What is ‘Accelerationism’?

Following the Christchurch mosque shootings, and the study of shooter Branton Tarrant’s manifesto, many people have found themselves newly aware of something called accelerationism. Understanding the political landscape of the coming years demands that we understand this political philosophy and the reasoning behind it. This essay explains.

The key to understanding accelerationism is understanding the boiling frog metaphor. This metaphor has it that a frog placed into a pot of boiling water will hop straight out. If one wishes to boil the frog alive, it’s necessary to put the frog in lukewarm water and then to raise the temperature slowly enough that the frog doesn’t sense the increase. Then, by the time it realises that it’s being boiled, it’s too late.

Some people realised, in the aftermath of World War II, that Adolf Hitler probably wouldn’t have caused anywhere near as much carnage as he did if the other nations had all ganged up on him earlier. Hitler had boiled the frog by going after a number of smaller countries in succession, first by peace and then by war, but always gradually enough so that the rest of them never felt the impetus to ally against him.

This lesson was learned again when the world became aware of the horrors of the Soviet Union. The gradual removal of personal rights, and the slow but relentless gulagisation of political opponents, showed the world that a totalitarian government can go as far as it likes, and people will not resist as long as the process happens slowly enough.

We could have learned the lesson much earlier than this. Machiavelli wrote about this exact concept when he stated that “Wars can never be avoided, only postponed to the benefit of one or the other party.” One implication of this wisdom is to not overvalue peace, because doing so can lead to a long and slow decline that gives your enemies time to gather strength, to the point where the inevitable future war is much worse than it would have been if it had started sooner. Better to smash them while the advantage is yours.

Branton Tarrant’s logic, the logic of accelerationism, could be expressed like this: the proportion of white people in white countries is falling, and will continue to fall as long as the current government structure remains in place. Eventually, the proportion of white people will be so low that they can (and will) be eliminated, Haiti-style. Because the white population is decreasing slowly, their destruction is akin to that of the frog in the slowly boiling pot.

In much the same way that the frog in the boiling pot could be saved by turning the heat up so high that it realised it was being boiled, so could the white race be saved by accelerating the destruction of their government and the destruction of the capitalist system that demands the importation of cheap labour from wherever it could be found. This could be achieved by raising political tensions to boilover point.

If there is to be an apocalyptic race war, Tarrant reasoned, better to start it today, while the numbers are still favourable, than to wait until mass immigration has reduced the position of white people to South Africa levels. If a mosque shooting helps accelerate tensions towards that race war, then great.

It sounds like the logic of a monster – and it is – but the sad irony is that Tarrant got almost everything he wanted from his deed. The New Zealand Government leaped into the trap with both feet.

First the Government banned semi-automatic firearms, driving a wedge between rural gun owners and the safety-obsessed darlings in the cities. Then leftists on social media started hurling all kinds of abuse at working-class people concerned about the effects of mass immigration on their wages, calling them ‘racists’ and ‘Nazis’. Most ghastly of all, Radio NZ went as far as broadcasting the Muslim call to prayer, enraging Christians and atheists alike.

The jackpot was the hysterical finger pointing and mutual recrimination that swept the nation, as everyone on the left called Tarrant a white supremacist and said that his actions were facilitated by the free speech policy of people on the right, while everyone on the right called Tarrant a working-class ecofascist and said that his actions were facilitated by the immigration policy of people on the left. The nation tore itself down the middle.

If Tarrant had had Internet access in his cell, he would have laughed his bollocks off.

However, just because he got what he wanted with regard to the immediate social chaos, he may not have got what he wanted with regard to wider acceptance of his ideals. After all, there’s one massive, and obvious, flaw with accelerationism: it’s hard to distinguish from just wrecking things.

Any person considering accelerationism has to ask themselves: what are we actually accelerating towards?

Because if we’re accelerating towards a collapse of the current social system, at what point do we stop trying to accelerate collapse and instead try to resist entropy and rebuild a society worth living in? Do we accelerate back to the Victorian Age? The Medieval Age? The Stone Age? In the end, it seems like accelerationism is just another form of anarcho-nihilism, a masculine energy turned self-destructive for lack of correct direction.

A truly decent masculine ideology would, rather, than destroying and increasing chaos, seek to create and to increase order. This it would do by not focusing on a narrative of collective future destruction. Instead, it ought to focus on a narrative of collective future creation, of building a world in which suffering is limited more effectively than in the worlds of our ancestors. Promulgation of such a thing, and acceptance of it by the working class, is necessary to counteract the appeal of accelerationism.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.

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