In the maddened fits of my dreaming, I see, rising in fits and lurches, a dread city, a monolith from the sea, a tyrant fish, a city of mirrors and rust, and the cog and nut cladding of a thousand eyed minarets. Above it all, the Black Sun rises.
The whispering voices, they tell me to write, and so I take up my pen…
If you don’t understand my theorizing, worry not. Sometimes, neither do I.
What is the concept of the political? Politics is about power and the power competition between interests and factions. Politics therefore is the battle which goes on in every society over who gets to be in charge and the distribution of its scarce resources. The concept of the political boils the political down to the core distinction, which is that politics is the friend/enemy distinction. But this itself is not a political statement or act of politics. Rather, it is metapolitical, describing the nature of the political system.
Metapolitics is a description of the systems and mechanisms of politics. Instead of describing any particular faction or interest or issue, it describes how factions and interests and issues come to form. The core concept of the political is the friend/enemy distinction, but this is not the core of metapolitics. Metapolitics considers itself with how the friend/enemy distinctions are formed and what distinguishes the sides. The friend/enemy distinction is the distilling of politics, but it is only the beginning of metapolitics. It is the first brick in our next layer of abstraction. Neoreactionary thought typically focuses on metapolitics and the study of systems rather than the study of liberal rhetoric and the owning of libs (oh, you believe so much in property rights? then why don’t you own more libs???).
What is the concept of the metapolitical?
It is status points.
Loyalty is the glue that holds political systems together. Loyalty is generated by the gain or promised gain of status or the threatened loss of status. All political mechanisms flow downwards from that fact. Fundamentally, all ways to build coalitions are ways to somehow increase or threaten the status of persons or groups.
Neoreaction spends a lot of time discussing Leftism and trying to define what Leftism is. My definition of Leftism is as follows: Leftism is the extension of a civilization’s foundational principles towards themselves. A liberal society becomes more liberal. A militarist society becomes more militarist. And leftism itself is the power process, because leftism enables to you build loyalty and outflank your rivals. Power exists on the left.
But what is reaction? This is a question, I think, rarely properly considered.
Let’s start by talking about status. Status is definitionally zero sum because it only makes sense as a relative measure. One is high because others are low. Equality in high status does not exist because there is no one to “lord it over”. Status being zero sum, all gains in status must come from another’s loss. All status adjustments are redistributions. Feminism necessarily is anti-male because it raises the status of women, thus lowering the status of the counterparty (because the counterparty, men, exists as a status group relative to women). The status hierarchies of a society are defined by what it values as good, its values. Being in accord with those values raises one’s status, making you a bigger chimp among chimps.
A social constructivist supposes all these values are socially constructed. But we are not social constructivists. There are things which are, by nature, good. These natural goods and their natural value constitute the basis of what I’ll call “innate social status”, or innate status. Natural goods are things like being more beautiful, more intelligent, stronger, more charming, talented at a skill, or possessing more resources (natural wealth). One does not need to be told such things are good to come to believe it (though one can be educated to the contrary). All things being equal, having any of these things is just plain better. The typical cope is to say pretty people are wicked (often true) or intelligent people are pathetic nerds (also often true). But we all know wicked ugly people and pathetic idiots. Again, all things being equal, to have something good is better.
So therefore, all status adjustments occur relative to the baseline of innate status. Political coalitions are built by adjusting status. By conducting politics, we are robbing the winners of nature, the natural aristoi, in order to elevate our own favored group, the created aristocracy. We are also often robbing many others. But the initial act of rule demands a robbery, and the easiest first exclusion to *only reward those who are talented AND loyal to you because they helped you take power*. The first division is to separate the natural aristoi into those in power and those excluded. But every further act of politics, to generate loyalty, must make further adjustments. And to redistribute status *back* to the natural aristoi does not generate particular loyalty, because it’s not a redistribution but a mere relaxing of one’s hold. So politics drives a status hierarchy, which, over time, must become more and more deviated from the innate status hierarchy. After all, the House of Welles was loyal to your father – ah, but you are not your father, are you?
When progressives speak about the continual progress of mankind and reactionaries talk about cyclical history, they are talking past each other. Progressives are talking about the steady improvement of quality of life, and this is true. For all of recorded history, we have seen a more or less steady march of technology, with only a few (but dramatic!) regressions. But reactionaries are talking about social orders. And in social orders, cycles prevail. After all, man is more or less what he was ten thousand years ago, even at the fastest rates of evolution. He may be somewhat smarter or somewhat more altruistic or somewhat less clannish, but the status drive is a far more primal thing than all of that – and we remain chimps. That is why we can read old books and relate to the characters, because human nature remains the same. When the queer historians look back at history to queer it, they are able to find plenty of material. And it is true that some is fabricated. But I have found examples even before the Great Awokening. The problem with the queer historian is that you cannot be too smart and engage in the field, because it is a bit like discovering hyper-advanced ruins or the remnants of a forgotten and regressed alien race. If we had gay rights in late Classical Persia and Imperial Germany and all the rest, what happened? What eldritch monstrosity must have come to devour these enlightened ones? It is a question that must crack the sanity of a true believer in progressive social history, so the best defense is to be too stupid to ask it.
But the monster is real.
And its dread name is Reaction.
Heretofore, we have only known it by the passing glimpses we have made of its qualities. While Leftism advances by inches and creeps, Reaction comes in a flash, suddenly and totally. And it is related to nature or reality, it is somehow the reckoning of reality, ala Gnon or the Gods of the Copybook Headings. We have whispered its maddened whispers, which come in the form of “Might makes right” or “The strong shall eat, the weak are meat”. We have seen cults of it rise, the Social Darwinists and others, who sought to praise a cruel, indifferent God that would just as quickly devour them.
Reaction is the mirror image of the social adjustments made to a civilization’s values through its long process of political maneuvering. If Leftism takes a civilization’s values farther and farther towards madness, it is because all civilizational values are a little mad to begin with, because the only values which can generate political capital are those that stand in the way of raw innate status. Not even those who praise the Master Race as cover actually want to be ruled by a Master Race, they want to be the Master Race. To submit to a caste of innate superiors who are not in any way beholden to you is totally monstrous. The order of Gnon is merciless and without compassionate. Nevertheless, the mirror image of our social adjustments necessarily grows stronger and stronger over time *because* innate status is not constructed. You cannot make an idiot into an expert: hence why our experts are so consistently wrong. Only one quick and clear of mind can *truly* be in an expert, because expert is not an arbitrary label but a recognition of a real capability. Reaction is like a pulled spring, merely the stored up energy of a war against reality reasserting itself. Revolutionaries or barbarians are merely pushing over a rotten house, a regime that has already destroyed itself. Total Reaction is the total reassertion of the innate status order and partial Reactions can be defined as a partial restoration of that innate status order. A civilization is therefore always waging a war on reality, an inherently romantic gesture, and eventually, it MUST lose. It is Civilization, not Reaction, which is the romantic act.
The day we stole the apple, we resigned ourselves to an eternity of tragic fate, redeemed only after death.
And thus, we have arrived at the definition of conservative. American conservatives are conservative liberals, just as conservatives of any stripe are always those who genuinely believe in the values of their civilization. Because the conservative is one that sees the course of history… leads off a cliff. He stands athwart History, yelling Stop, because he knows where it ends, and where it ends is the destruction of everything he holds dear. Whether it be liberalism or a thousand other dead creeds.
If the West dies, liberalism dies with it. After all, who still keeps the Arian faith?
If we might define the Neoreactionary intellectual, it is making tractable and reasonable the force of Reaction, which in prior ages was derided as irrational, sentimental, spiritual, and emotional. It is not that there can *be* no reason for the Right. It is that its secrets and mysteries do not yield to casual investigation, and therefore it was present as a political force long before it could be understood. There is a lesson there, more generally.
Monsieur le Baron
I was shown this:
Ah, and just when I thought I was being original. Yes, everything nice comes from Hell. Reaction brings us back to Hell, where virtues are forged, but, man, Hell sucks ass. So we build a nice little myth that says things should be better, and the Golden Age exists where people have the virtues of Hell but the myths we have, our ideologies, are not yet very insane. Or, in short, GOOD TIMES MEN HARD HARD MEN MEN TIMES BAD.