Thursday, 28 August 2014

Difficult Conversations

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend about this. During our conversation, I used the expression 'people of colour,' because, as a Tumblr user, I assumed that this was now universally considered to be the acceptable turn of phrase when talking about people who aren't white. My friend, who is mixed race, very politely and with no aggression said that he didn't consider this to be an appropriate expression. I apologised, and the conversation continued as it did before. There was one difference, though, and that was my white-guilt was doing veritable back-flips, and I still feel sufficiently embarrassed and ashamed by the episode that I had to go and get my friend's permission before using this anecdote (Hey there!).

What's interesting about this, I think, is that it demonstrates what happens when you let a discussion about real-world problems (race, gender, sexual orientation etc.) become abstracted from the people who are actually directly affected by it. The discussion becomes rarefied, academic, becomes more about scoring points than anything else. Another example: when talking to a friend, who eventually came out as trans, about gender identity, I was quoting an article I'd read which challenged the right of an individual to decide upon their own gender identity from a 'collectivist' stand-point, thinking myself to be very clever. My friend countered this with the following: 'You shouldn't have to be able to write a Ph.D. on gender theory to justify how you identify.'

(Now I think of it, most people I know who take issue with gender-transition don't tend to have any trans friends...I wonder which way the causal link goes, there...)

My friend's frustration was entirely justified. It is one thing to pontificate about gender-transition and race-relations, and another to actually have to go through gender-transition, or find oneself the target of racial discrimination; I have never had to experience either of these things. The point I am trying to make is: there must be some level of caution and sensitivity when we are discussing these issues, because, frankly, it's right to be cautious and sensitive. There are real people behind these examples, who are the subjects of these theories, people to whom with have an ethical obligation of some kind or another. That must always be retained, even if only for the case of simple manners.


This is quite a big 'however.' We must guard against it straying to far in the other direction, that is, that we become afraid to discuss these issues for fear of stepping on someone's toes. Because there are always people who are willing to talk about these issues, which are genuinely very important, but they don't tend to be the nice guys. Ethnicity does matter, it does effect social cohesion and how societies function. Race does bring up problems. These aren't pleasant truths, but they are true all the same. But, these problems are not insurmountable by any means. There's no reason at all while different ethnic and cultural groups can't live in at least relative harmony, as long as we do confront the problems that will inevitably arise in these relationships- all human relationships bring up problems. If, however, the only people who are addressing social problems connected to the interactions between different ethnic and cultural groups are radicals of one side or the other, then only their voice is being heard, and it is a voice that tends to only utter variations of 'Send them HOME!', or blindly insist that all we want to do is 'get along,' and refuses to acknowledge that there is even a problem at all.

The triumph and curse of democracy is that it allows a plurality of sentiment and thought to be expressed. This allows us to challenge views that we disagree with, and this is a right that we must never be afraid of using. I have written before about the importance of having more than one opinion being expressed in an open society, and we must make it our duty to ensure that we are able to respond to voices that challenge what is right. Ultimately, this must be done because our words and our theories do effect the people we are discussing, the people whose lives we are debating about.

As such, though we must beware of allowing the discussion to loose its connection with the lives of real people, we must never be afraid of having the discussion, because concepts and nomenclature do matter: there has to be a connection between theoria and praxis. We must be unafraid of having difficult conversations about difficult issues, because our opponents are certainly not afraid of having these conversations, and their conclusions are not appealing...

Update: how NOT to have this conversation...(CW: racial slurs) 

Friday, 22 August 2014

What's with you and Neoreaction? No, seriously...

This exists. I approve. 
In which I answer the questions none of you were wondering

So, what is it with me and Neoreaction? Well, I'm going to steal Scott Alexander's idea and explain this through the format of an FAQ.

What is this Neoreaction thing?

Return to start.

How did you come across this? You must be into some really weird stuff...

Yeah, I'm into some weird stuff. I watch weird movies, listen to weird music, read weird books and spend time with weird people. You'd probably figured this out by now.

I came to this through the weird stuff I read, namely Nick Land.

Some background: my degree is in philosophy. Land isn't someone I've ever studied academically, and I was introduced to his works by a graduate friend who's my go-to when it comes to French philosophy post the existentialists. I won't bore you with too many autobiographical details, suffice to say that we were talking one day and he mentioned this infamous, crazed former academic who got very into Deleuze, Guattari and cybernetics. I looked the fellow up and bought this collection, and became fascinated by him. A little while later, he mentioned to me what Land's ended up doing: The Dark Enlightenment. I investigated further.

From there on in, I was hooked.


Interested in, engrossed by, suckered into. Yep, 'hooked.'

But isn't Neoreaction just racist, homophobic, quasi-Fascist, misogynistic and utterly unrealistic?

All of those things are to be found within Neoreaction, certainly, but it isn't accurately reducible to any one of those things. But this isn't so much about Neoreaction as why I'm interested in it.

Are you racist, homophobic, quasi-Fascist, misogynistic and utterly unrealistic?

No, no, only when I'm very pissed off, no, yes.

So...are you a Neoreactionary?

No. My politics are actually very dull. I'm best described as a pragmatic Leftist, somewhere between being a right-leaning Social Democrat and a left-leaning One Nation Tory. I like freedom, feminism and equality of opportunity, but I also like stability, community and tradition. I've started to identify with some elements of Rightist nomenclature largely out of frustration with the Left, more than anything else.

Then why are you so taken with Neoreaction?

Partly, it's because I'm interested in anything and everything that's odd and out-of-step with the modern world. There's something deeply fascinating about people who think that what we need is less democracy, rather than more, seeing what a heretical idea that is to have.

Partly, it's Nick Land personally. I find the guy immensely interesting and challenging, and even though he's espousing views I disagree with, he does it very well.

Mostly it's because...I get it. I get where they're coming from. When one looks at the world we've made for ourselves, the Modern world, with all its neuroses and pathologies and perversions, one can understandably and, to an extent justifiably say that: we have lost something important. It does make some sense to suggest that there might have been something about how traditional societies worked that was better than how our current societies do. Perhaps, we ought to try and reclaim whatever that thing was.

I sympathise, by Gnon's claws, I sympathise. But, they are wrong. The Modern world has plenty of neuroses and pathologies and perversions...but there is so much that is grand and bold and daring about it as well. They are right, entirely right, to take Nietzsche's hammer to our idols: democracy, egalitarianism, universalism, to see if they ring hollow or not. We need people like that. It's healthy for a society to have people who do that, who challenge and question it. And, to their credit, Neoreaction is unafraid of challenging our most sacred ideals. And thank Gnon for it! After the end of the Cold War, it looked as if that most dull of systems, democracy, had won. It's not good for an idea to have no challengers, it leads to stagnation. Having the Neoreactionaries, dressed in their waistcoats, courtly gowns and cyber-gear, hurling conceptual Molotov cocktails at the ballot box is a vital addition to our society, as it is a call to arms to defend it. The challenge that they issue is one that can be faced down, and we will be stronger and more passionate about our ideals for it. Besides, I think they're right about the arrogance with which we assume that history has reached a kind of apex with our particular way of arranging a society. There's a lot to learn from our past, and we'd be wrong to dismiss all the insights of tradition just because they're 'old fashioned.'

As well as that, there's always the possibility that they are right and everyone else wrong. It would be a real buggery if it were to turn out that Neoreaction had noticed something that we of the Cathedral had fail to notice, and had spent time considering what such a thing meant.

Take Human Biodiversity. What if it were to be proved that race does matter? What if there was irrefutable evidence that there are real, significant, inherited differences between ethnic groups, with repercussions about how we organise a society? If that were to be proved true, it would surely be very bloody handy to have people who have seriously considered the political ramifications of such an eventuality available to deliberate with!

The final reason I shall mention here is: I share their fears.

I fear that Western society has evolved in such a direction that it is not equipped to deal with the challenges that await it. These challenges include the rise of radical Islamism, which is starting to suggest that it might very well be capable of creating a society entirely at odds with our value system; the growing threat of fourth-generational warfare; the challenges proposed by Russia and, in particular, China, countries that are showing the West that our way of doing things is not the only way, for better or for worse...

Are you going to start writing about things other than Neoreaction now?

Yes, but that's not going to stop my Reports on the Reactosphere.

So, what else can we look forward to?

My thoughts on The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, and some pseudo-DeleuzoGuttarian guff about Hellraiser. And perhaps something on Richard Dawkins latest outrage-inducing proclamations.

Huh. Cool.

Thanks, I thought so as well.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Reports on the Reactosphere # 3: Enter the lolcatz

The view from the edge of the Cathedral suddenly looses its intellectual pretensions for a post...

I found these today.

This seems to be an Anissimovian cat

That is all.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

What is Neoreaction? An Amateur Speculates

Content Warning: I claim no responsibility for the content of anything I've linked to here. There are some real nasty folk and ideas within Neoreaction, so you should brace yourself for racism, sexism, homophobia, class-prejudice, and a lot more besides, though I do hope that won't put you off reading what I've written about these subjects. Further, I might as well confirm what I hope is already implied: I am describing a political, economic and cultural view point in this post. That does not make it my viewpoint. I am describing it because it interests me, not because I believe it. My next post here will be on exactly why I'm interested in them (hopefully). 

UPDATE: Since the writing of this, More Right has come back to life. I will, at some point, come back to this post and include some relevant links to it. I emphasise: ' some point...'

Further, some of the stuff I've said about neocameralism isn't exactly as accurate as I thought it was (in my defence, only a couple of specific details) when I wrote it. I'll update this post properly soon, as it's one of my most popular, and I'll keep this header for the sake of intellectual honesty. 

Hail Gnon...

What is Neoreaction (NRx)?

I can give you two answers, a long answer and a short answer.

The short answer: An ancient, 'evil' cult that worships the terrible, eternal, Great Crab God Gnon.

The long answer (which will be the rest of this post):

It is not accurate to say that anyone 'invented' or 'founded' NRx, as a lot of its core ideals have, arguably, been floating around since Plato and Aristotle. Instead, I prefer to say that it was 'catalysed,' brought to its current state of fruition, by Mencius Moldbug. Now, I will be upfront: I am not that familiar with Moldbug's work, for a very good reason: though very readable, engaging, literate and witty, he is extraordinarily long-winded and has been very, very prolific. So, forgive me if I come across as a little vague; if I make any glaring errors, please correct me in the comments. Moldbug did several things (his main phase of writing seems to have finally come to an end), as far as I can tell: he engaged in a project of cladistic-memetics, via which he sought to diagnose the problems of modernity, and proposed solutions to these problems. Perhaps 'cladistic-memetics' isn't a helpful turn of phrase- he engaged in a history of ideas, in which he treats ideas as 'memes', tracing them back to their common points of origin, divergence, convergence, success, failure and so forth... He also, perhaps not entirely inadvertently, re-invigorated the intellectual Far-Right online. This isn't to say that there haven't been Far-Right intellectuals around saying interesting things (note: 'interesting' doesn't equal 'correct' or even 'sympathetic' for this blog), far from it, but Moldbug's influence in kicking off discussion on a large scale has been enormous.

Things, however, got even more interesting when the controversial, British philosopher Nick Land emerged out of relative post-academic obscurity and wrote a long essay, drawing extensively upon Moldbug, entitled The Dark Enlightenment, in which he continues the diagnosis of what's gone wrong, why it's gone wrong, and suggests what we can do about it. It's been a while since I've read The Dark Enlightenment, and it will be a while longer before I go back to it, but I must admit it is an impressive and troubling read. Land has since become one of the main ideologues of NRx, and his blog is actually just a really interesting thing to read, regardless of political affiliation. NRx is a far bigger thing than I have the time or energy to explore fully, and I am well aware that there are major blogs which I don't keep up with, but Land does seem to have his finger on the pulse. Other major contributors include Michael Anissimov (the group-blog he writes on has been down for a few days now, so you'll have to make-do with a link to his Twitter for the time being), the wonderfully named Anarcho-Papist and a veritable host of others you can peruse here and here.

NRx posits itself as being opposed to the Cathedral. The Cathedral is the name that Moldbug gave to the memetic edifice, or memeplex, that is 'Modernity.' It includes government, media, religion, education and popular opinion. It is not a conspiracy theory, however. We are not straying into Illuminati territory here. Rather, the Cathedral is more like a vast, ideological feedback loop, generating and receiving the same set of assumptions over and and over again, insisting in viewing the world solely through its own lens. It is principally characterised by three strands of thought: demotism, egalitarianism and universalism.

'Demotism' needs some explanation: demotism is government 'of the people, by the people, for the people.' Not necessarily democracies as we would recognise them, but any government of and by the masses (NRx include both Soviet Socialism and National-Socialism, along with modern liberal democracy, in the 'demotic' camp. They do this wrongly). Egalitarianism speaks for itself, the belief that people are fundamentally equal, or at least ought to be treated as equals by the law. Universalism is a little more interesting: it is the belief that there is only One right way of doing things, and this applies to Everyone. The universalist ideology of the modern age is, of course, egalitarian liberal democracy with a capitalist economy. This is the right fit for every society, for every human population across the world. The various ill-advised adventures that America has embarked on in the Middle East for the sake of 'freedom' are all examples of attempts to enforce the agenda of universalism, and the general failures of these projects to secure stable, Western style democracies is an example of the failure of that same agenda (for NRx). The same can be said of the Arab Spring. They don't like revolutions...

This connects neatly with the problems of egalitarianism. For NRx, it's simply demonstrably untrue that human beings are equal in any meaningful sense of the word. Rather, they advocate 'Human Biodiversity,' or HBD. HBD holds that there is significant cognitive diversity among human beings, and that this is partly due to heredity, and there is an extent to which this manifests (or at least can be mapped) along ethnic lines. HBD, for some Neoreactionaries, is as an excuse to confirm unjustifiable racial prejudices that they already held. Others have a more subtle view upon it, and one could argue that all HBD is, is a call to take genetics seriously as a factor in macro-scale social phenomena, or at least a potential factor. When it's presented by the more cool-headed, it becomes less about a racial hierarchy and more about an attempt at a 'realistic' mapping of diverse human behaviour and organisation, and pushing for a genetic, as well as a cultural, basis for these different forms of living. As such, the NRx rejection of universalism should now be cast in a clearer light: not all 'types' of human are equipped to live in a society that functions like a democracy, some just need to be guided and guarded, or some just need to be allowed to emphasis tribe and family over other concerns.

By why reject democracy so out of hand? Because, they argue, in a democracy there is no reason for the currently elected 'board of directors' to prioritise the continued well-being of the polity after they have been removed from power. Rather, their priority is to maximise short-term, personal gain for themselves and their bedfellows, at the expense of the long-term interests of the polity as a whole. If, instead, it were to be in their interests to continue to maximise governmental efficiency in the long run, rather than stealing everything that isn't nailed down and running off, they would do that (or be more likely to do that). However, this would require the board to be in a position of unchallenged power for a considerable length of time, conceivably even their (working)life time. This is, of course, completely at odds with democracy. In a democracy, the board won't give a damn about the polity beyond winning the next election, unless they are particularly driven by ideological concerns, which is something rarely seen these days (and even then, they still need to win the next election anyway). If, however, things were to be organised differently, where the interests of those in charge are directly tied into the long-term stability and prosperity of a polity and its citizens, things would be a lot better. Land recently provided a nice summary of this idea.

I might as well use this as a place to introduce 'Gnon.' I love Gnon. I really, really love Gnon. Gnon is a great metaphorical concept. Gnon is the God of Uncomfortable Truths. Gnon is the Ruler of the Universe, whose word is iron law. Gnon is reality, Gnon is. Gnon is why the Cathedral can't stand forever, because it breaks the Law of Gnon, laws like: 'Don't do Communism. If you do Communism, I will hurt you. I will keep hurting you until you stop doing Communism. I AM GNON.' and 'Don't ignore HBD. If you do ignore HBD, I will hurt you. I will keep hurting you until you accept HBD. I AM GNON.' You get the idea. All of the nice ideas the Cathedral gives us (demotism, egalitarianism, universalism and so forth) can't work because they break Gnon's laws, and bring (His? Its?) wrath down upon us. That little fable of mine should now make some kind of sense...

This is why I called NRx the Cult of Gnon above. NRx often talk about themselves as servants of Gnon, meaning that they are simply being realists. They're rejection of the Cathedral comes on purely pragmatic grounds: it doesn't work, the Cathedral isn't sustainable. If we carry on insisting on living within the Cathedrals strictures, rather than honouring Gnon by being obedient to Gnon's laws, we will have to face the consequences.

Oh, I can't resist linking this here, if you want to learn more about the ways of Gnon, and why a lot of what NRx says about Gnon is up for more debate than they might like to think.

Anyway, I fear that this post has already stretched on a fair distance, so I will endeavour to bring it to a close as soon as I can.

What, then, does NRx want?

Well, there's no one answer to that, which is inevitable considering that they reject universalism. Different groups prioritise different things. What does unify them, though, is a desire for order and stability, which is taken to be synonymous with liberty. Liberty is freedom from chaos and danger, and what NRx wants is the development of societies that will be stable because they honour Gnon.

For some Neoreactionaries, the most important things that need to be emphasised for stability are tradition and ethno-nationalism. The traditions in question tend to be religious, often specifically Catholic, though they can also include secular or pagan traditions. The ethno-nationalism is variably due to a perceived pragmatism (mono-ethnic communities won't have internal ethnic conflict, so now we've one less thing to worry about) or old fashioned racism, or HBD, or all three. The traditionalism is also generally either perceived as pragmatic (a society that emphasises a shared tradition is more likely to be stable than one with various, competing traditions), but some of them, at least, are genuine believers in the Truth of these traditions.

Anyway, the sub-groups mentioned above tend to, though this isn't universally true, be of the Monarchical or neo-feudal bent. They want to see the return of 'traditional' pre-Enlightenment societies that emphasise hierarchy, monarchy and organicism. Now, they're honest: they admit that bringing back absolute monarchy won't solve all our problems (!), but they're confident that it will solve a good few of them. Generally, they want to see mono-ethnic, mono-cultural societies that emphasise the traditional marriage, traditional gender roles, traditional family life and are often suspicious of technology, or at least unregulated technology, as this will lead to order and stability, and thus liberty. Typically, they are people who have entered into the Reactosphere from a conservative trajectory.

To be honest, they don't interest me that much.

The interesting ones are the neocameralists...

The neocameralists are much closer to Moldbug than the monarchists are, some of whom have explicitly thrown out neocameralist ideas (I can't provide you with the link I'd like to here, because it's from the site that I mentioned above when referring to Michael Anissimov, which is still down). They tend to arrive at NRx from libertarianism. The neo-feudalists agree with the diagnosis of the problem, but not the solution offered; yes, we do need people in charge who have a long-term interest in looking after the polity, and what better way of doing this than re-instating hereditary aristocracy and monarchy? Well, Moldbug's idea is to transform the government into a private-interest corporation which will then run the country for a profit, with a board of executives who are selected by the shareholders, who head an administration picked by merit (obviously, there will be nepotism, but there's plenty of nepotism in democratic governments anyway- so long as it doesn't interfere with productivity, who cares if the CEO's son is her secretary?). Moldbug observes that 'A well-run state is very profitable.' A stable and prosperous corporate state will attract both business investors and customers (citizens), who will presumably pay something analogous to tax. If they're not happy with the goods and services provided by GovCorp, they're free to leave and take their custom elsewhere (the right to Exit over Voice, that is, interaction with the politics and management of the state, is a big deal for NRx of this inclination). What is envisaged is a patchwork of corporate states, competing for customers by offering them different services and ways of life, probably on the scale of city-states. Want to live somewhere explicitly LGBT-positive? Move to San Francisco, Inc., or Brighton & Hove, Ltd., and so forth.

Rather than the old-school nationalism+HBD of the neo-feudal current, neocameralism favours a selective immigration policy, screening potential citizen-customers for desirable traits, high-IQ in particular, as a kind of 'first-generation eugenics.' One can only speculate about the variations in policy one would find across the patchwork of NRx states, but given the catastrophic geopolitical conditions that would be needed to dismantle the Cathedral sufficiently to give rise to such a patchwork, it is fair to assume that there would probably be a lot of initial competition before a steady homogeneity is established. Ideally, there wouldn't be any attempt to ideologically impose upon other corporate-states, and states that attempt to do this might find investment trickling away: who wants to fund the guys who might try to conquer you? As long as x leaves y alone, why should y bother them? Hell, perhaps we could trade with them! To quote Old Nick again: 'A movement of communistic localism that successfully pursued a project of radical geopolitical autonomization would be, realistically, a more significant tactical ally than even the most ideologically-pure concrete reactionary movement which spoke a lot about comparable goals, but gave no indication it was able to practically realize them.'

This is the strand of NRx that doesn't seem to get that much media attention, perhaps because the idea of a corporate run state is less 'man bites dog' than restoring a feudal hierarchy. Go figure.

Don't take any of this as being more than an introduction to Neoreaction. I've deliberately not discussed certain elements and ideas for simplicities sake, the most glaring absence being the stuff on gender, which I have only alluded to. You can, however, get the broad picture of it. If you want to learn more about the ideological strains within NRx, I suggest this post of mine. Another, more detailed analysis of the specifics of NRx can be found here, and a detailed critique here.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

'Gnon and the Cathedral, a Lovecraftian fable': Prelude to 'What is Neoreaction?'

Or, the Coming of the Great Crab God...

Once upon a time there lived a big, bad, scary monster named 'Gnon.' Everyone had to worship Gnon, and make sacrifices to Gnon. Human sacrifices. No one liked Gnon, and Gnon liked no one, but as long as the rituals were observed and sacrifices made, Gnon kept its claws out of the lives of its unfortunate worshippers. The people got into the habit of worshipping Gnon, and so Gnon was pleased and did not wreak vengeance upon the people. They kept Gnon's Laws, and things where, mostly, well.

Soon, Gnon declared that he would leave the people for a while, and go and sleep. But, should the worship or sacrifices or lawful obedience cease, Gnon would awake...

But, one day, some people from another place came from over the hills who did not worship Gnon, who did not make sacrifices to Gnon. Indeed, they said that...'Gnon is dead!'

Gnon was not dead. Gnon, content with what worship had been done, what sacrifices had been made, and what Laws had been kept, merely slept.

The influence of those who did not worship Gnon spread more and more. There where still those who observed the old ways, and kept Gnon asleep, but the sleep grew fitful. The numbers of the faithful declined, and the unfaithful built a monument to themselves and the Gnon-free world. They called this monument 'the Cathedral,' and it was a fine thing to behold! It was filled with art and music and vast rooms. Everyone had a say, everyone had all they could eat, and anyone was allowed in, so long as they professed that Gnon was dead. Soon, very few believed in Gnon at all.

The Cathedral grew taller and taller, and the Gnon-believers grew fewer and fewer. The Cathedral reached all the way up to Heaven, and its builders where mighty pleased with themselves. So pleased, that they did not hear the rasping breath from beneath their foundation stones...

They did not notice the cracks spreading into the heart of the Cathedral...

They had not noticed that a few, and only a few, had left the Cathedral's grounds and gone of into the hills, to do things their way...

They barely had time to notice when the Cathedral split asunder up its central tower...

They did not realise that, in their folly, they had built their Cathedral atop the resting place of Gnon!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Reports on the Reactosphere #2: Lines of Demarcation

The view from the edge of the Cathedral...

This is, to an extent, departing from the original programme I had on reporting on what I noticed this week in the Reactosphere. I am, instead, expanding the remit to include general reflections on NRx. This is more on the latter than the former. This being said, this has been a topic of discussion recently, as exampled here, here, here, here (sort of...a little. Maybe.) and here. Same rules as before apply: this is intended for people who are already familiar with NRx. Check out my previous Report for some links to introductory texts if you want to learn more.

Incidentally, Content Warning: the Dugin link below is to a website with some radical-Right content and links.

I'm tempted to say that there's a fight for the soul of NRx, but that wouldn't be wholly accurate (and not just because I'm hesitant to suggest that the Cult of the Great Crab God has a 'soul'). Such a phrasing would suggest that both sides of the fight equally value the notion of exclusive 'rights' to the name 'NRx,' and really it seems to be a conflict, or tension, or whatever, between those who want NRx to be a clearly and neatly defined club, replete with a 'No x, y and z' sign outside, and those for whom such questions of exclusivity/inclusivity are wrong-headed, unless understood on very purely pragmatic grounds. This isn't to say that it isn't a battle for identity in some sense, but I get the impression the 'identity' (or 'identitarian') aspect of it matters more for one side than it does the other.

By all this, I mean that it seems to be a tension between what Land calls 'Inner' and 'Outer' NRx. In a word: Land vs Anissimov.

I am, of course, radically oversimplifying this conflict. There are all sorts of vectors and currents and matrices and spheres and schools of thought plunging into, brushing past, intersecting, invading, penetrating and rejecting one another within NRx, but one can observe broad trends and directions of thought. Naturally, I will miss subtleties and intricacies, but sometimes it's best to leave the minutiae to one side.

A lot of people who have heard of NRx describe it as being monarchist or neo-feudalist, and leave it there. Others, who are more directly familiar with its origins in Moldbug's thought, will also be aware of its right-libertarian, anarcho-capitalist tendencies: the neocameralists. Roughly speaking, those who want to go back to before the rise of the Cathedral in its present form, and those who want to push beyond the Cathedral's boundaries (note, I do not say push 'forward'). Anissimov is of the former, Land of the latter.

I will here borrow Land's own words: 'For the inner faction, a firmly consolidated core identity if the central ambition...Inner NR-x, as a micro-culture, models itself on a protected state, in which belonging is sacred, and boundaries rigorously policed.

Outer-NRx, defined primarily by Exit, relates itself to what it escapes. It is refuge and periphery, more than a substitute core. It does not ever expect to rule anything at all (above the most microscopic level of social reality, and then under quite different names). The Patchwork is for it a set of options, and opportunities for leverage, rather than a menu of potential homes. It is intrinsically nomad, unsettled, and micro-agitational. Its culture consists of departures it does not regret. (While not remotely globalist, it is unmistakably cosmopolitan — with the understanding that the ‘cosmos’ consists of chances to split.)'

Inner-NRx defines itself by what it is: ethno-nationalist, aristocratic, traditionalist. It is, to use Dugin's terminology, 'Overland,' or 'Hyperborean.' 

Outer-NRx defines itself by what it is not: democratic, egalitarian, universalist. It is 'Maritime,' or 'Atlantean.' 

The reader will have noticed, of course, that neither of these definition stand at odds with one another per se, but in practice they have tended to. They also have much in common. They both broadly agree with what they are opposed to (The Cathedral; 'Modernism'; 'Demotism'- these points are arguably effectively synonymous), and both value the dubious insights of 'Human Biodiversity' (HBD), but tend to depart widely when it comes to application. For an Inner-NRx, HBD entails a form of ethno-nationalism. 'We need to keep them (insert slur of choice) out or Gnon will eat us!' For an Outer-NRx, tribe and thede don't really seem to matter. The 'Them' to be kept out are just those whose heredity is not advantageous, who will drag down GovCorp if they're let in. Their race, understood in the colloquial sense, matters less than their specific genetic characteristics. A clever African with clever African children would likely be as welcome in Singapore, Inc. as a clever white-European or East Asian. Tribalism isn't that useful any more. Gnon doesn't care about your ancestors racial or national identity, but He cares a lot about the state of your gene-pool and how effective your government is...

A good acid-test here is Tunneygate. Justine Tunney is a transwoman (this is relevant) who was previously involved with the Occupy Movement. Then...something happened, and she ended up involved with NRx. Anissimov doesn't like her, and has called on NRx to cut of all contact with her, and I suspect this isn't just because he disapproves of her particular ideas about what NRx is about. I'd agree that, from what I can see, she probably isn't a great spokesperson for the movement, but, and I'm not accusing anyone here of being anything, but...I wouldn't be surprised if it is at least partially because of her gender identity. That doesn't fit in with the homogeneous, Traditionalist society that Anissimov wants. It's bad manners, if nothing else (and it is a lot else) to deliberately refer to a transperson with the pronoun of the gender they are transitioning from. I won't dig back and find the particular Tweet because it was a while ago now (in Twitter terms), but someone finally called Anissimov out on the obvious conceptual dissonance of a transhumanist being transphobic (or, at least, perceived transphobic). This seemed to please Land. Further, he quipped that any insistence on boundaries that cuts off the possibility of talking to interesting people who don't happen to be NRx is 'insane.' 

The Hyperborean/Atlantean distinction is very useful here (please note, that isn't meant to be read as an endorsement of Aleksandr Dugin in the slightest. I'm simply applying a particular conceptual framework that has already been used to map out differences with NRx- call it political chaos magick): the overlanders value politics over economics, which I read as ideological/cultural purity over pragmatics. Conversely, the seafarers reverse this, and value economics over politics, pragmatics over ideological/cultural purity. A nice example of this comes from the first Chaos Patch comments thread, regarding homosexuality and the Techno-Commercialist tolerance thereof: 'Missing out on an Alan Turing would be less than impressively functional.'

Inner-NRx and Outer-NRx both want to escape from the claws of Gnon, which they see as growing steadily closer to raking upon The Cathedral's doors. Outer-NRx is, frankly, the more viable option of the two. That isn't to say that it is particularly likely that the Moldbuggian Patchwork will ever get sown, but a loosely defined, voluntary association of corporate-states seems a helluva lot more plausible than the Holy Roman Empire Mark II.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Techno-Eroticism and Tetsuo:The Iron Man

            Tetsuo gets that machines are sexy. Or, rather, that technic-productive forces occur within the greater context of the libidinal economy, the vast interconnected membrane of desiring-production that drives existence forward; The Will to Power, id, libido, taken as a macro-whole which includes all productive activity.
            For a brief summary, I suggest consulting everyone’s favourite consensus reality generator, although it isn’t a long film if you want to watch it first (doubleplus NSFW). I will assume that the reader has a cursory knowledge of the film, at least.

            Tetsuo breaks down all of the barriers between the organic and the mechanic. The Salaryman first notes his transformation when he comes across a shard of metal growing out of his cheek, while the Metal Fetishist drives a piece of metal into his leg. The entire course of the film is the Salaryman’s transformation into the Iron Man, the re-rendering of his flesh into metal, but metal that behaves like something living. The metallic sounds that replace the noise of eating when he feeds his girlfriend, the sodomy nightmare, the phallic drill- the metal is almost parodying the organic, demonstrating its absurdities and limitations. The technological infiltrates the ‘ordinary’ human world, stripping away the cultural edifice, reducing it all down to mere libidinal drive, to mere process without direction.

            Like I said, the film gets the sexual element of technic-production. The way the camera plays over the body of the car at the beginning of the film in a quasi-pornographic manner, taking in its lines and curves. The entire sequence of events of the film begins with a bizarre masturbatory act with the Metal Fetishist penetrating the self-inflicted wound in his leg with a rusty rod of iron; following on from this, there is the illicit sexual encounter between the Salaryman and his girlfriend after they’ve run over and left for dead the Fetishist. It is the illicitness of these sexual acts that bring about the occurrences of the film, almost as if the breaching of the traditional structure of sexuality and production allows the true face of desiring-production to come to the fore in a revelatory manner. That is, the initial (and initiatory) upsetting of the accepted order of the libidinal economy allows for the techno-erotic heart of said order to be displayed to us as it really is.

            Oddest of all is that the Salaryman accepts this new way of being. Of course, for much of the initial stages of his transformation, he reacts with perfectly understandable horror as his body mutates of its own volition into something completely other; this being said, he does not lose control over his body, for what control did he ever have over it? He is, rather, forced to accept his lack of control over his body, that the process now occurring is beyond anything he could ever resist or influence. All he can do, and does do, is accept it and move along with the transformation. Using the old Hermetic dictum of ‘As Above, So Below’ (that is, the microcosm is a reflection of the macrocosm), and taking the Salaryman to be the microcosm of the order of desiring-production at large, the conclusions are disturbing. We, as components of the mechanisms of the desiring-machines, cannot resist the process as we are a part of that process (though this does not, necessarily, discount the possibility of Exit, if such an Exit is total enough). I’ve quoted Nick Land on this before, but it’s a good enough quote to warrant its partial repetition: ‘Machinic desire can seem a little inhuman, as it rips up political cultures, deletes traditions, dissolves subjectivities, and hacks through security apparatuses, tracking a soulless tropism to zero control.’

            Consider the films conclusion, in which the Salaryman and Fetishist have embraced and become one, transforming into (I’m assuming this scene is meant to be comical) a gigantic bio-mechanoid phallus, and then setting out to turn the whole world into metal. After the merging has occurred, this line is said: ‘Our love can destroy this whole fucking world!’ Is this…a positive message? A happy ending? The two main characters, after all of the horror and trauma, have accepted their new way of being and now seek to rip apart the world, mutating it into metal, rust and then finally dust. This is suggestive, I feel, of the possibilities that technology, in all its dynamism and innovation, can offer: everything can change. Everything. The forces of production cannot be successfully limited, they will continue to operate, to self-improve, to increase efficiency, and like it or not, we (or, most of us at any rate), are going to have to move with it. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a weird journey up ahead…


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Reports on the Reactosphere #1

The view from the edge of the Cathedral

This is the first of what will hopefully be a semi-regular feature, in which I will report on (gossip about) any exciting stirrings I find in the weird and wonderful world of Neoreaction (NRx). A friend suggested that I do something like this, most likely in the hope that I'll stop boring him with this stuff (whether or not I will remains to be seen). It goes without saying, this is not intended to be even remotely exhaustive. It’s just the stuff that caught my eye.

This is really for people who are already familiar with NRx; if you're not one of those people, but would like to be, check out this and this for an idea of what it is I'm talking about. If not, I'm planning on writing a piece about a Japanese horror film this week, so perhaps skip this post and wait until then...

Scott Alexander, with his usual wit, has given the Reactosphere plenty to be annoyed at with his wonderful (though lengthy) new post Meditations on Moloch, an analyses of a pet topic for NRx: Gnon, the God of Uncomfortable Truths (God of Nature, Or, more simply, just Nature). You can find Nick Land’s response here, and Anarcho-Papist’s here. I’ll update this as I notice more, assuming I have the wherewithal, energy and inclination.

There was excitement for me earlier in the week, where I tweeted Michael Annissimov…and received a response (*pops party popper*)! 

*I only just noticed I call it 'the' Russia...

Another stir has been Arthur Chu's denouncing of NRx for the Daily Beast, which is largely just speculation about what the Hell the deal with Justine Tunney is. I wasn't that impressed with it: if you want a comprehensive rebuttal of NRx, again, Scott Alexander provides

Most interestingly, seemingly from the fallout with the Chu article, Land has proposed we use two, new vector calculations when we attempt a NRx topography, 'Outside' vs. 'Inside.' The 'vs' is perhaps misleading, but there is certainly a conceptual tension between the two currents. This is hardly the first time such a tension has been noticed, however, but any nod towards it is interesting.

Finally, we've had our first sign of life from Mencius Moldbug, the man who catalysed it all (mostly), for several months, with a formal declaration of hiatus. He even says that his return probably won't be in the form of his Unqualified Reservations blog...

I'll leave you with this piece of Anarchically-Papal wit: 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Musings on Google Glass and AR

          I got to try on the Google Glass the other day. Sitting in my friend’s kitchen, after a lot of fiddling we 
were (just) able to get it working. Thus, I found a rosy display sitting slightly off-centre of my field of vision.

            It didn’t work too well.

            It got hot quite quickly; I wasn’t ever quite able to convince it to take a photo properly; it kept trying to email his twin brother. This being said, it was a developer kit, pre-sale and all that, so it’s not likely to work properly at just this moment. No, this isn’t a finished model, this is a demonstration of ability more than anything else. This is one of the most strident steps towards widely available reality augmentation yet taken. This is Google showing us what it can do right now, so it can hint at what it wants to do later.

            It’s one thing to carry a phone around with you in your pocket, but to have an interactive display that is visible only to you, subjectively, is an exciting (and frightening) move. The biggest problem that the Glass faces, other than the obvious hardware/software challenges any and all new tech has to confront, will be a mixture of aesthetics and social accessibility. At the moment, I fear it looks a little too…Star Trek [link]. What needs to happen is for the Glass to become less obvious, less intrusive. There will always be people who revel in obviously wearing their new toy, but wide-spread Augmented Reality will only occur when the hardware that facilitates it can be properly blended with already standing aesthetic and social conventions.

            In a word: Google Glass needs to look like a pair of glasses.

            This is the direction that technology is going to go in. It will become less-and-less obvious, more-and-more commonplace, and less distinguishable from its user. Makes you wonder what direction all this is going in, doesn't it?