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.

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