James Goulding is a thinker of truly extraordinary brilliance. His intellectual stance is closer to that of Outside in than almost any other blog listed in our sidebar. It is with considerable sadness, therefore, that I have sought to comply with his shifted self-definition by moving the link to suspiria de profundis out of the ‘neoreaction’ category.
Goulding is subtle, complex, and difficult, and his central ideas remain only partially digested here. In addition, my grasp of the stakes in his new direction is extremely unformed. There are nevertheless a few preliminary remarks that I hope are worth making.
Neoreaction, or the Dark Enlightenment, has as its most essential tendency the insistence upon an alternative to fascism. Its realism does not embrace optimism readily, so it would be insincere to pretend that this alternative is destined for success. What cannot be convincingly denied, however, is that a reaction to the Cathedral is coming, that fascist modes of political rectification are well-placed to profit from it, and that Western — indeed all modern — societies default to fascism during crisis conditions. By separating himself from the new reaction, Goulding risks surrendering it to ominous potentialities that might otherwise be avoidable.
This matters. Whatever Goulding’s talents [add well-deserved superlatives], marketing and propaganda are not among them. He has never been less convincing than when suggesting that ‘Movement X’ is a credible attractor for the disenchanted. As conservatism dies of chronic failure, what replaces it will be a reaction to the status quo, unashamed to identify itself as such, and positively exulting in the abominated label reactionary. Goulding seems to be sure that this prediction is wrong, for no very obvious reason, and this certainty plays to his own greatest intellectual weaknesses. I beseech him, in the bowels of Gnon, to think it possible that he may be mistaken.
The practitioners of Machiavellian politics are politicians. They expose each other every day through their political machines, and House of Cards is already popular culture. Everybody knows this stuff, and it has no deep consequence. Politics is porn, an inane tangle of primate idiocy. It is unworthy of Goulding’s focused intelligence.
We have suffered our first wound. It seriously hurts.
ADDED: Note to trolls (e.g. ‘Donny Farp’) if you can bring yourself to stop sounding like a jerk, I’ll stop deleting you. This blog has a zero-tolerance policy for anonymous snark.