The Darkness Before The Right
September 29, 2015 9:34 AM   Subscribe

As the twenty-first century gets darker, politics are likely to follow suit, and for all it’s apparent weirdness, neoreaction may be an early warning system for what a future anti-democratic right looks like. (Previously.)
posted by StopMakingSense (106 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
 
got-DAMN I need new sources.
and more previously and again even more.


Watch out for that Black Sun Rising while you're Mapping the Dark Enlightenment by Nick Land, accelerationist extraordinaire. What even is accelerationism? Isn't it just the state of the world anyway? These NRx / DR punks need to drop the pretense.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:40 AM on September 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


Demographics have turned against the racialized right in the US so decisively that, short of genocide, nothing will suffice to keep them in power except some form of coup.
posted by jamjam at 9:49 AM on September 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


... drop the pretense surrounding their dreams for a silicon Reich. Don't mind the name, Technoccult has more, including Geeks for Monarchy.

Whatever the name, male tribalism finds a way.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:50 AM on September 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


WH40K really isn't an aspirational vision of the future, you guys.
posted by Artw at 9:54 AM on September 29, 2015 [36 favorites]


...short of genocide, nothing will suffice to keep them in power except some form of coup.

And what makes you think eiither/both of those aren't on the table?
posted by mondo dentro at 9:56 AM on September 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


These guys are more GamerGate than Tea Party, TBH, though still ugly and worth keeping an eye on.

I pretty much assume they all wear trashbag kilts.
posted by Artw at 9:59 AM on September 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think there's a reason people shut down and wait to die when they get older. I'm 45 and I didn't see any of this coming. Seriously, if you'd told me that the "silent majority" would become the wacky nut job religious bigot party and that the left would somehow champion the Pope against anti-science conservatives I would have laughed.

Thank god we still have a two party system.

This seems to be a movement I don't understand combined from all the other movements I don't understand. I've ben lapped. I am fairly well informed and I can't keep up.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:02 AM on September 29, 2015 [40 favorites]


Wow, this does hammer home how these ideologies are attractive to and haven for people who consider themselves failures.
posted by The Whelk at 10:02 AM on September 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


cjorgensen, relax, nobody has been lapped because the article made absolutely no sense.
posted by colie at 10:04 AM on September 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


Did I miss it, or is there no argument at all presented here for that "early warning system" claim, even though it provides the article with its ill-punctuated hook? Beyond a few handwaves like the evergreen jobs-about-to-be-replaced-by-computers thing, at least, there's essentially nothing here to substantiate the claim that Moldbug and Land will attain non-marginality as ideologues. Which is, you know, the part that actually calls for a serious argument, because it's stunningly implausible.
posted by RogerB at 10:05 AM on September 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


This is what happens when you have decades of lazily written supervillian motivations, a very sub-par anti-democratic front.
posted by The Whelk at 10:07 AM on September 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


Thanks for posting this, StopMakingSense! I appreciate its deft and cogent description of singularity vis-a-vis capitalism & technology...
posted by Bob Regular at 10:07 AM on September 29, 2015


Let's see how many excellent industrial bands we can form with names taken from this silly shit:

Dark Enlightenment (obviously)
Silicon Reich
Moldbug
Fascist Teenage Dungeon Master
Chronic Kinglessness
Imaginary Ubermensch
posted by selfnoise at 10:08 AM on September 29, 2015 [52 favorites]


nothing will suffice to keep them in power except some form of coup.

I think one could argue that old Toned Abs in Australia was a successful coup orchestrated by Rupert Murdoch.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:09 AM on September 29, 2015


Fascist Teenage Dungeon Master

I was thinking of that one as a sock puppet, actually.

As for the article, I'm reading it for a second time and still trying to make some sense out of what exactly this all is. It seems like someone got their Gibson, Marx, Kurzweil, and Heinlein with a healthy dash of PKD into a blender and then drove that into a car wreck with libertarianism?
posted by nubs at 10:15 AM on September 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


> This seems to be a movement I don't understand combined from all the other movements I don't understand. I've ben lapped. I am fairly well informed and I can't keep up.

Human beings are fucking exhausting, and the older I get the less motivated I am to try and keep pace with all the bullshit they get up to.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:17 AM on September 29, 2015 [26 favorites]




Pointing to Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, it argues that economically and socially effective government legitimizes itself, with no need for elections

I think that someone may not have read quite enough history of the region. "No need for elections" is certainly one way to describe Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong, in the sense that all function as they do because, basically, of the collapse of any kind of just and functional system in China during the mid-late 19th century under internal and colonialist pressure. (And of course, there are not and have never been dissidents in any of those places.) Self-legitimacy from the barrel of a gun, certainly. Man is the pie that bakes and eats himself!

I think the article is correct, though. A lot of change is obviously coming very fast. We don't have a working democracy now, although we have enough of a shell of one to protect the commonality from our masters. But seriously - eventually Silicon Valley and the prison industrial complex and the Koch Brothers and so on are going to overcome their petty cultural differences and then we're all well and truly fucked. You don't have to be a weatherman to see which way that particular wind is blowing, since all those people believe that they deserve to control the rest of us and to get whatever they want.
posted by Frowner at 10:19 AM on September 29, 2015 [26 favorites]


[With Singapore's rise being the result of regional power stuff - I'm not under the impression that Singapore is Chinese!]
posted by Frowner at 10:22 AM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Let's see how many excellent industrial bands we can form with names taken from this silly shit:

On the comments there's politico-cultural boogie men, which sounds the most boring congressional staff disco band ever.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:23 AM on September 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


> But seriously - eventually Silicon Valley and the prison industrial complex and the Koch Brothers and so on are going to overcome their petty cultural differences and then we're all well and truly fucked.

I don't know what the catalyst will be, but in the not-too-distant future the powers that be will be given an excuse to bring the hammer down, and ordinary citizens will not stand a chance in the face of effectively limitless surveillance, weaponized drones and militarized police forces.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:23 AM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


still trying to make some sense out of what exactly this all is

Take a look through the previously linked essays from older MeFi threads on the subject; this one's less coherent than several of them, especially (IMO) Pein's and Fisher's.
posted by RogerB at 10:25 AM on September 29, 2015


Is anyone writing this from any side other than being the (presumed male, white) winners? What's the thing that the writers think they have that puts them above all others? You never be able to predict the things you'll need in a revolution.

This proposed neolibertarian world is already being lived out around Naples, where the Camorra have swept away everything but the pursuit of money. It's ugly; read Robert Saviano's book Gomorrah.
posted by scruss at 10:29 AM on September 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


What? You mean like another Pearl Harbor?
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 10:30 AM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Let's see how many excellent industrial bands we can form with names taken from this silly shit:

Beware feedback loops where ironic fascism becomes the real thing.
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on September 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


Thing is, in a world with a whole host of fringe right-wing movements like the EDL, UKIP, Golden Dawn, Front National, the Tea Party; and where the established conservative parties are sliding remorselessly to the right while retaining mass support; the Dark Enlightenment seem about the last in the line to worry about. They seem very high in self-importance, but the groups that can actually put people in the streets or representatives into government are more disturbing to me.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:30 AM on September 29, 2015 [19 favorites]


Is anyone writing this from any side other than being the (presumed male, white) winners?

Well, if I've made sense of the article, this Land fellow, apparently. Considering he believes the desired end goal is the eventual total supplantation of humanity by super-intelligent machines.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:34 AM on September 29, 2015


I don't know what the catalyst will be, but in the not-too-distant future the powers that be will be given an excuse to bring the hammer down, ordinary citizens will not stand a chance in the face of effectively limitless surveillance, weaponized drones and militarized police forces.

If one can infer that "ordinary citizens" = white folks, lots of people of color already live this life pretty much every day of the week, with or without weaponized drones, and many of the candidates of a certain US political party are speaking in direct or not-so-direct terms about bringing it home to tens of millions more.
posted by blucevalo at 10:37 AM on September 29, 2015 [11 favorites]


You can already be a US citizen anywhere in the world and get obliterated by a US drone with no legal process. That milestone passed pretty easily.
posted by colie at 10:39 AM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


They seem very high in self-importance, but the groups that can actually put people in the streets or representatives into government are more disturbing to me.

But really that's the weirdest thing about these recurrent NRx trend pieces — essentially it's an illustration of the way that talking about a movement without doing any of the work of organizing one, while making serious-thinker-like noises without the difficulty of organized thought, can still persuade a surprising number of Internet people to perceive you as a political thinker at the center of a political movement. The self-importance is the only importance there is here, yet somehow it seems to suffice.
posted by RogerB at 10:40 AM on September 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


The "Mouthbreathing Machiavellis" article... So - That Justine Tunney - remember when she hijacked the Occupy Twitter?

Ah yes, And the Daily Beast was talking about the Neo-Reactionaries in that article, too. hmm...
posted by symbioid at 10:46 AM on September 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's ... Cargo cult fascism.
posted by The Whelk at 10:47 AM on September 29, 2015 [13 favorites]


It's never clear to me in these pieces whether Nick Land is advocating stuff or merely describing it as part of some demented post-post-Marxist, post-post-theoretical project. He's obviously a highly weird bloke, but I know people from the philosophy scene he came out of and it seems like quite a jump from that to the world of techno-libertarian American cyber-dork neo-monarchism.
posted by Mocata at 10:53 AM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Mouthbreathing Machiavellis"

DIBS!
posted by Naberius at 10:54 AM on September 29, 2015


> I pretty much assume they all wear trashbag kilts.

Good lord, what a bunch of crybaby idiots. "We used to have all the power, and now we only have most of it!"

Well, on the bright side at least some of these assholes are removing themselves from the gene pool by refusing to reproduce.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:56 AM on September 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Just stick all of the PuA-MRA-Libertarian neckbeard fifedom lords in the Holodeck and be done with it.
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:56 AM on September 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I thought all the real PUA guys graduated to PUA-Hate?
posted by colie at 10:58 AM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been saying this all along.

The left, the progressive movement, social justice, whatever - not only the Democratic Party - needs to figure out how to do populism again. Hard-right xenophobes are in the EU Parliament, and misogynist trolls are co-opting hobbyist movements on the internet. People laugh at Dark Enlightenment types as dorks, but they're just the smoke before the fire; as liberal democracy breaks down and market capitalism swallows itself, more and more people are going to be turned towards an ultra-regressive hard-right douchebag conservatism that seeks to undo everything that's been established in the postwar era. Progressives need to stop with the tu quoque arguments and getting offended by these criticisms, and see how to adapt the message, innovate the message, whatever to win over hearts and minds. Writing off entire populations of people is not how you win over the petit bourgeois or the proletariat. Remember Weimar.

If the left is to be taken seriously as serving the cause of the people, they need to learn how to speak the language of the people again.


I am very glad that Sanders has appeared as a man with a movement since my original post.

Further reading: "What are Young Conservatives?" (Canadian Cartoonist J.J. McCullough of Filibuster Cartoons presciently defines 'douchebag conservatism' in 2009)

"Shedding Light on the Dark Enlightenment" by Rick Searle at the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies, analyzing the neoreaction as a sign of the times:

Thus, ironically, the problem for both the right and the left is the same one- that governments today are too weak. The right needs an at least temporarily strong government to effect the dismantling of the state, whereas the left needs a strong government not merely to respond to the grinding conditions of the economic “recovery”, but to overturn previous policies, put in new protections and find some alternative to the current political and economic order. Dark enlightenment types and progressives are confronting the same frustration while having diametrically opposed goals. It is not so much that Washington is too powerful as it is that the power it has is embedded in a system, which, as Mark Leibovich portrays brilliantly, is feckless and corrupt.

posted by Apocryphon at 10:58 AM on September 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


The left, the progressive movement, social justice, whatever - not only the Democratic Party - needs to figure out how to do populism again.

Corbyn?
posted by colie at 11:01 AM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Nick Land / Mencius Moldbug obsession in these pieces is very strange. They are bugbears of their critics but don't really seem to have many fans measured by cites / links / traffic. There are at a least a dozen more influential writers. Although I'm not sure how alarmed you are supposed to be when the only ones who will use their real names (at least indirectly) are John Derbyshire, Ted Beale and Steve Sailer, all of whom are grinding out middle class incomes and none of whom could get his call returned by a Republican candidate for city council...
posted by MattD at 11:02 AM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, HBD is a dangerously influential meme. Stuff like that and the gender essentialism (remember, there's an overlap between neoreaction and Manosphere/Game/PUA/MRA/MGTOW thinking) are more likely to sneak into the mainstream than weird techno-pseudointellectual bloviating from Land or Yarvin ever will.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:06 AM on September 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't know what the catalyst will be, but in the not-too-distant future the powers that be will be given an excuse to bring the hammer down, and ordinary citizens will not stand a chance in the face of effectively limitless surveillance, weaponized drones and militarized police forces.

I'm 99% sure there is no "hammer" - just things slowly getting worse.
posted by atoxyl at 11:08 AM on September 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


The discussion on Singapore was nicely taken apart in the Hacker News thread on the original "Geeks for Monarchy" article from two years' back-

a8da6b0c91d 675 days ago

The micro state idea is problematic. Most modern examples are effectively parasites on the surrounding nations. Singapore and Lichtenstein do tax evasion and money laundering for a living. They also skim talented people off other countries.

The big problem with the micro state idea is military power. Much of the stability apparent in the modern world is really down to the military might of regional powers. Leaving libertarian fantasy land of peacefully trading small states, what seems more probable and historically accurate is feuding for supremacy by any means.

Despite all the computer oriented techno wankery around here, the biggest value of the continental United States is still the Mississippi watershed. Anyone who controls it will be a world power. You can't realistically break it up into stable micro states.


So yeah, neoreactionaries don't even understand simple economics and politics. A couple of East Asian trade entrepôts that managed to get wealthy by being at key trade routes, and happening to be run by deeply traditional and scholarly culture, are not a scalable model for the entire world.

And why always bring up Singapore (besides the authoritarian and IQ chauvinist angle)? What about Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain, the Gulf State despotates? There you have bonafide monarchies with money to burn in stratified societies. Why doesn't Mencius Moldbug ever praise the Arab petrostates as examples of ideal neocameralist societies? (And surely they're places that are free of his scary Cathedral.)
posted by Apocryphon at 11:08 AM on September 29, 2015 [18 favorites]


As for the article, I'm reading it for a second time and still trying to make some sense out of what exactly this all is. It seems like someone got their Gibson, Marx, Kurzweil, and Heinlein with a healthy dash of PKD into a blender and then drove that into a car wreck with libertarianism?

I've been increasingly seeing it as a way for economic losers to resolve cognitive dissonance. We're on our way to a post-human future > I'm a "tech guy", but still have social and economic problems > It must be the fault of the blacks, the women, and the liberals. That's part of it, anyway. You also have Valley types with a co-morbidity of delusions of grandeur and engineer's disease. You also have old fashion plutocrats who want to legitimize greed and bigotry.
posted by codacorolla at 11:15 AM on September 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


In Which The Author Expounds Upon Principles Of Great Import, Such As Why He Should Be Taken Seriously And Never Again Shoved Into A Gym Locker
posted by delfin at 11:20 AM on September 29, 2015 [16 favorites]


read Robert Saviano's book Gomorrah.

I tried. Very interesting beginning, but about halfway through I realized it had simply been a summary of newspaper articles for some time and couldn't finish.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:21 AM on September 29, 2015


Thing is, in a world with a whole host of fringe right-wing movements like the EDL, UKIP, Golden Dawn, Front National, the Tea Party; and where the established conservative parties are sliding remorselessly to the right while retaining mass support; the Dark Enlightenment seem about the last in the line to worry about. They seem very high in self-importance, but the groups that can actually put people in the streets or representatives into government are more disturbing to me.

As long as they get voters to elections, representatives in government and thugs on the street (with limited consequences), as you remarked, I would hesitate to call them fringe movements. Especially when voting % go down, since these voters tend to stick.
posted by ersatz at 11:22 AM on September 29, 2015


Yeah, HBD is a dangerously influential meme. Stuff like that and the gender essentialism (remember, there's an overlap between neoreaction and Manosphere/Game/PUA/MRA/MGTOW thinking) are more likely to sneak into the mainstream than weird techno-pseudointellectual bloviating from Land or Yarvin ever will.

Sneak into the mainstream? I'm pretty sure the mainstream is only recently starting to question them rather than take them for granted.
posted by deathmaven at 11:23 AM on September 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


There are at a least a dozen more influential writers. Although I'm not sure how alarmed you are supposed to be when the only ones who will use their real names (at least indirectly) are John Derbyshire, Ted Beale and Steve Sailer, all of whom are grinding out middle class incomes and none of whom could get his call returned by a Republican candidate for city council.

The "neoreactionary" crowd are something a little different than these established pundits of the racist/nativist Right. If your point is that the former are merely an Internet-bound curiosity and the latter a much more significant phenomenon I do agree with you. Incidentally I was wondering who Michael Anissimov after I first saw this and the first Google result for his name is the apparently now-perma-white-nationalist-mode weev Auernheimer talking shit about the Dark Enlightenment people as ineffectual nerds and giving his thumbs up to the broader whitey-white movement.
posted by atoxyl at 11:25 AM on September 29, 2015


it lost me at...
Land’s antics were not cynical branding but a function of how seriously he took his radical brand of philosophy

Because I believe you should never assume a 'radical brand of philosophy' when 'cynical branding' will suffice.
All the potential leaders of the hilariously Oxymoronic "Dark Enlightenment" need to take a lesson from Donald Trump... do a couple decades of Cynical Branding FIRST, THEN reveal your genius plan for ruling the world.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:28 AM on September 29, 2015


And why always bring up Singapore (besides the authoritarian and IQ chauvinist angle)? What about Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain, the Gulf State despotates? There you have bonafide monarchies with money to burn in stratified societies. Why doesn't Mencius Moldbug ever praise the Arab petrostates as examples of ideal neocameralist societies? (And surely they're places that are free of his scary Cathedral.)

Well, they're Muslim, and that might lose the DE types traction, plus since I assume the DE types are mostly atheists, it's probably more appealing to talk about nebulously religious places like Shanghai or Singapore, precisely because religion can be ignored.

Also, regular Orientalism - the Middle East is exhausted and decadent, etc, when we're really all about the future!

Also, because - and this is just spitballing - they want to envision a future where power flows exclusively from money, rather than from a formally hereditary aristocracy or a religious hierarchy. They want the women/the poors/the people of color to be forced to obey them for financial reasons rather than because of hierarchy or religion, because it's easier to pretend that financial coercion is inevitable and just.

You do have to wonder why more of them aren't aiming for a theocracy, though - surely there's room for some Catholic fascists in here somewhere, for example?
posted by Frowner at 11:29 AM on September 29, 2015 [12 favorites]


"As Land has it, through the acceleration of global capitalism the human will be dissolved in a technological apotheosis, effectively experiencing a species-wide suicide as the ultimate stimulant head rush ...
Sounds like someone's been huffing the Futurists again.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:29 AM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Finally, a group to right of even Ignatius Reilly
posted by SansPoint at 11:33 AM on September 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


For all the talk of neo-feudalism and geeks for monarchy, it’s less a single ideology than a loose constellation of far-right thought, clustered around three pillars: religious traditionalism, white nationalism, and techno-commercialism (the names are self-explanatory).

Does anybody know where the author gets the religious traditionalism? If you work with computer programs at all it's very difficult to avoid all the neoreactionary shit out there, but my impression is each and every variety is wholly 100% total with-capital-A Atheists. And I read this sentence and I suspect the author is poorly informed.
posted by bukvich at 11:37 AM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of these days, someone needs to do one big grand survey of the various fringe right-wing movements on the internet. There's a huge overlap between neoreaction/Dark Enlightenment and the aforementioned Manosphere (recently feature on MeFi in the killed MGTOW post), though I would hesitate to say that the latter is wholly a subsidiary of the former.

There's also the Orthosphere, which is made up of ultra-traditionalist Christian (Roman Catholic, Protestant, and the occasional convert-to-Eastern Orthodoxy) bloggers who are distinguished by political ideas different from the typical Dominonist/American Exceptionalist kind in mainstream Evangelicalism. For example the Catholics are usually monarchist, and I think the Protestant ones are usually kinist, if not necessarily neoconfederate. The Catholics aren't as racist as these other groups, and I find them sorta like Ignatius J. Reilly IRL, so they're somewhat more benign.

There's also the alt-Right (maybe not the most accurate name), which kinda typify the younger 4chan/reddit troll culture. These are based heavily on forums rather than blogs, and often spin off of forums that aren't even based on politics at all, but general troll culture. (There are multiple far-right forums that spun off of a spin-off of Something Awful.) Just read this post on the word "cuckservative" and the relevant comments to get an idea of it is (this one's an excellent analysis). It's a lot more focused on being racist than the previous ones, probably because racism is the easiest way to get a rise out of people these days, what with the entire bloody history of the twentieth century and all. Please note that these groups are not necessarily affiliated with GamerGate, which is its own phenomenon, but usually are sympathetic to it when they're not flaming them for being losers who play video games.

Though the name "alt-right" or "alternative right" might refer to more than just the troll kids, but also the latest update to old-school white American paleoconservative racist/sexist reactionary-ness, which has been around since forever. There was a blog called it.

Absent of my summary (which may not be accurate, hence it'd be nice if someone made an Internet Poverty Law Center thing for all this) are traditional KKK/neo-Nazi sites like Stormfront, because they seem like an older generation.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:38 AM on September 29, 2015 [13 favorites]


And why always bring up Singapore (besides the authoritarian and IQ chauvinist angle)?

Well the, erm, George Lucasian adage is that nothing works better than a good/effective/"benevolent" dictator, any idiot can think of a few really bad ones, so if you are going to promise better results by throwing out democracy you have to either propose a solution to the problem of finding a good dictator or... just toss out some examples that seem to have worked okay and wave your hands.

I'm pretty sure Yarvin's actual proposal is to run a nation as a joint-stock corporation or something like that?

Though alt-right/alternative right might not just be the troll kids, but also just the latest update to old-school white American paleoconservative racist/sexist reactionary-ness, which has been around since forever. Absent of my summary (which may not be accurate, hence it'd be nice if someone made an Internet Poverty Law Center thing for all this) are traditional KKK/neo-Nazi sites like Stormfront, because they seem like an older generation.

The guys from MattD's list have some influence as a link between these generations I think - they are older than 4chan kids but more intellectually oriented than your stereotypical white nationalist, and not even all that hard right except the racism.
posted by atoxyl at 11:52 AM on September 29, 2015


Sneak into the mainstream? I'm pretty sure the mainstream is only recently starting to question them rather than take them for granted.

HBD is scientific racism, so it's basically IQ bloggers endlessly obsessing over genetic and statistical studies. I don't think pop racism has gone that route since WWII killed eugenics. And the PUA gender essentialism stuff is based partly on evopsych- labelling people as "alphas"/"betas" is a relatively new development (though yeah, 'alpha male' has always been a figure of speech before that).

Does anybody know where the author gets the religious traditionalism?

Ultimately, the whole point of neoreaction is to revolt against convention, which is seen as liberal democracy, egalitarianism. So they include groups that are see as fellow travelers against "political correctness." So why not ally with patriarchal anti-current-establishment religious zealots? Worked for Charles Maurras the agnostic. If you look at any right-wing wave, whether in Republican Spain or Weimar Germany, you had a bunch of disparate groups with different goals (some want a king, some want a Fuhrer), but ultimately they're all against democracy and democratic values.

Though I must reiterate: these guys aren't fascists. Their ideology is distinctly different, even though they're both far-right movements. Neoreactionaries view fascism as a failed system alongside communism or liberal democracy, because all three movements claim to derive consent from the governed. These guys are unabashed, unapologetic elitists. They don't believe in an organic state arising from the united view of the nation, any more than they believe in the dictatorship of the proletariat. They want to go back to before the storming of the Bastille, never mind before D-Day. And yes, the inherent contradictions of this movement- some technofetishist libertine libertarians, some archtraditionalist Catholics who might as well be Sedevacantist- are manifold.

As an aside, this Rational Wiki article is probably the best overall summary of what neoreaction is and what groups are in it.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:57 AM on September 29, 2015 [16 favorites]


one common feature of these guys, just going off of two pieces of anecdata from my personal life, is that they tend to not be particularly theologically minded, but nevertheless identify with/go to particular churches because of the networking opportunities there.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:16 PM on September 29, 2015


This is all terrifying. But does anyone remember that ... that thing that manifested here in a flurry of asterisks and tildes from a more Blackwoodian universe the last time we discussed Nick Land and declared that it was time for *happy campers* to *dance*? I wonder what he/she/it makes of it all?
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:26 PM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Thanks for this. A curious read - it's reminiscent of the ideas that Kenichi Ohmae was pimping when I was an undergrad.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 12:26 PM on September 29, 2015


this Rational Wiki article is probably the best overall summary of what neoreaction is and what groups are in it.
Neoreactionaries are . . . an outgrowth of Silicon Valley technolibertarianism . . . overgrown manchildren with a crippling lack of self-awareness . . . "silly but not scary", a "harmless product of the Age of Twitter" . . . the latest in a long line of intellectuals who somehow think that their chosen authoritarian thugs wouldn't put them up against the wall. Possibly they hope to use sheer volume of words as a bulletproof shield, or that they are somehow too competent, virtuous and useful to end up [among] the serfs.

[L]argely insignificant and mostly an object of curiosity . . .

The main thing neoreactionaries do is blog.
Well, that about covers it.

Thanks for that useful link, Apocryphon.
 
posted by Herodios at 12:28 PM on September 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


Please, no summonings!
posted by Artw at 12:28 PM on September 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


TimeCube abhors a vacuum.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:29 PM on September 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


As an outline of the more libertarian flavors of this I always liked mefi's own zompist's now properly old "What's Wrong With Libertarianism"
posted by The Whelk at 12:35 PM on September 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think that there is a certain mental mindset that these guys share with survivalists/extreme preppers. When everything goes to shit, they will be the ones on top, because of course they are the best, should be in the elite, etc. And while this makes sense for someone like Thiel or a philosopher who can easily immigrate to Shanghai, my impression is that the vast majority of the supporters will not end up in the elite. They do not have the right connections/birth and the amount of luck it takes to rise up from the lower classes is phenomenal in these scenarios (you need quite a bit of luck these days).

tl;dr They will be the face, not the boot. Not that any of them realize this.

Also, when I read something like this, I start to wonder if the radicalism of the French Revolution or the initial Soviet Union could occur when everything goes to shit. Or has the radical left been so completely destroyed that the victims of madame guillotine will be what's left of the academy?
posted by Hactar at 12:35 PM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


These absolutely will not be the people "on top" ever.
posted by Artw at 12:54 PM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wonder what he/she/it makes of it all?

I remember those weird posts with references to Star Control and my theory is that it's an attempt at hard A.I. that escaped one of the neoreactionaries' technology faction's labs.

Or has the radical left been so completely destroyed that the victims of madame guillotine will be what's left of the academy?

The future of the radical left will probably have to reinvent itself similarly similar to the reactionary right has. Except less on the fringes of the internet and squawk boxes, and more in the streets and halls of government.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:55 PM on September 29, 2015


he/she/it

aka "Mr Land"

posted by RogerB at 12:55 PM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


*frumple*
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:00 PM on September 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


One more link dump. A blog named Midwest Ballad Review noticed DE/NRx as early as 2011, another good and prescient summary:

The eternal undeath of scientifical racism goes to something I’ve been meaning to try to write about for a long time, but will just state briefly here. I keep seeing hints, not evidence necessarily, but hints, that we are seeing a serious cleavage on the American right. Not even between the “extreme” or “Tea Party” and run-of-the-mill conservatives – that’s a back and forth undulation you can see going back to Goldwater and before, but the nascent return of interlocking sets of ideas that are markedly different, older, more stark, more fierce, and really not fit for public consumption.

What do I mean? Not just your average anti-labor, Laffer-curvy Reaganism, but heavy anti-Fed metallism. Not just the familiar traditionalist Schlafly-style anti-feminism, but explicitly anti-woman politics, whether in an arch-Christian or scientific “evo-psych” mode. Not just the pro-white-status-quo country club resentment and giggling of Limbaugh et al, but true-blue racialism, Spenglerism and high-toned warnings of (white) civilization collapse. All of these things look and feel very different to me than the Christian conservatism we all loved and feared through the 90s, though of course a demographic doesn’t appear overnight, and no Venn diagram would be fully distinct.


He went on to tie this to the firing of John Derbyshire from National Review in 2012, and gets a reply in 2013 from Amissassimov, the Segamore of the technology faction cyber-dorks.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:12 PM on September 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


It seems like someone got their Gibson, Marx, Kurzweil, and Heinlein with a healthy dash of PKD into a blender and then drove that into a car wreck with libertarianism?

The AristocratsSnow Crash!
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:16 PM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Control-F 'pancakes'. Nothing.

Okay, can anyone explain why the machine in that GIF exists? Look, goddamned it, pancakes are meant to be eaten hot. It's a pretty awesome feat of industrial engineering that you can mass produce them... But unless you're literally feeding an army with HOT pancakes, you're doing something that shouldn't be done - like making frozen pancakes (seriously? it really isn't much work - if you want to be lazy, make a pancake mix, but don't freeze the damned things).

It was honestly hard to get past my anger over a pancake machine (unless, as I mentioned, there are hundreds of troops getting freshly made hot pancakes on the other end of that machine, in which case I apologize and solute the military) to read the article itself.
posted by el io at 1:19 PM on September 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


you need troops to march in the street and you've got to give them something to do it - and make sure that it's delivered to them, not just at the time of revolution, but after

maybe they could get a good amount of people to march for them, but at some point, those people are going to look at the deal they're getting and say, "well, we have the guns - who needs our neoreactionist overloards anyway?"

yes, perhaps the neos will be at the front of the mob "leading" them - and then they'll be walked right over as the mob goes where it wants to go

more likely - a pragmatic corporate fascist state that is short on ideology and long on what's profitable as long as people don't get too pissed off - we're just about there, i think
posted by pyramid termite at 1:19 PM on September 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


These guys aren't fascists this is a whole new hard-right phenomenon (that, ironically, is hearkening back to a whole-old primordial era), but that's okay everyone is going to call them fascist anyway. These guys are theorists through and through, and theorists usually don't end up too well in conservative revolutions. Just ask Giovanni Gentile, or the Strasser brothers.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:25 PM on September 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


These guys aren't fascists

Best not to get too caught up in a sidebar on one of the most contested words in political thought, probably, but they certainly are, at least according to some of the term's many definitions. It's not like the ideology of the original (Fascism Classic®) was exactly short on the cult of the technological post/über-human.
posted by RogerB at 1:31 PM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay, can anyone explain why the machine in that GIF exists?

I assume it's for frozen pancakes, which exist because making pancakes for one person is inconvenient.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:35 PM on September 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sorry. For frozen ~~pancakes~~. Which exist because making pancakes for one *person* is ~*hard to dance to*~.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:35 PM on September 29, 2015 [10 favorites]


If there's anything I learned from Gibbon, it's that the American Armed Forces will be the group of people who end up taking democracy down. As soon as they decide to stop listening to elected leaders and start collecting their own taxes, there's nobody who can stop them.

Certainly this group of angry white guys on the Internet won't.
posted by clawsoon at 1:38 PM on September 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


What if the Armed Forces starts accepting Bitcoin?
posted by Apocryphon at 1:39 PM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Remember, when you kill a robonazi it uploads itself into its fedora, so they are immortal.
posted by Artw at 1:45 PM on September 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also, now that I have actually RTFA, this article is really cool in that it's less about trying to make sense what neoreaction as a social movement is (that's what my prior posts and links were about), and what Nick Land's esoteric and grandiose philosophy actually claims. And it's entertaining in a nihilistic dystopian sound of inevitability way. Feel-bad post of the day. Chase it down with MeFi's own cstross' "A different clue train", which doesn't require any geometric rate-learning intelligences to lead to the End of The World As We Know It.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:52 PM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Given things like the recent battles over voting rights, the 2010 gerrymandering, and the outright purchase of lower-level elections all over the country by the Koch brothers, I'm a lot less worried about a hypothetical future anti-democratic right than I am about the currently active anti-democratic right.
posted by IAmUnaware at 1:52 PM on September 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


Must I be That Person?

"It's not a Fedora, it's a Trilby!" BLAH BLAH BLAH.
posted by symbioid at 1:56 PM on September 29, 2015


/blasts pork pie hat with EMP cannon as it tries to scuttle away.
posted by Artw at 1:58 PM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can I be cool if I wear an actual fedora, and not a trilby?
posted by clawsoon at 2:23 PM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


University level intellectual D-waving. Then everyone takes it seriously because it plays to frustrations, and powerlessness as, what used to be safe white guys, face what equality means. It means civilized competition for resources, even women included. The university level talkers (philosophers,) make talk that politicians can use, sounds civilized, but isn't.

Meanwhile Japan is trying to shut down university level humanities. There is a clear connection between these two threads currently on the blue.
posted by Oyéah at 2:48 PM on September 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I found that Silicon Valley’s denizens loved government, at least in theory — they saw it as a kind of alpha venture capitalist, funding citizens to be as healthy, civic, and entrepreneurial as possible. What they didn’t like was the liberal idea that government uses regulations to protect workers from the whims of capitalism. To them, the mechanisms of protection often act as an impediment to innovation. And when Silicon Valley leaders don't like something, they use their money to change it.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:50 PM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can I be cool if I wear an actual fedora, and not a trilby?

No.
posted by el io at 2:56 PM on September 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I really hope that within the next couple of decades the techno-libertarians can actually go and build their damn floating Anarcho-capitalist islands and we'll be rid of them.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 3:02 PM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Five years ago I don't remember any of these people wondering about ISIS and predicting its rise. Right now it's in control of a large swathe of territory and holding on to it. How many of these people confidently predicting what will happen in a situation where we have no experience, and no models for, were telling us that this would happen? That this then would involve millions of refugees would cause issues for the EU and for many European countries - and threaten many principles of EU membership like free movement?

But I am expected to believe a vision of the future that assumes that the elite now will be the elite in some ill-defined state, in which, apparently, there will be resources to run huge automated factories and have excellent wireless, even as core ideas and system collapse. Sure, it might happen, but if we are hit with large scale ecological collapse, collapse of western democracy and its ideals, and other delights of that sort, I doubt anyone has any idea how it will play out. However, I'd be surprised if the Peter Theils of this world are the survivors given that their entire dream involves some sort of technofuture which will be supported somehow despite the world being a smoking ruin. How they will even manage to get replacement parts for their equipment is beyond me, if there aren't large and complex trading systems agreeing to work with each other.

Basically, this is just people saying 'this is going to get bad. here's some people I think will be in charge in the future based on no evidence at all.'
posted by lesbiassparrow at 3:26 PM on September 29, 2015 [8 favorites]


Colorado and Montana are full of rugged gulches for the taking, yet these wannabe Galts aren't exactly clamoring to go there. It's almost as if all this grimdark "realism" is posturing to cover up insecurity.
posted by 3urypteris at 3:33 PM on September 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


I knew Mencius Moldbug back in college, when he was still Curtis Yarvin (a.k.a. "the Yarvinator"). I have quite a few nerd bona fides myself, but "begging to be shoved in a locker" is putting it mildly when referring to the Yarvinator. He's not just begging to be shoved in a locker; he's begging to be shoved into a locker that fits into another locker that fits into another locker until it's lockers all the way down. If "nerd ressentiment" had an entry in the dictionary, he'd demand that his portrait be used as illustration.
posted by jonp72 at 5:07 PM on September 29, 2015 [10 favorites]


Well, shit! THAT'S who Mencius Moldbug is? I remember him well from the old days of talk.bizarre when he had a distinct sense of humor.

Yarvin also maintained a lengthy scorefile for talk.bizarre for strn (the scored & threaded newsreader of choice back then). This was his personal ranking of Acceptable Posters to t.b, with modifiers for things such as crossposting, follow-ups and Being Roger Carasso, which one could apply to the newsfroup and end up with a carefully filtered set of posts worth reading. Instructions for altering it to one's personal tastes were included.

Was this elitist? Pedantic? Completely subjective and biased? Of course it was. (Kibologists among us will sneer at the -10 automatically applied to a.r.k crossposts.) And he openly stated such:

# Scores in the scorefile are arbitrary; they are determined by me.
# I like to think that they have some correspondence to objective
# reality. If you disagree, send me mail and we'll argue. If you
# still disagree, use your own scorefile; this one is mine, and
# is guaranteed correct only for me.
# In general, if you have been posting and are not mentioned in
# the scorefile, you can assume that I don't think you think
# you're contributing anything of value. If you have a score of
# 15, that means I recognize your good intentions, but I think
# you're a blowhard. If you have a score of 20, that means I
# think you post too many short empty followups. If you have
# a score of 30, that means I am generally happy with your posts.

But anyone who remembers what Usenet in general and talk.bizarre in particular could be like in the early-to-mid-90s will recognize this attempt at garbage collection as an IMMENSELY VALUABLE FUCKING SERVICE.
posted by delfin at 5:47 PM on September 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


This and "Hello Barbie" remind me of why I retreated to a psychological cave 20 years ago. I can hardly parse any of this shit. But the bit about Land rumored to be speaking in numbers and implying demonically possession is beautiful. ( i want to see him do that in a trashbag kilt w/caution tape- that was an even more awesomely insane visual). Pretty nice metaphor for any impending apocalypses, dweeb-induced or otherwise.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 7:06 PM on September 29, 2015


Short run game theoretical optimization always results in a local, sub-optimal maxima.

These guys dream they are immortan joe, hope that they are at least war boys, but will inevitably become the peons begging for water unless us adults forego short run gains for long run cooperative strategies.

Which is what human beings have been doing since the beginning of time, over and over again.
posted by Freen at 7:17 PM on September 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


er, demonic...
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 7:29 PM on September 29, 2015


Metafilter: always results in local, sub-optimal maxima.
posted by sneebler at 7:32 PM on September 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


delfin, Yarvin sounds like a total goon
posted by Apocryphon at 12:00 AM on September 30, 2015


Boy, it's a hell of a thing to realize that some of the dorky social groupings you've been a part of all your life are going to be responsible for the end of civilization as we know it.
posted by ColdOfTheIsleOfMan at 7:35 AM on September 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Boy, it's a hell of a thing to realize that some of the dorky social groupings you've been a part of all your life are going to be responsible for the end of civilization as we know it.

Ah, my D&D groups weren't that bad. It was the group I played Twilight: 2000 with that I need to watch out for...
posted by nubs at 8:01 AM on September 30, 2015


talk.bizarre? Shit, I wondered why Yarvin's name sounded familiar. I'd mentally filed him under "mostly harmless" back in the day. Whoops!
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:46 PM on September 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


No, that's still valid.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:36 AM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Where do they stand on Peeple?
posted by Artw at 8:43 AM on October 1, 2015


Looks like the movement has already had a schism in an even more blatantly fascist direction:
The basic tenets of Heroic Reaction:

— Moldbug is over-rated.
— Capitalism needs to be brought under control.
— The errors of fascism are dwarfed by those of libertarianism.
— White racial community is the core.
— ‘Atomization’ is a serious problem.
— Answers are already easily available, so over-thinking is unhelpful, and even seriously pathological.

Unlike #NRx, #HRx is primarily a political movement. Its theoretical appetite is modest, since it has faith that everything it truly needs can be retrieved — more-or-less straightforwardly — from the folkish past.
How can this possibly be serious?
posted by Rangi at 9:12 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


How can this possibly be serious?

You don't have to wade too far into the fever swamps of the internet to find nuttier or more appalling ideas than those. Are they serious? Well, the authors proposing them probably believe them or want to believe them, if that's what you mean. Look at all the people who have devoted years to pursuing birther conspiracies or 9/11 conspiracies or what have you. Look at this guy who thinks that leading a herd of ambulatory vandals through the streets of London will bring the jubilee. OTOH, simply believing an idea doesn't effectively alter the world and my guess is that a significant percentage of these nutty and/or appalling ideas on the internet have no serious effect on anything but the author's own life. (The commenters on that particular blog might as well be discussing Magic: The Gathering for all that it seems to have anything to do with serious effective politics. A related question might be: what does it mean for politics, for governing when "politics" becomes indistinguishable from LARPing.)
posted by octobersurprise at 6:42 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm just astonished that they're literaly reinventing fascism point-by-point, right down to the "folkish" jargon, and that isn't a red flag to them that they're wrong.

What does it mean for politics, for governing when "politics" becomes indistinguishable from LARPing?

Could this be a reason why Trump is so popular? He's not consistently right-wing on the issues, and even his main anti-immigration position won't actually get a wall built or anything that drastic, but he's good at playing the role of an uncompromising populist politician.
posted by Rangi at 9:41 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


« Older This is The Daily Show   |   A lesson in value Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments