Reactionary Horror

Within the Western tradition, the expedition to find Kurtz at the end of the river has a single overwhelming connotation. It is a voyage to Hell. Hence its absolute importance, utterly exceeding narrow ‘mission specifications’. The  assigned  objectives are no more than a pretext, arranging the terms of approach to an ultimate destination. The narrative drive, as it gathers momentum, is truly infernal. Dark Enlightenment is the commanding attraction.

There are no doubt species of reactionary political and historical philosophy which remain completely innocent of such impulses. Almost certainly, they predominate over their morbid associates. To maintain a retrograde psychological orientation, out of reverence for what has been, and is ceasing to be, can reasonably be opposed to any journey to the end of the night. Yet such a contrast only sharpens our understanding of those for whom the disintegration of tradition describes a gradient, and a vector, propelling intelligence forwards into the yawning abyss.

Reaction is articulated as an inversion of the progressive promise, dissociating ‘the good’ and ‘the future’. The tacit science fiction narrative that corresponds to projected social evolution is stripped of its optimism, and two alternative genres arise in its place. The first, as we have fleetingly noted, is mild and nostalgic, rebalancing the tension of time towards what has been lost, and tending to an increasingly dreamlike inhabitation of ancient glories. A conservative-traditionalist  mentality devotes itself to a mnemonic quest, preserving vestiges of virtue among the remnants of an eroded society, or — when preservation at last surrenders its grasp on actuality — turning to fantastic evocations, as the final redoubt of defiance. Tolkien exemplifies this tendency in its most systematic expression. The future is gently obliterated, as the good dies within it.

The second reactionary alternative to the ruin of utopian futurism develops in the direction of horror. It does not hesitate in its voyage to the end of the river, even as smoke-shrouded omens thicken on the horizon. As the devastation deepens, its futurism is further accentuated.  Historical projection becomes the opportunity for an exploration of Hell. (The ‘neo-‘ of ‘neoreaction’ thus finds additional confirmation.)

On this track, reactionary historical anticipation fuses with the genre of horror in its most intense possibility (and true vocation). Numerous consequences are quite rapidly evident. One special zone of significance concerns the insistent question of popularization, which is substantially resolved, almost from the start. The genre of reactionary populism is already tightly formulated, on the side of horror fiction, where things going to Hell is an established presupposition. Zombie Apocalypse is only the most prominent variant of a far more general cultural accommodation to impending disaster. ‘Survivalism’ is as much a genre convention as a socio-political expectation. (When, as VXXC points out on the blog, .22 ammunition functions as virtual currency, horror fiction has already installed itself as an operational dimension of social reality.)

Reaction does not do dialectics, or converse with the Left (with which it has no community), yet historical fatality carries its message: Your hopes are our horror story. As the dream perishes, the nightmare strengthens, and even — hideously — invigorates. So how does this tale unfold …?

elysium

What were you expecting? Rivendell?

August 18, 2013admin 37 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Horror , Neoreaction

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37 Responses to this entry

  • VXXC Says:

    @ admin,

    Would you agree that the genius of the American Founders was splitting the atom of power at every level of
    power – often called Federalism?

    If it is genius, then it answers how the tale unfolds. Whether sovereignty is conserved, or the outside let in.
    It also is great for releasing tremendous explosions of energy.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I’m highly sympathetic. The trouble is, roughly every 80 years there’s a massive ratcheting in the direction of tyrannical integration — to such an extent that ‘federalism’ (like just about every other politically-significant word) has been made to mean the exact opposite of its sound sense. It even started with the Constitution itself (some subtle patches to the Articles of Confederation would have been far more advisable, as far as the preservation of liberty on the north American continent is concerned.) We’re due right now for another mega-crank of the Leftist mill — which doesn’t make it impossible that something could break the pattern, just empirically improbable. I don’t see the system re-setting to a liberty-consistent baseline short of a brutal Left Singularity (and one more sinister spasm should be enough to get there).

    [Reply]

    VXXC Reply:

    I don’t think Leftism is a fighting faith anymore. I think it’s about grabbing as much power and money as possible. The USG reminds me very much of the USSR circa 1980s…

    send email please admin.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    My ‘private channel’ isn’t very private: ccru00@hotmail.com

    Posted on August 18th, 2013 at 6:21 pm Reply | Quote
  • Psykonomist Says:

    Agreed in general with Lands reply, but Federalism was always a power grab in itself. A system designed to grow and ultimately, of course, to eat itself to death.

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 18th, 2013 at 11:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • Mark Warburton Says:

    This is all too dreary to me. I’m going to bed and I’m gonna be counting seasteads..

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    If there were some seasteads to count, I’d be thrilled.

    [Reply]

    Psykonomist Reply:

    Neal Stephenson has been invoked as the originator of Seasteading. Somehow I don’t think it’s quite what he had in mind, but I guess it could suffice…..if it indeed existed (yet). But the easy ability of a few (even privateer?) destroyers to cut the seasteaders off from ah, *everything* is a concern.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    Is that ‘Snow Crash’ again? Is it worth my time?

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    P.S. Is it as cut-and-dried as that? I hope not. There’s a fair amount of literature on the (lack?) of legalities surrounding sea steads I’m yet to read (might actually come in useful at Goldsmiths).

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    Hence counting them in my sleep… :/

    [Reply]

    Psykonomist Reply:

    I haven’t read snow crash (yet) unfortunately. I was referring to The Diamond Age.

    Posted on August 18th, 2013 at 11:58 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bill Says:

    My intuition is that things will get increasingly wacky for the next twenty years. At that point there will be a rightist group with enough social capital, a group of leaders with common cause, and the persuasive ideas necessary to regain order. That group will be us and the people who take our ideas and develop them further, and other groups thinking along the same lines as us. We need to build the conceptual foundation for the next generation to use. It needs to be based in reality, non-violent, and develop rival narratives that can push the center to the right. The best we can do might be to set up the volleyball for the next generation to spike it.

    At this moment I don’t think the right has the strength, no matter what events occur. The American Baby Boomers have failed to produce any heavyweights on our side, and the supposed ‘right’ it has produced doesn’t understand what it should stand for. There is a structural problem because the Democrats and Republicans are both Cathedralite groups. Derbyshire nailed it when he said something along the lines of the Democrats want to tax the people who can do anything useful, and the Republicans want to import labor to weaken the taxpayers power.

    None of the major players represents order and creativity. The Baby Boomers were vampires on their parents, carving up the massive windfall of wealth after WW2, and now we are going to be their bloodbank as they age.

    Order and creativity are what allows for kindness and generosity. So, that’s one way we could argue, that our means produce better ends for everyone, despite not being touchy feely. Our means are in the now, while the left is always focused on ends, so the left’s means are always bizarre justifications for some unrealized future. That is a huge strength for us if we are talking to people who understand time.

    Baby Boomers don’t understand loyalty, hierarchy, and time. Their idea of a critique of the left is the Beatles song that goes “So you say you want a revolution, well-ell you know-ah-ow, we all want to change the world.” They are incapable of being serious because the Baby Boomer right is a mis-mash of pragmatic political correctness and illiteracy. They think when we look back at their lives they are showing us an allegorical marble statue of great achievements, but in our eyes it is a mashed potato tower built by half-wits.

    On the other hand maybe the left will avoid a singularity and succeed in creating a techno-dictatorship of an endless expanse of gray equality with a god-like Ray Kurzweil head floating in the crystalline blue sky of the virtual space we all inhabit.

    [Reply]

    Cimon Alexander Reply:

    @Bill

    The ideology we need is some kind of cosmopolitan nationalism. It should embrace and use people’s natural feelings of kinship towards their own people without hating or scapegoating any other people. Unlike white liberals, cosmopolitan nationalists will not apologize for their existence or allow themselves to be subjugated. They will be fine with other groups doing their own thing, as long as the other does not threaten their way of life.

    We need to return to reality, and the nation is a realer thing than the goofy universalist ideals cooked up in the Cathedral. I’m currently running a series on realism/materialism vs. idealism on my blog, after which I’m going to switch to fleshing out cosmopolitan nationalism (or “organic politics”, as I like to call it).

    [Reply]

    Bill Reply:

    I’d like to read about cosmopolitan nationalism. The problem I see is that ethnonationalism, if it were to be advocated today and accepted (which it won’t), would be another form of identity politics. We need to cut deeper. We need a Kant of the Dark Enlightenment, a transcendental systematizer who creates the skeleton we can build on.

    [Reply]

    Cimon Alexander Reply:

    Identity politics is a more fundamental, primitive, and real form of mass politics than anything else. I agree that it is often ugly. But to move beyond it, you need a group of people that share values and trust each other.

    In America, Democrats broke ranks first and dived straight for naked identity politics – the “war on women”, telling minorities that Republicans will take away their votes, and etc. It works, because a large enough portion of Americans have a group identity that is stronger than their national identity.

    Carrying concern for the common good or any other sort of idealism into a debate with a practicer of identity politics is like bringing a dead fish to a gun fight. Materialistic philosophies are needed to gain power, idealistic philosophies build on top after one group is secure in power. Identity politics are for war between groups, idealism is for politics within groups that share ideals.

    Bill Reply:

    The left is disgusting and I wish they could see that they aren’t only hurting the right but also themselves. The left is not threatening to central powers because their coalition is very weak. One hurricane, one power outage, one gasoline shortage, one government cutting off of utilities and they will fragment.

    Regarding an example of what an organized group is capable of. I was in the National Guard and spent a year in Afghanistan and my platoon of forty men could do a days work for forty civilians by 9am, eat breakfast, do another civilian days worth of work, eat lunch, do another days work, eat dinner, and then bullshit and tell jokes until 9 or 10pm. We worked like that for one year straight in 112 degrees. We were 38 white guys, 1 Phillipino who was a former Navy Seal, and 1 black guy who worked like a mother and was a good guy. We lived in Kandahar City and no one fucked with us outside of anonymous insurgent bombs on the roadside. The reason no one fucked with us is that we were frightening. Forty average Europeans can work as one deadly organism that performs complex, precise tasks. In ways that helped us we were orderly and followed rules, in other ways we were random, spontaneous and creative, because it was better to be hard to understand concerning some things. Today Europeans are working nowhere near our potential, and our ability to influence and control our environments is dormant. It will take a big shock to wake it up, and that shock has not happened yet.

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    In practice, only crude caricatures of ideology can be implemented.

    [Reply]

    nydwracu Reply:

    This isn’t so difficult, is it? It’s what stable thedes usually do absent external threats. The problem is, the progressive empire is a threat to everything, and it knows most people outside it who are paying attention want it gone, so it has to be paranoid too.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    “On the other hand maybe the left will avoid a singularity and succeed in creating a techno-dictatorship of an endless expanse of gray equality with a god-like Ray Kurzweil head floating in the crystalline blue sky of the virtual space we all inhabit.”

    What horrific imagery – guess this is the place for it!

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    There is an argument to be made that the Boomer generation is the equivalent of a Resource State. Just like in Saudi Arabia, when the rulers acquire a vast amount of unearned wealth, they grow stupid, hysterical, and self-indulgent. Here the rulers are the People.

    Y’alls theory appears to be that the rot set in with the Puritans, but my guess is that the trajectory towards ruin really didn’t reach a 95% confidence interval until the American polity started rolling in vast amounts of unearned wealth after WWII.

    [Reply]

    Bill Reply:

    The Puritan thing goes like this. The Puritans were not bad, but the secularization of their worldview is bad. The Puritans believed in God, judgment and heaven, while secular liberalism believes in man and Earth. When a Puritan did good works it was to be judged and to go to heaven, therefore, his actions did not have a worldly end/telos. A Puritan would do something good and not expect to change the world, doing the good thing was the point.

    A secular liberal adopts the same model of doing good works, but because they don’t believe in God, judgement or heaven, their reason for doing good works is to create Utopia. Utopias do not exist. Therefore a secular liberal has a means/ends problem. They justify doing whatever they want now, in order for a Utopia to be created later. This creates a shitty now for a fantasy future. They live in the future, and their actions are based not in reality but in how they want reality to be. Doing the good thing is not the point.

    The argument about the Baby Boomers is way more complete than I did justice to it in Generations by Neil Howe and William Strauss. I found the book from the comments on this site, http://www.amazon.com/Generations-History-Americas-Future-1584/dp/0688119123/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376946758&sr=8-1&keywords=generations+strauss

    [Reply]

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    Have you read Eric Hoffer’s _The True Believer_?

    http://www.amazon.com/The-True-Believer-Movements-Perennial/dp/0060505915

    Posted on August 19th, 2013 at 3:14 am Reply | Quote
  • Alex Says:

    Re: Tolkien, it’s hard to imagine a purer expression of yearning for a restoration of the old order than LOTR: Fom the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king … But it’s intriguing that he planned a sequel in which all comes to dust in the end:

    I did begin a story placed about 100 years after the Downfall [of Sauron] but it proved both sinister and depressing. Since we are dealing with Men it is inevitable that we should be concerned with the most regrettable feature of their nature: their quick satiety with good. So that the people of Gondor in times of peace, justice and prosperity, would become discontented and restless — while the dynasts descended from Aragorn would become just kings and governors — like Denethor or worse. I found that even so early there was an outcrop of revolutionary plots, about a centre of secret Satanistic religion; while Gondorian boys were playing at being Orcs and going around doing damage.

    Perhaps the romantic reactionary vision was tempered by his religious conviction that “I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat'”.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    That’s new information for me, but it’s also very much in line with expectation. Middle Earth has no future, except decay, down eventually to us.

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 19th, 2013 at 11:33 am Reply | Quote
  • Vxxc Says:

    Beware this King some seek. The Mikado now knew the only way he could make his mark was to feed the Court. And he does. Yet he is still not King.

    @Bill and the ethno nationalists nailed it. We cannot achieve power here without them. Muscles tats and all. Do they not already fear us?

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 20th, 2013 at 12:40 am Reply | Quote
  • Bill Says:

    @Peter A. Taylor Thanks Peter I will get the Hoffer book. Looks really good.

    A book you might be interested in is Eric Voegelin’s “Science, Politics, and Gnosticism.” Voegelin sounds a lot like the blurbs I just read about Hoffer, except Voegelin was a Viennese academic who became an American prof.

    Voegelin was a political historian but studied under Mises, the economist Ron Paul talks about, and went to school with Hayek. (I wonder if he knew Kurt Gödel?) Voegelin’s analysis of political movements also conflates progressives, communists, and Nazis, and he united them by saying that they all made/make a claim to secret knowledge (which is his definition of Gnosticism) that justifies ignoring reality to achieve some fantasy goal. In my mind I say that people like this have “time sickness.”

    Looking forward to reading the Hoffer book, thanks.

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 20th, 2013 at 3:27 am Reply | Quote
  • Mark Warburton Says:

    @

    That is on my list too, yeah.

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 20th, 2013 at 8:19 am Reply | Quote
  • James A. Donald Says:

    > We need to build the conceptual foundation for the next generation to use. It needs to be based in reality, non-violent, and develop rival narratives that can push the center to the right.

    Non violent?

    Taxpayers are outnumbered by people on the government teat. They have to be disenfranchised, and will not want to be disenfranchised.

    [Reply]

    Dick Wagner Reply:

    Grand-scale political violence… now *that’s* horror.

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 20th, 2013 at 9:23 am Reply | Quote
  • Vxxc Says:

    How do White Protestant Universalists actually face Downfall? Especially the ones who have chosen Man as God?

    Well there’s Untergang and Hitler for some clues.

    There’s also an American Example.

    The Donner Party.

    Hey you asked for Horror.

    At the beginning per the Survivors accounts it was ashamed little sips and nibbles.
    But the Rescuers accounts agree. When they found them and in stages took them out they had gone completely wild. All boundaries torn away and the naked monkey revealed. Limbs and bones strewn about. Pots bubbling with blood. No trace of Donner or family. Long past the point of murder. Past kill to eat. Past kill for revenge. Not even hungry anymore.

    Thats the All American Downfall. And History I think will rhyme.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    For my fellow ignoramuses.
    Are final-phase neo-Puritans still capable of raw horror? A Xanax overdose or hysterical stroke seems more plausible to me.

    [Reply]

    VXXC Reply:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0129332/

    [Reply]

    Fotrkd Reply:

    If we do ever make it down the in vitro meat route, human is both more efficient (Walmart tick) and more humane (homesteading tick – like sourdough). Far from horror, what’s not to like?

    Posted on August 20th, 2013 at 2:44 pm Reply | Quote
  • Apocalyptic Fantasies: Nick Land’s Horrorism | The Spiritual Sun Says:

    […] of thought connects to Land’s theory of Abstract Horror, as articulated in another post entitled “Reactionary Horror”. Land here identifies two streams of reactionary thought, one (Traditionalism) being “mild and […]

    Posted on February 2nd, 2016 at 7:39 am Reply | Quote
  • arkestral Says:

    Have you seen this film (which, by the way, is a film, you Cathedral addled wretch)? Me neither! We could go, if you like – catch a movie? But I digress. “Spider and Max” – I quote – “reach Elysium’s computer core, where Spider realizes that the program’s activation will kill Max. Max *personally activates the program* [emphasis for heroics], having spoken a last time with Frey via radio. As Max dies, Elysium’s computer core reboots and registers every Earth resident as an Elysian citizen. President Patel arrives with security guards but the robots refuse to arrest Spider, whom they now recognize as a citizen. Matilda is cured by a Med-Bay and Elysium’s computer dispatches a huge fleet of medical ships to begin treatment of the citizens of Earth.” And they all lived happily after. So, kiiind of Rivendell. In space.

    Post that, admin, you big old NRk

    x

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 21st, 2017 at 11:07 pm Reply | Quote
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