Premises of Neoreaction
Patri Friedman is both extremely smart and, for this blog among others in the ‘sphere, highly influential. So when he promises us “a more politically correct dark enligh[t]enment” (“adding anti-racism and anti-sexism to my controversial new pro-monogamy stance”), that’s a thing. It accentuates concerns about ‘entryism’ and ideological entropy, leading to some thoughtful responses such as this (from Avenging Red Hand).
Michael Anissimov anticipated this in a post at More Right on the ‘Premises of Reactionary Thought’, which begins: “To make progress in any area of intellectual endeavor requires discourse among those who agree with basic premises and the exclusion of those who do not.” (The commentary by Cathedral Whatever is also well worth a look.) Anissimov’s original five premises, subsequently updated to six (with a new #1 added) are:
1. People are not equal. They never will be. We reject equality in all its forms.
2. Right is right and left is wrong.
3. Hierarchy is basically a good idea.
4. Traditional sex roles are basically a good idea.
5. Libertarianism is retarded.
6. Democracy is irredeemably flawed and we need to do away with it.
These neoreactionary ‘articles’ deserve a response in detail, but at this point I will simply advance at alternative list, in the expectation that yet other versions will be forthcoming in the near future, providing a reference for discussion. My objective (in keeping with the advice from ARH) is economy, honed through abstraction, in the interest of sustaining productive diversity. Minimally, we affirm:
1. Democracy is unable to control government. With this proposition, the effective possibility of a mainstream right is denied. Insofar as any political movement retains its allegiance to the democratic mechanism, it conspires in the ratchet of government expansion, and thus essentially dedicates itself to leftist ends. The gateway from Libertarianism to Neoreaction opens with this understanding. As a corollary, any politics untroubled by expansionist statism has no reason to divert itself into the neoreactionary path.
2. The egalitarianism essential to democratic ideology is incompatible with liberty. This proposition is partially derivative from #1, but extends further. When elaborated historically, and cladistically, it aligns with the Crypto-Calvinist theory of Western (and then Global) political evolution. The critique it announces intersects significantly with the rigorous findings of HBD. The conclusions drawn are primarily negative, which is to say they support a principled rejection of positive egalitarian policy. Emergent hierarchy is at least tolerated. More assertive, ‘neofeudal’ models of ideal social hierarchy are properly controversial within Neoreaction.
3. Neoreactionary socio-political solutions are ultimately Exit-based. In every case, exit is to be defended against voice. No society or social institution which permits free exit is open to any further politically efficient criticism, except that which systematic exit selection itself applies. Given the absence of tyranny (i.e. free exit), all forms of protest and rebellion are to be considered leftist perversions, without entitlement to social protection of any kind. Government, of whatever traditional or experimental form, is legitimated from the outside — through exit pressure — rather than internally, through responsiveness to popular agitation. The conversion of political voice into exit-orientation (for instance, revolution into secessionism), is the principal characteristic of neoreactionary strategy.
From the perspective of this blog, no premises beyond these — however widely endorsed within Neoreaction — are truly basic, or defining. Resolution of elaborate disputes is ultimately referred to dynamic geography, rather than dialectic. It is the Outside, working through fragmentation, that rules, and no other authority has standing.
[If anyone asks “How did this post suddenly jump from ‘the Dark Enlightenment’ to ‘Neoreaction’?” my response is “Good point!” (but one for another occasion).]
ADDED: Jim on entryism (and how to stop it).
ADDED: Libertarian HIV.