Progressivism and Reaction as a Chess Game

One of the tricky parts about accepting the ideas of The Dark Enlightenment is understanding how all the pieces come together.  Meta-analysis of who we are has been happening for a while now.  This is a necessary step towards understanding who we are and how we can best achieve our goals.

To my knowledge though (feel free to correct me if I am wrong), no one has performed such an analysis on The Cathedral, that entity against which we strive.  It occurred to me that The Cathedral can easily be described as pieces on a chessboard, so that is the avenue I shall pursue.

First off, the pawns.  Pawns get a bad reputation for being dispensable, but this viewpoint lacks nuance.  Pawn position shapes the field of play across the board, and one correctly positioned pawn can subtly destroy an offensive or viciously undermine a defense.  Similarly, the positions taken by your average progressive (but especially the brahmins) hold sway over the political discourse in the United States.  Most liberals and progressives thus fall under the classification of pawns.

The minor pieces (the Knights and the Bishops) are more flexible and far-reaching than the pawns.  Their Cathedral equivalent would be entertainment fixtures and public figures who perhaps do not comment on the news, but voice progressive viewpoints and support progressive causes.  Websites like Cracked, Jezebel, and Salon would fit into this category, as would celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Jim Carrey.  Many lower-level elected officials fall into this category.

Next, we move to the major pieces, which in chess parlance refers to the Rooks and the Queen.  The rooks can be thought of the majority of universities and media outlets across the country.  Working together, they provide a powerful punch to alter how the pieces move across the board.  Similarly, universities and media outlets are a potent combination that fundamentally controls how the debate over all issues in the western world is framed.

The Queen is the most powerful single piece on the board.  However, its real world equivalent is not a single entity, but several.  The queen is The Cathedral itself, and more specifically, all the organs that compose it.  This means The New York Times, the three branches of government, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, and a few other high-level and incredibly influential organizations.  The top-level figures in news, education, and government all fall under this classification.

And what is the King, the piece that signals the end of the game if it falls?  The ideology of modern liberalism itself.  Without it, all these other pieces mean naught.

I could probably stop here, but it seems distasteful to leave this metaphor only half completed.

Extending the analogy to the Reactosphere is nebulous, in part because it is still growing and developing, as opposed to the established order of The Cathedral, and also in part because Chess fundamentally implies a symmetrical conflict, of which this war of ideas most certainly is not.  However, after wading through the muck, I think I’ve dragged out a reasonably accurate characterization.

The core distinctions that form the framework of this analogy are based off of Anarcho-Papist’s Taxonomy of the Reactosphere. It would be prudent to familiarize yourself with that piece before reading further.  Understanding the various themes and specialties of certain bloggers might also help one better visualize the pieces in play here, but it is not necessary for the comprehension of this particular interpretation.

The pawns in our side would be your average individual who reads reactionary blogs and sometimes even comments, but lacks a blog or other platform from which to espouse such ideas.  These foot-soldiers will become increasingly important in the long-term (very long-term?), but for the next few years growth in the number of pawns will only serve as a measure of how easy it is to notice the societal dysfunction.

The minor pieces would be those Dark Enlightenment blogs categorized as Commentary, as well as those considered Data Theory/Sciences.  Invaluable in when it comes to recruiting pawns, their writings are crucial to help make sense of and understand concepts and principles on a basic level.  Without the Data Theory/Sciences blogs, many Dark Enlightenment theories would have no legs on which to stand.  The flexibility of these units will prove invaluable in the coming struggle.

Moving on to the major pieces, the Rooks would be those blogs defined as Low-Theory.  Powerful in their own right, they are most effective working in teams to discuss and refine the thought on issues and questions put forth by the High-Theory blogs.

The Queen of Reaction?  The High-Theory blogs, without which none of the other pieces would be able to function as effectively.  The minor pieces and rooks are meant to be the ones in the thick of the fighting.  The queen is rarely meant to throw itself into the fervor of combat, , struggling over the minutiae of claiming squares, but to be a force hanging over the board and inflicting its will over all the other pieces.  The imprint of Moldbug will forever lie heavy upon the Reactosphere.

Progressivism and Reaction.  The two kings on this chessboard.  If either one falls the game is over.

So is that it then?  No.  Assuming this struggle to be a clash of kings is a mistake.  It’s a sign of not having enough grasp of the big picture.

Do chess pieces move on their own?  Of course not.  It is the player that pushes the pieces across the board.  If the King falls, the game is over, but a new game can begin.  If the player falls, then the chance of any further games is done (at least until another player appears).

It is not enough to fight the King.  You need to fight against the player.

Marxism.  Progressivism.  Classical Liberalism.  All of these ideologies are Kings, not players.  What is the player that spawns all of these kings?  A simple, but pernicious idea:

Everybody is equal.

If this idea falls, than everything else falls with it.



6 thoughts on “Progressivism and Reaction as a Chess Game

  1. seriouslypleasedropit 08/16/2013 / 6:11 PM

    I like your blog, your writing, and your thinking, but the chess analogy seems forced.

      • seriouslypleasedropit 08/16/2013 / 7:59 PM

        Well, let’s see.

        1. Chess is heuristically associated with grand strategy, cunning gambits, and thinking five moves ahead! But we’re not really looking at a battle of intellects here. No one’s in control on *either* side. We’re fighting the emergent effects of human nature, not a purposeful conspiracy. And on our side, we’re not exactly tactical geniuses either: ideas that have been advanced so far are Resartus, MGTOW, expat, gangs/tribes, and some amount of survivalism. Not that these ideas are bad—I actually think they are all quite good, some more than others—but that they don’t really require a lot of cunning to execute. The closest we get to deception is anonymity, and that not because we fear the powers that be (or they us), but because we fear being turned in by their sycophants, who hope for a day in the sun.

        2. I agree 100% that it’s not a symmetrical conflict. I see it as much more akin to a zombie apocalypse, or Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The situation is: everyone has gone mad, and will attack the sane. Your mission: find other sane people while staying under the radar of everyone else. Survive, and try to find a cure.

        In “practice,” in fictional works of that nature, sometimes there just isn’t a cure. Fortunately, the Plague burns itself out somehow, whether because the infected can no longer endure sunlight, it’s miraculously just a 24-hour bug (in lamer works), or the characters escape to a safe haven.

        Or, you know, the zombies get them.

        What never happens is: the Resistance builds an army, goes to a field where all the zombies are gathered, and wipes them off the face of the earth in a pitched battle through superior force. If there’s a happy global resolution, it happens through deus ex machina.

        Anyway, I know you know all this. I know you know it’s asymmetric, etc. I’m partially just writing to help myself bang things out here.

        You know what it feels close to? Sometimes in disaster movies there’s The Institute, protected by the last remnants of the military as they desperately search for a cure. There are dissimilarities there (just as many as with a chess game), but it’s a useful metaphor.

        Another metaphor that occurs to me is…no metaphor. This is really the story of a civilization rather than any specific person; the reactosphere is like a bunch of slices from a bunch of people in the thick of it.


        I suppose the main thing that seems odd about the chess analogy is that it assigns more coherency and cooperation to the reactosphere than there is. The recent moralist/hedonist mini-brushfire springs to mind. We might have great ideas, sure, but why should a “movement” (we’re talking about bloggers, here, so I use the term loosely) as divided as ours be in charge if we can’t maintain order among “our own?” I agree with Moldbug that

        “First, we need to define left and right. In my opinion, obviously a controversial one, the explanation for this mysterious asymmetric dimension is easy: it is political entropy. Right represents peace, order and security; left represents war, anarchy and crime.”

        We can’t be bomb-throwing revolutionaries. First because we’re not sympathetic—no one cares about “Disenfranchised (so they say) (largely white) (largely men) (18-60) (on the internet)” Second because I don’t want to, and I don’t think anyone wants to. What would we do when everything came crashing down? I’d sure be a crappy legislator. In chess, all you have to do is kill the king, and you win. That’s not enough: I don’t want no king, I want a better king.

        The thing I dislike about the chess analogy is this: we don’t have a king, and we need one.

  2. Legionnaire 08/16/2013 / 9:56 PM

    My point is that what is playing out is a war of ideas, with people and institutions simply attempting to perpetuate their respective ideologies. In this respect, the analogy holds. Part of your criticism is that no one is behind the curtain pulling the strings on either side. We agree on that. That’s actually a key point I was attempting to make. The King is the ideology. Reaction versus Progressivism. This is not about us taking over and being in charge at all. This is about advancing our ideas.

    No, there is no King in the sense of a single decision-maker. That’s never what I was saying. In a war of ideas, ideology is King. It is not enough to kill the King though. You have fight the player behind the King (in this analogy, the idea of equality that all liberalism is based on).

    Perhaps the analogy of a chessboard does lend an air of coherency that does not exist. That’s a fair point, though it can be argued that it applies to both ideologies (i.e. feminism being accused of racism shows divisions among liberals).

    The analogy was meant to be purely descriptive, no proscriptive. To use this little heuristic to figure out what to do and where to go from here would be unwise. I get the sense we are in accord on that.

  3. Conan 08/17/2013 / 10:24 PM

    As a Reactionary foot-soldier and former Brahmin, I have to admit that it was articles like this that made me see the Dark. This article is spectacularly insightful and well-written, and once I read it I felt like I had absorbed something profound, or witnessed something historic. Never did I feel so privileged when reading NYT, CNN or some other equalist bullshit.

    • Legionnaire 08/18/2013 / 8:00 AM

      Thank you. I am glad you found such value in it.

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