The Ideology of Failure
Stephen Pax Leonard, The Ideology of Failure: How Europe Bought into Ideas that Will Weaken and Divide It, Arktos, London, 2018, ISBN 978-1-912079-5 (softcover), xxi + 266 pp, reviewed by Mark Wegierski
This book has been published by Arktos, a publishing company that is considered alt-right but this isn’t really an alt-right book. The reviewer would doubtless say that he is traditionalist conservative, or even classical liberal. Dr. Stephen Pax Leonard was a Senior Research Fellow at St. Chad’s College, Durham. A linguist and anthropologist, he has published five other books and held positions at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
The frontispiece of the book features a poem by Rudyard Kipling “Norman and Saxon (A.D. 1100).” The poem is a compliment to the honest, fair-dealing Saxons, and how they are to be approached with honesty and fair-dealing by their Norman overlords for the sake of social peace. This is followed by the “Acknowledgements” (pp. viii – ix). Dr. Leonard evidently established a rapport with a number of British university students in putting together the book. Two prominent names in the acknowledgements are the late Sir Roger Scruton, and Professor Jonathan Haidt. The book has a Bibliography, pp. 243 – 248, in a small typeface, and Index (pp. 249 – 262).
In the Preface (pp. x – xxi), the author opines “I believe we are living in an atmosphere of stifled public dissent, the kind of atmosphere that lingered before the establishment of the notorious totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century. Politicians cannot bring themselves to state the obvious: that multiculturalism, as the ideology dictates we call it, has been a disaster everywhere.” (p. xi). He says that he will look in particular at Sweden, as an example of one possible future of the West. And that he will consider examples of possible positive change, for example, Brexit.
The introduction (pp. 1 – 7) states that the central concern of the book is the “cultural nihilism” into which most of Europe and the West has fallen. In “The Groupthink Trap” (pp. 8 – 26), the author describes how the politically-correct Liberal-left has created and maintained its unnatural ideological hold on the West. In “The Political Correctness Folly” (pp. 27 – 63), Dr Pax Leonard argues that the Left discourages dissent by using demonizing words such as racist or sexist. The Left also feeds off of feelings of guilt and self-contempt.
In Chapter III, “Freedom of Speech” (pp. 64 -86), the author writes: “Freedom of speech must surely be the foundation of liberal democracy.” (p. 64). The author catalogues some of the more egregious threats to freedom of speech, such as legislation against so-called hate speech. Chapter IV, “Losing Those Essential Connections” (pp. 87 – 97, begins with a brief vignette of the author talking to an Inuit hunter, who criticizes “progress”. Dr. Leonard then undertakes a multidimensional critique of liberalism, which he thinks is inadequate to address the ecological crisis of overpopulation that threatens the planet. He correctly links conservatism to conservation.
Chapter V, “What Is Going On In Sweden?” (pp. 98 – 140) describes some of the methods by which a compliant Swedish population is kept in place, even as mass Muslim immigration brings horrifying results to the country. The only major party that protests about this mass immigration, the Swedish Democrats, is subject to violent attacks and is viciously attacked in the Swedish media. Dr. Leonard criticizes the deployment of the term “Islamophobia” as effectively forbidding criticism of Radical Islam. “If speech attacking a group is prohibited, that group has absolute power. A free society is contingent on the freedom of speech, and a tolerant society does not abandon the freedom to argue. The real problem is that we cannot talk about the problem. If one cannot tell the truth, one does not have one’s freedom.” (p. 140).
Chapter VI, “Swedish Air Waves” (pp. 141 – 159), describes the radio and other media environments in Sweden. For many hours a day, Swedish radio is given over to foreign languages, such as Somali and Arabic. The radio programs in Swedish are tightly controlled, and always project a “progressive” narrative. This is backed up by a “surveillance” state that endeavors to ferret out “anti-immigrant” sentiments. Sweden is clearly subject to a form of totalitarianism, Dr. Leonard argues. Chapter VII, “Societies At Risk” (pp. 160 – 171) warns of the dangers of an amorphous multicultural society welcoming identitarian Muslim immigration. Dr. Leonard also criticizes what is called “hypermorality” (p. 170), which leads Western societies to try to ignore all the problems of Muslim mass migration. Chapter X, “In Denial” (pp. 215 – 228) shows how even the worst atrocities of radical Islamists are downplayed in the prevalent political and social cultural discourse, and how the possible connections between these atrocities and mass Muslim immigration are a taboo subject. Indeed, it could be argued that Western European societies are sleep-walking to oblivion.
Chapter VIII. “Don’t Just Point the Finger at Russia” (pp. 172 – 201) is an eloquent defence of Vladimir Putin, and the Russia he has striven to build. He quotes Putin directly:
“Euro-Atlantic states have taken the path of denying or rejecting their own roots, including their Christian roots which form the basis of Western civilization… In these countries, the moral basis and any traditional identity are being denied – national, religious, cultural and even gender identities are being denied or relativized […] And these countries try to force this model on other countries, globally. […] Without the moral values that are rooted in Christianity and other world religions, without rules and moral values which have formed and developed over millennia, people will inevitably lose their human dignity.” (p. 192). (Speech in September 2013 at the Valdai Club).
Another fierce critic of current-day liberalism mentioned by Dr. Pax Leonard is Viktor Orban, the remarkable leader of Hungary. Dr. Leonard contrasts such robust figures as Putin and Orban with the mendacious mediocrities that dominate Western Europe today.
Chapter IX, “The Globalists in Brussels” (pp. 202 – 214) argues that Brexit was highly necessary. The globalist EU regime amounts to a dictatorship, and rules through increasingly dictatorial methods. Chapter XI, “Over the Brow of the Hill” (pp. 229 – 241), examines the prospects of meaningful change re the baneful trajectory that most European societies appear to be on. He avers
“… we are now at a point where more than ever before, we need ‘nobility’ (in the Nietzschean sense of the word), and not a demoralising legacy. We need a community of people who possess themselves entirely, are philosophically autonomous, unruffled by the weak, herd morality and the hegemony of ideologies which try to undermine sovereign nations and people.” (p. 230)
The author inveighs against the self-hating ideologies of globalism.
In the reviewer’s opinion, this is a brave, daring, magnificent book. It places the locus of resistance to the current-day crisis firmly within the central traditions of the West itself, such as freedom of speech. It presents a basic defense of localism and rooted nations and religions. As regards Dr Pax Leonard’s analysis of current-day liberalism, it ignores some of the mainsprings of its attraction, notably the promise of sexual liberation, one of the mainsprings of the Sixties’ revolutions. Note also that a neo-puritanical turn in liberalism expressed through anti-sexual (or anti-heterosexual) radical feminism, has driven many men into the opposition. There is a need for a counter-ethic of sexual joy in right-wing philosophizing.
Apropos the promise of unrestricted material pleasure for the masses, the post-Sixties’ society has seen a steady increase of the GDP, which certainly masks many of the consequences of mass, dissimilar immigration. The Managerial-Therapeutic regime has taken care to provide bread and circuses for the masses, through rock and rap music, mass sports, and Hollywood entertainment, which cover a huge palette of human emotions and meaning.
It is instructive to compare the situation in Canada to that in Sweden. As a vast, continent-wide polity, Canada would seem to have a greater capacity for ideological diversity than Sweden. Canada had begun as a more conservative society than America (in the positive sense of conservatism). However, it was taken through a series of wrenching transformations by Liberal Prime Ministers Lester B. Pearson (1963-1968), and especially Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1968-1984, except for nine months in 1979-1980). It is hard to think of any society that has been impacted as much by one individual, as Canada by Pierre Trudeau.
Conservatives in Canada are currently struggling against the deep structures of what has been called the “Trudeaupia”. This includes most of the mass media; the education system (from early-childhood-education to post-graduate studies); the courts, and the quasi-judicial tribunals such as Human Rights Commissions that restrict free speech; and most large corporations (including the big Canadian banks). In such a setting, conservative tendencies are being continually ground down.
Hopefully, The Ideology of Failure, with its key ideas of national sovereignty and identity, and its critique of the woke Liberal-left, will be widely read and circulated throughout the “Anglosphere”.
Editorial note; Dr Stephen Pax Leonard was recently stripped of his honorary senior research fellowship at Durham University for allegedly posting anti-Semitic and Islamophobic tweets.
And see https://stephenpaxleonard.com/about/
Sociologist Mark Wegierski is a Toronto-based writer and researcher