The Adversary Culture

How are you spending your evening?

I’m grilling and chilling … and sharing some highlights of my research.

The following excerpt comes from Eric P. Kaufmann’s book Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities:

“Enlightenment individualism, which consisted largely of the rational, cognitive individualism of Descartes and Locke, gave way in the nineteenth century to a more romantic, expressive form of individualism. Expressive individualism advocates that we channel our authentic inner nature, or what H.G. Wells or Henri Bergson termed our life force, unconstrained by tradition or reason. Aesthetically, it tends toward what the influential American sociologist Daniel Bell terms modernism, rejecting Christian or national traditions while spurning established techniques and motifs. Not only were traditions overturned but esteem was accorded to those whose innovations shocked sensibilities and subverted historic narratives and symbols the most. Clearly something happened between the nation-evoking historical and landscape painting of a Delacroix or Constable in the early nineteenth century and Marcel Duchamp’s urinal of 1917. This ‘something’ was the rise, after 1880, of what Bell terms modernism and Anthony Giddens calls de-traditionalization.

For Bell, modernism is the antinomian rejection of all cultural authority. For Giddens, the shift is from a past- to a future-orientation and involves a decline in existential security. A brief revival of nation-evoking art in 1930s America known as Regionalism, featuring the rural-historic realism of painters like Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood was superseded in the 1940s by the Abstract Expressionism of Jackson Pollock, Benton’s student. In the 1940s, the Regionalists were accused by modernist art critics of being fascists. The regalization worked, marking regionalism as a deviant in the art world. Never again would traditional themes ministering to mass sentiment be permitted to intrude into the high culture.

The adversary culture of left-modernism was grounded in the lifestyle category of the bohemian, first romanticized in Henri Murger’s 1845 novel Scénes de la vie de Bohéme. Unlike dandies, who dated from an earlier period and focused only on fashion, bohemians were artists and poets who embodied a more radical expressive individualism. They tended towards left-wing politics, though the relationship became strained when socialists insisted on doctrinaire art forms such as the soviet ‘proletcult’ of the 1930s. Importantly, the left-modernist form of positive liberalism has come through the major crises of the twentieth century with shining colours, meshing extremely well with global capitalism. The term ‘work hard, play hard’ encapsulates Bell’s ‘cultural contradictions of capitalism,’ combining a bourgeois puritanism at work with a bohemian consumerism at play. David Brooks’s Rise of the BoBos, published in 2001, echoes Bell’s bourgeois-bohemian synthesis, which underpins modern capitalism. The rise of an adversary culture is one of the most distinctive aspects of the modern West. This self-critique is an asset which has unlocked cultural creativity and advanced the struggle for freedom and equality. But problems arise when there are no checks and balances to limit its domination of the high culture.

For Bell, modernism replaces contemplation of external reality and tradition with sensation and immediacy. The desire to seek out new and different experiences elevates novelty and diversity into cardinal virtues of the new positive liberalism. To favor tradition over the new, homogeneity over diversity, is to be reactionary. Left-modernism continually throws up new movements such as Surrealism or Postmodernism in its quest for novelty and difference. The shock of the new is accompanied by a cosmopolitan pastiche of borrowings from non-Western cultures, such as with the Primitivism of Paul Gauguin. …”

“Much of this book is concerned with the clash between a rising white tribalism and an ideology I term ‘left-modernism’. A sociologist member of the ‘New York Intellectuals’ group of writers and literary critics, Daniel Bell, used the term modernism to describe the spirit of anti-traditionalism which emerged in Western high culture between 1880 and 1930. With the murderous excesses of communism and fascism, many Western intellectuals embraced a fusion of modernist anti-traditionalism and cultural egalitarianism, distinguishing the new ideology from both socialism and traditional liberalism. Cosmopolitanism was its guiding ethos. Unlike socialism or fascism, this left-wing modernism meshed nicely with capitalism and globalization. The left-modernist sensibility spread from a small elite to a much wider section of middle-class society in the 1960s with the rise of television and the growth of universities, taking over as the dominant sensibility of the high culture …”

About Hunter Wallace 12366 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent


  1. “David Brooks’s Rise of the BoBos”

    The reply is far better than the original: David Brooks Blows Bobos, By John Dolan

    “Reading Bobos in Paradise, I realized that it’s not so hard to make money by writing: all you have to do is suck and swallow several million people at once. It’s certainly worked for David Brooks, who sucks like a Black Hole, and could give Linda Lovelace swallowing lessons. He’s making a fortune from this book, which is nothing more than fellatio in print.”

  2. Leftist modenism , classic example of ” vanity and vexation of spirit” recycled nonsence, as if they had something new to offer. Please!!

  3. Two kinds of modernism , the right kind and the wrong kind, they were and are the wrong kind. Another classic example of” idleness is the devils playhouse”.

  4. Modernism can best be understood like conservatism as an anti-ideological sensibility that morphs inevitably overtime. However, its fluidity like conservatism is a feature not a bug. Currently, many men are dissatisfied with the modernist lifestyle. Most of these men are incels or low status unfortunately. They are not having sex and are low status which causes them to look to the internet to resolve their problems. The dissident right, or perhaps non-mainstream rightwing people in Western liberal democracies, must become an art movement with an intellectual underpinning to attract non-incels or low-status people. We must focus on building a new worldview and new art form that challenges and inspires our people onward to survival and culture struggle. The philosophy must precede the art and will appeal primarily to disaffected elites in many ethnic groups.

      • What is your plan to revive European indigenous or settler homelands? Is it to sit around and lob ad hominen attacks at would be allies. If so, your plan is stupid. Elites or high status individuals of our European ethnic groups are required for social change to occur. These people see European ethnocentricism as uniquely illegitimate and our movement as low status. This must change through arational that is artistic means.

        • In the sense that culture is more important than politics, you’re correct. You’re incorrect that the men dissatisfied with modernism are mainly incels. Most married men aren’t into art of any kind, for example. They tend to be into pop-style art that relates to their interests, which means beers, sports, dogs, etc. It’s lowbrow, and that is the nature of most people not in the elites. If you want to encourage art appreciation, it will have to be early on. Relating it to something many enjoy would help. Being a fan of Westerns got me interested in Remington, for example.

          Public art could easily be changed back to Classical or realist styles, though. That would implicitly be a repudiation of the abstract or sloppy, jarring works often seen in urban areas, as the classical art forms were established by White men.

          • Your comment got me to look up AH’s art, Flaxen. Never looked at it before. Probably because the description was always the same: The evil man drew like a draftsman; there’s no originality, no life in his work, blah blah blah. I expected that he didn’t draw in color, the way some have written about his artwork being so devoid of life and light.

            But an initial look tells me that Hitler painted in a realistic, naturalistic style, like most European artists. He wasn’t a modernist interested in the deconstruction of Western art. He’s particularly good at architectural details, which is why he had to be denigrated by the “draftsman” label, I guess. That’s actually a difficult skill to master, though.

  5. “Currently, many men are dissatisfied with the modernist lifestyle. Most of these men are incels or low status unfortunately.”

    Most white men are discontent with what is happening with this country. People who are self-satisfied with a “modernist lifestyle” are commonly psychopaths. Look at the leadership of the political parties, it’s not a coincidence that they are so rabidly Anti-Christian and Anti-Traditional. “We must focus on building a new worldview and new art form.” No, we must not allow our disadvantages to prevent us from using our abilities to smash this system. The lack of self-confidence in the face of trite name-calling can be a problem, but it is a minor problem. Are the “elites” going to feel so much self-confidence when they know they will be facing merciless intolerance?

  6. Kaufmann – “Buying Man”- i.e., “Happy Merchant.”
    Every Single Time.

    Brad, why do you BOTHER? Just admit this entire site is a finkelthink for white racialists, and have done with it.

    • Why are you so negative towards this site and the good work that Brad does for meager monetary rewards? Brad is a thought leader who has made great sacrifices for our cause. Treat him with some respect you buffoon.

  7. It really doesn’t make sense to focus on relentless Jewish “historical accounts” of the rise of the perverted aesthetics they subsidize and promote. Nor does it make sense to confuse Anti-Christian “artistic sensibility” with the motive forces behind social change. The typical American pseudo-intellectual female reads New Age twaddle will listening to Bob Marley and rap music. A few generations ago they were marching for Suffrage and Temperance and interested in Margaret Sanger. There is as little conflict between those things as there is between women’s smoking publicly in the 20s and becoming anti-smoking zealots in the 90s. We’re talking about the manipulated female hive, our foremost social problem.

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