Review of “Unqualified Reservations” part 1

Part 1: Dr. Johnson’s Hypothesis

As has been noted elsewhere, the phenomenon of referring to oneself as a reactionary is a recent one.

It’s important to remember this fact. The past year has seen an explosion of “reactionary” writing. And I’m left feeling . . . unsettled. The explosion of high-quality Rightist thought is fantastic and should be enthusiastically applauded by anyone outside of the Cathedral (or anyone that enjoys a good argument – is that redundant?). On the other hand, there is something unique about the original neoreactionary thought, and I can’t but feel some of it is getting lost.

I’ve taken a bit of time away from blogging; however, in my absence, I’ve kept up on the reactosphere. My general approach in the past has been to be as inclusive as reasonably possible. If there’s another writer in these dark haunts that’s more inclusive than me, I’d like to know who it is.

However, in reading some of this new stuff, I can’t help thinking that it’s time to restate/reiterate/consolidate the focal points of neoreaction before some of them get lost. While some of this new writing is brilliant, it’s not all original in the same way that early stuff was. I don’t mean to suggest it’s time for some sort of National Review style purge, but I just don’t want to see my kind of reaction get lost in the broader space.

The term “reactionary” has been taken up by people whose ideologies are not new. For example, let’s say you’re basically a Russell Kirk-style conservative. That’s an admirable thing to be. I’ve read and enjoyed Kirk. I plan to read more Kirk. Nevertheless, his sort of thinking is a cornerstone of modern, mainstream Conservatism. If you agree with Kirk on all points, calling yourself a reactionary is just silly – absent some sort of clear distinction.

In an effort to clarify these ramblings, I’ve decided to re-read Unqualified Reservations (God, help me). I’m going to post reviews as I see natural breaking points in the posts. I will also add separate posts on miscellaneous topics as I see fit. Feel free to provide suggestions in the comments. I’ve read about 30% of UR at this point and I’ve seen two breaking points.

The first break point within UR deals with defining the left. Who are the Progressives?

Moldbug’s answer is that the Progressives are a nontheistic Christian sect. I not sure if it was an accident that this is the first full topic that Moldbug considered, but if it was, I think it was a very nice accident.

This first segment of UR ends with the brilliant series on Richard Dawkins (by far my favorite series of UR posts). In this series (more later), Moldbug argues that Richard Dawkins – instead of being an atheistic critic of Christianity – is a hardcore adherent of the world’s most successful sect of Christianity. Instead of arguing against Christianity, Dawkins is arguing for one sect of Christianity over all others. How’s that for a red pill? If that’s correct – and I think it is – almost everyone is wrong about everything.

If pressed, I’d go further. If I was forced to pick the one key tenet of the neoreaction, I’d pick this understanding of Progressivism. To the reactionary, Progressivism is a nontheistic Christain sect. If you don’t understand Progressivism in this way, you simply don’t understand Progressivism.

From this understanding of Progressivism, all other reactionary ideas flow. For example, here’s reactionary history in one sentence is: “Massachusetts, of course, later went on [i.e. after conquering the US in the Civil War] to conquer first Europe and then the entire planet, the views of whose elites in 2007 bear a surprisingly coincidental resemblance to those held at Harvard in 1945.” Similarly, political correctness and diversity-worship really can’t be understood unless they’re viewed as religious beliefs – at which point their operation becomes startlingly clear.

For certain people that have recently decided to call themselves reactionaries, this understanding of Progressivism is an uncomfortable conclusion. For others (like yours truly) the idea that any Western ideology could be entirely devoid of influence from Christianity is absurd.

More importantly, in the neoreaction we’re not concerned with the difference between religion and ideology. As Moldbug says, “You can go from religion to idealism and back simply by adding and subtracting gods, angels, demons, saints, ghosts, etc. . . . Therefore, we’ll just use the word prototype to mean either religion or idealism.” [He goes on to basically never use the word prototype in this way, but the idea is useful].

Believe it or not, even though Moldbug’s definition of the Left is basically the first thing he wrote about, there is a fair amount of debate about this topic in “reactionary” circles. This debate is sometimes referred to as The Puritan Question. (In addition to Puritan, Moldbug also uses the terms: Progressive idealism, ultra-Calvinism, crypto-Christian, Unitarian universalists, etc.)

At this point, I think it’s best to start quoting Moldbug and then briefly review the series on Dawkins after all these points are laid out. In general, I’ll provide quotes in chronological order (although I have grouped some together to help elucidate certain points). I think chronology is important so that you can see Moldbug’s arguments evolving as he begins to work out his theory in more detail. All these quotes are from before the Dawkins series.

Here’s Moldbug (yup, there’s a lot in here, but it’s a review of UR, what do you expect?) (also, if you’re not interested in this evolution, feel free to skip below, where I’ll provide a more detailed review of the Dawkins series):

Progressive Idealism is a nontheistic branch of Christianity, specifically its Unitarian (American) and Nonconformist (British) sects, both of course dating back to the Puritans, who were the first to construct the integrated political, educational and religious system who much-improved descendant now hold Planet Three in its icy, inexorable grip.

. . .

The only reason we don’t think of the Progressives’ descendants, the Psuedo-Democrats, as a Christain party, is that the Psuedo-Democrats don’t want us to. In fact, their theocratic ideology, progressive idealism, is the leading modern descendant of the most powerful American Christian tradition, the “mainline” Protestants, who infested New England in the early 1600s and for some damned reason have never left.

These bastards are the Roundheads, the Puritans, whatever you want to call them, and after their defeat of the last Cavaliers (to be clear, the Slave Power was no picnic either), they have reigned unchallenged in North America. And no less outside it – indeed, more. The beliefs held at Harvard, not those at West Point and certainly not at VMI, are the complacent belches of today’s global transnational governing class.

If they feel some occasional Biblical pang, they sometimes call themselves “Unitarians.” But they have long since discarded the encumbrance of the supernatural, and these days their opinions are simply the truth – “science” or “reason,” usually. I am particularly fond of the phrase “reality-based community,” which is so stupid it’s almost ironic.

. . .

Ultracalvinism is also “tolerant” to branches of other religions which it has in fact taken over, such as Reform Judaism or “moderate” Islam.

. . .

If there is one general weakness in the conservative strategy, it strikes me as this unwillingness to admit that “liberalism” is actually mainline Protestantism, which is actually Christianity. Whether or not it obeys any specific detail of Christian or Protestant doctrine, such as the validity of the Holy Trinity, the existence of God, the divinity of Jesus, the predestination of the elect, etc, etc, etc, is entirely irrelevant. We are talking about a continuous cultural tradition whose superficial features constantly mutate. It’s a waste of time to generate antibodies to metaphysical doctrines.

. . .

If ultracalvinists are Christains, “political correctness” is religious orthodoxy. Hm, where have we seen this before? Perhaps in Massachusetts? I mean, is it any surprise that Ivy League schools are acting, in effect, as ultracalvinist seminaries? Isn’t that exactly what they were founded as?

And what are “multiculturalism” and “diversity” but religious tests for office?

. . .

On the evolution of this religious sect:

Jefferson dumped the Trinity, Emerson relieved us of Hell, and so on down to Harvey Cox and his “secular theology.” (If you think “secular” is synonymous with “atheistic,” the full horror of the situation is not yet clear to you.)

(As an aside, it’s interesting that the current Pope seems to be doing a rather decent imitation of Emerson in this regard. If there’s a better illustration of Moldbug’s point or Conquest’s Second Law, I can’t think of what it might be. If this development surprises you in any way, you’re missing most of the lessons of the reaction.)

. . .


has not disappeared at all – it just mutated into Unitarianism (that is, non-universalist Unitarianism, now itself extinct), which begat Transcendentalism, which begat Unionism, Progressivism, and the ecumenical movement, which became the “super-protestant” Establishment so derided by the late great flower children, who conquered it and gave us multiculturalism, “diversity,” etc.

Not an unusual turn of events at all. Belief systems and languages evolve in much the same ways, and if you look at the historical gyrations of, say, English, the evolution from Calvinism to ultracalvinism seems positively straightforward and sedate.

. . .

Ultracalvinism . . . is the primary surviving descendant of the American mainline Protestant tradition, which has been the dominant belief system of the United States since its founding. It should be no surprise that it continues in this role, or that since the US’s victory in the last planetary war it has spread worldwide.

Ultracalvinism is an ecumenical syncretism of the mainline, not traceable to any one sectarian label. But its historical roots are easy to track with the tag Unitarian. The meaning of this word has mutated considerably in the last 200 years, but at any point since the 1830s it is found attached to the most prestigious people and ideas in the US, and since 1945 in the world. . . .

The “Calvinist” half of this word refers to the historical chain of descent from John Calvin and his religious dictatorship in Geneva, passing through the English Puritans to the New England Unitarians, abolitionists and Transcendentalists, Progressives and Prohibitionists, super-protestants, hippies and secular theologians, and down to our own dear progressive multiculturalists.

The ‘ultra’ half refers to my perception that, at least compared to other Christian sects, the beliefs of this faith are relatively aggressive and unusual.

. . .

Ultracalivinsts believe in:

1. The universal brotherhood of man – i.e. equality

2. The futility of violence – i.e. peace

3. The fair distribution of goods – i.e. social justice

4. The managed society – i.e. community run by benevolent experts

The four points also feature prominently in a little book called Looking Backward, which appeared in 1888 and sold about a bazillion copies. The author of this novel was not a Hindu. His readers were not Zoroastrians. The political movement that Bellamy helped spawn did not put its faith in Allah. And nor were any of these folks atheists, which was still quite a dirty word at the time. . . .

In fact, the four points are very common and easily recognizable tenets of Protestant Christianity, specifically in its Calvinist or Puritan strain.

. . .

The combination of electoral democracy and “separation of church and state” is an almost perfect recipe for crypto-Christianity. . . .

If you have a rule that says the state cannot be taken over by a church, a constant danger in any democracy for obvious reasons, the obvious mutation to circumvent this defense is for the church to find some plausible way of denying that it’s a church. Dropping theology is a no-brainer.

. . .

My contention is that Rawls is not a philosopher, but a minister. Like his Calvinist forebears, he is trying to establish the kingdom of God on Earth. Unlike them, he doesn’t admit it. . . . He redefines the word “justice” to mean, effectively, righteousness.

The full post on Rawls, “The Rawlsian God” is probably worth your time if you’re interested in these points.

. . .

The cultural ancestors of the Universalists have been called Progressives, Fabians, Unitarians, Evangelicals, Nonconformists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Quakers, Chartists, Methodists, Dissenters, Puritans, Roundheads, etc, etc, etc. Any good Anglican, from any date between 1660 and 1960, would have identified the current Archbishop of Canterbury as a hardcore Dissenter or “low church” man, and they would certainly accept this as final and conclusive evidence that the conquest of Britain by Massachusetts is complete.

That brings us to the series on Richard Dawkins titled, “How Dawkins Got Pwned.” This series of posts uses Dawkins as an example (perhaps the best example) of a modern Puritan. The thesis of the series is that:

Professor Dawkins is not just an atheist. He is a Christian atheist.

Professor Dawkins is not just a Christian atheist. He is a Protestant atheist. And he is not just a Protestant atheist. He is a Calvinist atheist. And he is not just a Calvinist atheist. He is an Anglo-Calvin atheist. In other words, he can also be described as a Puritan atheist, a Dissenter atheist, a Nonconformist atheist, an Evangelical atheist, etc, etc.

The series begins by treating progressivism as a sort of infection of the mind. Assume progressivism is a virus that is solely concerned with spreading itself into as many minds as possible. We see the idea’s evolution, in which it starts as a fundamentalist religious belief and ends up discarding theism so as to better propagate itself in an officially secular system of government. Shed of overt theism, Progressivism “can be propagated by American official institutions, which are constitutionally prohibited from endorsing its ancestor or competitor [ie theistic Christianity].” The devil’s greatest trick . . . and so on.

After considering this germ-theory of Progressivism, Moldbug turns to Dawkins’ beliefs. “Professor Dawkins describes himself as a ‘deeply religious non-believer.’ He calls his belief system ‘Einsteinian religion.’”

Dawkins seems to understand that his own understanding of the world doesn’t quite make sense without some sort of fudge factor. He can’t quite explain why his side always triumphs – why progress seems to advance without significant or sustained interruption or setback. This fudge factor operates to consistently, if perhaps sometimes slowly, sway conflicts to the benefit of Progress. Dawkins calls this fudge factor the Zeitgeist.

The astute reader will note that the term “Zeitgeist” can be replaced with “Divine Providence” without losing any meaning at all. On the contrary, making such a replacement makes things much more clear. As Moldbug puts it: “It’s worth repeating Professor Dawkins’ definition of the Zeitgeist: a mysterious consensus, which changes over the decades. For some reason, these changes over the decades almost always favor Universalism itself. This is of course progress, and our Spirit of Time bears a suspicious resemblance to the MO of Divine Providence, minus of course the Divine bit.”

In this series, Moldbug also condenses much of his thoughts on Progressivism quoted above. For example:

Of course the tradition evolved over time. Its theology took significant steps toward modern secularism in the form of Unitarianism, which deleted the Trinity and other points of Calvinist doctrine, and especially under Transcendentalism, which elided the nasty idea of hell and declared that God loves everyone [paging Pope Francis]. Many of Professor Dawkins’ reveries about Einsteinian pantheistic natural grandeur are reminiscent of Emerson, who was trained as a Unitarian minister. During and after the War of Secession, New England Christianity established a cozy relationship with the Federal government, which it has continued to the present day, under labels such as liberalism and progressivism. . . .

Everyone knows that Western thought today, even its most fashionable incarnations, has Christian roots. But somehow, most of us think it’s possible to escape the implications of this connection by simply denying the Christian label, and adopting a metaphysical doctrine – atheism – which is repugnant to the unwashed who have not made this great leap. . . .

Imagine if I tried the same with Nazism. I could march around in a brown leather uniform all day, waving a swastika banner and condemning the filthy Zionist-Bolshevik hordes. When questioned by the usual voices of decency, I could respond that: I’m not a Nazi. In fact, I oppose Nazism. So I’m not a Nazi. I’m half-Jewish. The Nazis would never have me. So I’m not a Nazi. Nazis believe in the leadership of Adolf Hitler. I don’t. So I’m not a Nazi. My inverted swastika is actually a Hindu fertility symbol. So I’m not a Nazi. Etc, etc, etc. How much ice to you think this would cut with the diversity committee? But somehow, when the creed is Christianity rather than Nazism, it can be ditched as easily as a Muslim’s wife. Just say, “I’m an atheist, I’m an atheist, I’m an atheist.” And no one will ever be able to accuse you of being a religious fanatic, at least not without substantial preparatory explanation. What more perfect cover story for an actual religious fanatic?

Combining this understanding of Progressivism and Dawkin’s current beliefs we find that, “[e]xcept of course for the atheism theme, Professor Dawkins’ kernel is a remarkable match for the Ranter, Leveller, Digger, Quaker, Fifth Monarchist, or any of the more extreme English Dissenter traditions that flourished during the Cromwellian interregnum. . . . The point is that this thing, whatever you call it, is at least two hundred years old, and probably more like five. It’s basically the Reformation itself.”

Fine. So what? Who really cares if Dawkins is religious zealot?

This is important because Progressivism can’t be understood without this religious framework, and it’s important to understand Progressivism since it’s the world’s dominant ideology.

If Moldbug is right, then Dawkins, who “thinks he’s Galileo, Vavilov or Darwin” is really “a Caccini, Lysenko or Wilberforce. He is pwned in every sense of the word.”

In this series of posts Moldbug outlines a reactionary history of the last couple hundred years. It’s excellent and worth your time, but this post is perhaps so long that nobody will read it already, so I’ll save it for another post. The gist is that the Progressives always won, the last few Centuries have been extremely destructive and lots of things you think you know about history are probably wrong.

It is many of these ideas – Moldbug’s alternate histories and his criticism of both Progressivism and mainstream varieties of conservatives – that have attracted many other “reactionaries.” For our purposes, we can close by noting that these ideas are included in the series on Dawkins precisely because one can only reasonably reach these (apparently at least somewhat attractive) results from the initial idea that Progressivism is a nontheistic Christian sect.


267 Responses to Review of “Unqualified Reservations” part 1

  1. peppermint says:

    They love talking about hope and charity. Faith is usually a dirty word to them, but only because they have redefined it to mean something stupid.

    In particular, Barack Obama’s famous race speech was about sin, repentance, absolving grace, and hope.

  2. Scott says:

    Jebus, you can’t do this to me. Last time I got sucked into Moldbug’s archives, I lost two weeks of my life.

  3. Congo Sam says:

    Not that it’s eerily apt or anything, but this page when served to me had an ad for Crest toothpaste. The young man in the ad looked a heck of a lot like Djokar Tsarnaef to me, so I showed it to my girlfriend, who instantly said “the bomber!” without being prompted.

    Cleanliness is next to godliness. And the blessings of diversity, and stuff.

  4. Steve Johnson says:

    “If I was forced to pick the one key tenet of the neoreaction, I’d pick this understanding of Progressivism. To the reactionary, Progressivism is a nontheistic Christain sect.”

    Disagree on this point – not about the nature of progressivism but about the most important item in neoreaction.

    In my view the most important tenet of neoreaction is this:

    Wherever there is competition, natural selection determines the outcomes.

    What does this mean?

    With organisms it’s a familiar idea and we understand (some of) the implications.

    For institutions it means that institutions that increase their own power increase in size and those that increase the stability of their funding will exist over long periods of time.

    For individuals in institutions it means that the role that people will end up in is determined by the selection mechanism – not by the fitness of the person to the role.

    Ok, that’s seemingly banal but look at the implications. As you pointed out about progressivism:

    “The series begins by treating progressivism as a sort of infection of the mind. Assume progressivism is a virus that is solely concerned with spreading itself into as many minds as possible.”

    In a later post Moldbug analogizes progressive government and heroin addiction in that both are painful to stop and the longer they go on the worse the pain of stopping becomes. This isn’t accidental – something as harmful as progressivism has to evolve some defense to being rooted out.

    Understanding the nature of the Republican party is another example of how this idea informs neo-reaction (in contrast to conservatism). The Republican party has been subjected to selective pressure that caused it to (a) never pose a threat to the progressive state (Republican threats to the progressive state are treated like McCarthy (or possibly Patton)) and (b) to continue to get enough funding and support to not go under. This combination exactly explains why the Republican party will never win in the way that conservatives hope – no matter how much support that program would have with voters.

    More than anything neo-reaction is the application of the idea of natural selection not only to the animal world but to human relations, institutions, governments, and ideas.

    • Foseti says:

      Interesting. As you note, I’m not sure that idea is really all that incompatible with my suggestion.

      • Steve Johnson says:

        Not incompatible at all – just more of an overarching theme that unites all of NR.

        I think you can hold no opinion on the heritage of progressives and still be neoreactionary but if you don’t fundamentally understand that selection and filtering of institutions will never stop then you can’t be neoreactionary.

      • Josh says:

        the problem is that if you go back in time before the puritans you can find leftism. If you keep going you will find roots in Neoplatonism, and Jewish mysticism, and gnostic christianity you will also note while the puritans were puritaning, there were other progressives on the continent. In reality, the roots are deeper, the branches more bushy, and to break the metaphor, there is more recent gene flow, than this silly formulation implies. Yet you seem to be implying that this formulation is some kind of necessary creed.

        The other problem with this definition of leftism is that it is devoid of value. you want to describe where a thing came from as if it just is, lest you be hoisted on your own petard ala Dawkins. The problem is, what we a really concerned with is evil, which is th at which is against the logos which the proper order of universe. if you can call leftism a form of Christianity despite its rejection of Christ as redeemer, you are clearly trying to follow the chain not just of random memes through history, but of some specific essence, otherwise there is simply no such thing as progressivism and this is all bullshit. Of course anyone who ahead ever given the matter a few minutes of real contemplation knows that we have to be formal realists, certainly any who claim s to opposes leftism must be. So what I’m getting at is this, fundamentally leftism is not a memeplex, but an irreducible essence, specifically it is the fundamental destructive force, evil, satan. The trappings that surround this essence may vary, any movement or philosophy will be a watered down version, the form is more real than

        The battle between good and evil manifests in history so it is useful and intesting to track these things throught time, but the whole idea of saying leftism is this group or that group is assinine, there was still much that was good and wholesome about the puritans. It’s especially bizarre to attribute what is in essence the destruction of the logos to that which is in essence the worship of Logos. There really is such a thing as Christianisty, just as there really is such a thing as leftism. I suggest figuring this out before you try to act on your understanding of the situation.

    • Remnant says:

      I tend to agree with this. There is a natural order that cannot be resisted without adverse consequences … and those consequences will catch up with a person or a society eventually.

      Moldbug’s exposition on Order, in the Carlylian sense, strikes me as the basic exposition of the (neo)reactionary position.

      Weston Price (proponent of ancestral diets) put it succinctly: “Life in all its splendor is Mother Nature obeyed.”

    • dc.sunsets says:

      Under the socionomic hypothesis, social mood governs social actions, and social mood’s rise and fall is driven endogenously and exhibits a patterned fractal.

      Under this model, the evolution from explicitly religious Puritanism to ostensibly secular progressivism is simply an effect of a tide that began its rise hundreds of years ago. The continued evolution of progressive tenets from stupid (equalitarianism and the belief in political systems to channel good, not evil) to lunatic (e.g., today’s utter rejection of elementary biology in favor of one’s individual choice in determining one’s sex, or open-border, replacement-level immigration’s “benefits”) is a predictable condition under the socionomic model.

      How? Under the model, the main motive wave occurs in 5 subwaves (1, 3 and 5 move in the larger trend, while 2 and 4 are corrections that occur against the trend) and the 5th wave in a sequence almost always displays weaker “internals,” i.e., it is fundamentally less robust than the preceding 3rd wave. What we thus see today is progressivism’s embrace of increasingly irrational tenets because it is in the last stage of a three century “rally,” and that a commensurate reversal is the next significant step.

      Socionomics is attractive because its waves-within-waves fractal model helps explain advances and retracements that naturally occur in pretty much every living process, including those yielded by the spontaneous interaction of living components. It offers an explanation for how rising mood yielded both rising enterprise and energy, then rising wealth and living standards, and thus a believable rationale for optimistic mood aiming to create Heaven on Earth via the judicious application of political coercion in an environment of perceived unlimited resources. When the resouces in question appeared to reach limits, the debt bubble was adopted by still-optimistic herds of people not yet ready to give up such folly. The ocean of IOUs (and parallel monetary debasement) that resulted is a necessary precondition for the size of the required “correction.”

      My guess is that belief in Progressivism’s pseudo-secular, pseudo-democratic, pseudo-scientific rule by experts will eventually evolve into multiple, warring sects of openly religious, science-rejecting autocracies.

  5. Sonter Dunningham says:

    Great post. I would even go further and say that the left is in serious denial that life is tragic, and is in a desperate attempt and futile attempt to undo this fact. This leads to a hatred of the right because the right reminds them of this fact and causes psychological projection. That is, the left blames the right for the fact that life is tragic in the first place.

  6. Steve Sailer says:

    Okay, sure, Richard Dawkins is a direct intellectual descendant of the characters in Neal Stephenson’s “Baroque” series: Isaac Newton, Ben Franklin, and the rest of the gang. So were Darwin and Galton. And, yes, the best ideas of the best bourgeois Brits and their American offshoots did take over the world. But that’s bad because …

    • Foseti says:

      Come on. It’s just part 1!!

      And, of course, whether it’s bad or not depends on your point if view. Given America’s competitors at the time, I’m certainly not sure it was bad that America took over the world. Then again, where would either fascism or communism have been without American (ie Progressive) support/intervention?

      Most importantly, the goal is to understand the Left. Take the case of Jason Richwine. He was not treated as an intellectual who made a methodological mistake. He was treated as a religious heretic – a 21st century witch. Surely, this is important an distinction. Your approach to an intellectual dispute is certainly different than your approach to an accusation of religious heresy, no? More importantly,the task of intellectual persuasion is very different than task of religious conversion, which – come to think of it – reminds me of a recent Steve Sailer post.

      Plus, as Stephenson showed, Newton at least believed in sound money . . .

      • Steve Sailer says:

        But who in the 21st Century determines the direction in which the public’s witch-burning passions are pointed?

        There are religions older and, at least as religions, more successful than Calvinism.

      • Foseti says:

        @Steve Sailer

        I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. The question of who controls whom (and how) is the second section of UR and I haven’t finished reviewing the first.

        You mentioned Darwin’s religion. Frankly, I agree, who cares if Darwin’s religion takes over?

        However, we could pick a contemporary of Darwin who nominally had the same religion. For example, how about John Brown?

        Now, there are clearly practical differences between Protestantism as praciticed by Darwin and Brown. The fact that Brown thought God demanded he sever peoples’ heads with broadswords comes to mind immediately, for example.

        The conquest of Darwin’s ideas don’t really scare me, but the conquest of Brown’s ideas terrify me.

        And yet, what was the Civil War if not Brown’s religion practiced on a larger scale? Mine eyes have the seen the Glory . . . and so on. Somehow, Brown won the debate. Unless I missed it, no one overthrew his successors. But, I’ll get to that in turn.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Yes, let’s think about the Richwine affair.

        You’ll recall all the people who said: As a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, I’m proud that WASPs like Lewis Terman pioneered IQ testing and WASPs like Henry Cabot Lodge pioneered social science research into the harms caused by excessive immigration.

        Oh, wait, that didn’t happen during the Richwine Brouhaha. Instead, we heard a lot of references to the infallible scientific authority of Stephen Jay Gould and references to when my ancestors came through Ellis Island, those horrible WASPs …

      • Foseti says:


        I think you’re missing the point.

        As noted at the end of review, simply no longer calling yourself Christian doesn’t make it not so. If Moldbug is right, the last thing we’d ever expect a modern Puritan to call himself is religious – he seeks only “truth.”

        Indeed, as you’ve ably demonstrated repeatedly, “the infallible scientific authority of Stephen Jay Gould” is about as scientific as counting angels on pins. (At least angles are potentially quantifiable).

        When confronted by a religious action, it’s of no use to pretend it’s something else.

        Surely, deep down, you must know that your project of spreading certain truths faces obstacles more similar to relgious conversion than intellectual persuasion. Similarly, people like Richwine are treated more like heretics than contrarian scientists.

      • I think it’s a fair criticism. One of the weakest points of neoreactionary commentary that I have seen thus far is the cladistic analysis of ideologies, which analogizes them to biological species when a much better analogy is biological races (or subspecies). For the former, cladisitic analysis works brilliantly, as save for the rare instance of horizontal gene transfer, members of a species only breed amongst themselves and thus speciation leads to the nice tree structure that lends itself to cladistic analysis.

        However, when dealing with races that can and do interbreed, a cladisitic analysis is prone to falling on its face. Are the Uyghurs East Eurasians or West Eurasians? Are Labradoodles Labradors or Poodles? Is modern progressivism Christian, Jewish, Communist, Socialist, Humanist, or Utopian? Are these the right sort of question to ask? The insight that progressivism shares many characteristics with formal religions is an important one, and digging back in time to discern its parentage and the selective forces that shaped it is a worthwhile exercise, but calling it ultracalvinism is sloppy at best.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Richard Dawkins’ intellectual ancestors (the tradition of which Darwin is a famous illustration) are despised by both Mencius Moldbug and the late Stephen Jay Gould for reasons they have both explicated at length. Granted, they offer different reasons, but their targets are similar.

        Personally, I’d rather be on the side of Darwin than of Carlyle or Marx.

      • K(yle) says:

        IIRC Marx was a fan of Darwin. It wasn’t until the Soviets that that these so-called Marxists found issue with Darwin’s theory.

  7. […] Foseti begins a long review of UR. Read the first installment here. […]

  8. I would nominate a Moldbug-like view of The Cathedral as the most central tenet of neoreaction, with his Open letter to open-minded progressives, pt. 4, as the best exposition of it.

    I have some semantics heartburn over the term “Christian atheist”. I prefer to describe this extended family of belief systems that includes both Christianity and Progressivism as “meta-Christianity”.

    I’ve also been sparring with Nick Land over the usefulness of cladograms in describing the relationship between Christianity and Progressivism. Part of the problem is too much horizontal gene transfer. I state my case in appendices A and B here:

  9. Excellent post, and an excellent response by Steve Johnson.

    If I were asked to identify to the chief feature of neoreaction, what I think I’d point to is its anti-universalism. This is a reaction to the organizing principle of modern Progressivism, namely its commitment to radical non-discrimination as the path to both individual and social salvation.

    NR insists on the historical and evolutionary particularity of human groups, and therefore of the cultures and folkways that are the natural manifestations of this particularity. NR recognizes that cultures are living organisms — that they are in essence, to borrow a term from Dawkins, the “extended phenotypes” of distinct human populations, and acknowledges also that any living organism that loses the ability to make necessary discriminations — e.g., self/other, food/poison, predator/prey — soon becomes extinct.

    We might also say that the Progressive believes that our culture determines our nature, while the neoreactionary believes the reverse.

    • Foseti says:

      @Malcolm Pollack

      You say, “If I were asked to identify to the chief feature of neoreaction, what I think I’d point to is its anti-universalism. This is a reaction to the organizing principle of modern Progressivism, namely its commitment to radical non-discrimination as the path to both individual and social salvation.”

      That’s certainly justifiable, but viewed closely, I think it buttresses my point. After all, what is this “universalism” that we’re reacting against? It looks a lot like nontheistic Christianity to me.

      • mtpollack says:

        Foseti, you wrote:

        After all, what is this “universalism” that we’re reacting against? It looks a lot like nontheistic Christianity to me.

        I agree that it does, and I’m not here to argue against Moldbug’s analysis, which I think is insightful and important. I’m just looking for the “greatest common factor” in NR/DE thought.

        The Right is far less homogeneous than the Left; in Moldbuggian terms this would be because the Left represents disorder, while the Right represents order, and there are of course many forms of order. If we look at Scharlach’s helpful and now-familiar diagram of the reactosphere, for example, it picks out political philosophy, techno-futurism, economic policy, secular traditionalism, masculinity, femininity, HBD, and Christian traditionalism as occupied neoreactionary trait-axes.

        It seems to me, then that anti-universalism comes closer to being a high-level marker of neoreaction than the more narrow focus on specific crypto-Christian taxonomy.

      • Johnny Thunder says:

        Except Christianity isn’t universalist (never mind that nontheistic Christianity is an oxymoron)..

  10. cassander says:

    >“Massachusetts, of course, later went on [i.e. after conquering the US in the Civil War] to conquer first Europe and then the entire planet, the views of whose elites in 2007 bear a surprisingly coincidental resemblance to those held at Harvard in 1945.”

    I wish we had the Harvard class of 1945. They weren’t perfect, I’d much rather have the ideology of 1905, but we’re being run by the ideology of 85, which is decidedly worse. And this isn’t just a quibble, the problem with progressivism isn’t just that it’s a bad set of ideas, it is that in taking over the state it’s set up a system drives itself to ever greater craziness.

  11. Steve Sailer says:

    Moldbug’s theory that America is a Protestant-dominated country was a commonplace not that many decades ago. I have an old set of Encyclopedia Britannicas that are filled with an amazing number of entries on American ministers and Protestant theologians whom nobody has mentioned in the New York Times in this century, at least not with respect.

    The reason this theory seems new is because, while it used to be true, you don’t hear much about it these days. Why not? Because it’s obviously not true anymore.

    • Erik says:

      I can’t tell if that “obviously” is meant to be sarcastic, or to what degree.

    • spandrell says:

      I know what you’re pointing at, which is the rival opinion on the Puritan Question.

      Supporters of Moldbug view argue that modern Jews are converts into modern Puritanism, i.e. Progressivism. Ergo anything they do is still the fault of Puritanism.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        If you go back over 50 years, maybe that was sort of true. Back then the head-progressive-in-charge was perhaps Arthur Schlesinger Jr., who was 3/4th Protestant and 1/4th German Jewish. But who even remembers Arthur Schlesinger Jr. today?

        There has just been too much water under the bridge since then. The Late Sixties, for example. A major aspect of the Late Sixties was American Jews shaking loose from American Protestant cultural domination: think of all the denunciations ever since of “white bread.”

        And not just on the left: the Late Sixties were about Jewish liberation from Protestant Niceness on all political sides. The Six-Days-War of 47 years ago unleashed neoconservatism, for instance. How do we talk about the ideological lay of the land in 2014 without talking about the role of the neocons over the last 45 years?

      • Handle says:

        There has just been too much water under the bridge since then.

        This is about 50% of my impression on the subject too. Attempts at tracing political direct lineages are only so production and rarely useful, as I think Gottfried emphasized (and criticized) repeatedly in After Liberalism.

        The first chapter of AL, actually, provides a few dozen examples of scholars from the late 19th century, then the progressive era, and into the 60’s, trying to do exactly this: Trying to draw a common thread through liberal History. The American early progressives and post-War liberals were trying to do this on purpose because they thought it would make their cause more popular if it was seen to be part of a continuous cultural phenomenon and the ‘true’ historical traditional.

        The non-American scholars had especially interesting things to say about the American liberal tradition, and more clear-sighted due to their distance.

        But Gottfried takes them all apart and they fall in pieces on the floor. He is especially adamant about the early progressives – and then again the baby booming 60’s, being ‘hard breaks. I think it’s worth noting that the progressives who are supposed to be part of this tradition, and who actually tried to make themselves appear part of this tradition, still didn’t succeed. At least according to Gottfried anyway.

        I don’t see it his way exactly. Like I said, it’s about 50/50 historical evolution (‘heritage’) vs. genuine innovations (‘mutations’).

        Part of the problem with the Darwinian analysis of belief systems is that it’s very difficult to prove ‘heritage’ vs. ‘innovation’ to someone who resists the thesis.

        A heritage person will look at genuine innovations and just say ‘adaptive mutations’. An innovation person will look at the heritage and say, ‘Improvements are not always some complete antithetical rejection. You don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. There’s always bound to be some overlap with the recent past.’

        Personally, I think a lot of progressivism is just naturally attractive to the +1SD crowd, and I suspect something akin to ‘Convergent Evolution’ is also at work, that rides the wave of human psychological nature.

        Also, as I’ve said elsewhere, if you correct for intelligence, personality, and creative energy, then I don’t see Jews as particularly more important to the development of modern progressivsm than their Anglo or European counterparts. The reason people pick up this pattern is because, like Solzhenitsyn said, ‘the astonishing number of Jewish names’, but that is just a result of the same things that Mark Twain pointed out in the article Sailer recently linked to.

        You could say almost exactly the same things about the ‘market dominant’ Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asian countries. The most extreme example is probably the Philippines. From La Wik on Chua’s World on Fire

        In the Philippines, Chua explains, the Chinese Filipino is 1% of the population but controls 60% of the economy

  12. […] Review of “Unqualified Reservations” part 1 | Foseti on 2013 Reaction points […]

  13. Gilbert P says:

    “Yesterday upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there. He wasn’t there again today, I wish, I wish he’d go away.”

    Hmmm. Nowhere to be found, this ghost in the machine of progressivism, but then “the devil’s greatest trick… Etc”

    Wait, there he is. He has been ‘included’ by the lizard Calvinists. Ah, those lazy WASPs; a master stroke of delegation. The Cathedral practically runs itself these days with the Geist Meisters in control.

    (When do we unveil the new code: ‘scots-Irish’ is passé. Ultra-Calvinists, perhaps?)

  14. Steve Sailer says:

    If you hate the same people, historical and contemporary, as Stephen Jay Gould hated, it’s probably time for a rethink.

    • thrasymachus33308 says:

      You can hate the same people for different reasons. SJG hated them because they weren’t (yet) willing to let his people into the corridors of power. I hate them because they used and use the power against people like me.

    • spandrell says:

      If you focus on modern pundits, as you often do, of course it all looks likes a Jewish conspiracy.

      If you focus on pre-WW2 history, as Moldbug likes to do, it all looks like Exeter Hall and loony missionaries and their children.

      • Handle says:

        Maybe a good question would then be, ‘What caused the apparent post-war hand-off from the earlier group to the latter?’

        My answer is, ‘Mostly just numbers and time’.

        There were plenty of very important Jews involved in the early progressive movement, though their numbers were hardly ‘dominant’. And you can’t find any kind of distinctive ‘Jewish difference’ between what they believed and what Dewey, Sinclair, Lippman, etc. did. They were very much creatures of the age.

        The numbers start to go up with the ‘grew up new deal’ generation. Neocons (i.e. Kristol, Podhoretz) and Feminists (Friedan, Steinem).

        But with the war and immigration, the Baby Boom really boomed for the Jews. IIRC, in the early 60’s, over 80% of those Jews attended college, when the population average was about 30%, so I’m guessing that the Jewish percentage on campuses spiked.

      • Pentagon says:

        The root, the base is always the dominant part, it dominates all the mutations coming from it. If the jews went public as pushers of progressivism is because the prior ones went stealth.

  15. asdf says:

    Have you ever actually studied the English Civil War? I think a lot of these ideas don’t survive contact with reality. As if we wouldn’t have diversity seminars if only Charles could have won a few more battles.

    • Handle says:

      I sometimes wonder what 2014 would look like if the German Empire and Kaiser Wilhelm II had won WWI. Try it – it’s really hard. But yeah, I think there would be less diversity seminars.

      • asdf says:

        In what sense do we mean this? Obviously no Nazis would be better PR for racism, but that’s more an accident of history. It’s not given that Nazism had to arise from Weimer Germany, in fact it was a massive longshot when you look at the history.

        I think you mean more along the lines of the German Empire having a different competing system. I’m not so sure. To me the WWI powers seem to exhibit small differences blown up for propaganda purposes. Even the war itself seems like something people accidently bumbled into and then had to come up with reasons for. The Kaiser seems like a complete sideshow in the whole thing.

        I mean the ostensible goal of WWI would have been to make Germany the dominant economic power on the continent…which is so different then today.

        It’s kind of the same for the English Civil War. If one goes looking for ideologies one can find crazy puritans and levelers and a bunch of nonsense. However, looking at the actual nuts and bolts of it matters seem much more mundane. You’ve got a screw up king that is running the country into the ground. You have self interested nobles involved in all the things self interested nobles are usually involved in. The motivations of the actors are just so non-ideological in most cases. And the outcomes are so often just boring old realpolitik.

        I’ll grant you that its obviously possible for things to be different. I just don’t see the way things are today as the accidental result of some puritans getting some power and if only some change in history reduced their power we wouldn’t have seen any of the same stuff happen.

      • Tarl says:

        I sometimes wonder what 2014 would look like if the German Empire and Kaiser Wilhelm II had won WWI.

        Harry Turtledove wrote that book!

    • thinkingabout it says:

      I think it is our side which often loses the contest with reality. Time after time, in country after country, progressivism has proven to be militarily superior. 2 world wars, plenty of revolutions, several democratic agitations later, the bottom line is that progressivism is on top because it manages to unite a lot of people and infuse them with zeal and hatred for their enemy.

      Just like Christianity did in its conquest of the pagans.

  16. etype says:

    TThe establishment of the Church of England, the English civil war (part 1&2), the American civil war (1776 & 1864), wwi & ii are echoes of 1066. The 1066 Norman treated the Anglo-Saxon as Negroes in their own land, for close to half a millennium intermarriage between Norman and Anglo-Saxon was considered miscegenation, a fact loosely true up to the 20th century, as the Nobility are almost all mainly descendants of Normans and they discouraged marriage to Anglo commoners. The Anglo-Saxon could not infiltrate the Norman court without demonstrating his loyalty to the court against the Anglo masses, and by taking on Norman values, and slowly subverting from within – this is the basis of the Whig disregard of the commoner beyond broad and often abstract principles of ‘betterment’ of the breed. The radical liberalism with a populist tinge only emerged due to opposition to the ‘King & Country’ Tories – although Tory populism (Corn laws) in opposition to the Whigs also shaped and determined Whig policies which hold true today, such as free trade & Globalism in economic matters. The firm establishment of Whigdom was settled by the civil war, but the true ascendancy of Whiggishness was the not the civil war but the earlier infiltration and subversion of the C of E, and the formation of ascetic principals that hewed more closely to their read on Judaism… which we see today in the distinction today within the C of E between the Anglo church and evangelicals… and the massive popularity of British Israelism of the 19th century.
    Though the Whigs were more or less an ideological party, the effects do not stem from Whiggism alone, but the interplay between the two faction representing Anglo-Saxon and Norman. They’ve traded positions and influenced each other to a degree it is not entirely correct to source progressivism solely to the Whigs. I think the enzyme or catalyst is not Protestantism, but the suffusion of Judaism, or a mere literal adhesion to the Old Testament than new, establishing themselves as more holy and closer to the intent of Yahweh – notice outside of Jews and Muslims circumcision of males is an entirely British phenomenon, copied by no other European people.

  17. Anon says:

    I think Moldbug’s Judaism escapes scrutiny. How much does his favored neo-reactionary beliefs mirror Judaism? Is his hatred of Harvard a residue of the Jewish resentment of Harvard for having Jewsish quotas? Is he a ultra-crypto-jew ultra-resentful of the ultra-crypto-Calvinists he despises? Are his beliefs in hierarchy and anti-universalism a residue of the belief in a chosen people?

    • Handle says:

      Escapes scrutiny. I’ve seen this charge levied a hundred times.

      But, aside from his talent, as far as I can tell, Moldbug’s half-Jewish lineage affects his political and religious theories to no level distinguishable from zero.

      • Anon says:

        If you’re going to call everyone crypto-Calvinists and claim that Rawls’ supposed pure philosophy is really Calvinism, while at the same time claiming you yourself practice pure philosophy free from any religious influence, you’re opening yourself to criticism. At the same time he proudly announces his atheism, he claims that atheism is a way to smuggle theology into the state. Then there is his emphasis on the law above all, clearly in the Jewish tradition. In any case, turnabout is fail play; his method of archeology/geneology of beliefs, complete with the smuggling in of hidden theology, should be applied to his own writing. Someone smarter than me should read Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, especially books 11 – 14 and compare it to Moldbug’s thoughts on law and legislation.

      • Handle says:

        I’ve not taken on the Mishneh, but I’ve read both volumes of his ‘Guide of the Perplexed’ (Pines and Strauss – 1974), which was his effort to ‘modernize’ Judaism and reconcile it with Greek Philosophic Rationalism.

        And sorry, but I just don’t see it.

        However, I do see the point of your ‘Tu coque’ criticism.

        But take a look at something Kling recently wrote.

        One possibility that leaps to my mind: in thinking about politics, do progressives and conservatives have social reasoning turned on and non-social thinking turned off, but with libertarians it is the other way around?

        This strikes me as insightful, true, and important. A lot of Libertarian minded people are logical to a fault, at the expense of social-reasoning skills. In fact, Libertarians and NR’s spend a huge amount of time trying to understand the nature of these ‘weird’ social phenomena, which probably comes pretty naturally to most people.

        I think the ‘Crypto-Calvinist’ thesis is, somewhat, ‘Here is what has evolved and propagated amongst socially-reasoning people’.

        Moldbug, and a lot of the people around these parts, aren’t those kind of people. It valid to claim, as I do, that your ‘Tu quoque’ doesn’t work symmetrically partly due to this reason. It also implies that ‘cladistics’ for NR is likely to be a wild goose chase, because, at least for now, you’re dealing with a lot of logical personality types who don’t lend themselves as well to that kind of social-transmission analysis.

      • Anon says:

        To clarify though, I agree with much of what Moldbug says about the geneology of progressivism. But his attack on Rawls could have been much more cutting. Those in the original position are clearly like souls in heaven waiting to be embodied in this world. That would be the theology to go after.

      • etype says:

        I read Moldbug as recht jewish at bottom. But who cares? The jews are here, their queer, get used to it.

      • Handle says:

        ‘recht jewish’?

      • etype says:

        Recht = Right. It’s a German expression, as in ‘Recht Berliner’ – meaning the real deal.

      • Handle says:

        Ja ich weiß. But it’s pretty strange to see it with ‘Jewish’.

      • etype says:

        Vielleicht, er ist etwas….nicht ohne Freimut.

      • peppermint says:

        or maybe compare him to Mencius, who advocated for the rectification of names, or Confucius, or the Chinese Legalists?

      • K(yle) says:

        The goal of society being to minimize violence, and to separate the categories of man into violence-doers and everyone else also strikes me as Jewish. The rendering of a naturally aristocratic group into a mere electronic tool at the disposal of some nebbish bureaucrat being Moldbug’s ultimate ideal.

        It’s the acknowledgement that those that “should” rule are those that merely own things via some abstract legal construction, but for this slumlord morality to ever be functional you need some kind of political formula to neuter the goyim from ever abandoning this abstraction when it fails to benefit them.

        Moldbug has an aversion to political formula which relies on piety, probably because it is so seemingly unstable to someone of his temperament, but the underlying motivation in his alternative formulations still seems to be fear of the gentiles coming for yet another pogrom after the tax collectors and loan sharks have overstepped themselves.

    • Peter Blood says:

      So much of the reaction comes from libertarianism….itself a Jew-dominated movement. I wouldn’t be surprised to find not a few Jews in the “neo-reaction,” the same way that “neo-conservatism” was honeycombed with Jews.

      Therefore, since so many neo-reactionaries are from the Jew-dominated libertarian cult, and you gravitate to the Moldbug Jew, I believe the neo-reaction will also be Jew-dominated.

  18. Josh says:

    Calvisinist and other heretical sects were called Judaizers at the time. They were extremely interested in Hebrew and judaica, including both Talmudic and kabbalistic materials. They learned from rabbinic scholars. Ideas such as total depravity and emanitizing the eschaton stem from post temple Jewish thought (ie tikkun plan). The Jews already had a network of money lenders, spies, merchants. The dominated printing from the time of Gutenberg. Many Jews used their not isignificant influence to promote heresy and to weaken the church. This is why they were kicked out of Spain and the Portugal. Many of the converso Jews even became the fao e of the first and most important calivinists. They also helped promote the cause of Elizabeth in England and William in the Netherlands. Basically during the renaissance Jewish mystics were an object of fascination at court, especially courts that wished to challenge the church. All that cultural cache, money, and infuence led to the judaificaton of much of Christendom.

    As for America, the puritans were revolutionaries to some extent, especially with respect to the abolitionist crusade, but they were hardly the only leftists in the world, and in many ways they were quite conservative, which should be obvious to anyone. The Puritan hypothesis doesn’t adequately explain the 1848 revolutions or Bakunin are really much of anything unsleeping you think that Europe was just sitting around waiting for 1939. There was defitely a lot of Whig influence on the French Revolution, but it came from the masons who were not the same as the puritans (even in America). We are talking about two different strains of the enlightenment. (Interestingly the oldest known reference to freemasonry refers to some Jews giving other Jews the right in Rhode Island in the 16th century. Of course it a vague reference. Definitely e google it though). but this leaves out the contacts on the other side of the channel and how Freemasonry came to France from Germany rather than England. Freemasonry include skews from the very beginning and was explicitly and antichristian as were the revolutions. Anyway, Puritanism was the avant guarde of the revolution for about ten minutes during the 17th century and (arguably) again for about ten minutes during the 19th. However, the revolution was waged continuously for centuries before and after. By WWII, America was not nearly as dominated by descendants of the puritans as you believe. The Rockefeller oriented elite had challenged the Morgan oriented elite by allying with the Kuhn loeb group, creating the cathedral as we know it via the general education fund creating the council of learned societies and affiliated groups and using what was fairly specifically Jewish social science to promote what became the new deal. Even further, one must recognize that the mass media became Jewish dominated by the early twentieth century. It’s power was reigned in by other forms of enculturation, which allowed groups like the legion of decency to organize protests. However, after the destruction of community via desegregation, the media took per as the dominant force in difining reality, eclipsing the education system, which had also been becomiwnwg increasingly Jewish dominated during the first half of the 20th century. The tipping point, which occurred in the 60s was when there was no longer any group powerful e ough to resist the mass media, the result was an explosion in pornography, hedonism, decadence, libido dominande as a form of social control in order to sell shit.

    Nw the people who came here and took over these institutions were already revolutionaries from revolutionary countries, having killed a couple of czars. There were Americanization campaigns, but the Jews were ver the target, those were for potential fascists. My point is that, some puritans were revolutionaries, but they are not the fount of all revolutionism. (Neither are Jews of course, there are multiple strains, and the ultimate found is satan). And to say America is a Puritan dominated country in 2014 is simply ahistorical.

    • Red says:

      You spend anytime around SWPLs? One of my best friends become a SWPL after college and Puritan is very much the word that comes to mind when I consider his behavior these day.

    • cassander says:

      >you think that Europe was just sitting around waiting for 1939.

      It wasn’t that. Europe was doing its own thing until 1914, when its ruling class literally committed suicide, completely disrupting those societies, destroying their confidence, and paving the way for fascism, communism, etc. If there was still a kaiser, there was no way for an austrian corporal becomes ruler of germany.

      • etype says:

        Cassander with respect, that is the most deluded, bullshit read of history possible, without taking into account you may not be capable of resisting becoming a parrot because of some mental deficiency.

    • Pentagon says:

      Jews were allowed to operate in the West by the Imperial class since the start. You just don´t let some weak looking merchants take control of your territory´s economy while you look somewhere else. Jews are a good facade to look at by the general mass, a figurehead. Someone to blame. Since the Egyptian elite abandoned Egypt with their jewish servants. Temporary expulsions of open jews may lower down competition for cryptos, besides being good PR with the general public.

  19. “the Progressives are a nontheistic Christian sect.”

    That phrase is either an oxymoron (nontheistic & Christian!), or else an empty platitude – being merely a statement that there is such a subject as History of Ideas.

    But the good thing about what you are doing with MM is that if you can reach a clear statement of what he has said (taking into account that his views changed very substantially during the time he was blogging) you will come to recognize that as a whole it doesn’t make sense – is indeed, refuted by its own critique.

    • Foseti says:


      Let’s just ignore our areas of disagreement an focus only on institutional Christianity itself.

      Surely, you’ll admit the leftward drift within Christianity over the centuries? If so, how do you explain that process?

      • Foseti says:

        If the answer is sin, then presumably Protestantism is inherently sinful?

        The mind boggles at what Mormonism must be . . .

        Anyway, we’re not in a place that’s necessarily contradictory with Moldbug’s thesis.

      • K(yle) says:


      • peppermint says:

        Sin is a great answer.

        Let’s not forget your blog posts where you argue against evolution of human ethology, because evolutionary theory is the product of sinful times (or because you know the soul to be granted by God, i.e. you believe in the Enlightenment, but let’s not go there).

        It’s a great answer because it’s partly true as well as glib and unhelpful. Sin is the reason for almost everything that’s bad about the world.

        So let’s talk about particular weaknesses, errors, and heresies.

        For example, Moldbug observes that what progressives say is charity is actually unconcerned with results.

      • josh says:

        What happened was denial of logos, which meant appeals to justice, the proper order of things, were replaced by appeals to force. Moldbug is self-refuting in that he intends force to be the only operating principle in a system that is designed to establish justice, ie the proper order of things. He sometimes denies the existence of justice by claiming the is/ought gap to be unbridgeable, other times he trots out lofty quotes about logos. Anyway, here is Shakespeare writing in the aftermath of the English nobility’s theft of Church property in England which led to the literal starvation of the tenentry and all of the other blessing of capitalis, which replaced Christianity as the organizing principle of the West. Lights, please.

        Observe degree, priority and place,
        Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,
        Office and custom, in all line of order;
        And therefore is the glorious planet Sol
        In noble eminence enthroned and sphered
        Amidst the other; whose medicinable eye
        Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,
        And posts, like the commandment of a king,
        Sans cheque to good and bad: but when the planets
        In evil mixture to disorder wander,
        What plagues and what portents! what mutiny!
        What raging of the sea! shaking of earth!
        Commotion in the winds! frights, changes, horrors,
        Divert and crack, rend and deracinate
        The unity and married calm of states
        Quite from their fixure! O, when degree is shaked,
        Which is the ladder to all high designs,
        Then enterprise is sick! How could communities,
        Degrees in schools and brotherhoods in cities,
        Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,
        The primogenitive and due of birth,
        Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,
        But by degree, stand in authentic place?
        Take but degree away, untune that string,
        And, hark, what discord follows! each thing meets
        In mere oppugnancy: the bounded waters
        Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores
        And make a sop of all this solid globe:
        Strength should be lord of imbecility,
        And the rude son should strike his father dead:
        Force should be right; or rather, right and wrong,
        Between whose endless jar justice resides,
        Should lose their names, and so should justice too.
        Then every thing includes itself in power,
        Power into will, will into appetite;
        And appetite, an universal wolf,
        So doubly seconded with will and power,
        Must make perforce an universal prey,
        And last eat up himself.

        And that’s what leftism is all about, Charlie Brown.

      • Mike in Boston says:


        A leftward drift in Christianity? Only in the West. As as Khomiakov wrote, the Pope was the first Protestant, and progressivism is a disease that originated in the West, like AIDS in Africa.

        Russia was swept by an epidemic of it, but when I read Stas Mishin’s blog for a while, or check on the progress of ‘gay ‘marriage’ in the Russian Orthodox Church, I am hopeful that she now has sufficient antibodies to avoid coming down with the same sickness again.

      • Foseti says:

        The Russian argument is a really bad one. They may not love the gays, but they make up for it by loving the abortion:

      • Mike in Boston says:


        Fair point on abortion, but I’ll bet you a beer that per capita abortions are lower among Russians ten years from now.

      • Foseti says:

        I’m not taking that bet. They’ll all be out of their child-bearing years by then!

      • Marissa says:

        I think Russia is recovering from its abortion craze. Stalin banned it from 1936 to 1955 due to its destruction of social order (I don’t think he cared much about the innocent lives). Then it skyrocketed. Now Putin has banned abortion advertising and procedures after 12 weeks. Maybe they’ll ban it entirely.

  20. anonymous says:

    Are we sure this is the real steve sailer?

  21. Autolyle says:

    Be aware that UR’s archive pages are a bit out of whack.

    For instance, the archive page for May 2007 contains posts from 5/19 through 5/31, but it’s missing posts from 5/1 through 5/17.

    Whoever put together has created a more complete archive, arranged chronologically by topic.

  22. […] for another dose later in the week. I needed to clear this out to focus on being a fly on the wall over at Foseti’s, and also putting up an important social […]

  23. SMERSH says:

    Trying to trace a single origin of leftism back through history seems foolhardy because leftism taps into certain basic psychological drives that are built into humans. We should expect to see it arise in multiple different times and places and we do.

    Some forms of leftism are a whole lot more destructive than others though. Agitating for better working conditions, benign, to a point. Giving the right to vote to women, destructive, but a predictable mistake with benign motivations.

    Modern leftism is, however, shockingly malign and destructive. It has even begun to undermine and destroy things that modern leftists still claim to support, like workers rights, economic justice, etc. It seems to go beyond what you’d expect from mere foolishness.

    It almost looks like leftists got pwned (in the Moldbuggian sense) at some point and were tricked into supporting an agenda that will ultimately result in something that doesn’t look anything like a leftist paradise and that will ultimately benefit someone other than themselves.

    And as you are no doubt aware, leftists did get pwned by large non-profit foundations, which made a concerted effort to shift the focus from economics to identity politics, radical feminism and social justice, As it turns out, this shift was quite profitable in the short term, but quite destructive in the longer term.

    Rather than trying to trace the origins of leftism back to caveman days, it might be interesting to consider the origins of this malign, destructive and relatively new streak of leftism.

    Something like the economic leftism of Swedes explains itself. It is adaptive for that climate and it produced a relatively functional society, to put it mildly. Better to think about where the identity politics, feminism and support for mass immigration came from. Because that stuff is maladaptive and it will destroy the paradise created by the innate leftism of Swedes.

    • josh says:

      I’m not sure the traditional economic arrangements of Sweden and their descendants qualify as leftism. However, if it does, I agree with you completely.

      Before the reformation England had large amounts of land owned by the church set aside for the common good where people could graze their sheep, etc. I don’t think this kind of arrangement qualifies as leftist even if it involved a communal understanding of property. In fact, the inventors of capitalism which replaced the traditional understanding of property in England are generally seen as leftists.

    • thinkingabout it says:

      Economic leftism is from the Christian belief in equality and charity. Mass immigration and minority-ism comes from the Christian cultivation of the sense of “guilt”, aka sin aka conscience in the majority.
      A paragraph from an article on Nietzsche’s thoughts on Jesus vs the Manu Smriti of Hinduism:
      “A second advantage of the Manu Gesetzbuch is that it seeks to preserve social rank. Christianity, on the other hand, attacks the powerful and noble by “taming” and, ultimately, leveling mankind.
      While this leveling, with the aim of improving man in the name of some higher ideal, has a rich history it is particularly virulent in Christianity.To make man less prideful, weaker, and more moral, Christianity turns man against himself by preying on his guilt. The guilty man is tamed,but Nietzsche disputes that he is thus “improved.” Rather, he is“weakened,” “disfigured,” and “fundamentally castrated.”
      Improvement is better characterized as a taming of the beast that requires a harming of the beast. Neutered and tamed, Christian man is rendered harmless”

    • mukatsuku says:

      “trying to trace a single origin of leftism” <—- This is not what Moldbug is doing. He is tracing one _destination_ of leftism: the American world government.

  24. […] invaluabler than ever by putting together a guided tour of Moldbug, the first installment of which is here. Ya know how Foseti’s always at his best when doing Book Reviews? Well consider this series a […]

  25. Magus Janus says:

    Kevin Macdonald argues with Eric Kaufmann here on whether it was the puritans or the jooooooooz.

    very relevant.

    The way I look at it, there were definitely troublesome issues already in the West before overt Jewish domination of post WII period. That said, if one imagines an USA without Jews over the last century, it is decidedly less progressive, diverse and multicultural.

  26. I love it! You hear a lot of homespun conservative types talk about how “atheism is a religion.” Wouldn’t they be shocked if they fully grasped exactly which religion it is!

    • Handle says:

      Yep, and don’t underestimate the role of shock value in all of this.

    • Zimriel says:

      The Conservatives never could articulate their reasons for why “atheism is just another religion” themselves. They had a century to do it, and failed every time. This made non-Conservatives dismiss this as gradeschool “i-know-you-are-but-what-am-i” stupidity.

      It took the neo-reactionaries to explain what, exactly, had been going on.

      • K(yle) says:

        Nietzsche explained the post-Christian irrational morality a long time before the “neo-reaction”. It’s not a new idea.

      • Udolpho says:

        Atheism isn’t a religion. Could we please just drop this dumb argument before the ridicule reaches a climax?

  27. […] a focus on American progressivism in particular, as exemplified in this post by Nick Land and this more recent one from Foseti in which progressivism is treated as a highly modified branch of English Puritanism.  […]

  28. R7 Rocket says:

    Is Mencius Moldbug selling a complete compendium of all of his voluminous posts in a form of a kindle book? I think he should do that.

  29. […] Foseti is reviewing Moldbug. Read it. […]

  30. Giacomo says:


    Of course, anti-Semitic theories are problematic. But as a simple (defensive) heuristic, I think it keeps our would-be wordsmith overlords—Jewish or otherwise—on their toes.

  31. fnn says:

    Has Moldbug ever discussed factionalism among the Puritans?

    …While “patrician WASP” William Sloane Coffin, Jr., came to national prominence in connection with “freedom riders”, “it is estimated that half of the white Freedom Riders were Jewish” (source), and Yale alumni took issue with Coffin’s activism, many calling for his removal as chaplain. …Brewster [Sr.], described by one acquaintance as “a crustacean McKinleyite Republican,” entertained many members of Congress at his Catoctin retreat. [. . .] Brewster’s politics, however, were too extreme to be openly expressed in the mainstream GOP. His anti-Communism was so rabid and sweeping that his son remembered that “if I were considerate enough to visit him in Washington with a friend whose parents were somehow associated with the Roosevelt administration, it was natural that he should refer quite regularly to my ‘Communist friends.'” [. . .] Brewster’s political opinions and his business contacts with Germany led the FBI to start a file on him. While various information testified that he admired the Nazi system and claimed to have met personally with Hitler on visits to Germany, the FBI’s investigation revealed little aside from the fact that “BREWSTER possessed a great hatred for Jews and regarded them with suspicion at all times.”

    Brewster’s views on race and religion were perhaps most fully expressed in the works of his good friend the eugenicist Lothrop Stoddard, who believed that Anglo-Saxon civilization and America’s ancestral purity were under threat from inferior races. Stoddard was, like Brewster, a Harvard Law School graduate and sometime resident of Brookline, Massachusetts. (Brookline was, not coincidentally, the location of the nation’s first country club.) Stoddard’s works included evocative titles such as The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy and The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under-Man.

    American society, according to Brewster and Stoddard, was a racial aristocracy under threat [. . .] Many upper-class East Coast gentlemen shared the view that snobbery and racial exclusion were necessary to preserve their elite culture, even if they stopped short of Stoddard’s conclusion that “race cleansing is the obvious starting-point for race betterment.” Although Brewster’s virulent racial opinions were welcome in polite society, most of his peers expressed themselves in more decorous terms. [. . .] Kingman Jr. once told an interviewer that he had been “terrified” of the father who had given him “a stepmother in every port.” [. . .] The son detested his father’s fascism and ultraconservatism, and so kept some distance. [. . .]

    Kingman Sr.s paranoid racism, extreme anticommunism, and unbridled hatred of Franklin Roosevelt reflected an entire class’s inability to cope with drastic change.

    Some members of Kingman Jr.’s generation adopted the reactionary outlook of their fathers. Others turned against their class and toward communism and other radical philosophies.

  32. Will S. says:

    Ultracalvinists believe in:

    1. The universal brotherhood of man – i.e. equality


    3. The fair distribution of goods – i.e. social justice

    The thing is, while progs hold to these things, even if we grant – and I am inclined to agree, it makes much sense – that the Puritans were their ancestors, to label them ‘ultracalvinists’ is absurd, because the Puritans and the earlier Calvinists most manifestly did NOT believe in equality in this way – they held, and those of us like me who are still Calvinists of the old kind hold, that there is a sharp division of humanity between the Elect and the Reprobate; and Calvinists have always been overwhelmingly free-market-oriented, not so concerned with ‘social justice’ – it was Methodists who embraced and promoted the ‘Social Gospel’; it’s mainline Protestants and ‘liberation theology’ Catholics today (including the new Pope, frankly, a Latin American himself) who emphasize such things alongside of progs.

    It is absurd to blame Calvinists for what their secularist descendents have gotten up to, as in the very act of becoming secular, they transformed into something very different than what their forebears were. Does it make sense to describe Americans as ‘ultraBritish’? Of course not; though sharing a common language, common law legal heritage, and other things, America is a republic while Britain is a monarchy; defining Americans thus would be absurd.

    Yet just because the progs have a missionary impulse, thinking their land to be a ‘shining city on a hill’, even while holding values quite different from their forebears who may have, for their faith, also had a missionary impulse and some similar tendencies, Moldbug and Moldbuggers will define them in terms of their superficial commonalities with their forebears, rather than in terms of their distinctives? Absurd.

    But that’s what Moldbug and Moldbuggers do; instead of focusing on progs’ distinctives, they want to define them in terms of the ancestors they broke away from, in pursuing secularism: the real Calvinists, who, for all their sins, were quite different.

    I find it interesting to see how secular neoreactionaries like to blame Christianity for progressivism, esp. Calvinism, while some RC and EO reactionaries blame the Reformation for progressivism, and so both end up having a nice little Prot- and Calvinist-bashing Moldbuggers club.

    All because some member of The Tribe hath said it was so, and henceforth, you’re not an official reactionary unless you subscribe to exactly the same things he and they do (whatever it is that they agree on, at least, such as Calvinist and Protestant-bashing/blaming).

    Well, fuck that. Count me out of any introvert geek Prot-basher reactionary club, led by a Tribe-member with an axe to grind.

    But I’m still a reactionary, even if all on my own.

    Reaction is a tendency, an orientation, and nobody, Moldbug or Anissimov or anyone else, gets to decide for me whether or not I am one. I am, by virtue of simply wishing to turn things back; that I have some libertarian tendencies amidst my otherwise paleoconservative leanings, or that I remain committed to liberal democratic constitutional monarchy, rather than entirely rejecting democracy as many think we ought, makes me no less reactionary.

    But since almost everyone else is into groupthink, I’ll probably be one almost all on my own. Oh well! Not the first time; won’t be the last.

    • Gilbert P says:

      Not on your own.

      Yet, for all that, I’m still an admirer of Moldbug’s stylish rants. (We right-footers are notorious for our tolerance.) But to be as hip as MM is, while ignoring the chilling effect of the Anne Franking of Western culture, seems disingenuous.

      As someone said above, he’s ok till the last hundred years or so.

      • Will S. says:

        Thanks, Gilbert!

        Though I said it, I don’t feel completely alone; I’m part of a group blog, and still get along fine with my fellow blog members, and our regular readers.

        But it’s good to know that not everyone who’s a reactionary is beholden to one particular narrow range of views, and ready to declare any not in line with them, anathema.


    • Foseti says:

      @Will S.

      Yes, yes, you’re on your own.

      A few years ago someone with your viewpoint was called a traditionalist, but apparently there’s something wrong with that label these days . . .

      I shouldn’t be critical. Frankly, I enjoy your writing very much. I certainly have much more in common with you (ideologically on the points that matter to me) than I do with anyone in the mainstream. I wonder why you have so much trouble admitting the same?

      My question for you is the same one that I have for Bruce Charlton (alas, it apparently caused him to pack up and leave).

      How do you explain the consistent left-ward drift of Christianity over time?

      Today’s Pope is hardly even recognizably Catholic by standards less than 100 years old (I’m not religious and occasionally I find the things he says a bit too . . . universalist).

      Indeed, I’m beginning to believe that part of the explanation for why Christianity seems to drift ever leftward is that none of the traditionalists will take sides with any critic of religion regardless of their viewpoint.

      It’s hard to take your viewpoint seriously when I’m essentially arguing for more conservative religious views and you’re arguing against me.

      From a traditionalist standpoint, if radical Protestantism is the cause of both the general decline in governance, morals, and other secular declines AND the decline in religious conservatism, why don’t shouldn’t you doubly embrace Moldbug’s argument?

      • Will S. says:

        Hi Foseti,

        I do consider myself a traditionalist, but with the difference that a traditionalist is merely trying to hold on to what remains of the good, whereas I’d like to not only do that, but recover what’s been lost, as well. That’s why I believe I am as entitled to self-define as reactionary as anyone else who has a similar propensity, even if we have differences of opinion in terms of our understandings of how we got to here and/or where we go from here.

        As per your question, as you well know, Christianity is hardly monolithic, and as for the left-ward drift, within Protestantism, one finds it to a great extent within mainline Protestantism, to a lesser but still significant degree with evangelicalism, while within confessional Protestantism, one finds only a relatively small degree of it by comparison, though alas more than I’d like, but at least nowhere near as bad as the others. Within Protestantism, the degree to which one finds leftist drift is directly proportional to the degree to which Scripture is de-emphasized; the mainlines have jettisoned it, the evangelicals claim to uphold it, but rationalize away the parts they don’t like, only confessionals really try to hold to it, in earnest.

        As for Catholicism, it’s always been a big tent, and hasn’t required as much commitment to orthopraxy from its members as Protestantism has, especially in our modern times, at least. As for Liberation Theology, that’s a Latin American Marxist phenomenon, a reaction against perceived and/or real economic injustices in that part of the world; it’s kind of the counterpart of the Social Gospel of Methodism.

        Eastern Orthodoxy, to its credit, like confessional Protestantism, has shown a fair degree of resistance to the zeitgeist, far better than Catholicism, IMO. Hence why Russia resists ‘gay rights’, for instance.

        So, I don’t think that it’s fair to characterize Christianity as a whole as drifting leftward. Besides, that’s only considering the West – as you no doubt are aware, in Africa, churches are highly socially conservative, even ones that are mainline liberals here, like Anglicans.

        I am arguing for a conservative, traditionalist religious view – confessional Protestantism IS traditionalist, even reactionary – our modes of worship and liturgy haven’t changed significantly in five centuries of existence.

        As I said, I am not questioning Moldbug’s pointing out that today’s progs seem to be essentially the secularized descendants of yesteryear’s Puritans, but I reject his blame of the original Puritans for their wayward offspring’s actions. And I find myself appalled that so many obviously bright folks can’t seem to see the stark differences between the Calvinists of yesteryear and the secularists of today – the primary problem with today’s progs is their secularism, not their religious ancestry.

        Don’t get me wrong; I have issues with the old Puritans, because I am no theocrat, nor am I a totalitarian. But I will defend them both against modern progs who slander them by calling killjoyism ‘puritanical’ (they weren’t as killjoy as made out to be by progs) and NR types, whether secular or RC/EO, who wish to blame them for their wayward secularized descendants’ actions.

        Funny thing; in his 1931 book ‘The Whig Interpretation of History’, Herbert Butterfield showed how absurd it was of Whig historians to celebrate Luther and Calvin as proto-Whigs, just because they broke the power of the Catholic Church, since they were in no wise progressives in any way.

        It’s equally absurd when NRs wrongly excoriate them for the things for which Whigs wrongly celebrate them.

      • josh says:

        Without actually answering the questions, isn’t the thing causing the leftward drift in Christian organizations the same thing causing the leftward drift in non-Christian organizations?

      • Will S. says:

        Josh, I should think so; it is the general leftward drift of society, which is affecting all manner of organizations. Churches, of course, are made of people, and as such, can fall prey to error, same as any other institutions; they must fight it.

      • Foseti says:

        But if Christianity is the answer, shouldn’t it exhibit some sort of immunity? Any kind?

      • Will S. says:

        Insofar as the church stays faithful to God’s Word, it will be immune to the pressures of the world.

        But being composed of people, who are sin- and error- prone, it will always be a struggle. People can mess up, and unless they are vigilant, their organizations will drift.

        Human nature is what it is.

      • Foseti says:

        Yes, but why do they only mess up in one direction?

        For example, I’m 100% sure that they won’t start stoning people who commit adultery, but we will have gay pastors.

      • Will S. says:

        Ah, have your forgotten the original Puritans? The ones who burned witches?

        Have you forgotten the churches that went along with National Socialism in Germany? (Yes, I realize National Socialism is a form of Socialism, but it was not of the left in a cultural sense, anyway.)

        People do screw up in different ways, fall prone to different kinds of error, and the church has reflected that over time.

        But today, in the society at large, as well as within infected churches, it is like a ratchet, only going in one direction.

        But it hasn’t always been thus.

      • josh says:

        “But if Christianity is the answer, shouldn’t it exhibit some sort of immunity?”

        It does, but not enough. The entire social engineering apparatus at the height of its powers was directed against resistant right-wing Christianity. What do you expect to be the result?

        “Yes, but why do they only mess up in one direction?”

        Define that direction.

      • josh says:

        That last statement was too cryptic. What I mean is, the direction is the direction that the social engineers move the culture. There are instances of moving in other directions, like the people who subscribe to the Siri thesis and the like, but in on the whole, what direction would you expect and large group of people to be moved?

    • Well done, Will.

      Me too.

  33. Udolpho says:

    Moldbug is hopeless. He once claimed he was the world’s foremost expert on the 20th century (perhaps the way MHP is the world’s foremost intellectual), yet he doesn’t appear to know what happened after 1925. I don’t think he knows all that much of what happened before it, either.

    Sealed in his blog with his fans, he hasn’t subjected his arguments to much criticism, and when he does get criticism his response is really poor–I mean, even his fans notice how poor it is, which is the most damning objection you can make. Thus he comes up with wildly, hilariously inapt labels like “the Cathedral”, his totally weird obsession with “ultracalvinists”, and claims such as that Richard Dawkins is really the world’s foremost Christian.

    And after all this fun and games, he has the gall to claim that his critics are drooling idiots who call his arguments gay and retarded. Sorry, but if you still can’t see through him after reading 30% of his blog–if you still don’t notice the pattern of rhetorical sand-kicking and long-winded distraction–then you may be already intellectually malnourished by a steady diet of right wing blog reading. That’s as nicely as I can put it.

  34. Kevin N says:

    Freed from the authority of tradition and rightful church hierarchy Protestantism inevitably evolved into all manner of things. That liberalism/progressivism is one of those things is without doubt; and that they borrowed ideas from other traditions is also without doubt. It is true that there is nothing new under the sun. It is true that this analysis did not originate with Moldbug; but, has been a constant critique of Protestantism by Catholic intellectuals.

    The only thing that will save us from Liberalism barring some extraordinary Divine Intervention is a return to His Church that is one, holy, catholic and apostolic. Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.

  35. […] 06-JAN-2014, Foseti, “Review of “Unqualified Reservations” part 1“ […]

  36. Steve Sailer says:

    I’m more of a glass is half full guy. Most smart guys down through history had some smart things to say that are worth keeping in mind. For example, Rawls was an immigration restrictionist:

    “Concerning the second problem, immigration, in #4.3 I argue that an important role of government, however arbitrary a society’s boundaries may appear from a historical point of view, is to be the effective agent of a people as they take responsibility for their territory and the size of their population, as well as for maintaining the land’s environmental integrity. Unless a definite agent is given responsibility for maintaining an asset and bears the responsibility and loss for not doing so, that asset tends to deteriorate. On my account the role of the institution of property is to prevent this deterioration from occurring. In the present case, the asset is the people’s territory and its potential capacity to support them in perpetuity; and the agent is the people itself as politically organized. The perpetuity condition is crucial. People must recognize that they cannot make up for failing to regulate their numbers or to care for their land by conquest in war, or by migrating into another people’s territory without their consent.”

    Sounds sensible to me. Immigration restrictionism makes the rest of his program much more affordable.

    Similarly, I’m not that big a fan of Dawkins, but I am a big fan of the evolutionary theorist William D. Hamilton, and Dawkins was the best explicator Hamilton ever had. So when the inevitable blow-up comes when an aging Dawkins gets in big trouble for an politically incorrect tweet, I’ll be out there swinging for him.

    • Foseti says:

      Everybody used to be an immigration restrictionist.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Well, no, among WASPs at the beginning of the 20th Century, the Progressives tended to be restrictionists while the WASP business interests tended to be open borderists.

    • Steve Johnson says:

      That passage is not immigration restrictionist – that’s anti-colonialist.

      Basic who/whom here. When Rawls was writing the view was that environmental pressure was caused by first world populations and the migration in question was migrating into the third world – South Africa, Rhodesia, etc.

      I would bet significant amounts of money that no intellectual descendant of Rawls would read that passage as being supportive of restricting immigration from the third world to the first world.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Rawls published that in the 1990s and was clearly thinking of immigration from more backward countries, so that he says one cause of population pressure in sending countries is keeping women barefoot and pregnant, so the sending countries need to get up to date. See p. 9:

      • Steve Johnson says:

        I stand corrected. From page 39:

        “Another reason for limiting immigration is to protect a people’s culture and its constitutional principles. … See Michael Walzer … for a good statement … ‘Then the result would be the world of the political economist … – a world of deracinated men and women”

        On the other hand this all hinges on men (sorry, “people”) like Rawls being allowed to rule the entire world:

        “…once that inequality and subjection are overcome, and women granted equal political participation with men and assured education, these problems [population pressures] can be resolved. Thus, religious freedom and liberty of conscience, political freedom and constituional liberties, and equal justice for women are fundamental aspects of of sound social policy for a realistic utopia. The problem of immigration is not, then, simply left aside, but is eliminated as a serious problem in a realistic utopia.”

        What he calls “inequality and subjection” will never disappear because men and women aren’t equal and cannot nor will not be treated the same. They have different interests and abilities. They have very different ideal life paths. What does it even mean for someone talk about equality between men and women? Are women unequal and being subjected if there are too few women who become math professors? I know how we would answer that question but observe the reaction to Larry Summers suggesting some reason other than inequality for the lower profile of women in science. (Not his firing – which the reasons for are unknown to outsiders (although we can speculate) – the reaction to his remarks).

        In other words, as soon as this impossible goal is reached we won’t have to worry about immigration.

        In a way Rawls is echoing Marx – in the liberal utopia the need for immigration will wither away as liberal enlightenment reaches all corners of the globe.

        But in the mean time…

  37. Steve Sailer says:

    That said, the theory that Rawls and Dawkins are characteristic products of the evolution of Anglo-American Protestantism seems quite accurate. But this recognition that they are indigenous products of Anglo-American culture rather than imports from some more distant culture that we don’t understand well would seem, all else being equal, to be a mark in their favor.

  38. etype says:

    I think one of the problems that comes with the territory is the idea that we can go back to whatever our preferred idea of ‘traditionalism’ is, and should therefore seek a consensus on the favoured mode, be that ultra-Calvinism or whatever. Neo-Reaction must accept there is no going back. Neither will there ever be consensus.

    Neo-Reaction will accept that any concept of tradition must be ecumenical, particularized by the territory, (ie.) the ‘West’, or it will flop. We have no choice but to construct our own paradigm.

  39. asdf says:

    To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:

    Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

    The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector.

    I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

    But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

    I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

    I can totally see how you get holier then thou being a natural result of Christian theology…

    At best when I listen to neoreactionaries I get a very facist vibe. If only people’s hearts were harder and we didn’t have all this love thy neighbor bullshit my utopian paradise would finally come. There was a group of people who thought Christ was a little soft…

    • Marissa says:

      Are you suggesting that those who criticize progressive policies are hard of heart? I consider progressivism to be soft of brain–those who espouse it do not considers its actual effects, merely the good feelings it gives them to think, like the Pharisee, that at least they support universal health “care” and gay “marriage” unlike those other people.

      Also, was the unruly mob afraid of Jesus of Nazareth’s power? Or annoyed and contemptuous of his “silly” claims? I’m not sure, as I haven’t read enough of the Bible.

  40. prozacinator says:

    Thanks for this, Foseti. I do not have time to read thru Moldbug so this sort of Reader’s Digest (did I just say a bad word?) approach is helpful.

  41. mukatsuku says:

    Whether the above is Sailer or FSS (fake steve sailer), I don’t know. But the WASP-Jewish nexus in Moldbug’s history is being misunderstood.

    ONLY AFTER American Jews converted from being a New Deal ethnic group to being SWPL elitists / Eloi / New England Puritans, were they allowed to climb the heights of Anglo-American power in the Cathedral. Only after they became Puritans were they allowed to displace actual WASPs.

    If you see a Jewish conspiracy in their open borders obsession (a la Prof. MacDonald), you haven’t understood the American Malvern document:

    One of the pure WASP principles in the Malvern article: “Worldwide freedom of immigration”

    Moldbug’s description of the Malvern article “the worm in the process of turning.” The Massachusetts faith has always equaled the Puritan faith which has always equaled the Progressive faith. Losing the Jesus part was the best trick. Now all faiths are welcome to fully convert to Puritanism. Like Tom Cruise says, you can be a Catholic and a Scientologist. Harvard says, you can be an Atheist/Jew/Muslim and a Puritan. Don’t mistake it for a big tent, though. In earthly matters, the faith is strict.

    An example of the process of Jewish conversion to Dissenter Protestantism: starting to treat blacks as sacred. When the Jews, Chinese, Koreans, first come to the US, they have little but contempt for American blacks. After being educated at Harvard, after moving to the best school districts, their children are educated in the Puritan / John Brown / Mandela faith. Thus a Zuckerberg educated at Exeter and Harvard is largely indistinguishable from a Bill Gates educated at Lakeside and Harvard, who is also indistinguishable from a Mitt Romney educated at Cranbrook and Harvard. All are neo-liberal or neo-conservative Puritan seminarians with a mission to uplift the whole world.

    • Foseti says:

      “ONLY AFTER American Jews converted from being a New Deal ethnic group to being SWPL elitists / Eloi / New England Puritans, were they allowed to climb the heights of Anglo-American power in the Cathedral. Only after they became Puritans were they allowed to displace actual WASPs”

      Precisely. The timeline only allows for one interpretation.

      • DrBill says:

        The timeline is that Jewish leftist radicals left Europe for the US in the late 19th C where they continued to be Jewish leftist radicals. Furthermore, the Jewish, leftist radicals they left behind in Europe continued to be Jewish leftist radicals there.

        An example of the process of Jewish conversion to Dissenter Protestantism: starting to treat blacks as sacred.

        This didn’t happen. I wonder how many of the non-Jewish Moldbuggers know any Jews well. I’m thinking none.

      • Foseti says:

        “I wonder how many of the non-Jewish Moldbuggers know any Jews well. I’m thinking none.”

        Heh. That’s exquisite in how precisely wrong it is.

    • mukatsuku says:

      Thanks. Another example is the Sixties revolution. The WASP sons and daughters worked with the Jewish sons and daughters to throw over the WASP Establishment, and fast-forward their rise in the new Establishment. Just Puritan infighting. All of the above were Puritans.

      • josh says:

        Except that the ecumenical movement was a front for the same business international business interests that Sailer mentions above as pressing for mass immigration. This wasn’t some inevitable outgrowth from Cotton Mather. This was the Rockefellers taking over the world.

      • Foseti says:


        Let’s take “international business interests.” Presumably this argument relies on the activites of the Rockefeller Foundation, Carnegie Endowment, Ford Foundation, etc.

        The transformation of these organizations from those espousing the views of their founders to vehicles of Progressivism is certainly instructive.

        However, these organizations changed so radically over time that simply to assert that they in some way reflect the ideas of their founders is absurd. (This process got so obvious that some newer foundations were self-destructing – see the John M. Olin Foundation). Some additional arguments are required. Methinks that such arguments will make Moldbug’s look simple.

        For example, Carnegie (the guy, not the endowment) was anti-imperialist. In a few generations, his foundation was run by a Soviet agent for the benefit of Soviet imperialism. This is a fascinating development – any explanation of which will contain a certain amount of complexity. The idea that this represents international business interests requires a bit of elaboration – to say the least.

      • SMERSH says:

        Despite the transformations that these foundations have undergone, they still work in ways that benefit the interests of a certain kind of international business interest. (In this case, “international business interest” is not intended to be a code word for organized Jewry)

        Part of the reason that the Cathedral is so utterly unstoppable is that (thanks in no small part to these foundations), they’ve abandoned many of the Old Left issues that were bad for business (like class struggle or high wages for proles) and re-directed those powerful leftist energies in a direction that is actually quite beneficial to a certain kind of powerful international business interest; dividing the population by emphasizing fault lines of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.

        Which makes the idea of an ever tightening leftward ratchet somewhat oversimplified. Left / Right doesn’t explain everything. The shift from the Old Left (generally bad for business) to the New Left (quite beneficial to certain kinds of elite owned businesses) is extremely important and almost entirely neglected by neo-reactionaries because of their ex-libertarian blinders.

      • Foseti says:

        That’s a fine first step, but you’ve a way to go to get to Alger Hiss running the Carnegie Endowment . . .

      • josh says:

        I may respond more directly about how I see the foundations evolving (a few losers self-destructed, but we are talking about the creation of the organizations that dominate more and more aspects of reality every day; isn’t this our chief complaint? Seems like their may have been some self interest going on), but getting back to American Malvern…

        It is kind of absurd to blame Christianity or even protestantism for something that occurred *after* it was hijacked by leftists with no intention of following Christian doctrine anyway. IIRC, the article was talking about the World Council of Churches, which was a a completely fraudulent front organization from the get-go.

        Fr. Hesburg sells his soul and Notre Dame for Foundation and later government bucks, creates the Land O’ Lakes Statement; 10 years later he is Chairman at the Rockefeller Foundation, and they are handing out condoms on the campus of a publically funded Notre Dame. I conclude organized Catholicism is the cause of the birth control movement.

      • Foseti says:

        “It is kind of absurd to blame Christianity or even protestantism for something that occurred *after* it was hijacked by leftists with no intention of following Christian doctrine anyway.”

        I’m not sure anyone has done this. I don’t think Carnegie – whose foreign policy views I rather like – is to blame for the Carnegie Endowment’s work in favor of global Communism, but I don’t it’s crazy of me to think that his foundation was structured somewhat poorly in light of the events that followed.

        To be clear, I’m not suggesting that there’s any structural problem with Christianity either. As we’ll see later, in any democracy, he who controls the majority religion, controls the state. I’m not sure Christianity ever had a chance.

      • Will S. says:

        “It is kind of absurd to blame Christianity or even protestantism for something that occurred *after* it was hijacked by leftists with no intention of following Christian doctrine anyway.”

        Thank you, Josh! Spot on. I’ve been arguing thus all along, but most neoreactionaries aren’t prepared to listen, and think it through logically; they have their axes to grind, and by George, they’re gonna grind them!

    • Pentagon says:

      Negroids are not treated as anything sacred. They are used as social engineering tool by making White people bind “contracts” related to the negroids, accepting unnatural elements as natural. That erases guilt in social breakdown measures taken by the Cathedral, cause as a religious group, there is no guilt in smashing down degenerates.

  42. Barnabas says:

    Moldbug plays with definitions to such an extent that you don’t know if his conclusions mean anything. Puritan=puritan. A movement of Jews and atheists is really a movement of Calvinists. Rather than trace ideas in the US he points to geography (the Northeast) or blood (WASPs). But when it comes to movements like the Bolsheviks or Chinese communists blood and geography don’t matter but only a drifting of Puritan ideas across the globe. What political ideas will Moldbug’s great grandchildren hold to? I have no idea and neither does he but its very unlikely that what he believes will influence them in the least. Such things can change 180 degrees (often purposefully so) in one generation much less 100 years.
    Christianity does not always drift left unless you define any schism as a leftist move by definition (as many neoreationaries do). There are many conservative congregations breaking off from the liberal denominations.
    Overall, it seems very self-serving of Moldbug to claim that atheists and Jews are not to blame but rather long dead Calvinists.

    • mukatsuku says:

      That’s a bit uncharitable. Moldbug has discovered an ‘elephant’ (the Cathedral) and is trying to run around and describe it from seven different angles. Not the same as playing with definitions.

      If you read enough Moldbug you can find the one-liner that provides the lightning bolt of clarity for your own context.

      For my context, one lightning bolt is the above “Massachusetts conquered America and then the world”

      Another one: if our current world government is a theocratic bureaucracy run from the Acela corridor, then what is the religious test for office? Moldbug says “anti-racism”

      Another: Modern Puritans are dangerous fanatics because they are devoted to _philosophical_ mysteries (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity). Normal religious people are devoted to _religious_ mysteries (the Eucharist, the Trinity).

  43. Gilbert P says:

    It was obvious that this post would reach 100 comments pretty quickly. It touches a few nerves… The kosherization of conservatism. Hmmm, where have we seen that before. So Joe Sobran: In or out (again)?

    • mukatsuku says:

      Restoring a Catholic monarch is kosherization? Whatever you say dude.

      • Gilbert P says:

        I’m talking about the neo-con purge of the right from the ‘mainstream’. It happened right after traditional conservatives agreed that they should make conservatism more appealing to the average teenage girl. (What could possibly go wrong?) What on God’s Earth are you talking about?

  44. Steve Sailer says:

    Moldbug’s accomplishment is very similar to Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man with the IQ debate. Gould managed to divert a discussion over recent social science data into an antiquarian obsession with the purported scientific sins of Stanley Henry Morton and other obscure figures in the 19th Century.

    • Foseti says:

      No way, don’t miss the forest for the trees.

      Step 2 is an understanding of democracy. As we’ll hopefully see, pollution and corruption of religion (especially the dominant one in a society) is an inevitable feature of democracy.

      And if the critique in step 2 is correct, the only people who were right about the 20th Century (among things) were some forgotten 19th Century intellectuals.

      There’s nothing inherently wrong with focusing on the ideas of the past, but criticizing the winners of the past who we’re wrong is much more important than criticizing the losers of the past who were wrong. Much more important

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Let’s take a relevant contemporary issue like immigration: in the 1920s, after long, long debate and massive social science efforts (e.g., the Senate’s 42 volume Dillingham Report of 1907-10), immigration restriction was finally passed by a coalition that included Progressive reformers, Boston Brahmins (e.g., Henry Cabot Lodge), labor (Samuel Gompers), cultural conservatives, eugenicists, conservationists, and some black heirs to Booker T. Washington.

        The losing side included big employers, urban political machines, ethnic lobbies, international socialists, the Catholic Church, and so forth.

        In contrast, today, there’s barely any real debate because the dominant side demonizes the other, gets the occasional brave social scientist (e.g., Jason Richwine) fired to encourage the others, proclaims that we have to take their promises on faith, and repeatedly acts as if they are motivated by ancestor worship for their Ellis Island forefathers.

        Which era seems more crypto-religious?

      • Foseti says:

        Today, as I’d expect. I don’t follow.

      • Dystopia Max says:

        “Which era seems more crypto-religious?”

        The correct question is “which SIDE seems more crypto-religious,” then as now.

        “big employers, urban political machines, ethnic lobbies, international socialists, the Catholic Church”

        All of them have strong incentives to be totalitarian enforcers of their own narrative (say nothing against the company, vote for our guy always since he’s your guy too, the Revolution comes above all petty local interests, do not question the conclusions of the Magisterium and its agents…)

        …above, say, dispassionate analysis, disinterested research, a ‘first do no harm’ attitude, a dedication to the past and its works as they were rather than as we wish them to be, and a sense of personal duty or responsibility for one’s home and country.

        But I don’t think this is the actual Steve Sailer; I think Udolpho is backsliding into his usual transparent sock-puppetry when he loses an argument, or fails to get a rise out of commenters. Most of his criticisms of Moldbug are pedantic and unserious despite their vehemence, mainly because he’s jealous that he can’t post that hard or keep that many fans. So he, like his Something Awful forebears, pulls quotes out of context and quotes historical incidentals of white people not being internationalists as SCIENTIFIC REFUTATION for a quick laugh and a moment of forum-bonding, though it doesn’t seem to have any lasting effect, as most of his posters then go on to quote Moldbug approvingly on their own sites. Lies must be forcefully maintained in a hothouse environment, truth is grasped intuitively by anyone not actively deceiving themselves.

    • Dystopia Max says:

      “Moldbug’s accomplishment is very similar to Stephen Jay Gould”

      Nah, Steven Jay Gould’s ideas won over the way most Jewish ideas did in the 20th century: public media repetition and university indoctrination.

      Steven Jay Gould would never, ever, say, get banned from a speaking engagement over a perceived intellectual offense against truth, he would view it as a +1 in the eternally Jewish “any publicity is good publicity” sort of way. He would never, ever, write in this style, on evolution or anything else, and be banned from polite political society as a result. If Gould did go nuclear on someone it he would strive to make sure it was some dirty backward white creationist like Duane Gish. Long cons are best, after all.

      But Gould is a polemicist in any case, more in the vein of Huxley than Darwin. The university and its ideological gamesmanship is his natural environment, and we all know what Moldbug thinks of those.

  45. […] rip tides forecast has already been made. As the reactosphere expands, and seeks to define its identity among increasingly complicated conditions, its inner tensions will be highlighted by […]

  46. ve says:

    I miss your ~weekly randoms posts.

  47. RS says:

    > If you focus on modern pundits, as you often do, of course it all looks likes a Jewish conspiracy. If you focus on pre-WW2 history, as Moldbug likes to do, it all looks like Exeter Hall and loony missionaries and their children.

    What major event happened about 96.8 years ago

  48. […] In an interesting post, Foseti returns to the Puritan Question, and affirms that “one key tenet” of Neoreaction is that Progressivism is a “nontheistic Christian sect.”  No doubt there is much to be gained by understanding Progressivism as a messianic movement, and much to be regretted in the fact that Progressive chiliasts were so long cosseted in the cradle of Christian culture, but Progressivism is not a nontheistic Christian sect.  It is that old skin-changer Gnosticism, now divested of Christian symbols, acting under a new guise suited to the sensibilities nontheistic men and women. […]

  49. Franklin says:

    I occasionally stumble around the internet looking for signs of intelligent life on my godforsaken planet, and there seems to be a glimmer of that here. I think I stumbled on Moldbug before, but he is too verbose to read. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that Progressives are basically Christians, but this is the first time I have seen anyone else say this. But the history of this as explained here is wrong. Universalism is certainly a contributing plague, but it isn’t the core of Progressivism. Under Universalism, everyone is saved, to the politically correct intolerance of Progressivism can’t possibly follow from Universalism. The Puritans had strict rules for their own communities but didn’t much impose on others. What actually happened was that Calvinist ideas mutated in the Second Great Awakening and this caused Progressivism. I explained that in my post The Rise and Fall of Christian Culture.

    Anyway, I am a reactionary Jew. I read history to gain understanding, not to argue about theology. It really makes no difference whether or not one can show that Progressivism is a branch of Christianity. What matters is what one DOES, what action is taken. All the mental masturbation of the various anti-liberal groups leads nowhere. None of these groups show the least interest in actually creating a viable alternative to modern culture. In Judaism we at least have the ultra-Orthodox who counter Progressivism by turning off their brains. Not my ideal solution, but better than nothing.

  50. Anthony says:

    Another Jewish Communist died recently.

    “His Yankee-Protestant family, which Seeger called “enormously Christian, in the Puritan, Calvinist New England tradition”, traced its genealogy back over 200 years. A paternal ancestor, Karl Ludwig Seeger, a physician from Württemberg, Germany, had emigrated to America during the American Revolution and married into an old New England family in the 1780s.”

  51. Well we all know Tikkun olam is a very, very Christian Calvinist concept. Brilliant.

  52. Turtosophy says:

    I’ve read all of MM’s material also, and I put a little review on my blog. In short, I believe that his is wrong on two counts.
    1) I do not believe Progressivism is exclusively descendent from Protestant Christianity.
    2) I do not believe that Progressivism controls the US or the world for that matter.

    1) Look up the current players in Progressivism. Mostly germanics? No, mostly Ashkenazi. Look at the vast Protestant congregations across the US, mostly Progressive? No, mostly conservative. Where are the geographic centers of Progressive populations? New York, San Fran, Hollywood. What ethnic group is most economically and intelligentsia dominant in these areas? Ashkenazi. Examine the most extreme Protestant sects to see if they are Progressives. Take for example Mennonites who are more extreme in pacifism, equality, charity than Quakers or Calvinists. Mennonites are so far away from Progressivism, they are practically monarchists. Progressivism is a direct descent of New Left politics of the 1960’s. And where did the New Left adolescents get their ideas? I don’t remember Marcuse, Adorno, Habermas being from any Calvinist or Quaker traditions. The Frankfurt School was a secular Ashkenazi stronghold. To me Progressivism is the merger of the Universalism of Christ (and much later Reform Judaism), the messianic desire to make the world better (Reform Judaism), and the ignorance of an adolescent ruling class (Ashkenazi). None of this should come as a surprise since when a group escapes the shackles of the shtetl and the ghetto, achieves political power, that they are political adolescents and rule accordingly. The matter is made much worse by the fact that they are ruling over a population with a historical culture unfamiliar to them. Read ‘The Wandering Who’ By Gilad Atzmon if you want to get a better idea of the mind of a secular Ashkenazi. Another item is that Progressive ideology is only possible by those with no historical knowledge and appreciation of their own culture. No surprise that the US was the one place it took root best, since the US has very little history and it’s culture was only an inch deep – pretty normal for a colony. Anyways, who cares where Progressivism started, it’s better to spend time figuring out ways to destabilize it.

    2) MM’s claim that Harvard’s ideas rule over the US is false. Sure I like the term Cathedral, but it implies that Hollywood is tied to Harvard, which it is not. Hollywood is run and staffed by a group of people (the ones that cannot be named) who have a very different set of morals than most everyone else; furthermore they put making money ahead of everything else, which means that Hollywood would be pushing gutter culture even if Harvard wasn’t talking about it. Look at the Iraq war, did the media support it? Yes, full blown support until the US started to loose. Did academia support it? Not in any way from start to finish. How was the war sold to the public? Bringing democracy to the middle east. Who bought this story? The conservatives, big business, and the media. Sure doesn’t look like Progressives were behind that policy decision. What MM is missing from his analysis is that the US enacts policies which are in the short term interest of it’s power elite (who are in fact the financial owners of the country). To get the public to support these policies, many times Progressive intellectual cover is used. Even if academia was dominated by conservatives, the power elite would still find the one odd academic who would provide intellectual cover for them; that is after all the role of the academy. Wailing on about the non-while immigration into the US as a Progressive scheme is nuts. The immigration is happening because the power elite need more babies to maintain the demographics in the face of sub-replacement white fertility rates. Without immigration, the US economy would collapse and the Empire with it. Do you really think that the power elite would risk losing the State and the Empire just to maintain racial harmony among the nation? Guess who is providing the intellectual cover for this? Progressives. And why it is almost always Progressives who provide the intellectual cover? Because Progressive means CHANGE, and that is what new policies are. Conservative means no change. If Progressives did not exist, the power elite would need to invent them. Instead of focusing your efforts on Progressives, instead focus on the power elite who are running the State in a very short term manner with no regard for the longevity of our civilization. We have adolescents for rulers.

    • Franklin says:

      “Progressivism is a direct descent of New Left politics of the 1960′s.”

      This quote alone is enough to discredit the comment. Progressivism had definitely arrived by the 1920s, and the New Left politics of the 1960′s was just one result of Progressivism.

      • I read Turtosophy’s points with interest. He is, of course, wrong about the link between Progressivism and the New Left, as you point out, but much as I admire MM’s writings and indeed historical grasp of these matters, I can’t quite help having nagging doubts. If Universalism in any of MM’s names for it (Progressivism, Ultra-Calvinism, PC etc) is solely a mutant form of Protestant progressivism, where does the undoubtedly potent input to it from Marxism fit in? For Marx, of course, much flowed from his idea of the oppressor and the oppressed. While the pure political experiments with his ideas were demonstrably failures, the Gramscian method has had much to do with the ‘capture’ of the Cathedral by progressives. The ‘long march through the institutions’ is what has bequeathed to us the ovine bleatings from Academe and the MSM. Thus Marxism, an ideology with no explicit lineage through to Christianity, and very little that can be detected that is even covert, woud thus appear to be a more or less free-standing pillar of influence, so far as the Cathedral is concerned.

        Thus, what price MM’s very trenchant assertion that its roots lie in Protestantism and the English Civil War?

      • Foseti says:

        “where does the undoubtedly potent input to it from Marxism fit in?”

        Actually, super-protestant Communistic societies in the US pre-date Marx (see here for the best source:

        For example, Robert Owen ( was old enough to be Marx’s father.

        In other words, the timeline clearly shows that Marxism was not some sui generis. It followed – it didn’t lead.

    • Foseti says:

      The idea that progressives are mostly Ashkenazi is absurd. The Ashkenazi are certainly over-represented, but they’re no where near a numerical majority. If you believe intelligence is a heritable trait, the real question would be are Ashkenazi over-represented given the disproportionately high IQ. Then it gets even worse for your theory.

      It also gets worse if we look at the relevant time periods. The first (and most important) period is the Civil War. Progressives may not have been in charge of the world by the end of that war, but they were in charge in the US. The groundwork for all that was to come was pretty clearly laid out by the end of that war as well. If the Joos were somehow able to control these events given that there were only 2 of them in the US at the time, the only reasonable conclusion is that we should all convert now.

      If you can cite a bunch of pro-Iraq War hollywood movies, I’d be very interested. With precious few exceptions, they still won’t put a Muslim terrorist on the screen. It’s all Nazi bad guys all the time.

      • Steve Johnson says:

        A very simple story that seems mostly true to me is that:

        Progressivism started out non-Jewish (and did plenty of damage) but then got taken over by Jews and became especially destructive and still promoted Jewish cohesion. Ron Untz’s work on the pro-Jewish bias in Ivy League admissions is extremely persuasive here. Jews are smart, yes, but they go out of their way to select fellow Jews for membership in the elite and exclude non-Jews who are smart.

        Does Matt Yglesias seem like the cognitive elite to you?

  53. Foseti says:

    Moldbug’s argument is that the ideology under which we live is descendant from Mainline Protestantism (see e.g. our fixation on equality), it’s NOT that a group of hardcore mainline protestants are self-selecting each other to create a dominant, unassailable, coherent, organized, and well-directed elite. The idea that any group is doing that latter thing in the modern US is, frankly, borderline insane (it’s wildly more crazy than Moldbug’s argument). However, I’m certainly not adverse to thinking about insane ideas as long as there’s at least part of some well-constructed argument. The idea that a disproportionate number of people of one group that has a high IQ are over-represented in groups of people with high IQs is not such an argument. It’s simply an observation that accords with reality as we’d expect it to.

    If, Jews in fact went out of their way to select other Jews for membership in the elite, we’d expect to see low levels of intermarriage. Instead, we see the opposite. So much so that in the near future to speak of American Jews will almost require one to specify what that means. Can a quarter-(progressive) Jew really be part of the conspiracy?

    I’m not saying this argument is necessarily wrong, it just requires some non-obvious evidence. Why are Christian societies so easily overcome by such a small number of sort-of Jews (frankly if such societies are so easy to take over, I’d think we could do a lot worse than the Jews, but I digress)? How has Judaism changed the direction of Progressivism since say the end of the Civil War (I can’t see any meaningful shift in views at all)? Do we really see a disproportionate number of Jews among the elite when adjusted for IQ differences across the populations? etc? In any society with some level of meritocracy, we’d expect to see disproportionately rise to the top. There has to be some evidence of something more nefarious to support your claims. You’ll find no more receptive audience than me if you start citing it . . .

  54. Steve Johnson says:

    “Do we really see a disproportionate number of Jews among the elite when adjusted for IQ differences across the populations? ”

    There’s evidence for this of all types.

    Unz’s writing on Ivy League admissions is quantative evidence for this. Progressives are simplistic when talking about under/over representation but let’s not make the same mistake. Just because a group is above average doesn’t mean it can’t still be overrepresented.

    Anecdotal evidence for this is all around but I think one of the clearest examples is the Madoff scheme.

    He sets up a criminal enterprise and gets investors. The investors know he’s running a criminal enterprise – they just think that he’s front running his market making clients. Instead he’s running a ponzi scheme. Why did they trust him? Because he pitched the investment specifically to fellow Jews through channels where it was known he was a fellow Jew – Jewish country clubs and social networks. In other words a bunch of rich prominent connected Jews expected that they could trust a criminal because he was a fellow Jew who would gladly cheat non-Jews but wouldn’t do so to his fellow Jews. These aren’t wild eyed internet anti-Semites – these are Jews. They think that a Jewish criminal would defraud non-Jews but wouldn’t do the same to Jews. Don’t you think that is amazingly strong evidence for how those rich connected prominent members of society will act themselves?

    How much progressivism has changed when it’s ethnic make up has changed isn’t even an open question. Progressivism in 1935 was all about the white working class. Did it change because it’s too hard to bribe a white population? Did it change because Jews bear a huge animus and fear towards whites? Partly both? Either way, it’s undeniable that non-Jewish progressivism wasn’t genocidal towards whites and that current progressivsm is.

    • Foseti says:

      If Unz’s evidence is all you got, it means the Jews took over very recently. Indeed during the entire rise of progressivism and its total victory in the New Deal, Unz’s standards would suggest that the Jews were discriminated against by the progressives. By the time the Jews show up then, the game is long since over.

      Today’s progressives care as deeply as ever about the poor, just ask them! Progressivism has always been about using the poor, they’re doing that today as effectively as ever.

      • Steve Johnson says:

        “By the time the Jews show up then, the game is long since over.”

        That’s begging the question. 2014 progressivism is far worse than 1984 progressivism which is far worse than 1934 progressivism. As progressivism has gotten worse it has also gotten more Jewish. Is that the causal factor? Nothing the origins of progressive thought doesn’t answer that question.

        I’ve shown clear evidence that Jews do promote the interests of other Jews and expect other Jews to act in the same way – which you haven’t denied and in fact, would be ridiculous to deny.

        Jews could easily be practicing an entryist strategy on progressivism. Mouth the old progressive platitudes until you amass enough power within the group then bend the goals of the group to your own ends. It really does look suspicious when progressivism isn’t quite as harmful to Jews and Jews are the main face of pushing it further and further.

        Was everything alright if we go back to 1935? No, clearly not. That doesn’t mean we don’t have an additional problem today.

  55. Foseti says:

    “2014 progressivism is far worse than 1984 progressivism which is far worse than 1934 progressivism”

    Yeah, and Breshnev was worse that Krushchev, but that’s sort of missing the forest for the trees, isn’t it?

    At the absolute best, your (one piece of – seriously this is a worldwide conspiracy and that’s all you got?) evidence suggests that Jews may be inserting themselves into the top levels of the progressive hierarchy, without changing its form in any way. Forgive me for being wildly underwhelmed.

  56. Tarl says:

    It is interesting that with 180 comments in a thread about MM, the man himself has not showed up to comment. He used to have a stronger web presence than that. It almost seems like he’s lost interest in everything he discussed at such length in his previous, more active years.

  57. josh says:

    The (American) progs of the 1850s were mostly demi-jews, descended from 16th-17th century Judaizers. Most had to various degrees developed a way of life that allowed them to rediscover logos. But yeah, they were obviously very important.

    But then nothing happened. Modernism and post-modernism were natural outgrowths of the Grand Army of the Republic. Is that the theory? Peter Eisenman’s Judaism has absolutely nothing at all to do with his aesthetic theories? you don’t, for example, think there is anything Jewish about the first generation of monumental architecture to be created by Jews based on theories created by Jews. There is nothing Jewish about any of this? Is that the theory?

    Of course, because the Jewish population of the US was small until the late 19th C, apparently the ideologies of the Jewish influenced revolutions of Europe, or the fairly Jewish movements of Freemasonry and Illuminism had no impact on America. It’s also important to realize that the French revolution took place in France and therefore had no impact on the American mind. In fact, the American ruling classes were not aware of the existence of Europe.

    • Foseti says:

      Dude, if you’re theory is that John Brown was a crypto-Jew, you’re wielding something like Occam’s wooden spoon. You can’t simply just state that theory as if it’s self-explanatory and move on.

      • josh says:

        John Brown is not a crypto-jew as far as I know except in the sense that Barack Obama is a crypto-Calvinist.

        The Puritans were considered by their contemporaries to be Judaizers, ie Jew wanabees. Reliant on old testament prophecy, a return to The Law, messianism; that kind of thing. Judaizing was a common phenomenon after the commerical revolution which dramatically increased the wealth and visibility of Jews.

        Basically, prior to and in the early stages of the protestant reformations being a Jew qua being a Jew was the cool thing to be, especially a Jewish mystic. Guys like John Dee in England and the Medicis in Florence were buying up Kabbalistic and neo-Platonic (there was a lot of overlap there as well) books and employing Jewish Hebrew professors in the Universities to translate the old testament. Cosimo de’ Medici even founded a new Platonic Academy (which was really just a mystery cult by this time).

        So in the south you get first the gnostic Albigensians and then the neo-Platonic humanists, and in the north and west you get Jewish influenced “Christian Kabbala” as it was called in Dee’s (Elizabeth’s) day.

        You’ve also got the Marranos (actual crypto-Jews) in Spain and Portugal who get expelled to the Netherlands where they either drop the pretense of Christianity or convert to (or help found) one of the new Judiazing protestant sects coincidentally springing up in the Netherlands. Many Marranos play leading roles in early Calvinism. Both parties not unreasonably support the protestants against he Church and Spain.

        (I could point out the development of secret societies and techniques associated by the Marranos in Spain, but some things sound too crazy for even the reactionaries.)

        Anyway, the Dutch revolt, Elizabeth takes up the mantle of the Protestant Queen, John Dee coins the term British Empire, and according to David Hacket Fischer (Albion’s seed), the East Anglicans adopt Calvinism from “Dutch” merchants.

        Heinrich Graetz, the father of Jewish historiography, can fill in the details.

      • Foseti says:

        Here’s my problem with this line of reasoning. Let’s say that you’re completely correct. We then see that the presence a few Jewish-style ideas is enough to entirely overthrow the governing structure of Christian countries. The obvious questions are then: 1) why is Christianity so lame? and 2) given that Christianity is so lame, it’s probably really lucky that the Jews took it over so thoroughly, given the alternatives and it’s incredible instability, right?

        Frankly, if I was strongly Christian, I wouldn’t find the Jews argument comforting at all. It seems to me it’d be much better to be outcompeted by a strong, well-established, already-in-power Christian sect, than by some vague sort-of-Jewish ideas floating around in the heads of a couple guys.

      • josh says:

        Here’s the problem with your line of reasoning, with all respect (I could probably give it thorough response, but I’ll just say that capitalism replaced Christendom as the default in western self-understanding. Not a few ideas in a few heads, but lots of money and power and human weakness, and it still took hundreds of years), so what?

        Christianity is either true or it isn’t. The historiography I’ve provided is either true or it isn’t. I’m sorry if it isn’t comforting. Maybe the eschaton can’t be immanentized. Maybe the gnostic temptation is ever present in humanity and can’t be engineered away.

        On the other hand, if you want comfort, I do have some good news to share with you…

  58. Retired Guy says:

    Where are you?????
    11 Feb

  59. Jingaugh Starr says:

    Christianity’s vulnerability to Jews stems from its pedigree and prophecy. Until people can properly wrap their minds around Zionism and that the reformation of the state of Israel is about the satisfcation of prescribed rituals-prophecies-to summon the messiah, it doesn’t make any sense.

    That’s what Zionism and the state of Israel is all about. It’s why Lehaye and Jenkins can sell books like there’s not goin to be a tomorrow.

    Don’t be left behind; this is progressivism, this is communism, this is Zionism and this is the prophecy of the millenial kingdom.

  60. […] who has recently started a series of posts reviewing Mencius Moldbug’s output (see here and here.)  His reviews are as punchy and clear as Mencius Moldbug’ originals are meandering and […]

  61. Ash says:

    Reblogged this on This Rough Beast and commented:
    This is an excellent introduction to Neoreactionary analysis regarding progressive ideology. The term “cathedral” has been criticized by some who don’t understand its full meaning. The Cathedral is exactly that: a church of modernity, complete with priests and evangelists, who fool us by not talking about God and wearing collars and vestments.

    But as Foseti and Moldbug show here, it’s not just a rhetorical device. The overarching ideology of today stems back hundreds of years to at least the radical elements of the Reformation.

    Progressivism is the ever increasing sanctification of each individual desire, devoid of its formation in accordance with some higher order. As we’ve discussed on this blog, that leaves us open to manipulation, both from individuals skilled in enticing the mob and from the dynamics which released eros and thumos can create. The Church once referred to the latter as “demonic”. We can understand them as the triumph of the lower elements of the human being over the higher.

    As this blog is informed by the Western Tradition, we need to go further in the analysis. Moldbug doesn’t give any particular source of order preference. We do. If Christianity led to the birth of the Cathedral, it also operated under the promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against its Church. Moldbug’s Ultracalvinism is Christianity stripped of the European soul and the vast Western Tradition which it received into itself. It is de Maistre’s “Gospel outside the Church.” So the Westerner, especially the Christian, who becomes aware of Neoreaction would do well to complete that process by becoming aware of the true religion of the middle ages, the “eternal Christianity” which was created when Europa received her baptism. I republished Logres’ words about Christianity being the religion of the Kali Yuga. There’s a double meaning here. Its perverted form is the religion of the Cathedral (if you still doubt that, look at mine and Bryce’s prior posts on ideology and religion), then the religion of Dante is the golden thread passed down to us.

    Recognizing progressivism as a religion is the inoculation. Regaining access to the waters from which our forefathers drank is what will begin to restore us to health.

  62. The Clandestine says:

    I absolutely reject the theory that Puritanism was the nucleus of Progressivism. This is a misleading farce. If we are to be honest Progressivism had to have taken it’s roots in Rome after the Jewish texts were examined and the New Testament was concocted at the Nicean council 325 AD.

    This was the embryo, laid to gestate. Major moves were then taken to rid Europe of her Polytheism’s. Gaelic, Germanic, Norse etc. This was strategic to strip the European of all ethnic identity, with the knowledge of self obliterated and Universal principles being adopted, combining all Europeans ethnically under one umbrella was not a strengthening synthesis, but a weakening one.

    We can then trace from Europe, where the same document that held the justifications for slavery also had the keys to abolish slavery under the universal principles that were conveniently being ignored, Slavery was not just for economic purposes, it was a tactical political move, for future political currency to manipulate the slaves for a later date when a stronger strain of progressivism was needed.

    We see a similar tactic with immigration. To make a long story short this has been a manifest destiny since day one, although I am an atheist reactionary, which means I disavow all enlightenment principles to they clues are still presented in the Biblical text Catholics seemingly ignore.

    “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”

    “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.”

    This has been a deliberate work to bring about the conditions for “the people”. From Europe and Americas prosperity, to Europe and Americas orchestrated destruction which has has been set in motion now that they have supplied wealth, land & weaponry and are deemed unfit for service.

    This is a generational meta-game, that those who started the chain of events, knew they would not live to see.

  63. mukatsuku says:

    It seems that Josh is agreeing with Moldbug that the Cathedral phenomenon ‘is something like the Reformation itself’.

    What opposition is left with this agreement? A rather minor matter: Are our Protestants really Jewish, as Josh says, or are our Jews really Protestants, as Moldbug says.

    Clandestine one-ups Moldbug saying the phenomenon ‘is something like the New Testament itself’.

    These don’t seem like fruitful lines of criticism of Moldbug.

    One line of criticism that might work is how capitalism hitched a ride on the progressive slogan Equality, Liberty, Fraternity.

    Moldbug admits that the left (JS Mill) brought capitalism in as a revolution against the aristocracy. Elsewhere Moldbug says that capitalism is congruent with royalism, wherein a secure monarch allows personal freedoms to maximize royal wealth (the value of the kingdom). So is Moldbug saying that left supported something good (capitalism) by accident? Or that anything achieved by revolution is bad, even this occurance of capitalism?

    • Foseti says:

      “These don’t seem like fruitful lines of criticism of Moldbug.”

      Agreed, and then some.

      “So is Moldbug saying that left supported something good (capitalism) by accident? Or that anything achieved by revolution is bad, even this occurance of capitalism?”

      For Moldbug, the Left works by an evolutionary process. So, the Left supported capitalism when doing so helped the Left. After the old aristocracy was overthrown (thanks to capitalism and the Left), capitalism was no longer useful – and in fact was harmful – and was thus discarded.

      Perhaps this seems far-fetched, but it’s relatively obvious, once you see it. For example, we’re all supposed to think Russia is terrible for hating teh gays, whereas we’re not supposed to think about teh gays in Africa at all. Or, science is great when it’s proving global warming but terrible when it’s proving that genetic differences exist across different populations. Middle Eastern wars run DoD are terrible, whereas those run by State are awesome. Etc.

    • josh says:

      I agree that from a certain perspective the particular disagreement I have been belaboring could be seen as trivial (not from mine, but whatever). However, this was the topic of this post and we may as well get it right. Besides, if I actually get anyone to look into the subject of neo-Platonic and Kabalistic entryism in the west, I’ve at least turned them on to something really fascinating.

      We really do need to talk about capitalism, starting with what the hell is it. I mean, its great that black people aren’t as smart as white people and women like high status assholes and all, but we have completely neglected the thing that ate the west.

      • mukatsuku says:

        Fair enough, on getting the history right. Interesting to note here that Moldbug’s blog started out supporting Cromwell and the English Revolution. (This was Carlyle’s argument adopted in full by Moldbug). Later on Moldbug came up with the principle that all revolutions are bad, reversing his support of the English Revolution.

    • Jingaugh Starr says:

      The reaction goes nowhere as long as progressivism is branded and promulgated as a meta-protestant reformation ideology. It’s millennial kingdom, perfection on earth theology. It can be WASP when it needs scotch military support and it can be godless when it needs east coast lawyers/bankers, minorities or university support.

      This is the Garden of Eden meets the 21st century. Progressivism is absolutely of Jewish pedigree.

  64. Pentagon says:

    Liberal progressivism is christianity on steroids, with no deism. This makes it more penetrative. Talking to any lefty liberal is like talking to any muslim, the same feeling of dealing with a religious fanatic.

  65. Gilbert P says:

    Working on Part 2, Foseti? Plenty of food for thought in the Part 1 comments.
    One more thought, since your last post was on Mandela: South Africa is an actual case study of Proddys (the bad guys – Dutch Reformed… Lutherans essentially) against the usual suspects. And guess who they were. Google the Rivonia trial. Rivonia was a bucolic suburb of Johannesburg, now almost part of the new CBD (the old one having been abandoned as too Liberian, even for the Liberators). Mandela was one of the Rivonia plotters, along with the usual suspects (not WASPs).

  66. […] This is still my candidate for the most important thing happening right now. (Unless you count this (or of course this)) […]

  67. aretae says:

    I agree entirely with this post. You called out the part of reaction that I think is brilliant, and unparalleled. I don’t think the position coheres without this understanding. I don’t think all neo-reaction positions follow from this…though I’ve now reached the point where I’m inclined to sum my disagreement with reaction by: I think the critique of the existing system is brilliant, insightful, and among the best new thinking on big questions anytime recently.

    And, as with a recurring line of mine: Problem analysis is a different domain than solution design. And just because you have the best problem analysis I’ve seen doesn’t get us very close to a solution.

    But I’d prefer to focus, here, on both Moldbug’s and your brilliance in understanding the center of the position.

  68. Progressivism:Christianity::Christianity:Judaism

    Progressivism is a (non-theistic) Christian sect in just the same way and to just the same extent that Christianity is a (blasphemous) Jewish sect.

    • josh says:

      Except that a) modern Judaism is not very much like the Judaism of which Christianity is a sect and b) Christianity owes as much to Helenistic thought as it does to ancient Jewish thought. In real Christianity we accept Greek philosophy as a part of Gods plan for revelation. Protestantism was Juadaizing in large part because it was trying to deHelenize Christianity which is contrary to the nature of Christianity.

      • josh says:

        Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that we have been not only imprecise, but WAY too shallow in looking at the history of thought.

  69. JL02 says:

    First of all, Foseti, hope you are well, and come on back.

    Second, E. Michael Jones – a traditionalist Catholic hated by the SPLC – in his book The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit can be very illuminating to this conversation….I would also point out :
    – To Judiaze, according to Jones: “To impose the superceded law on Christians, as in requiring circumcision and dietary laws. To act like a Jew, as the Puritans did in economic matters.”
    – Judiasm is younger than Christianity, as it was completely re-invented after the total destruction of Titus in 70.
    – This reinvention, a Talmudic “revolutionary spirit,” has as its latest form PC.
    – It is arguable that Moldbug is in this spirit (even as an atheist, or agnostic, or whatever). Bruce Carleton’s (Mormon-centric) criticism of him is on point here, IMO.

  70. sobl says:

    You there Foseti?

  71. Rasputin says:

    Please don’t let the state of neoreaction prevent you from completing this important work.

  72. […] We must realize the limits of even this grand scheme. Neoreaction deconstructs the Cathedral but does not replace it. We must remember that the Cathedral is a church with a nontheistic religion. Foseti does a great job of collecting Moldbug’s highlights of this process here. […]

  73. […] believes in egalitarianism in such a way that it is more accurately thought of as an example of faith, rather than an objective appraisal of human nature.  Since egalitarianism is incompatible with […]

  74. […] gave a good summary of unqualified reservations, Moldbug’s blog, if you are looking for (relative) […]

  75. Retired Guy says:

    I sure miss the frequent comments by Foseti. I guess the FEDs fired him, or he quit, so now he has no free time at his work desk and now really has to work for his supper, house, tax bills, and etc.

  76. nobody says:

    Very excited for this series. I’ve been meaning to read UR, but cannot find the time (it looks dennnnnnnse)

  77. […] least suggestive of credibility. It can reasonably be placed alongside the Moldbug Ultra-Calvinism Thesis (on the cladistic identity of ‘secular’ democratic progressivism) as a central […]

  78. […] Going further, one can see a basic similarity between Marxism, psychoanalysis, neoconservatism, and neoreaction.  At the foundation of each is an atheist Jew, someone cut off from the main spiritual roots of our civilization, who promises esoteric knowledge to his followers.  The world is not as it appears; behind it is sex or class oppression or status signaling or meme propagation, and Leo Strauss’s secret decoder ring will show you that all the great thinkers of the past were secretly Straussians.  But whether one follows Freud, Marx, Strauss, or Moldbug, one will learn that the main illusion to be despised is Christianity.  For the first two, Christianity is the ideology of oppression; for the latter two, it is the hidden source of modern decadence.  While it may seem that the Left is locked in warfare with Christianity, with atheists and Jews solidly allied with the former, every neoreactionary will explain to you that progressivism is really a form of Christianity.  It’s their key belief. […]

  79. John Eliot says:

    Will S Says: “Don’t get me wrong; I have issues with the old Puritans, because I am no theocrat, nor am I a totalitarian…”

    Puritans ministers were strictly forbidden roles as civil magistrates so theocracy was entirely out of the question.

    The Puritan magistrates ruled according to their company charters with the advice of an elective council and generally in keeping with English law so Puritans were never even close to totalitarians. They were strict rule of law people. John Winthrop was voted out of the Governor’s office quite frequently.

    Frankly, I think many people that write about the Puritans have no knowledge of them from primary accounts but only from their 19th and 20th c. detractors which is a shame.

    By the way, Winthrop, Dudley & Cotton all agreed that democracy was the worst of all forms of government and cooperated to uphold a traditional if truncated hierarchy with the gentry as the ruling class, with yeomen and freemen able to elect representatives to the council, with propertyless servants at the bottom without representation. This, of course, worked much better than democracy.

    This traditional English order was not seriously challenged until the revolution. I wonder why MM never talks about the Puritans dislike of democracy and love of hierarchical order?

  80. Will S. says:

    John, I realize that ministers were not allowed to be civil magistrates under puritan rule; nevertheless, wherever they held sway, they enforced their doctrines as laws of the land, and from Merriam-Webster:

    theocracy: 1: government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided

    And from Wikipedia:

    Theocracy is a form of government in which a deity is officially recognized as the civil Ruler and official policy is governed by officials regarded as divinely guided, or is pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religion or religious group.

    So, it isn’t necessary for clergy to rule as magistrates; all that is necessary for a theocracy is for a government to promote the tenets of a faith within law; to have the laws of the land conform, as much as possible, to the laws of Scripture.

    Thus, in Puritan-governed realms, one was forbidden to take a walk anywhere but to and from church on a Lord’s Day; people who sat relaxing under apple trees were known to have been arrested and punished.

    Since the Puritans opposed Christmas observance as Papish, they made it illegal, and Cromwell’s thugs were known to enter homes, and remove any goose being cooked for a feast, from the ovens, and throw it out into the snow.

    Covenanter Presbyterians have done similarly, whenever they’ve governed; even here in Canada, in Perth, Ontario, when they came to control the municipal government in the 19th century, at one point, they outlawed Christmas, and required all business owners to stay open, and have a full complement of employees at work that day, and they sent around enforcement officers to check, and fined any companies that did not do so.

    That is theocracy. I want no part of such, be it Puritan, or Papist, or whatever.

    No, I remain a believer in and supporter of liberal democratic constitutional monarchy, as we have here in Canada.

    It’s not perfect, but it’s better than any theocratic alternative, in my opinion.

    Which is why I don’t really fit in with neo-reaction as a movement. I’m reactionary, but not to that degree, that I want to go backwards five hundred years.

  81. Will S. says:

    Now, don’t get me wrong; I’d love to see the laws of the land conform MORE closely to traditional Christian morality, esp. as regards sexual morality matters, than it does today.

    But to punish dissenters of one particular narrow interpretation of the faith? Count me out.

  82. […] of the occulted Calvinist inheritance to Moldbug’s critique of modernity. As Foseti remarks (in what remains a high-water mark of Neoreactionary […]

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  84. Rasputin says:

    Is there still no hope of this series being resumed? It really would be a fantastic contribution to reactionary theory and discussion.

  85. aussiejules says:

    Yes indeed , the fanatical zeal of the kissing is assault crowd fits in with progs being religious fanatics descended from puritans .
    Also from the fascists… you can see this in the greens – perpetually outraged, holier than thou , messianic beleifs to save gaia .

    Cosying up to islam… cause they share their totalitarian beleifs. As did hitler with the grand mufti of jerusalem.
    In the end, the left is demonic and has a death wish for anything that brings joy.

    Like the Pharisees mixed with some death worshipping cult. Jesus wld not be impressed. They are definitely showing their hand these days .

  86. aussiejules says:

    One bright spot is movies like ” hunger games” , ” divergent” which show how societies ruled by ” experts” are not so perfect or fun to live in. Same goes for ” serenity” .
    And the long list if obama admin fuckups and obvious lies ( ” gruber, whos Gruber ? )are slowly waking up the younger generations of lemmings.

  87. Mark Citadel says:

    I find Moldbug’s ideas on Dawkins to be… semantically challenged at best.

    Christian quite literally means “little Christ”, in the Greek, that is people who obey Jesus’ teachings and recognize them as legitimate divine authority.

    Dawkins and his counterparts quite clearly do not fit into any such category.

    However, I do understand what is being said, that is that Richard Dawkins is essentially a hypocrite because he cannot escape from the Christian worldview that has essentially undergirded both the Western culture he grew up in and the very field of science in which he immures itself. It is almost like denouncing one’s legs while walking.

    But if we accept that atheist Modernizers in the West are heretical Christians, area atheist Modernizers in the Muslim world heretical Muslims? Are atheist Modernizers in the Hindu world heretical Hindus? Perhaps even more interestingly, is the atheist regime in charge of China a heretical sect of Confucians? Each of these ways of life is distinct in many ways from Western Modernity, which while a corrupting central force is not indicative of all turnings away from Tradition.

    I think, as smart and observant as Moldbug is and I give him huge credit with sparking interest in Reaction that would not have arisen otherwise, assertions such as this mirror some of the mistakes made by ultra-right movements in the 1920s and 30s, that is that though they were Reactionaries at heart, they could not abandon a lot of the scientistic and materialistic baggage that had become all too popular in philosophy at the time. They did not embrace the original concept of Reaction forwarded by De Maistre in the early days which was the restoration of Monarchical systems, a rejection of the separation between Church and State, God and man, the invisible world and the visible world, and an appeal to heirarchy as the best structure for civilization.

    In the prophesy of the Kali Yuga, it is said man will be at his most atheistic and materialistic at the end, uninvolved spiritually. This is the folly of Dawkins. He is not, as I would put it, a crypto-Christian, but like all of us he is smudged with the mark of the religion that built his environment.
    No, Dawkins is rather one of the “atheist class born in this Age of Kali”, who were prophesied to be eventually destroyed by the coming of the Kalki Avatara (what form this takes we have yet to see). Either it is the Second Coming or a fierce male spirit of Reaction that overthrows the current order.

  88. Schoolboy says:

    After reading reactionary blogs for a couple of years now, reading long winded Moldbug, et al. I decided that this idea is really going nowhere because it doesn’t name itself as it should, it doesn’t call itself what readers really are: National Socialists! National Socialism is the answer. Schoolboy

  89. Nyk says:

    I miss this blog. Foseti, please come back!

    • josh says:

      The man recognized how embarrassing things were becoming (not for him personally. Foseti remained a grown-up until the end).

  90. Will S. says:

    Start your own!

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  92. Erik says:

    Merry Christmas, Foseti, wherever you are two years on.

  93. […] him too much because I recommend everybody read Foseti’s excellent review of the Puritan Thesis here. Moldbug’s theory of the origins and workings of leftism/progressivism obviously conflicted […]

  94. bomag says:

    Test posting to see if the comment link is active.

  95. […] to his actual point so that he would never eventually have to. In his notes to Moldbug’s Richard Dawkins was Pwned series, he identifies the new censorious faith that is stifling speech and creativity all across the […]

  96. […] centralidade da ocultada herança calvinista para a critica de Moldbug à modernidade. Como Foseti observa (no que continua a ser um ponto alto da exegese […]

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  98. Lea says:

    Excellent piece. You should check out the French sociologist Emmanuel Todd, who outlined the concept of the “zombie-catholic”. A zombie-catholic is somebody who thinks himself an atheist, but has grown up in a catholic culture, or within a catholic family, and is heavily influenced by it, to the point where all his references are unconsciously christian. That person will think and act like a catholic, only with “rational” and “atheistic” justifications for everything he’ll think and do. In other words, he will be religious-minded without knowing it. Todd’s explanation goes a long way towards explaining why many people from the EU countries, most of whom are catholic, hold the euro, a failed currency, in an utterly undeserved reverence. These zombie-catholic atheists have replaced the unifying power of the Vatican with another unifying symbol, a currency, in a kind of godless revival of the medieval Christian West headed by… a currency-issuing Central Bank.
    Yes, it can be that dumb.

    Yours, of course, would be zombie-protestants.

  99. Kevin Swed says:

    I’m baffled that people haven’t realized before that Progressivism is firmly rooted in Christian Tradition. It’s ultimate credo is “Love thy neighbor”; Its faith is in the ideals of the Declaration, itself based on the Gospel, that “all men are created equal” an echo of “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” It derives directly from the Social Gospel movement at the beginning of the 20th Century back to the Abolitionists,the Transcendentalists, etc. Modern evangelicism is a reaction to it, and in some ways Christianity’s anti-thesis, and thus is one root of the Neo-reactionary movement – itself an atheistic Christian movement related to the theistic Dominionism.

    • Erik says:

      I think you’re making your complaint to the wrong part of the blogosphere. Here’s Moldbug, ten years ago:

      The “ultracalvinist hypothesis” is the proposition that the present-day belief system commonly called “progressive,” “multiculturalist,” “universalist,” “liberal,” “politically correct,” etc, is actually best considered as a sect of Christianity.

  100. Kevin Swed says:

    What Mudberg misses or at least doesn’t elucidate is this: Progressivism is Positivism applied to the Gospel of Christ. If you talk to most progressives they will tell you that they have great respect for Jesus of Nazareth as a moral and spiritual teacher, but not for the churches that act in his name. And most of them are not atheistic. Many even go to church on Sunday. If they are less traditional, they believe in Love. And Love creates its own Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Love, this is the Zietgeist of Dawkins. Applying positivism to the Gospels, as Jefferson did,and the later New Englanders did to lead them from Congregationalism to Unitarianism, one is left with only the sayings of Jesus and his non-miraculous actions. Strip these out from the Bible and you have the Gospel of Progressivism. Modern evangelicalism and NRx focus on the Old Testament and the Epistles because these are concerned not primarily with love, but with authority and organization. I love when Mudberg holds up Singapore, Hong Kong, and Dubai as the states closest to realizing his corporate cameralism. With his love it or leave it attitude, he should have picked states people actually choose to go to instead of ones people emigrate from in droves. He could have picked North Korea or China also as great exemplars of his ideas. But he misses the big one!!! The most perfect example of Mudberg’s corporate cameralism in our world is the pre-Modern Catholic Church, based, like the Soviet Politboro, on Plato’s Republic. So be clear on where you stand: NRx is against the United States as founded and as it exists today, and it stands against Christianity as understood through the teachings of Christ. For the Old Testamenters: Israel cried out to Gd “We want a King!” and Gd replied, “What the fuck do you want that for?” And Israel declared, “All great and powerful nations have Kings. We need a King, Lord.” And Gd replied, “Jesus Christ! Ok I’ll get you a fucking King. How about that jack ass Saul?” And yea God knew that Saul was a jack ass and would cure his people of their desire for a King, but alas it was not so. May the new Jack Ass elected to be King be better at curing his people of their desire for Kingship. Amen.

  101. […] to the point fast enough. Or I can’t find anyone who does. You have someone like Foseti who might summarize Moldbug’s A Gentle Introduction to Unqualified Reservations in a few short paragraphs, and you […]

  102. […] of Law. One of them had the bright idea to sever its ties to God and His pesky law entirely, becoming modern Progressivism and nearly unrecognizable as a religion. In a cruel twist of irony this […]

  103. […] fact is that contemporary artists fail to comprehend the inherently religious nature of progressive ideology, and because of this they fail to perceive how their own thoughts are […]

  104. […] fact is that contemporary artists fail to comprehend the inherently religious nature of progressive ideology, and because of this they fail to perceive how their own thoughts are […]

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  106. Neoreaction says:

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