To associate with neoreaction is to deny God

June 20, 2014 § 135 Comments

He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth. – Matthew 12:30

I am quickly reaching the conclusion that neoreaction or the “dark enlightenment” is an essentially secular, anti-Christian movement founded on an intransigent postmodern deconstructionism.  Blasphemy against Christ and His Church is central to neoreactionary thought.

Here is Foseti:

If pressed, I’d go further. If I was forced to pick the one key tenet of the neoreaction, I’d pick this understanding of Progressivism. To the reactionary, Progressivism is a nontheistic Christain sect. If you don’t understand Progressivism in this way, you simply don’t understand Progressivism.

Here Foseti quotes the godfather of neoreaction, Mencius Moldbug:

If there is one general weakness in the conservative strategy, it strikes me as this unwillingness to admit that “liberalism” is actually mainline Protestantism, which is actually Christianity.

There do appear to be a few at least partial dissenters, filling the role that good conservatives fill in all essentially modernist movements: adding respectability and preventing mistakes from being corrected.  But any movement that considers verbal games insinuating that Richard Dawkins is really a “non-theistic Christian” profound, as some kind of big “agree and amplify” of protestant heretics, is either a dead end or worse.

And it is certainly no place for serious Catholics.

UPDATE: Added epigraph.

§ 135 Responses to To associate with neoreaction is to deny God

  • Peter Blood says:

    I believe there are a disproportionate number of secular Jews involved. Moldbug is a perfect example. From the start they don’t understand Christianity, or have a hostility towards it, and paint it in simplistic ways. They have their way of de- (or even anti-) Christianizing things. The built-in hostility to Christianity in Neo-Reaction is downright Talmudic.

  • Ryan Blenheim says:

    Catharism, like progressivism, is a heretical offshoot of Christianity. Moldbug and Foseti both make it clear that progressivism is a HERETICAL sect. You read that. You know that. You’re lying to your readers about it. You’re not mistaken; you’re willfully and knowingly lying.

    Did you catch the bit where you were told not to bear false witness? Remember that? In the Bible?

    Of course you do, but you think it’s ok in this case because you’re holier than God, so you get to disobey His commandments whenever it makes you feel good. Coincidentally, that’s the exact nature of the progressive heresy: they think that they’re holier than God, so they get to rewrite His commandments on the fly to say whatever suits them at any given moment. The local church in my New England town has a gay rainbow flag out front, and that stupid quote about how “God is still speaking”. They’re progressives. Like you, they make up the commandments as they go along, and they feel especially close to God when they’re bearing false witness against their neighbors. This is the churchian heresy as well.

    But I’ll share a secret that’s really not a secret at all: When you’re bearing false witness against your neighbors, God doesn’t feel especially close to you. In fact, if the Bible can be believed (I guess you don’t believe much of it), He feels like you’re creating a little bit of distance there.

    You’re no Catholic.

  • Peter Blood says:

    By “Talmudic” I mean craftily designed to inoculate people against Christianity.

  • And yet, here’s a bit of something I happened to post just yesterday; Moldbug on Lawrence Auster, Feb. 2013:

    This is what I see when I look at Auster’s oeuvre – not just a prophet, but a leader. A king, if you will. A king out of water, in a dry and kingless age. He was still born a king, or made himself one, and if you type in the right URL you can see it plain as day.

    Does this have anything to do with Larry’s faith? Of course it does. It is impossible to imagine a king who does not serve the King of Kings. Or rather, if we imagine one, we find ourselves looking for other words, pejorative ones – like “dictator.” What were Hitler and Stalin, but godless kings?
    (…)
    It is also a well-defined and cogent statement to say that Lawrence Auster is a servant of God. One can serve without orders. Larry doesn’t need God’s cell-phone number to serve God, and nor for that matter does the Pope. When we say “God,” we know what we mean – it is a shorthand for the superhuman and perfect, for infinite wisdom and intelligence, just as the character of Hamlet is a shorthand for a mercurial and hesitating character. What, pray tell me, is the Flying Spaghetti Monster a shorthand for?

    Not strictly according to Church doctrine, true, but as a “serious Catholic” I wouldn’t call it blasphemy, but a serious and intelligent reach for the truth.

    If you care for more, full post here.

  • Zippy says:

    Whenever someone says “Moldbug makes it clear that …” it makes me chuckle. Kind of like someone saying “Derrida makes it clear that …”

  • nickbsteves says:

    Do you deny Progressivism is an heretical Christian sect? If so, throwing poop at the idea will hardly make your case.

  • Zippy says:

    nickbsteves:
    This is from the Foseti post linked in the OP:

    In this series (more later), Moldbug argues that Richard Dawkins – instead of being an atheistic critic of Christianity – is a hardcore adherent of the world’s most successful sect of Christianity. Instead of arguing against Christianity, Dawkins is arguing for one sect of Christianity over all others. How’s that for a red pill?

    Yes, I deny that Richard Dawkins is a Christian. Someone whose thoughts lead to the conclusion that Richard Dawkins is a Christian has something seriously broken in his thought process, as thrillingly “red pill” as it may feel to pronounce that Richard Dawkins is really a Christian.

  • nickbsteves says:

    Mr. Blood, you have it precisely backwards. The type of Christianity (egalitarian, iconoclastic, legalistic) that neoreactionaries indict is itself largely judaic–Christianity stripped of the pagan half of its patrimony. When Moldbug indicts the Puritan Spirit and WNs indict the Judaic Spirit they are both pointing to pretty much the same social and psychological deformations.

  • nickbsteves says:

    Yes, I deny that Richard Dawkins is a Christian.

    You have answered quite another question. Please do try and pay attention.

    Though the one you answer is also interesting and not entirely unrelated. Was Richard Dawkins not baptised? (I’m pretty sure he was.) I guess one could be “Christian” in the sense that they were baptised and raised in a predominantly Christian culture and loved Christian architecture and art and music and social norms. That seems to be the sense in which Dawkins applied the word to himself late in his life. This, of course, entirely depends upon the definition one is using for “Christian”. Certainly, dictionaries recognize a few.

  • Zippy says:

    neovictorian23:
    Larry had Moldbug’s number, and his followers aren’t any different:

    Basically he’s acting like an adolescent rebel. The official story is that the South was all in the wrong, and therefore he, Mencius, will turn the orthodoxy on its head and show that the South was all in the right. But truth is not arrived at by taking a wrong, simplistic idea and reversing it. Truth is arrived at by looking at the whole and putting things in their proper relationship with each other. I do not see such an effort on the part of Mencius.

  • Zippy says:

    nickbsteves:
    No, you try to pay attention. I know it is difficult because of your antiessentialism; but just try.

    Moldbug/Foseti agree that it follows from the proposition that Progressivism is a sect of Christianity to the conclusion that Richard Dawkins is a Christian.

    That’s broken thinking, and you are playing the part of the good conservative by preventing the error from being corrected.

  • Foseti says:

    You’re missing the point.

    There’s no reason associating with neoreaction requires any religious position. However, the idea that Christianity in general, is a force for Rightism in any way shape or form is absurd.

    When they’re not busying agitating for more immigration, the churches of the US are busying making their congregation gay (http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/presbyterian-gay-mainline-protestant/).

    (Yes, I’m being sarcastic, but the current Pope is a walking advertisement for Conquest’s Second Law).

    By all means believe in God. But any surge in Christianity in the US will be accompanied by a significant political shift to the Left.

    Even if you disagree with the more strong form that I’ve laid out in this comment, there’s absolutely nothing in my post that you linked to that reasonably leads to the conclusion you’ve drawn.

    High-Churchmen of a few centuries would have taken it for granted that Low-Churchmen were Whigs. If I say the same thing now, everyone who claims to be Christian is offended. Perhaps, the only reasonable conclusion to draw is that there the High Church is completely gone. (Even Wikipedia states that the Low Church is leftist while the High Church is rightist).

    You know things have gotten bad when an atheist knows the history of the Church better than virtually all the believers.

  • Zippy says:

    Foseti:

    There’s no reason associating with neoreaction requires any religious position.

    That confirms precisely my point: that neoreaction is self-consciously Godless. Or metaphysically neutral, if you prefer.

  • SixtusVIth says:

    “Water is wet”, said Satan.

    “Blasphemer! Water is dry!”, shouted Zippy.

  • Marissa says:

    The built-in hostility to Christianity in Neo-Reaction is downright Talmudic.

    It reminds me more of Freemasonry, but I don’t know anything about the Talmud, so do you have any suggestions to read about it?

    Also, I’m not sure how the Church can adhere to “Conquest’s Second Law” since She is neither right or left. When people speak in terms of right and left they sound like they are still in the realm of liberalism. The church’s leaders have castigated socialism and capitalism alike (“liberalizing” an economy is making it more capitalist). I also don’t really get the media obsession with Francis–a guy who’s reiterated that acceptance of gay marriage, women ordinations, and contraception isn’t going to happen. If you wrongly place him in the realm of liberalism, he’s more to the “right” than the vast majority of right-liberals on social issues.

    it strikes me as this unwillingness to admit that “liberalism” is actually mainline Protestantism, which is actually Christianity.

    Mainline Protestantism is Christianity? I guess history started in the 16th century.

  • Marcel says:

    Maybe I’m missing the point, but if a man says “Richard Dawkins is every bit the Christian that Bishop Sprague is,” he seems to me to be condemning Sprague, not commending Dawkins.

  • Bryce Laliberte says:

    Charity, Zippy. It might get you further. Flies, honey.

    For others who would otherwise be left with the wrong impression, Moldbuggian cladistics in a nutshell:

    1) Protestantism is a Christian heresy
    2) Lacking hierarchical structure, the doctrines undergo decay
    3) Anglicanism becomes whiggery becomes Puritans becomes… and so on to unitarian universalists, and finally the Progressive atheism of, say, Dawkins, which is descended of this religious-intellectual tradition
    4a) “Christianity” as used by Moldbug denotes only the Protestant heresies
    4b) Catholicism is not implicated

    But then I’m an anti-essentialist, Game-touting hipster who would insist that Catholicism is the religious orthodoxy of neoreaction, so what do I know. But one does find it curious you’d defend Protestantism to get at neoreactionary Catholics.

  • Mike T says:

    Neoreaction is IMO an example of what happens when All Right Thinking People(tm) reject and drive out of polite society any discussion of things that make them uncomfortable. Mark Shea wrote a post attacking the Dark Enlightenment that is typical of this. It basically came down to hysterial shrieks of how “no conservative Catholic could ever consider HBD less than vicious bigotry.” The best part was when Shea realized later he got massively trolled…

  • CJ says:

    Neoreaction is IMO an example of what happens when All Right Thinking People(tm) reject and drive out of polite society any discussion of things that make them uncomfortable.

    Meh. Every community decides that certain things one may think/do/say are out of bounds. People who insist on thinking/doing/saying those things may splinter off, but the fact that they do so says diddly about the validity of the community’s standards.

    The best part was when Shea realized later he got massively trolled

    Mark embarrassed himself badly (“inspect my phenotype?” SMH). But he occasionally needs to pump the brakes and that dose of humble pie may have helped him to do so.

  • Zippy says:

    Bryce Laliberte:

    “Christianity” as used by Moldbug …

    Yes, it is obvious that when Moldbug and other secular neoreactionaries use the term “Christianity” they don’t actually mean Christianity. That constitutes evidence for, or certainly not against, understanding neoreaction as a secular anti-Christian postmodern movement.

    Why should Christian “reactionaries” – or Christians of any sort – deliberately associate the literal name of Christ with things they understand to be despicably evil? That’s just straightforward blasphemy.

  • Zippy says:

    This is the part where you guys get to say “OK, Zippy, you have a point. Loyalty to Christ Himself and the second commandment are actually more important than my latest Internet passtime”.

  • That Progressivism is an intellectual ancestor of Christianity (specifically, millennial Protestantism) is not an idea novel to Moldbug.

    A 1994 book entitled Cosmos Crumbling, by University of Texas historian Robert Abzug, also extends Progressivism’s genealogy back to the Protestant reform movements of the 19th century. From the book description:

    This colorful text brilliantly reassesses the religious roots of these antebellum reform movements through a series of penetrating profiles of key men and women who sought to remake their worlds in sacred terms. Arguing that we cannot understand American reform movements unless we understand the sacred significance reformers bestowed on the worldly arenas of politics, society, and the economy, Abzug presents these men and women in their own words, placing their cherished ideals and their often heated squabbles within the context of their millennial and sometimes apocalyptic sense of America’s role in the cosmic drama.

    From this millennial context arose every “liberation” movement that is today aligned with the Left.

    And David Goldman (i.e., Spengler, i.e. one of the most well-respected foreign policy and risk analysts in the West) also buys this thesis. See his review of Joseph Bottum’s An Anxious Age, which also is more or less a reformulation of the Moldbuggian thesis. Here’s Goldman’s review: http://www.the-american-interest.com/articles/2014/03/17/the-rise-of-secular-religion/

    “Today’s secular liberals are the direct descendants of the past century’s Puritans and Protestants,” writes Goldman.

    These are just two examples, and they demonstrate that some very smart people have been convinced by a version of the Moldbuggian thesis about Progressivism and Christianity.

    So, if you don’t buy it, fine, but realize that it’s a pretty well-accepted thesis in a lot of circles. I’m an academic, and whenever I’ve run this idea by colleagues in the history department, they typically accept it to greater or lesser degrees. It’s certainly not “broken thinking.”

  • Zippy says:

    Sharlach:

    So, if you don’t buy it, fine, but realize that it’s a pretty well-accepted thesis in a lot of circles. I’m an academic, and whenever I’ve run this idea by colleagues in the history department, they typically accept it to greater or lesser degrees. It’s certainly not “broken thinking.”

    Islam is a heresy of Christianity too. That doesn’t make Mohammed a Christian. And any mode of thinking that results in the conclusion that, to quote it again,

    Richard Dawkins – instead of being an atheistic critic of Christianity – is a hardcore adherent of the world’s most successful sect of Christianity.

    … is in fact broken. You only get there by playing postmodern word games. It helps if you can do it with just the right affected pose.

  • Foseti says:

    @Zippy

    Look, 400 years ago there was a debate between two branches of Christianity: High and Low.

    They described themselves as in terms readily recognizable as rightist (High) and leftist (Low).

    I would certainly defend High Church Christianity, if I could find any.

    I’m pro-High Church Christianity in the same way I’m pro-Monarchy. As far as dead institutions go, I love them. If pushed, I’d even describe myself as an adherent. But who cares, until finds a way to bring one of them back?

    You can continue defending Christianity all you want. The day, of course, isn’t far off when you’ll be left defending a Church led by a married, gay Pope while claiming that Christianity (without making any doctrinal distinctions) is the pathway to a Rightist government. Heck, you’re already basically doing that by not dissociating yourself with mainline Protestantism in the US, which would of course mean agreeing in total with Moldbug.

  • Zippy says:

    My own view is that Protestantism is as much a heresy of Islam as it is of Christianity: that sola scriptura protestantism in particular is basically Islamic logocentrism applied to the Bible as opposed to the Alcoran. I suspect that Chaucer, John of Gaunt, and Wyclif swiped logocentrism from the Mohammedans.

    But if I said that Presbyterians are actually Moslems people would, quite correctly, think I am an imbecile.

  • Zippy says:

    Foseti:

    you’re already basically doing that by not dissociating yourself with mainline Protestantism in the US

    HAH! I can’t blame you for not knowing anything about me or my writing. I’m just some guy.

    But that is pretty hysterical.

  • Marissa says:

    The day, of course, isn’t far off when you’ll be left defending a Church led by a married, gay Pope while claiming that Christianity

    It’s a historical inevitability.

  • Foseti says:

    Maybe, but not as funny as claiming that Catholicism is the one true form of conservatism while it’s led by the poster child of Conquest’s Second Law.

    No one has gotten better coverage from the Official Press since John Roberts turned-coat to uphold Obamacare.

  • Zippy says:

    Foseti:

    not as funny as claiming that Catholicism is the one true form of conservatism while it’s led by the poster child of Conquest’s Second Law.

    I must have missed where someone claimed that.

  • Zippy says:

    Foseti:

    No one has gotten better coverage from the Official Press since John Roberts turned-coat to uphold Obamacare.

    It is OT, but that wasn’t a turncoat move. It was precisely what what I expected of him.

  • Islam is a heresy of Christianity?

    Historical documentation, please? When did Mohammed claim to be a Christian?

    All the progenitors of Progressivism (from the abolitionists onward) claimed to be Christian.

  • Zippy says:

    Sharlach:

    Historical documentation, please?

    It was Belloc’s view, and I’ve found supporting information elsewhere. But a long digression on the subject would take us wildly OT.

  • Foseti says:

    So what’s your disagreement?

    At best I can decipher it boils down to: “neoreaction is self-consciously Godless. Or metaphysically neutral, if you prefer.”

    Yet you’ve admitted that believing in God has no correlation with any Rightist position on issues of governance. Indeed, if forced to pick, I’d rather defend the side arguing that religious governments were more leftist – and you’re claiming not necessarily to disagree.

    A political ideology that was, therefore, not explicitly religious shouldn’t offend you, and yet the point of this post is that it does, for some reason you won’t elucidate.

  • Zippy says:

    Foseti:

    Yet you’ve admitted that believing in God has no correlation with any Rightist position on issues of governance.

    I don’t believe I said anything like that. I generally say what I mean to say and try not to say things I don’t mean to say; but it is the nature of discussion that almost everything is unsaid.

  • Foseti says:

    You generally just respond by telling me what you’re not saying without saying what you are saying.

    We see a steady leftward drift within the Catholic Church, which you didn’t disagree with. Said Church is also a government. I don’t think I was making a huge logical leap.

  • Zippy says:

    Foseti:
    There is a leftward drift in society in general, and religious people are part of society like everyone else. I coined the phrase “Hegelian Mambo” more than ten years ago at Lawrence Auster’s site, View from the Right, to describe the phenomenon.

    But the idea that the only remaining institution to unequivocally forbid female priests, to stand against sodomite ‘marriage’, abortion, contraception, etc, to uphold natural law and objective morality, etc — even if only formally as a matter of doctrine — is inherently progressive is nonsense on stilts. It is like giving a sea anchor the label “motor” just because it is moving along with the boat.

    My basic criticism of (what I have seen of) neoreaction is that it is just another form of modernity that ultimately leads nowhere. Moldbug’s ideas about ‘Exit vs Voice’, neocameralism, formalism more generally, etc amount to minor tweaks applied to liberalism — a ‘break’ with contemporary liberalism no greater than Marxism was a ‘break’ with classical liberalism. Maybe if we remix it again it will sound better this time.

  • Foseti says:

    I’m gonna pull a Zippy here, but neither nor Moldbug (ok, I may have come pretty close, but he certainly didn’t) ever said that Catholicism was inherently progressive.

    I would argue that there’s a certain amount of inherent progressiveness in Christianity, since it demands a certain amount of equality – if only among souls before God. Progressivism is nothing but equality. However, in doing so, I’m basically alone among neoreactionaries, and even I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Catholicism in particular is inherently progressive.

    The goal is an orderly (read Rightist) state. The assertion a Catholic state may not be the best means to achieve this goal (which as far as I think neoreaction goes) should hardly be controversial. As you admit, when you note the leftward drift within the institution itself.

    Thus, if neoreaction – as statecraft – is metaphysically neutral, might that not be a feature, not a bug?

  • Zippy says:

    Foseti:

    I would argue that there’s a certain amount of inherent progressiveness in Christianity, since it demands a certain amount of equality – if only among souls before God.

    You might find this post of mine pertinent, if there is interest in what I do say.

    Progressivism is nothing but equality.

    I disagree. Progressivism is just liberalism trying to be ever more consistent, and in order to properly address it you also have to deal with “freedom”. Otherwise you are just under the delusion that you can build yourself a nice tame liberalism, perhaps taking some formally different approach from democracy (e.g. “exit”).

  • Zippy says:

    Foseti:

    Thus, if neoreaction – as statecraft – is metaphysically neutral, might that not be a feature, not a bug?

    No. That’s (metaphysical neutrality that is) just the core (and incoherent, as it turns out) assumption underlying liberalism that got us here in the first place.

  • Zippy says:

    Foseti:

    As you admit, when you note the leftward drift within the institution itself.

    There has been a leftward drift within neoreaction itself in its very short life (I’ll cite ‘trannygate’ as evidence – the mere fact that there was controversy at all).

    That ought to tell you something.

  • Just to get back for a moment to the actual, original post–it is implied by association that Moldbug is “anti-Christian” and has committed “blasphemy.” I quoted Moldbug’s very own writing saying, in sum, that he greatly admire(ed) Auster, his faith and his devotion to God. And if you read the original, there’s this:

    I suppose I will never be anything but a “secular humanist,” but I have learned in this way to respect, admire, and sometimes even envy my Christian friends.

    Stating that Progressivism is a Protestant heresy is not blasphemy. Rather than anti-Christian, Moldbug is more of an admirer, or even, perhaps, what Opus Dei calls a “collaborator.”

  • Zippy says:

    neovictorian23:
    And yet we have Matthew 12:30, not to mention the other evidence before our lying eyes.

  • Marissa says:

    Progressivism is nothing but equality.

    Only between ubermenschen. Otherwise, why the eugenics programs? I don’t think equality, real or imagined as a goal, is the correct lens. I’m more in the Freemason territory, with “every man a god” as the ultimate goal. It could be a compendium of errors.

  • Zippy says:

    Marissa:
    The ubermensch/untermensch dichotomy is implicit in every form of liberalism, when it encounters reality. (The untermensch is frequently also seen as an oppressor — as the subhuman impediment to the freedom and equality of the superman).

  • MarcusD says:

    untermensch is frequently also seen as an oppressor

    I might be missing something, but that sounds a lot like Nazism (e.g. Dolchstosslegende). In fact, that sounds like Feminism, too (e.g. Dolchstosslegende and the feminist concept of Patriarchy).

  • Zippy says:

    MarcusD:
    You aren’t missing anything. Hitler was a believer in freedom and equal rights among the herrenvolk.

  • josh says:

    “My own view is that Protestantism is as much a heresy of Islam as it is of Christianity: that sola scriptura protestantism in particular is basically Islamic logocentrism applied to the Bible as opposed to the Alcoran. I suspect that Chaucer, John of Gaunt, and Wyclif swiped logocentrism from the Mohammedans.”

    I think the similarities between protestantism and islam more likely arise from mutual influance for the talmudic judaism/cabala, alchemy, and neo-platonism.

  • MarcusD says:

    @Zippy

    Does that translate to feminism, as well? (I find the feminist notion of Patriarchy to be quite similar to the Nazi Dolchstosslegende.)

    Slightly off-topic: I recall a time when you had a link to “Bad Catholic” – am I correct in assuming that it was removed due to his increasing endorsement of feminism (and the like)?

  • Zippy says:

    MarcusD:
    Sure – feminism is a variant of liberalism in which men are viewed as the oppressor-untermensch. I suggested that that is why hyper-feminism thinks all men are rapists here.

    As for the link, I genuinely don’t recall.

  • Bryce Laliberte says:

    @Foseti

    >I would argue that there’s a certain amount of inherent progressiveness in Christianity, since it demands a certain amount of equality – if only among souls before God.

    Actually, that’s not the case. Protestantism may suppose the equality of human souls, but Catholicism has never defined any such doctrine. Don’t use “Christianity” when what you mean is specifically Protestantism; a rhetorical error of Moldbug’s (same as Nietzsche) which has led to this confusion over the supposition that Christianity per se promulgates any sort of equality among human beings.

    What is a soul? A soul is the human substance, i.e. the composition of form and matter. This just means that inasmuch as we understand individuals to be distinct from each other, so are they as souls distinct from each other.

    For instance, Dante’s Paradiso straightforwardly promotes an inequality in Heaven, with some nearer to God than others. Likewise, St. Therese of Lisieux, from the 19th century, also accepted this doctrine. “I understood that every flower created by Him is beautiful, that the brilliance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not lessen the perfume of the violet or the sweet simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all the lowly flowers wished to be roses, nature would no longer be enamelled with lovely hues. And so it is in the world of souls, Our lord’s living garden.” St. Paul obviously promotes no equality of sexes. St. Thomas Aquinas never promotes the equality of souls (see http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1093.htm#article4).

    Zippy won’t make this point, because he would prefer to defend Protestantism if it allows him to attack insufficiently Zippy-like Catholics.

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    Bryce,

    I heartily agreed with what you wrote above, but if you could help me understand your and Moldbug’s continued commitment to Austrian Economics? Libertarianism with its emphasis on the individual, and especially in it’s anarcho-capitalist forms strikes me as heavily indebted to a low-church Protestant political theory. I guess at this point that is my main critique of Neo-Reaction,

  • Bryce Laliberte says:

    @Ita Scripta Est

    “Post-libertarian” tends to be the description given. That is, there is a nod to the economic realities of life as described by Mises et al. (though this is only an entry point if anything, there is much influence from other perspectives and writers, e.g. public choice theory, Caplan, Marx [yes, Marx]), but it isn’t defined or even shaped by these; rather, neoreaction partakes of them for its own purposes.

    The rejection of the Enlightenment ideal/presupposition of personal autonomy and rights seems to mark a definite divergence from typical libertarian thought. There is also the tendency to understand and treat of society as a metaphysically real being, which likewise imparts a diminishing of the notion of individuals as having something like inviolable rights as part of their dignity.

    Not to plug my own work per se, but I consider this an apt means of elaborating on how neoreaction disembarks from libertarianism (among other things). http://www.socialmatter.net/2014/05/19/the-myopia-of-modern-economic-theory/

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ MarcusD:

    I might be missing something, but that sounds a lot like Nazism

    That’s because it is. Hitler was a liberal. He was just a liberal who realized that when liberalism hits reality, it always naturally produces ubermensch and untermensch. Instead of giving up on liberalism, he decided to just kill off the untermensch.

    We can see how that worked out.

    @Bryce:

    Zippy won’t make this point, because he would prefer to defend Protestantism if it allows him to attack insufficiently Zippy-like Catholics.

    Wow.

    Just… wow.

    I mean, are you familiar with Zippy in the slightest? The idea that Zippy supports “equality” – or even the idea that Zippy has done anything but condemn it over and over and over and over again – literally made me laugh aloud.

    While I agree with the point you made, I don’t see how you got it in your head that it contradicts anything Zippy has said.

  • Zippy says:

    Bryce Laliberte:

    Zippy won’t make this point, because he would prefer to defend Protestantism if it allows him to attack insufficiently Zippy-like Catholics.

    I’m well known for my staunch defenses of Protestantism.

    Or maybe someone wants to address something I actually did say.

  • Zippy says:

    JustSomeGuy:
    Larry Auster gave me no end of grief for suggesting that National Socialism was basically a form of liberalism placed under existential duress. If folks don’t agree that it was liberalism strictly speaking that’s OK with me. But it is what popped out once liberalism was forced to make the übermensch-untermensch distinction explicit.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    I’m well known for my staunch defenses of Protestantism.

    You mean like…

    Here?

    Calling it completely irrational was an excellent defense of protestantism Zippy. You sure know how to call ’em Bryce.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    Oopsy-daisey. Broken link. Hopefully this one works.

  • I’m a Protestant, and you really have to just hate Protestants to make such arguments about equality, given the copious Protestant writings to other effect for, oh, the last 500 or so years.

    But that seems to be the main religious thrust of neoreaction– buy into what a secular Jew says about those hateful Prots to prove how hateful those hateful Prots really are and how they are the only really bad/flawed/sinful/wrong Christians and brought all the real ruin into the world. It wasn’t original sin, it was Protestants.

  • Gavrila says:

    Ita,

    Libertarianism with its emphasis on the individual, and especially in it’s anarcho-capitalist forms strikes me as heavily indebted to a low-church Protestant political theory.

    That’s putting it mildly. You might (I would) say that economic liberalism is Protestant political theory, in a secular-immanent form.

    We can trace a direct line of Puritan influence on economic thinking from Calvin, Zwingli and Bucer to the Restoration economists to Locke to Smith to Bentham and Malthus all the way down to Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan.

    Liberal capitalist conceptions of a self-balancing market began as late-Puritan folk beliefs in the mid-seventeenth century. Only afterwards did Locke and Smith give these beliefs scientific respectability by formalising them as philosophical ideas.

    Since neoreactionaries are mostly libertarian nationalists, they are in truth as “hyper-calvinist” as (other) secular liberals. So much of their mental furniture is leased from Calvin & Co. that their claim to be an anti-Puritan movement is postmodern in itself.

    Yet in Bryce Lalibertie’s linked post, we see the beginnings of a rejection of the idea that the economy is a separate – or even separable – sphere of life and a kind of embryonic recognition of traditional social obligations as transcendent.

    But then why re-invent the wheel? Why not re-evaluate the ante-Calvinist economic thought of Catholic Europe (e.g., the writings of St. Antonio of Milan)?

    As for taking influence from Marx, why drink from a poisoned chalice? Marx’s intellectual swindling and hatefulness tarnish everything he writes.

  • Peter Blood says:

    Zippy cuts a quote short. Foseti quotes Moldbug:

    ‘If there is one general weakness in the conservative strategy, it strikes me as this unwillingness to admit that “liberalism” is actually mainline Protestantism, which is actually Christianity. Whether or not it obeys any specific detail of Christian or Protestant doctrine, such as the validity of the Holy Trinity, the existence of God, the divinity of Jesus, the predestination of the elect, etc, etc, etc, is entirely irrelevant. We are talking about a continuous cultural tradition whose superficial features constantly mutate. It’s a waste of time to generate antibodies to metaphysical doctrines.’

    In the Neo-Reaction, whether or not one believes in the existence of God, the divinity of Jesus, ETC ETC ETC, are just superficial features of Christianity. So by their reasoning Dawkins can be a Christian.

    These guys simply do not understand religion, especially Christianity. I suspect Moldbug is Jewish sans Jehovah & Torah; he likewise thinks that Christianity without Christ also similarly exists. Yet any Christian here would tell you that if anyone removes Christ, what is left is not-Christianity, anti-Christianity.

  • Peter Blood says:

    Zippy, I think you are dancing on some interesting edges when you are talking about Protestantism and Islam. The core: John Calvin was the Mohammed of Geneva. Calvin’s god looks a lot like allah, an entity of pure arbitrary will and power, and not like Christ.

    There are, however, many Protestants who are not Calvinists.

  • Zippy says:

    Peter Blood:

    The core: John Calvin was the Mohammed of Geneva. Calvin’s god looks a lot like allah, an entity of pure arbitrary will and power, and not like Christ.

    That’s a big one, but another big one is the logocentrism. In Islam the recitation of the Alcoran (Koran) in Salat is their way of stepping into the Real Presence of Allah. Mohammed’s warped perception of the Christian sacramental life led him to refer to Christians-and-Jews as “people of the book”. Reading the words off the page of the Alcoran was strongly analogous to reception of the Eucharist nearly a millenium before the Lollards dumped the Eucharist in favor of reading the Bible as the means to enter into the Real Presence — coincidentally right at the time that cultural transfer between Islam and Christendom reached critical mass (no pun intended). Martin Luther expressed a very modern liberal sounding envy-disdain for the Mohammedans, sponsored the first translation of the Alcoran into a language other than Arabic, and wrote that the humility and piety of the Mohammedans outdid even Christ Himself. That’s just off the top of my head.

    A view of Protestantism as a kind of Hegelian synthesis of Christendom and Islam isn’t particularly popular or respected, but I don’t think it is crazy.

  • Zippy says:

    Peter Blood:

    In the Neo-Reaction, whether or not one believes in the existence of God, the divinity of Jesus, ETC ETC ETC, are just superficial features of Christianity. So by their reasoning Dawkins can be a Christian.

    These guys simply do not understand religion, especially Christianity.

    They are nominalists/antiessentialists. Dawkins is a Christian and belief in God is accidental to Christianity because dammit, that’s how they want to use the words and any objection is just cladistic signaling of a counter-narrative.

    They are trapped in a self-made prison of postmodern nonsense, in other words.

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    The relationship between Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism and liberalism is a fascinating one. On the one hand, liberal thinkers like John Locke saw a clear affinity between Catholicism and Islam, namely in the way their political theology contradicted Locke’s own. For this reason Locke excluded Catholics and Muslims from toleration. Catholic reactionary Joesph De Maistre saw this in his own way too in that he noted certain commonalities between Catholicism and Islam versus Protestantism.

    It should also be pointed out that Islam is hardly monolithic, I would say that Catholicism shares a lot more in common with the Shia branch of Islam whereas the Sunnis (the most numerous branch) share more in common with (modern) Protestantism. Here again even liberal thinkers saw this like Jean Jacques Rousseau who argued that Shia Islam with its clerical hierarchy was more like Catholicism and therefore could pose more of a threat to his liberal conception of the state.

    There is also a sort symmetry between radical Islam which in the grand scheme of things is a relatively recent (i.e. modern) movement and American evangelical Protestantism. The last decade saw those two theo-political movements clash much to the ruin of historic Christianity in the Middle East.

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    I’m a Protestant, and you really have to just hate Protestants to make such arguments about equality, given the copious Protestant writings to other effect for, oh, the last 500 or so years.

    But that seems to be the main religious thrust of neoreaction– buy into what a secular Jew says about those hateful Prots to prove how hateful those hateful Prots really are and how they are the only really bad/flawed/sinful/wrong Christians and brought all the real ruin into the world. It wasn’t original sin, it was Protestants.

    Unreal woman,

    I’ve been harsh on Protestants both here and at the Orthosphere, but I certainly recognize that not all Protestants are liberals, nor were all Protestant countries necessarily liberal from the beginning. Indeed I have met you and the fellow commentator Peter above, who demonstrate not only that not all Protestants are liberals but that many Protestants live truly traditional lives certainly more so than the majority of Catholics in this country.

    For what it is worth, I try to not criticize Protestants for failing to be liberal enough. I think I have said it before elsewhere, but I shall reiterate here, that I it would have been better had say the United States become a Puritan theocracy instead of a liberal republic. I also think that Calvinists shouldn’t get all the blame for a lot of modernity’s ills, not to the extent that they usually do among neo-reactioneries at least.

  • Peter Blood says:

    It’s obvious that it’s a lot more complicated than the One True Cause [tm]*

    * For Stormfronters: ZOG.(“Zionist Occupied Government”)
    For Neo-Reactionaries: Cathedral

  • Peter Blood says:

    …demonstrate not only that not all Protestants are liberals but that many Protestants live truly traditional lives certainly more so than the majority of Catholics in this country.

    Nice to hear but I’m not taking that to the bank (to put in the vulgar idiom of our mammon-worshiping society).

  • Zippy says:

    I also find it mildly eyebrow-raising that this thing which intransigently insists on its “neo” designation and high-IQ-by-its-own-account hipster character expects to be able to resist the Hegelian Mambo better than a two thousand year old notoriously reactionary institution. And yet at the same time its big recent internal controversy was over whether it is sufficiently tolerant of / welcoming to “seeker” transsexuals.

    Some of them are no doubt, as I’ve suggested before, proto-orthospherians exercising their modernism-granted right to make the same mistakes their parents made before settling down. The rest will probably end up in a virtual reality porn singularity.

  • Peter Blood says:

    Bruce Charlton: Neo-Reactionaries – When an ideology is pre-immunized against Christianity

    I have written about this phenomenon in my own life; but it is striking how many of the secular ideologies are pre-immunized against Christianity: they are built on the assumption that whatever is the answer, Christianity is not the answer; that Christianity is at best useless, and at worse a major cause of the problem.

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    Peter Blood,

    Whatever the problems with neo-reaction I’d still take the neo-reactionaries over Charlton any day of the week.

  • MarcusD says:

    I have written about this phenomenon in my own life; but it is striking how many of the secular ideologies are pre-immunized against Christianity: they are built on the assumption that whatever is the answer, Christianity is not the answer; that Christianity is at best useless, and at worse a major cause of the problem.

    In my limited understanding, I was under the impression that neo-reactionaries were opposed to how Christianity is today (de facto?) rather than what it could or should be (which is to say, Christianity without modernism, and so forth). If, for example, neo-reactionaries are opposed to a crypto-feminist Christianity (well, “Christianity”), I don’t think that qualifies as “against Christianity,” but rather one of its twisted forms.

  • Peter Blood says:

    Charlton over Moldbug.

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    Charlton over Moldbug.

    I find both of those figures to be equally problematic. They’re both fundamentally modernists who have appropriated certain elements of traditionalism.

  • josh says:

    Charlton seems to have gone off the rails following his own intuitions. I mean, of course Mormonism isn’t as stupid as it seems at first. It’s theology nurtured and refined in Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism is possibly older than Christianity. That doesn’t make it true and that doesn’t make it Christian. The germ of an idea that we can all become equal with God through Gnosis is actually the same germ that infects Richard Dawkins (hint: that’s not Christianity, its Luciferianism).

    On a related note; another problem with Neo-reaction and their cladistic analysis is that it acutally, contrary to its seeming purpose, requires and essentialist pov to do properly. Otherwise you end up with trivial analysis that amount to Richard Dawkins’ grandfather was a Christian therefore anything he says is a Christian heresy. Once you become an essentialist you realize that there reality aren’t any new ideas (actually Christianity is the only new idea) and the same old ideas keep popping up which would not be a surprise to anyone familiar with scripture.

  • Martin Snigg says:

    John C Wright says what we have in public life is “Technically, they are a variant of a heresy called Gnosticism, that is, a deviation or corruption of Christian thought which holds that superior secret knowledge, not faith, is sufficient for salvation.” http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/01/the-restless-heart-of-darkness-part-one/

  • Zippy says:

    I agree with Josh that, to put it more bluntly, everyone is an essentialist — it is just that some people have convinced themselves that they are not, or that they can adopt metaphysical neutrality methodologically: that they can maintain metaphysical neutrality within some defined scope.

    A consequence of this is that characterizations of various ideologies (including neoreaction) become too sweeping and grandiose. As far as self-perception goes, liberalism does not see itself as some sort of all-encompassing Gnosticism or as a rejection of God. That may be where it de-facto ends up, as its incoherent self-perception encounters reality; but how it sees itself is radically different from this ‘external’ manifestation.

    How liberalism sees itself at least initially is simply as a metaphysically neutral referee keeping the peace within the limited scope of politics/statecraft. Abstract freedom and equality within that scope (the particulars of scope vary by theorist) are a consequence of asserting metaphysical neutrality, and the rest follows.

    In order to escape the mind trap you have to abandon all vain pretenses to metaphysical neutrality, and all the postmodern nonsense that goes along with it. You can’t leave a ‘gap’ open (say within the domain of statecraft) where God is not allowed. That is just a pointless exercise in remixing modernity and hoping for a better result this time.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    I also find it mildly eyebrow-raising that this thing which intransigently insists on its “neo” designation and high-IQ-by-its-own-account hipster character expects to be able to resist the Hegelian Mambo better than a two thousand year old notoriously reactionary institution.

    Pay-dirt.

  • Marissa says:

    Gavrila, my searches for St. Anthony of Milan send me to a cosmetology school in San Antonio and flights information. Do you have a link to his writings?

  • Zippy says:

    I should say that Bryce Laliberte’s blog post on the role of economics to which he linked above is excellent.

  • Sheesh. After reading this my first thought is, “What is Zippy’s problem?”

    Yes, yes, neoreaction does not have all the answers, yes, Christ is where all answers ultimately reside. But Christianity is an imperfect human institution, even if led by God. We (and pick your we) will get some things wrong. NRx seems to have found some intellectual tools that point some of them out.

    Honestly I don’t see why zippy isn’t elated at neoreaction. If it’s rational liberalism, it’s rational liberalism come full circle and humbled. It’s the prodigal son of philosophies.

    http://foseti.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/randoms-110/#comment-19638

    Yeah, there are certainly anti-Christian elements in NRx, just like there are anti-Christian elements in your local PTA. Maybe you feel a sincere calling to warn Christians about those godless neoreactionaries, and if so, thanks, but no thanks.

  • Zippy says:

    seriouslypleasedropit:
    I’m not sure what I’m supposed to get from the linked comment that would make me more likely to cladistically signal personal affection for the DE. Am I supposed to be impressed by the commenter’s contention that the plebes need religion, where “religion” isn’t, you know, the truth, but implies suppression of inconvenient truths; so the Propaganda Ministry of the Dark Enlightenment will have to invent a false religion and hope it has the desired social effects? Am I supposed to be impressed by the implicit endorsement of heresy in the contention that suppression of heresy is about suppression of the truth not protecting people from lies?

    Well, I don’t see all that as a good thing, sorry. I see it as confirmation of a thesis I put forward at W4 a number of years ago: that the strength of “zero group differences” mythology among secular moderns lies in the fact that folks implicitly understand that it is all that stands between the modern liberal superman and the nazi.

  • I’m not concerned with your in-group status signaling. You can be in or out of the group of cool kids, whichever one you think that is. That’s fine.

    But you’re not just signaling. You’re making a statement that to associate w/NRx is to deny God, and that just doesn’t seem to follow. Of course I can imagine someone making an idol of NRx, and I am cautious of doing so myself. But the two are not equivalent.

    The hopeful thing about the linked comment is that it represents the death of the myth of the perfectibility of man. It is reason doubting reason. It may be pagan, but at least it knows it. It sets the stage where the Good News can be received as such, as opposed to just some killjoy rules about sex and Sunday.

    The Dark Enlightenment is good because it knows it is dark. The Enlightenment came as a philosophical angel of light.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    You’re making a statement that to associate w/NRx is to deny God, and that just doesn’t seem to follow.

    Evidence to the contrary in the OP? A philosophy that is self-consciously neutral isn’t really neutral at all. In other words, there’s no such thing as metaphysical neutrality. Matthew 12:30, and all that good stuff.

    Neoreaction has made it quite clear that it is attempting to be metaphysically neutral on religion.

    It sets the stage where the Good News can be received as such, as opposed to just some killjoy rules about sex and Sunday.

    So… you’re saying it treats Christ as a marketing project?

    The Dark Enlightenment is good because it knows it is dark.

    As imperfect humans, it is our duty to strive towards perfection always. There’s a big difference between acknowledging the fact that we can never reach perfection, and giving up and simply accepting that “dark” is what we are.

    Instead of simply accepting “our way of thinking is flawed”, should you not instead seek to purge those flaws?

  • Gavrila says:

    Hi Marissa,

    Going from memory, I got his name and place of birth wrong.

    It’s St. Antonino (or Antoninus) of Florence.

    I’ve only read extracts from his writings in dead tree format in libraries – so I don’t know if the internet contains anything more than summaries.

    I see Amazon has Bede Jarrett’s S. Antonino and Mediaeval Economics (1914). You could ask your local librarian to order it.

  • Gavrila says:

    [Neoreaction is] rational liberalism, it’s rational liberalism come full circle and humbled.

    Neoreactionaries are still trapped in the circles-within-circles of intra-liberal disputes, believing they have left them behind.

    In the actual event of a “post-Cathedral collapse” (I’m quoting from the linked comment), anyone who hasn’t died in a famine or otherwise been killed off is not going to be engaged in these kinds of glass bead games.

    Such an event will not occasion the rise to power of techno-commercialist philosopher-kings. It is a daydream.

    Such daydreams arises because democracy makes power-seeking (whether in thought) normative for every single person (of voting age).

  • Gavrila says:

    s/b whether in deed or thought

  • King Richard says:

    “… judaic–Christianity stripped of the pagan half of its patrimony”
    Mr. Steves, please do try to stop repeating the falsehood that Christianity is, somehow, largely pagan. This is simply not true.

  • King Richard says:

    ” [Mormon} theology nurtured and refined in Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism is possibly older than Christianity”
    This isn’t even wrong.

  • King Richard says:

    While Edan is young, small and obscure (whereas I can only claim to be obscure) we far too often have contact with people who are what Prince Jonathan calls ‘royal watchers’. I doubt that this is an original term, but his definition may be. His definition is ‘People who spend a great deal of time concerning themselves with the lives and trappings of monarchs. They believe that their fascination with these topics makes them better and more refined than people who do not. But these self-same people have no interest in, and even hostility toward, the idea of actually actively participating in monarchy’.

    The similarities between neo-reactionaries and royal watchers are striking to me for many reasons.

    Neo-reactionaries speak of ‘rightist government’ but describe themselves as ‘not being followers’; they speak of a desired for an ‘orderly’, ‘rational’ state but outright reject social conservatism as ‘too limiting’; they yearn for how things were before the Enlightenment but do not want to be ‘old-fashioned’; they speak of ‘sacred honor’ but wish to redefine it via game theory; etc.

    In short, neo-reactionaries are fascinated with rightist, conservative ideas but do not wish to actually participate in a culture that truly is rightist and conservative. They are fascinated with the Catholic Church but have no real desire to be actually, authentically Catholic.

    When Prince Jonathan was discussing his description of royal watchers with me Prince Samuel (who is younger than Prince Jonathan) was present. Prince Samuel’s rejoinder was,
    “‘Creepy Fanboy’ says the same thing with less talking”.
    Without endorsing the common language I can agree with the sentiment.

  • Zippy says:

    Gavrila:

    Neoreactionaries are still trapped in the circles-within-circles of intra-liberal disputes, believing they have left them behind.

    Precisely. What is more, it has been done before. It might help to think of “the Cathedral” as “the Weimar Republic”.

    In the actual event of a “post-Cathedral collapse” (I’m quoting from the linked comment), anyone who hasn’t died in a famine or otherwise been killed off is not going to be engaged in these kinds of glass bead games.

    FTW.

  • Zippy says:

    KR:

    In short, neo-reactionaries are fascinated with rightist, conservative ideas but do not wish to actually participate in a culture that truly is rightist and conservative. They are fascinated with the Catholic Church but have no real desire to be actually, authentically Catholic.

    It is even worse than that. Secular neoreactionaries are fascinated by the patrimony of the Catholic Church and want to somehow revive and keep it, while at the same time they believe that Catholicism is false. They think that the Good in politics is a product of lies.

  • Zippy says:

    JustSomeGuy:
    Thanks for reminding me of that 2012 post on moral neutrality. I added a link to it in my current top post.

  • josh says:

    “This isn’t even wrong.”

    I agree, that’s why I wrote it 😉

  • Zippy says:

    seriouslypleasedropit:

    You’re making a statement that to associate w/NRx is to deny God, and that just doesn’t seem to follow.

    That is indeed the statement I made, and it does indeed follow. The point of agreement that Foseti and I reached above is that neoreaction is self-consciously Godless. The comment at another blog that you linked to yourself confirms the point.

    Religious NRx sympathizers who are trying to spin the movement as unproblematic are just playing the same old song that religious neoconservatives and the like have played for as long as I’ve been on this earth. Y’all want your helping of modernity, you just don’t want it to go too far.

    Spinning all of this drain-circling as some kind of worldview-altering super-duper-high-IQ ‘red pill’ is just precious.

  • Marissa says:

    Thank you, Gavrila, I found this article which corrects some liberal interpretations of St. Antonino/Antoninus.

    http://distributistreview.com/mag/2011/03/corporation-christendom-the-true-school-of-salamanca/

  • King Richard says:

    Josh,
    Let me disabuse you – unless the plain meaning of your words is some sort of massive typing error your statement was at best puerile trolling and at worst evidence of an unsophisticated credulity bordering on incompetence.

  • Zippy says:

    FWIW, I literally laughed when I first read Josh’s comment. I immediately thought that he was ribbing me on the Islam-Protestant thing.

    Of course it is possible that he was serious – one of the conditions of modernity is occasional difficulty distinguishing between parody and reality – and I don’t suppose I could dismiss whatever it was he said out of hand without further elaboration. Peter Blood said it well:

    It’s obvious that it’s a lot more complicated than the One True Cause [tm]*

  • King Richard says:

    Perhaps I am too ready to accept that what someone types in a comment box is an accurate statement of belief.

  • Zippy says:

    KR:

    Perhaps I am too ready to accept that what someone types in a comment box is an accurate statement of belief.

    I don’t know Josh or from whence he hails, so the following is not intended to be associated with him.

    But consider that NRx is the community that had great backslapping fun by lying to Mark Shea – about themselves no less, and a lie that only worked because of their insignificance and obscurity – and congratulating themselves with great revelry on how clever and witty they were to get him to believe the lie.

    I haven’t done due diligence on le affaire Shea, but I haven’t seen a single post anywhere from anyone associated with NRx suggesting the tiniest bit of an inkling that that was actually juvenile behaviour and something of which to be ashamed.

    So anyway, there are all sorts of people on the Internet. Assume nothing.

  • josh says:

    Mormonism is a false religion that cribbed a lot its theology from the same sources as theosophy, namely the traditions of alchemy and christian cabala as nurtured by a century of freemasonry that were floating around in central New York.

  • josh says:

    Many Mormon scholars have said the same, btw (excluding the falsity of the revelation, of course).

  • Peter Blood says:

    I always thought Freemasons resented Mormonism, because of how Joseph Smith ripped off so much from Freemasonry (since he was one).

    For example, see Conan Doyle’s “A Study in Scarlet” wherein Doyle the Freemason depicts Mormonism in the worst light.

  • Craig says:

    I think Josh was proposing to consider Mormon theology as a Gnostic variation — I can see how one might say that. Gnosticism probably *is* slightly older than Christianity.

    On a different note, the historical pedant in me insists on pointing out that “Martin Luther … sponsored the first translation of the Alcoran into a language other than Arabic” is incorrect: there was a Latin translation in the High Middle Ages. I doubt the broader notion as well, but that’s enough OT for one post.

  • sunshinemary says:

    In order to escape the mind trap you have to abandon all vain pretenses to metaphysical neutrality, and all the postmodern nonsense that goes along with it. You can’t leave a ‘gap’ open (say within the domain of statecraft) where God is not allowed. That is just a pointless exercise in remixing modernity and hoping for a better result this time.

    I ran into that same problem when trying to discuss sexual morality with secular manospherians. It really tripped me up every time I tried to approach it from their “leaving biblical sexual morality aside for the moment” perspective. I came to the understanding that trying to approach sexual morality from a secular standpoint was actual nonsense. The one true living God is the answer and the only solution.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ sunshinemary:

    Exactly.

    People have got it in their heads that truth can be compartmentalized. The truth is that the truth is the truth, and you can’t conveniently ignore little bits of truth here and there to justify the unjustifiable.

    It’s almost impossible to even so much as communicate with people who will freely say “this piece of truth doesn’t count” whenever it suits them.

  • sunshinemary says:

    Yes, I agree. I’m sympathetic to the temptation to try, though, aren’t you? I know only God – and He alone – is the truth (and is the complete truth – there’s no truth apart from Him), but when engaging in an intellectual discussion, one wants to try to participate from the same frame from which everyone else is operating. But from personal experience I can attest that one only ends up speaking nonsense when one gives in to the temptation.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    one wants to try to participate from the same frame from which everyone else is operating.

    And if that frame is flawed, step one is to try and fix the frame.

    Really, all we can do is speak truth – as plainly and comprehensively as possible. Anything else is attempting to game people into belief.

  • Martin Snigg says:

    -There’s also Luke 9:50 context “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” NR is doing some philosophical exorcism.

    -Remi Brague put it well “Are Non-Theocratic Regimes Possible?”. If they’re adamant in their metaphysical neutrality that of course is just silly.
    But we meet so much ignorance as Catholics its good to see people starting to try and think for themselves

    “The Catholic Church is the only thing that saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his own age” GKC.

    So I ‘associate’ with NR insofar as it lends encouragement to their arriving, like GKC through his intellectual honesty, in the RCC.

    -I suppose it’s good to be reminded of Charles Maurras and Action Francaise but I think we’ve internalised Georges Bernanos’ experience of that movement and are inoculated against it.

    -There’s no way around it, as Lumen Gentium makes clear, every person has an obligation to believe the Good News, everyone has to be Catholic first, “seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all those other things will be given to you”. But Our Lord is patient in his making of disciples–> friends: “I’ve been with you this long Philip and you still don’t know me?” And he called Judas in Gethsemane ‘friend’.

    As for being a place for serious Catholics, it’s a place like any in the rough and tumble of the public square – not a home to be sure. But everyone is at a different place in their journey.

  • Mark says:

    If I may provide some commentary from an Orthodox Christian neoreactionary.

    I think this is overboard. There are several highly respected neoreactionaries like Moldbug who, while having broken out of most of the progressive enlightenment trappings (equality, democracy, diversity, etc) still have not broken out of its greatest delusion.

    Atheism

    Why? Because denouncing equality is easy. Denouncing atheism would cut these people’s worldview too deeply. It would have far-reaching consequences for how they live their lives, and since many neoreactionaries are disillusioned hipsters, they just cannot let go of the modernist luxuries they enjoy. Atheism is of course not supported by observation of the universe. In fact, in many respects its downright ridiculous, but it is the true opium of the people, allowing them to essentially invent their own morality and feel no guilt about their failings.

    This being said, neoreaction is itself a movement with diverse opinions. There is a strong, hardline, theonomic Christian school of thought with excellent thinkers like Bryce Laliberte and Nick Steves. I think it is wrong to denounce a movement which in essence is just a denunciation of Enlightenment thinking and an indictment of the failure of Enlightenment principles.

    Why not focus on growing OUR section of the sphere (sometimes referred to as the Orthosphere)? Point out the idiocy of those who claim you can have a ‘non-theistic Christianity’ which is like a square circle, but don’t slam the entire movement. We have a similar vision, except we’re doing it all for the right reasons.

    The kingdom of GOD.

    May the Lord guide you, Zippy. 🙂

  • Zippy says:

    Mark:

    This being said, neoreaction is itself a movement with diverse opinions. There is a strong, hardline, theonomic Christian school of thought with excellent thinkers like Bryce Laliberte and Nick Steves. I think it is wrong to denounce a movement which in essence is just a denunciation of Enlightenment thinking and an indictment of the failure of Enlightenment principles.

    To put it succinctly, that is the same sort of fusionism that the neoconservatives already tried. Fool me once, and all that.

    There is a religious analog to Conquest’s Second Law: every movement that is not self-consciously Catholic (non-Protestant Christian) eventually becomes anti-Christian.

  • Mark says:

    I’ll concede that is often true, but has not the neoreaction movement been positive, in that Christians dissatisfied with the utter failure of ‘conservatism’ have begun to question previous assumptions and positively radicalize?

    Its necessary to cut a sharp divide between the secular and the religious, I will agree there. Secularism itself is an agenda of the Cathedral that must be rejected.

  • Zippy says:

    Mark:

    Secularism itself is an agenda of the Cathedral that must be rejected.

    As Peter Blood pointed out in the other thread, one of the Christian NRx’ers you mentioned above, Nick Steves, explicitly rejects making Christianity an explicit part of NRx.

  • Mark says:

    Correct. And I think you would agree that it is not. This is why neoreaction is a blanket term for those who are pulling apart the unraveling sweater of modernity. I don’t see neoreaction as a solid movement like Marxism or National Socialism really were, it is just an umbrella term for those rejecting modernity who converse with each other.
    I am very happy to bounce ideas and concepts off those with other points of view, whether they be protestants or even atheists.

    As Nick Steves himself pointed out, he wasn’t establishing a neoreactionary order, but simply listing principles of anti-modernity we may agree on, across belief systems.

    Perhaps the time has come however, for those of us on the side of theonomy (God’s Law) to really define our reasons for the rejection of the Cathedral in Godly terms, and active designs going forward on future states based on these principles. This is the Orthosphere. As the neoreactionary school of thought grows, I just had expected that these differences would separate us on their own, and make clear that our goals are different. If you think having another term to describe this Christian movement, I am very open to that idea.

    But I would not shut out secular thinkers entirely from contact and engagement. First of all, you may convert them, and secondly they may have ideas that prove useful to our cause. If there is a political element I think that Sunni Muslims are particularly getting right, I will be willing to converse with them to try and gain intelligence. I am not worried about being corrupted. I don’t know about you, but I have been an atheist. I never want to go there again, haha.

  • Zippy says:

    Steves is equivocal, as I have come to expect. Hell, the post title is “A Reactionary Oath”.

  • […] Northerner doubles down on what Foseti called the “one key tenet of the neoreaction”, that “Progressivism is a nontheistic Christian sect” and therefore “[Richard] […]

  • French Reader says:

    Zippy,

    If one wants Christian Cultural Marxism, then yes the Dark Enlightenment is not the right place for such Christians to be.

    However, if one wants traditional Christianity, then there is no better place than the DE. See: http://prowesternchristianity.blogspot.com/2013/02/a-pro-western-christian-reading-list.html

    Also see:

    The Laws of the Cathedral. Obey or Perish!

    http://occamsrazormag.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/the-laws-of-the-cathedral-obey-or-perish/

  • French Reader says:

    I just posted something but I think it went to your spam folder

  • Zippy says:

    French Reader:
    Your post went into my spam folder because of the link to Occam’s Razor Magazine, an actual spammer.

  • Zippy, your charge of nominalism etc. against neoreaction was never so clearly true to me until I read this piece:
    http://www.socialmatter.net/2014/06/17/conservatives-dont-understand-social-technology/

  • […] More on Islam as a Christian heresy. I don’t have anything to add, but I thought it might interest some of my readers since we discussed it recently. […]

  • Aethelfrith says:

    I think this post (and the comments) are a excellent summation of the neoreaction.

    http://freenortherner.com/2014/07/25/weve-lost/#comments

  • […] is a basic mistake to see this as something that arises from Christianity in particular. Quite the contrary: liberalism is an incoherent abuse of universality as a means to the end of […]

  • Tom says:

    pfftt…you give zero basis for your last statement. Furthermore, your assertions contradict themselves. Neoreaction associates Calvinism with progressivism. Generalizing that conclusion to all Christianity and then refocusing to take it as an assault on Catholicism is the laziest and most obvious of disingenuous sophistry. Your title is embarrassing in its hyperbolic silliness.

    Catholicism is based on a hierarchy that begins with the Trinity, extends to the Pope, the priesthood, and then lay Catholics. The moral law is promulgated through this hierarchy – it begins with God and is eventually manifested through the State. For Catholics that State is the primarily the Vatican and, traditionally, the State Kings that were loyal to it. Anti-Catholicism is the eradication of that hierarchy in favor of man as god. Anti-Catholicism’s secular forms are communism and democracy. Neoreaction exists to advocate a return to a natural hierarchy that, logically, ends with God in its rightful place over man. Neoreaction is perfectly consonant with True Catholicism and may be the first intellectual movement that can gain wider support for moving the Vatican away from apostasy and toward restoration of the true Catholic Faith.

    There can be no effective politics, even in religion, without the necessary superstructure of said politics being in-place within any political movement. Neoreaction’s superstructure is the same as that of Traditional Catholicism. There would be no conflict.

  • Zippy says:

    Tom:
    Catholic neoreactionaries have assured me that neoreaction is explicitly anti-explicitly Christian. Attempts to reconcile an ideology hatched last Tuesday – which explicitly rejects Christian truth claims – with Catholicism, exhibits exceptional intellectual midwittery.

  • Yep, neoreactionary ideas about authority, gender, etc. are pretty clearly irreconcilable with Catholicism.

  • And I have recent sadly amusing experience with them that indicates they are not exactly getting “wider support” anyway.

  • […] etc. This brings up objections from many Christians who object to the use of these terms as nonsensical verbal games or simply wrong because there is no Christianity without […]

  • Mark Citadel says:

    Having gone further in my analysis of some thinkers on the NeoReactionary right, I am a little more cautious than I was previously, and probably would refer to myself simply as a Reactionary now. However, Zippy, I am a little more disturbed by this ‘transhumanist’ subculture within NeoReaction than the sniping against Christianity.

    Now, granted, most transhumanists are through and through progressive liberals. But there are some who identify as Reactionary and I read the stuff they are talking about, even in the content of commenters over at Social Matter (the comments being in disagreement with the article there) and these people just sound off-the-wall crazy.

    Machine gods? Borg brains? Genetic supermen? Living forever?

    Even their rhetoric is the same: “luddite!” “you’re standing in the way of progress!” “the future will leave you behind!”

    I’ve penned an article denouncing this kind of utopian science as profoundly dangerous and anti-Traditional, in fact closer to the fantasies of Modern liberals than any Reactionary thinker of the past, be it De Maistre or Evola.

    http://citadelfoundations.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-utopian-scientists.html

    What’s your take on this desire by some to become androids who never die and don’t need to eat?

  • Zippy says:

    Mark Citadel:

    What’s your take on this desire by some to become androids who never die and don’t need to eat?

    My take on it is that it is very effeminate in the worst sense of the term: in the tradition of Eve, having eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, they live in constant fear of death and lust impotently, from outside the Garden, after the fruit of the Tree of Life.

  • […] pointed out a while back that to associate yourself with the neoreaction is – according to the neoreaction itself – to deny God. The neoreaction itself insists that neoreaction shall be explicitly […]

  • […] with my own very fallible humanity it may be that I am interpreting incorrectly when Foseti says that “the one key tenet of the neoreaction … [is that] Progressivism is a nontheistic […]

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