinite. And so what begins with the individual, you then get this individuation, where you get a splintering. So you begin with one and then itself goes into two. One myth leads to four. And four into eight. And it’s this multiplicity happening.
And the problem is this is just completely chaotic and destructive. All the while it’s feeding into the neoliberal system. And all the while it makes it impossible for any kind of peaceful, or coherent society to exist. It’s everybody’s going mad! It’s, in fact, I think Neal uses the term “anti-society”, or an “anti-culture”, which chews up traditional values and mores and gives a sort of warp perception of reality, or a kind of hologram of meaning, because everybody’s living in their own nodes, their own bubbles, if you like.
And so this is very difficult to wrap your head around. But it’s a very interesting way to look at it.
And so the way I approach this, I would think. Well, if this is now the situation in America, if this what neoliberalism, and then having this corrupt elite, this is the effect that this is having on the people in America, especially the Europeans, well then what would be something which was unlike that in order to kind of understand this more?
And what I came to was, if we think of a peasant in 19th century Russia. So what does he have to confront himself with, in the world? What in the world imposes itself on him? And it’s the local village, family, church. And then he goes to the Tsar, and then up to God. And so that is what he has around him to formulate an ideology on. And what you’ll find is that you’ll get a much more peaceable society, until, you know, you do a 1917.
The point is that the he wants to make sense of the world. But then he in order to do that, he has a limited framework to do it. And you begin to see the value in a traditionalist society. One where there’s one clear narrative. And you can have slight sort of deviations on each side of that. But basically it’s an absolutist view, where that’s it! America is kind of like as far away from that as you can possibly get. And so, that’s how I think we can frame that.
And so Neal says the George Floyd death, and the riots, you get multitude of different competing ideas in people’s minds at the same time. So Neal says the George Floyd death and the riots were being reported as the work of White supremacists. And then they were also blaming them for the death in the first place.
I mean, Neal’s book is very heavy on psychology, and as somebody who knows nothing about the subject it can be quite daunting. But at the same time it’s refreshing to read a book from our perspective, deconstructing the American mindset in the 21st century like this.
Here we discover like the Americas run by sociopaths in a system. And I love the term that Neal invented for this. He calls the system itself a “pathocracy”, because it’s pathological. Which seems to be a similar concept to biography-Leninism except with a more Marxian power dynamic replaced, where with a hierarchy of lunatics who feel an instinctive drive to destroy the normal people.
The thinking of the whole power structure is outsourced to the pathocrat class who with their minions on Twitter, and in the journalist class, repeating a simplified set of talking points, like a dog fetching a stick, with endless endless language games, which constantly shifts so the ground’s always moving under your feet. You don’t know what’s concrete anymore.
And the “Pathocrats and Disgust” is an interesting passage as well. So Neal says:
“The other technique pathocrats use to delegitimize identity is to disarm the population’s common sense by attacking naturally evolved senses, such as “disgust”. Disgust has been identified as a powerful moral intuition, most likely having evolved as a response to biological contaminants.
Further investigations into this evolved response have shown that disgust is triggered by nine factors, including baby, food, body products, animals, sexual behaviors, contact with death, or corpses, violations of the exterior envelope of the body, including gore and deformity, poor hygiene, interpersonal contamination, contact with unsavory human beings, under certain moral offences.
It is likely that disgust is related to withdrawal, as aggression is decreased whenever the disgust response is triggered. And so once again in these cases, human norms are just more constructs to become ideologies. More grist to the mill. More pathological enforcement under the average person by the elites and their psychotic minions, who are themselves trying to make sense of the world via these concepts. So all of these are ways in which people can impose their will on the world.”
So Neal moves on to describe America as:
“A live reality of seething resentments and frustrations, which have no viable outlet except, on the minions of the system. The steam can never be released from the pot in a cathartic way.”
And so what we end up with is random acts of extreme violence, which gets back to the original title of the book. And then more often still by the American establishment itself. So Neal writes:
“Extremism transforms from a latent potential into manifest violence at precisely the moment it is necessary for the power structure to one, distract the public from actions it does not want observed with watchful eyes. Two, deter an emergent threat to its hegemonic control. And three, guide the population toward the attitudes and actions it has predetermined for them.”
And then, where are all the centrists in this? Well basically they’re just ballast. They’re just dead wood which are again easily manipulated by the system.
So what’s interesting is that the system on the one hand radicalizes it’s own base of support. By any traditional measure the real extremists in America, are the state itself, and it’s minions. And it’s the inability to get the grips of this, because everything is so fractured and broken down, which leads to what the system would then regard as legitimate extremism of these random acts of violence, which you see from time to time.
But even then, like compared to the destruction wrought by the State itself this is nothing new. And so we then think the problem in all of this is liberalism itself. Because I mean, my takeaway from this is that if the system then begins — like just to use game theory which I’m more familiar with — the system then begins to use incentives to get people to do its bidding, it’s actually easier to do it when you’ve got a society which is so individualistic, because there’s not one coherent story for people to galvanize themselves around.
And so, this is why I think this is a good book, and why I would definitely recommend it. Because one of the things that you’ll see in every comment section and under every tweet is like, what are we actually going to replace this with? And so when we see people coming out with work like this. We got people like Imperium Press and I mean, at the end of the day, I’m just doing a video on it. This is not a substitute for the book itself, by any means.
What we can then begin to establish is a means by which to take liberalism down, or at least get it right into the roots of it! Which is what Neal does here. And he kind of wraps it up. I’m not gonna give too much away, but he wraps it up by saying:
“One of the things we can try and do is take away the future from the elites as they exist now.”
So one of the things they will do is that again to get back to the incentive idea. They are then in control of these narratives. They are telling society where we are going to go. If you can take that away and you can replace it with a different future, you’ve scored one hell of a victory!
And it won’t be directly in opposition to the system, which I’ve heard them talk about a little bit on their podcast. It’ll be something completely different and separate from it, rather than hitting it on and just being like this angry reactionary all of the time.
And the super structure, which is interesting, is that the superstructure in some way will resemble something like where we have to trim all of these different myths, all of these ideologies, it’s not healthy for people, it makes people depressed, and confused, and genuinely atomized. And so we can begin to now to understand the problem in depth, and in earnest, and think:
“Well yeah, so it’s about reducing the amount of crazy ideas people are confronted with.”
This is the problem. Because, you know, to get back to the example of say the Russian situation where it was a more simplified society.
Now how we do that in this late stage of modernity, is the task at hand.
But anyway, that’s just my thoughts on this. As I say, this is not a substitute for reading the book. I would highly recommend it, and I’ll have the links below.
So thanks for listening folks. And I’ll catch you later.
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Version 1: Feb 6, 2021 — Published post. Transcript complete = 23/29 mins.