As Foseti notes, people actually calling themselves reactionaries is a recent development. Part of this is that it's not a very nice thing to be called (it suggests unthinking opposition), and part of it is that it doesn't mean much politically. While we can say, for example, that a liberal is in favor of greater freedom and equality, and a conservative is in favor of conserving social and political institutions, a reactionary is either just another word for conservative (in which case it is useless), or it is an ill-defined not-ness.
In support of the latter definition, each reactionary tends to drift untethered until he washes up on his own island of fuddy-duddy affectations, distinct from that of other reactionaries. He then tries to work out why these fuddy-duddy affectations are the best, convinces a handful of other weirdos, and--another neoreactionary blog is born.
Quite. Well, you might think this is pedantic, that Moldbug and crew call themselves neoreactionaries and that this has a specific meaning, which if you read 100% of Moldbug's blog you will be reasonably clear on. And even if you just skim it, you can gather that it involves Thomas Carlyle, anti-Enlightenment, boo to democracy, and some other stuff (possibly concerning black people). I'm going to wait until the Advanced Dark Enlightenment rules come out.
But it's actually just drifting through a void. The universe of the neoreactionary is barely two dimensional. They neglect to account for many sociological and environmental conditions which serve to channel political movement. They embrace a simplistic form of political heritage, attempting to trace all bad things back to Calvinism, or as they call it the Cathedral. It culminates in inanity such as this, quoting Foseti:
If pressed, I’d go further. If I was forced to pick the one key tenet of the neoreaction, I’d pick this understanding of Progressivism. To the reactionary, Progressivism is a nontheistic Christain sect. If you don’t understand Progressivism in this way, you simply don’t understand Progressivism.
Progressivism is the strain of liberalism dealing most directly with sociopolitical equality, originally through the use of technology and science although these days they mainly prefer to shout. In the United States progressivism and liberalism are synonymous, and I think it's clearer to describe liberalism as having progressive and libertarian offshoots, with libertarianism having a greater emphasis on liberty and individualism. Of course if you go too far into these labels you'll never come back, as they are used completely inconsistently everywhere by everyone.
Progressivism has nothing to do with atheism or Christianity, and the fact that it arose when virtually everyone in the West was Christian and continues to this day when most of its agents are atheist or agnostic seems to prove that point.
But Moldbug and Foseti think it is clever to call Richard Dawkins, the man who cannot shut up about his hatred of Christianity, a Christian. Not just any Christian, mind you, but a zealot. I don't know if Foseti is a Jew, so I can't automatically extend to him the same excuse I can give Moldbug, which is that Moldbug simply doesn't know the first f**king
This form of silliness arises from people who sit in hermetic blogospheres for too long.
The term "religion" actually does mean something, it's not any old collection of views. My eyes roll when I hear rightists talk about the "religious" nature of progressive beliefs. What they usually mean is "superstitious" or "bigoted" or "dogmatic", but instead of saying that they insult religion by calling progressive ideology one so they can kick it like a drunk's dog.
Calling every strong feeling a religious belief cretinizes language, and when it leads you to refer to the foremost secular atheist as a rabid Christian, you should have to explain yourself (and not in circuitous blog prose).
Well, Moldbug is full of s**t
Christianity isn't "be good to each other" + Christ's resurrection. Such a definition is pathetic. Moldbug has an excuse--he's a legalistic Jew whose mind is closed off to religious experience--so what's Foseti's?
Finally Foseti quotes Moldbug the only way you can quote him, at length:
The divinity of Jesus isn't a superficial feature of Christianity, retard.
You can see Moldbug really does believe it's "be good to each other" + resurrection. He states his ignorance fearlessly. But funny that Moldbug should mention "a continuous cultural tradition whose superficial features constantly mutate". It puts me in the mind of something quite different from Christianity, something that often disguises its defensive behavior as a universal aspiration or value, and then lectures you about it in pharisaic manner.
Foseti cannot stop repeating Moldbug's errors, he's like a slave organism whose mind is controlled by a parasite:
Why assume progressivism is a virus when it's pretty clearly a set of sociopolitical values? This is partisan self-indulgence, namecalling that is elaborated on frivolously until orgasm. Why not also assume progressivism is a cult, a sexual paraphilia, and a kidney infection? It would make as much sense as calling it a virus.
And once a religion discards its own theology, it ceases to be a religion. At best it's a social club or something people do at renaissance fairs.
Foseti (and Moldbug) go on about Dawkins, and even Foseti seems to recognize the silliness of it, for he then adds as an excuse:
This is important because Progressivism can’t be understood without this religious framework, and it’s important to understand Progressivism since it’s the world’s dominant ideology.
But Foseti and Moldbug never establish that progressivism has a religious framework (or that it's actually dominant)--they just say it over and over while ignoring everything that progressivism doesn't have in common with religion (such as having no actual theology, scriptures, or ceremonies). Foseti implies that everything thought or said in the West is reductively Christian (perhaps as an acrostic), which just makes it meaningless to claim something is Christian in the first place.
In his attempt to show that Moldbug does establish progressivism's religious framework, Foseti comes up with this:
1. The universal brotherhood of man – i.e. equality
2. The futility of violence – i.e. peace
3. The fair distribution of goods – i.e. social justice
4. The managed society – i.e. community run by benevolent experts
Where to begin! First of all, you find these vague concepts in dozens of cultures. Second, these are normal sociopolitical developments as societies scale up and deal with resource distribution and expansion--they don't hinge on religious belief and clearly have nothing to do with Christianity. Third, the progressives believed violence was futile but then ran a civil war anyway? This is how Moldbug runs his shell game.
Foseti's commenters cover a wide range.
In other words, Moldbug doubles down on his ridiculous metaphors, ironically using half-assed Dawkins "selfish gene" analogies.
Thanks for the update, Josh.
Joke left as an exercise for the reader.
Finally someone with sense:
The Reluctant Apostate:
However, when dealing with races that can and do interbreed, a cladisitic analysis is prone to falling on its face. Are the Uyghurs East Eurasians or West Eurasians? Are Labradoodles Labradors or Poodles? Is modern progressivism Christian, Jewish, Communist, Socialist, Humanist, or Utopian? Are these the right sort of question to ask? The insight that progressivism shares many characteristics with formal religions is an important one, and digging back in time to discern its parentage and the selective forces that shaped it is a worthwhile exercise, but calling it ultracalvinism is sloppy at best.
Sailer joins in:
The reason this theory seems new is because, while it used to be true, you don’t hear much about it these days. Why not? Because it’s obviously not true anymore.
In a follow-up he asks, pertinently:
Well if you're Moldbug it's easy, you come up with a conspiracy theory about Calvinists and call the rulers of America "the Cathedral" and carefully refrain from mentioning any development after 1924.
And then there's this wag:
Related Posts: http://mpcdot.com/fo...-enlightenment/, http://mpcdot.com/fo...e-it-seriously/, http://mpcdot.com/fo...tenment-dorkly/