Archive for the ‘Neoreaction’ Category

Sentences (#56)

Tyler Cowen’s post on “neo-reaction” is quite weird. It has no usable references, so it’s impossible to know what he’s drawing on. Mix of quirky insights and Moron Bites material throughout. Worth a read, if you’re not busy doing anything else.

This struck me as interesting (if also clearly wrong) though:

maybe some of you are upset that I am even covering this topic, but neo-reaction, in varying forms, is a (the?) significant ideology in China, India, Russia, and Japan, and it is growing in popularity in Western Europe and of course America, where it has captured the presidential nomination of one of the two major parties.

(Don’t say you weren’t warned.)

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June 6, 2016admin 77 Comments »
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Twitter cuts (#66)

Worth a read. The ‘practical’ conclusions are incredibly lame, but the historical narrative isn’t terrible. Crucial to note, however, that ‘fascism’ here is framed by a peculiarly thoughtless Marxoid dogmatism, and means simply: Anything that is seriously anti-communist.

May 27, 2016admin 50 Comments »
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Quote note (#237)

A little chunk of Moldbug, for no reason other than stumbling upon it (and because there’s a lot going on in just a few sentences):

The difference between a monarch and a dictator is that the monarchical succession is defined by law and the dictatorial succession is defined by power. The effect in the latter is that the fish rots from the head down — lawlessness permeates the state, as in a mafia family, because contending leaders must build informal coalitions. Since another name for a monarchist is a legitimist, we can contrast the legitimist and demotist theories of government. […] Perhaps unsurprisingly, I see legitimism as a sort of proto-formalism. The royal family is a perpetual corporation, the kingdom is the property of this corporation, and the whole thing is a sort of real-estate venture on a grand scale. Why does the family own the corporation and the corporation own the kingdom? Because it does. Property is historically arbitrary.

The best way for the monarchies of Old Europe to modernize, in my book, would have been to transition the corporation from family ownership to shareholder ownership, eliminating the hereditary principle which caused so many problems for so many monarchies. However, the trouble with corporate monarchism is that it presents no obvious political formula. “Because it does” cuts no ice with a mob of pitchfork-wielding peasants. […] So the legitimist system went down another path, which led eventually to its destruction: the path of divine-right monarchy. When everyone believes in God, “because God says so” is a much more impressive formula.

Perhaps the best way to look at demotism is to see it as the Protestant version of rule by divine right — based on the theory of vox populi, vox dei. If you add divine-right monarchy to a religious system that is shifting from the worship of God to the worship of Man, demotism is pretty much what you’d expect to precipitate in the beaker.

April 12, 2016admin 31 Comments »
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The NRx Moment

This isn’t it.

The Trump phenomenon is really something, a crisis of democracy and a shattering of the Overton Window very much included, but it is not an intrinsically right-wing thing, and it is radically populist in nature. A reactionary exploitation of demotism is not a neoreactionary episode. The Alt-Right is properly credited with capturing the spirit of this development. It is not us.

NRx is situated absolutely outside mass politics. Its moment dawns only when the Age of the Masses is done.

It will be done. The emergence of sovereign (primary) property, liberated from the criterion of democratic legitimation, is its sign. Government, on this basis, is Neocameral. The deep historical trends supporting it include:

(1) Apolitical property. No such reality, or conception, has yet been historically actualized. For as long as property is determined as a social relation, it cannot be. Absolute property is cryptographic. It is held not by social consent, and thus political agreement, but by keys. Fnargl is a provocative thought-experiment, but PKE private keys are a non-negotiable fact. They define the property relation with a rigor the entire preceding history of philosophy and political economy has been unable to attain. Everything that follows from the cryptographic transition — Bitcoin most notably — contributes to the establishment of a property system beyond democratic accountability (and thus insensitive to Voice). Neocameral administration implements a cryptographic state, strictly equivalent to a fully-commercialized government.

(2) Autonomous capital. The definition of the corporation as a legal person lays the foundation, within modernity, for the abstracted commercial agency soon to be actualized in ‘Digital Autonomous Corporations’ (or DACs). The scale of the economic transition thus implied is difficult to over-estimate. Mass consumption, as the basic revenue source for capitalist enterprise, is superceded in principle. The impending convulsion is immense. Self-propelling industrial development becomes its own market, freed from dependency upon arbitrary popular (or popularizable) consumption desires. Demand management, as the staple of macroeconomic governance, is over. (No one is yet remotely ready for this.)

(3) Robotic security. Definitive relegation of the mass military completes the trifecta. The armed mass as a model for the revolutionary citizenry declines into senselessness, replaced by drones. Asabiyyah ceases entirely to matter, however much it remains a focus for romantic attachment. Industrialization closes the loop, and protects itself.

The great game, for human agencies (of whatever social scale) becomes one of productive cooperation with formations of sovereign property, with the menace of mass political violence swept off the table. The Alt-Right is no kind of preparation for this. Its adventure is quite different, which is not to say it is uninteresting, or — in the near-term — entirely inconsequential, but it is exhausted by its demotism. It belongs to the age that is dying, not to the one that is being born.

Socio-political modernity has been an argument over property distributions, and the Alt-Right has now demonstrated that the (self-conscious) Left has no monopoly over it. As senescence deepens, the dialectic rips the whole rotten structure to pieces. NRx — when it understands itself — isn’t arguing.

April 5, 2016admin 44 Comments »
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NRx and Liberalism

In much of the neoreactionary camp, ‘liberalism’ is the end-point of discussion. Its argumentative function is exactly that of ‘racism’ for the left. The only question, as far as this stance is concerned, is whether the term can be made to stick. Once the scarlet letter of micro-cultural ostracism is attached, there’s nothing further to discuss. This is unlikely to change, except at the margin.

The obvious preliminary to this topic is, if not quite ‘American English’, something like it. ‘Liberalism’ in the American tongue has arrived in a strange space, unique to that continent. It is notable, and uncontroversial, for instance that the notion of a ‘right-wing liberal’ is considered a straight oxymoron by American speakers, where in Europe — and especially mainland Europe — it is closer to a pleonasm. Since we still, to a very considerable extent, inhabit an American world, the expanded term ‘classical liberal’ is now required to convey the traditional sense. A Briton, of capitalistic inclinations, is likely to favor ‘Manchester Liberal’ for its historical associations with the explicit ideology of industrial revolution. In any case, the discussion has been unquestionably complicated.

Political language tends to become dialectical, in the most depraved (Hegelian) sense of this term. It lurches wildly into its opposite, as it is switched like a contested flag between conflicting parties. Stable political significances apply only to whatever the left (the ‘opposition’, or ‘resistance’) hasn’t touched yet. Another consideration, then, for those disposed to a naive faith in ideological signs as heraldic markers. (It is one that threatens to divert this post into excessive digression, and is thus to be left — in Wikipedia language — as a ‘stub’.)

The proposal of this blog is to situate ‘liberal’ at the intersection of three terms, each essential to any recoverable, culturally tenacious meaning. It is irreducibly modern, English, and counter-political. ‘Ancient liberties’ are at least imaginable, but an ancient liberalism is not. Foreign liberalisms can be wished the best of luck, because they will most certainly need it (an exception for the Dutch, alone, is plausible here). Political liberalism is from the beginning a practical paradox, although perhaps in certain rare cases one worth pursuing.

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March 23, 2016admin 71 Comments »
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Twitter cuts (#52)

Responding to this (Outsideness) twitter-stream:
The transcendental self is not the empirical person, Kant argues, though confusion of the two is a reliable anthropological fact. … ‘Sovereignty’ demands disciplined critique on exactly these lines. Monarchical theater is (exactly) a naive image of ‘the sovereign’. … Moldbug is clear that the ‘monarch’ (state CEO) is an agent of sovereignty, and not the sovereign ‘himself’. … The LARPing loved by romantic reaction, and derided by the Left, dwells entirely within this rigorously identifiable philosophical error. … Sovereignty is no less a profound philosophical enigma than the transcendental self, the prompt for an exploration of vast difficulty. … “We know what a sovereign looks like.” — It is scarcely possible to imagine a delusion of greater absurdity.

Something of greater articulacy is clearly called for, but the kernel would be unchanged. ‘Sovereignty’ is the translation of the transcendental into the realm of political philosophy. This is why, even for atheists, the Idea of Divine Right sovereign legitimacy is a superior point of departure than mere charismatic leadership.

March 8, 2016admin 33 Comments »
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This is well-done, insightful, and even comparatively civil.

The diremption:

Moldbug, by laying an immense foundation, was complex enough to be interpreted in very distinct manners. NRx concentrates on his economic writings and proposed solutions: stockholder sovereigns, Patchwork, block-chain protocols, exit, financial incentives, Austrianism, [Bitcoin], ‘the reset’. Alternatively, HRx concentrates on his reading suggestions and historical/international writings: Carly[l]e worship, high-Toryism/Jacobitism, classical international law, Absolute monarchy, generalist historiography, imperialism apologia, political theory, and the general aesthetic. It’s fair enough to say that neither side is willing to embrace the whole package; unless Mencius comes back and picks a side we’re going to keep on squabbling over who are his true followers. Regardless, we all agree on MM’s critiques of Democracy, bureaucracy, progressive morality, and the dominant institutions. […] I believe this dichotomy is fundamentally spiritual. NRx is a materialist ideology, post-Ancap in essence, it’s no surprise then that many Neoreactionaries started out as Marxists or Libertarians. Conversely, HRx places the metaphysical at the root of all civic affairs. With raw power politics also superseding catallaxy.

It’s not quibble proof, from the XS PoV, but it’s far closer to a cold, realistic assessment than anything we’ve seen yet. (It’s impossible for me to avoid observing, in passing, that the descent into spittle-flecked vulgarity seems to be a distinguishing characteristic of these ‘higher souls’. Is it too much to ask for just a little loftiness of tone from our political metaphysicians? Quite apart from anything else, it would actually work better.)

There are many other points of interest in the Froude Society piece. Worth noting in particular:

They reject the hero, they reject the sublime, and thus any exoteric link to the Holy on High. Moreover, they do not even pretend to have any solutions for non anglo-civilizations, we speak truths that ring true for all peoples by historical precedent, that good governance and order is always Good.

It wouldn’t surprise me, in the least, if the author of Unqualified Reservations would tilt more to the HRx camp today (although, rather weirdly, the Urbit innovator seems to have pushed even further into ‘protocol’ territory). There is certainly no assertion on our (Tech-Comm) side, that he would subscribe to the usage of his work that we find important. Nor do we, to any serious extent, care whether he would do so. Neocameral-Patchwork formalism, the theorization of fungible primary (sovereign) property, and Exit-oriented geopolitical disintegration is the commitment we have here — and without Moldbug none of that would have reached its present state of articulation. The Jacobitism, monarchist theater, objective Anglophobia, ahistorical contempt for emergent trustless governance systems, hyperbolic anti-modernism, and romantic humanism we can do without.

(The original #HRx post here might be relevant.)

March 2, 2016admin 109 Comments »
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Quote note (#224)

This needs to be up here as a reference point:

… [L]et’s admit it: Globalization does not automatically benefit France. […] Globalization develops according to principles that correspond neither to French tradition nor to French culture. These principles include the ultraliberal market economy, mistrust of the state, individualism removed from the republican tradition, the inevitable reinforcement of the universal and “indispensable” role of the United States, common law, the English language, Anglo-Saxon norms, and Protestant — more than Catholic — concepts.
— Hubert Védrine, February 9, 2002.

NRx is not French (all confusions apart).

February 25, 2016admin 20 Comments »
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Twitter cuts (#47)

Just using this as a link-transporter:

This isn’t meant to be snarky — both writers are XS favorites.

January 28, 2016admin 49 Comments »
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The Deal

NRx repudiates public politics. Turn that around, and it’s the thesis: Politics happens in private.

Specifically — as a political philosophy — NRx advocates the privatization of government. It makes a public case for that, in the abstract, but only for purposes of informational and theoretical optimization. It is not, ever, doing politics in public, but only thinking about it under conditions of minimal intelligence security. Concrete execution of political strategy occurs through private deals.

The currency of such deals was formalized by Mencius Moldbug, as primary (or fungible sovereign) property. It corresponds to the conversion — whether notional or actual — of hard power into business assets. This conversion is what ‘formalism’ means. It’s an important contribution to political philosophy, and political economy, but it’s also a negotiating position.

Cries for (public) Action! will always be with us, at least until things are radically sorted out. They should be ignored. No public action is serious.

The serious thing is the deal, which substitutes for any semblance of revolution, and also for regime perpetuation. Shadow NRx — which acts outside the sphere of public visibility — is a political vulture fund. This blog does not want to know who, or what, it is. Its deep secrecy is the same as its reality. Our concern is restricted to the way it necessarily acts, in compliance with an absolute principle. We ask only: What does the deal have to be like?

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January 23, 2016admin 50 Comments »
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