This surely counts as a (Friday) fright night topic. Appropriately, it’s an undertow NRx theme already, although typically only casually invoked — almost allusively — as the necessary complement of the public state’s naked superficiality. Rod Dreher focuses upon it more determinedly than any NRx source I was able to rapidly pull up. (This would be an easy point for people to educate me upon.)
Dreher’s post is seriously interesting. One immediate hook:
As a State Church, the Cathedral is essentially bound to publicity. Its principal organs — media and education — are directed towards the promulgation of faith. It tends towards an identification with its own propaganda, and therefore — in Mike Lofgren’s words — to the full manifestation of visible government. Perfect coincidence of government with the transparent public sphere approaches a definition of the progressive telos. Since Neoreaction is particularly inclined to emphasize the radical dysfunctionality of this ideal, it naturally presupposes that real government lies elsewhere. In this respect, NRx is inherently destined to formulate a model of hidden or occult government — that which the Cathedral runs upon — which inevitably coincides, in all fundamentals, with the deep state.
What then? Has there been a direct NRx address to the quesion, what do we make of the deep state? Moldbug even declares: “… the United States does not in fact have a ‘deep state.'” In context, this is a complex and suggestive evasion, but it is an evasion nonetheless. There can be no call upon neoreactionaries to articulate their relation to something that does not exist.
In contrast to the Master, I am thoroughly convinced that a US deep state exists, and that the problem of articulation is a very different one. Public articulacy is — at least — not obviously appropriate to the deep state, for transcendental philosophical or occultist reasons (which are the same), since it is the very nature of hidden government not to be a public object. Public representation of the deep state is exposure — an intrinsically political, antagonistic engagement. It’s Wikileaks. This is not to denounce such an operation, reactively, but merely to note that the question has thereby been missed. The righteousness of state sublimation into the public sphere is assumed (and this, to repeat, is progressivism itself).
Under the name of the Cathedral, Nrx depicts the state phenomenon as a degenerative abomination. The deep state (or state-in-itself), in contrast, poses a far more cryptic theoretical and practical problem. It’s worth puzzling over, for at least a while.