Dark Enlightenment: Overreacting to Neoreaction

In Takimag, Nicholas James Pell writes on the attention the Dark Enlightenment has been receiving recently (“Overreacting to Neoreaction“).

Mainstream liberal blogs have recently discovered the neoreactionary movement, also known as the Dark Enlightenment, which is a plucky collection of backward-looking upstarts that started to gel sometime in late 2012. The only unifying themes in coverage are an unfounded sense of hysteria and a complete inability to get the point.

To start with, neoreaction isn’t a political movement per se—at least not yet and not for lack of trying…

Neoreactionaries trade ideas on WordPress blogs and Twitter. Their disparate voices include British expat continental philosopher Nick Land, monarchist transhumanist Michael Anissimov, Catholic anarchist Bryce Laliberte, post-libertarian escape artist Jim, and the snarky satirists of Radish. On discussion boards, scattered Old Right fanboys and a gaggle of fresh-faced, clean-cut Southern men working on oil rigs, ranches, and forex markets discuss the relative merits of Frederick the Great, Lee Kuan Yew, and Thomas Carlyle. Theden is the popular daily record, a sort of neoreactionary Huffington Post—except way, way smarter, natch.

The Dark Enlightenment is a big tent, but there are some common points of agreement. Democracy is seen as a dangerous scam, inevitably tending toward Morlock mob rule. Order is more precious than “justice,” which is really just a code word leftists use to bully everyone else. The world’s social order has been out of whack since approximately 1789, with cultural decline masked only by technological advance. Elitism—nay, aristocracy—is to be cultivated as the only antidote for the egalitarian dysgenic trend toward idiocracy.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I have to date construed Dark Enlightement (DE) to be nearly synonymous with HBD and race-realism. In my mind, the truths of HBD lead, naturally, to a rational explanation of group differences, and insofar as racial group differences in IQ largely account for the racial stratifications found in the modern, multiculturalist, nation-state of the West, the inevitable outcome of all this — especially when taking place amidst the operative political dynamics of our culture (egalitarianism; political correctness; non-white racial grievance mongering; anti-white discrimination, etc.) — will be to raise white racial consciousness.

So, in that sense, I see DE as simply a variation on a theme, the same theme also embedded in such other labels as ‘Alternative Right’, ‘paleoconservatism’, ‘paleolibertarianism’, ‘race realism’, ‘white identity’, and the like.

I don’t believe programmatic changes to the institutions and levers of ‘democracy’ (we are still a republic, not a government of pure majoritarianism) are necessary. For example, returning our immigration policy to a pre-1965 ‘national origins’ type of policy, or otherwise fundamentally changing our immigration laws to something qualititatively different than the status quo, simply takes congressional will. Making a serious effort to secure our southern border, the way Israel does their border, can be accomplished through the existing legislative process.

Pell writes:

It’s easy to see how TechCrunch, The American Spectator, and The Telegraph were so confused. There’s a lot to take in here, making it much easier to declare the movement an idiosyncratic form of monarchism or even (clutch the pearls) neofascism and move on without engaging it seriously. It’s even starting to scare some bloggers on the right who show a painfully shallow understanding.

To be fair, there’s nothing else out there quite like neoreaction. Archaeofuturism is close, but it’s a distinctly European phenomenon. The European New Right is too populist. The Alternative Right is too closely tied to paleoconservatism and right libertarian conventions, though it’s perhaps neoreaction’s closest ideological ally.

With respect to race realism, Pell writes;

Ah, yes. The race thing. If race is a Dark Enlightenment obsession, someone forgot to tell them. While there’s some overlap with human biodiversity (which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like and is thus a horrifying heresy to those of the universalist faith), it’s more a cousin of neoreaction; like the manosphere, it’s hardly a wholly owned subsidiary. On the matter of race, neoreaction’s biggest crime is its refusal to parrot the “White people…ewwwwwww!” meme that dominates much of progressive discourse; instead it offers a critique of the Cultural Marxist “critical race theory” that is an essential leftist article of faith.

The bigger picture is how Conservatism Inc and libertarianism proper are not viable political vehicles for DE concerns. Either the GOP adapts (not likely), or qua-Western-Europe, a nativist Third Party will someday emerge in the U.S.

The very fact that DE is getting some attention, however scant such attention might be, is a very good thing. Pell concludes:

However, those who dismiss the Dark Enlightenment do so at their own peril. It’s home to some of the most intellectually rigorous and energetically principled folks to come down the right-wing pike in recent memory. It sneers at both “conservatism” and “libertarianism”; the former has failed to conserve anything for over 80 years, while the latter has largely declared that personal rights are important only when they don’t conflict with progressive cultural sensibilities.

It’s refreshing to see a wave of young people interested more in asking tough questions and teasing out hard answers than in throwing up political gang signs. The Dark Enlightenment has no skin in any established political movement. It is precisely the lack of fealty that allows it to ask questions that other ideologues consider verboten. It offers answers for those seeking real solutions, not religious platitudes masquerading as politics.

DE will be getting more attention in the coming years. It will inevitably be tagged as full of ‘angry white guys’ (the MSM throws that label onto the Tea Party, which has non-racial concerns over small govt… and just happens to be comprised largely of whites.) Attempts will be made to marginalize it as such, and the most damaging marginalizing will come from representatives of Conservatism Inc.

But DE won’t go away.

It will only grow.

The truth, on any subject, has a funny way of always popping up its head, and not quietly retreating.

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