2013 Reaction points

Multiply the world population by 365 and it comes out as something significantly north of two trillion human days in which to make things happen. It has impressed me, then, to note that roughly 20% of the last year’s Gross Global Occurrence Volume has taken place in the comments threads of this blog. (I received an activity report from WordPress this evening that suggested I thank VXXC, fotrkd, Spandrell, and Thales in particular for being cranked-up comment monkeys.) Tack on the rest of the reactosphere, and what remains of the planet has been fighting over scraps (which we’ll get to later).

The first — tentative and unconvinced — post here went up in mid-February, so Outside in is a creature of 2013. There’s nothing remotely unusual about that. Other 2013 reactionary monster babies include RadishAnarchopapist and Occam’s Razor (January); Habitable Worlds, The Reactivity Place, and Amos & Gromar (April); More Right (May); Theden (July); Handleshaus and The Legionnaire (August) … which is just to scoop from my regular reading list. The sheer quantity of explicitly reactionary writing has to have surged by at least an order of magnitude this year. This timeline (by Handle) sharpens the contours of the phenomenon (expanded to encompass the burgeoning new genre of excited anti-reactionary push-back). Even if many of the greatest Outer Right blogs preexisted this wave of dark energy, 2013 was surely the year in which Neoreaction really established itself as a thing.

Outside the reactosphere, the world put most of its energy into fueling the reactosphere. The Obama Administration entered full-spectrum accelerating collapse, flailing about in the wreckage of the the most incompetent government initiative in American history, shredding the last tattered remnants of the Constitution in public, and stumbling about the Middle East setting things on fire at random. Detroit imploded, the NSA digested the world, Political Correctness went berserk, the Fed fell into the hands of an unabashed Ctrl-P fanatic, and the economy continued to fall apart (although its descent was significantly slowed by manic fracking). More zombies. (Sadly, conservatism still exists.)

On the massively positive side, after a roller-coaster year on both sides of the Pacific, Bitcoin was becoming so big it had begun to seriously scare people (Cowen’s comment thread is better than the post). The dawn of monetary anarchy glimmered.

Bitcoin, free associationuncontrolled speech … with every day that passes, the Web pushes the Left a little further into fuming insanity. There’s an Internet-shaped hole in the Cathedral’s vision for the world, which the Obamacare website turned into theater.

Off-planet activity notably quickened too. The search for an exit under conditions of terrestrial confinement reached an unprecedented level of itchyfooted eagerness, boosted further by repulsion.

2013 saw a change of leadership in China, and in the Vatican. New US ally Al Qaeda did great, Venezuela not so much.

The AGW comedy became even more farcical.

Many people remained very annoying.

Snowden, Zimmerman, Kim Jong un, the Boston Marathon, Benghazi … what did 2013 mean to you?

ADDED: Radish takes retrospection to a whole new level.

ADDED: Spandrell takes it to a wholly different new level.

December 31, 2013admin 19 Comments »

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19 Responses to this entry

  • Igitur Says:

    > with every day that passes, the Web pushes the Left a little further into fuming insanity.

    To be perfectly off-topical and exploitative of your past career, is there any truth to the rumor that after reading “Rhizome” published in article form, Alain Badiou set his maoist shock troops to disrupt Deleuze’s seminar?

    What Badiou was trying to do was establish deep, quasi-gnostic foundations for his version of what is the Left — that’s what most of the intellectual Left has done throughout the 20th century, at any rate. An intellectual Right would in principle have to commit to rah-rah-rah libertarian free-marketeering or tradition-church-and-property tradition for similar foundations.

    Except it doesn’t, because foundations don’t matter. Just as the cause of deregulation isn’t frozen as to whether Austrian economics or neomarginalism are the correct accounts of emergent market order, a Right emerges without ever having to touch base. Moldbug is too much of a hegelian for me. Alone is a frakking lacanian. And then are the racists — it takes some mental discipline to read into race realism and not scream blood libel when casual jargon opposing “jews” to “humans” is used in an otherwise interesting discussion in forums two clicks away from the blogroll in this very page.

    But isn’t it interesting how one can disavow unsavory aspects of this new Right community and still have the emergent consensus-argument stand? This is no house of cards; this doesn’t sprout from one root, it’s more akin Deleuze’s man with wolves (or tentacles, for the contemporary sensitivity) growing out of his pores.

    Many people who were head-high Communists in the 60s came in the 90s to renege on those views and claim they had seen the error of their ways; disavowing what they saw as Leftism proper, they sought to establish a “third way” that somehow married Leftist social views with the undeniable force of markets — undeniable in the way rain is undeniable; ideologies can only dialectically denounce the concept of ‘wet’ for so long. But the required alliances and resulting compromises are paper thin. Everyone sees through it.

    Symptomatic of this is the culture of muckraking and link-following. I’ve been long a follower of Yasha Levine and Mark Ames for their exploits in Russia, and they take the form to the level of an art: find someone who is unpleasant, but in principle unblemished (one person they’ve profiled was NPR’s Ira Glass), sweep institutional affiliations and find second or third-degree links to the Kochs or the Rockefellers — if there are ideas out of harmony with “post-left


    Michael Reply:

    two clicks away is an eternity.
    so commies decided to let capitalist be their banksters who now discover the ropes around their necks are shorter than though. What will they do when race is as undeniable as rain? push miscegenation, affirmative action,privilege taxes, they will find something.


    Posted on December 31st, 2013 at 4:30 pm Reply | Quote
  • Igitur Says:

    God, accidental submit. I did intend to edit that down for succinctness. (I’m a hypergraphic type.)

    … second or third-degree links to the Kochs or the Rockefellers — if there are ideas out of harmony with “post-left” consensus, they must be the product of overwhelming force, so much more powerful than their alliances that it breaks the fragile spell. And it’s known to be a fragile spell — thus the grave tone that neonazis may take power if we’re not careful to preserve the incantation.

    Meh, I’ve gone too long now, with that unedited wall of text. In short, this Outer Right is oozing, and that’s barely even cognizable to the society of foundation and root.

    What is the cthdamned keystroke that submits comments by accident anyway?


    admin Reply:

    “cthdamned” — that’s excellent in so many ways.


    Posted on December 31st, 2013 at 4:39 pm Reply | Quote
  • Michael Says:

    Is Lewis Carol the proto neo reactionary


    Posted on December 31st, 2013 at 5:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • Igitur Says:

    I don’t think anyone denies that race is a real phenomenon. “White flight” is a PC/”cathedral”-approved term for a specific kind of urban decay, for one.

    It does get messier in cultures that approve freely of miscegenation. In Brazil we’re mostly half-bloods, but they still came up with affirmative action based on “self-declared” color and some examination. As a result, same-egg twins have been declared as different races for the purposes of racial quotas.

    The anecdote goes to show how well does “post-racial” culture fare. Genetics be frakked, race-specific behaviors still emerge and politically-correct/cathedralist policies still come about, comically so. Race sure be a strange attractor.


    Posted on December 31st, 2013 at 10:53 pm Reply | Quote
  • Mark Warburton Says:

    Nick, you’ve been super active churning out all these posts over the year – seems miles away from your proclaimed lack of industry in the Bataille book. I’ve enjoyed it immensely, and the reactionaries here (of all hues) have given me many a pause/nibble for thought. After alterations to my PHD proposal, many of the topics described here ( on time, gnosticism, techno-capital, sovereignty etc.) have found a home in my temporarily configuring ‘blackened theologies’ dissertation.

    I’m thankful for the likes of Habitable Worlds and Bloody Shovel (and anything James Goulding wrote) in giving me more than enough ideas to chew on. If it wasn’t for the reacto-sphere, I wouldn’t of persisted at Goldsmiths. So thanks everyone. I have a feeling 2014 is going to be an exciting time with Spiral Press and Anna Greenspan’s Shanghai book coming out.

    My long-term hope is I’ll accumulate enough human and hard capital to make my transition over to Singapore or China. Here’s to the future.



    fotrkd Reply:

    On ‘industry’, I was reminded of some recent Wittgenstein related reading:

    The difficulty of understanding Wittgenstein was perhaps captured best by Wittgenstein himself in a remark recalled by his sister Hermine. Hermine describes Ludwig’s reaction when she expressed her inability to comprehend why he, with his incomparable philosophical mind, would rather work as a gardener’s assistant or an elementary school teacher than as a professor of philosophy: “Ludwig replied with an analogy that reduced me to silence. He said, ‘You remind me of somebody who is looking out through a closed window and cannot explain to himself the strange movements of a passer-by. He cannot tell what sort of storm is raging out there or that this person might only be managing with difficulty to stay on his feet.’ Then I understood the state of mind he was in.

    Wittgenstein once wrote that, to a continuation of his philosophical work by others, he would prefer a change in the way people live, a change that would render superfluous all the issues and questions of his philosophizing.

    Necessity… the mother of all invention (or something).

    (For amusement, cf. current celebrity begging-bowl philosophy.)


    Mark Warburton Reply:

    Pretty humble for a philosopher.


    Posted on December 31st, 2013 at 10:54 pm Reply | Quote
  • Thales Says:

    Yes. A masterful round-up. Happy New Year, all. Cheers!


    Posted on January 1st, 2014 at 2:36 am Reply | Quote
  • Karl F. Boetel Says:

    This is excellent. Happy New Year! (hic)


    Posted on January 1st, 2014 at 7:57 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:


    Look at this catch me f__k me cog tease…


    It’s illegal!!

    No it isn’t!!

    Wow. And the former Congresscritter Kennedy can smell the lawsuit.


    Thales Reply:

    “The only way to make money is from addiction,” he said, comparing future marijuana sales tactics to casinos luring in gamblers. “They have to produce addiction in order to increase their profits and in order to do that they need to start young.”

    Oooh! I get to coin the new epithet for this next bête noire: “Big Pot”


    Posted on January 1st, 2014 at 11:51 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    Happy 2014

    The Rains of Castamere…



    Posted on January 1st, 2014 at 1:56 pm Reply | Quote
  • Nick B. Steves Says:

    Happy New Year guys!!!


    Posted on January 1st, 2014 at 4:21 pm Reply | Quote
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