After asking all the right questions about the false mainstream narratives today, people often wonder what they can do. There's a price to becoming “redpilled”: the world's problems and threats sit in your head, stressing and corroding. You realize you are in the minority and despised by the establishment. With new dissidents emerging every day, more and more Americans find themselves in this situation.
There is no singular ideology or program for the dissident. Being hated by the Left and the Right characterizes us. However, the dissident is more than a contrarian. Edginess or antagonism does not define us. Something higher drives us, which motivates us to fight tyranny.
In “The Forest Passage,” Ernst Jünger offers insights into how the dissident should live and what they can do. Jünger was a German who exemplified bravery during World War I. He lived through the Weimar Republic, the Nazis, and Soviet occupation. “The Forest Passage” is a guide for the dissident.
First, the dissident requires a clear mind. We must know ourselves and our identity, as who we are has put us in opposition to the establishment. We must stay true to ourselves despite the false identity the establishment tries to give us. Even when outsiders try to gaslight us, our beliefs must be steadfast. We must see through the smoke and mirrors used to keep us down.
To clear our minds, we have to breathe different air. We cannot consume the same media and distractions as the common populace. If the consumption is the same, expect to end up the same as the complicit and demoralized. We must be prudent in what we give our attention and energy. Corrupting our minds with social media, TV, and mindless websites will keep us occupied with what the establishment wants us to focus on. Throughout the day, we must focus on fresh ideas. We need to ditch content that serves the toxic zeitgeist.
Jünger proposes we need to offer something new. The dissident must realize there is no going back in time. Some may argue we need to return to the norms of the 1950s. Others maintain we should return to a particular time belonging to a specific leader or movement. However, Jünger argues those times are dead — the path to the past has been closed. It's naive to think what worked then would work now. Of course, with proper retrospection, we should be informed by studying those times, but studying the past should never solely result in nostalgia or a departure from the future. We must look at our path and forge ahead.
To offer something new, we cannot merely be in opposition to the establishment or be driven solely by reaction. Sometimes the establishment may be on one side or the other. A classic example is George Orwell's “1984,” in which Big Brother changed its international enemy every month. To perpetually remain in opposition, the reactionary would have to change their position equally often. The dissident, however, has to stand with truth and steadfastness. Jünger offers the example of looking at the base of the dissident's morals. He states:
The moral inspiration and the unwillingness to compromise provide important evidence to the meaning of the Forest Passage. They also give us political coordinates to better understand the dissenter: he maintains an uncompromising integrity, drawing on personal strength and the power of faith, to resist the regime.
For the dissident, ideology is less for defining and more for grounding. Placed on an immovable rock, we have an unconquerable base.
Jünger's final critical advice is to be ready for battle and sacrifice. Jünger fought in World War I and World War II, becoming a warrior and hero. In our context, we should interpret battle less literally. The theme of struggle, though, is timeless. We overcome problems through struggle. As dissidents, we will experience struggle by daring to stand up to the establishment. Our lives will not be easy — we will experience constant bullying, blacklisting, ostracism, canceling, and for those in the clearest line of fire, much worse. Always remember that this struggle will ultimately lead to good.
Our constant struggle will expose our enemy's weaknesses, and our sacrifices will prepare a cleansing toward virtue and devotion — the ritual aspects of a hero. These are qualities severely lacking in Gen Z, perhaps on purpose. Being a dissident is more than a passive acceptance of some -ism: it's a life of action and adventure, not reclining and contemplating legislative nuances. Jünger famously said:
As long as we have youth that stands for all that is good, our future is assured.
A young dissident with a clear mind, ready for battle and sacrifice, fighting for future prosperity — that's what we need.
Embrace your potential and awaken your dissident spirit.
The views expressed in this article solely represent the author's views and not necessarily College Dissident's.