You can’t really appreciate some books until you get to know the author. The Real Right Returns: A Handbook for the True Opposition by Daniel Friberg is one of those books.
When I read the first edition of the book nearly three years ago, after Friberg thoughtfully sent me a review copy, all I really knew about the man was that he was the CEO of Arktos, which I only vaguely knew about through reputation. I’d never even had a conversation with the man until he’d solicited me to write for Arktos’ now-defunct website Right On a few months before that. I gave the book a good review, stating that it was worth reading but lacking in substance.
In that time, I’ve not only become good friends with Friberg, I’ve slept at his apartment, gone winging with him in bars, and even spoken at one of his conferences. I even had him autograph my copy of his book (soon to be a collector’s item due to the boners in the intro). Friberg is a man who is generous and loyal, standing by his friends even when throwing under the bus would benefit him and helping them to succeed to the best of his abilities.
It’s because of this that I can approach the recently-released second edition of The Real Right Returns with a different eye. This version of the book includes a large number of corrections and additions, as well as a new intro by Arktos Editor-in-Chief John Bruce Leonard. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it feels like an entirely new book, the changes to The Real Right Returns make it both more substantial and more concise, and thus make it more than worth buying if you missed it the first time around.
Meet the New Right, Same as the Old Right?
While it seems strange to talk about a book’s intro as one of its selling points, Leonard’s intro to the new edition of The Real Right Returns does a good job of easing the reader into the currents of Friberg’s thought. The philosophical underpinnings of many of Arktos’ authors are not well-known among many American or English-speaking readers—I certainly was not aware of them when I read the first edition of Friberg’s book—and Leonard does a stellar job of summing them up:
There is thus nothing melioristic nor pollyannish about Friberg’s hope. His hope is rather identical to the awareness that a man is endowed with certain powers; that those powers have effect or can have effect on the world surrounding; that so long as one lives and breathes, with one’s powers intact, one can influence and affect the world, and bring about or encourage the ends that one seeks therein; and finally that no limit can be assigned to the potential sphere of these powers, prior to their activation. For no man among us has ever weighed the balance of the world, to learn the extent of our strength as against that of our enemies; nor could any man ever do as much even hypothetically. The limits of our powers are proved in their attempt; they make themselves known only in the act itself: “In the Beginning was the Deed.” Then the one thing totally incumbent upon us, the single absolutely binding imperative in this our battle, is to make trial of these powers through the right employment of principle, and to manfully face the fires that crop up around us without gratuitously supposing that they are unconquerable.
From there, the layout of the book is similar to the first edition, albeit with many corrections and additions. One of Friberg’s biggest contributions to right-wing discourse is pointing out why the right has consistently failed to keep the left from eating away at society: their near-total ignorance of metapolitics, defined as the cultural values and trends that influence politics:
Metapolitics can be defined as the process of disseminating and anchoring a particular set of cultural ideas, attitudes, and values in a society, which eventually leads to deeper political change. This work need not — and perhaps should not — be linked to any particular party or programme. The point is ultimately to redefine the conditions under which politics is conceived, which the European cultural Left has pushed to the extreme. The metapolitical chokehold that political correctness has over Western Europe stems from the consistent cultivation — or rather misuse — of this strategy. Only by understanding this tool, countering its misuse, and rechanneling it to serve our own ends can we overcome the miserable situation that our continent is in.
While American readers may not recognize the word “metapolitics”—and to be fair, I thought it was a ridiculous neologism when I first read it, in large part because “meta” has been disastrously misused by many left-wing academics—Friberg’s definition of it mirrors Andrew Breitbart’s contention that “politics is downstream from culture.” Political changes that are happening today are the product of cultural changes that happened years ago.
For example, the sudden fixation on gay rights in the Western world is not sui generis, but came about due to years of deliberate cultural subversion by the left. Millennials, the “gayest generation,” were raised on 1990’s TV shows like Will and Grace and Sex and the City that depicted homosexuals as sassy shopping pals instead of the empty, narcissistic pederasts they actually are. The power that Hollywood has in shaping peoples’ minds is immense—just look at how many young leftists take their inspiration from Harry Potter or Star Wars, for Christ’s sake—and by depicting homosexuality as positive for society, an entire generation was brainwashed into thinking that you’re committing a human rights violation if you don’t bake the fucking cake, you bigot.
Friberg zeroes in on the right’s metapolitical failures as one of the biggest causes of their political failures. Particularly in the U.S., the right abandoned culture to leftist control for the longest time due to their penny-pinching attitudes. Leftists are perfectly willing to throw money at unprofitable causes or leave money on the table in order to advance their goals: look at the “rural purge” in American TV back in the 1970’s or the constant deplatforming of figures like Roosh or Alex Jones even when their products make money for Silicon Valley. However, right-wingers refuse to fund culture (or defund the left when they have the ability) because of their childlike belief in the “free market”:
But metapolitics does not simply undermine and deconstruct; it creates, encourages, inspires, and illuminates. Taken in its totality, our metapolitics aims to set an authentic Right in motion; a force which is growing in strength through our own alternative media channels, as well as through gaps in the establishment’s censored channels. Once it reaches critical mass, this force will live its own unstoppable life, broadening the narrow confines of public discourse in a revolutionary manner and paving the way for a European renaissance: a successive, irresistible social transformation which will restore dignity, strength, and beauty to Europe.
The Real Right Returns seeks to resuscitate the right-wing from its post-World War II stupor, to strip it of neocon and libertarian pretensions and return it to the only sustainable basis on which it can function: blood and soil. Defense of the community, the family, and the nation against not only external threats, but internal ones. The bomb-bearing Muslim rapefugee is not nearly as dangerous as the gift-bearing gay rights activist, for it is the moral turpitude introduced by the latter that paves the way for the predations of the former:
Gramsci came to a similar conclusion regarding culture. As he saw it, the exercise of political power rested on consensus rather than force. As a consequence, the state governed not because most people lived in fear of its repressive capabilities, but rather because it adopted ideas, meaning an ideology which saturated society as a whole. This gave its actions legitimacy and granted them the appearance of something ‘natural.’
Friberg’s other major point—insofar as it separates him from the majority of right-wing political authors—is that he addresses the Woman Question. Steadfastly ignored by the braindead Boomers who’ve dominated rightist discourse for the longest time, The Real Right Returns devotes some of its length to issues of feminism and sexual relationships in our Tinderfied era, in the chapter “Brief Advice on Gender Roles”:
The result of all this is the emergence of confused gender identities; a society where young men achieve less and less in education, suffer from completely irrational insecurities and even have reduced testosterone levels — far lower than has been normal since they began to be measured.
While not earthshattering, merely acknowledging this issue puts Friberg a notch above his contemporaries.
Not Sick of Winning
Revisiting The Real Right Returns nearly three years after I first read it, the book retains a freshness that most political writing lacks. This is in part because the trends that Friberg derides are still tearing our societies apart, though their progress has been slowed by the rise of right-wing populism across Europe and North America. However, Friberg’s dissection of metapolitics gives his book longevity beyond the changing headlines, and John Bruce Leonard’s introduction to the new edition helps make the book’s ideas easier to digest.
The bottom line is that The Real Right Returns is well worth your time, a metapolitical masterpiece that sums up the problems of modern society and even provides some decent practical advice. While I don’t know how valuable the second edition will be to those who’ve already purchased the first one, the changes made definitely improve the quality of Friberg’s prose and ideas.
Click here to buy The Real Right Returns: A Handbook for the True Opposition.