Will I start blogging here again? Tough call. I’ve been flirting with the Dark Enlightenment for the past 5 months, along with everyone else. From the beginning, this blog was always a meditation on the overlap between game and political power in the immediate and interpersonal sense, and I may find a way to merge this with the political concepts explored by the neoreactionaries. If so, I’ll continue.
For the time being, however, too many objections to the basic preoccupations of the movement seem self-evident, and too few of the participants seem to be genuinely engaging the works of its true luminaries. There are an enormous amount of contradictions implicit in the neoreactionary program that nobody seems remotely interested in addressing, and most of the fanatics seem interested in its more middle-brow elements.
A few points of contention:
– Clearly, democracy has, by its nature, subverted the seminal American value of equality of opportunity in favor of legislating equality of outcome through affirmative action programs. I’m opposed to the latter, but I feel most reactionaries are fairly hasty in accepting the dissolution of equal opportunity. Most of those writing probably come from middle class backgrounds, and that middle class didn’t exist in the 19th Century — which everyone agrees was the closest America ever came to true, unfettered capitalism. My family was around in the 19th Century. Half of them were wealthy Mexican landowners, half started the Yale legacy 4 generations back. Most were dutiful, self-sacrificing professionals; some were extremely wealthy. No disrespect intended, but when you start extolling the virtues of a radically inequitable distribution of resources, do take into consideration the overwhelming likelihood that you would be on the losing end — and how ridiculous you sound to those of us who wouldn’t be. Does this sound arrogant to you? Get used to it — humility isn’t a virtue in rigid class hierarchies.
-It does little good to point out that science supports the concept of population level evolutionary adaptation, and that this results in stratification of groups along a number of metrics relevant to success in contemporary society. The question of how to handle the inequality that proceeds from innate differences between citizens is still a subjective decision, and it bears questioning which values should inform it. The progressives advocate “social justice” as a guiding principle in making these decisions; the conservative objection is typically that this results in policies which disadvantage citizens of greater ability, and that this is unjust in its own right. The neoreactionaries, however, take the argument one step farther and commonly argue that we should “acknowledge reality” by discarding all mitigating EEO policy. It’s refreshing to hear anyone tell the truth about the world we live in, but this hardly helps when it comes to producing actual policies to pursue. Looking to “Gnon” (i.e. nature) as an ideal to be accepted and restored is a slippery slope. Look at the issue from a different perspective: in a state of nature, women use collective bargaining to negotiate for power and resources, and create networks in which nepotism, not ability, determines success. In other words, there’s a strong argument behind the feminist mafia being a completely natural phenomenon and any assortative hiring systems being artificial and unnatural. In other words, this is nature. Your imaginary world where only the best and brightest achieve positions of power and influence is not.
-As far as I can tell, Moldbug may be the only human being to ever address the issue of declining human usefulness in the face of growing technological efficiency with any real seriousness. He also touches, at times, on Marx’s central contention that unmitigated markets naturally distribute resources with such unfathomable inequality that the future of industrial capitalism, from any vantage point, makes the medieval feudal system look like a socialist utopia. Marxism is responsible for a good portion of the suffering undertaken by history’s human population over the past 200 years, but I can’t overlook that it was obviously a response to legitimate observations about the social structure intrinsically produced by industrial capitalism. Most seem to view the reaction as categorically opposed to redistribution, but I think Moldbug leaves the possibility open of a non-democratic corporate state in which citizens collect dividends from the state’s product. I’d be interested to hear more about this in the future. My primary objection to redistributive economic policy comes from Angelo Codevilla‘s emphasis on the inevitability of highjacking when forces of economic might are capable of influencing the policies to which they are subjected — i.e. in any democracy. Moldbug has found a way around this in his non-representative neocameral system. Seems to me that most other reactionaries oppose redistribution altogether out of their own unfounded sense of “nature” or “justice”. Not that a reactionary would ever do that.
-Most political fringe movements share one thing in common, and it’s always the element I take greatest issue with. That common element is a belief that this is not the natural world, that the current order is an aberration from reality, and things would be fine if people just followed the rules. Anarchists believe the state is an aberration. Socialists believe capitalism is an aberration. Reactionaries believe the Cathedral is an aberration. I regret to inform you that it is not. In fact, we are in a state of nature right now, and human beings have very naturally created this unnatural order. There’s a great deal of emphasis on who ascends to a position of power in our society and the means by which they do it. I said earlier that half my family are Yankees, and I can personally verify that Moldbug has identified the latter day puritan culture with greater accuracy and insight than anyone before him. I feel strongly that Massachusetts came to rule the world – much as the jews did – because there is an ethic within their culture that predisposes them to success. This ethic is likely indivisible from the unitarianism, from the puritanism, from the very values of the cathedral that so many take as an aberration. Similarly, the historically underprivileged classes of society who benefit so greatly from appealing to the guilt which produced Puritan wealth have very naturally negotiated for positions of privilege in today’s society. That’s what humans do. It’s not an aberration. So I’m all for being pragmatic about how to put capable people in positions of power, but we may have to take into account that we’ll be counterbalancing a very natural assertion of self-interest by other people, and that it’s somewhat pointless to write this off as a massive conspiracy theory.
Frankly, I’ve been consistently amused by the percentage of neoreactionary rhetoric that revolves around some notion of justice or right order in the world. The natural order is savage, the comfortable order is corrupt, and I’m only really interested in addressing these issues because they are clearly detracting from the West’s capacity to function. Whether or not it’s functioning fairly is, to me, a preposterous question to even be asking.