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.

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