As argued here before, Outside in firmly maintains that the distinctive structural feature of NRx analysis is escalation by a logical level. It could be described as ‘meta-politics’ if that term had not already been adopted, by thinkers in the ENR tradition, to mean something quite different (i.e. the ascent from politics to culture). There’s an alternative definition at Wikipedia that also seems quite different. This congested linguistic territory drives NRx to talk about Neocameralism, or Meta-Neocameralism — the analysis of Patchwork regimes.
From this perspective, all discussion of concrete social ideals and first-order political preferences, while often entertaining, locally clarifying, and practical for purposes of group construction, is ultimately trivial and distracting. The fundamental question does not concern the kind of society we might like, but rather the differentiation of societies, such that distinctive social models are able — in the first place — to be possible. The rigorous NRx position is lodged at the level of disintegration as such, rather than within a specific disintegrated fragment. This is because, first of all, there will not be agreement about social ideals. To be stuck in an argument about them is, finally, a trap.
Is this not simply Dynamic Geography, of the Patri Friedman type? As a parallel post-libertarian ‘meta-political’ framework, it is indeed close. The thing still missing from Dynamic Geography (as currently intellectually instantiated), however, is Real Politik (or Machiavellianism). It assumes an environment of goodwill, in which rational experimentation in government will be permitted. The Startup Cities model, as well as its close relative Charter Cities, have similar problems. These are all post-libertarian analyses of governance, at a high logical level, but — unlike NRx — they are not rooted in a social conflict theory. They expect to formulate themselves to the point of execution without the necessity of a theoretical and practical encounter with an implacable enemy. ‘Irrational’ obstruction tends to confuse them. By talking about the Cathedral, from the beginning, NRx spares itself from such naivety. (Sophisticated conflict theory within the libertarian tradition has to be sought elsewhere.)
Some initial points:
(1) Meta-Neocameralism — or high-level NRx analysis — opposes itself solely to geopolitical integration. This means, as a matter of historical fate, to the Cathedral. An alternative social ideal, however repugnant it might be found at the level of first-order political preferences, is only elevated to a true enemy by universalism. If it seeks to do something — even something that revolts all actually existing NRx proponents to the core of their being — within a specific territorial enclave and without practical mechanisms for universal propagation, it is as likely to be a tactical ally as a foe. Anything that disintegrates destiny is on our side. (Immediately, therefore, it can be seen that the preponderant part of NRx discussion is at best oblique to fundamental strategic goals.)
(2) Universality is poison. Whenever NRx appears to be proposing a social solution for all people everywhere it has become part of the problem. The ultimate goal is for those who disagree to continue to disagree in a different place, and under separate institutions of government. First-order political argument, insofar as it tends towards compromise (i.e. partial convergence) is positively harmful to the large-scale NRx project. The sole crucial agreement is that we will not agree. Better by far to make that harsher, than to soften it.
(3) Each thread of the Trichotomy has approximately equivalent claim to be the standard bearer of the disintegrationist position. The reason that this is formulated here with a Techno-Commercial bias is because it is being formulated here (there is no reason why it has to be).
(4) A Meta-Neocameral coalition, tightly focused upon effective hostility to the Cathedral, displays a pattern of tolerances and aversions very different to that found within a first-order reactionary movement seeking to immediately instantiate a social ideal of the good. Insofar as the latter tends to exacerbation of social tensions and geopolitical fission, it contributes* positively to high-level NRx goals, but it can only expect theoretical condescension in direct proportion to its concreteness, and therefore deficient apprehension of the disintegrative position. A movement of communistic localism that successfully pursued a project of radical geopolitical autonomization would be, realistically, a more significant tactical ally than even the most ideologically-pure concrete reactionary movement which spoke a lot about comparable goals, but gave no indication it was able to practically realize them.
(5) The world is already fractured and divided, to a considerable degree. This means that the disintegrative position has no need for utopianism, and is frequently able to orient itself defensively, in support of existing differences that are subject to integrative-universalist assault. Furthermore, there are numerous indications that general world-historical trends are favorable to geopolitical disintegration, in too many fields to fully enumerate, but which include political, ethnic, technological, and economic drivers. Incremental pragmatism is entirely practical under current geographical and historical conditions.
(6) In provisional conclusion, disapproval of some alternative mode of life is entirely irrelevant to high-level NRx goals, unless said mode of life also insists upon living with you. The objective is to divide the world, not to unify it in accordance with those principles best attuned to your preferences, however rationally or traditionally compelling such preferences might be. Universalism is the enemy. Don’t do it (and to make a scholastic objection out of the universality of non-universalism, is to have immediately started doing it — check your totalitarian Hegelianism). Exit is not an argument.
* Initially misspelled as ‘contribrutes’ — which works.
ADDED: I should already have linked to this. It starts off on a very promising path, goes along OK until falling apart horribly somewhere in Part V, then stumbles along, recovering a bit, ending on an encouraging note (but with the theoretical engine now mostly sheared off). It’s high on my agenda for a serious engagement.