This was originally one article that I decided to split into two: This first part is a challenge to other writers. My own response will follow in a second part.
So now I’ve wrapped a three-post series on post-modernism.
Part 1 explored its structure according to Aristotle’s Four Causes. This helped place its myriad symptoms in our culture into an understandable hierarchy.
Part 2 explored what I see as the Formal Causes of post-modernism: intellectual disregard of both cost and natural tendencies to chaos. These failings are the bridge between post-modernism’s origins in wealth and its effects in the forms of modern progressive socio-political policies.
Part 3 wandered around a bit, but the thesis was that post-modernism denies the need for self-preservation and therefore is unable and unwilling to sustain itself. The conclusion was that post-modernism therefore cannot be a moral code for social order, because it actively, aggressively, and inherently leads to social disorder. While it may be commendable for a nation’s armies to die in blazes of glory securing the nation’s future, it certainly cannot be commendable for a nation itself to die in a blaze of glory attempting to secure a utopian future. (I suspect this is why American socio-political campaigns are frequently described as the “War On This” and the “War On That.” The language of war and “win-at-all-costs” mindset reliably inspire citizens to make exactly this non-sensible sacrifice.)
After so much neoreactionary theory, I think it’s time to discuss some practicalities. Simply put, “What’s the point?”
By definition, every reactionary movement is liable to sound more than a little alarmist. In our case, the neoreactionary movement outlines the unavoidable consequences of unchecked post-modern progressivism. It describes a society governed by rules and institutions disconnected from reality and destined to cause misery when the unsustainable illusion breaks. The illusion seen from outside appears grotesque. That it is unnatural and wrong hardly appears to require explanation:
Yet from inside, the illusion is so pretty:
Our arguments about the laws of nature and man and the social order that accommodates them seem irrelevant in a world so wealthy that even significantly sub-optimal and delusional systems continue to function. What does it matter if priests believe that 1,000 angels can dance on the head of a pin rather than 100,000? Neither answer yields different moral guidance to the lay person.
So this is the challenge neoreactionary writers face: How do you sell an ugly reality to someone living a pretty lie? This is the challenge of Plato’s cave escapee. This is Cipher’s challenge. The challenge didn’t end well for either of them; what will make us any different?