Reactionary essays

At Cato Unbound.

I’m not sure I’ve seen a better one sentence summary of the difference between the reactionary attitude to government and the modern attitude to government than this one:

The rule of the virtuous person is displaced by the explicit control of the centralized state.

The lead essay concludes:

The only true locus of human liberty is to be found in the institutions of civil society, yet our dominant philosophies both regard its requirements for stability, self-sacrifice and generational continuity as an obstacle to individual liberty. So long as we continue to define liberty badly, we will continue to lose it.

The response essay contains:

The ideas offered by Phillip Blond are not so different from those of his honestly claimed intellectual forbears, Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin. It was Carlyle who coined the epithet “dismal science” in his attack on economists like the liberal John Stuart Mill, because they failed to appreciate the attractive stable paternalism of West Indian slave plantations. The conservative elite offers to take paternalistic care of their subjects, and to protect them against the scary and unpredictable forces of the market. The paternalism and protectionism, the insulation of the poor from market forces, make the Tory seem “Red” by comparison with the surrounding commercial society. Indeed, part of what is so striking about Blond’s essay is how thoroughly and self-consciously it returns to the conservatism of those reacting against commercial and democratic modernity in its earliest days.

Of course, there is much to object to in this passage from the reactionary perspective. Are the West Indians better off under "freedom"? Haiti has been on an incredible downward trajectory for well over a Century. Does no one need answer for this crime? And so on . . .

Any chance Moldbug could write reaction?


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