Identarianism and ethnonationalism have recently been topics of hot debate in the React-o-Sphere, prompting some rather premature announcements about the demise of Neoreaction. It was curious to me that a debate about ethnonationalism should lead to this idea that Neoreaction was being overrun or swamped. At root, I think the fear is that Neoreaction is becoming a movement. That would be bad. Here is why it won’t happen, or at least why it shouldn’t happen.
Neoreaction is not a movement
Movements are concrete, they occupy space, they have trajectories through time, they are the physical manifestation of thought. Movements can be squashed or perverted, they can take on momentum and veer off on unseen trajectories. Movements are populist, they require a lot of bodies to get to critical mass. How could Neoreaction, with its open aversion to populism, become a movement? Only by accepting populism. As long as Neoreaction remains firm in its commitment to not pander to the masses, especially a particular group, then it is guaranteed to not become a movement.
The goal of ethnonationalists is to create a state, and that requires a movement. Ethnonationalism should not be a direct goal of NRx, else NRx risks becoming a movement. Should NRx theorize on ethnonationalism, to attempt to dissect how ethnonationalism operates, what are the uses of this particular concept? Yes. Should NRx be an ethnonationalist movement? No.
For Neoreaction to become a movement is for Neoreaction to incarnate itself, at which point the clock on its lifespan begins to tick. Could the theories of Neoreaction be used by an ethnonationalist (or other) movement? Certainly, but that would be a separate group using NRx theories, not NRx morphing into that group. I would not have any ill wishes towards any ethnonationalist group that was able to use Neoreactionary thought to further their movement. Where I would have a problem is if said ethnonationalist group then attempted to hijack the Neoreactionary brand. If said ethnonationalist group wants to condemn Neoreaction and reject its theory, that is fine with me. Best of luck, fellas. Like any open source project, you are free to take and use what helps you and leave what does not help you. Like any public library, you are free to browse for new ideas and inspiration.
Neoreaction is not an ideology
Ideologies are systems of ideas that are used to inform economic, or political theory and/or policy. Eurasianism is an Ideology, it is a system of thought with a political goal and provides a theory of economic interaction and policy. Politics is a populist pursuit, and ideologies are systems of thought intended to galvanize particular groups. Again, Neoreaction is not populist, it does not have a goal of defining and leading a movement. For Neoreaction to become an ideology is to build it for use by a populist movement (such as Eurasianism), and the likely candidate would be an ethnonationalist movement. Could the theories of Neoreaction be used by a group building an ideology? Certainly. If certain ethnonationalist groups would like to use Neoreactionary theories to build an ideology for their movement, then be my guest. But Neoreaction itself should not take on the goal of becoming an ideology, because then incarnation into a movement is the next step, and the clock on the lifespan of Neoreaction begins to tick. As long as Neoreaction remains firm in its commitment to not pander to the masses, especially a particular group, then it is guaranteed to not become and ideology which could then propel a movement.
I believe that this is why some were taken aback by Nyan Sandwich’s Why NRx is Winning post, which I think of as the NRx is Sovereign post. It appears that this may be a proclamation of orthodoxy or dogmatism. If there is an NRx orthodoxy or dogma, then does that mean that it is an ideology? Although I agree with many of Nyan’s positions in his post, I would caution any readers against viewing this as dogma, it is not dogma, it is what Nyan asserts as true. We can debate whether or not his positions are indeed true, but we could not if they were dogma. Neoreaction does not have an orthodoxy or a dogma because it has no mechanism of purging, and purging is a necessary function by an institution that wishes to maintain an orthodoxy. Neoreaction does not even have an institutional structure from which one could be purged.
Neoreaction is a school
I recently stated position this in my post The University of Neoreaction. Neoreactionaries are intellectuals, busy with intellectual pursuits.This is a major difference between previous reactionaries and Neoreaction: it’s caste. This is not an intentional snootiness, it is simply the way the group is organized: it happens to be a group of intelligent men studying, debating, and analyzing the truth in the best tradition of the Western civilized world. Pragmatic, working-class men want to get things done, while intellectuals want to intellectualize. It is not better or worse than pragmatic reaction, it simply is not pragmatic reaction. Neoreaction is a self-organizing school engaged in science, and science is truth-telling.
The modern University system is a perversion and is utterly destroyed. I firmly believe this. They are petri dishes of despicable memes and culture. They are propaganda mills, where you receive status, a near worthless degree that acts merely as a license to work in a white-collar job, a healthy dose of Modern ideology, and (more than likely) a mound of non-bankruptible debt, a good start on a working alcoholic lifestyle, and a minor venereal disease. You will get very little truth from a modern education, because so much of what is true can no longer be spoken there.
The Western Identity of Neoreaction
Curt Doolittle wrote:
While Propertarianism does provide the missing logic of cooperation that Mises promised us, and that the prohibition of free riding is the single cooperative problem to be overcome, that the central proposition of Propertarianism is the western struggle to testify truthfully to one’s jury, and that trust is the result of that struggle, and economic velocity the result of that trust. And that economic velocity is the reason for both phases of the west’s rapid advancement: the classical and modern worlds that both times have dragged man out of ignorance, and in our most recent case, dragged him out of poverty.
So if I want something to be learned, it is that: we discovered truth telling.
This idea is echoed by Ricardo Duchesne in the work The Uniqueness of Western Civilization. Kevin MacDonald writes in his review of the book:
Duchesne argues that Western science is a unique accomplishment. Although the Chinese made many practical discoveries, they never developed the idea of a rational, orderly universe guided by universal laws comprehensible to humans. Nor did they ever develop a “deductive method of rigorous demonstration according to which a conclusion, a theorem, was proven by reasoning from a series of self-evident axioms” (p. 250). (The same is said to be true of Indian geometry.) Whereas there was a strong tendency within China for intellectuals to uphold ancient wisdom (emanating from Confucius), the Greeks “challenged existing explanations by trying to deliver new and better explanations and by seeking incontrovertible truths [i.e., objectively true—true for all observers] based on the strictest modes of demonstration” (p. 251). Thus while the Chinese essentially gravitated to collectivist reaffirmation of social wisdom, the Western tradition was one of individuals questioning received wisdom and the weight of tradition.
By merely engaging in science (which is the act of telling the truth), Neoreaction displays its Western identity. We can do nothing else. This drive for truth-telling is a central part of the power of the West: by telling the truth we create trust and that trust dramatically increases economic velocity and that economic velocity powers our societies. Telling the truth also has the advantage of allowing is to model the world accurately, in order to harness its resources more effectively.
Neoreaction is Western, it is European, therefore it is White. I believe that the theory of gene-culture co-evolution is correct. The genetics of a population and the culture of a population work to modify each other in continuous feedback loops. The culture of debate and scientific inquiry of Neoreaction are direct manifestations of its Western identity. I assert that Neoreaction has a White identity, but it does not follow that Neoreaction is therefore ethnonationalist. We can discuss the semantics of the term ‘Identitarianism’, but let’s look at Metapedia for a moment (emphasis mine):
Identitarianism rests on the assumption that ethnic-cultural factors have a central role in human welfare and the functioning of society. Man is viewed as a combination of inherited and environmentally acquired traits, and the need of ethnic Europeans to defend and develop themselves as distinct peoples is emphasized. Accordingly, identitarians oppose large-scale extra-European immigration to Europe, regardless of its possible economic utility. This standpoint has caused it to be viewed as racist. At the same time, it has been heavily criticized by certain nationalist groups, since it has (among other things) clearly distanced itself from national socialism.
Identitarians claim to view the nation state through a pragmatic lense, and points out that it is only one of several possible historical forms of organisation for ethnic groups and peoples. Many identitarian theoreticians, such as Guillaume Faye, have championed a federalist imperial ideal, where hundreds of local and regional communities, with a high degree of autonomy, would be organised into a “Eurasian” confederation, the latter working to defend the peoples and interests of Europe as a totality on a global scale. This is a natural consequence of the identitarian interest both in Europe and Europeans as a totality, and in local, regional and traditional expressions of culture, which are viewed as positive sources of community and cultural development.
Regarding economy, the sole general identitarian viewpoint is that the economy always must be subjected to other, more vital, interests. Identitarians contend that the well-being of the people always must trump economic growth and similar considerations, and criticises globalisation as ecologically and socially destructive. No comprehensive identitarian theory of economics exists as of yet, and theories ranging from corporatism and distributism, over libertarianism, to socialism, are frequently discussed in identitarian circles. This is fully in line with the identitarian ambition to be non-dogmatic and flexible, but could also be understood as a serious flaw.
I see much of Neoreaction in this. A comparison and contrast of Neoreaction and European Identarianism is in order. Notice in this that Guillaume Faye theorizes around a Eurasian union, but I do not believe he could be characterized as an Eurasianist activist as is Aleksander Dugin. Theoretician vs Activist. In this same way, I believe that Neoreactionaries are theoreticians, not activists.
Notice that the Identitarians are not well liked by the National Socialists, nor is Neoreaction. NatSoc is populist, NRx is not. The Identitarians see the nation state as only one of many possible organizational forms. This is one of the problems with ethnonationalism, that it contains embedded within it the idea of a nation state. What if it is time for the giant nation state to go the way of the Roman empire?
In this section I have attempted to show that Neoreaction is uniquely Western, European, White, but that our Western identity in no way means that we must be White Nationalists, or National Socialists, or any other brand of ethnonationalism. Neoreaction does not need to condone any ethnonationalist positions in order to prove its European identity. Europeans do not necessarily need a nation state, that is not a precondition, and NRx should remain flexible around that analysis. Like the Identitarians we should attempt to remain non-dogmatic and flexible.
I have asserted now that Neoreaction has no need of ethnonationalism. This presents a problem: Ethnonationalism is one of the spokes on Spandrell’s trike. The spoke is still there, but I believe that it is mislabeled. It should not be labeled ‘ethnonationalism’, but something else. Perhaps ‘Western Identity’. Ethnonationalism is rather vague also, because it evades the actual ethnicity of the project, which is undoubtedly Western or European. Fix the trike.
Neoreaction should remain independent
The moment that NRx stops being a vehicle for truth-telling, then it will have become a tool. It will no longer be an engine of science, it will no longer have as its goal the production of truth, but will become a marketing department, a public relations department. I warn Neoreaction not to become an ideology or a movement, not because I want Neoreaction to live for itself, but because I think it is valuable as a forum for debate and analysis of what is true. Its value is tied to its commitment to telling the truth. Because Neoreaction is committed to theory, analysis and debate does not mean that it is not useful to for the creation of ideologies or movements, it is, but the moment it becomes an ideology or movement is the moment it is controlled by outside forces.
When Neoreaction stop telling the truth, that is the sign that it has been co-opted. Then a dogma will form, an orthodoxy will be held out as inviolable. As long as NRx is openly discussing the merits of ethnonationalism, then it is not controlled by ethnonationalists.
“To determine the true rulers of any society, all you must do is ask yourself this question: Who is it that I am not permitted to criticize?” — Kevin Alfred Strom