Over on Amerika.org, Brett Stevens has entered a post on The history of thought leading up to New Right, neoreaction, and dark enlightenment. The essence of the post is that Neoreaction and the Dark Enlightenment are simply new façades placed on paleoconservativism and that the DE doesn’t need to act like leftists to recruit leftists.
Act like leftists to recruit leftists
A quick note on my view of leftism. The left holds an ideology based on three interlocking core values: egalitarianism, individualism, and universalism. Egalitarianism is the ideology of envy, that no man shall be greater than me, that 1=1, and a>b is heresy. To make 1=1 work, then we must be dealing with 1’s, so individualism, that everyone is a 1, is baked into egalitarianism. Finally, the phrase ‘all men are created equal’, is the universalization of individual egalitarianism, or 1=1=1=1=1 to infinity.
I believe that act like leftists to recruit leftists is not a stratagem, but an inevitability. Many of the DE act like leftists, because they know nothing but leftism, and they recruit leftists because there are nothing but leftists. My entire journey to the DE was a discovery that everything I have ever known is leftism. I find the roots of leftism in Protestantism, in Martin Luther’s destruction of Church authority and the assertion that every individual has an equal ability to interpret the Bible. The first colonizers of America where Puritans, radical Protestants. America is rooted in the Enlightenment, whose liberté, égalité, fraternité are simply the logical extension of Luther’s Reformation. The USSR and America are twin democracies, not polar opposites. Protestantism, democracy, communism, anarchy, libertarianism are all rooted in equality, individualism, and universalism.
Today in America, there is nothing but the left. How can there be any choice, but to act like leftists to recruit leftists?
Dark Enlightenment: Paleoconservatism rehydrated?
What is conservatism? I think Rothbard nails it in For a New Liberty, speaking of Herbert Spencer’s pragmatic abandonment of the liberalism of early America: “Hence, Spencer abandoned liberalism in practice to a weary, conservative, rearguard action against the growing collectivism and statism of his day.” Conservatism is simply pragmatic liberalism. Conservatives say “I can live with today’s liberalism, but here I draw the line and will budge no further” every day, forever. Conservatism is not a reaction against the left, it is simply its sad shadow, whispering “not so fast!”.
So, is it really the goal of neoreactionaries to jazz up conservatism? No. Neoreaction is not paleoconservatism, it is a genuine rebirth of rightist thought, in direct opposition the the world that the left has created. Conservatism enunciates a set of values that it feels at a gut level, but which it cannot intellectually defend because it can only think in leftist ideological terms.
The DE is intellectual and it is cultured. It understands that human flourishing is the highest goal, and that civilization is the vehicle of that goal, and that civilization can only be preserved by renouncing liberté, égalité, fraternité. No one is equal: deal with it. The DE is filled with children born in a leftist world, who now have incontrovertible genomic proof of inequality of both individuals and populations. They have facility with genomics, evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology. Biology and nature are authoritarian — obey or die — and acceptance of that authority is rightest. The left is the domain of liars who believe nature can be conquered with education and social programs, we see their lies and we seek the truth.
The DE is also human. It is full acceptance of human nature and its mysteries, and one of those mysteries that under-girds human flourishing is mysticism and religion. We don’t have to completely understand how something functions in order to recognize and leverage its benefits. The left has killed God, and stands in opposition to all natural authority. Sure, some of the DE are atheists and agnostics, but it is my opinion that the majority are not. The DE can give reasoned and rational evidence to the benefits of religion. The Church appears to have created modern Western civilization, by enforcing social rules, including the essential rules of patriarchy. I believe that civilization is simply a synonym for patriarchy and Western civilization is simply Catholic patriarchy.
In summary, the Dark Enlightenment is both something new and something old, but in my humble opinion it is not conservatism. One last point about the DE which is a notable contrast to conservatism: it has style and flair. It walks with a swagger, because it has internalized ‘game’ given to us by those lovable cads, the PUAs. To see a group of righteous men with the minds of Moldbug and the flair of Roissy is indeed something new.