At The Awl, Park MacDougald writes about “neoreaction”, a gathering political tendency that could be described as libertarianism with a fascist streak, and that’s evident in such disparate phenomena as internet trolling and the popularity of British philosopher Nick Land. Here’s an excerpt (full disclosure: an essay from our partner publication e-flux journal is cited in the piece):
As the twenty-first century gets darker, politics are likely to follow suit, and for all its apparent weirdness, neoreaction may be an early warning system for what a future anti-democratic right looks like. So what is neoreaction, then, exactly? For all the talk of neo-feudalism and geeks for monarchy, it’s less a single ideology than a loose constellation of far-right thought, clustered around three pillars: religious traditionalism, white nationalism, and techno-commercialism (the names are self-explanatory). This means heavy spoonfuls of “race realism,” misogyny, and nostalgia for past hierarchies, leavened with transhumanism and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Unsurprisingly, they don’t always get along; if you want to preserve white racial purity, futurists trying to biohack us into a separate species are not your long-term allies. Still, similarities abound. All neoreactionaries reject “progressivism,” by which they mean democracy, egalitarianism, and a belief in more or less linear historical progress—and even the non-white-supremacists tend towards a hereditarian determinism that bleeds easily into outright racism.
Most prior accounts of neoreaction have focused on Mencius Moldbug (the blogonym of Curtis Yarvin), and with good reason: Moldbug is the closest thing there is to a founder of neoreaction. His book-length “Open Letter to Open-minded Progressives” is the centerpiece of the NRx canon, and he invented a number of the movement’s key terms and concepts. He’s also a ponytailed programmer, whose bloggy disquisitions invoke Thomas Carlyle, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Ludwig von Mises in equal measure. You couldn’t find a better metonym for neoreaction’s strange blend of cultural influences, and the jokes write themselves. But the focus on him has tended to obscure the other, and in many ways more interesting, pole of neoreaction: the British philosopher Nick Land.
Image of Nick Land via therealmovement.wordpress.com.