NRx has been accused, by its friends more than its enemies, of talking about itself too much. Here XS is, doing that again, not only stuck in ‘meta’ but determinedly pushing ever deeper in. There are some easily communicable reasons for that — an attachment to methodical nonlinearity perhaps foremost among them — and then there are cryptic drivers or attachments, unsuited to immediate publicization. These latter are many (even Legion). It is the firm assertion of this blog that Neoreaction is intrinsically arcane.
Steve Sailer’s recent Takimag article on Strauss makes for a convenient introduction, because — despite its light touch — it moves a number of issues into place. The constellation of voices is complex from the start. There is the (now notorious) ‘Neo-Conservatism’ of Strauss and his disciples, or manipulators, and the other conservatism of Sailer, each working to manage, openly and in secret, its own peculiar mix of public statement and discretion. Out beyond them — because even the shadowiest figures have further shadows — are more alien, scarcely perceptible shapes.
Sailer’s article is typically smart, but also deliberately crude. It glosses the Straussian idea of esoteric writing as “talking out of both sides of your mouth” — as if hermetic traditionalism were reducible to a lucid political strategy, or simple conspiracy — to ‘Illuminism’, politically conceived. In the wake of its Neo-Con trauma, conservatism has little patience for “secret decoder rings”. Yet, despite his aversion to the recent workings of inner-circle ‘conservative’ sophisticates, Sailer does not let his distaste lure him into stupidity:
We haven’t heard much about Straussianism lately due to the unfortunate series of events in Iraq that befell the best-laid plans of the sages. But that doesn’t mean that Strauss was necessarily wrong about the ancients. And that has interesting implications for how we should read current works.
As the approaching 20th anniversary of the publication of The Bell Curve reminds us, the best minds of our age have reasons for being less than wholly frank.
Sailer is not, of course, a neoreactionary. Not even secretly. (That is what his article is primarily about.) He believes in the public sphere, and seeks to heal it with honesty. Any pessimism he might harbor in regards to this ambition falls far short of the dark scission that would hurl him over the line. His differences with the Straussians are, in the end, merely tactical. Both retain confidence in the Outer Party as a vehicle for policy promotion, with the potential to master the public sphere. The question is only about the degree of deviousness this will require (minimal for Sailer, substantial for the Straussians).
When adopted into Neoreaction, the HBD current has an altogether more corrosive influence upon attitudes to the public sphere, which is understood as a teleologically cohesive (or self-organizing), inherently directional, and (from ‘our’ perspective) radically hostile social agency. To baptize the public sphere as ‘the Cathedral’ is to depart from conservatism. It is no longer possible to imagine it as a space that could be conquered — even surreptitiously — by forces differing significantly from those it already incarnates. It is what it is, and that is something historically singular, ideologically specific, and highly determined in its social orientation. It swims left, essentially. The public sphere is not the battlefield, but the enemy.
As NRx seeks to navigate this hostile territory, it is tempted ambiguously, by a strategic Scylla and Charybdis. A populist lure drags it towards a reconciliation with the public sphere, as something it could potentially dominate, while a contrary hermetic politics guides it towards the formation of closed groups (whose parodic symbol is the locked twitter account). Both options — ‘clearly’ — are a flight from the complexity of the integral open secret. They both promise a relaxation of semiotic stress, through collapse of multi-level communication into a simplified frank discourse, whether implanted within a redeemed public culture, or circulated cautiously within restricted circles. The problem of hierarchy would be extracted from the signs of Neoreaction, through conversion into a public or private object, rather than working them incessantly from within. What is underway would become (simply) clear.
Such clarity cannot happen. The alternative is not an (equally simple) obscurity. NRx, insofar as it continues to propagate, advances by becoming clear and also unclear. Double writing scarcely scratches the surface. It realizes hierarchy through signs, continuously, in accordance with Providence, or the Occult Order of nature (the OOon). To assume that the author is fully initiated into this spectrum of meanings is a grave error. It is the process that speaks, multiplicitously, and predominantly in secret, as it spreads across an open, publicly-policed space.
This post is now determined to slip the leash, and leap into the raggedness of thematic notes. The Open Secret intersects:
(1) Cathedral censure, in the case of HBD most prominently, but also everywhere that fired–up SJWs make a fight. War is deception, which makes frankness a tactic. Deontological honesty is inept. Anonymity is often crucial to survival. (Demands that all enemies of the Cathedral boldly ‘come out’ are ludicrously misconceived.) Camouflage is to be treasured.
(2) Crypto-technologies are central to any NRx concerns emphasizing practicality. (The idea that classic Moldbug attention to the prospects of ‘crypto-locking’ is a joke, it itself thoughtless.) Urbit — an Open Secret — could quite easily be more NRx than NRx, just as Bitcoin is more An-Cap than Anarcho-Capitalism.
(3) The intelligence services have been under-theorized, and perhaps even under-solicited, by NRx to date. At the lowest, i.e. most publicly accessible — level of discussion, this is quite possibly a virtue. At more cryptic levels of micro-social and analytical endeavor, it is almost certainly an inadequacy. People trained to keep secrets have to be interesting to us. Subtle questions of subversion arise.
(4) “Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.” — Let’s try not to be simple-minded.