Significant Triangles

Abstract

The three Estates of the Realm are part of our deep heritage, and are an expression of gene-culture co-evolution specific to the Western genome. The Spandrellian trichotomy is a natural echo of the Three Estate model. The Political Triangle is likewise an echo of the Three Estate model.  The Three Estates are emergent phenomenon, expressions of complex genetic interactions, which can play a role in analyzing when and how social systems lose equilibrium and trigger intense selection events. Good government is a system of rules designed to maintain an equilibrium between the genetic demands expressed through the Three Estates.

The First Triangle: Spandrell’s

Spandrell's Trichotomy
Spandrell’s Trichotomy

Let’s start with Spandrell’s Trichotomy, as visualized by Nick B. Steves. This identifies three groups: Theonomists, Techno-Commercialists, and Ethnicists/Nationalists. Apparently these three groups were identified from a poll, and it was determined that the voices in neoreaction could be roughly divided in this manner. This can be viewed as a snapshot of thought in NRx at the time.

Steve’s offered this note on Spandrell’s Trichotomy:

We must remember that Spandrell did not seek to define neoreaction so much as simply point out who the current crop of reactionaries were… potential allies in overthrowing the progressive machine. (After which they would, of course, immediately turn on each other for dessert.) It has of course come to represent something far more fundamental to neoreaction and also remains a constant source of confusion. A source of confusion because people see it as representing branches of partisan pull. But such pull, while always a temptation, is always away from the core of neoreaction (which subsists in the embrace of all three) and into the respective old-school partisan reactionary wankery.

So, the Trike is no more than the current crop of reactionaries? Yet, it has come to represent something more fundamental? What then is that fundament? It remains a source of confusion?

I’ll bet it does. Yes, this triangle is fundamental. I believe that the confusion may arise in thinking that this triangle is not fundamental, in the notion that it somehow applies only to neoreaction. The rational thought has been the application of the triangle to neoreaction, but there is an intuition of a deeper meaning. Would the triangle be more fundamental if we could find it at the center of political discussion a millennium ago? I believe it would.

First, lets look at the three sections with quick word associations. Obviously, these are my associations, not any sort of reactionary consensus. I find these sets of words to be connected, though loosely and on an intuitive level.

Theonomists

The Soul (neither animal nor robotic): godly, heavenly, holy, moral, intuitive, divine.

The Church. Pope or Bishop. Representatives of the poor, the sick, the widowed and the orphaned. Champions of those who cannot compete, asking mercy and shelter from Darwin’s laws. Cultivar’s of memeplexes, masters of mind-control: evocative of moral intuition, embedded through repetition (song/cant). Short and long term planning. Judicial branch. Focused on the Abyss. Tendency to unlimited cooperation.

Techno-Commercialists

The Brain (not animal): intelligent, cunning, inventive, individualist, Machiavellian, robotic.

Competitors engaged in all-against-all competition, war, masters of war. Officers of War. The King or CEO. Absolute Darwinism. Masters of technology (War<=>Commerce<=>Computers). Organizers of production. Long term. Executive branch. Focused on the call beyond the Abyss – the sense of space. Tendency to unlimited competition.

Ethno-Nationalists

The Heart (not robotic): workers, producers, earthly, natural, pragmatic, family, kinship, loyalty, collectivist, animal.

Limited Darwinism. The General, Union Leader or Dictator. Medium term. Legislative branch. Focused on the path over the Abyss. Limited competition and cooperation through blood-ties.

Visualizing the Three Points

Jim's Trefoil
Jim’s Trefoil
RiverC's Trike
RiverC’s Trike

First we had the Venn diagram provided by NBS. Then Jim re-imagined it as a (beautifully rendered and shaded, 3-D) Celtic knot, the Trefoil. Then RiverC re-imagined it as the Trike.One thing that is important about NBS’s, Jim’s and RiverC’s renderings is that they can all be simplified into a single triangle. Keep that in mind, it will be helpful when we get to the Modern Politics section.

In neoreaction we talk about hierarchies because it appears that the most effective organization of humans is the hierarchy. The best visualization we have for the hierarchical human arrangement is the pyramid, remembering that a pyramid is a three dimensional object. I use three sided pyramids, with a three sided bottom — in order to keep with our theme of threes. My visualization is of three merged pyramids sitting flat on a plane. Each section will have its hierarchy and leaders: the Pope or Bishop (theonomists), The King or CEO (techno-commercialists), and the General, Union Leader or Dictator (ethno-nationalist). Here is my rather poor attempt at such a visualization.

Three Estates – Profile View
Three Estates - Aerial View
Three Estates – Aerial View

The Second Triangle: The Three Estates

The Three Estates of the Realm as Men
The Three Estates of the Realm as Men

This is a part that is rather weird to me. I have searched and searched, but I can find no connection in writings of neoreactionaries between the Trichotomy and the Estates of the Realm, the Clergy, the Nobility, and the Commoners. The connection is so plain, so obvious, so direct. Is it possible that no-one in neoreaction has seen the simple parallel? What does that mean that no-one has, considering all the attention that it has received? I feel like it means something, but I cannot name it.

I now see clearly the genius of the Europeans of the Middle Ages. In 1909, Johan Huizinga wrote in The Waning of the Middle Ages that “Medieval political speculation is imbued to the marrow with the idea of a structure of society based upon distinct orders.” Well, that sounds reactionary as hell to me. Wiki writes, “[Huizinga] here reinterpreted the Late Middle Ages as a period of pessimism and decadence rather than rebirth.” So the dawning of the Enlightenment was the beginning of decadence, not rebirth. That sounds awfully reactionary to me, too.

As an aside, I think that we need to rename both ‘the Enlightenment’ and ‘the Renaissance’. Those terms do not serve us at all, as the ‘rebirth’ was the birth of decadence and the ‘light’ was merely ideological/metaphysical propaganda. Also, never suffer another man to refer to the Middle Ages as the Dark Ages. This is a shibboleth. If he says Dark Ages, he is either ignorant or an enemy.

Another quick side note on nobility and chivalry. In Chapter 3, The Hierarchic Conception of Society, Huizinga writes,

Nevertheless an assiduous reader of the chronicles and literature of the fifteenth century will hardly resist the impression that nobility and chivalry occupy a much more considerable place than our general conception of the epoch would imply. The reason of this disproportion lies in the fact, that long after nobility and feudalism had ceased to be really essential factors in the state and in society, they continued to impress the mind as dominant forms of life.

Do you notice a preoccupation with nobility and chivalry among the neoreactionaries? I do. I have noticed it especially when taking the side of the PUAs in discussions. I believe that neoreactionaries tend to disdain the PUAs for their lack of nobility and chivalry.

Three Estates in French
Three Estates in French

In retrospect this seems obvious. Here in the West, we have conceived of this division for at least a thousand years: the Three Estates of the Realm. Let us remember the reactionary consensus view of deep heritage. Let us also give special note to gene-culture co-evolution theory, which I assert is the engine of deep heritage. NBS quotes in Proposition Δ1—The Naturalness of Deep Heritage:

As a key component of all human cultures, Deep Heritage develops naturally as a way of collectively solving complex social problems in a roughly locally optimal way; it therefore a phenomenon unlikely to be explained primarily by imposed ideology, or as a cynical way of manipulating outcomes so that one party is unfairly favored at the expense of another.

I put forth the proposition that the Three Estates is part of our Western deep heritage, driven by the particular peculiarities of European gene-culture coevolution. This leads to the understanding that this is not a universal social organization, rather it is a roughly local  (to Europe) means developed to collectively solve complex social problems. I further contend that the components of neoreaction as organized in Spandrell’s trichotomy align with the Three Estates, not because that particular crop of neoreactionaries was aligned in that way, but because all of Western society is aligned in that way, including neoreaction. If neoreaction is concerned with the social problems of Western society, then it should at a minimum be aware of the Three Estate model.

If the Three Estate model is part of our deep heritage, then that means it is still relevant today, unless we have somehow radically evolved in the past millennium. I personally find a genetic shift of that magnitude possible but unlikely. Some might want to make the case that I am somehow calling for a ‘restoration’ of the Three Estate model, essentially LARPing. I am asserting that Three Estate model is an essential model of Western civilization, one that our ancestors wrestled with in the Middle Ages, and that we still must wrestle with today.

This is why Spandrell’s trichotomy maps so easily onto the Three Estate model:

Clergy: Theonomists. Do I really have to explain this one? I think not.

Nobility: Techno-commercialists. The Nobles of the middle ages directed production and commerce, just like CEOs and Presidents direct production and commerce today. The Nobles had to keep up with the latest advances in the most important technology of the time: warfare. In the middle ages it was the stirrup, today it is bitcoin. You are aware of the Great Stirrup controversy aren’t you?

Commoners: Ethno-Nationlists. No offense, dear EthNats. The commoners of the Middle Ages were a population which included the middle class and upper middle class, which brimmed with many talented and intelligent individuals, just as they do today, the cream of which undoubtedly forms the neoreactionary Ethno-Nationalist camp.

I know some are going to claim that Ethnonationalism is not a class (or group of classes), which is correct. They will also claim that being involved in technology or commerce does not make you a noble, which is correct. This is exactly why I am using the concept of the Three Estates, because it is older and therefore should merit thoughtful consideration. I am making the argument that the Three Estate model is valid, the fact that Spandrell’s trichotomy maps to it at all is a point in the favor of that argument. This mapping should make better sense in the next section.

Side Note: In my piece, Is Neoreaction Right-Brahmin Signalling?, I make the argument that the difference between a reactionary and a neoreactionary is caste. The consensus is that this is correct. I now think it is a bit deeper than that. Neoreaction is comprised of the three groups (Spandrell’s), with members from each group, meaning that Neoreaction is comprised of members of the Three Estates. However, I believe that the target of influence by neoreaction is the First Estate, the Clergy (the Brahmin, the Cultivars of the Memeplex). So, the signalling is primarily to the First Estate, while Neoreaction itself is a cross-section of all three estates, and somewhat a cross-section of the ranks of the estates, going up and down the pyramidal hierarchies from higher to lower ranks of each estate (a little, heavily weighted at the top).

It is also important to note that each of the three estates should not be simplified in the mind to a caste or a class. This why my visualization is of three merged pyramids. Each estate is organized into a pyramidal hierarchical structure. For example, at the Apex of the first estate is the Pope, in the middle of that pyramid we could place the clergy, and at the base we could place the people, with a special place reserved for those that the Clergy protects from Darwinian competition: the poor, sick, weak, elderly, widowed, orphaned, etc.

The Three Estates, Time Preference and Reproductive Strategy

We can also look at the Three Estates through the lens of time preference. Time preference is a technical term used by economists, which I find to be named backward from the way in which I think. Low time preference means long term planning,and high time preference means short term planning (or no planning). If I rank the Estates by the time preference of their constituents, from short term planning to long term planning, then I produce the estates in this order: Clergy, Commoner, Nobility.

The reason for existence of the Three Estates in the West could be a simple as a difference in time preference, or it might be better to say that it is as simple as  difference in reproductive strategy. I believe that reproductive strategy drives the expression of time preference. In the r/K selection theory dichotomy, a K-selection strategy is expressed as  low time preference behavior, and an r-selection strategy is expressed as high time preference behavior.

Though the Clergy speaks quite often of forever in heaven, it wants changes in behavior today. It wants food for the needy now. It is true that the Roman Catholic Church is also the longest standing institution in the West, so no lack of planning there. However, those special groups that the Church seeks to protect from the Darwinian struggle: the poor, sick, weak, elderly, widowed, orphaned, etc., they are all focused on right now. Notice that the Church provides a contradiction, a paradox: it appears to hold the longest planning outlook and also the shortest. I think this is important. Perhaps it is that the Church must switch between the two reproductive strategies, at times encouraging more reproduction (r-selection strategy) and at other times encouraging better reproduction (K-selection strategy). Perhaps the Church functions as a regulator in this regard.

The Commoners exhibit a medium term outlook, with a range of short to long term constituents. If a commoner’s outlook is too short term, then he risks falling into one of the Church’s protected classes. If a commoner exhibits a very long term outlook, saving and investing, then he can rise in rank, possibly even marrying into a noble house. In our modern era, most of the commoners exhibit a medium outlook, capable of saving for a rainy day, or saving enough for an investment such as a house or farm or retirement. They range in rank from blue collar workers to highly technical professions such as rocket scientist or electrical engineer. Reproductive strategy will vary from r-type (low class) to K-type (high class), highly influenced by the memeplex cultivated by the Church.

The Nobility exhibit the longest term outlook. They seek to build multi-generational wealth and power. They seek to build estates, kingdoms and empires. In the modern era, they run financial empires, or entire countries, or are captains of industry. The modern nobility is comprised of talented commoners who rise to the equivalent of peerage like Elon Musk, of Tesla motors and SpaceX, or be born into multi-generational wealth and title like Evelyn de Rothschild, their common focus is relentlessly on the future. Reproductive strategy is K-type.

The Third Triangle: Modern Politics

We see the Three Estates model echoed in the modern American political system. The three branches of the Federal government: Judicial, Executive, and Legislative, which maps to Clergy, Nobility, and Commoners. The Judicial branch is the most overtly holy, parading in their black robes, consulting their ancient texts, intoning solemnly to convey the weight of their holy power as they decide what is moral and right for the Nobles and Commoners. The Executive branch is the most obviously entrenched with the true American nobility: the capitalists (techno-commercialists), who buy influence within the true bureaucratic power structure with sinecures and revolving doors to lucrative positions and board memberships. The Legislative branch is where the Commoners are allowed to pretend that they have influence on the system, though they are easily overruled by either the Executive or Judicial branches whenever necessary.

We also see an echo in the Legislative branch: President, Senate and House, mapping to Clergy, Nobility and Commoners. The President can suggest and uses the ‘bully pulpit’ to exert his moral authority over the legislative process. The Senate are most aligned with the interests of the Nobility and most long term in outlook. The House is definitely the House of Commons and most aligned with those of short term outlook, the Commoners. This alignment is not as neat as the branches, but there are parallels.

The point is that we see the echo of the Three Estates in our modern day political systems. Of course we see it in Spandrell’s trichotomy. What else would we find? I told you to keep in mind that the visualizations of the Spandrellian trichotomy created by Nick B. Steves, Jim and RiverC could all be viewed as a single triangle. Here is that single triangle.

Which brings me to coldness and this final triangle, the triangle of unknown origin, the Political Triangle that keeps popping up:

The Political Triangle
The Political Triangle

This triangle is supposed to represent modern Western society, defined  by political view, divided into Left and Right. To the Left is the lie of Utopia, the leftist singularity, a black hole of navel gazing from which no logical thought can escape — here lies anti-materialism, nihilism, and destruction of ego (Eastern mysticism). No truth which contradicts the Utopia is allowed, no Darwinism can be said to exist, not science and not race. All systems which march left eventually converge into a single point — the leftist singularity. To the Right is reality, which must be grounded in materialism, which is measurable. Here lies science. The right opens wide, diverges into two main types of material reality: the reality of the individual and the reality of the group. If the driving force of materialism is the individual, if it is ‘I’, then the ‘We’ is forgotten, the drive expresses itself as ever increasing interest in material goods, material science. If the driving force of the materialism is the group, if it is ‘We’, then the ‘I’ is forgotten, the drive expresses itself as ever increasing interest in the well-being of the group. Natural selection seems to favor a mix of approaches between the individual and the group survival strategy, but punishes harshly those that travel too far to the Left.

To the Right is life, but the struggle is harsh and Man wishes to flee from it. To the Left is death disguised as Utopia, a beautiful siren song calling Man to crash upon the rocks of insanity.

I contend that there is a deep heritage of the Three Estates in Western social organization. If this map is a map of Western society, then would it not follow that it will map the the Three Estates? I believe it does.

Communism

The point labeled ‘communism‘ maps to the Clergy (controlled by the church of Progress), denoted by unlimited cooperation. This is why neoreaction labels those currently in power, pushing Utopian Progressive lies, the Cathedral. Neoreaction recognizes hyper-Calvinism as a driving force within the Cathedral, coupled with a rejection of Darwinism, for that is what Utopia is: the promise of freedom from the struggle for survival, freedom from competition, freedom from Darwin. This Cathedral circumvented the Church, out-competing them in  their control of the memeplex, through accretion of media control.

The rejection of Darwinism is a dynamic gone haywire: the drive within the Church to protect certain groups from Darwinian competition. Previously, the Church limited the protected groups to the poor, sick, weak, elderly, widowed, orphaned, etc. Obviously, we are wired with empathy for such groups. With the advent of Cultural Marxism, the church of Progress sacralized (see Haidt) an additional set of groups: the female, the black, they gay, the transgendered, and now every brand of special snowflake known to man. Now the groups are not merely protected, they are promoted, creating dysgenic breeding patterns that threaten to swamp the society if continued. The Good News of the freedom from competition is being spread in progressively widening circles.

The farther a society moves into this corner, the more deceptions are needed to maintain power, because the system moves further and further away from the reality of competition and Darwinism. In order to explain why the Utopia never arrives, the leaders invent a Satan who is preventing it, usually through Black Magic. Conveniently, the Satan will be whoever has resources to be expropriated (to keep the scam going just a little longer). In this way, a game of musical chairs is played, with the number of chairs decreasing as resources decrease, until eventually the music stops.

This maps to the ‘Theonomists‘ of the Spandrellian trichotomy. And , No, I am not saying that Theonomists are commies. I am saying that the job that should be performed by the Theonomists has been usurped by commies. Somewhere along the line, something went very wrong. I have the feeling that it has something to do with calories getting cheaper, but that will be another post.

Individualism

The point labeled ‘individualism‘ maps to the Nobility, denoted by unlimited competition or unlimited Darwinism. The Nobles have always been willing to stand out from others and to pursue their own self-interest. For Nobles to pursue their self-interest, they must guide the workers, the commoners, and organize production and organize defense of that production. This is the ‘commercialist‘ side of techno-commercialism. The Nobles have also had to control certain types of technology, lest another competitor wrest power from them. In the Middle Ages, this technology primarily centered around war, but progressively centered on control of agriculture and commerce. In the modern era, this technology to control has expanded to finance and computers, in addition to nukes and fighter jets. Corporations and governments now conduct warfare on the internet and in currency markets. Multinationals care very little for blood ties with those whose countries they inhabit, and it seems that Western governments are acquiring this same view.

In the past, under Monarchy, the Nobles were forced to organize production of the masses, requiring identification with the masses, so we see monarchy closer to the Absolutism point. Modern international corporations, with their ability to shift wealth between countries are much closer to the individualist node, as they are not as tied to any body politic. Modern international corporations can manage populations of any race. Tribal solidarity is non-existent, but the creative destruction of the market is strong.

I think in the diagram above that Kingdom and Tribe (in white) should be switched, and that Nationalism and Monarchism (in blue) should be switched.

Here individualist Darwinian competition is at its strongest, breaking even tribal bonds. The farther a society moves in this direction, the more science and decouple from humanity, from its bonds of kinship. In this direction lies the trans-humanist singularity.

This maps to the ‘Techno-Commercialists‘ in the Spandrellian trichotomy. This should be a straightforward mapping to comprehend.

Absolutism

The point labeled ‘absolutism’ maps to the Commoners, denoted by limited competition and limited Darwinism. Here all Darwinian competition must be limited to competition between the in-group (the collective) and the out-group, cannibalistic competition is barred. This is blood, kinship and loyalty above all. This is populism and group-think. What happens when you take the ethos of the commoner and have the people push a leader to power? You get Hitler of Mussolini. In this node we see the collectivist drive (“We own each other”). We see National Socialism, which is collectivism around race. The farther the group moves to this corner, the harder it is for their leaders to keep up with the shifting demands of technology, and the need to be on the cutting edge of technology. Tribal solidarity is strong, but the creative destruction of the market is weak.

This maps to the ‘Ethno-Nationalists‘ in the Spandrellian trichotomy.

Why the Estates Matter

The estates matter because they formed based on real human drives, vectors of competition between gene frequencies within a population: individualist vs collectivist, low time preference vs high time preference, loyal vs disloyal, Utopian vs Darwin, etc. When you take a number of two dimensional traits that humans display, and combine them into a population, we get emergent behavior which can be conceptualized as the Three Estates. When we look at governments, what we see is group negotiation. This means that governments are the framework within which these separate reproductive strategies (time preferences) and drives can be negotiated. In order for a Western society to function successfully, it must have a method for doing the math, for calculating the necessary policies to satisfy the drives of the three estates. This is why there are houses of government, to represent the divergent interests of divergent populations of gene frequencies.

We have examples of what the Three Estates look like within healthy Western societies. It is possible to view history through the prism of the Estates, watching the interplay between the Estates.  It appears that there must be a center of gravity, an equilibrium, maintained between the Three Estates; if the center of gravity tilts too far to one corner or another, then the system falls out of balance and we see an ‘intense selection event‘. Let me quote Bryce Laliberte from Neoreaction is Always to Your Right:

Why right? Because society should be arranged so as to produce the best. Leftism, which allies the rulers with the least against the middle, leads to the endless reproduction of the least in society while penalizing the reproduction of the best and subsumes the middle into the least. If this occurs during a period of unparalleled cultural acceleration, then an intense selection event triggered by Gnon shall occur. Gene-culture co-evolution entails that genes cannot get too far past culture, and culture cannot get too far past genes, without being snapped back to equilibrium.

I think that the Three Estates are part of our deep heritage, and are an expression of our gene-culture co-evolution — and are an expression specific to the Westerner genome. I think that the Three Estates are emergent phenomenon, expressions of complex genetic interactions, which can play a role in analyzing when and how social systems lose equilibrium and trigger intense selection events. I think that government, and good government in particular, is a system of rules designed to maintain an equilibrium between the genetic demands expressed through the Three Estates.

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Culture of Neoreaction

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.

NRx: Against Platonic Rationalism

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.

Laliberte writes:

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”[1] or “any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification”.[2] More formally, rationalism is defined as a methodology or a theoryin which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive“.[3]

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.

Leftism vs Liberalism

I’ve been trying to tease apart Leftism and Liberalism, and I think I’ve found a formulation that is a pretty good predictor of Leftist positions: the Leftist drive is to destroy all hierarchy, which is the natural shape of human organization. Leftism is rebellion against Gnon.

This is in contrast to the Rightist or Reactionary position as illustrated in Nick B. Steves’ Reactionary Consensus, item 1:

Hierarchy

Reactionaries affirm that hierarchy is not only natural, but almost purely beneficial to group success. Hierarchy is not merely not evil, but an enabling trait of civilization. Since hierarchy is adaptively advantageous, it is easy to see why reactionaries believe it to be part of the law of nature or nature’s god or both. Public policies that ignore hierarchy as fundamental to human nature, or worse attempt to subvert it by artificial means of social leveling are foolish at best and likely to be catastrophic for human flourishing.

Liberals are those who advocate for Liberty. Capitalism is primarily a liberal system, because a fundamental aspect of it is the ‘spontaneous order’ of the market: for spontaneous order (self-order) to occur, then that presupposes that external order is not being forced upon it. Freedom of speech is a liberal value, as are freedom of association and gun ownership. Because America has always been a liberal project, Leftists have used the tactic of exploiting Liberal values that advance Leftist ideology.

Leftists want to attack, dismantle and destroy established orders; to ‘free’ the masses from hierarchical order imposed on them from the upper classes; to flatten hierarchies. To them, order and hierarchy is oppression, and it is… when viewed from the perspective of the Left. Civilization is the systematic suppression of animal drives, barring behaviors which have negative effects on group fitness. Capitalism is the suppression of involuntary transfers of property (parasitism/theft). Even in a liberal order, such as a Capitalist society, hierarchy does emerge because humans are fundamentally un-equal and will self-sort into hierarchies. In a liberal order, given a choice, most people will fall into that order willingly, understanding that the hierarchies that are formed are to their benefit. Leftists want to destroy these orders and impose anti-Liberal (totalitarian) economic and social policies.

To be fair, neither the Left or the Right holds ‘civil liberties’ in very high regard, though the Rightist drive to succeed and prosper makes the Right tend align with Liberal ideologies such as Capitalism, which appears to function better with open communications or free speech and meritocracy. Although a productive Capitalist implementation does not require a completely Liberal order. Capitalism succeeded demonstrably under Kings, see ‘The British Empire’. The Left doesn’t care about real world outcomes and will destroy the goose that lays the golden egg happily as a sacrifice to Moloch.

I see the Left as rebellion against Gnon, and the Right as submission to Gnon. This is the basic Left/Right spectrum on the X-axis. Then Liberty/Authority is mapped as a spectrum onto the Y-axis. It can be very difficult to discern if a particular position held within the Left-Liberal quadrant of the map is driven there by a Leftist or Liberal vector. I think it is important to do so, because Liberal drives, which allow enough freedom for spontaneous orders to emerge are important in creating flexible, adaptable and dominant social orders. Gnon demands fruitfulness. But Leftist drives, which lead to death and infertility, must at a minimum be ostracized.

One can think of the Leftist project as the destruction of hierarchy (forcible implementation of a flat order) and the Liberal project as the formation of self-ordering hierarchies. It can be difficult to tease apart a Leftist from a Liberal position, because Leftists cheat and pretend to be Liberals when it suits them. Here are a couple of key quotes lifted from the brilliant RadishMag’s Free Speech issue which display that Leftists are not Liberals, that they do not hold Liberal values such as free speech in any high regard, but merely pretend to do so in order to gain power:

Roger Nash Baldwin, director and co-founder of the ACLU (1934):

“I believe in non-violent methods of struggle as most effective in the long run for building up successful working class power. Where they cannot be followed or where they are not even permitted by the ruling class, obviously only violent tactics remain. I champion civil liberty as the best of the non-violent means of building the power on which workers’ rule must be based. If I aid the reactionaries to get free speech now and then, if I go outside the class struggle to fight against censorship, it is only because those liberties help to create a more hospitable atmosphere for working class liberties. The class struggle is the central conflict of the world; all others are incidental.

When that power of the working class is once achieved, as it has been only in the Soviet Union, I am for maintaining it by any means whatever. Dictatorship is the obvious means in a world of enemies, at home and abroad. I dislike it in principle as dangerous to its own objects. But the Soviet Union has already created liberties far greater than exist elsewhere in the world. […] While I have some reservations about party policy in relation to internal democracy, and some criticisms of the unnecessary persecution of political opponents, the fundamentals of liberty are firmly fixed in the USSR. And they are fixed on the only ground on which liberty really matters — economic. No class to exploit the workers and peasants; wide sharing of control in the economic organizations; and the wealth produced is common property.”

Another quote about the suppression of free speech from Herbert Marcuse of the Frankfurt School, in 1965:

The whole post-fascist period is one of clear and present danger. Consequently, true pacification requires the withdrawal of tolerance before the deed, at the stage of communication in word, print, and picture. Such extreme suspension of the right of free speech and free assembly is indeed justified only if the whole of society is in extreme danger. I maintain that our society is in such an emergency situation, and that it has become the normal state of affairs. Different opinions and ‘philosophies’ can no longer compete peacefully for adherence and persuasion on rational grounds: the ‘marketplace of ideas’ is organized and delimited by those who determine the national and the individual interest. In this society, for which the ideologists have proclaimed the ‘end of ideology,’ the false consciousness has become the general consciousness — from the government down to its last objects. The small and powerless minorities which struggle against the false consciousness and its beneficiaries must be helped: their continued existence is more important than the preservation of abused rights and liberties which grant constitutional powers to those who oppress these minorities. It should be evident by now that the exercise of civil rights by those who don’t have them presupposes the withdrawal of civil rights from those who prevent their exercise, and that liberation of the Damned of the Earth presupposes suppression not only of their old but also of their new masters.”

For example, we now regularly see Leftists calling to limit free speech on the internet. That is an anti-Liberal position. Currently, the Left is in charge in America and in the Democratic party, and the goal is to limit ‘hate speech’ (any speech which offends Leftist sensibilities) so that is a Leftist drive; to further the Leftist ideology at the expense of Liberty. A Liberal will argue for free speech against Leftist impositions.

Here is another Left vs Liberal example using the case of persons who are ‘transgender’.

The Liberal view is that the trannie should be allowed to be openly trans and to talk about being trans and to form alliances with other pro-trans people. This is allowing the basic Liberties or free speech and association to trannies. A Liberal will allow pro-trans and anti-trans schools of thought to both exist. A Liberal will trust that in the ‘open marketplace of ideas’ that the best ideas will win.

A Leftist will claim that the very order imposed by nature, the ‘gender binary’ is an oppression and will demand that gender be removed from all public places and that children should be taught that they can choose their gender and forced to watch pro-transgender propaganda in school. They will fight anyone who takes the anti-trans position, the position that accepts the natural (or God-given) order of ‘gender binary’.

The Liberal and Leftists positions can look very similar, but you can tell the Leftist position because it is the totalitarian one: only the pro-trans position is allowable, which is why currently all other positions are ‘hate’ or ‘hate speech’. When not openly totalitarian, it will be the position in opposition to a natural (gender) or spontaneous (meritocracy) order.

An interesting conundrum is the prevalence of Leftist support for Islam and Muslims, when Islam is obviously an anti-Liberal and anti-Leftist religion. I think that the Baldwin quote above is instructive, especially the line “The class struggle is the central conflict of the world; all others are incidental.” The dominant order of the world is Western civilization, which is White and Christian in origin. Muslims are demonstrably a lower class: an empirical evaluation of their civilization in comparison to Western civilization yields this result. Leftists make this same evaluation, though they would deny it until their dying breath, and come to the conclusion that Muslims are allies in the class struggle to overthrow the dominant White and Christian order. This is also the reason for the alliance between Africans and the Left.

It is similarly interesting to look at the attacks on prominent Atheists Bill Mahr, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, all of whom are devout Liberals, and who have taken reasonable and rational positions against the Islam due to its anti-Liberal nature and in logical parallel to their attacks on Christianity. The Left is hounding all three. You see, attacks on Christianity are not bigoted or racist because the dominant order is Christian. The Left loves when these Atheists attack Christians, but the moment Atheists begin to attack comrades in the class struggle (Muslims), then the Left returns fire. Obviously, none of the three Atheists really understands this, because they don’t grok the difference between Leftism and Liberalism. Their bewilderment is amusing as they sit dumbfounded trying to figure out why they are under attack for being rational and consistent.

Liberals want Liberty. Leftists want to destroy natural orders. Teasing their positions apart can be tricky, but is best exposed by evaluating their positions which are both Leftist and anti-Liberal. To the Left, Atheism is a tool in the class struggle and nothing more. Just as Free Speech is a tool in the class struggle and nothing more. The Left will use anti-Liberal means to squash free speech from Atheists or anyone else who goes outside the class struggle, the central struggle, which is the destruction of hierarchies and spontaneous or natural orders. The Left is rebellion against Gnon.