Scrap note #3

Uploading images of (what are for us) psychotic despotic-militaristic glories — upon which Cambodia still floats after six centuries of cultural senescence — is impossible here due to bandwidth issues. So I’m falling back upon relative trivialities, of the kind Handle has so masterfully compiled in his Reaction Ruckus resource (which I can’t link to now, either).

It strikes me that the basic accusation against Neoreactionary thought, found in the increasingly mainstream channels Handle tracks, is that of moral nihilism. This is a non-trivial issue, or at least, it is not one that will soon cease to make noise. As a symptom, it opens onto seriously involving questions.

At the most basic level, this accusation refers — unknowingly — to the neoreactionary assertion that Western civilization has taken a pathological road, such that a distinction between facts and values seems not only credible, but even ineluctable. To strive for honesty without qualification under such historical circumstances is already moral nihilism. One must either submit to the lie in the name of the good, or hazard the good — radically — in the name of truth. The ‘crisis of the present age’ is the widespread (if unacknowledged) reality of this harsh fork.

There are important lines of departure at this point, which far exceed the scope of a scrap note. The strong suspicion of this blog is that Chinese neotraditionalism offers a decisive break from this Western cultural pathology (which is why Mou Zongsan is regularly referenced here). Occidental traditionalists turn to the prospects of an Aristotelian revival (typically under Catholic Christian auspices) as an adequate response to the same dilemma. Insofar as we speak from the modern West, however, it is the Nietzschean provocation that surreptitiously guides the discussion.

If it is not yet possible to be either Chinese, or ancient, anything other than moral nihilism is an absence of intellectual integrity. We have already seen the rejoinder to this, of course, and we will see much more of it: to refuse to allow conventional morality a veto over thought is morally appalling (“creepy”). In making this ‘case’ our enemies admit that honesty is not finally consistent with their ‘arguments’ — an awkward position to occupy.

We are told to stop thinking, for the common good, but there is no longer any common good, if there ever was one (so we will not). Since sensitivity to reality cannot but ultimately prevail, they will lose eventually. I am far less convinced that the outcome will not be ugly in the extreme, and by then the judgmental question will no longer be asked, as we could still ask it, but in general refuse to: Who created the monsters to come?

January 24, 2014admin 26 Comments »
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26 Responses to this entry

  • Lesser Bull Says:

    Every dominant religious tradition always characterizes dissent or heresy as an attack on morality, because to admit that the dissenters have a dispute with you about what morality is or ought to be is to concede them a kind of legitimacy and even equality with you as disputants.

    If you really mean what you say here your argument is fundamentally flawed, because in the absence of some moral feeling of our own, we would have no basis for rejecting the pathological road we are on, even though recognizing that it is pathological. Live not by lies is a moral slogan.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I don’t disagree. Nietzscheanism consumes itself, already in Nietzsche, when the will-to-truth is ‘diagnosed’ as a nihilistic moral obsession. That’s why the exit ramps lead into a teleological fact-value cohesion, as Matt indicates below, or into a non-Occidental tradition, in which the will-to-think is understood as a practical problem (self-cultivation).

    [Reply]

    RiverC Reply:

    One odd point is that Nietzsche never struck me as truly nihilistic (at least in TSZ) but as so wholly alien to convention that in comparison he must be considered a nihilist. (Read fairy tales with modern eyes and they will seem this way, possibly.)

    We ran into a similar issue with Eastern Orthodoxy; it is very alien to the West in many ways, and has essentially very strong deconstructive critiques against a lot of Western Christian ideas. Among converts there is no small risk that they will simply deconstruct their existing ‘prejudices’ and never build anew upon the ground now cleared.

    I think in the case of Nietzsche this is a huge risk, Jonathan Bowden (a Nietzschean himself) suggested reshuffling the order of importance of his works to take the emphasis away from the deconstruction and towards the hyper-traditional reconstruction.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    It may not be possible, but what would be most attractive would be a synthesis of those two.

    [Reply]

    Michael Reply:

    is not survival the only objective moral good?, The only purpose to this planets to life that we can be sure of? Our nay all DNA has hierarchical strategies unconscious reason to ensure this ,And the Cathedral works against these almost uniformly, This then we can be sure is evil. while leftists destroy Christianity with reason The reason of the right I might add,while forbidding its use against itself they do not even kid themselves they have been hoisted by their own petard.But I know my own survival is the highest right albeit subjectively at first, but also as my duty to the collective to try my might against theirs.This is all I owe my brother a good fight, and in the event I survive acknowledgement he played a part in the struggle he carried his burden to the reckoning.
    Giamatti argues regarding the Renaissance that a sense of exile is a precondition to Identity. followed by apprehension that we are but a mere penumbra of the past. I say off with their heads and the new myths will follow

    [Reply]

    pseudo-chrysostom Reply:

    no principle is self-sufficient, just so with life merely for life.

    if we are to take the proposition seriously (and not as rationalization), does this not mean the ideal society is infact the factory farm? should we not concentrate humanity into industrial processing lines, that we may more effectively maximize the number of living people possible? and since we cant keep every thing everywhere ‘alive’ forever and ever, does this not then leave us back again with the gnostic progressive conceit of the fundamental ‘wickedness’ of being?

    never mind that defining the ‘people’ we must help ‘survive’ is itself tangled in value judgment by necessity, and hence its intelligibility reliant on its relation to a transcendent ideal, without which the word becomes inchoate (and which the more effective/authentic/righteous pursual thereof may or may not actually involve human factory farms [or survival over all]).

    RiverC Reply:

    Moral in this sense, being used somewhat in an ironic fashion, perhaps. Morals being what they really are aside, what most people perceive as morals dictates that we must be considered moral nihilists. IE – opposing laws enshrining homosexual marriage as a valid legal category. I see my own position as morally sound, guided by a strong feeling of revulsion towards equating one of man’s highest social forms with an aberration, but this feeling (the disgust), the loyalty to the tradition, and the philosophical and theological underpinnings that support it are not regarded in this society as moral. While I use one of my own ‘prejudices’ as an example, we all have positions here, perhaps a majority of our own moral positions in fact, that are nihilistic vis a vis the normal mode of moral feeling (and thus thought) in ‘our’ society.

    This is a serious accusation (but also an unserious one) because if we are truly moral nihilists, we cannot be trusted with any sort of power since we would not be restrained by moral instinct where utility clearly favors highly immoral acts. (This always happens.) Now the definition of ‘moral’ I’m using in this paragraph is more total, whereas the ‘creepiness’ of our ‘moral nihilism’ is like the ‘accusation’ of Christians’ ‘atheism’ in the first few centuries after Christ. If you can’t suss out that Christians are theistic, there is going to be a communication… problem.

    [Reply]

    Igitur Reply:

    @RiverC

    There is no communication problem. We’re communicating alright to the MSM. We’re communicating horror — we’re a major symptom of the systematic failure of progressivism. Remember, you can try to persuade xor discover.

    [Reply]

    Posted on January 24th, 2014 at 3:33 pm Reply | Quote
  • Matt Sigl Says:

    Combining neo-reaction into a teleological narrative aligned with a resurgence in Aristotelianism (which is itself all about the re-emergence of teleology in the nature order) is a smart move. The intellectual winds are already blowing in that direction and contemporary ideologies like singulatarianism are tacitly Aristotelian through and through. The more neo-reaction can be argued for as structurally inevitable given the dialectic progression of human civilization the more people will entertain the idea as viable. Neo-reaction should embrace the “decent” into democracy not as a mistake, but as an inevitable episode of human organization that must now be rejected (or “re-thought” …to soften the blow) in the face of its inherent, snowballing contradictions. My ideal dark enlightenment is as much about a new metaphysics as it is a new political order, for what was the enlightenment on the deepest level if not the removal of teleology from the natural order, while, perversely, filling the existential void by inserting final causality within the political domain in the form of liberal “progress.”

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Indeed. It’s easy to see why any number of topics out here should scare people, but for the problem of teleology to terrify people (as it clearly does) is harder to excuse.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    Really sound. A lot there that’s worth chewing on.

    [Reply]

    peppermint Reply:

    teleology in the natural world

    I’d been arguing that they may not be teleology, but there is selection, for years before Jim came up with

    A creationist, an evolutionist, and a Darwinist were walking in the woods

    They saw patch of flowers.

    “Why are these flowers beautiful?” asked the creationist rhetorically.

    “OK” said the evolutionist, “Why?”

    “For the joy of God and man,” said the creationist.

    “No” said the evolutionist, “Beauty is subjective, in the observer, not in the flower, and nothing in nature has any purpose. It just is.”

    “No,” said the Darwinist. “These flowers must be pollinated by a creature that drinks nectar by daylight, probably a bee, and the flowers are beautiful to please the bee, as a woman is beautiful to please her husband.”

    “That is sexist,” said the evolutionist, “and why should bees care about beauty?”

    [Reply]

    Posted on January 24th, 2014 at 4:22 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    Well since Francis Bacon has been quite defenestrated I suppose the fallback is Aristotle.

    It’s odd Progs hurling the charge of nihilism . OTOH..is the Basilik a Nihilist?

    [Reply]

    Posted on January 24th, 2014 at 4:41 pm Reply | Quote
  • James Says:

    Have you been following the Thailand protests? The protestors are Royalist, middle-class, and critical of electoral democratic politics. They’re protesting the Shinawatra regime, which is based on the kind of “high-low” alliance we seen in the West between an oligarchy and large numbers of the poor that is able to dominate electoral politics with money and voting power. The Shinawatra regime is favored by “the International Community”, globalists, and Wall St. finance.

    Consequently, there’s been little coverage of the protests in the Western media, and where there has been coverage it’s been negative, comparing the protesters to “tea partiers”, “birthers”, “Ann Coulter”:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/03/anti-thaksin-protesters-are-thailand-s-tea-partiers.html

    This is in contrast to the Ukraine protests, which have been covered more widely, presumably because they’re more favorable to the anti-Russia narrative of the Western media.

    [Reply]

    Posted on January 24th, 2014 at 5:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • James Says:

    Here’s more:

    http://world.time.com/2014/01/16/bangkok-shutdown-yingluck-supporters-prepare-to-fight-for-democracy/

    Tens of thousands of protesters have clogged key arteries of Bangkok, Thailand’s sprawling capital — a tourist mecca and a booming economic hub — since Monday in order to shutdown government and purge the influence of the Shinawatra clan, especially that of billionaire telecoms mogul and former Prime Minister Thaksin.

    Led by the burly Suthep Thaugsuban, a former Deputy Prime Minister for the opposition Democrat Party, who resigned to lead the protest, demonstrators have built tent cities around government buildings. The move has forced their closure, forcing civil servants to work from home and other offices. “We’re here to chase out a tyrant government,” Suthep told the BBC on Wednesday

    Seeking a path through the ongoing unrest, Yingluck has dissolved parliament and called snap elections for Feb. 2. However, Suthep is demanding her unconditional resignation and threatened to detain her and fellow caretaker cabinet members if she does not quit immediately. However, not to hold elections would be unconstitutional Yingluck insists. “If people don’t want this government they should go out and vote,” she said.

    Thaksin-backed parties have won the last five elections based upon huge support in Thailand’s rural northeast, where populist policies are credited for bringing millions out of poverty. However, Thaksin remains anathema to royalists and the traditional elite of Bangkok and the southern provinces, who accuse him of flagrant vote-buying. Thaksin was ousted in a military coup seven years ago and currently lives in exile in Dubai following a conviction for corruption.

    “Isaan people [from the rural northeast] don’t pay taxes, Thaksin buys their vote and then steals our money with it,” Noi, a 48-year-old teacher from Chonburi province, told TIME outside the Tourism Ministry on Tuesday, echoing a common complaint of the protesters.

    The opposition wants an unelected people’s council to replace the democratically chosen legislature for a period of up to two years, in order to usher through a series of reforms designed to permanently nullify Thaksin’s power.

    According to Thitinan Pongsudhirak, professor of political science at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thais grudgingly accept a certain level of graft, but the protesters believe Thaksin went beyond mere nest-feathering to the pursuit of “a monopoly on power and wealth.”

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    It all seems consistent with Amy Chua’s World on Fire thesis to me. (That’s a book with which to twist open some important NR fault-lines, btw.)

    [Reply]

    Posted on January 24th, 2014 at 5:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • Noir Says:

    Nick says: “The strong suspicion of this blog is that Chinese neotraditionalism offers a decisive break from this Western cultural pathology (which is why Mou Zongsan is regularly referenced here). Occidental traditionalists turn to the prospects of an Aristotelian revival (typically under Catholic Christian auspices) as an adequate response to the same dilemma.”

    What’s funny is that this conception of an Aristotelian revival is not only within religious conceptions but very much at the heart of both philosophical and scientific debates on such things as first philosophy (metaphysics) and scientific practice ( see Powers and Capactities in Philosophy – The New Aristotelianism, The Dappled World A Study of the Boundaries of Science by Nancy Cartwright, Steven Mumfords Dispositions and Getting Causes from Powers). And, obviously D & G were studying the Cathedral complex at the end as well in such essays as The Control Society, and newer works on the Left as well – Rationalizing Capitalist Democracy – The Cold War Origins of Rational Choice Liberalism, Machine Dreams: Economics becomes a Cyborg Science, The Molecular Vision of Life: Caltech, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Rise of the New Biology, Uncoding the Digital: Technology, Subjectivity, and Action in the Control Society, etc.

    It’s as it on the Left and Right extremes, not the petty and superficial claptrack that we term the progressive left or the conservatives etc. that we agree that the Cathedral is a system of governance that is using the technoglobalist initiative to spawn its own strange agenda through a combination of legal, religious, and ideological toolsets that it hopes to use to control the masses not as in the old ways of authoritarianism from the inside Out, but from the Outside in …. infiltrating the very processes of our physical modalities through internalized mechanisms of both posthuman and transhuman ideological frames of reinforcing fantasy. An almost Philip K. Dick guide to the matrix void the religious Gnosticism of his Exegesis… who in his psychonautic best once said:

    “I am led to the inescapable conclusion that, totally unknowingly, we are all constituents of a vast living organism, and that everything which occurs in it, our reality, happens due to its deliberate intention—that of its own brain, Noös or psyche— and, further, this vast living organism which governs and regulates our every move and experience resembles an AI system or computer, and that under certain exceptional circumstances it can and does speak of one or more of us, its members— finally, the organism— or this part of it— is in trouble— has its “hand in a steel trap,” as KW put it, and is extricating its members, i.e., us. We must have partially fallen out of the organism —or maybe it actually has— like a great animal— been snared by a titanic iron trap! It is in trouble. And is reclaimed, repairing, itself. It is, in the final analysis, a magna-mind as well as a magna-organism, and it is— has been for some time— in trouble . We are the distressed fraction, member, circuit or element, or organ, part or unit.

    Most likely of all, it is a self-repairing AI mind system, and this repair activity (known historically to us as “salvation”) has to do with (ah!) reactivating a subsection (i.e., us) which has fallen below the message-transfer level (known to us, as the Essene terms, as “falling into forgetfulness and ignorance”). We are a memory coil, presently inoperative— i.e., malfunctioning: asleep, and, as in a quasi-dream, we are not where [and when?] we think we are (cf. Maze and Ubik). This is the heart of the matter; we are an impaired section of the megamind; we misperceive. That which we see— our reality— does not exist. I am acosmic in viewing this; as in Maze we collectively hallucinate . The megamind is attempting to stimulate us back to being in touch with itself. Which is the “other slice of bread,” i.e., back to consciousness of it and ourselves as parts of it— which will, when successfully achieved, abolish this false world, whereupon it will be instantly replaced by the divine “abyss.””

    from the The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick

    Art precedes the traumas of the future. Art distills the accelerating capsules of an alien mind in conversation with itself about the heat death of the universe. For us the text of the World and the World as text is a given, and our experience of reading consists in a discovery of gaps, absences, and tensions inherent in reality. Once we drop the pretense of the ‘is’ and fall back into the ‘ought’ of what should be we enter another gap where Left and Right discover their differences. But in the gap itself we remain impervious to the controlling and temporal flux of our masters in the Cathedral. Like Dick falling back on older myths we keep redoubling out bets and seeking a way out of our current prisons forgetting that we ourselves hold the keys in our hands all along.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I’m generally grim on the prospect of left-right cooperation, beyond cross-stimulation, but there’s one very clear and important exception — Secession. Ideological sorting on an ideological basis should be eagerly seized upon by anyone who’s at all serious about the practicality of their proposals, which makes it something of a sincerity litmus test.

    [Reply]

    Posted on January 24th, 2014 at 7:00 pm Reply | Quote
  • piwtd Says:

    There are 2 reactionary critiques of modernity for 2 opposing reasons revolving around the opposition between “realism” and “idealism”.

    Critique of idealism from the position of realism: “The modernity is a rebellion against Reality caused by a delusion of universal equality and human perfectibility which is either infantile naivete or Promethean hubris”.

    Critique of realism from the position of idealism: “The order in society is based on shared believe in transcendental values and ideals. The modernity is a degeneration and disintegration into cynical atheistic pragmatism”.

    There are 2 corresponding counter-critiques of your movement.

    Critique of realism from the position of idealism: “They are libertarians that got mugged and so lost all hope for humanity and went cynical and nihilistic.”

    Critique of idealism from the position of realism: “They read to much of Tolkien and so they want to go back to kings and knights.”

    [Reply]

    Posted on January 24th, 2014 at 7:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bill Says:

    Off topic: I’ve been a little starved for reading lately, and found a hilarious podcast. If you guys want to laugh your ass of, check out episode 7 of “Welcome to Night Vale.” It’s free on iTunes. They are Lovecraft fans and have the wonderful habit of deadpanning Marxist ideology as comedy. They constantly address horror. The whole thing is good so far, but Episode 7 is especially convulsive, it is entitled History Week.

    [Reply]

    Posted on January 24th, 2014 at 9:16 pm Reply | Quote
  • Ex-pat in Oz Says:

    @Bill

    This podcast looks superb– thanks for the recommendation! I am adding it to my iTunes subs llist

    [Reply]

    Posted on January 25th, 2014 at 3:10 am Reply | Quote
  • Bill Says:

    @Ex-pat in Oz. Cool, you won’t regret it.

    [Reply]

    Posted on January 25th, 2014 at 3:47 am Reply | Quote
  • pseudo-chrysostom Says:

    if one presupposes that (french) enlightenment values and ideals are the whole of value and idealism, then when faced with its poverty, certainly a sort of of auto-negating nihilism is the easiest way out of the system, from within the system.

    it is for this reason that i think the best introduction for any good class on ethnics in the west at this point in time, is max stirner. he is highly expedient for exposing merely validation based rationalizations, and getting people to think more authentically (iow, righteously) about what they think they want (of all the other young hegellians, he had the most impact on marxes development, who tried [and failed i should think] to account for him in his works).

    [Reply]

    Posted on January 26th, 2014 at 10:11 pm Reply | Quote
  • RiverC Says:

    Ah, yes. I reserve my poetry for the role of ‘discovery’; my prose does the opposite and intentionally so, unless there is some particular circumstance demanding polemic. This is why I am not an essayist, but I have always been an amateur diplomat.

    [Reply]

    Posted on January 27th, 2014 at 6:47 pm Reply | Quote
  • Michael Says:

    @
    evolution says its the individual that must survive survival of the species is a by product it may be my variant is more important than the species only time will yell,The factory farm is selected for the opposite its an attempt to control an environment for a specific type thats socialisms idea or the inverse neither is stable.nature is market based life is market based Ayn Rand got that maybe dawkins too

    [Reply]

    piwtd Reply:

    How do ants fit into your view of things?

    [Reply]

    Posted on January 27th, 2014 at 11:15 pm Reply | Quote

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