The Reactionary Consensus?

To be reactionary is to be anti-revolutionary. The more of them you’re against, the more reactionary you are. You cannot stop revolutions by having more revolutions. You can only stop them by restoration. The act of restoration is The Reaction®. When The Reaction® comes, revolutions will cease, and civilizations can go about their business of building civilization again. The Reaction® will be ours, so long as we can hold it.

So over the past few weeks, we’ve been having much discussion (and here and here and here and here and a zillion other places) in the Reactosphere about the Spandrellian Trichotomy and what voices make up the reactionary consensus.

I am interested in the content of the consensus. What can Catholic Traditionalists, Ethno-Nationalists, and Techno-Commercialists, and assorted Particularists and non-brain-dead PUAs agree on? It must be a consensus of sufficient breadth and metaphysical humility to be attractive to the vast majority of those who see little but the death of civilization on our current path. At the same time, the consensus must be of sufficient specificity, depth, and rigor so that it cannot be Cathedralized and thereby neutralized. When The Reaction® comes, the Cathedral must be dead, “completely dead”, and no pill of Miracle Max must be allowed to work on it.

I tried fleshing out some of this consensus here (Sharlach’s first public post and wow was it a duesy!). Now that I have a blog, I can get the bullets to work. And those were with a few addenda:

  • Hierarchical social structures: Hierarchy is not only not bad, but natural and absolutely essential to the proper functioning of any social structure;
  • Sex Realism: Sex differences are real, are ordained by nature or nature’s god or both, and we ignore them at our peril;
  • Race Realism: Race and group differences are real, are ordained by nature or nature’s god or both, and we ignore them at our peril;
  • Memetic Realism (“Deep Heritage”): Traditional folkways tend to be real, i.e., non-ideological, and naturally arising adaptations to social realities, which therefore represent pretty good (at least) local solutions to very (or intractably) complex problems;
  • Economic Realism (later badly dubbed “Microeconomics” and we still await a name for the phenomenon): In any economy where an absolutely fixed supply of (properly divisible) money is deemed impossible or impractical, there is ipso facto a con game going where the issuance of money has itself become a political weapon;
  • (Hyper)Federalism: Local optima rarely scale well; subsidiarity; the right of exit must be guaranteed;
  • Social Justice: If social justice is anything at all, it is merely justice;
  • Democracy: The best and brightest of any society were ordained by nature or nature’s god or both to lead. Expansion of the franchise beyond that natural aristocracy is tragicomically foolish;
  • Politics: Defined as competition for parcels of power over unrelated others, usually as a means of redistributing wealth, politics is rightly minimized in any sane society.

In short, there is an agreement about reality as we see it. As I’ve discussed at length with my many betters over at Nick Land’s, (neo)reaction can be seen as a disposition toward truth, varnished or otherwise.

Is that enough? Do these points define the core (neo)reaction? A core? Are there objections? How deep does the agreement go? Is there anything else we happen to agree on?

[Update: Thanks Christopher. Yes, “hierarchy”… editing html in plain text produces so many red squigglies that you tend to ignor them…]

About nickbsteves

If I have not seen as far as others, it was because giants were standing on my shoulders.
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23 Responses to The Reactionary Consensus?

  1. Scharlach says:

    Traditional folkways tend to be real, i.e., non-ideological, and naturally arising adaptations to social realities,

    I can’t remember if I pointed you in the direction of Razib Khan’s essay on empirical conservatism, but he makes the same point about trusting general folk wisdom until proven otherwise.

    Anyway, glad to have you blogging!

    but this is

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  2. Nick B. Steves says:

    I shall look that one up…

    Thanks for commenting Sharlach, and congrats on your great traffic in only a few weeks. If 1/3 of that happens here, I’m going to need a secretary…

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  3. thalesomiletus says:

    Keep up the good work.

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  5. jamesd127 says:

    Microeconomics:

    In addition to the fact that macroeconomics is at best poorly understood and is typically snake oil,
    microeconomics tells us numerous important truths about man and society, such as that incentives matter.

    Among them:

    That property rights should, and generally do, capture all the costs and benefits of a decision, therefore, an economic decision should be left to those that own the items at issue.

    That price control and wage control will fail, and will disrupt the lives of the supposed beneficiaries.

    That true monopoly or cartelization is rare, except in the exceedingly common case of regulatory capture, because the mere presence of potential competition makes it no longer a monopoly. Actual competition is not required. The threat that monopolistic behavior would end or undermine market dominance is sufficient to make market dominance harmless – and also apt to make monopolies or cartels promote political action to seek regulatory enforcement of the monopoly or cartel.

    The Chamley-Judd Redistribution Impossibility Theorem: Redistribution from capitalists to workers is impossible, and trying to do so merely buggers the economy.

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  6. Scharlach says:

    That property rights should, and generally do, capture all the costs and benefits of a decision, therefore, an economic decision should be left to those that own the items at issue.

    Red pill radio personality Adam Carolla had a running political policy platform when he was
    broadcasting in California: in any election, national to local, you get one vote for every 80k you make. Having a heart for the working class and a distrust of the ultra-rich, I’d alter it slightly: say, in any election, national to local, you get one vote for every 50k you make, with a limit of 3 votes.

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  7. Christopher says:

    Sir: it is “hierarchy”, not “heirarchy”.

    Re your excellent enumeration:

    Federalism/subsidiarity are subverted via positive feedback loops: talent/ambition and power are to politics what mass/energy and spacetime curvature are to gravitation. (The Cathedral is a black hole.)

    Some (the?) central reactionary questions are:

    . What is the nature of the forces which act against these positive feedback loops?

    . How are these forces best identified and amplified?

    My meta-question is:

    . Does the budding neoreactionary synthesis have sufficient aggregate analytical power to make a dent in the questions above?

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  8. Having a heart for the working class and a distrust of the ultra-rich, I’d alter it slightly: say, in any election, national to local, you get one vote for every 50k you make, with a limit of 3 votes.

    Surprising how many reactionaries are Christian Democrats at heart!

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  9. sherwoodr says:

    Regarding hierarchy, one of the potential points of contention between the neo-reactionary factions you’ve defined is the list of factors that determine an individual’s place in a hierarchy. For example, if we all agree that I.Q. is a real phenomenon, which I suspect we do, is it necessary and sufficient, necessary but insufficient, or unnecessary and insufficient to determine am individual’s place. This issue is interesting to me because it concerns power, and the allocation of power is always where things get messy. IMO, the lack of an agreed way to allocate power is the most telling sign that few in the Reactionary movement believe that we are actually in any position to succeed :). If we thought we were going to win, we would have very clear and well documented ideas about how we are going to distribute power.

    Very much like your post, though.

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  10. @Christopher
    The Cathedral is indeed a black hole, but it is singularly (heh!) unprofitable on net. The Cathedral implements (and always and ever advocates) what amounts to a clever psychological trick, several tricks actually, on those persons on whose consent its government is based. The negative feedbacks that worked a century or two ago have been defeated by fiat money, recency bias, and cargo-cult education. And people who complain about it are tin-foil hatters or advocates of “barbarous” relics in the eyes of everyone who listen to Cathedral mouthpieces, which is everyone who listens at all.

    Personally, at least in my more optimistic moments, I think getting back to sound money would deflate the Cathedral singularity with a relatively low body count. I think bitcoin, or something like it, may be a way to see that happen without Cathedral consent. How that could happen, i.e., the Cathedral losing control of the money supply, in spite of dire predictions against it, remains the subject of another post.

    @sherwoodr
    Contention for the control over others is a brute fact of human nature and history. So you’re right to say the distribution of power given competing factions is problem that inheres to human government on any scale. Yet clean, relatively non-contentious (relatively non-violent) authority structures arise naturally starting with the family (patriarchy), and extend out very easily to the local tribe or community. Beyond that, as you imply, tribalism is interested in you, whether you are interested in it or not.

    So for those interested in low body counts, any sane future government needs to take account of our natural Us vs. Them impulse. Fences make good neighbors, and the Universal Brotherhood of Man should take a back seat to the Mere Brotherhood of Us Few. If an empire, such as USG, exists at all, it needs to strictly limit its scope to keeping competing factions apart… oh and maybe by turning a profit.

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  11. jamesd127 says:

    sherwoodr · 2013/05/08 – 3:28 pm ·
    > If we thought we were going to win, we would have very clear and well documented ideas about how we are going to distribute power.

    We really don’t care. Our mission is to end politics, not continue it. A mormon theocracy would be fine by me. A military aristocracy with a hereditary officer caste would be fine by me. Rule by stationary bandits would be pretty good.

    Hereditary royalty would be pretty good. Let us import Prince Harry and tell him the American Revolution has been cancelled.

    Or if some new ager could persuade someone that the true King can be identified by examining the entrails of a sacred bull, that would be pretty good also.

    The problem is the state as an unlimited mechanism for redistribution results in everything being dissipated in political struggle.

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  13. Scharlach says:

    @ James Donald

    From my technocrat standpoint, I agree that any of those sound good simply because any of those would lay the foundation for a high-IQ, high-culture, high-tech society. A policy of importing fruit-pickers and granting sainthood to non-whites with social anxiety disorders? Not so much.

    shit done’

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  14. obligenobility says:

    Re selection method, I propose using a sword in the stone narrative. A device is made and set out in a common area resembling a sword in the stone, with 7 hidden mechanisms locking the sword in place. The stone only releases the sword when keys are used in surreptitious keyholes.

    A leading representative of each stakeholder group from the neo-reaction is given a key (literally a physical key) to guard. Each group holds this key in trust, to use to open their lock on the sword when a leader they support has appeared. The new leader obtains the public veneer of quasi-magical authority, while all top stakeholders have had their say.

    Creative public narratives are necessary. I have spent my lifetime studying the architecture of public rituals from various cultures.

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  15. Pingback: Reactionary Consensus I: Hierarchy | The Reactivity Place

  16. @obligenobility

    We’re a long long way from deciding who holds the keys at this point… my guess is that we’d take different chunks of the empire and build nuke-proof walls between them… Maybe the techno-commercialists would be content with the moon or Mars (better!)? That would solve some problems. In the meantime, I think we all agree that sane, secure, and effective government would be a big improvement.

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  17. Arred Wade says:

    Very great list.

    I am doing the math on hierarchy and democracy, and I don’t personally see any reason to believe the best or brightest are naturslly ordained to lead. I think sex realism gives a lot of hints as to what type of people flow to the top, and that should cast a reasonable amount of doubt on the proposition that hierarchy is categorically good for society.

    The thing about reaction, it strikes me, is that when you take it upon yourself to accept the world as it truly is, you forfeit the right to preach about how it should be. I think you’re right about everything but I’m on edge about the words “proper”, “ordained”, etc. I don’t think you’ll be able to write this extended series without addressing these questions, though, so I’m looking forward to hearing how you engage them.

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  18. @Arred
    Hi Arred, thanks for visiting. The reactionary disposition is not merely seeing the world as it is. Some things cannot change, and human nature is one of the least tractable. It is a disposition against utopianism, against idealism. The reactionary disposition sees the greatest errors trying to remake men into the image of some utopian ideology. All systems of government work perfectly and equally well for angels. So I don’t think seeing the world, dealing with the world as it is means therefore that there is no such thing as ought. Obviously agnostic and religious traditionalists will disagree about how deep the ought goes, but we can at least agree on what nature teaches us.

    I don’t personally see any reason to believe the best or brightest are natur[a]lly ordained to lead.

    Well best and brightest for reasonable values of “best and brightest”. I think it’s almost tautological. Those who lead are the “best and brightest” because they have the qualities which make them naturally able to lead… which is itself an evolving skill set which may or not well correlate with psychometric values of “best and brightest”. As far as IQ (reductively “brightest”) goes, it is almost certainly a handicap to broad leadership skills above about 130. The sweet spot seems to be in that second σ.

    I’m on edge about the words “proper”, “ordained”, etc. I don’t think you’ll be able to write this extended series without addressing these questions

    I’m trying to use as neutral a language as possible, e.g., I’m not capitalizing god, I’m continuously equating common good with groups adaptive fitness. So I’m really trying not to use epistemologically loaded words. When I say “proper” for example, I’m trying to make the claim that God or the Universe somehow wants it that way, but merely claiming that it follows from what we know what we can see with our own eyes. Interpretations will obviously differ.

    So this is a series on consensus… the entire blog (entire reason I started it anyway) is about consensus. And the greatest gap among extant true reactionaies today is betweeen the agnostic (secular right) and the religious branches. I have always felt there’s a lot we can and should agree on. We obviously don’t agree on what may be behind the metaphysic veil, and therefore we don’t agree on ultimate causation or telos. But the world had gotten along pretty well for a very long time without having global agreement on those things… until the Cathedral took over.

    Sex realism is next on the docket. Hopefully this weekend.

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  19. jamesd127 says:

    Arred Wade says:
    >

    The thing about reaction, it strikes me, is that when you take it upon yourself to accept the world as it truly is, you forfeit the right to preach about how it should be.

    So only hypocrites and liars are entitled to criticize a social order that is destructive and self destructive?

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  23. Johnny Caustic says:

    Thanks for taking the time to collect these commonalities. Some suggestions:

    Equality:

    Attempts to enforce equality of outcomes are deeply destructive to human motivation, creativity, and prosperity. They also destroy families and communities by annihilating leadership. Hierarchies are healthy and necessary social bonds.

    Economics:

    Prosperity depends on property rights, enforcement of contracts, and toleration of some economic inequality. Regulation for the purpose of increasing transparency tends to be beneficial; regulation for any other purpose tends to be harmful.

    Colonialism:

    Europe’s greatest gifts to its colonies were property rights, enforcement of contracts, and general order that the natives cannot achieve without help.

    I would also suggest rewording “Local optima rarely scale well” so normal people can understand what you’re saying. And add the idea that federalism allows states to compete for residents through good legislation.

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