“Cthulhu may swim slowly, but he always swims left” – MM
Where I explain the meanings and mechanisms of the metaphor.
“Cthulhu may swim slowly, but he always swims left” – MM
Where I explain the meanings and mechanisms of the metaphor.
The AltRight term received a lot of attention recently thanks to a US presidential candidate targeting it in a speech. This has given a lot of air to the movement, further accelerating its capture of the right. As the New Right captures hearts and minds, the AltRight will drop the Alt and simply become the Right.
NRx has received some recognition in the past few years, as part of the Dark Enlightenment. But its effects have been far outstripped by the AltRight. And that’s OK, because of the division of labor of cognition. They play separate, but related, roles.
Humans exist in classes which are formed on a biological basis, and which are most easily divided by IQ, though this is nothing more than a convenient marker. At the bottom of this post I have provided Curt’s original post and my slightly modified version of it. This is a table of the various classes of the New Right. I think it would be valuable to further complete this mapping of the members of the various classes because we need each class to repackage and present the same message in terms that their class can interpret. We also need to create hierarchical linkages in order to move the messages downstream effectively and spread them throughout the Right.
According to Curt’s table, NRx is middle class. Some might take offense and argue that it is upper-middle class. Sure, the leaders of NRx are likely upper-middle class, but the average NRxer is solidly middle class. Software engineering is a middle class profession. People who run teams of middle class professionals are upper-middle class (CTOs, CIOs, CEOs, Directors, etc). The middle class is not a salary range: it is an ability range. The middle class are those who have the ability to engage in the system of production. This is why the middle class seeks liberty: because given freedom to choose their means of production, they will choose and perform, because they can. As an aside, this is why working classes are less interested in liberty, because they simply can’t capitalize on it within the system of production to nearly the level of the middle class. And the lower and under classes have zero interest in liberty, because they are completely unable to capitalize within the system of production; they desire security, not liberty (and that’s what self-interested politicians trade them in return for votes).
We can argue about the parameters of classes, and we should. We should define them. We need to understand their roles and to define the behaviors that makes one a ‘good’ member of any class, because these behaviors and actors do exist in every class. We just need to incentivize them properly, which is why we must define and understand them.
The middle class has certain behaviors which make them middle class. They follow norms of propriety. I was right when I wrote that NRx is Right Brahmin Signalling. From the SJW encyclopedia: “Brahmin is a varna (caste) in Hinduism specialising as priests, teachers (acharya) and protectors of sacred learning across generations”. NRx is a group of teachers and priests, solidly middle class and exhibiting middle class mores and norms, such as the prohibition on ridicule, mockery, libel and slander.
The working classes do not share the middle class values and prohibitions on ridicule, mockery, libel and slander. I have seen very clearly the revulsion of NRx to the coarse meming of the AltRight. The NRx aspersions about ‘populism’ of the AltRight. This is simply the middle class reaction to working class norms.
The thing is: the middle class needs the working class. They will do the jobs that the middle class just won’t do. Say, for example, openly attack with vitriolic hostility the enemies of Western Civilization using Pepe and Le Happy Merchant memes. Or say, engage in ‘high energy’ physical activities which raise the cost of the status quo on the controlling elite. Once the cost of the status quo is high enough, then that controlling elite will accede to the demands of the Right. Who will formulate these demands? Ultimately, the aristocratic class will, with large input from the scholarly classes. Who will implement these demands at the local levels? Obviously, the people who organize all production, the middle class, under the direction of the upper middle class, with the ‘real’ work being done by the working classes at the direction of the middle class.
We have a problem with moral license. Typically, our Churches have granted us moral license to defend the West, but the modern Churches are corrupt and useless. Our current set of priests will never grant us moral license to defend ourselves. Waiting for them is suicide. Alternatively, our politicians could grant us moral license to defend ourselves, but they are corrupt and useless and waiting on them is suicide.
The working class (and the lower classes) are the first to feel the affects of diversity. They are not nearly as insulated from it as the middle and upper classes. For this reason, they were the first to grant themselves moral license. This is the AltRight: the working class which has declared war on the Left and on those who pretend to be our leaders (the cucks) who refuse to grant us moral license to self-defense.
Their weapon is (currently) mockery, ridicule, libel and slander. This weapon is off the table for the middle class for normative reasons, thus it was unavailable to NRx, which instead uses Continental and Cosmopolitan philosophy, using myth and critique, respectively. Priests use myth and teachers use critique.
We are in the process of granting full moral license to ourselves for the purpose of defending our civilization. NRx will become an integral part in granting this moral license, or it will fade into irrelevancy. They will use narrative, myth and critique to justify our Holy War for the survival of our people, or they will become nothing.
I’m currently working on ideas for reforming Christianity. NRx is full of the religious, but they have neglected this topic, possibly because they do not understand that this is an essential step, and that only we on the right will undertake it. Does that sound ambitious enough for you?
There are many excellent religious scholars among NRx. Their job is to re-invigorate the Germanic Initiatic Oath within Christianity: Don’t lie, Don’t steal, and protect the commons (every man a sheriff, reciprocal insurance). They must also understand clearly the Morality of Transcendence: man is directing his own evolution, ‘transcending out of savagery to become closer to God and to live in God’s will’ (I am speaking in your voice here, NRx). They should create the narrative, using the Bible, that our new era of truthful scientific language is demanded by God (don’t lie)(Testimonialism), and our prohibition of parasitism (don’t steal)(no welfare state) is God’s law, and that we must become closer to God by promoting the best of our species, and limiting the worst (transcendence/domestication).
If NRx has a place in this movement, it is to reform the Church and grant ourselves moral license to defend Western Civilization, by any means necessary. The AltRight and the working class are preparing to march.
(These folk know exactly what they’re doing by the way. They have adopted leftist ridicule and are actively manufacturing desensitization as a means of combating the falsehoods and pseudoscience of political correctness)
I have recently been making the argument that neoreaction is a school, not a movement and not an ideology. I did not see far enough.
Bryce Laliberte’s eyes were keener —neoreaction is a culture, a culture of striving rightward:
First, neoreaction is not a movement. It cannot be identified with any individual person or group. It is a culture, with its own bywords and norms which are intended to exclude anyone who might shrink from the task of striving rightward. Individuals, groups, and organizations may persist within neoreaction, but neoreaction is always an idea beyond capture of any person, doctrine, or magisterium.
This is much better, much clearer, and more powerful. Neoreaction is not owned or managed as a school would be, because it is a culture and a culture is the creation of a society. He sees what eluded me: that while the interactions of the neoreactionaries may take the form of detailed debates among peers, academic in nature, this is merely the expression of the culture. There may be a school of neoreaction but the physical manifestation is not the thought or the soul or the animating force, merely its expression. When the finger points to the sky, the fool looks at the finger. Neoreaction as a school is the finger, but the finger points to neoreaction as a culture.
Then Bryce takes us a step further. A culture exists outside of the group, and this culture exists outside of us and has its own destiny, quite separate from ours. We cannot bend it to our will, we must bend to it. One is called into its service, for a purpose not yet foretold:
Third, neoreaction is always to your right. It does not exist for any right-oriented group’s purpose. Rather, those on the right exist for it. Neoreaction is not even for so-called neoreactionaries. You are allowed to enter its salons and discuss ideas with other like-minded and intellectually virtuous individuals, but this not for your own purposes but the purpose of neoreaction. Neoreaction is memetically sovereign; it picks and chooses what it likes from you, and not you from it.
The next step is unthinkable, logical to the point of madness.
Bryce leads us to a precipice, to an abyss and bids us stare into it.
As we peer into the infinite expanse, the mind flails and shudders:
Fourth, neoreaction cannot ally itself with anyone, but you can ally yourself with neoreaction. It cannot be subordinated, but as it is the manifestation of an organic, rightward telos, whatever would subordinate it misunderstands neoreaction and thus fails. You simply cannot get to the right of neoreaction, because neoreaction already occupies the extreme limit of rightward thought. Or at least that is the intent, and if it has not yet gone as far as it can, it will find its way there.
A culture. Striving rightward. Always to our right. At the extreme limit. Expanding across infinity, an unknown destination. It is outsideness. Nick Land called it ‘Draconian Teleology‘.
To our left is our animal nature: barbarism and savagery. To our right is transcendence. To our right lies the path to transcend our animal nature, to become more than an animal, to become something better. Man is stage of development, a path to something more than an animal. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to transcendence. On either side of the road lies annihilation, oblivion, extinction. The path is narrow, stretching like a rope over an abyss. Our destiny awaits on the other side. The call comes from outside, calling forth our best. Nothing but our best will suffice. Each generation of Man is a step along the path, or a step onto the steep and slippery slope into the abyss, into annihilation, into extinction. The odds are against us.
Great men have seen this rightward voyage, this narrow path, and the black oblivion that waits to swallow all Mankind should we fail in the endeavor. Should we fail in becoming capable of making the dangerous journey. Should we fail in our striving rightward. Thus spoke Zarathustra:
Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Overman — a rope over an abyss.
A dangerous crossing, a dangerous wayfaring, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous trembling and halting.
What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is an over-going and a down-going.
I love those that know not how to live except as down-goers, for they are the over-goers.
I love the great despisers, because they are the great adorers, and arrows of longing for the other shore.
I love those who do not first seek a reason beyond the stars for going down and being sacrifices, but sacrifice themselves to the earth, that the earth may become the Overman’s.
I love him who lives in order to know, and seeks to know in order that the Overman may hereafter live. Thus he seeks his own down-going.
I love him who labors and invents, that he may build the house for the Overman, and prepare for him earth, animal, and plant: for thus he seeks his own down-going.
I love him who loves his virtue: for virtue is the will to down-going, and an arrow of longing.
I love him who reserves no share of spirit for himself, but wants to be wholly the spirit of his virtue: thus he walks as spirit over the bridge.
I love him who makes his virtue his inclination and destiny: thus, for the sake of his virtue, he is willing to live on, or live no more.
I love him who desires not too many virtues. One virtue is more of a virtue than two, because it is more of a knot for one’s destiny to cling to.
I love him whose soul is lavish, who wants no thanks and does not give back: for he always gives, and desires not to keep for himself.
I love him who is ashamed when the dice fall in his favor, and who then asks: “Am I a cheat?” — for he wants to perish.
I love him who scatters golden words in advance of his deeds, and always does more than he promises: for he seeks his own down-going.
I love him who justifies the future ones, and redeems the past ones: for he is willing to perish through the present ones.
I love him who chastens his God, because he loves his God: for he must perish through the wrath of his God.
I love him whose soul is deep even in the wounding, and may perish through a small matter: thus he goes willingly over the bridge.
I love him whose soul is so overfull that he forgets himself, and all things are in him: thus all things become his down-going.
I love him who is of a free spirit and a free heart: thus is his head only the bowels of his heart; his heart, however, causes his down-going.
I love all who are like heavy drops falling one by one out of the dark cloud that lowers over man: they herald the coming of the lightning, and perish as heralds.
Lo, I am a herald of the lightning, and a heavy drop out of the cloud: the lightning, however, is the Overman!
What is the culture of neoreaction? It is obvious now, we have named it before. It is the Cult of Gnon.
“Gnon is the Vast Abrupt, and the crossing. Gnon is the Great Propeller.“
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Yes, Pete, I have taken quite a shine to your writings and I appreciate the critique. I found the link to the site in Land’s Quote note (#144), linking to Pete’s article ‘The Revolution Was Fiat, The Reaction Is Bitcoin‘ and which Land dubbed as ‘glorious‘.[sic]
I actually agree with Pete’s analysis:
All in all, Nick’s blog, and the others like it that I came across, spend a lot of time and energy defining, redefining, debating, and trying to encapsulate their ideologies into a variety of “isms” so that the authors can then call their little cohort a “whatever-ists.” The neoreaction movement, such as it is, appears to be little more than some young men looking, somewhat aimlessly, for a shepherd to give them a sense of identity.
I agree with this, because I have come to regard the Reactosphere as an Illiberal University System. Neoreactionaries do ‘spend a lot of time and energy defining, redefining, debating, and trying to encapsulate their ideologies into a variety of “isms”‘. That’s what academics do, isn’t it?
The entirety of the West is engulfed in Leftism, or perhaps ‘Revolutionism’ is more consonant with Pete’s parlance, being as he defends a dichotomy between the Revolutionaries and the Reactionaries.
I originally began to clarify a few points in Pete’s piece, but what it really came down to was semantics. Pete is a reactionary, and we are reactionaries. Sure, he takes exception to certain things that he found in Land’s work, but those exceptions are merely semantic, the underlying reactionary consensus is there. I don’t want to spend a lot of time dissecting these semantic non-differences.
Pete reads a couple of comments on Bitcoin and overly-quickly labels ‘neoreactionists’ as anti-Bitcoin. I have no reason to think that anyone in the quoted comment thread speaks with any authority on the topic of Bitcoin. Then Pete reads some of Land’s work, encounters semantic differences from those used in his sphere and spins out from there. Guilt by association. I can tell that Pete is personally, deeply, invested in Bitcoin. A few ‘neoreactoinists’ said he had an ugly baby. I get it.
Not many neoreactionaries know shit about Bitcoin. Are there some guys that just talk out of their asses like they know something? Yeah, that happens. What what did Land say about Bitcoin? He called Pete’s piece glorious. [sic]
Neoreaction has the writings of Moldbug, which essentially transformed the reactionary memeplex into a form that Blue-state Progressives/Brahmins could imbibe. It has Land and a number of very bright fellows tracking a subterranean change, a counter-current, an undertow of reactionary fervor. NRx is valuable because it spreads the reactionary memeplex. It allows those with the aptitude to delve into reactionary thought. That is worth something.
Neoreaction is not direct action, it is not a movement, nor does it need to be. It’s a school. The Reactosphere is a place to explore and express forbidden thoughts, to challenge the order of the revolutionaries intellectually. It is a place to de-program the Egalitarian memeplex that is programmed into every Westerner from birth. You attend the University of Neoreaction to get your Illiberal Arts Degree. It is a self-hosting, self-perpetuating, reactionary school.
Where else can you get that? Who else is doing a better job of maintaining a lively forum of reactionary debate? Who else is discussing the history and philosophy of reaction? Who else is offering the reactionary take on current events? I’m sure Popescu et al have some lively debates on #bitcoin-assets, but that’s a pretty closed system. I’m sure Alexander Dugin and Vladimir Putin have some great conversations too, but last I checked neither one of them hosted blogs with open comment threads for discussion and debate. I would surely love to sit around and hash it out with Curtis Yarvin and Peter Thiel, maybe Patri Friedman would saunter in, too. But, I never seem to get an invite to beers out with those boys.
Is NRx ‘an undergraduate-level circlejerk‘? Maybe. But one day you graduate.
By the way, Pete, great blog. I’m really into it.
I have been studying Curt Doolittle and his formulation of Propertarianism. Doolittle refers to the Misesian formulation (what we now call Libertarianism) as pseudoscientific, and refers to the 20th century as A Century of Mysticism. It is important for Neoreactionaries to understand why.
Nick Land recently asserted that Neoreaction is Neocameralism. Then Bryce Laliberte, who wrote a book entitled What is Neoreaction, noticed that his book does not even contain the word Neocameralism. That is a problem.
However, I suspect that’s not where he’s coming from, and really does intend to specify, in some manner, that neoreaction begins and ends with neocameralism; the rest is but window dressing, essential theory to the end of developing this particular political philosophy.
And that’s why I find it so jarring, this identification. Given the particularism of neoreaction, at least as it has been articulated by everyone including Land up to this point, there’s no feasible way to make the identification of neoreaction with a single political philosophy, no matter how coherent it is of itself, without intending the scuttling of all the background ideological separation from modernism. But then, Land did tell me once he takes a difference over my use of modernism, so perhaps an elucidation that front may help. If Land is right here, that would require a serious recalibration of my efforts to articulate a coherent ideological worldview.
I believe that Land has the same intuition as CD. The difference between Land’s assertion and Laliberte’s view is functional. To say that Neoreaction is Neocameralism is to say that the project of Neoreaction is to build functional government. Laliberte is attempting to build a logically consistent political philosophy.
In my piece on Operational Property, I attempt to make what I perceive as CD’s case against Libertarianism (a political philosophy). The case is basically the Operationalist case against Platonic Rationalism. CD refers to the 20th century as a century of mysticism, because Marxism, Freudianism and Libertarianism are pseudosciences. They are pseudosciences because they rely on unproven, untestable self-evident axioms. This is the problem with all political philosophy. It is rationalist in nature:
In epistemology, rationalism is the view that “regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge” or “any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification”. More formally, rationalism is defined as a methodology or a theory “in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive“.
When building a political philosophy, one reasons from axioms. Within this framework, something is true if it is logically consistent, when it is rational, when it can be shown to follow a line of reason. The problem occurs when the fundamental axioms themselves are divorced from reality. This is the operationalist criticism: if someone cannot provide an existence proof, then no-one really has any idea if that person is talking about something that is real, or something that is purely imaginary.
The Dark Enlightenment itself is founded in reality, in observable truth. Real science is founded on observable phenomenon (proven through repeatable experiments), while rationalist truth, though logically consistent, is pseudoscientific because it is divorced from observation and measurement. In the pseudosciences, there is no existence proof that we are talking about something real. In Platonic Rationalism, truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive.
Political philosophies are logically consistent walled gardens, in which the walls are formed by self-evident axioms. Basically, they are tautological. I use the image of a garden, though often I see political philosophies as prisons of words. As long as one is content to play within the walled garden, everything will be logically consistent and make sense. The problem is that Gnon demands proof. If the political philosophy does not yield real world benefits, then it will land in the ash-heap of history.
I believe that the Dark Enlightenment is the realization that we are currently governed by pseudosciences, which were created out of the Enlightenment exuberance for the human ability to reason (rationalize). What the children of the Enlightenment did not understand was the limits of human cognition and the laundry list of cognitive biases that humans have. As such, we cannot simply think our way forward, deducing from first principles… we have to actually measure and experiment. We have to measure our mental models against the real world. Today, the pseudosciences assume that they are correct because they are logically consistent, but when the real-world outcomes to not match their imaginary models, it is because of some witchcraft (some evil crimethinker), rather than the fact that the imaginary model is not founded on observable truth.
Which leads us back to Neocameralism. The idea here is functional government, scientific government. Perhaps Neocameralism is nothing more than one conception of how a functional government might function. In order for a system to be functional, we must understand the operation of its constituent components. This is what science is for, to discover how the universe functions and to manipulate it to our own ends. The important question about the universe is How does it operate? Functional systems must be based on human observation and operations.
Is the project of Neoreaction to build functional government? To build something that, you know, actually works? Or is the project of Neoreaction to build a logically consistent political philosophy? I believe that Land is asserting the former. Gnon demands results. I believe that many in Neoreaction think it is the latter, which is why so many pragmatists quickly get exasperated with NRx. Are we engaged in real science here, or not? I don’t think that we need to build another pseudoscience. Break down the prison of words. Neoreaction should be concerned with the real world.
I think that Doolittle is on the right track. If we want to actually create something functional, then we must base ourselves in observable truth, in Operationalism. I am currently attempting to understand and relay Doolittles work over at the Propertarian forum. To get a sense of the fundamental paradigm shift the Operationalist view offers Neoreaction, read Operational Property. I don’t know where this will lead. I am learning. Come learn with me. Let’s build something that works.
How many neoreactionaries does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
TakisMichel (is that French?) has a snarky response for us. Cool story, bro.
The thrust of the snipe is that neoreaction is backward, rejecting progress, such as the lightbulb. How stupid of us! Surely, we deserve to be mocked with the very archetype of technological progress, the lightbulb, which is now the ubiquitous icon of the new idea. Of course, his error has been identified in countless other arguments: conflation of political progress with technological progress. Been there, done that.
This led me to a better question: How does one determine what progress is true and good and what is political/ideological falsehood? The best test is: a test. We simply take the progress for a test drive and see if it runs, breaks down or explodes.
If we approach the prospect wisely, then we will understand that as with any new invention, progress can be dangerous. So, we need brave explorers who are willing to risk life and limb to explore the possibilities of progress. We need those who are willing to sail a ship into the unknown. We also need to understand the dangers inherent in the process.
I’m sure TakisMichel would advocate that government agencies such as the FDA oversee the progress of new foods such as Aspartame or drugs such as Thalidomide. Does dear TakisMichel suggest that we throw caution to the winds and run headlong into the Utopia promised us by the manufacturers of Thalidomide? Or should we take a more conservative approach? Might it not be best to test our progress on a few? Wouldn’t it be wise for us to forbid mass distribution until the progress has proven itself?
Yet we see cheerleaders for progress such as TakisMichel mocking Neoreaction for advocating a conservative approach. His head is too filled with dreams of progress to understand that a species such as ours needs a method to transmit information across generations to warn of past dangers which destroyed populations. It needs a method which does not necessarily scientifically understand the workings of those dangers, but can transmit a safeguard against them. It needs an intergenerational risk management heuristic: a method which is opaque yet functional.
We have these intergenerational risk management heuristics: religion and tradition, aka conservatism. When group A dives headlong into progress and group B remains relatively static, sometimes group A receives a competitive advantage and advances beyond group B. Sometimes this happens successively, so group B picks up the pace of progress. Then comes the Black Swan. Death. Destruction. Deformity. How does your progress look now, TM?
After the Black Swan, we can see the wisdom of group B’s conservatism. The result is that the faithful, those slow to change, survive. We can then see that respect for the past, for tradition, for religion, provides a competitive advantage that is only realized after the Black Swan.
What then is the appropriate attitude towards progress? I say allow it – for a few. Allow the dreamers to dream and the explorers to roam. Allow experimentation. Allow progress, but take it for a test drive first. What we cannot do is allow progress to spread unchecked throughout a population, society or civilization. We must acknowledge the dangers inherent in progress. We must be aware that progress may invite a forgotten Black Swan. And we should be extremely cautious of progress which is forbidden by religion or tradition, as it is very likely to invite the Black Swan.
|Destroy the Old World cultural revolution poster|
The flip side of allowing progress for a few, is that we should warn against progress for the many, and we should forbid progress to be forced on the many. We should fight to maintain continuity, to preserve our traditions and our religion. But this is exactly the problem with totalitarian liberals: in their hubris they will allow nothing to be conserved. They will allow no pockets of religion, tradition and conservatism to remain without being attacked. They foolishly destroy the pockets of resistance, destroying those who will function as the seeds of a future repopulation after the Black Swan. They force progress.
|Chinese man endures
prior to execution
Here is the rub TakisMichel: no-one forced everyone to switch from lamps to lightbulbs. No-one forced all expecting mothers to ingest Thalidomide. Progress is best when it is adopted slowly, after centuries or millennia of contained experimentation. If liberals would just go live their own progress without forcing it on the rest of us, then the danger could be contained. Unfortunately, liberalism now rules the West, as it did the East, with an iron fist. Cultural Revolution, Struggle Sessions, and Purges abound.
TakisMichel probably isn’t even aware that modern Western progress is crushing the fertility of those who adopt it. He probably has no idea that modernity is a death cult, celebrating sodomy, infanticide and masturbation – with predictable results: no children, no future. His group, which is rushing headlong into progress is dying, but the anti-progressive Muslim population doubled in the last two decades and is set to double again in the next two decades. How are they doing it? Through rejection of Western progress.
I doubt he has any clue that cities like Singapore have turned into IQ shredders, that these technologically advanced, economic dynamos are actually eating the genes which produce the high IQ men that are needed to build technology. Ah, progress.
So, please feel free to wallow in your self-congratulatory mockery of all conservatism, religion and tradition, TakisMichel. You deserve it: Progressives have won. Progressives are in complete political control. Progressives like you can pretend that you are in Heaven as you serve as a walking dildos: having sex without ever fulfilling your biological reproductive function. The Progressive Utopia is a graveyard. Thankfully, there are some of us who will reject the death cult. Obviously whatever genes drive the Progressive’s suicidal trajectory deserve to die just as their ideals and values will die when they do (having not reproduced and not supported a tradition), while those who are most religious, traditional and conservative will reproduce to create the lives that will shape the future. It’s a delicious irony: Darwin always wins. Enjoy it while you can.