The Atlantic: What Is Neoreaction?

Rosie Gray writes in The Atlantic:

“White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has been in contact via intermediaries with Curtis Yarvin, Politico Magazine reported this week. Yarvin, a software engineer and blogger, writes under the name Mencius Moldbug. His anti-egalitarian arguments have formed the basis for a movement called “neoreaction.”

The main thrust of Yarvin’s thinking is that democracy is a bust; rule by the people doesn’t work, and doesn’t lead to good governance. He has described it as an “ineffective and destructive” form of government, which he associates with “war, tyranny, destruction and poverty.” Yarvin’s ideas, along with those of the English philosopher Nick Land, have provided a structure of political theory for parts of the white-nationalist movement calling itself the alt-right. The alt-right can be seen as a political movement; neoreaction, which adherents refer to as NRx, is a philosophy. At the core of that philosophy is a rejection of democracy and an embrace of autocratic rule.

The fact that Bannon reportedly reads and has been in contact with Yarvin is another sign of the extent to which the Trump era has brought previously fringe right-wing ideologies into the spotlight. It has brought new energy into a right that is questioning and actively trying to dismantle existing orthodoxies—even ones as foundational as democracy. The alt-right, at this point, is well-known, while NRx has remained obscure. But with one of the top people in the White House paying attention, it seems unlikely to remain obscure for long. …”

I’m sympathetic, but still unfamiliar, with Neoreaction.

As I said in the Evola article, I have been influenced mainly by the Greeks and Romans and the Southern antebellum tradition. I’ve read Thomas Carlyle, George Fitzhugh, Plato, Aristotle, Alasdair MacIntyre, etc. It seems to me that there is such a thing as Paleoreaction.

Paleoreaction was what Professor Louis Hartz called “The Reactionary Enlightenment” of the 1850s. Southerners have a long history of uniquely blending nationalism, populism, and reactionary ideas. The Confederacy, for example, was anti-statist while being ethnonationalist. Secession was a great popular movement against liberalism which was decried as “Black Republicanism.”

The War Between the States was a war for Cavalier Liberation:

“The planters celebrated slavery because it ensured the stability and perpetuation of a republican aristocracy. “The planters are a genuine aristocracy, who cultivate themselves in a leisure founded on slavery,” London Times correspondent William Russell reported from South Carolina on the eve of war. “The admiration for monarchical institutions on the English model, for privileged classes and for a landed aristocracy is undisguised and apparently genuine.” One planter told Russell: “If we could only get one of the Royal race of England to rule over us, we should be content.” Many others expressed regret for the revolution, noting they “would go back tomorrow if they could.”

The planters’ loathing of Yankees startled outsiders, “South Carolina, I am told, was founded by gentlemen, [not by] witch burning Puritans, by cruel persecuting fanatics implanted in the north … [and her] newly born colonies all the ferocity, bloodthirstiness, and rabid intolerance of the Inquisition,” Russell reported. “There is nothing in all the dark caves of human passion so cruel and deadly as the hatred the South Carolinians profess for the Yankees,” he continued. “New England is to [them] the incarnation of moral and political wickedness and social corruption … the source of everything which South Carolina hates.” Another planter told him that if the Mayflower had sunk, “we should have never been driven to these extremes.” …

As the conflict with the Yankees loomed, there was renewed interest in the old Tidewater theory that racial differences were to blame. In wartime propaganda, the Deep Southern elite was explicitly included in the allegedly superior Norman/Cavalier race in an effort to increase the bonds between the regions, with the (decidedly un-Norman) Appalachian districts often embraced for good measure. For Tidewater in particular, casting the conflict as a war for Norman liberation from Anglo-Saxon tyranny neatly sidestepped the more problematic slavery issue. The Southern Literary Messenger, Tidewater’s leading journal, conceded in 1861 that “the Roundheads” may gain many victories in view of their superior strength and their better condition” but assured “they will lose the last battle and then sink down to their normal position of relative inferiority.” The journal argued the Confederate aim was to create “a sort of Patrician Republic” ruled by people “superior to all other races on this continent.”

This propaganda was embraced in the Deep South as well. In an 1862 speech, Jefferson Davis told Mississippi legislators that their enemies were “a traditionless and homeless race … gathered by Cromwell from the bogs and fens of the north of Ireland and of England” to be “disturbers of peace in the world.”

The war, DeBow’s Review declared, was a struggle to reverse the ill-conceived American Revolution, which had been contrary to “the natural reverence of the Cavalier for the authority of established forms over mere speculative ideas.” By throwing off monarchy, slaveholders endangered the wondrous “domestic institution” that rested “on the principle of inequality and subordination, and favored a public policy embodying the ideas of social status.” Democracy “threw political influence into the hands of inorganic masses” and caused “the subjection of the Cavalier to the intellectual thralldom of the Puritan.” Other Tidewater and Deep Southern thinkers came to agree that the struggle was really between respect for established aristocratic order and the dangerous Puritan notion that “the individual man was … of higher worth than any system of polity.” As Fitzhugh put it, it was a war “between conservatives and revolutionists; between Christians and infidels … the chaste and the libidinous, between marriage and free-love.” Some even championed the dubious notion that the Confederacy was fighting a Huguenot-Anglican counterreformation against Puritan excess. Slavery was not the issue, they argued – defeating democracy was.”

This is amazing stuff.

This is how the Deep South and Tidewater intelligentsia saw the “Civil War” in their own journals. It has been buried under mountains of “New Birth of Freedom” claptrap.

NRx doesn’t strike me as being as interested in social change as its predecessors. I think that is a weakness. It likely has more to do with personality types (introverted, brainy) than anything else.

Note: In the 21st century, they are still the “disturbers of peace in the world.” 150 years after the demise of slavery, it is amazing how little has changed.

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  1. There is no way to save Western Civilization except through the renovation of anti-egalitarian principles.

    At the basis of much of what is rotting our culture is the notion that what is equal is sublime, and that which is not, is not.

    Practically every justification for the governmental tyranny that has been imposed over North Carolina in my lifetime, had some convoluted form of egalitarianism, as it’s premise, masquerading as virtue.

    This is why The Left is so threatened by Trump – it goes way beyond ‘an establishment being threatened’, but, instead, reflects his partial rejection of their most sacred cow that we are all one equally valuable mankind; and, hence, there ought be no borders.

    This, in the final analysis, is why the Communist party was out chanting, ‘Death to the Klan’, in Greensboro, in 1979, and that is why The Klansmen decided to give them a taste of their own medicine, in the concrete sense.

    We must reject egalitarianism; but, while so doing, be careful to demonstrate that we are not dismissive of other humans and their cultures – even though we do not regard them as we do our own.

    We can do this.

    We MUST do it…

    • “Communist party was out chanting, ‘Death to the Klan’, in Greensboro, in 1979”

      I saw the documentary “The Secret History of The Klan.” News footage showed the Klan dealing out death, for real, to the Kommunists.

      • Dear Mr. Owen,

        Meet Tarheel patriot, Imperial Wizard Virgil Griffin, whose Klan reminded The Left to whom our state belonged, and to whom it STILL belongs…

        • The fate and disposition of negroes is probably only a tenth of it. Get rid of the New England Government, and most of the problems become solvable, or disappear.

          • I agree, Mr. Owen. Everything presently deplorable in North Carolina has, at it’s basis, The New England Government – and their determination to foist their hypothetical world upon every man.

      • I’ve watched it many times, Mr. Owen.

        The Left provoket it, stated it, and, if anybody had it coming, they did, on that day.

        Listen to Wizard Griffin (4:50-6:50) state the reality that, just as much as today as then, haunts North Carolina…

          • Thank you for your comment, Captain.

            Unfortunately, I think your comment is over my head.

            I am not knowledgable about Africa, other than to say The New England Government has, as per usual, done their best to destroy the White Man, there.

            Have a good night!

        • I always thought, Mr.Daniel, that the Left would have to eventually be dealt with, this way.
          This video underscores the not insignificant interference in our cultural and political affairs by distant outsiders. Activists from Chicago and NYC, stirred up the Ferguson protest into a riot. Locals said as much. Our Dixie has always been vulnerable, as a region, to political attack.

          • ‘I always thought, Mr.Daniel, that the Left would have to eventually be dealt with, this way.’

            Indeed, Mr. Owen – they seem to be willing to have it no other way.

          • ‘Our Dixie has always been vulnerable, as a region, to political attack.’

            I suspect, Mr. Owen, that the reason for this is that we keep to ourselves; and, living next to an alien culture, like The North, means that somebody has to be the intruder.

            As we ain’t it, it falls to them.

        • ‘Our senators and presidents allow this garbage’ …

          ‘Time to wake up’ …

          ‘Worry about our own country’ …

          ‘Clean up our own country, first’…

          ‘I’ll never apologize for self-defence’ …

          So said Wizard Griffin.

          He was saying that for decades.

          I reckon some folks have finally begun to catch on to the Southern Klan’s message, even though they would never wish to acknowledge the author..

  2. “Southerners have a long history of uniquely blending nationalism, populism, and reactionary ideas.”

    However, as long as the Union remains, it can’t take place in the face of outside interference.

    • Southerners, the Confederate rebellion specifically, was about smuggling in paganism in the guise of Chrstian religion. A racial caste system is against God’s will.


    • ‘However, as long as the Union remains, it can’t take place in the face of outside interference.’

      Same words as our NC Imperial Wizard, today, Mr. Owen – we must get out of the grasp of aliens, and alien ideas.

    • How about a true Confederation? You guys don’t oppose that do you? Each segment of the country having its own regional identity and governance, but united together so as to make North America a confederation under the control of a single “people”. Frankly, I am in favor of keeping North America under unified control. I am not willing to let mestizos take over operation of nuclear power plants.

      • Forgive me, Mr. Mackinder, but, the only connection I want North Carolina to see to the North is on the history books.

        We cannot be connected to them, beyond specifick personal friendships, because most of their value system is antithetical to ours.

        • “I will say this. The police in this country …. [s]ome of ’em are pretty damn trigger-happy.”

          I don’t think we need to hear from this rabid liberal.

  3. Should have hit the gas, pinned him against the wall and put him in a wheel chair for the rest of his life. The only reason they do this is because there are never consequences. You could totally claim it was an accident (you got distracted by him, your foot slipped off the brake and hit the accelerator) and there would be no way to prove otherwise.

    • As it was, all the Klan were acquitted, even by the Feds. Back in 1979, it wasn’t exactly Black Run America, yet. I didn’t hear about Political Correctness, until the early Nineties.

  4. Southerners have a long history of uniquely blending nationalism, populism, and reactionary ideas.”

    Or whatever else they could get their hands on to justify their driving of Negroes.

    • They came to Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Italy and Austria anyway…the southerners, and other slavers
      were, let’s face it, just the first whites to encounter the groids. There will be 4 billion Africans in a generation or two.

    • We had to do it, John – to provide The New England Government with all the money they seemed to need, back then…

      • Yes–but the people of the North were so noble, Junius, that they were willing to do away with that money, simply to set the black man free.

        Personally, I think the black man should have been removed from white territory; but as I’ve said to Mr. Wallace, our host, more than once over the years, the South’s insistence on keeping the black man in chains made it difficult for the racist Northerners, like me, to get a word in edgewise.

        • ‘That they were willing to do away with that money, simply to set the black man free.’

          Modern Northerners think this, John, only, The Yankees who fought the war did not.

          As to your second point, you agree with Abraham Lincoln.

          To your 3rd point, we (The South) have kept the nation in food, smokes, and material for clothes, for centuries. Until recent decades, farming was brutally hard. You really have no idea how labour-intensive growing crops is – going through the plants, one at a time, – as they uset to do – picking critters off the leaves – not to mention the digging, planting, transplanting, reaping, and watering – the latter which, without mechanized processes was brutally hard.

          This is backbreaking work that, again, My Friend, until recently, could only be done by a large work force; – a work force which, by the way, was kept down in wages by the Northern Government, under the pretext of supplying the populace, as a whole, at cheap prices.

          This is why slavery, under any name you want to call it, was prevalent in the world.

          Personally, it makes more sense to ‘enslave others’ than it does your own kind.

          God bless you!

        • Dear John,

          Let’s try this from a different angle.

          Let just say that you assumption is right : that Northern Society is best; that it is trying to do what is right, and that is always suffering because of the neolithick obstructionism of it’s neighbours the south.

          Further, let’s just say that about slavery you are right, too; that the average Northern Soldier was all about emancipating the Coloured Southern Man.

          To all of that I say this : it’s a good thing to like your own people, your own culture, and your own country the best. No man should rebuke you for that.

          Now, as to slavery, let me say this : The North did not end slavery, but, simply imposed their system of it on The South, and, indeed, on the world; this being the notion that you can use the market to drive down wages, pay a man a subhuman wage, and call it a legitimate thing free of the taint of slavery.

          The Northern System does this everywhere in the world – using every ruse to drive the working man down into the dirt – whether it is outsourcing to 3rd world sweatshoppes, or, as they have always done, importing millions of immigrants to do the slave work, that The North refuses to call what it is, to undermine him in his own lands.

          That’s why it’s difficult for me to see how The War was fought ‘to end slavery’.

          The way I see it, the war was fought to end Southern civilization, with it Negro Slavery, and, in it’s stead, to assert the Northern Civilization, and it’s brand of slavery.

          Now, that’s y’all’s right – because that’s what the world is – a brutal competition betwixt races and the cultures and government which arise from them, BUT, to me, as a Southerner, it’s not morally persuasive.

          No, Sir – to me it just seems like exploitation, covered up in pharasee-icism.

          That said, I respect your right to think what The North iain’t that.

          I just don’t.

          God bless you. I’m off to entertain at an old Virginian slave-town!

          • If I, Junius, were to use words as loosely as you’ve used “slavery” here, Southrons would call me a glib Yankee.

  5. I read a very little of Mencius Moldbug. He is in the grand tradition of Jews a liar. I read a few of his works and in one he outright tells you he’s lying by comparing his parents activities in the Communist party and then right after saying this parents weren’t Communist…wink wink. What he is in realty is someone who has a few decent ideas that are just common sense which he then tends to cover in large Jew sugar coated diabetes morass.

    It’d really the same old tactic that I call “ism-ist”. You know like Liberal-ism. Conservat-ism, Libitrian-ism, etc. Where the Jews think up some convoluted strategy to promote the perfect world that draws in innocent intelligent White boys who then proceed to argue of the square footage on the top of a pin.

    If it’s bad for the Jew, it’s good for the USA.

    • While I cannot find the links now, Moldbug also wrote extensively on the Civil War, why the South was right, and extensive explorations of contemporary writings by Northerners and Southerners about how the South was maligned and misunderstood.

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