Posts Tagged ‘History’

Ethno-Cladistics

The Ethno-cladistic thesis, sketchily reconstructed here from Mencius Moldbug’s neoreactionary usage, proposes that relations between cultural systems are captured by cladograms to a highly significant level of adequacy. The limits to this thesis are set by lateral complications — interchanges and modifications that do not conform to a pattern of branching descent — and these are by no means negligible. Nevertheless, actual cultural formations are dominated by cladistic order. As a consequence, cultural theories that assume taxonomic regularity as a norm are capable of reaching potentially realistic approximations, and furthermore offer the only prospect for the rigorous organization of ethnographic phenomena.

The most direct and central defense of the ethno-cladistic thesis bypasses the comparatively high-level religious systems that provide the material for Moldbug’s arguments, and turn instead to the ethnographic root phenomenon: language. Languages simply are cultures in their fundamentals, so that any approach applicable to them will have demonstrated its general suitability for cultural analysis.

I’d try to spin this out melodramatically, but I don’t think there’s really any point:

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September 6, 2013admin 57 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction
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The Monkey Trap

How did we get into this mess? When neoreaction slips into contemplative mode, it soon arrives a question roughly like this. Something evidently went very wrong, and most probably a considerable number of things.

The preferred focus of concern decides the particular species of doomsterism, within an already luxuriant taxonomy of social criticism. What common ground exists on the new ultra-right is cast like a shadow by the Cathedral — which no neoreactionary can interpret as anything other than a radical historical calamity. This recognition (or ‘Dark Enlightenment’)  is a coalescence, and for that very reason a fissile agglomeration, as even the most perfunctory tour across the ‘reactosphere’ makes clear. (The Outside in blogroll already represents a specific distribution of attention, but within three clicks it will take you everywhere from disillusioned libertarians to throne-and altar traditionalists, or from hedonistic gender biorealists to neo-nazi conspiracies.)

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August 31, 2013admin 72 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Cosmos
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Capitalism vs the Bourgeoisie

John Gray makes some telling observations about the debilitating practical paradoxes of the late-20th century right.

Summing up Thatcher’s outlook, [Charles] Moore writes of her “unusual mindset, which was both conservative and revolutionary.” It is a shrewd observation, but Thatcher’s reactionary nostalgia and revolutionary dynamism had something in common: the sturdy individualism to which she looked back was as much a fantasy as the renewed bourgeois life she projected into the future.

Once ‘sturdy individualism’ is dismissed as a fantasy, a horror story of some kind is the only imaginable outcome. If people are really too pathetic to take responsibility for their lives, what else could we possibly expect?

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August 24, 2013admin 38 Comments »
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The Shape of Time (Part 2)

Second-stage Greer-probing at Urban Future.

Tangentially related — Greer asks: Why don’t astronomical observatories sell horoscopes? (It’s his distinctive version of prog. trolling).

August 20, 2013admin 10 Comments »
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The Islamic Vortex (Part 4)

The story that follows was stolen from somewhere, but I’ve not been able to recover the source. It has a definite neoconservative edge to it, which isn’t surprising given the early-nullities brain-feed it was no doubt extracted from, but it’s neat enough to be passed on.

If Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires in space, the First World War was the equivalent burial ground in time. The German Second Reich, the Austro-Hungarian (Habsburg) Empire, the Russian (Romanov) Empire, and the Turkish (Ottoman) Empire were all interred by it. In their place arose new geopolitical entities based upon an unstable mixture of ethno-nationalist self-determination and moral-universalist internationalism. The role of American ideas in the New Order – most immediately conveyed by the vehicle of ‘Wilsonism’ – was both substantial and ambiguous. A tight swirl of Americanization and Anti-Americanism would be essential to everything that followed.

If Austro-Germanic imperial collapse can be considered one thing, for the sake of elegance, the true narrative marvel of this story can unfold, because each dead empire was the germ of a world war, structuring history in its fundamentals up to the present day. From each imperial grave, in succession, came a challenge to the Anglophone global order, distinct in certain respects, but also displaying common, recognizable features.

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August 5, 2013admin 25 Comments »
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The Islamic Vortex (Part 1)

When confronted by large-scale — and thus complex – historical events, it is inevitable that attempts at understanding will be dominated by analogy. Even among experts, with access to abstract models of generic processes (‘revolution’, modernization, escalation, phase-change …), it is only through reference to concrete historical episodes that such intellectual tools acquire the richness necessary for successful application to actual world events. Even the most conceptually-refined historiographical language is honed for analogical usage. There is no ‘idea’ of ‘revolution’ truly separable from the examples of revolution provided by the historical record, and even if there was, it could have no use. Since history is rhythmic, but never exactly repetitive, such analogies can be more or less relevant, but only ever roughly suggestive. They are, in any case, unavoidable.

During the years immediately following 9/11, Western perceptions of the new global reality were controlled by analogy with World War II, and even those who rejected this template were locked into a negative relationship with it. If 9/11 was not Pearl Harbor, or anything like it, it remained necessary to say so, repeatedly, and to little immediate effect. The term ‘Islamofascism’ was inherited from this period, and its fading currency is significant (as we shall see).

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July 30, 2013admin 28 Comments »
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Economies of Deceit

Social organizations grow ever larger, and resist disintegration, due to economies of scale. There are disproportionate benefits to being large, sufficient to over-compensate for the associated disadvantages, to support expansion, and to fund the suppression of fission. Like every trend reinforced by positive nonlinearities, large-scale social formations accentuate the gradient of time, realizing a ratchet mechanism, through ‘network effects’. In this way, they contribute not only to the content of history, but also to its shape.

When the fundamental deformation of history was evidently attributable to scale economies, it was only natural to speak primarily of Leviathan — the seizure of historical time by the gigantic. It might therefore be considered a significant symptom — of something — that a substitute term now seems more persuasively applicable. Leviathan remains vast, and growing, but it is more exactly specified as the Cathedral, because its principal ratchet mechanism owes less to sheer magnitude than to a mastery of deceit.

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July 28, 2013admin 15 Comments »
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Quote notes (#10)

At The Brussels Journal, radical traditionalist Thomas F. Bertonneau — a reactionary’s reactionary — has posted an absorbing study of René Guénon and Eric Voegelin on the Degeneration of Right Order. The final paragraph summarizes some general conclusions:

The Gnostic rebellion against reality denies limitations, but it is, of course, subject to them because it is subject to reality; the rebellion is moreover radically maladapted to reality (denying logic and repudiating knowledge are bad bets in the Darwinian game) and it will eventually have to pay its penalty to Anaximander’s “Unlimited.” Or, we might say, to God. When the rebellion will reach its limit, however, only God knows.

An approximate English translation of Anaximander’s sole, cryptic fragment reads:

Whence things have their origin,
Thence also their destruction happens,
According to necessity;
For they give to each other justice and recompense
For their injustice
In conformity with the ordinance of Time.

 

July 27, 2013admin 5 Comments »
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