Christopher Lasch, an esteemed American historian, cultural critic, and social philosopher, presents valuable insights that hold particular significance for individuals aligned with right-wing ideologies. While Lasch’s critiques traverse the political spectrum, his works offer right-wing thinkers profound perspectives on contemporary society, individualism, and the erosion of communal values. Several prominent European New Right thinkers, such as Alain de Benoist and Tomislav Sunic, have been greatly influenced by the writings of Christopher Lasch. This essay endeavors to expound upon the reasons why right-wingers should engage with Christopher Lasch’s literary corpus.
- Critique of Consumerism and Materialism: A core concern among many right-wing thinkers lies in the ramifications of consumerism and materialism on society. Lasch’s seminal work, The Culture of Narcissism, critically examines the ascendancy of a self-centered, consumer-driven culture that undermines traditional values and erodes communal solidarity. By delving into Lasch’s analysis of the adverse consequences of consumerism, right-wingers can discover common ground and a compelling intellectual framework to challenge the prevailing materialistic ethos.
- Defense of Tradition and Social Cohesion: Right-wing ideologies often underscore the significance of tradition, family, and community. Lasch’s oeuvre provides profound insights into the challenges faced by these traditional institutions in the modern era. For instance, in Haven in a Heartless World: The Family Besieged, Lasch investigates the forces that imperil the stability and cohesion of the family unit. By engaging with Lasch’s ideas, right-wingers can deepen their comprehension of the social, economic, and cultural dynamics that impact the traditional institutions they strive to safeguard.
- Examination of Cultural Decay and Moral Degeneration: Right-wing thinkers frequently express apprehension regarding the erosion of moral values in society. Lasch’s work presents a critical examination of cultural decay and moral decline prevalent during his time. By studying Lasch’s writings, right-wingers can gain insights into the contributing factors of this decay, including the prevalence of narcissism, the emphasis on individualism, and the attenuation of social bonds. This understanding can inform discussions and policy proposals aimed at rejuvenating moral values and fostering a more cohesive sense of community.
- Rejection of Technocratic Elitism: Many right-wing ideologies repudiate the influence of technocratic elites, advocating a more decentralized and participatory form of governance. Lasch’s writings, such as The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics, contest the ideology of progress and the reliance placed upon experts and centralized authority. His critique resonates with right-wing concerns regarding power concentration and the necessity to empower individuals and local communities. By engaging with Lasch’s arguments, right-wingers can fortify their case for a more equitable and accountable approach to governance.
- Opposition to Cultural Fragmentation and Identity Politics: Right-wing thinkers often disdain the divisive nature of identity politics (particularly its hostility for those of European ancestry) and the fragmentation of society along identity lines. Lasch’s works offer valuable critiques of these phenomena, underscoring the significance of a shared sense of purpose, communal identity, and a common moral framework. Through an examination of Lasch’s writings, right-wingers can glean insights into alternative approaches for fostering social cohesion and combating the hostility of contemporary, anti-European identity politics.
Christopher Lasch’s writings provide a thought-provoking and nuanced perspective that holds substantial value for right-wing thinkers. His critiques of consumerism, materialism, cultural decay, and technocratic elitism resonate with the concerns and values frequently espoused by individuals aligned with right-wing ideologies. Engaging with Lasch’s ideas can deepen the intellectual foundations of right-wing thought while simultaneously offering alternative perspectives on contemporary challenges. By embracing the writings of Christopher Lasch, right-wingers can access valuable insights to inform their analyses, policy proposals, and advocacy for a more cohesive, community.