Neoreaction as Analysis, Not Advocacy

Spandrell wrote a good article this week expressing an idea I also wanted to commit to writing recently:

But the thing is this gestalt that we call neoreaction doesn’t stand for anything in particular. That’s not what this is about. Neoreaction is not an advocacy movement, it’s an analysis movement. What draw us together is our willingness to see reality for what it is, and to see how exactly did civilization decay to the point that it has.

That’s why we have techno-futuristic anti-nationalist exiles together with open admirers of Hitler, staunch Christian conservatives with 6 children with poolside nihilists who pump and dump our sisters and daughters for pleasure. Yes we’re all in it and we get along mightily well. Why? Because we (mostly) agree in (most parts of) reality.

The whole thing is worth a read.  Check it out!

The Progressive Ratchet

A ratcheting mechanism is one which resists motion in one direction, but freely moves in the opposing direction.  A ratcheting wrench can be set to apply force when twisted clockwise, but freely spin when twisted counterclockwise, letting the user put a nut on a bolt without once removing his wrench or his hand.  Even more useful, a ratcheting strap allows its user to tighten a strap, and maintain that tension while freely positioning the lever for another tightening stroke.  The shorter the distance to be moved, the greater leverage is available to traverse it.  Significant leverage can be applied to achieve minor progress, and the same mechanism prevents any and all backsliding.  The system translates force in one direction into the desired action, but force in the opposite direction merely resets the mechanism for another stroke in the original direction.

Progress works much in the same way.

Perhaps the most exasperating part of being anything other than a True Believer of Progress is the realization that progress cannot be undone.  Significant leverage is used to move the system left, yet the mechanism slides right without result.

This isn’t the same thing as hypocrisy.  That the same type of people who coined the term “white-Hispanic” to make a point with George Zimmerman are now attempting to ban police from using appearance to describe suspects is hypocrisy.  The ratchet is the ineffective pushback.  Try to imagine any Progressive cause reversed:

  • Can you imagine a white Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton?  One with equivalent socio-political clout?  Whom minority leaders would be required to meet with following a minority-on-majority crime?
  • Can you imagine a man claiming that rape culture propaganda on college campuses constitute a micro-aggression against him, subtly and unfairly blaming him for the actions of others?
  • Can you imagine a country artist complaining that rappers had “appropriated” his style?

I would suspect that you cannot.  Any and all forms of discomfort, inconvenience, and one might argue, accountability, imposed on a protected social class is a grievous injustice to be righted at any cost.  Inflicting the same on a non-protected class is fair game (hypocrisy).  Demands to be treated fairly are met with ridicule (the rachet).

To be fair, the demands to be treated fairly often do deserve ridicule.  Not because of the details of a particular case, but because the entire class of cases deserves ridicule.  Reactionaries cannot and should not attempt to find secure equal treatment from their opponents; there is little to be gained from reaching parity in insanity.  Whatever short-term gains are achieved for a non-protected class pale in comparison to the overall effect of strengthening the overall influence of the belief in politicized justice.

Progressive Panhandling

Can we make that into a neologism for question-begging fallacies in the media which promote progressive ideals?

I’ve alluded to this a few times before, most recently with respect to Catholic teachings on human sexuality, that progressivism works as a process which singles out and conquers the weakest opponent…the one which is “ready” to be conquered.

No, there’s no tin-foil hat-ness going on, these are their words, not mine:

Is America Ready For This Top (Transgendered) Model?

t’s an early morning photo shoot for Glamour Magazine UK. There’s a blizzard outside the window of Jack Studios in New York as the crew sets up in a flurry: Photographers meticulously adjust the lighting, makeup and hair artists arrange their bounty of brushes and stylists hang up racks upon racks of familiar names — Ralph Lauren, DSquared2, Zac Posen, Helmut Lang, Agent Provocateur, Vivienne Westwood.

They’re all here for one person.

“Hi, I’m Carmen.”

The woman in an unassuming black tank top, jeans, simple ponytail and hoop earrings (a staple she would later credit to growing up in New Jersey) introduces herself to the crew — but everybody in the room already knows who she is.

“People know me from a lot of places,” she tells CNN later at her Perth Amboy, New Jersey, home. “Google-dot-com Carmen Carrera!” she laughs.

Carrera first caught a glimpse of the spotlight on the third season of the cult favorite and gif-ready reality show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The day after she finished the show, she decided to begin her transition into the Carmen Carrera we know today — a proud transgender fashion personality.

There is obvious question-begging going on here; the Progressives are doing what they do best and Conservatives never learn how to do at all: set the stage, define the terms, and draw the battle lines in their favor.  “Are we ready?” is a yes-or-no question, leaving the listener only two options: “Yes, I’m enlightened and on board!” or, “No, I am not yet prepared, I am merely a backwoods troglodyte yet to see the light.”  Handily ruled out are responses such as, “this is irrelevant,” or “this isn’t a good idea.”

Irrelevancy is the category most often and damagingly excluded; I offer as an example the case of “Is America ready for a black president?”  Being the true equal opportunity type that I am, which is to say, one who hold one’s demographic identifiers neither against said individual (which would be discrimination, and is illegal) nor in favor of said individual (which would be affirmative action, which is commonly an openly-stated policy), I believe that the correct answer is that the wrong question is being asked, and the journalist should be fired for such poor-quality work.

See my previous post about progressive discourse tactics: No, Really.  Religious Freedom Doesn’t Belong.

No, Really. Religious Freedom Doesn’t Belong.

Recently I caught on to a common tactic in modern progressive discourse: accusing one’s enemies of one’s own crimes.  I suspect it is successful because the bandwidth of modern discourse is so narrow that most media consumers are capable of exactly one of two thoughts on any given subject:

  1. “X is happening.”
  2. “X is not happening.”

In practical terms, this means an arsonist could accuse a homeowner of setting his own home on fire.  The homeowner vigorously replies that he is not setting fire to his house, and the listener then concludes that no one is setting houses on fire.  Progressives can count on their outer-party Conservative counterparts to wage most of their own public relations war for them!

And so, ironically-yet-not-unexpectedly, the day after I posted about the danger to religious freedom under the United Nations, the President of the United States announces that religious freedom is in jeopardy; completely glossing over the significant threats to religious freedom that his administration is responsible for!

I would say “You just can’t make this stuff up,” but dystopian futurist novels have been an established genre for decades.

See my next post about progressive discourse tactics: Progressive Panhandling

Isolation is Part of the Deal

A tweet by C.M. Sturges of Apocalypse Cometh led me to a post on the blog called “Body Crimes:

IS THE RED PILL BAD FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH?

Anyone who’s spent much time reading this blog knows that in the past few months, I’ve become entranced by the New Misogynists – bloggers, both male and female, who believe that civilisation started collapsing the day women got the vote. These Manosphere bloggers are themselves part of a wider neo-reactionary movement that’s coming to be known as the Dark Enlightenment, (though it should more properly be called The Extinguishment, because it seeks to overturn the Enlightenment virtues of liberty and suffrage).

Although the more pretentious members of the movement have started to use the term ‘Dark Enlightenment’, most of the everyday bloggers refer to themselves as ‘red pill takers’.

The ‘red pill’ reference comes from The Matrix. If you swallow the red pill, you see the world as it really is. If you swallow the blue pill, you remained plugged in to a comforting dream.

It’s a very funny and perceptive video. One of the most acute things he says is that one side effect of taking the red pill is that people who have swallowed it don’t seem to be very happy: “It may even be a depressant.”

And how right he is. Take a look at the post Red Pill Isolation, from the Apocalypse Cometh blog, where the author, C.M. Sturges, says:

“There’s a common misconception in our little corner of the webz. That exposing yourself to the truth, essentially going down the rabbit hole, is going to make your life better. Nothing could be further from the truth…

You are going to become isolated. Most notably socially but also with your thoughts, opinions and your ability to finally see what surrounds you in this crumbling society.”

Read the rest here:

She appears to be an observer of the orthosphere, and makes some rather level-head analysis of it.  Where I think her analysis needed some extra work was separating “red pill knowledge” from the application of said knowledge.  (See bottom on the role of diagnostician and clinician.)  Since she seemed very cordial with Sturges, so I hazarded a comment to her post.   Reposted in its entirety:

I agree with a large part of your assessment, but I would ask you consider this:

It is a well-known phrase that politics makes strange bedfellows. With the overwhelming degree of uniformity in the mainstream media and culture, it is inevitable that all dissenters will be lumped together as “The Others.” For example, in a world that bases equality of genders on belief in the *sameness* of genders, anyone who dares believe men and women are different is a dangerous heretic. And so you end up grouping together those who favor more traditional approaches to dating with those who believe women shouldn’t have the right to vote.

And so it is absolutely true that daring to question the premises of a culture we don’t believe in brings an incredible amount of intellectual isolation. How could it not? For merely stating an obvious fact, such as women bear children and men don’t, or that men and women tend to exhibit different problem-solving techniques, I am branded a dangerous heretic, or a “misogynist,” in today’s lingo. Interestingly, many of these facts when stated by women are considered laudable, but when stated by men they are detestable. This is usually fueled by fears and assumptions of the other party’s motives:

Woman: “Men and women think differently”: Yes! Celebrate our uniqueness and individuality!
Man: “Men and women think differently”: No! Gender is a social construct! A woman can do anything a man can do!

Facts can be stated by good people and by evil people. The problem is that public discourse has decided to disown any and all facts that could possibly be used as ammunition by evil people. This means that the system has chosen to designate as its enemies not just the “evil” people, but the reasonable ones interested in facts. It is this anti-intellectualism and counter-factualism that has created an environment of intolerance, and has spurred the rise of the “Dark Enlightenment,” “Neoreaction,” “Red Pill.” If you “criminalize” normality, then don’t be surprised when normal people become “criminals.”

Few of us are intent on doing evil. But all of us demand that the facts be heard.

The isolation is lonely. That is part of The Matrix analogy as well; compare the glitz and comforts of the fake world with the drab clothes, gross food, and ugliness of the real world. The analogy is not cherry-picked for its best parts; we accept it as a package deal.

But I’ll also agree with C.M. Sturges. It is liberating to understand that you aren’t going crazy, and others share your observations. We are building a community where we fit in, and finally have an venue to apply our constructive efforts. Don’t overlook the “manosphere’s” huge emphasis on self-improvement. (Nor its contrast with the Jezebel-esque attempts at self-delusion: obese is beautiful, you should be loved for just being you, you’re perfect as you are, etc)

And while I have refrained from the meta-writing impulse to place myself in context of the cosmology of the orthosphere, this seems like a pretty good time to do it.

At present, I consider myself a social diagnostician.  As I said in my intro to the Neoreactionary Canon:

A confluence of sharp minds is taking place on the internet. Intelligent writers covering a wide range of issues have realized that conventional understandings of civilization and its history don’t “work.” The theories fail to hold predictive value. The models are broken. To repurpose an image from one of the original writers:

“It is impossible to enumerate the full list of reasons behind this belief. It’s like asking you why you prefer a romantic candlelight dinner for two at a simple, yet elegant, French restaurant, to being dragged alive behind an 18-wheeler at highway speed until there is nothing on the rope but a bloody flap of skin.” – Mencius Moldbug, “An Open Letter to Progressives,” pg 121

To answer the above question would be difficult, not for lack of reasons, but for an abundance of reasons; it is difficult to decide where to start. Furthermore, the fact that the question was even posed leads the reader to believe that the questioner not only needs an answer, he needs help. Specifically, he needs help so badly that he doesn’t even recognize it.

I commit myself only to the idea that what we are doing isn’t working.  My series on The Revolution and my analysis of Post-Modern Progressivism focus firmly on the ills of the here-and-now.  My conclusions have aligned with those of the neoreaction, and so I am with them thus far.  (Reading Moldbug’s social commentary was like an exercise in reading my own thoughts.)

And yet deciphering what is wrong is a far cry from determining what is right, that is, to be a social clinician.  Several ideas of various levels of unorthodoxy have been proposed.  Serious discussions of monarchy and crypto-tyranny have arisen.  These I treat as interesting thought experiments, but things to which I am not willing to commit.  At the less serious, yet more successful end of the scale, bloggers such as Matt Forney and Return of Kings have inspired amazing levels of awareness and outrage at politically incorrect gender-relations truths.  While seemingly unrelated, Truth is Truth, and if the orthosphere is about the right to speak uncensored truths, than their role in this community cannot be denied.

This post covers a lot of ground, so to recap: Yes, the “red pill experience” entails a lot of intellectual loneliness.  No, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Yes, I align with the neoreaction.  No, I’m not endorsing monarchy.  Yes, I believe the truth about gender relations is suppressed.  Maybe, the way RoK makes their points is rough, but maybe that’s the only way the truths will be heard.  And yes, I will continue to write until I have nothing left to say.

The College Cult and SWPL Snobbery

This post wasn’t on top of my to do list, but strike while the iron is hot!

The neoreactionary critique of modern society centers around a cluster of self-reinforcing biases, prejudices, and concepts which have proven in recent history to be nearly impossible to resist.  Whether you describe them technically as memes or through analogy as cancer, the basic idea is that fighting it directly is like fighting the Hydra; for each head cut off, two more counterattack.

A lot of ink is spilled in our circles about whether any of this is relevant; perhaps it is best to let our society continue what it’s doing.  After all, being delusional is ok if no one gets hurt, right?  The problem is that people do get hurt.  In real, tangible ways.

One of these tangible issues is the 1-2 combination of The College Cult and SWPL Snobbery.

In basic form, this is the belief that “thou shalt go to college,” (The Cult), because “any job worth doing requires a college degree” (The Snobbery).  Let’s analyze:

The Cult: “Thou shalt go to college” is a directive with no conditions.  It isn’t “Consider college if you can afford it,” or, “Go to college if you desire a career requiring a college education,” or, “Go to college and study something that yields a positive return on your investment.”  The order is simply, “Go.”  Return on investment, risk assessment, opportunity cost…all these are ignored.

The Snobbery: “Any job worth doing requires a college degree.”  The college crowd, being qualified to do little, creates things to do, such as “raise awareness.”  Overseas volunteerism of dubious value to the beneficiaries is popular as well.  Such activities help young people in a college town differentiate into the high-class students and the low-class townies.  The self-importance is palpable; belief in abstract causes is absolute.  But who do the students depend on to ensure the lights stay on, on campus and at home?  Who repairs their roads?  Who fixes their bikes and cars?  Who collects their garbage?  Who provides police and fire coverage?  The amount of routine work required simply to fight entropy and enable day-to-day life, which in turn allows the University to continue its charge of adding to the ever-growing, non-entropic body of knowledge.

Cost…Entropy…we’ve seen these themes before.  They are the formal causes of progressive post-modernism!

For society to both continue and continue to improve, both the townies and the University must function.  They are interdependent.  The townie who knows his job is fueled by the university tends to know this.  The student’s respect for the importance of the townies tends to be eclipsed by his “higher” calling.  Instead of seeing his role in the bigger picture, he comes to believe he is the entirety of the picture.  Thus we end up with articles like this:

I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry

The gist of the article is that “anyone” can get married and have children, but accomplishment in the workplace is not so easily obtained, and therefore it should be celebrated, rather than major family milestones.  Needless to say, this round in the “Mommy Wars” is bloody.

If one manages to set her condescending tone aside, this article is nothing more than the student taking the townie for granted.  True, there is only one Einstein, one Joyce, etc, and there are untold countless professional and DIY plumbers out there, the plumbers contribute both more, and more directly, to the quality of life for many people than the student and his idols do.  And even though technological breakthroughs do improve lives, they are meaningless without the laborers and technicians who implement them.

Sure, it is probable that most professors could become plumbers and the opposite is not true, but that doesn’t mean the work the plumbers do is unimportant.  Similarly, while the Marissa Mayers of the world could more easily slip into being stay-at-home-moms than the typical stay-at-home-mom could slide into being CEO of Yahoo, the world doesn’t *need* as many CEOs as it needs mothers.  Humans die (entropy) and we must replace ourselves; this is done by parents, not by executives.  Mothers understand this, the Amy Glass’s of the world seem to overlook it.

This is, of course, just one arena in which the College Cult plays out.  From my introduction on cost it should be obvious how it leads to student debt and students choosing to earn worthless degrees.  From my introduction on entropy it should be obvious how this leads to high-schools geared increasingly toward college prep and a neglect of vocational schooling.  The consequences of these have been expanded upon ad nauseum, so I will only re-iterate what I said at the beginning: modern society centers around a cluster of self-reinforcing biases, prejudices, and concepts which have proven in recent history to be nearly impossible to resist.  Amy Glass will not be the last Amy Glass.

Reflection on Moldbug’s “Open Letter”

I’ve been blogging for only four months.  In that time, I’ve published 73 posts which document years of observations.  While I am by no means prolific, I am certainly churning through years of intellectual backlog, committing my worldview to the written word.

I suspect real-life family, friends, and acquaintances would describe my thoughts as unusual and unorthodox, yet still well thought-out and interesting, which is certainly why they encouraged me to write.

So you can perhaps begin to imagine how utterly surprised I was when I read Mencius Moldbug’s “An Open Letter to Progressives” only to watch him list nearly every single significant crimethought I’ve ever had:

…and several others.

It was a weird experience.  It wasn’t any sort of Revelation; I had been thinking about many of these ideas already, and had already written several down.  Rather, it was a sort of Socratic experience, wherein what I already knew was simply organized through discussion into something more meaningful and useful.

I mentioned to Bryce Laliberte of AnarcoPapist that Moldbug presented no new facts.  By his reaction I assume I came across as a bit arrogant, and this is the forum to correct that and break out exactly what I meant.

A significant number of Moldbug’s point in “An Open Letter to Progressives” are already known and accepted as facts by the average American:

  • The media has a liberal bias
  • The university faculty has a liberal bias
  • The Stuff White People Like phenomenon has been observed since before he wrote this letter
  • Democrats are known for government expansion
  • Government expands and cements itself into society in ways which can never be undone
  • This is achieved through what amount to kickbacks for minorities
  • Republicans promise a small government but never achieve it
  • America has not “won” a war since World War 2.
  • America has arguably not “tried” to win decisively in recent wars
  • “I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal…” General Curtis LeMay, on the subject of firebombing cities
  • There is an entire body of knowledge which is known to all yet also suppressed by all; Political Correctness.  True Believers are a minority, but they wield disproportionate amounts of power
  • The American government has grown over time
  • The Constitution is considered a “living document”
  • A significant number of society-shaping decisions in our past have come not from the executive or legislature, but the judiciary

And the list continues.  I suspect the average college graduate at least knows these ideas exist, even if they don’t believe 100% of them.  What Moldbug does is tie a massive amount of “inconvenient kernels of observed political reality” up neatly into a sensible bow that the reader can understand.  This is just like a Socratic dialogue in which the interlocutor simply answers questions from their own knowledge until some new knowledge is obtained.  In Neoreaction in a Nutshell, while first trying to get a handle on all this, I wrote:

2) “Conservatives pass tests by memorizing stolen answers and call this process learning.  Neorectionaries may cheat too, but they read the questions and learn something while marking “C” in question 3.”

If all the above observations are an “answer key” to life, “An Open Letter” served as a peak at the test itself, to see what the answers all mean.

The personal reflection from this is that I have been granted a massive frame of reference thanks to the publishing of the Neoreactionary Canon.  On a personal level, my tendencies towards completionism are satisfied knowing that I can read, find, index, link, and refer to written versions of my own thoughts that have been already written down.  Further, this gives me a lot of freedom to define my own goals more narrowly, so I can write in more detail, and perhaps produce more works that are worth keeping around the community.

It is highly significant that my own introduction to the canon began with the choice between the candlelight dinner and being dragged to death behind a truck.  I have spent years wondering at questions of exactly this nature when faced with confrontations between “official” reality and observable reality.  My series on post-modernism was an attempt  to answer, in a general way, a broad swath of questions which all amounted to, “why did we all choose the truck?”  I had to back up several steps from the various trucks we chose to actually grasp what had happened to us.  In this regard, I suppose I am a diagnostician at heart; driven to understand symptoms and modes of failure more than I am interested (and, indeed, able) to offer recommended solutions.

So I predict I will spend much of my writing time in the near future continuing to analyze the various lethal truck draggings, while keeping the big picture in mind and using it as a reference.  Although the canon is huge, and contains many brilliant thinkers, I believe there are a few connections yet to be made in this Universal Theory of Everything, and I intend to explore them and offer my findings up to the community as I do.