Pardon the long absence. I’ve been traveling a lot. Here’s a lot of links to clear the backlog.

Dark counsel.

Libertarian suicide:

Were the actions of Lee Kwan Yew un-libertarian? Certainly. But yet he preserved liberty.

Blessed is the man ruled by a wise king, and woe to him ruled by a dogmatic libertarian!

(More here and here.)

This post holds up well.

– I’m not statistician, but that looks like some sort of relationship.

Fred Reed:

As it turned out, there were minor downsides to these sensible policies, but nothing serious. Our children are unattended drug-ridden mall rats, often divorce wreckage, our daughters sexually used at thirteen and growing up hating men, our sons drugged by their teachers and shaped into unhappy transgendered puzzloids. Men avoid marriage because of vindictive feminist courts, the young avoid marriage because of assured divorce. The schools and universities have been enstupidated to hide the failures of particular groups and genders, merit has been superseded by group identity, and here come the Chinese.

But it made sense.

Nick Land: “‘The Cathedral’ is the most brilliant piece of ultra-right agitprop ever, and we’re seriously talking about abandoning it?”

Nick B. Steves:

In case you hadn’t noticed, we live in a fallen world. Sin is not merely lawbreaking. It is also a disease. Everyone is making progress on the path of righteousness or regressing. Most of us are doing a bit of both every day. But we have 98% of the Christian Church backsliding in its attempt to make peace with feminism. (Hell, for all practical purposes, the Christian (so-called) church invented the damn thing!) That is a negative vector with respect to the truth. But over here on the Secular Right, we find, after filtering out the wideband noise, we have a few adulterers who happen to have a positive vector with respect to the truth.

Who’s on your side? Who will be on your side a generation from today?

Or – depending on your taste – GBFM:

my church defuneded my bible studey study greta books for men club cause they needed the moneyz to fund the “Repentant Sisterhood of the Sore Buttholez in Search of Beta Providers to Support Our Bastard Kidz” Bible study club zlozozozozo

Sailer on Lincoln.

The organic state and the 12 points of neoreaction.

A couple critiques of the reaction.

Charlton reviews Kalb.

– Did the last great American inventor just die?

79 Responses to Randoms

  1. Arakawa says:

    I find the divide expressed in Nick B. Steves’ post fascinating, if somewhat frivolous. It only comes into serious play if and when someone tries to set up a reactionary institution. This will inevitably have (formally or informally enforced) standards of conduct and discourse, not to mention a defined goal; but the only ‘reactionary institutions’ I see around are blogs, where agreement and disagreement is a peculiarly debased currency, there is no obvious goal being pursued, and formally enforcing a standard of discourse is very much a privilege of the proprietor.

    As for the divide itself, it goes much deeper than just questions about sex and Game.

    The religious Right is concerned with cultivating the soul, and analyzes the broader structure of modern society in terms of the peculiar obstacles it puts in the path of such cultivation. Thus any problems in society are quickly translated away from institutions and to the reader’s personal conduct, producing recommendations on the personal level which are inconvenient, have no obvious temporal reward nor likelihood of fixing things on an institutional scale, but are good for the soul.

    (Cultivation of the soul, and the nature of the soul, can be conceived in terms of any number of traditional frameworks, most of them Christian, but something like Buddhism works in this argument as well. But the tendency of the recommendations produced would still be to renounce temporal advantage in one form or another, so the analyses of actual society would closely match. This is why it’s not surprising to find a Buddhist commenter or two on the otherwise dogmatically-Christian Orthosphere.)

    At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Dark Enlightenment that contemplates faults on the societal scale, and interventions on a societal scale (mostly hypothetical). If the personal scale of adapting to the modern environment is talked about, it is in terms of deriving temporal advantage (in whatever sense) from an accurate knowledge of the present reality.

    These two perspectives are asking fundamentally different questions, which is why the two sides talk past each other on a regular basis, and why I have difficulty seeing any institution much more purposeful than a blog arising that serves the interest of both.

    (For me, the divide can be seen more clearly when we toss away the emotional baggage of sex and look at something like the storm-in-a-teacup that resulted from Bruce Charlton’s post on weightlifting.)

    • I have observed on a couple of occasions that it seems it’s more of a Catholic (small-o orthodox) vs. Protestant (small-m manicheist) divide. It must be noted that Bruce Charlton is still formally a Protestant. And Larry Auster was until the last week of his life. Catholics are comfortable with Nature, and what She teaches, and confident that whatever She teaches is perfectly coherent with what Divine Revelation teaches… because all truth is God’s truth and there is only one truth, and that is truth, and all truth is true. Many Protestants say they believe this, but they tend to trip over hard cases. Sex realism and human sexual psychology is one of those cases

  2. Vladimir says:

    “‘The Cathedral’ is the most brilliant piece of ultra-right agitprop ever, and we’re seriously talking about abandoning it?”

    Agitprop makes sense when you control the big megaphones. In contrast, for a tiny and utterly marginalized intellectual community, creating and spreading agitprop is downright self-destructive. The mass of adherents gained this way will be far too small to matter in the world at large, but it will certainly be large enough to drown out their intellectual superiors and drive the discourse down to the level of their own self-important stupidity.

    Therefore, the fact that a certain meme has shown to be an effective piece of agitprop should be a reason for abandoning it, not cherishing it.

    • Konkvistador says:

      A common vocabulary is needed to make intellectual progress and any word that is part of such a vocabulary will by definition be localy popular. As soon as you have quality and no filtering you will see inevitable misused by those ignorant of or misunderstanding the concept.

      Let us not be abstract here. Two proposed replacements have been mentioned on twitter. The Hive which is Sobran’s term if I recall correctly, has misleading associations and today a bad sci fi ring to it. The other is The Synagogue. Do I even need to explain why the latter is an order of magnitude worse on your criteria? I commented the best reason to keep “The Cathedral” is that all the wrong people are asking it should be changed.

      I think you at one point mentioned the Polygon in a different comment. It has in Moldbug’s use a different definition. Perhaps you think that a more useful concept? It may well be, but that is a different criticism than the one you present in this post.If it was used as widely as the Cathedral it would suffer from the same problems you seem to fear.

      What you wish to avoid seems more doable by encouraging “The Cathedral” to be kept a neatly defined and technical term, not the name of an dark angry god. People using it in a way inconsistent with its definition should be corrected or not engaged.

      • Vladimir says:

        I don’t have any constructive proposals here. I’m just pointing out that the alleged success in spreading these memes is not a success at all if it has the form of propaganda, i.e. if they are being adopted in degenerate and dumbed-down forms by wider circles of people whose level of knowledge and understanding (let alone capacity for valuable contribution) is depressingly low. The “Cathedral” meme is already gone so far down this path that I can hardly bring myself to use this word any more.

        As Moldbug pointed out correctly in one of his old articles, if there is any hope for building high-quality independent intellectual institutions, one of the crucial conditions, for a multitude of obvious reasons, is not to permit wider circulation of their ideas in vulgar and debased versions. Seeing that the recent expansion of the reactionary blogosphere has unleashed these malign forces of decay in a poweful form, I can’t offer anything but these jeremiads in response. This doesn’t have much point any more, since I’ve already said what had to be said and I’m mostly repeating myself, but sometimes I just can’t resist responding to people who misdiagnose this decay as a triumph.

  3. Steve Sailer says:

    I don’t get the point of “the Cathedral.” I’m normally pretty good at picking up connotations, but I simply don’t get this term at all. When I hear the word “cathedral,” I think of a beautiful building like Chartres, and how happy I felt while I was inside it looking at the stained glass windows. I think how sad it is that the first Gothic cathedral, St. Denis, was destroyed by French Revolutionaries. Eventually, I think of how Moldbug’s historical arch-villains, the English Protestant left and their American Congregationalist and Unitarian offshoots, were famously “low church” — i.e., anti-cathedrals. I guess I’m too ignorant of history and culture to understand the implications of the term, but if I don’t know enough stuff for the phrase to mean much to me, how big is your market?

    • James says:

      Moldbug may have adapted the term from Thomas Carlyle. I wouldn’t be surprised, since proto-Moldbuggian tropes are also clearly evident in Public Opinion, James Burnham’s The Machiavellians, Nozick and so on.

      I suppose it connotes imposing size, and also the unofficial power wielded by those in command of a popular metaphysical doctrine.

      • Francis St. Pol says:

        I don’t think it’s that complicated. Moldbug’s a software guy, and pretty clearly was referring to Eric Raymond’s The Cathedral and the Bazaar. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cathedral_and_the_Bazaar

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Thanks to James and Francis St. Pol for the background.

        I still don’t find the term “the Cathedral” galvanizing.

        Cathedrals are big beautiful buildings that tourists take pictures of. If you want something metaphorical that, for whatever reason, sounds anti-Catholic, why not “the Seminary”? That sounds more sinister than “the Cathedral.”

      • josh says:

        I think its because he wants to get across that there are institutions that, when they speak, speak ex cathedra.

        Moldbug is anti-Christian, but I think if pressed he would say that Catholicism is the best(most reactionary) form of Christianity. I would guess he would also consider it “less Christian”. I hate to be the guy to say it, but he’s got some pretty jewy hang-ups.

      • Foseti says:

        This is why we need this discussion. I don’t think he’s anti-Christain at all. He’s pro the sincere religious aspects of it. He’s anti the social gospel progressive tendencies of mass-Christianity. I believe this is an important distinction.

      • K(yle) says:

        IMO the “sincere” parts of the religion are basically extraneous. You don’t need Jesus, or the Trinity or whatever to be a good Christian. The ‘social gospel’ is really all Christianity is about. The whole point of the religion is to spread the Good News. I can’t recall what that is off the top of my head, but I certainly know I need to go inform some foreigners that they need my help being spiritually enriched, for some materialist quid pro quo.

        I think Moldbug is anti-Christian, but not in the Movement Atheist or New Age sense of just being butthurt. This is like the debate over whether Heidegger was a Nazi. At first Heidegger wasn’t ‘really’ a Nazi, because he was so brilliant and his philosophy didn’t really have anything to do with Jews or German Nationalism. Then as we’ve drifted further and further away from this conflict and it has become this apical myth of a considerably more cemented modernity, and Heidegger has been revisited and it’s apparent that he was opposed to the revolutionary modernity, the era of mass man, the ‘sanctity of life’ itself, well of course he was a Nazi.

        He wasn’t a universalist, so he was evil. And Moldbug isn’t a universalist, so he’s evil. He doesn’t need to have any tribal animus against Christians anymore than Heidegger needed to agree with a single word in Mein Kampf. At a deep philosophical level Moldbug’s worldview isn’t compatible with Christianity.

        Movement Atheists are still morally Christian. They believe in good and evil and are just butthurt over the semi-arbitrary nature of those definitions. A Moldbuggian world in denying universalism denies Christianity a place in the world. It’s a moral reversal of the entire world that Christians have built (but have since lost to better universalists). The arrangement that Christians will have in a Moldbuggian world is considerably worse than what they have now, because they won’t just be bickering with degenerate post-Christian elites about definitions of good and evil.

        The Christian will tell the aristocracy (should they even have a voice) that this is evil or that is evil, and the aristocracy will say, “What’s this word? Evil? I’m afraid I don’t know that one. Are you suggesting there is some qualitatively negative outcome from my policy? Look, you seem to be suffering, and I’d like to alleviate that. Here is what you can do to expiate this mental virus you seem to be afflicted with that causes you to so much distress over nothing. If none of that works for you, well I’ve got my own problems, like hungry lions, and I can be done with my real problems and you with your false ones all in one go.”

      • josh says:

        I didn’t think he was anti-christian until he kinda sorta implied it killed the Roman empire. I think he believes that Christianity contains the germ of revolution which was surpressed by the Church, when in fact Christianity is anti-revolutionary in its essence.

    • K(yle) says:

      The Church is still the face of Christianity in the West, so Catholic labels I suppose have the most resonance. Perhaps in part due to a history Protestant anti-Catholic rhetoric as well. Ironically some of Moldbug sounds a bit like High Protestantism railing against the Catholics.

      All in all I don’t think the term works either, because the concept is actually quite crude and doesn’t need a great deal of explication. I think it resonates more with ex-libertarians than with anyone who didn’t come to “reaction” via libertarianism.

      “The Cathedral” essentially eradicates the boogey man of “The State” and exercises egalitarian notions of “Rights” from the mind and seems profound if you had already bought into that bit of thinking in the first place.

    • Gilbert P says:

      I can see myself parking the jag next to a slab of brutalist concrete in the nearest metropolis and spraying ‘Take back the Cathedral’ in two foot letters. But this pin-striped delinquent would draw the line at ‘Demolish the Cathedral’, ‘Destroy the Cathedral’ or ‘Burn down the Cathedral’.

      I could spray ‘Reboot the Cathedral’, but then I wouldn’t know what I meant.

  4. Anon says:

    The connotations are too Catholic and too medieval. Those were the good ol’ days. Needs to be exactly correct a lot more than it needs to by agitating propaganda.

    There is no great army of reactionaries waiting for the call; the only way through is to convince the smartest and most arrogant people in the world they’ve lived their entire lives in savage error and they have a choice between crushing guilt and rectitude, or to wallow in lies. So… good luck, Semmelweis.

  5. Anon says:

    The connotations are too Catholic and too medieval. Those were the good ol’ days. Needs to be exactly correct a lot more than it needs to be agitating propaganda.

    There is no great army of reactionaries waiting for the call; the only way through is to convince the smartest and most arrogant people in the world they’ve lived their entire lives in savage error and they have a choice between crushing guilt and rectitude, or to wallow in lies. So… good luck, Semmelweis.

  6. Steve Sailer says:

    “I think its because he wants to get across that there are institutions that, when they speak, speak ex cathedra.”

    Okay, I like that. But, still, just as one datapoint, the “ex cathedra” angle never occurred to me.

    • VXXC says:

      @ Sailer – You do realize that most of these people are literally ex cathedra, they’re employees of the Cathedral. The largest concentration seems to be around DC, these are young, bright government employees. From their chairs their employers prospects appear dim. You might call them July 20ers. 😀

      Nah, let’s go with Dark Enlightenment. It’s Gnostic too. Cool.

      • VXXC, have you heard of the genetic fallacy? It’s not the one where you find out you were adopted.

      • VXXC says:

        Why Nick – strike a nerve there? I actually wasn’t trying. I can quite trace my family to the 12th century, and am old enough to see Dad in the mirror 🙂

        I was addressing Mr. Sailer’s [unintended I’m sure] ironic concerns about ex cathedra, and earlier pointing to his concerns that Cathedral will make people think of Gothic architectural wonders are not actually an issue.

        Actually I paid DEC a compliment by comparing DCDEC with the July 20 plotters, which as a fellow Catholic you should recognize as a compliment. They also had the inside view from the chair as it were…and not at all do I condemn them for it, it’s actually courageous in a way. I only get rowdy when they get snobby.

        Not only are Beltway credentials no mark against, it leds credibility and even perhaps dare we dream position to …dream.

        Which may pantos – happen anyway.

        So no their origins far from defects are strengths.

        And again Mr. Sailer they are speaking literally ex cathedra. Which means we should…listen.

  7. Steve Sailer says:

    ““The Cathedral” essentially eradicates the boogey man of “The State””

    Okay, that makes sense. It’s useful to have a term for, say, forces that mold what is thought without necessarily being part of the government. But, once again, to most people the connotations of cathedrals just aren’t sinister enough. Most people think of Gothic cathedrals as amazing accomplishments given the backwardness of the time.

    • VXXC says:

      @Sailer — Cathedral stuck. Marketing sticky WIN.

      “Most people think of Gothic cathedrals as amazing accomplishments given the backwardness of the time.”

      DO THEY?

      Most people think of Cathedrals as a really big old Church.

      Most people think Gothic means black makeup.

      Most people think or at least have been operantly conditioned to feel they are the bestest brightest most technologically advanced peeples ever evah and aren’t even slightly aware we’ve at best stopped in science’s advancement.

      Most people feel [not think] that the past was backward, they’d be hard pressed to defend the proposition.

      But then most people would feel that if you asked them to defend the proposition that you were trying to entice them to sex.

    • It the singularity of The Cathedral, vis-a-vis one of many, that gives the term its edge. It is the name of a cult, probably a gnostic one, even if you’ve never heard of Moldbug.

      • VXXC says:

        Yes keep Cathedral. It’s one of the 3 most heartening developments of the past few years – a name for a vague enemy in the shadows that sticks.

        Of course the other two are the Tea Party and the internal Arms Race.

    • Handle says:

      @Steve Sailer: I’ve never been too enamored with the term “Cathedral”, and I agree it lacks instant traction in terms of its mass marketing potential. I’d prefer “The Complex” or “The Network” or “The Constellation” or something evocative of a tug of war team – independent spontaneously-coordinated entities but with aligned interests slowly but surely pulling the public in the same general direction.

      On the other hand, I find the more sinister the term, the more nutty-conspiracy-theorist it sounds; and that’s counterproductive. A positive-connotation word seems counterintuitive but also immunizes against that sort of dismissiveness.

      But then again, any term for a social grouping phenomenon sounds weird to those who’ve never thought about explicitly identifying the subculture before. Millennials? Goths? Try introducing those words to an old midwesterner and the puzzled, suspiciously disapproving face you’ll get is the same thing you’ll see on most people’s countenances if you start talking about “The Cathedral” in whatever term you choose to use.

      However, it’s the only term I’ve come across that captures the fundamentally religious nature of the ideological miasma. For instance, you recently wrote:

      Thus, to release these psychic tensions, the press occasionally does us the favor of picking out a ritual sacrifice like Zimmerman. His public crucifixion fulfills our unarticulated need to symbolically expiate our manifold sins of desecrating the sacred ideology that demands we never notice patterns.

      Very theological. Indeed, I find that I reflexively fall back on the whole spectrum of theological terms when I think about these social subjects. Heresy, Blasphemy, Witch-hunt, Orthodoxy, etc. Even “Taboo” which basically meant the same thing to the Fijians as the Hebrew/Yiddish “Treif” or Hebrew/Arabic “Haram”.

      Also, and fundamentally, it’s the analogue to the way people write about the power and influence of “The Church”, especially in the medieval context. For example, Foseti does that here.

      Our universities and our press avoid certain subjects as rigorously as any medieval employee of the Church.

      Bottom Line: I don’t quite love it, but I haven’t been convinced that’s anything’s better. For my part, I prefer to refer simply to “The Progressives”, but for abbreviating the concept of a structure of public-opinion molding institutions dominated by the Progressives, what else you got?

  8. VXXC says:

    Well if you want to do nothing then dump it. Take Land’s advice, ignore them and keep “The Cathedral”.

    If you wish however to bask in the glow of your Intellectual Superiority and keep out the riff raff..and do nothing…why even bother?

    Our Intellectual Superiors are destroying Civilization and it’s underpinnings mostly out of snobbery and above all boredom. To the extent they succeed increases their chances of being eaten by riff raff.

    Cathedral: Keep it. It’s actually almost too toney for Reboot, but it’s catchy enough in a gnostic sort of way. And more importantly it’s caught on.

  9. Mrs. Johnson says:

    ESR’s argument was that the Bazaar was better. This was a stupid argument for what should be fairly obvious reasons. This is also why responding to criticism of The Cathedral as a meme with ‘lol ur dum read ESR’s essay!’ simply serves to emphasize the core problems with the meme, which Mr. Sailer and others have already noted.

    The Bazaar isn’t better, and arguing in favor of it effectively with the use of ‘The Cathedral’ as a meme is…shall we say unhelpful in winning hearts and minds.

  10. Nick Land says:

    It’s surely not seriously being suggested (by Steve Sailer, for e.g.) that potential reactionary critics of progressivism hear the association with ‘the Cathedral’ and conclude, “Cathedrals are beautiful old buildings, so progressivism can’t be so bad after all”?
    The basic progressive claim is to have departed from the darkness of religious medievalism for the sunny uplands of endless secular moral improvement. Moldbug finds an extremely ingenious way to demonstrate that their guiding institutions function as a state religion (at once pious, and unreformed or non-pluralistic). Hence ‘the Cathedral’ as a perfectly aimed, and slowly twisted knife. It’s not that difficult.

  11. Red says:

    What are the neo-reactionaries goals? If you’re trying to start a movement then you need propaganda, foot soldiers, organization, ect. If your here to find and preserve truth so that you can advise those in charge after the fall then getting hung up semantics and propaganda shouldn’t be a high priority. Collecting, organizing, and preserving knowledge should be.

    Anyone building the anti-versity?

  12. duck says:

    Cathedral is a new word for an already well-described thing: “New Class” being an earlier attempt to neologize it. I remember also “the propasphere” as another neologism being bandied about in WN circles 15-20 years ago. The Propasphere = the fog of propaganda (state, church, school, academia, mass media, etc) in which we all mentally operate, usually without realizing it. From propaganda + sphere; a la atmosphere = propasphere.

  13. Nick Land says:

    Comparing ‘the Cathedral’ as a (truly brutal) branding device with ‘the New Class’ (which sounds complimentary) and ‘Propasphere’ (which sounds like empty polemic, at best) tells us everything we need to keep using it.

  14. This discussion – its topic, its nature, its style – is precisely analogous to discussions among post 1960s Marxist/ New Leftist intellectuals with which I am very familiar from several decades of engagement in my pre-Christian years.

    On the one hand, this might be regarded as a positive feature – since the New Left intellectuals and ‘student revolutionaries’ became very personally successful and culturally dominant.

    So, if that is what you are after, okay…

    But the New Left was… Left.

    And that is what all this Dark Enlightenment/ Cathedral/ Red Pill/ Game/ ‘secular Right’ business actually is – it is all just a new style or clique of Leftism; with exactly the usual constituents and properties of mainstream bohemian Leftism.

    All secular ideologies reduce to Leftism.

    If you really want to be of the Right, you have to be religious – *choose your religion*.

    End of story.

    • Foseti says:

      Are any mass-religious movements really better?

      I know deeply religious individuals that are sincerely rightist, but the movements all end up leftist. This phenomenon is particularly apparent these days with seemingly all religious leaders campaigning for immigration reform.

      • Being religious is necessary but (obviously) not sufficient to be on the Right.

        Don’t be distracted by specifics which can come and go (the Old Left was anti immigration). You can’t choose a religion with a secular shopping list – choose the main non-negotiable (for me it is fertility – I don’t think immigration is a suitable topic for this: *all* sensible people would control immigration, and open borders mass immigration is simply a symptom of suicidal self hatred or psychosis).

        The main religious Right institution on an international scale has over a billion adherents.

      • Foseti says:

        I don’t really follow. If you think of periods of mass outbursts of progressivism in US history, they’re pretty well correlated with mass outbursts of Christianity. For example, we can thank the second great awakening for the civil war (abolitionism), woman’s suffrage, temperance, etc.

        Am I really to draw the conclusion that mass-Christianity will lead to some sort of rightward shift, when the opposite has been the case?

      • First Christianity is 2000 years old, and if you look at a micro level you may be looking at noise.

        Second, Leftism has been growing for c 1000 years, and whenever there is reaction the Leftism continues underneath.

        Third, the great awakening people were different individuals and groups from the progressives – think of the Mormons establishing a non-democratic theocracy in Utah at the same time as progressivism got going elsewhere in the US.

      • Arakawa says:

        “Are any mass-religious movements really better?

        I know deeply religious individuals that are sincerely rightist, but the movements all end up leftist.”

        The thing is, again, effective religion (of whatever flavour) is concerned not with society, but with the soul (however you define that – but it clearly includes the portion of the self not accessible to direct, rational inspection) and with the question of eradicating the evil in it (however you define that). (Answers to the parenthetical questions are what distinguish specific religions.)

        If your religion’s goal is to be a societal movement, amassing followers, gaining power, &c, &c, and you ignore the soul entirely, that defeats the point of having a religion in the first place. (Which is why it’s plausible to describe Universalism as a heresy that leads to progressivism. In the Christian framework, postulating guaranteed salvation is pretty much the simplest way to ensure you have no reason or motivation to concern yourself with the state of your own soul.)

        On the other hand, eradicating the evil in your soul – to the best of your ability – is a prerequisite to participating in any sort of political activity that doesn’t make things worse. If you don’t believe in the soul, or don’t believe that it contains evil, or that the modern environment puts the soul in danger of deterioration (and that this is a huge part of why the reaction is desirable), or if you believe all this but somehow think you’re magically exempt from it — then by your own logic, you have no use for religion. But I would question whether you can be trusted with something like the reaction.

      • josh says:

        The mass outbreaks in leftism are not associated with outbreaks in Christianity. They are associated with individuals denying the authority of traditional institutions to adjudicate religious questions. The result is that a) the prophets of these movements tend to gain adherents by suspending moral law, appealing to blood lust, libido and pride and b) the only way to settle the question is by force majeure. The US was already broadly “Christian” by your sociological definition, these were instances of limited civil war in which were fought to bring about a new Jerusalem on earth with the sword as opposed to the patient suffering of Christ and a kingdom not of this world.

        So if Christianity is a memeplex, these instances were hardly associated with becoming more Christian. If Christianity is an actual thing, these movements were associated with a rejection of the *essential* Christian tenet that the messiah had *already come*. It is not a coincidence that we find connections between messianic Judaism and messianic protestantism over and over throughout history.

      • K(yle) says:

        This is all a lot of No True Scotsman denialism.

        You can say “religiosity” is a necessary component but what you are really talking about is essentialism, or a “religious” way of thinking, as opposed to the particular brand of existentialism that pervades the west. That is to say that essentialism gets out of the trap of heuristic thinking, which isn’t actually possible, because we aren’t biologically wired to interact with the world that way.

        Christianity doesn’t actually get out of this trap though. Existentialism is nothing but a way for people to attempt to rationalize Christian morality, which has no rationalization because it doesn’t actually make any sense. It has no primordial root other than being antagonistic to authority, in order to usurp power. Which doesn’t stop once Christians are in power, because another group of Christians will want that power and use Christianity as their justification as to why they should have it.

        Christians will point to “Pay Caesar his due” as some point towards authority, except Caesar was the enemy of Christians and that is Christianity’s relationship to authority. You are being told to pay your taxes because it’s in your best interest at the moment. You can’t win a war now, so obey authority, and hate every minute of it. It’s a heuristic analysis of the landscape of power. It’s existentialism in the Bible.

    • VXXC says:

      Cathedral WON. Cathedral is sticky. Cathedral stuck.

      Okay indeed. Some people might want to win.

      I think you’ll find winning is important in certain struggles.

      And certain struggle is what all will get, whether they be humble or not. See below. Odd. You know the American Warrior considers humility to be a virtue, and they certainly struggle against every side. The people before you wish to kill you, the people behind you to jail you. They prevail yet are humble. Perhaps Humility is a virtue to be emulated.


    • Being religious is necessary but (obviously) not sufficient to be on the Right.

      Dr. Charlton, this is obviously wrong. You bear the stupidity of it yourself. It’s a simple case of the No True Scotsman fallacy. And few people could be so clever as to fall for it. You do not speak for the Orthosphere on this matter.

      All secular ideologies reduce to Leftism.

      This is only true if you claim all ideologies are inherently leftist—a plausible claim. But then what (so-called) ideology, i.e., totalizing meta-narrative, do you think non-religious rightists (but not really), are trying to propagate?

      If you really want to be of the Right, you have to be religious&mdash*choose your religion*.

      With all due respect, Dr. Charlton, I’d advise to choose yours.

  15. Nick Land says:

    “If you really want to be of the Right, you have to be religious – *choose your religion*.”
    — Confucianism (it’s record on resisting leftist degeneration is unparalleled)

    • VXXC says:

      @ Land – WIN. LOL.

      Mr. Charlton the only Catholics I see in Church under 70 who aren’t cowards [and 70 is a bit old for struggle] aren’t from you know my tribe. They also have a vested interest and a leader who’s in favor of importing new parishoners at any cost. This new fellow you see in practice is quite leftist. If they keep electing such they’ll cave on everything. In America the parishoners they’ll import could in sufficient numbers get the entire leftist program affirmed by plebescite.

      The other Christians have such high trust society baggage they’ll believe any good Church going folk, like GWB for instance. FAIL

      I’m actually a big believer in Ol Time Religion but it has failed, failed, epic failed at every trial against the Progs. It’s nearly always easily co-opted.

      Besides in what may be coming religion will only hopelessly complicate and prolong agony

      • Nick Land says:

        Appreciated. But it appears Mr. Charlton, far from anchoring himself in Peter’s Church, is departing reformed Christianity in the direction of Mormonism. We have an ardent modernist on our hands.

      • KevinNowell says:

        Pope Francis is not a leftist and religion has not failed at every trial against the Progs (see Pinochet and Franco).

    • nydwracu says:

      Mencius Moldbug.

      Although I’ve been wondering lately if he’s ever read Han Feizi.

  16. Konkvistador says:

    This discussion of the term the Cathedral is disappointing to me. The Cathedral is a term with a clear definition given by Moldbug. It may be misnamed but in the past intellectual schools and sciences have been productive for centuries without adressing such misleading linguistic details.

    Either The Cathedral is a useful concept or it is not. The string of characters of the concept doesn’t matter as long as misuse of the term is punished and pointed out. A Cathedral by any other name would not rule my mind less or smell like a rose. I would be happy with Cathedral being replaced with Ghj21-B if that was the widely used term. Indeed its awkward spelling might serve as a mini test if the person has read the relevant essay or merely seen it thrown around. Popularization isn’t my priority, you can’t beat demotism by merely being more popular than demotism, that is what demotism *is*.

    The only way to change the term in a way that will actually be adopted by everyone relevant to have Moldbug declare that he has changed the term for the concept. Write him an email if you think your case is so incredibly good to be worth the CPU time this discussion has already spent. This is not low hanging fruit for improving the blogosphere.

    • Vladimir says:

      Popularization isn’t my priority, you can’t beat demotism by merely being more popular than demotism, that is what demotism *is*.

      This point cannot be emphasized enough. At this point in history, the idea of spreading reactionary ideas by means of propaganda is stupendously wrongheaded. In fact, there is probably not a single idea more hostile and dangerous for the prospect of building a serious and interesting intellectual community around these blogs. (A prospect for which I have almost completely lost hope recently, seeing how attempts to put this idea into practice are being hailed with enthusiasm here and elsewhere.)

      • Nick Land says:

        Vladimir, I think you can afford to lighten up a little on this. It’s a humorous marker of defiance, not an attempt to sweep the masses into an orgiastic state of revolutionary fury.

      • Reactionary Propaganda:

        Certainly it will take much more than that to defeat the Cathedral; but you cannot seriously think it can be defeated with less.

        If you happen to have a couple of well placed Colonels up your sleeve, we’re listening…

      • nydwracu says:

        The question re: demotism is: is there anything that must be done soon? If so, then we have to play the game of demotism, while still organizing against it.

        How? Separate exoteric and esoteric systems. The people the DE organizes against immigration and so on don’t need to know their organizers are working against the Whig project itself.

      • nickbsteves says:

        Wow Nyd, good questions.

        Clearly demotism has not worked well for any sort of conservatism, unless by conservatism you happen to mean a useless brake—where the hydraulics have been intentionally cut—on progressivism.

        The trouble is white middle class men look positively terrible on Victim Posters.

        The type of “demotism” that might work is getting white middle class men (and the women they dominate) developing a sense of solidarity qua middle class whites: we’re getting screwed and when we get angry enough, we really can be as scary as in the movies—goin’ all bourgeois on your sorry asses.

        But this is not something that can be accomplished at the ballot box…

  17. Use “Cathedral.” It’s pithy, easy to remember, and sticky.

    I appreciate the perceived swipe at the Catholic Church but Rome is not a reactionary force at this point. Catholicism needs Empire. The current Empire is globalist secular democracy. The Church already has the globalist part down and the latest Pontiff, eagerly welcoming Muslims into Italy to fill mosques, seems quite comfortable with everything else. Catholic charities administer public housing and immigration in the US. The Church has NO problem with secular democracy. Indeed, she is becoming its champion. The best the Catholics have right now are Buchanan and Scalia, who seem to relish their role as Thomas More-gadflies to the secular State. They are not revolutionaries, and they are both elderly. The Church has carved out a toleration for Islam; she will carve out a toleration for abortion and homosexuality as well.

    Protestantism is not conservative in any sense. All protestants end up either as jews or the last Christian, wandering the land with a KJV under their arm. Or they become atheists, like the US Episcopal church and the church of England.

    Bruce mentions Mormonism, but none of the leadership believe in their founder’s delusions any more. They are trying to find a non-embarassing way to turn it into another protestant denomination.

    Orthodoxy or death, and God forbid, the Orthodox could all very well be dead in five generations.

  18. SOBL1 says:

    I’ve supported “cathedal” here before, so I’m repeating myself. Cathedral also taps into the message that modern progs are overzealous priests of the universalist faith. The religious connotations make for easy comparisons to their behavior as pious zealots, their beliefs are articles of faith and superstition, and their attitude towards heretics, witches, etc. Marx has died, Marx has risen, Marx will come again.

  19. chucho says:

    It’s worth noting that Moldbug’s blog was full of neologisms, and as a software developer he surely didn’t want to keep redefining his constants.

  20. a Newsreader says:

    I agree that The Cathedral is a confusing term for those not steeped in Moldbuggism. Why not take a cue from The Dark Enlightenment and modify the term with a juicy adjective? I suggest something like The Blue Cathedral or something that leaves no ambiguity that we’re not talking about Chartres.

    • josh says:

      I like Cathedral a lot more than I like the “Dark Enlightenment”. I would prefer the counter-enlightenment to the dark enlightenment. Dark enlightenment implies consanguinity with the Enlightenment. It also implies sinisterness. Why would I want to be part of such a thing? Oh, right, because its cool and I want to be cool.

      • a Newsreader says:

        That is a good point. I agree.

        And I’ll expand on my suggestion. The reason the term “The Cathedral” works as a description of the progressive power structure is because it is a poignant image of opaque religious authority. The problem is that the image of a cathedral is also of legitimate religious authority, of beauty, and of that which is noble in the Western tradition.

        If, like Moldbug, you are arguing within the context of agnostic progressivism, the image of the cathedral connotes authoritarianism, capriciousness, greed, and backwardness (note, Moldbug writes to the progressives and for those in the know). But how would my mother react to an otherwise sensible argument containing denunciations of the Cathedral? We aren’t just fooling around here, are we?

        We would be making a mistake to couch our arguments about the progressive power structure exclusively in irony. Such rhetoric is excellent for pointing out contradictions in our opponents’ worldview, but it risks clouding our own.

        If I understand the reaction correctly, there is no hidden knowledge. Its aims are clear. Speaking an unintuitive argot risks turning a genuine restoration movement into yet another Gnostic cult. Our only defense is the truth.

        So, I think some term like “The Blue Cathedral” or “The Dark Cathedral” or some such could be nearly as poignant as “The Cathedral”, but also much more accurate.

      • ODSM says:

        “The Progressive Cathedral”.

  21. VXXC says:

    “For freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies.Leave men free, and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically” – Durant’s Dark Counsel.

    That’s fine with me, I’ll go with Freedom. Mere equality under the law and an Anglican assent to the Declaration of Independence works just fine, and I think that will sell in America.

    • It will sell among the Anglo-Americans, which is why the Cathedral is hell-bent on replacing them.

      Even Pope Francis encourages the replacement of Christian Europeans with Muslim Africans. The man’s first overseas trip was to the disaster known as Lampedusa, so he could blubber over immigrants.

      +Benedict was the last gasp. The Roman patriarchate will be modernist and social democratic for the remainder of its existence.

  22. Vladimir says:

    Nick L.,

    Vladimir, I think you can afford to lighten up a little on this. It’s a humorous marker of defiance…

    I didn’t mean to harp on your particular statement. What unnerves me is the general tendency towards the propagandistic approach. Your statement was just a proximate motivation for my rant.

    • Foseti says:

      It’s really more mockery than propaganda. If there’s one thing we need, it’s more mockery – disdainful mockery.

      • Vladimir says:

        Unless you have a credible way of asserting higher status than the target of your mocking, it’s extremely hard to pull off disdainful mockery that won’t fall flat and make you look like an angry loser or a delusional crackpot. Very few people have the literary talent necessary to achieve this consistently.

      • Foseti says:

        I agree. Yet isn’t “the Cathedral” a perfect example of what works? It mocks those who think they’re above religion, it conveys information about the structure of their beliefs, and it’s beautifully concise.

  23. KevinNowell says:

    Where has Pope Francis “encourage[d] the replacement of Christian Europeans with Muslim Africans”? He has done nothing of the sort. He has only followed in the footsteps of his namesake by trying to live a life of Christian charity and exhorting the flock in his care to do likewise. St Francis was noted for his attempted rapprochement with the Saracens in his day.

    Your predictions about the Roman patriarchate will be proven wrong as Christ’s Catholic Church has been and will be the only consistent enemy of modernsim until the end times.

    • The glory days are long gone for Rome. The Church has jumped on the secular, modernist bandwagon and will be the champion of social democracy from here on out. Catholic charities all over the world are engaged in immigration resettlement.

      +Francis is the latest in a line of liberal, mushy-headed Catholic churchmen more concerned with Muslim infidels looking for wealthy welfare states to parasitize than their own flock. Rome will come to depend completely on remittances from the Americas while issuing epistles on “the poor” and “immigrants” as mosques rise across what was formerly Christendom. That spectacle at Lampedusa was ridiculous and a betrayal.

  24. Vladimir says:

    Nick B. Steves,

    To this I can only respond by asking how many mass media editors, Ivy League professors, high-level education bureaucrats, etc. you have up your sleeve. Because the idea of winning a propaganda war without access to these big megaphones is just as delusional as the idea of winning a shooting war without access to heavy weapons.

    On the other hand, getting into the business of propaganda is guaranteed to unleash the forces of corruption and decay that I’ve already described at length.

    • Well “the people” seem very much to like the Limbaughs of the world, either in spite of, or BECAUSE of, the fact that the Schoolmarms hate him, and think anyone who listens to him insufferably gauche. Imagine a Limbaugh who wasn’t quite so sanguine about the whole American exceptionalism, pro-GOP, flag-waving, god is on our side-thing… AND who didn’t have to worry about offending advertisers.

      Progressivism is a mind virus that preys on certain inborn insecurities… immunity (and ideally a cure) from it may come from a multitude of places, and mass propaganda is certain to reach the middle sigmas, far better than clear rational arguments could ever hope.

      And it isn’t as though Ivy League professors are *actually* so much superior to the rest… Elizabethtown College might work just fine.

      Although convincing some of the Ivy folks to switch sides is a perfectly laudable goal, IMO.

    • Progressives have won the battles thus far because and only because they have won the propaganda war.

    • Give the masses a couple of soundbites they can rub between their fingers, which invariably send schoolmarms into mindless spitting and you’ll have turned a corner.

    • Arakawa says:

      My intuition is that people of a reactionary persuasion should focus less on ‘propaganda’ and more on ‘culture’ (media, art, literature, technology, wisdom, …). A ‘propaganda’ mindset makes the cultural ingredients worthless except as a means to pursue a short-term political stratagem. A ‘culture’ mindset focuses on producing things that have intrinsic worth, even if they don’t quite overthrow the current society.

      Shun the evil ones, create great things, build institutions that assist you in doing so (as opposed to building political movements), and don’t worry about finding your chance to fight the-Cathedral-or-whatever-you-want-to-call-it. The Cathedral is so opposed to great things that it will soon come and fight you, at which point you will be judged according to the Mandate of Heaven and the fundamental question — can you actually *create* something at all worth fighting for?

      At least, that is how I look at the situation.

      Propaganda is a poor man’s substitute for an actual living and influential culture, as Wonderbread is to a Mennonite loaf.

  25. I share Vladimir’s concerns. I believe a partial solution is to stop being so damn self-referential. The core of the conversation should be to use the framework generated by Moldbug (and augmented by others) to analyze the workings of the modern world in a more refined, meticulous manner. A good model here would be evolutionary biologists who accept and use the framework of natural selection to understand the natural world instead of arguing taxonomy.

  26. Frost says:

    Many political movements use labels that originated as pejoratives applied by their enemies. If the PUAs hadn’t excommunicated us, they would call it a re-frame. It’s a powerful rhetorical tool.

    Coining positively-connoted labels for our enemies has the same effect. They don’t know how to react, and this puts them on the back foot.

    The advantage of using Cathedral and Enlightenment pejoratively is that it forces a pattern interrupt. The reader’s circuits are fried by the discordance between language/logic, and emotion. It can be confusing, but at least now the reader is thinking and reacting, as opposed to just reading the standard talking points.

    A smart young progressive who comes across, say, Alex Jones on the other hand, has been taught exactly how to react to him without engaging any higher brain function at all.

  27. […] Nesta seção de comentários (e em outros lugares), o comentador VXXC cita o Conselho Sombrio de Durant: “Pois a liberdade e a igualdade são inimigas declaradas e perpétuas, e, quando uma prevalece, a outra morre. Deixe os homens livres, e suas desigualdades naturais se multiplicarão quase geometricamente”. Ele, então, observa: “Isso está bom para mim, eu vou com a Liberdade”. Este blog concorda sem reservas. […]

  28. […] intrínseco à Catedral que ela ganhe todos os debates, conforme sucumbe – através da pura vontade-de-poder – […]

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