A letter to earnest right-wing activists

The Distributist

The Distributist

Dissident discourse in a post-modern age.

To kick off this new era on SubStack, I intend to produce a series of letters directed at the persistent political divides which exist both on online and off. My goal generally will be to clarify the controversies as I see them, state my objections, and, if possible, discover a way of moving forward. If our discourse indeed needs to be radically transformed (just as our society is radically transforming before our eyes), perhaps these essays might work as a springboard for a better discussion that can get beyond stale talking points; if not a way of achieving ideological synthesis, then at least a way of avoiding common digressions that consume so much of our time.

First on the docket; today I am taking on the infamous pleb-activist vs. aristocrat-passivist debate that has plagued my side of the dissident right during the early months of 2021. Here the disagreement is simple. The activist-types think that long-term victory is possible through the use of mass-movements and democratic political pressure. The aristocrat-passivist types (myself included) think that any non-progressive mass-movement is futile (at any a large scale) and that the focus of non-progressive cultural energy needs to be directed elsewhere.

Typically, the pleb-activist vs. aristocrat-passivist debate exists at the back-end of reading neo-reactionary authors and generally witnessing the persistent failures of conservative politics. In light of this, the activist-types want to get beyond the theory and achieve something politically in the real world, the passivist-types see proposals to re-enter partisan politics as essentially going backwards, rehashing failed GOP approaches to the American political problem.

Probably more heat than light has been generated by this disagreement. And at this point, I am convinced that much of our disagreement comes down to a descriptive confusion about the scope of our problem. Could a restatement my read on events clarify things? Since I haven’t been able to put the objections to bed via conversation, perhaps a plain text description of the problems (which we do agree on), and the methods of solving those problems (which we don’t agree on) could clarify things for all parties.

The Problem At Hand

The issue facing all modern dissidents is how any non-progressive political cause can “win” permanent victories in the modern world. More pointedly, the problem is that non-progressive causes (whatever their truth or virtue) stand virtually no chance of achieving any long-term success. The cause of this failure seems to be institutional in nature, and its specific functioning is (for my money) best described by of the modern NRX writers.

Again, I am not expect much disagreement at this stage. After all, both the activist-types and the passivist-types have taken on the NRX critique of standard conservative politics. But in case we are having difficulty remembering, I will provide a brief review.

The fixture of power that makes progressives ideas win and keep winning is a collective consensus that NRX dubs “The Cathedral”. As mysterious as it sounds, “The Cathedral” is just a simple shorthand for the collective consensus-forming epicenter of modern society (usually being broken down to the un-elected government, the media, and the academy). Even though the Cathedral is constituted of myriad, different and ostensibly independent institutions, it is worthwhile to refer to it as a singular entity because it exhibits consistent and predictable political consensus and direction. The ruling ideological consensus of the Cathedral is a post-Christian materialist progressivism. The ruling political direction of the Cathedral is leftward and towards greater material realization of care-based ethics and the liberation of human hedonistic desire.

Here, Curtis Yarvin provides an illustrative example of how “The Cathedral” effects political affiliation across time. If we observe modern elite universities, one will notice that it is difficult to determine whether Harvard or Yale is more left-wing in any objective sense, yet for some reason, it is very easy to determine that both of institutions are objectively more progressive than their past selves. Both Harvard and Yale seem to be moving at some uniform speed in a common political direction carried by a kind of cultural tide. That tide is the ideology of the Cathedral, the consensus of elite opinion makers.

If we accept this description of “the Cathedral” , it naturally follows that long-term progressive defeats are almost impossible within the reach of this consensus. Conversely, for any non-progressive movement to win a permanent victory, the Cathedral must either be destroyed or given some hard reboot.

So far, so good? Great. But before I go further, I want to re-emphasize the TWO key qualities of the Cathedral which are many times forgotten by activists eager to “fight back”. First, the Cathedral is DECENTRALIZED. There is no leader of the Cathedral, there is no CABAL or conspiracy running its consensus. Don’t waste your time looking for a literal inner party, it doesn’t exist. Second, the Cathedral is EVOLVED. While some of its parts are indeed designed to perform certain tasks, the majority of its bulk is comprised of individual actors independently cooperating to increase their own share of wealth, power, and status.

These two observations are critical in tandem because they characterize the real difficulty in understanding the nature of our common problem. Although in many ways the Cathedral acts like a single organization, it is NOT in fact planned or centralized at all. The Cathedral has no concept of its own existence, power, or purpose; nevertheless if you attack its interests, every one of its parts will work together and fight you. Here I might attempt to invent a term “D-designed” (Darwinianly-designed) to describe a fixture that is NOT designed but might as well be for the practical purposes of fighting it. For instance,  a Rhino’s horn is not designed to disembowel a human. The horn is a product of selection that helps the Rhino go around the Serengeti eating plants and making baby Rhinos. Still this lack of the design purpose will be meaningless once the critter is bearing down on you. The Rhino is D-designed to kill humans, and only a fool thinks that it won’t. Similarly, only a fool thinks he can go after Critical Race Theory in his HR departments and not expect the totally “independent” bodies of the elite universities and mainstream press to fight back against his efforts.

Do we agree on this at least? This is the core NRX thesis that everyone always wants to “get beyond”. So lets “get beyond” the basics and start address what the activists types want.

Activist Attacks on the Periphery

Now comes the point of the letter that will probably bring me the most grief: restating honestly the positions of the activists-types. Even with charity, I find the task difficult. Most dissident-activists in 2021 don’t like talking about their specific strategy. However, from what I can tell listening to them, their strategy is the basic counter-progressives strategy that has been attempted in America (and less so in Europe) for the last 100 years: step 1, build broad coalitions of populist malcontents in the hinterlands; step 2, organize a rag-tag political class compromised of elite defectors and aspiring peasants with little support in the centers of power; step 3, attempt to gain control of the government to overthrow the ruling class and the thought-leaders who actually run said government. GOP-style in a nutshell, rise and repeat.

I suppose it’s not nearly that simple. A lot of the new dissident activist have a distinctive style that sets them aside from the Republicans of the 1980s. They have a gruff distrust of all things “establishment”, they make accusations of treachery (maybe even treason!) against respected though leaders, they openly disregard the classic rules of polite discourse, and they make dark predictions (NOT PERSCRIPTIONS MIND YOU!) that, if sanity isn’t restored, the country will soon be plunged into civil war.

But of course, at this stage, we run into a problem. None of the listed sentiments are remotely new in American history. Each is a an old-as-dirt political trope well documented among rural discontents going all the way back to the 18th century. While the directness of this approach is refreshing in contrast to the gelded conservative establishment, the historical track record of movements using this style is less than sterling. With a few really weird exceptions, Western political elites have never been unseated by peasant movements, and since the 1940s, most Western elites haven’t even had to take the possibility seriously.

The activists types of 2021 are struggling with twin realizations; first, that all past right-wing activism against the progressive Cathedral has failed, second, that there is NO significant difference their new approach and those of previous failed movements. And here I tip my hat to the eternal optimism of Western man. Persistent failure is no obstacle! Or, in the immortal words of Tobias Funke, “It never works…but it might for us.”

But snark aside, I will admit here that a poor tract record is not sufficient to dismiss this question of right-wing activism writ-large. There is, of course, a first time for everything. Rome was undefeatable until it was defeated by the Huns, the sun never set on the British Empire until it finally did, the housing market kept going up until it suddenly didn’t. History is strewn with the broken forms of impassible barriers and invincible armies. People need space to try things, even things that have failed every time they have been tried before.

Still, before I ante up for the next round of right-wing activism, could we try to learn from the past? Could we describe the barriers to successful right-wing movements and then ask if the current dissident-right coalition looks anything like the historical silver bullet that finally takes the vampire down?

Let’s start by asking “why do most activist attacks on the Cathedral fail?”

Well, for starters, the Cathedral is big and resilient; really big, and really resilient. Most of its institutional body is just BULK, accumulated fixtures totally unnecessary to its core functioning. Trying to attack the Cathedral in broad strokes by lashing out at random institutions is like firing a .22 caliber rifle into the side of a Blue Whale and hoping to explode its heart. Even if you chance upon the exact vector to its aorta, the damn thing is surrounded by layer after layer of blubber, superfluous to the functioning of the whale’s circulatory system. Take a shot at it if you must, but I am not expecting a kill. In the meantime, for the Melville Fans out there, the whale doesn’t enjoy being shot, and as nature designed it, the leviathan has more than a few ways of crushing random pisants in the process of antagonizing it.

Likewise, in the case of the Cathedral, the institutional “Blubber” comprises nearly all of the of the ordinary organizations that ordinary people come in contact with. Here I am referring to the establishment media, the local teacher unions, and the junior professors who baby-sit undergrads in their Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (DIE) seminars. Of course, all of these institutional appendages are designed to strike non-progressives to the core, but conversely none of them are even close to the core of the Cathedral itself. Remove or destroy one and the system will simply go on functioning without a hitch. If you humiliate a junior professor, defund a local teacher-union, or even get a mainstream journalist fired, nothing about the Cathedral’s main operations will be changed at all. 

And this robustness is easy to see if one looks. The only thing Cathedral institutions reliably do well (other than destroy right-wingers) is guard themselves against attacks on their power and money. After all, that’s what they have been D-designed to do, isn’t it? Unlike red-state peasants, Cathedral functionaries aren’t in the habit of hitting the snooze-alarm while interlopers funnel their wealth and privilege out the back door.  And even if a counter-progressive forces could prevail in a specific instance, would any of the damage done be meaningful? Not likely in an age where we see established bureaucracies healing from political setbacks like a terminator regenerating in real time. It turns out that resilience is not actually hard when your only inputs are government subsides and over-educated mid-wits. Behold the awesome power of fiat currency and elite over-production!

Everyone who has recently lived in a metropolitan area knows this firsthand. For each vacancy in the institutions under consideration (journalists, teachers, union leaders, junior professors), there are hundreds of Millennials in-line, progressive-arts-degree-in-hand, waiting for the opportunity to become relevant in some small way. And it’s all the better if said vacancy was caused by some reactionary boogeyman whose existence justifies their own political approach to power! Heck, in the Keynesian creative-destruction sense you might even be helping the Cathedral burn off its excess boomers, removing old driftwood to allow new and more vital energy to fill the gaps. 

So far, we see that activism against peripheral Cathedral institutions, while a cathartic way to strike back against irritating and pretentious busybodies, is not actually an avenue to lasting political change.

Activist Attacks on the Core

Increasingly, there does seem to be an understanding that right-wing activist efforts must be more focused. So could there indeed be a better approach? Perhaps.

While it is true in an ultimate sense that all apparatuses of the Cathedral are connected like a circulatory system, like a circulatory system there is an upstream and downstream. Some elements are essential (upstream), others are peripheral (downstream). Upstream death or damage to the heart will cause inevitable death and damage to the finger. Conversely, very few injuries to the finger can conceivably result in damage to the heart. If an attack on the Cathedral is going to be fatal, the targets must be essential. Full stop. But then, which institutions in the Cathedral are actually essential?

Here some intuitive analysis is needed (WARNING: your results may vary!). Still, using a little common sense and some basic rules-of-thumb we can paint a general picture of the situation. If the Cathedral is indeed primary consensus-forming and information-sharing system of our society, we would expect its essential institutions have several properties; 1. essential institutions should, more often then not, be the originators of new ideas and policies, 2. essential institutions should have functions that are hard or impossible to replicate by other non-essential institutions (if suddenly destroyed or disbanded these things would be difficult to recreate from scratch), 3. the workings of the essential institutions should hold the interest of the rich and powerful (these places are the ultimate INFLUENCERS and powerful people can’t afford to not to pay attention). Of course, just like a heart itself, these core upstream institutions are not necessarily the originators of all new concepts (they have inputs as well as outputs). Still, we should expect to see new ideas take a long time to filter into essential institutions, and a short time to filter out of them. For instance it took three decades for CRT to completely conquer the upper reaches of the the Ivy League, less than five years to completely filter down to all Human Resource departments in private corporations nation-wide.

Using these intuitive rules and going down the line, we immediately see that very few institutions are in any ways essential. Almost no part of the mainstream media is essential. A fleetingly small part of the unelected government and only the smallest number of elite universities fit our description. For example, using my own back-of-the-envelope calculations, the institutions marked as “essential” come down to super-elite research/education institutions (Harvard, Yale, Berkeley…) , quasi-independent academic peer circles (Nature, Science, etc…), some neo-liberal NGOs (World Economic Forum, Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation…), and a few semi-government bodies (Federal Reserve, CIA…). Your analysis might vary, but if your list looks anything like mine, a certain picture is coming into focus concerning the insulation of these core fixtures from any outside interference.

Are any of these institutions directly accountable to the American population? Does any typical red-state citizen have leverage over these organizations? Does the typical dissident even come in contact with these bodies regularly? The answers to these questions is clearly “no”, “no”, and “no”. Call me a pessimist, but the opportunities for an activist push back on this vector seem quite limited. 

But here, I know there will be disagreement. Even if the activist-types follow me descriptively, I know they will have a retort to my conclusions:

“Dave, all of the organizations you mention get funding and talent from the American people! Most of them are either part of our government or exist at the behest of our government. Certainly, the answer is to use good old-fashioned American populism to take control of the state at the highest level and use it to cut off these institutions at the knees! They rely on us! Starve the beast! It’s possible!”

Well yes, it’s possible… on paper at least. Again, none of these institutions are particularly exposed to public scrutiny, and every one of the listed organizations has entire departments of 150+ IQ professionals whose only job it is to figure out how to lobby for new funding and to keep the funding that they already have.

What is the right-wing activist answer to this level institutional robustness? To sic the congressional fiscal hawks on them? These are the people who, at their height, couldn’t defund the lumbering exoskeleton of New Deal programs like the Tennessee Valley Authority. Now, in their decline, we expect these people to torpedo the funding to the most respected organizations worldwide, the institutions that do cancer research, plan third world famine relief, and educate the children of the entire elite class including their elite colleagues? Come.on.

The same can be said for long-term attempts to starve these institutions of native talent and other soft-supports. I do understand the emotion, but on any realistic assessment this proposal is just a failure to come to terms with the realities of globalism. Whatever, Harvard, Yale, and the WEF lose in red state talent or support they can easily pick up from the burgeoning middle class in China and India. Perhaps some people think that third world populations have lower quality talent to deliver? Perhaps, but it is certainly not enough of a decline in quality that it can’t be solved by a billion more people to choose from.

And unless something radically changes, we can expect these core institutions to have foreign support. Harvard and Yale now train the ruling class of India, China, and every African country. An institutional administrator with an elite rolodex that spans the ruling classes of five continents and who can’t defend his funding from poorly focused popular revolts really, really, really sucks at his job. 

At this point there need to be some hard truths. The cucked “mainstream right” of 1985 was 1000 times more powerful and focused than the “dissident right” of 2021. And then, even at the height of its power, it was nowhere near to disrupting the support of core Cathedral institutions. The entirety of red-America could disappear and (as long as food production was maintained) not a single core Cathedral institution would feel particularly impacted. And the results speak for themselves. Despite suffering the full contempt of conservative America for more than 30 years, the left has suffered more from its own mistakes and stupidity than from any action taken by any right-wing activist.

But What if the Cathedral Killed Itself?

Inevitably I have noticed that this is the part of the conversation where most dissident activist plans divert to sixth dimensional underwater backgammon. Simple first-order plans to use for direct activism to destroy the Cathedral inevitably become convoluted second-order plans to help the Cathedral destroy itself. Often these plans are accompanied by vague allusions to “lawfare”, or whatever strategic sounding words are popular on right-wing twitter today. And the agenda always seem quite clever, at least on social media.

Again, I understand the emotion here, but this is all completely naïve. 

Any one these fantastical false-flag operation inevitably relies on the Cathedral developing a very specific type of schizophrenia that can be manipulated by right-wing operators. While it is true that a certain type of schizophrenia has taken hold of the Cathedral, the essential bodies are still healthy and the Cathedral isn’t exactly known for letting internal political disagreements and destroy its core power. Just because your enemy is going a little bit crazy, doesn’t mean you have any control over the situation.

The popular idea that internal battles within the Cathedral can be engineered by right-winger activists becomes even more ridiculous when people propose progressive “moral consistency” as a tool that will allow them to lead powerful institutions around by the nose and force them to live up to their own contradictory standards.  Remind me again, why would anyone assume that progressives care about consistency? Have we come so far in 2021 that only months after abandoning the “muh hypocrisy” strategy we immediately divert to relying on the non-existence of any hypocrisy to make our future activist plans seem rational? To all those fans of my vlog between 2016 and 2020 perhaps I should apologize. When I said we shouldn’t be obsessed with progressive hypocrisy, this was because progressive hypocrisy was OBVIOSUS not because it didn’t exist. 

But again, this is getting abstract. Any of these jiu-jitsu political ideas can be much more realistically refuted by simply writing out their steps in sober realistic terms, calling out each of the decision makers and required decisions. For those at home with their own pet project to “destroy the Cathedral with one weird trick”, I invite you to follow along. Start from your proposed tactic (something a real counter-progressive community could accomplish) and then list all of the steps ending with the total destruction of one or more of the Cathedral’s essential institutions. If this exercise is completed with any amount of realism, what you will see in front of you is a LONG list of decision makers each who need to endorse policies that are diametrically opposed to their own cultural and financial interests. Any break in this chain and your idea is confetti, every link in this chain can reasonably be expected to break. 

Once more we are at an impasse.

The Dying Leviathan

And yet have we explored all the options? Here, I anticipate another objection from the peanut gallery.

“But Dave haven’t you said previously that the Cathedral is losing its grip on power. Isn’t it actually decaying? And isn’t this an opportunity? A chance for right-wingers to move forward and push them over the edge?”

Well indeed, the Cathedral is teetering a bit in its foundations. It’s certainly not as young as is used to be. Perhaps it’s in the early stage of dying. We should note that this decline is entirely due to its own stupidity, not right-wing activism. Still, I would be a remiss if I didn’t admit that, in some sense, the “trolling” of institutions by right-wingers has contributed to said institutional decline of the establishment (ultimately I predict this will be only lasting legacy of good ol 45). Nevertheless, every time I hear this “accelerationist” solution advocated for by right-wingers, I can’t help but cringe. Why is this?

Well, in addition to courting a type of tactical nihilism (something Christians should be VERY cautious of doing). Accelerationism, as a right-wing strategy for victory, fundamentally misunderstands the nature of the cultural war in 2021. Here, a sober examination of how progressives see things might be illustrative.

Although many in the red-states rarely see this, post-2020, even in the most dyed in the wool progressives is feeling a vague sense of dread. This isn’t the world that they wanted, and there is the creeping suspicion that eventually they won’t be able to hold things together. And if this nascent attitude is hard to read, I have seen it in my own life, dropping the term “late progressivism” into casual conversations with lefties and getting only plaintive nods in response. It is clear to see that, while the left reigns like a king over all institutions that matter, the Sword of Damocles dangles above them and may soon to drop. Optimism, once an eternal font for progressives in the Golden state is now running dry, and everyone feels that something dark is on the way.

And yet, just as you might think that progressives have nothing good to look forward to, when the subject of conversation shifts to the topic of the cultural war against the right-wing, all of the existential dread in progressives melts away and is quickly replaced by smirking triumphalism. How can a people, so bleak about their own future be so confident and happy about their coming victory over their enemies?

Well, as might be obvious, unlike successfully governing a state, the culture war is a zero-sum contest between two sides. And for all the problems of the modern left, it is obvious to everyone here (liberal, conservative, or otherwise) that the traditionalist right is dying faster than the progressive alternative. This might be just an entertaining distraction for leftist wanting to ignore their own home’s catastrophic decline, but for someone like myself, chiefly interested in imaging and building a non-progressive future, the question of how to survive seems by far the most important task.

In addition to their obvious political problems, non-progressive groups face the much more pressing issue of maintaining their own existence. Not only do we have to contend with the corrosive effects of modernity, the grasping bugmen who increasingly rule establishment power centers love nothing more than to roast traditionalist symbols and people to distract their own political malcontents from the blinding obviousness of their own incompetence. The progressive Cathedral may be fading, but like most apex predators, it becomes more dangerous the closer it is to death. And let me tell you, progressives have no intention of allowing anything they perceive as “right-wing” or “traditional” to survive their own decline. 

Will they succeed? It’s hard to say. But it is this core question of survival that needs to be the focus of all non-progressives going forward. Here in the twilight of modernity, the cultural war is a game of competitive survival, a game of last-man-standing. And insofar as the right-wing has lost its credibility in this contest, the problem owes less to direct progressive attacks and more to the perception that non-progressive modes of existence just cannot prevail in a post-industrial technological society.

Sure enough, dying or not, the right-wing can always win this game of last-man-standing by killing its opponent. As I mentioned at the start, no permanent political large-scale victory can be achieved until the Cathedral dies, one way or other. But unless it procures the death of this enemy quickly, really quickly, right-wing activism doesn’t address the larger problem before us.

As I have illustrated, the probability of any direct attack instantly resulting in the Cathedrals death are slim. And once we discard low probability strategies to win quickly, our gradual approaches to accelerationism through petty trolling don’t actually reassure people that anything right-wing will survive the flailing viciousness of the late-progressive ruling class. Dissident activists aside, almost no-one honestly thinks that the right can compete with the progressive establishment, and, unless we do something radically different, the right isn’t going to survive the collapse of that establishment either. 

Get busy living, or get busy killing

Ultimately, if you are an activist type reading this letter, I doubt that I have convinced you. You have a plan and you trust it will work. Is it an attack on the periphery? An attack on the core? A direct attack using government defunding? An indirect attack to encourage the Cathedral to kill itself? Did I miss an option?

Snark aside, I can hear your objections.

“Dave, we know our plan isn’t perfect, but it MUST be better than what you are doing. Building culture? Finding networks? Looking for new ideas? That doesn’t even address what people are complaining about! That doesn’t actually achieve what people want!”

Certainly this is good criticism, and not criticism that I can answer in this letter. But my point in this essay is less to win the argument then to show how I got to my position and where I actually think the dilemma lies.

As you might have guessed, I don’t think right-wing activism works post-2020 and I think our resources are, almost certainly, better spent strengthening allied communities. My adversaries obviously disagree. Everyone will, at some point, have to decide where they want to put their time and effort, and so its not bad that the nature of the disagreement is made explicit. In fact, to be succinct, we might express the dilemma by paraphrasing Shawshank’s “Andy” Dufresne. It comes down to a simple choice: get busy living or get busy killing.

For those activists still on the warpath, I have no quarrel with your cause. If you have the kill shot on the Cathedral then go ahead and take it. I am certainly not stopping you. In fact, I will even buy you a beer once you stand triumphant over the corpse of Leviathan. Please, I beg you, make me obsolete. Do you think I want to be doing this? I would happily be proved an irrelevant nerd if that were the price tag for a sane world. As you probably know, speaking out as a non-progressive in the modern world is a dangerous game, and I assure you that I am not doing this for my health. My goal isn’t to dissuade you from activism. I just don’t want people to waste their time, or for that matter their lives, trying to get something that they probably can’t achieve.

The truth is, beyond what I have written here, I really don’t want to be having this conversation again. It’s not that I even find it repetition so boring, it’s just that the implications are distasteful. Can we not agree to disagree?

And here is where things get a little spicy, because whatever the activist-types say about us egg-heads, it is hard to miss the fact that, most of the time, it is the activists who seek the approval of us passivists and not the other way around.

Regardless of what I say here (or in any previous essay), people keep approaching me with their new brilliant plans for an right-wing take-over. After I explain why I am not interested, the angry words inevitably begin to flow. The terms “defeatist!” “cuck!” or “coward!” are popular insults, even though I don’t think most of them have thought the accusations through. But what ultimately is the point of this?

If you are an activist-type, then you basically are on a mission to kill a god with one cool shot. Why would you want my help? What could I possibly do? What, may I ask, would a political operator with the self-destruct codes for the global ruling class want from a nerd who writes video essays? Do you want me on the front line of your protest? Would my small YouTube audience really be the ideal demo for MAGA 2.0? Does this make any sense?

It actually doesn’t make sense. That is, unless said activists secretly know that their attacks on the Cathedral aren’t going work; unless, what they are really looking for is either an excuse not to try (“We would have won, Dave, if only you had supported us!”) or a convenient scape-goat for when their plan inevitably falls through (“we lost Dave, and this is all YOUR fault!”). After all, nothing makes a better target for authorities than a middle-sized internet community with a big loud-mouth at its front whose face and Doxx are already readily available. And just as a related question, do you ever wonder why the internet calls exaggerated advocacy for real-life activism “fed-posting”? Do you think this is just a coincidence?

For now maybe we can just stay in our own lanes; at least until there are better answers to the questions I have raised here. I am not trying to be antagonistic, I don’t want to create bad blood on the right. I know there are good and decent people on both sides of the activist-passivist divide. But in the meantime, for my own money, I am going to leave this war behind and try something different.

Perhaps instead of fighting, might someone find a better way of living? Nothing revolutionary of course, just a modification of the perennial virtue that we hear about from generations past. Divine simplicity for the plebian, high-minded spiritualism for the patrician, with religion and folkways to bring the two together in synthesis. Is this impossible in modernity? Perhaps, but I have seen too many great examples in the flesh to believe that this path is entirely prohibited. The decision to pursue a deeper existence is an eternal good available to all people. It is the absolute calling of mankind. It is not simply an echo of some past age. As always, war and death rage on like a passing storm, but inside whatever conflict rules the moment, it is the discovery of eternal beauty and goodness where true victory is achieved.