Neoreaction (for dummies)

Kill the hyphen, Anomaly UK advised (somewhere) – it lets Google Search dissolve and avoid the subject. Writing ‘neo-reaction’ as ‘neoreaction’ nudges it towards becoming a thing.

Google Search gets to edit our self-definition? That’s the ‘neo’ in ‘neoreaction’, right there. It not only promotes drastic regression, but highly-advanced drastic regression. Like retrofuturism, paleomodernism, and cybergothic, the word ‘neoreaction’ compactly describes a time-twisted vector that spirals forwards into the past, and backwards into the future. It emerges, almost automatically, as the present is torn tidally apart — when the democratic-Keynesian politics of postponement-displacement exhausts itself, and the kicked-can runs out of road.

Expressed with abstruse verbosity, therefore, neoreaction is a time-crisis, manifested through paradox, whose further elaboration can wait (if not for long). Disordering our most basic intuitions, it is, by its very nature, difficult to grasp. Could anything easily be said about it?

Anomaly UK offers a down-to-earth explanation for the reversal of socio-political course:

Ultimately, however, if after all these centuries of trying to improve society based on abstract ideas of justice have only made life worse than it would have been under pre-Enlightenment social systems, the time has come to simply give up the whole project and revert to traditional forms whose basis we might not be able to establish rationally, but which have the evidence of history to support them.

This understanding of neoreaction – undoubtedly capturing its predominant sentiment – equates it with a radicalized Burkean conservatism, designed for an age in which almost everything has been lost. Since the progressive destruction of traditional society has been broadly accomplished, hanging on to what remains is no longer enough. It is necessary to go back, beyond the origin of Enlightenment, because Reason has failed the test of history.

Neoreaction is only a thing if some measure of consensus is achievable. Burke-on-steroids is an excellent candidate for that. Firstly, because all neoreactionaries define themselves through antagonism to the Cathedral, and the Cathedral is the self-proclaimed consummation of Enlightenment rationalism. Secondly, for more complicated, positive reasons …

Spandrell helpfully decomposes neoreaction into two or three principal currents:

There are two lines of [our contemporary] reactionary thought. One is the traditionalist branch, and [the other is] the futurist branch.

Or perhaps there [are] three. There’s the religious/traditionalist branch, the ethnic/nationalist branch, and the capitalist branch.

Futurists and traditionalists are distinguished by distinct, one-sided emphases on ‘neo’ and ‘reaction’, and their disagreements lose identity in the neoreactionary spiral. The triadic differentiation is more resiliently conflictual, yet these ‘branches’ are branches of something, and that thing is an ultra-Burkean trunk.

Reactionary theonomists, ethno-nationalists, and techno-commercialists share a fundamental aversion to rationalistic social reconstruction, because each subordinates reason to history and its tacit norms – to ‘tradition’ (diversely understood). Whether the sovereign lineage is considered to be predominantly religious, bio-cultural, or customary, it originates outside the self-reflective (enlightenment) state, and remains opaque to rational analysis. Faith, liturgy, or scripture is not soluble within criticism; communal identity is not reducible to ideology; and common law, reputational structure, or productive specialism is not amenable to legislative oversight. The deep order of society – whatever that is taken to be – is not open to political meddling, without predictably disastrous consequences.

This Burkean junction, where neoreactionary agreement begins, is also where it ends. Divine revelation, racial continuity, and evolutionary discovery (catallaxy) are sources of ultimate sovereignty, instantiated in tradition, beyond the Cathedral-state, but they are self-evidently different – and only precariously compatible. Awkwardly, but inescapably, it has to be acknowledged that each major branch of the neoreactionary super-family tends to a social outome that its siblings would find even more horrifying than Cathedralist actuality.

Left intellectuals have no difficulty envisaging Theocratic White-Supremacist Hyper-Capitalism®. In fact, most seem to consider this mode of social organization the modern Western norm. For those hunkered-down in the tangled, Cathedral-blasted trenches of neoreaction, on the other hand, the manifold absurdities of this construction are not so easily overlooked. Indeed, each branch of the reaction has dissected the others more incisively – and brutally – than the left has been able to.

When theonomists scrutinize ethno-nationalists and techno-commercialists they see evil heathens.
When ethno-nationalists scrutinize theonomists and techno-commercialists they see deluded race-traitors.
When techno-commercialists scrutinize theonomists and ethno-nationalists they see retarded crypto-communists.
(The details of these diagnoses exceed the present discussion.)

When developed beyond its ultra-Burkean trunk, therefore, the prospects for neoreactionary consensus – for a neoreactionary thing – depend upon disintegration. If we’re compelled to share a post-Cathedral state, we’ll kill each other. (The zapped hyphen was just a foretaste.)

April 17, 2013admin 80 Comments »
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80 Responses to this entry

  • Christopher Says:

    ‘If we’re compelled to share a post-Cathedral state, we’ll kill each other.’

    “Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it” springs to mind.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 17th, 2013 at 2:11 pm Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    Agreed — that’s the tactical assumption. There’s no point dreaming up a fake unity, though, and besides: it’s the delirious dissensus that makes right-wing extremism so entertaining.

    [Reply]

    David Reply:

    ” it’s the delirious dissensus that makes right-wing extremism so entertaining.”

    The reality TV series “Reaction Island”? I’d buy that for a dollar!

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 17th, 2013 at 2:29 pm Reply | Quote
  • SDL Says:

    The neoreactionary willingness to define, recognize, and confront this “delirious dissensus” is precisely why I have hope that all these elements are ripe for creative destruction.

    I saw a shirt the other day that had a picture of a rainbow flag, MLK, a hammer and sickle, a Mexican farmworker, and a few other Cathedral Holy Cows. Above them all was written something to the effect of, “Same struggle, different voices.” It’s that attitude that lays the groundwork for Left singularity.

    There can never be a Right singularity, however, because neoreactionaries have no problem with the existence of factions and tensions, and they certainly have no problem airing those tensions in public. It’s this willingness to not back down from–indeed, to amplify–faction that makes neoreaction combustible in a good way.

    Practically speaking, I think the Good Will generated by our shared ill will toward the Cathedral will go a long way in the decades and centuries to come. Plus, another shared quality is that none of the neoreactionary branches is Puritanical. In other words, we’d all be committed to a policy that asks “How can you do your thing over there while we do our thing over here” rather than a policy that demands “You do things our way no matter where you are.”

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 17th, 2013 at 5:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • Nick B. Steves Says:

    I consider myself to have one foot in each of the three clusters. And aside from making it somewhat awkward to dance, I think it gives me some perspective… that is until all three turn on me and rip me apart.

    I find myself pretty firmly aligned with what comes from the Orthosphere (the not-too-Protestant, not too US-flag-waving part of it anyway)–ground zero of Land’s “theonomists” if there is one. I can say (having met several of them in person on multiple occasions including the late Larry Auster) that the vast majority of the Orthospherites is are quite open to race realism. Not enough to satisfy WNs of course, but the WNs, if they serve any function at all, will be as the jack boots of the Reaction. Most of them will die or be maimed in the war. They are easily led (otherwise how could they be WNs), and so I don’t think they will pose much of a threat, post-Reaction, to their more genteel (white, it goes without saying) masters. Natural, disparate impact-blind segregation should take care of the rest.

    With the techno-capitalist crowd, I think there is slightly more difficult problem in “Sharing the Throne”. Obviously, they (and I) oppose abortion, euthanasia, and most artificial means of creating human life. The most astute and dedicated of them (like me) oppose technological contraception. None of which means that they believe they (or anyone else) should necessarily foot the bill for the poor impulse control and bad decisions of others. On the contrary, I think most of the “theonomists” would be happy to undo most or all of the 60’s War on Poverty (its evil effects are too pervasive to miss), and no more than mildly irritated (if not outright thrilled) to remove the entire government sponsored entitlement infrastructure.

    “Theonomists” believe in Patriarchy. So does, I think we can all agree, Evolution. What’s not to like? And since the theonomists will quite obviously outbreed the techno-capitalists (cf. Amish fertility with Singapore’s), maybe there is room for some compromise in there… somewhere.

    I say all that to say, I think Nick’s prophecy of we’ll all kill each other, which no doubt astutely capsulizes some of the critical tensions between the clusters, is yet perhaps a bit overblown. And even if not, as all present seem to agree, we are for now united against a far more Insidious Foe.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    “With the techno-capitalist crowd, I think there is slightly more difficult problem in “Sharing the Throne”. Obviously, they (and I) oppose abortion, euthanasia, and most artificial means of creating human life.”

    Perhaps I’m not reactionary enough. But….. ‘we’ do? I have no intention to play ball/consolidate with the other two strands of neoreaction. In fact, I put them on an equal footing with The Cathedral. The only difference being is that The Catherdral is the imminent threat. Nick appears to find this quandary entertaining – probably because he likes to root around and wrestle with puzzle boxes – I find it crucially debilitating, and a power-feed for The Catherdral. The Enlightenment Rationalism underpinning is damaging because the Left all agree it is the foundation and motor of their programme.
    The lines between the extreme Right are drawn. I

    [Reply]

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    Good luck with that.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 17th, 2013 at 8:59 pm Reply | Quote
  • Mark Warburton Says:

    @admin

    I imagine you find this impasse entertaining because its a far-cry from the consensus of the retarded-literal communist/socialists of The Catherdral academy. A ‘schism’ to them probably arises from how clued up (or not) they are on chomsky/zizek et al.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 18th, 2013 at 12:11 am Reply | Quote
  • nydwracu Says:

    In a sentence, neoreaction as opposed to liberalism advocates the good over the just, the empirical over the rational, exit over voice, and natural law over unbounded possibility toward utopia.

    That third point is what can prevent conflict. The left follows Puritans in their Christian moralism; the right follows it in their packing up and leaving. The ethnonationalists can turn Massachusetts into North Korea and the futurists can turn New York into China; the only problem is if local ties bind one group or the other to the extent that they judge exit to be undesirable. Futurists don’t seem to have that, but ethnonationalists do. And Christianity is still, well, catholic.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 18th, 2013 at 12:26 am Reply | Quote
  • fotrkd Says:

    Thank you. That was exceptionally helpful.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 18th, 2013 at 2:45 am Reply | Quote
  • SDL Says:

    Obviously, they (and I) oppose abortion, euthanasia, and most artificial means of creating human life.

    Maybe I’m confused by your pronoun reference, but I don’t think neoreactionary tecno-futurists (the reactionary flavor that whets my palate) are terribly opposed to abortion or euthanasia. And as far as tinkering with the genome goes–provided it’s done privately and pursued in various directions, I’m all for it. Read John Campbell’s manifesto.

    What makes you think techno-futurists think otherwise? Look, I personally feel that abortion is highly immoral, and that euthanasia is only moral in the most extreme circumstances. But insfoar as techno-futurists want to ‘optimize for intelligence’, there’s no reason to ban either simply because they offend our moral sensibilities. Of course, I like to think that in a techno-futurist society, the abortion question would be mitigated or perhaps made moot after a few generations of increasing average IQ, the replacement of the moron class with machines, and the perfection of reversable vasectomies.

    [Reply]

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    No, I fully expected that Sacredness of Human Life realm would be the place where techno-futurists would be relatively at odds with the theonomist branch. That was my intended meaning: bad news first, then a bit of cheery news (we are united in not wanting to subsize social pathologies.)

    While it is certainly irreconcilable within a particular polis, I would hope that this would at least be ameliorated by the fact that these kinds of cases first affect only a minority of people, and, especially in the abortion case, the bodies upon which the theonomists would like to place their laws would be mainly the sort of people that techno-futurists gave not much of a damn about anyway (women with poor impulse control or poor planning skills or both).

    I cannot speak for hard-core ethno-nationalists, since I’m not one and I don’t meet many. But many in the traditionalist branch of reaction are quite race-conscious. Exhibit A: Larry Auster. But just because you’d like there to be fewer low-functioning people around doesn’t mean you want to kill them. A more genteel approach might involve 1) as I mentioned, an end to subsidies of social pathologies; 2) promotion of police policies and tactics that are blind or indifferent to disparate impacts; and 3) an institution paternalism for disadvantaged groups to get them to be more productive and less pathological. More of an “equal rights for all civilized men” approach. Maybe you don’t get eugenics quite as fast, but eugenic effects are still there, and you get to sleep soundly at night.

    Yes, the right (and duty) of exit should be encouraged. I cannot imagine that there are many efficiencies to be gained by having an empire the size of the USA, much less that of the whole productive world, which the whole world would be if not governed by the US Dept of State. On the contrary, decentralization seems to be a consistent vector in both technology and good government. You’ll have the theonomists’ vote on that. If we can all agree to stop trying to immanentize our eschatons on behalf of those who don’t want it, which is the chief error of the Cathedral, I believe there will be peace. And insofar as peace is good for business (which it is), it should be a lasting one.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 18th, 2013 at 3:44 am Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    Like SDL, I’d be surprised if the abortion issue was an integrative factor on the far right. Aren’t the ethno-nationalists generally quite supportive of liberal abortion regimes, so long as their demographic impact tilts in the right direction? Whatever the typical position of techno-commercialists, they are unlikely to be fundamentally appalled, and on wider issues of dehumanizing biotechnology, their default stance is broadly supportive.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 18th, 2013 at 4:12 am Reply | Quote
  • Anomaly UK Says:

    I think an important point relating to reactionary unity is that success, at least for neoreactionaries, does not necessarily mean a rule by neoreactionary ideologues. A stable government resting on a political formula which maintains its stability will be a relatively good government, whether futurist, theonomist or ethno-nationalist.

    Most of the major contemporary controversies are artifacts of the democratic process. I rather suspect a stable reactionary government could base its policy either on the belief that all life is sacred or on principles of eugenics, that it could follow Austrianism or Keynsianism, that it could be internationally isolationist or interventionist, libertarian or moralistic, and in any case it would manage better than a polity where these dichotomies are tools for building coalitions more than they are practical questions.

    (There are limits. A completely planned economy is not going to work. Open borders are not likely to work, etc. The vital point is more that a secure government will be able to react to failures without being constrained by its own propaganda as demotic governments are.)

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Massive regime diversity would be preferable to a few ‘sound’ but mediocre post-demotic states. For a start, Keynesian economics is an absolute deal breaker from my perspective.
    Hong Kong and Singapore set the bar for a spectrum of techno-commercial-oriented reactionaries — it would be easy for a ‘reactionary’ state of a different flavor to be far less attractive (from this point of view). That’s fine, of course, given a highly fragmented global order, no longer subordinated to a hegemonic political model.

    [Reply]

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    Agreed. Make Keynesianism in a publicly laughable cargo cult and a branch of Liberal Creationism (both of which it is) and you’ll get not a few Left-Libertarians on board with you. (Too bad they’ll have to die, but…)

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 18th, 2013 at 6:39 am Reply | Quote
  • Candide III Says:

    Heh, that was a nice piece of abstruse verbosity.

    When theonomists scrutinize ethno-nationalists and techno-commercialists they see evil heathens.
    When ethno-nationalists scrutinize theonomists and techno-commercialists they see deluded race-traitors.
    When techno-commercialists scrutinize theonomists and ethno-nationalists they see retarded crypto-communists.

    Have you considered the possibility that they are all right? Those of us who are not ex-liberals constitute a set of measure zero. We will all have our residual kinks and deformities.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    They’re all right alright, but are they the right right?

    Seriously, though, your comment nicely complements Nick B. Steves’ more soothing hunt for neutrality. I’m always tempted by dynamic triangle models, and they can be worked either way. The only thing they interrupt are crude conversation stoppers of the kind:
    (a) We just have to come to Jesus
    (b) We just have to defend our people
    (c) We just have to free-up the economy
    … as if saying such things just one more time was going to collapse the tension in the desired direction or, in fact, have any positive impact at all.

    [Reply]

    Candide III Reply:

    They’re all right alright, but are they the right right?

    We don’t have enough knowledge of human nature to know it deductively and we don’t have enough practical experience in reaction to know it inductively. Knowledge of history can come under any heading, either way we don’t know nearly enough of it. Reality will judge the respective groups’ principles by the results of their actions. So far, the overall results have been indifferent.

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    I think what’s important is not what’s “right”, as if that means anything at all.

    The point is what is feasible, meaning
    1. Able to produce a relatively stable society if implemented
    2. Society being capable of evolving into it from where we’re now.

    1. Of course is pure speculation. 2. Is where I think the fun is.

    admin Reply:

    Accepting that empirical evidence trumps abstract ideological reason, the need for experiment, feedback, and elimination of failed models is obvious. Large-scale socio-political unities are designed to suppress signals from reality (through ‘solidarity’, subsidies, and bail-outs). Disintegration is the only way out.

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    We don’t have enough knowledge of human nature to know it deductively and we don’t have enough practical experience in reaction to know it inductively.

    Heh… that sounds like a Christian Traditionalist line. One complaint I have about the techno-capitalist folks impression that I get from techno-capitalist crowd is that the DO think we have just such knowledge.

    Candide III Reply:

    I am no believer in God. However, as Moldbug wrote recently, I understand what serving God means.

    One complaint I have about the techno-capitalist folks impression that I get from techno-capitalist crowd is that the DO think we have just such knowledge.

    Hubris. What else is new? They are welcome to try, though. Man proposes but God disposes and we all ought to be able to learn from failure.

    fotrkd Reply:

    ‘Hubris’ is a concept worthy of a thread all of its own (somewhere). Literature is full of cautionary tales about those who flew too close to the sun. Biblical figures such as Noah could no doubt be accused of it (secret knowledge; ‘a warning from God?’ – ‘OK, sure’). But if, as you say, learning from failure is important doesn’t that demand more not less hubris? Some people figure ‘stuff’ out – how?

    Posted on April 18th, 2013 at 8:14 am Reply | Quote
  • Nick B. Steves Says:

    Large-scale socio-political unities are designed to suppress signals from reality (through ‘solidarity’, subsidies, and bail-outs)

    This is a crucial point, a potentially unifying point: What appears (at least to me) to unite the various branches of reaction is a strong disposition to believe the reality before their lying eyes. Our differences of opinion tend to lie in deep recesses of the human mind that admit neither of ultimate proof or falsification. As Jim Donald so eloquently put it:

    If authority required me to believe in Leprechauns, and to get along with people that it was important to get along with required me to believe in Leprechauns, I would probably believe in leprechauns, though not in the way that I believe in rabbits, but I can see people not being equal, whereas I cannot see leprechauns not existing.

    The several branches of reacion may not agree on the interpretation of what they see with their own eyes, but they will not deny that they are seeing it. There is, in other words, a positive disposition toward the truth, which is quite to be distinguished from Cathedralites who will convincingly aver that the Emperor indeed has such beautiful new clothes, so long as doing so provides them with some comfort or power.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Yes, reality rules. I also agree that epistemological over-reach deserves to be slapped-down, no less than pretty lies — techno-capitalist types who don’t see that haven’t understood the Austrians (the price system has no court of appeal).

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 18th, 2013 at 1:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • Leonard Says:

    it has to be acknowledged that each major branch of the neoreactionary super-family tends to a social outome that its siblings would find even more horrifying than Cathedralist actuality.

    No. Not at all. I don’t find theonomists horrifying, I just have no faith and am about as certain as one can be that I never will. But if theonomistic reactionaries managed to capture power and rule, yeah, I guess I’ll be going to church. Is the loss of an hour or two a week better than the loss of income and freedom to the Cathedral? Yup. Would I prefer to mouth a belief in God that I think untrue but generally harmless or even positive, or, would I rather mouth the shibboleths of the Cathedral which I think are actively harmful? God for the win. Paris is worth a mass.

    If we’re compelled to share a post-Cathedral state, we’ll kill each other.

    No, we won’t kill each other. That’s sloppy thinking on your part, although understandable in that in it would be true in the democratic Cathedral context. Within democracy, yes, we’d fight. Democracy provokes the conflict of small differences.

    But the assumption was this is post-Cathedral, meaning post-democracy. And there, we would not fight, because the State would effectively eliminate any incentive to.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Compared to Benoist, Marx is a Manchester Liberal. Would you cheerfully subordinate yourself to a state founded on his variety of ethno-nationalist thinking?

    [Reply]

    Leonard Reply:

    I looked at the wiki page for Benoist but I still don’t know what his variety of thought would entail. So I don’t know about “cheerfully”.

    However, assuming you are right that he is a reactionary, then the cheer with which I would greet his regime is beside the point. I would subordinate myself to his regime because I had to. Which was my point, above. Civil war is a consequence of weak states, not strong ones. Neoreactionaries may be mistaken in thinking their projected states strong, but if they are right, there is not going to be any fighting to control the state.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “I would subordinate myself to his regime because I had to.” — No Exit, then? I’m not getting — at all — what is supposed to be attractive about this prospect. It sounds suspiciously like North Korea.

    Leonard Reply:

    There may or may not be exit. I don’t know what Benoist thinks; I already said that. I do think that most reactionaries understand the value of exit, even though at the same time we recognize that there is no way to constrain any sovereign, which includes the idea that there is no way to constrain a sovereign to allow emigration.

    In any case, when I wrote that I “had” to subordinate myself, I was accepting your implicit assertion that I had stayed in it. when you wrote “if we’re compelled”.

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    Democracy provokes the conflict of small differences.

    That is supremely well put. In precisely the same way that low-church Protestants (especially and notoriously Baptists) are constantly splitting up over (often trifling) points of doctrine and building new churches and denominations. If they didn’t believe the 10 Commandments, they’d end up killing each other. Actually, sometimes they did.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 18th, 2013 at 3:26 pm Reply | Quote
  • Visualizing Neoreaction | ANOTHER NEOREACTIONARY BLOG Says:

    […] Nick Land charts three paths in neoreaction: traditional theonomists, ethno-nationalists, and […]

    Posted on April 21st, 2013 at 9:07 pm Reply | Quote
  • LSD Says:

    My little contribution to the recent spat of self-reflexivity:

    Visualizing Neoreactionary Space

    And just the link in case the html doesn’t take:

    http://habitableworlds.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/visualizing-neoreaction/

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    That’s amazing.

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    Fascinating, though I suggest some work on the ‘feminine reaction’ (is that even feminist?) – pink and entirely self-contained?! Perhaps look at something like music map and aim for a self-improving model (‘what other neo-reactionary thought do you like?’).

    [Reply]

    LSD Reply:

    Yes, something like MusicMap is the ultimate goal–I know there are many more reacto-sphere bloggers out there. This is just a start.

    [Reply]

    LSD Reply:

    Also–I wish we could do a better job of connecting with the “red pill ladies.” But one never knows how deep into reaction you can get with them before you start scaring them off. They mostly just hate feminists.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “This is just a start.”
    — A superb start. My back-seat driving recommendations:
    (a) active URL’s on the nodes — then it really would obsolesce blogrolls
    (b) interconnectivity lines that capture the real traffic (pillaging blogrolls for cross-links would provide a weak proxy)

    Replacing verbal descriptions with ascribed positions is a fascinating way to get a whole series of new discussions going. It will be interesting to see if anybody squawks (about where they’ve been put).

    fotrkd Reply:

    They mostly just hate feminists.

    Yes.. I think you took my one valuable point (musicmap as ideal). As for the rest, well I’m working on thinking before posting. It’s hard to know when to keep quiet.

    Posted on April 21st, 2013 at 9:18 pm Reply | Quote
  • Nick B. Steves Says:

    A speaking of Neoreaction (for Dummies), I thought this was fantastic, lessons from Dune aka “How to Overthrow an Empire Starting From Scratch–Theory & Practice”. (HT: Isegoria)

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 22nd, 2013 at 4:52 pm Reply | Quote
  • Nick B. Steves Says:

    forkd saith:

    But if, as you say, learning from failure is important doesn’t that demand more not less hubris? Some people figure ‘stuff’ out – how?

    An as yet under explored area of reactionary realism is that meme space realism, by which I mean local traditional religions, customs, folkways, and particularities not imposed by external ideology but arising more or less organically. I think we can all agree that they are imposed by Nature or Nature’s God or both, and moreover that they generally represent adaptive solutions, some better, some worse, to “under-determined”, extremely complex social problems often pocked with unexpected infiinities. If so, there is always some non-zero risk in modifying or discarding them, because A) it is inherently difficult to estimate the unintended condquences (we might accidentally hit one of those infinities, e.g., Khmer Rouge); and B) the present adaptive solution wouldn’t be here at all if it didn’t work at least somewhat well.

    So the motivation to tweak or even upset the status quo (sociological “hubris”) for potential gains in [insert desirable outcome] must in general be weighed against this risk. Doing so brings in risk vs. return calculations, as well as variabily in time horizons. Obviously not every [insert desirable outcome] is acceptable to the consensus view of every polis, nor necessarily to every individual or sub-group within a given polis. Nor is an even a widely accepted [insert desirable outcome] necessarily considered worth the risk to the same.

    This natural conflict can be handled in multiple ways. The first is simple Strong Federalism with Voluntary Exit. As long as people can leave with their property and safety in tact, then let them choose the polis that best aligns with their risk/return profile. But people grow attached to their surroundings, especially over multiple generations, and therefore cannot be expected to up-root every time some Techno-Futurist comes up with a Hare-Brained Scheme®… So you need also be very strict and concise about the list of [insert desirable outcomes] (freedom good, safety and protection of property better; equal outcomes, global hegemony not so good)–they should be modest, rational, and widely supported. Modifications offered should be narrow in scope, relatively slow, and if possible, have an Off Button.

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    I didn’t realise I ‘saith’ things. But, as it sounds suitably OT, take Noah again: for all the decades he was building his ark he was a complete nut. Then the flood comes and he’s a genius (The Genius that saved us all) – what happened? If reality (opposed to the present which could be conceived as ultimate hubris) is “imposed by Nature or Nature’s God or both” or something similar (to recontextualise your words) then is it possible to latch on – is it possible for Noah’s story to be ‘real’ (I’m not asking if it happened)? Is it possible to orientate yourself in such a way that you’re consistently aligned with this ‘imposed’ reality? So much so that you can know what’s coming (because it has already happened)?

    As for the desirability of having an off button – even I can spot a definite neo-reactionary split over that one.

    [Reply]

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    Is it possible to orientate yourself in such a way that you’re consistently aligned with this ‘imposed’ reality? So much so that you can know what’s coming (because it has already happened)?

    Ah, I see what your getting at… Answer: No. I mean sure kill a million people and you might somehow occasionally be right… but usually you’ll just kill a million people.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 23rd, 2013 at 11:54 pm Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    “… every time some Techno-Futurist comes up with a Hare-Brained Scheme®”
    Gripping topic — it deserves a serious response. I’m thinking that a ‘Hare-Brains vs Tortoise-Brains’ post should ratchet it up a notch …

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 24th, 2013 at 9:12 am Reply | Quote
  • Dark Enlightenment | Logical Meme Says:

    […] Nick Land charts three paths in neoreaction: traditional theonomists, ethno-nationalists, and […]

    Posted on April 25th, 2013 at 2:28 am Reply | Quote
  • What are characteristics of the Dark Enlightenment? | Occam's Razor Says:

    […] the recent conversations on the Dark Enlightenment (here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), I’d like to offer a few comments.  (If you’re unfamiliar with the Dark […]

    Posted on April 27th, 2013 at 1:07 am Reply | Quote
  • 2.4 Carlyle Rising | Radish Says:

    […] ‘Neoreaction (for dummies)’ (Nick Land) […]

    Posted on April 27th, 2013 at 9:33 am Reply | Quote
  • US Gov: If you disagree with political correctness, you’re a traitor! | Occam's Razor Says:

    […] other words, if you disagree with the Cathedral, you’re a  […]

    Posted on May 4th, 2013 at 2:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • Dark Enlightenment Reading List | Free Northerner Says:

    […] The Dark Enlightenment Defined The Dark Enlightenment Explained The Path to the Dark Enlightenment The Essence of the Dark Enlightenment An Introduction to Neoreaction Neoreaction for Dummies […]

    Posted on May 17th, 2013 at 5:02 am Reply | Quote
  • You’ve got to be kidding? Neoreactionary Soup and The Fall of Man | noir realism Says:

    […] …neoreaction is a time-crisis, manifested through paradox, whose further elaboration can wait (if not for long). Disordering our most basic intuitions, it is, by its very nature, difficult to grasp. Could anything easily be said about it? (Neoreaction for Dummies) […]

    Posted on May 21st, 2013 at 6:01 am Reply | Quote
  • 2.8 Heroes of the Dark Enlightenment | Radish Says:

    […] 17: Nick Land, turning Outside in, relabels the ‘Spandrellian trichotomy’ as (i) theonomists, (ii) ethno-nationalists, […]

    Posted on May 25th, 2013 at 11:36 pm Reply | Quote
  • A Short History of Progressive Movement | noir realism Says:

    […] Land an apprentice of the self-styled Sith Lord, Mencius Moldbug professes a new political creed: NeoReactionism. Moldbug describes this new political faith in negative terms: “A reactionary is not a […]

    Posted on June 2nd, 2013 at 3:36 pm Reply | Quote
  • Reaction Ruckus | Handle's Haus Says:

    […] 17-APR-2013, Nick Land, “Neoreaction (For Dummies)“ […]

    Posted on December 5th, 2013 at 12:23 pm Reply | Quote
  • The 2013 Anti-Progress Report | Radish Says:

    […] Nick Land relabels the trichotomy: theonomist, ethno-nationalist, and techno-commercialist. […]

    Posted on January 1st, 2014 at 5:00 am Reply | Quote
  • Announcing: The Neoreactionary Canon! | This Rough Beast Says:

    […] Neoreaction (for Dummies) […]

    Posted on January 23rd, 2014 at 7:01 pm Reply | Quote
  • Neoreactionary Canon | More Right Says:

    […] Neoreaction (for Dummies) […]

    Posted on February 1st, 2014 at 10:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • To Mayberry, Minerva, or the Matrix? | The Ümlaut Says:

    […] more or less neatly to the various strains of thinking this, uh, unusually self-aware movement has identified. The technophiles, largely atheistic with an interest in artificial intelligence and the […]

    Posted on February 15th, 2014 at 4:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • How to Talk about (to?) the Alt-right/Neo-reactionaries Part 1: What is the Alt-Right? | Will Stamp'd Says:

    […] Nick Land charts three paths in neoreaction: traditional theonomists, ethno-nationalists, and […]

    Posted on May 22nd, 2014 at 11:21 pm Reply | Quote
  • Accelerationism: The New Prometheans – Part One | alien ecologies Says:

    […] This understanding of neoreaction – undoubtedly capturing its predominant sentiment – equates it with a radicalized Burkean conservatism, designed for an age in which almost everything has been lost. Since the progressive destruction of traditional society has been broadly accomplished, hanging on to what remains is no longer enough. It is necessary to go back, beyond the origin of Enlightenment, because Reason has failed the test of history. (Neoreaction for dummies). […]

    Posted on June 9th, 2014 at 5:25 pm Reply | Quote
  • Positive Cults of Personality | spreadtheinfestation Says:

    […] a reason this might sound reactionary – it is one of the leading neoreactionary bloggers’ definition of what unites reactionaries.  (No like literally – an interview with him called “Organisation […]

    Posted on August 10th, 2014 at 1:53 am Reply | Quote
  • NRx Should Favor Separatism: Scotland, Catalonia, et al « A House With No Child Says:

    […] Neoreaction should generally favor separatism and support separatist causes abroad. I’m aware that my assertion will stir controversy, so allow me to explain to my faithful readers why Neoreaction, and political philosophy enshrining efficiency and pragmatism, should cast their lot in with separatists everywhere. […]

    Posted on September 19th, 2014 at 1:05 pm Reply | Quote
  • GSTalbert Says:

    This is some weird stuff man. I kind of like it though, got a wild vibe to it. I’ll read on, I am intrigued. lol I don’t know if you should take that as a complement or not…

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 4th, 2014 at 2:43 am Reply | Quote
  • Is Techno-Commerce Enough? - Henry Dampier Says:

    […] elements within the neoreactionary trichotomy tend to take pot-shots at others on opposing angles of the map. Most of the time, I try to stay out […]

    Posted on December 21st, 2014 at 4:38 am Reply | Quote
  • Neoreaction is a Jewish Conspiracy to Thwart the Incipient National Socialist Revolution - Social Matter Says:

    […] you have heard, my friend, may not be entirely accurate. There has been ample, pained, and published work trying to answer the question “what is neoreaction?,” and […]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2015 at 2:49 pm Reply | Quote
  • The tension within neoreaction | spreadtheinfestation Says:

    […] A quote from Land to explain some neoreactionary logic about the way these themes end up tying a society together: […]

    Posted on May 29th, 2015 at 10:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • David Charlon Says:

    The problem with social organization, from at least early antiquity to this moment, is that it has been administered and promulgated by a subset of the species that is fundamentally anti-social: men. Or more specifically, the male gender. When the male congregates it is for a reason that is decidedly extra-social but that may be seen as attending to the material structures civilization. Socializing is a means to an end. Whereas for females, socializing is both the means and the end. An end in and of itself. Buildings and institutions and territories do not produce civil societies. And communing does not create functioning cities, or feed the populace. Males have been trying to do both, and failing marvelously at it. After twelve and a half millennia I think it’s time we (males) finally admitted to ourselves that we are stupendously poor stewards of the socializing ethic. To the point of malignancy.

    [Reply]

    Posted on January 29th, 2016 at 6:31 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bagby Says:

    I am friendly to you neo-reactionaries, and I am trying to understand you. I must say, you are frequently difficult to understand. I thought a primer “for dummies” would be a good place to find something that was not all shop-talk. You talk to one another and not to outsiders. Consider writing explanations that do not assume an understanding of “the Cathedral,” “ultra-Burkeanism” or “theonomism.”

    [Reply]

    Grotesque Body Reply:

    http://www.socialmatter.net/the-compendium/ this is about as ‘for dummies’ as I think it’s possible to find for an easy guide to NRx. It’s also worth reading Land’s “The Dark Enlightenment” and Moldbug’s “Open Letter to Open-minded Progressives” if you haven’t already.

    [Reply]

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    If I may be forgiven for blowing my own horn, here is a survey article on Moldbug’s writings, “A Gentle Introduction to a Gentle Introduction”:

    http://home.earthlink.net/~peter.a.taylor/moldbug.htm

    Note the recently added section, #nutshell, “The Cathedral in a nutshell”.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 10th, 2016 at 1:34 am Reply | Quote
  • Neorreação (para leigos) – Outlandish Says:

    […] Original. […]

    Posted on July 21st, 2016 at 11:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • One Hundred Years Of Disaster Says:

    […] American context, it is logical to say that the disenfranchised middle-class (left and right) will react against an intrinsically flawed liberal democratic regime (i.e. Brexit) by supporting the ideology […]

    Posted on July 29th, 2016 at 5:03 am Reply | Quote
  • You Know It When You See It – A Diary for the End Says:

    […] course we have Nick Land as a figurehead, with his always interesting posts, to help point the way. There are plenty of […]

    Posted on September 24th, 2016 at 2:46 am Reply | Quote
  • Ascending The Tower – Solo Climb 2 – The Trichotomoy - Social Matter Says:

    […] Land predicts potential Trichotomy civil war http://www.xenosystems.net/neoreaction-for-dummies/ […]

    Posted on December 4th, 2016 at 1:47 am Reply | Quote
  • Right is the new Left - L'Editie Says:

    […] author identifies a breed of intellectualism that seeks to disassociate itself from peers, siting NRx as an example of this. Quite simply, the Left has lost it’s ‘cool’. The article concludes with […]

    Posted on January 10th, 2017 at 3:14 pm Reply | Quote
  • Triangular Politics – Swamp Reiver Says:

    […] come across). The triangle also effectively conveys NRx ideas like the Left Singularity and the Trichotomy (the latter to a more limited degree I might expound on). It also illustrates the sharp divide on […]

    Posted on February 6th, 2017 at 7:18 pm Reply | Quote
  • Walker Storz Says:

    How is the techno-commercialist strain of reaction not simply a right-neoliberalism? What distinguishes your stance from neoliberalism?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “Neo-liberalism” meaning what? It’s among the most confused and disordered terms in political history.

    Is Tech-Comm NRx a vertebrate classical liberalism? — Probably.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 16th, 2017 at 4:32 am Reply | Quote
  • Walker Storz Says:

    @Walker Storz it may be used as a “slur” but it has meaning. basically the ideology of privatization and the free-market. there are various correlates to this ideology in various fields. for example, modern cbt/psychiatry is far more neoliberal than psychoanalysis was, which viewed neuroses as essentially psychosocial problems, while modern psychiatry views the subject as an atomized particle, which if deviating from normative functioning, can be intervened upon with psychiatric medication to restore functioning to normal. E.g. neoliberal ideology is founded upon believing in quantity over quality. That’s why nationalism/ethno-nationalism matters less to tech-comm

    [Reply]

    Wagner Reply:

    Weak defense but it seems you hit a nerve initially. It could be that cryptohyperneoliberalism is part of his accelerationist project of bringing Full Communism to fruition.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 16th, 2017 at 11:50 pm Reply | Quote

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