To recap:

Neoreactionaries are a brand new phenomenon, different in kind from paleoconservatives and other political groups that came before them.

The whole movement appears to have been kicked off by the blogger Mencius Moldbug.

Before 2007, “reactionary” was mostly used as an epithet. Now, a significant group of people are enthusiastically applying the term to describe their politics.

Reactionaries are in favor of order, while progressives are in favor of progress.

Violence equals conflict plus uncertainty.

Democracy incentivizes group conflict and its core body, the Congress, has an abysmal approval rating.

Legislative bodies with super-Dunbar head counts are dysfunctional by design.

Francis St. Pol:

“The Dark Enlightenment” is an Orwellian filter. The Cathedral manipulates names. To think this is thoughtcrime. Unless you are comfortable with thoughtcrime, you won’t enjoy our company. I suspect that this filter has saved us vast amounts of concern trolling.

Scharlach on language and race.

– Does anyone know how I can get some of that Asian social construct?

– via Tino:

From an American perspective, the Swedish riots hold at least two lessons. First, they illustrate the weakness of the left’s go-to explanation for mob violence​—​that it is a function of inequality and poverty. Sweden, after all, is an exemplary country in terms of both social equality and treatment of minorities. But not even in Sweden, apparently, is taxpayers’ generosity sufficient to maintain law and order, according to this standard interpretation.

Second, the riots are a reminder of the left’s inexhaustible egalitarian ambitions. Not even in a welfare state like Sweden is the left willing to abandon the idea that the solution to violence and destruction lies in ever more social programs and more radical redistribution of wealth. There is always a new, absolutely necessary social reform waiting around the corner.

Equality apparently blows.

– The South must be defeated.

Indeed: “We have suffered our first wound. It seriously hurts.”

21 Responses to Randoms

  1. Scharlach says:

    Goulding sounds like a curmudgeon, nothing more. In our media-driven age, even the highest of high brow movements—even the most intelligent theory—has its low brow hangers-on and fanboys. For God’s sake, even Gadamer has a fan page with a “Hot Hot Pix!” link.


    Such is the nature of popularity. Why does Goulding think he can escape it? What he sees happening with the DE will happen with “Movement X” or whatever else he wants to call it. (And I’m not sure this wasn’t a problem in the past, either. For every Critique of Pure Reason that finds its way down the ages, how many inchoate or downright awful texts were penned, forgotten, and lost?)

    The one good point he makes is that a yearning for egalitarianism may in fact be a universal, and so we should stop talking about how to eradicate it and start talking about how to channel it in less destructive directions.

    • porphyrogenitus says:

      a “yearning for equality” of some type may be universal (equal treatment for equal behavior, for example).

      But a yearning for material egalitarianism is retarded, and should be resisted. Which is not the same as “eradicated” (eradicating common, even wrongheaded, human concepts is the Left’s game, and that is done in the name of…material egalitarianism. And it leads to, literally, The Terror. So if you say “we shouldn’t try to eradicate concepts,” fair enough. But that doesn’t mean bad concepts shouldn’t be resisted. This is quite different from throwing up your hands and saying “well, lots of of people seem to believe this crap in modernity, so we may as well channel it to our ends” – which is also a Progressive project).

      The problem is the nominalist conception of reality, which leads to a sort of egalitarian conclusions.

      So, sure, there will be some kinds of equality in some proper respects, but as for (material) egalitarianism, it is a horror show that cannot be channeled into positive expressions.

      • spandrell says:

        Envy is the most basic human instinct. Babies have it, even monkeys have it. Everybody likes goodies. Egalitarianism didn’t happen until now because in a farming society it makes you starve real quick (ask the first Puritan settlers in America). But today everybody wants the goodies, and the pity is we can afford to give it to them.

        It’s not gonna be easy to stop.

      • Porphy's Attourney says:

        A lot of vile things are “basic human instincts” – a taste for theft is one, as is a taste for killing people one doesn’t like.

        Misrule by kleptocrats also seems to be a basic human instinct, judging by how government is. That doesn’t mean the reaction gives it a thumbs-up seal of approval.

        But to each their own tastes; it certainly would make one’s life more serene to make peace with egalitarian Progressivism, and find ways to be an apologist for it. That is the lucrative route: if money (envy) and power over other’s lives (the ability to manipulate the egalitarian inclination in order to channel it to one’s ideological ends and drive for sociopolitical supremacy) is one’s goal, there’s already a movement for that and, because there is always a more radical leftism, they’re always looking for people who can put that old time religion in new bottles.

        If it goes in the direction you propose, you may as well admit – at least to yourself – that you’re doing nothing more than following in the path as described by Pareto:

        “Many of the B genuinely believe that they are pursuing, not a personal advantage for themselves and their class, but an advantage for the C, and that they are simply struggling for what they call justice, liberty, humanity. . .the sole effect of their action is to help the B to attain power only to fasten on the C a yoke which may often be more severe than that of the A. Those who finally understand this is the outcome sometimes make accusations of hypocrisy against the B or the A – as the case may be – who claimed they were guided solely by the desire of helping the C. But on the whole, this accusation of hypocrisy is ill-founded, for many of the B as well as the A are irreproachable in point of sincerity. . .”

        “. . .They believe – and wish us to share the belief – that the elite which in reality is seeking to get and hold power to use and misuse it in just the same way as the elite it is opposing, is moved only by pure love of its fellow men; or, if we prefer the phraseology of our day, by desire for the well-being of the ‘small and humble’”

      • Porphy's Attourney says:

        A desire to have some say in how one is governed is also a “basic human instinct,” even small children have it as soon as they can express their will in even the most inchoate ways; does that mean that therefore the “reaction” should “harness” this by having at least superficial pseudo-democratic institutions? After all, one can make the same argument that dispersed, subsistance agricultural life makes mass democracy difficult but now…

        People also seem to be misapplying Machiavellian; Machiavellian is an analysis of government, and how it needs to operate, including presenting a facade of virtue when it must do what in other contexts would be considered a vice. But Machiavelli never – never – proposed encouraging (“harnessing,” or any other pseudonym) vice in the general population, in the ruled. Indeed, quite the contrary, he thought that should be discouraged (which is not the same as “eradicated,” as he did recognize no bad behavior could be eradicated. It’s just that it was to be lamented and reduced).

      • Porphy's Attourney says:

        (Hopefully) one last observation on this (and I’m hitting it hard because I think it’s important, not because I think you’re dumb): You’re also misapplying Aristotelianism. Aristotle does not say “whatever humanity’s inclinations turn out to be, they are natural.” Instead he’s focus is on humanity’s distinctive natural end(s), and this weeds out some inclinations as to be discouraged rather than promoted.

        Whatever one thinks of certain theologies, whether one thinks they are expressions of eternal verities, divine law, or socially adaptive fictions, it must be acknowledged that sane civilizations discouraged envy (covetousness) as socially destructive; thou shalt not covet.

        Now, your reply, it would seem, is “well, in olden times that was the case, but we can get past those; envy is socially (re)constructive, now.” But this is not a reactionary formulation. This *just* *is* Progressivism: “sure, in the past, X couldn’t be done, but now we’ve reached a higher stage of development where X can be done, therefore: Do X.”

    • nickbsteves says:

      Envy is in the same boat as polygamous and hypergamous insticts… or for that matter revenge. Yes, they are basal and ineradicable, but that doesn’t mean you go around encouraging them. In fact, civilization is (at least) an adaptive algorithm specifically designed to reduce the impact of such hind-brain instincts. I happen to believe doing so is good qua good, but failing that, I think we’d all agree that muting them is at least good for business.

      Most traditional religions, in fact, are very sensible and demonstrably effective ways to mute envy. A) They apply to all castes roughly equally, so even manorial lords can’t get away with anything (You were all slaves in Egypt, when I called you); B) even if they do, they’re still gonna face some eternal ramifications (The Lord hears the cry of the poor); C) they instill a sense of noblesse oblige (To whom much is given, much shall be required).

      Of course, the whole thing goes in the crapper rather quickly once you have a Theocratic Administration hell-bent on implementing God’s eternal decrees here on earth, whilst inadvertently deleting the 9th and 10th commandments, proscribing lust and envy respectively.

      • Scharlach says:

        One of the signs of immanent decay in the West was the loss of noblesse oblige among the elite (a concept which, I concur, relies upon higher-order spiritual or religious principles; Luke 12:48 was an apt reference). America is dotted with universities and hospitals and libraries bearing the names of rich aristocrats from a bygone era, but I’m not holding my breath for Zuckerburg University to open any time soon (unless it’s a trade-school for cheap engineers).

  2. Scharlach says:

    And I apply the “curmudgeon” label with great admiration for J.G. and his insightful writing.

  3. josh says:

    Getting pretty self-referential around here.

  4. Nick Land says:

    @ Josh
    OK, you win, that’s Gödel consigned to the trash.

  5. nickbsteves says:

    Goodness, that NY Times Malanowski piece is quite execrable.

    Yet, as the documentarian Ken Burns has noted, [Robt. E. Lee] was responsible for the deaths of more Army soldiers than Hitler and Tojo.

    Yeah, and that dude US Grant, two term president, whom we honor on our $50 bill, is responsible for more American Civilian deaths than Osama Bin Laden. It’s a totally fair point to make (by NYT standards apparently).

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