This article by Malcolm Pollack got me putting together a few thoughts. Pollack writes about an overarching alt-right theme, namely the impending breakdown that Western society is heading towards. He then addresses a crowd he refers to as Nrx-enthusiasts:
“Where I think I part company with many on the dissident Right — in particular, those who call themselves “neoreactionaries”, most of whom are, I think, several decades younger than I — is that so many of them seem to have a kind of breathless excitement about all of this; it seems they just can’t wait for all the fun they are going to have watching the apocalypse, and then rolling up their sleeves to show everyone how it ought to have been done. This seems to me profoundly, childishly, foolishly, heart-breakingly naïve.”
My gut-response to this was: ‘hah, of course I am not falling for this heroism trap. I am not heart-breakingly naïve!’ My system-2 response is a guiltier one. Yes, a part of me is enthusiastic about Nrx. Yes, that side is naïve. But that side is also very real and in a way almost valid. Why?
From a big picture perspective we can see everything in life as a puzzle. There are simpler puzzles (‘who killed the butler’), there are abstract puzzles (‘why are we here?’). I enjoy the abstract puzzles. ‘Why do things work they way they work?’ ‘Why is our society the way it is right now?’ ‘Why are we waging wars?’ ‘Why doesn’t democracy deliver what it promises to deliver?’ Mainstream intellectual society does not answer these questions, it actually often only obfuscates them further. So questions remain and no one seems to really know how to answer them.
… That is, until Moldbug solved the puzzle and wrote the answer on his blog. Other writers refined his ideas, and boom – Nrx has solved the puzzle of politics and life, in the same sense that Rollo Tomassi and the manosphere solved the puzzle of women and life. Congratulations, you have taken the red pill and come out healthy at the other end! I cannot deny that that triggers me emotionally. The young are hungry for power, to loosely paraphrase Moldbug, and neoreactionary knowledge definitely gives one an evolutionary edge in seeking power.
Nonetheless I concede that yes, very probably this enthusiasm is for the most part childish foolishness. I am sober about the ‘we’re all going to drown and no one is going to save us’ part. Whatever will happen, it will be ugly. Besides, the ultimate conclusion of neoreaction is inherently a humbling one: it is not a realization of resolution, it is a realization of failure. Speaking generally, atheism has failed. Atheistic Brahmins are limited Brahmins. Nietzsche killed God for a while, but Nietzsche failed. The last part of the puzzle that Moldbug was missing was the final answer that Nrx leads to: God.
The tried-and-tested way of Brahmins to make sense of God is through religion. So those enthusiasts that actually want to fight simply need to make up their minds and join a religious community. My intellectual preference goes to the Roman-Catholics, but honestly I lack the emunah to actively board that ship. The ship also seems to be full of holes. Still though, I wonder what a neoreactionary Vatican would be like. Or is that childishly naïve?