A great bit of fun was had recently at the expense of Mark Shea, a soft-eyed fellow who finds himself absolutely titillated (whether he admits it to himself or not) by some of the thoughtcrime going on in our corner of the internet. He’s apparently been thinking about us quite a bit, which is flattering, but the fantasies he seems to have about us are unusual enough that a few Neoreactionaries felt inclined to respond to his advances in a manner that was perhaps not quite what he was hoping for. His belief that the “Dark Enlightenment” is some kind of depraved conspiracy runs so deep it left him vulnerable to some magnificent trolling by Occam’s Razor and a few other folks. Needless to say, Shea ended up with significant egg on his face, and some observers were left wondering if the poor chap secretly delights in the idea of “phenotype examinations”.
Shea’s response to this whole affair was an amusing read, boiling down to what can be summarized as: “My feelings told me this made sense, so I didn’t bother fact-checking. I may have proved that no one should ever take me seriously, but because the comments made fun of me mercilessly instead of being serious I still won.”
An uncharitable reading perhaps. I have been in somewhat of a hostile mood as of late, and perhaps it is unfair of me to let a tiny bit of that out on Shea. Poor fool didn’t do anything necessarily wrong, per se, so I’ll cease my condescension of him here. Let’s take this back to Neoreaction.
The core Neoreactionary demographic is comprised of highly remarkable individuals gifted with incredible intelligence and verbal acuity. That’s just what it takes to cut it in the ranks of the intellectual vanguard of the Reaction. Given this, it is an inevitability that when we see just how inane some of the people trying (emphasis on “trying”) to attack us are, we can’t help but laugh at them.
Neoreaction is never going to be appealing to anything other than a highly select and elite (dare I say Aristocratic?) demographic, and our culture is going to reflect that. Our in-jokes are complex and nuanced, brimming with satire and simmering facetiousness, and if people misunderstand them, well, that merely serves to demarcate ingroup-outgroup distinctions now, doesn’t it?
It all boils down to signalling. Either your attack on Neoreaction contains the proper signalling to let us know that you’re on our level (or close enough to it) and we should dialog with you seriously, or it doesn’t, and we drag you over the coals mercilessly as punishment for thinking you can take us on. Consider it the intellectual equivalent of Chris Weidman destroying Anderson Silva’s leg (though this is an inaccurate comparison, for those fighters were relatively evenly matched, whereas the mismatch between Neoreaction and the majority of its detractors is extreme).
Most Neoreaction-phobes aren’t developing arguments to counter our particular breed of anti-modernist ideology. Instead, they are operating off of a purely conditioned reflex to emotionally react against some of the points we make. This is why I’ve been toying with adopting the tactic of smearing our detractors as “phobic”. Though it is a leftist tactic that I find infantile, attacks like Shea’s are purely emotional in nature, and grounded primarily in fear. These people actually are, to a certain degree, terrified of us. Hence, I feel my use of the word is defensible on objective grounds.
With that in mind, though, the use of “-phobe” as a suffix to instigate shaming attacks has significant leftist baggage and implications. I am still fleshing out the details of what I think about this. It is an amusing thought to twist leftist language against itself, but there are some who say that to adopt their language is to play their game. This might have some validity to it, and even though I like the thought of beating liberals at their own game, there is the argument to be made that to merely play their game is sufficient for them to win.
I used to not take this line of reasoning seriously, but recently I have been judging it to have more weight. The tactic is an effective one*, this is true. However, to merely flip the signs around seems insufficient to truly convey the vast chasm of difference between Modernism and Neoreaction. It implies that we still mince words within a Modernist framework, which is poor signalling on our part. The point of Neoreaction is that we are not Modernists. To imply that we are is to utterly defeat the point.
So do I thus condemn the use of buzzwords like “-phobe” to describe Anti-Neoreactionists? No. Though the specific term has significant baggage, the tactic itself serves as a powerful way to put down opponents and proclaim membership within the ingroup. I think it would be most prudent of Neoreactionaries to do such things, but we’re going to have to think up some neologisms if we want this sort of thing to have a distinctly Reactionary flair. I’m usually fairly clever with such things, but I’ve been hitting a blank here for good buzzwords.
Anti-Neoreactionists isn’t very witty, but it does work, though it’s a bit of a mouthful and I’m not exactly happy with it. I’ve heard “Beta Conservatives” suggested for our “conservative” detractors, which amuses me greatly. I think it plays up nicely how the dynamic between modern conservatives and the left is akin to that of a beta orbiter and an attractive woman (to put things in Manosphere terms for a bit). When push comes to shove, a “conservative” will White Knight for a liberal against a Reactionary, so the term makes sense in that regard.
It has also been suggested that modern conservatives have “Battered Wife Syndrome”, and this is why they keep crawling back to progressive ideas of “equality” and “democracy”, but I think it would probably be in poor taste to think up slurs in this vein (though the metaphor rings true).
Of course, most attacks on Neoreaction are going to be from rabid leftists. Some writers (such as Vox Day) have been using “Rabbits” to describe such folk, a term which I believe originates from Anonymous Conservative‘s book on evolutionary psychology and political affiliation. I kind of like this one, and I think I’m going to begin using it myself.
I also think “Loser Brigade” is pretty funny, if not exactly highbrow.
We could always put them all together (“Hey look, it’s another Beta Conservative from the Loser Brigade” is no doubt going to be my first thought every time I see another attack on Neoreaction from a so-called “conservative”), but I’d rather open up the dialogue. What terms do my fellow Neoreactionaries think would be good for this purpose?
*Or rather, was, for it is beginning to lose its effectiveness in cowing thoughtcriminals in much the same way that “racist” and “sexist” are now ineffective in silencing determined opposition.
RISUM TENEATIS, AMICI?