“Ideology, Socio-Historical evolution, and the Phenomena of Civilization”
“What is Neoreaction”
So begins Bryce Laliberte’s new work, “What is Neoreaction”? As someone who had been given occasional glimpses at the piece as it unfolded over time, I must admit that I was anticipating this release a little more than I was letting on, so seeing the news break early this week was very pleasing to me.
I was first introduced to Bryce by way of his Taxonomy of the Reactosphere. I suppose it is only fitting that in time he would move from classifying the people of reaction to analyzing the fundamental ideas underlying it, as well as throwing out some more High-Theory to go with it.
Bryce seems rather modest about the overall effect this will have. I have a bit more optimism on my part, but we shall see what happens.
Now for the actual review.
Bryce has a very academic style which belies his study of philosophy. This is probably going to be the biggest turn-off for most people, but it’s fairly evident that if you’re the type of person who lets that ruin your experience of this work, you’re not the type of person to whom this book is geared towards. Make no mistake, this is an academic work, and you will be doing a certain degree of intellectual heavy lifting.
Without spoiling too much of what Bryce says in his work, I will let slip that the section he has on the nature of ideology is exceedingly important and should be read closely, and several times.
Bryce manages to hit many of the major points of reaction (the need for hierarchy, religion, race, sex…etc) as well as a few other interesting and relevant ideas (such as the need for time-preference in a civilization). The main focus though, is on religion, specifically Catholicism. This shouldn’t be too surprising. We are talking about a man who writes under the name of Anarcho-Papist, after all. Catholicism is a heavy influence on Bryce and his worldview, and this shows in his work. Much emphasis is placed on the role that religion (specifically, the Catholic Church) plays in developing and implementing societal superstructures.
As such, many of the big ideas Bryce presents tie in the role of religion. Those of a more secular bent won’t be as emotionally invested in this bit, but it doesn’t take much thought to realize that religion has played an important and beneficial role in ordering human civilization throughout history,and Bryce provides an interesting analysis of some of the specifics. This bit is worth going over a few times, especially, if, like me, you don’t tend toward religiosity personally but recognize the role it will play in the reaction and beyond.
Bryce also touches briefly on a few other reactionary topics, such as sex differences and ethno-nationalism, that may be of interest based on personal preferences, but as they are only tangentially related to his main focus here, they do not receive more attention than is necessary. Even though such things are interesting, too heavy an analysis of them here would be a distraction. If you wish to read about such things, you’d best look elsewhere in the Reactosphere.
In summary, I’d have to say that this is an enjoyable work. It is not meant to be an introductory piece to reaction, but a philosophical analysis for those who have graduated from Moldbug and want something more academic to sink their teeth into. I even daresay it has notes of the aristocratic.
Overall, I quite enjoyed reading through this piece, and I believe at the end of the day this could be a fairly important piece of work. It has a fair amount of potential, and I think those people who dig in and get though it all will see that. I give it my blessing, and I recommend that you go pick up a copy.