A statement to be preserved for the fascinated scrutiny of generations yet unborn:

I am experimentally tabooing the words “neoreaction”, “neoreactionary”, and “NRx” in this blog’s comments effective immediately. It’s emotionally charged and politicized in a way that I think potential substitutes aren’t. I got my first exposure to far-right ideas from the neoreactionaries and so historically I’ve viewed rightism through their lens and spread that to my readers, but I think that this emphasis was a mistake. Also, nobody agrees on what “neoreactionary” means, least of all self-identified neoreactionaries. If you want to talk about monarchists, call them monarchists. If you want to talk about traditionalists, call them traditionalists. If you want to talk about the far right, call it the far right. If you want to talk about HBD, call it HBD. If you want to talk about Mencius Moldbug, call him Mencius Moldbug. First infraction will be punished with a warning, second with burning eternally in the caldera of the Volcano God.

(If I followed SA’s comment threads more diligently, I’d have a better sense of the context for this. Seems like an interesting experiment in any case. It also says something about triggers — or memetic virulence — although that’s still a little blurry …)

I have to add the ‘mind-control’ tag — but it works both ways.

October 25, 2015admin 29 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction


29 Responses to this entry

  • De-Triggering | Neoreactive Says:

    […] By admin […]

    Posted on October 25th, 2015 at 9:50 am Reply | Quote
  • Grotesque Body Says:

    This experiment will last about as long as it takes SA to understand what the euphemism treadmill is (it’s a shame I don’t comment on SSC myself; there would be no better way to demonstrate SA’s folly here than to systematically replace every instance of ‘neoreactionary’, with ‘the N word’).

    Central command linguistics generally works about as well as central command economics, for similar reasons.


    Posted on October 25th, 2015 at 10:27 am Reply | Quote
  • Exfernal Says:

    It’s easy to replace it there with “anti-modernist” and its related forms, for example. Would he ban that neologism as well?


    Alrenous Reply:

    As Grotesque Body and others have pointed out, it’s the ideas that NRx forwards, not the label, that so hypnotizes the SSC commentariat.

    Still, they are not disciplined thinkers. It won’t have no effect unless neoreactionaries all adopt the same new moniker.

    If they adopt consistent but idiosyncratic names, the commentariat will be irritated and frustrated, having difficulty identifying the exact source of what they’re opposing. It will feel like an attack from multiple sources of a nebulous way.
    They could make the translation – ‘oh, this is an NRx that isn’t allowed to say they are,’ but, as I say, no discipline.

    They could end up being ‘alt-right’ which means the SSC antagonism will stain numerous unassociated ideologies.

    Anyway, you can extrapolate the pattern by now.

    SA wants to ban NRx because he doesn’t like their ideas.
    SA secondarily wants to ban NRx because it sucks his commentariat into useless cognitive dissonance loops. “I realize opposing this idea makes me a bad person, but it’s such a horrifying and low status idea! But it makes me a bad person! But it’s low status!” Etc. They’re not self-aware enough to avoid being sucked in by the drama, either, so even those with no dissonance at hand get pulled into the vortex. They try to reassure their compatriots, but this merely feeds the dissonance-assonance flip-flopping, and naturally allows NRx many oppotunities to troll – either on purpose or by accident.


    Mike Reply:

    Reminds me of what Bryce said about NRx – you can’t critique it until and unless you’re sucked in by it (or something like that).

    Which means that dissonance is one of its occult powers.


    Posted on October 25th, 2015 at 10:46 am Reply | Quote
  • De-Triggering | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on October 25th, 2015 at 1:23 pm Reply | Quote
  • Contaminated NEET Says:

    Why are neoreactionaries so thirsty for Scott Alexander’s approval, anyway? Yes, he flirted with you a bit, but it’s not happening. He’s not that big a deal: just a smart dork with a moderately successful blog.


    admin Reply:

    For the wing of NRx that treasures intelligence above all other things, it’s not a serious question. For those who’d side instinctively with a reactionary idiot over a smart (and therefore tangled) progressive, it’s more of a head-scratcher.


    Steve Johnson Reply:

    Every wing of NRx has to treasure honesty even over intelligence. It can’t be fairly said that every progressive is stupid.


    Xoth Reply:

    Yet calling them ‘clever sillies’ somewhat understates the problem.

    Contaminated NEET Reply:

    SA is a smart guy, no question, but is he that smart? Why not obsess over some other smart guy with blog for a change? I suggest Razib Khan.


    admin Reply:

    SA has the exceptional ability to confound expectations. Steve Hsu (for e.g.) is much closer to some NRx ideas that are particularly dear to the tech-comms, but there’s far less surprise value.

    In addition, SA’s literary talent stands far above almost all of those with comparable raw intelligence.

    Xoth Reply:

    I don’t read SA very regularly, but to his credit he seems to have the ability to sometimes criticise the left without triggering the immune response, as well as at least once venturing beyond the safe space without going into a froth. His writing checks off more of the rhetoric boxes (a la Quintilian or someone) than is common among bloggers. Yet after a while it all boils down to prettily stating his case for this or that, which probably is why I never feel the need to stick around.

    But … I’m just a poor mendicant in these matters. Shouldn’t you postmodernist lit professor types x-ray right through his discourse etc etc? Eh? Eh?

    Xoth Reply:

    I prefer to ally with the dumb dogs rather than the clever spiders.


    Posted on October 25th, 2015 at 2:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • Nathan Cook Says:

    On Scott’s blog, the Words of Power tend to arise in a negative context in the context of progs expressing disgust, or accusing him of being too closely aligned with such disgusting racists.

    This is significant, because to the rest of us it might sound like Scott is taking the same line as the reactionaries-without-prefixes who claim neoreaction is “nominalist”, i.e. too conceptually slippery to be a real ideology at all. But whereas the latter tend to use this line as a sophistic attack on traditionalist neoreactionaries, I imagine that Scott’s ban will have the effect of making it harder for the progs to use that same sophistry to attack mildly reactionary commenters for being full-blooded advocates for slavery, anti-suffrage, and so on.


    Erebus Reply:

    I agree.

    I also think that Scott is very sympathetic to NRx — and that this sympathy has, if anything, increased over time. Yet the majority (around 70%?) of his readership belong to the Blue Team, and some of them get terribly offended whenever he posts anything “problematic.” This is, perhaps, another reason why he doesn’t want NRx discussion on his blog.

    …See, Scott is just a really nice guy, and he doesn’t want to offend anybody.


    Ripper Reply:

    Scott should run a separate blog under a separate nym.


    admin Reply:

    Assuming he doesn’t …

    Steve Johnson Reply:

    For social reasons Scott can neither leave the left (or the “blue team” as he calls it) nor can he honestly argue against NRx. This is a man who has publicly stated that he didn’t have a date until he was 27 now his social circle is tumblr feminists – he’ll do whatever it takes to not understand NRx arguments because he subconsciously believes that to understand them would endanger his precarious social status (since he doesn’t want to understand NRx views he doesn’t accept that women basically don’t give a damn if you have perfect prog beliefs as long as you’ve got balls about it).

    He recently banned me from commenting on his blog and I think two recent comments of mine were the actual reason.

    The first one was in response to a post of his where he reviewed a book that Mencius Moldbug recommended to him in an email correspondence. The book was Chronicles of Wasted Time, the autobiography of Malcolm Muggeridge. Here’s Scott’s fair description of the crux of the book:

    But getting back to the story…although it is clear to him that the Soviet economy is struggling, every dispatch they are given to send home declares that things are better than ever, that the Workers’ Paradise is even more paradisiacal than previously believed, that the evidence is in and Stalinism is the winner. It doesn’t matter what he makes of this, because anything he writes which deviates from the script is rejected by the censors, who ban him from sending it home. He is reduced to sending secret messages at the bottoms of people’s suitcases, only to find to his horror that even when they successfully reach the Guardian offices back in Britain, his bosses have no interest in publishing them because they offend the prejudices of its progressive readership. Finally, he finds himself a part of the elite fraternity of western journalists on the Soviet beat, who maintain their morale by one-upping each other in how cynical and patronizing they can be towards their Russian hosts and their credulous readers back home

    If you’re in NRx and you read this you “well, of course – ideologically motivated lies to protect the preferred Cathedral narrative is par for the course”.

    However – and I’m pretty sure this is why Moldbug picked this as a near optimal historical narrative – if you’re new to and actually open to NRx you read this and think “wait, every ‘reputable’ source intentionally engaged in lying on a massive scale because they were ideologically motivated and those same people were never rooted out, never admitted they were not mistaken but lying and in most cases never even admitted they were even wrong (the NY Times is still proud of that William Duranty Pulitzer). What other lies are out there?”. Scott’s reaction, on the other hand, was “would you look at that? The kook was right in this case. Guess I have to update my priors to believe kooks slightly more often – but there’s no deeper ideological connection there, nope, no way”. My comment on that post is here:

    The second comment of mine that I’m pretty sure triggered the ban was this exchange:

    Scott makes an argument that because of large populations you can find actual wrongdoing by any group you want. I point out that this makes it even more likely that that the Cathedral is lying when all their poster cases turn out to be hoaxes or based on lies. Scott responds by pointing to his earlier post where he argues that the reason the progressive left endorses so many hoaxes is that by endorsing a hoax you signal group loyalty but endorsing an true story doesn’t let you signal so it doesn’t go viral. This is, of course, clown world logic where there is literally no amount of lies that progressive can tell without it undermining the credibility of progressives and their worldview (you see, they only lie so they can show loyalty to the cause – there are plenty of examples where they’re right that theoretically exist).

    Scott can only argue inside the frame of “well, the left and [mainstream] right [cuckservatives in alt-right terms, the “fake opposition” in ours] are equally opposing institutional entities and both are partly dishonest because people are partly dishonest”. As long as you never break that frame, you can be a progressive and it’s very hard to see outside that frame. The existence of NRx commentary on his blog points out the giant glaring hole in the invisible assumption that he has to make to still be progressive – the left and [mainstream] right aren’t equal institutions. The [mainstream] right is the controlled opposition. Progressives can never lose to the [mainstream] right – that’s why it’s permitted. That Scott prunes his commentary section to the permitted right and everyone else and bans the forbidden right shows exactly what his perspective is.


    Posted on October 25th, 2015 at 3:26 pm Reply | Quote
  • The Electric Philosopher Says:

    I’m not experienced enough with SA’s comments to know how well they deal with. anything at all, but from my perspective as a non-NRx NRx watcher, anything that allows better conceptual discrimination is welcome, if for no other reason than Making Things More Interesting,

    As well as this, from my viewpoint it’s always somewhat baffled me that trends of thinking in NRx which seem incompatible with each other, other than their anti-modernism, would insist on using the same turn of phrase to describe themselves. Why would a techno-commercialist want to be conflated with trad-Catholics and ethno-nationalists beyond simply not liking the current order? A valid response to that, however, could be that rejecting modernity is sufficient in and of itself to warrant the shared label, but I’m not sure how compelling I find that seeing the divergence of opinion about what to do the Cathedral collapses.


    Mike Reply:

    The thing that ties the spokes of NRx together is that they agree that we can’t just go back to previous orders: the fact that those worlds ended is proof enough that there was a failure mode embedded in them. This is why it’s called “neo”-reaction.

    The second thing that ties them together is that they justify reactionary positions with science, logic, etc, instead of tradition, authority, etc.

    The term “anti-modernism” violates your own conceptual-discrimination thing. If I like technological progress, but not moral progress, am I pro- or anti-modernism?


    The Electric Philosopher Reply:

    That’s a pretty good justification of the shared label, and good point re my use of ‘anti-modernism’. As well as that, the absence of a strictly speaking ‘universalist’ dimension to NRx permits an almost bricolage approach.

    With SA in particular, it does almost seem as if his worry is that the label ‘NRx’ is a bit of a mind-killer, that it allows (not necessarily deliberately) people to hide behind a very broad definition without defining themselves further. It’s difficult to have a conversation with someone if you don’t know whether or not they’re tech-comm, theonomist etc etc


    OLF Reply:

    Nick B. Steves framed it well: Neoreaction is more than Moldbug, Foseti and Handle, but not less.


    Posted on October 25th, 2015 at 4:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • DB Says:

    You all need to read SA’s “rationalist taboo” note.

    He is not prohibiting discussion of any of your ideas. Instead, he is just demanding clarity from commenters.


    Steve Johnson Reply:

    Combined with recently banning me and having banned Jim and spandrell in the past that’s not the right reading.


    Kwisatz Haderach Reply:

    If you want to comment in his house you have to follow his rules. (I don’t comment there, for that reason).

    I don’t think he’s that interesting. His best trick is his ability to savor the excruciating hypocrisy of the left for five thousand words at a time. If you’re in the mood for that sort of thing he’s great. I haven’t seen him often advance non-clown-world thought. And I can’t bring myself to respect a person who sees the same reality as I do, but still manages to ally himself with SWPLs. The Goddess of Everything Else is the ultimate horror story for me.


    Kwisatz Haderach Reply:

    I used to like him more. GoEE really turned me against him.That thing is pure evil. I hope it never lives.

    Steve Johnson Reply:

    “If you want to comment in his house you have to follow his rules. (I don’t comment there, for that reason).”

    Here’s the text of his ban of me:

    I am experimenting with a Reign of Terror. So – Steve Johnson is banned for reasons of total personal caprice. He has not broken any rules and let it be known that the ban is entirely my whim and not his fault.

    Kwisatz Haderach Reply:

    @Steve Johnson

    Huh That’s just unpleasant. Sorry you got burned.

    Posted on October 26th, 2015 at 1:34 am Reply | Quote

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