Batman, Noblesse Oblige, and the Perennial Nature of Aristocracy

I don’t particularly play video games anymore.  This is not because I have anything against them in particular, but because I find I take more delight in other pursuits nowadays.

Still, I occasionally have some idea of what goes on in the world of video games.  Take this development, for example:

The game is of little importance here.  I want to focus on one of the narrative effects of the trailer:  Thomas Wayne’s monologue to his son, Bruce.

The letter from beyond the grave reads like a laundry list of the duties and burdens of an Aristocrat.  Think about what he says:

Invest in them…treat them like family…protect them from forces beyond their control…

Are these dictums any different from those that might be required of a Lord in running his feudal fief (among others, of course)?  As the incredibly rich patrons of the city, the Wayne family already exists as Gotham’s aristocracy.  Thomas Wayne’s advice to his son is a guide to live up to that legacy, to be an Aristocrat with a deep sense of Noblesse Oblige, and to live a life of service to Gotham City.

The consequences and philosophical implications of vigilantism are irrelevant here (although a Neoreactionary analysis of superheroes and vigilantes in general would be great fun). What we need to bear in mind for our purposes here is that Thomas Wayne’s advice is meant to guide the young Aristocrat, Bruce Wayne, into taking on the responsibilities of an Aristocratic lifestyle, to take on the mantle of leadership and the hardships that it entails, instead of merely dining on its fruits.

Reading into this a bit though, this isn’t just a plea for Bruce Wayne to take up the mantle of Noblesse Oblige. This is a plea for Aristocracy the world over (but especially in the West) to rise up in this time of trouble and save the masses. This is a plea for the Natural Aristocracy to rise again, and take their rightful place in society.

Despite the political leanings of most comic-book writers, the subject of superheros has always been one that is intrinsically hostile to egalitarian sentiments, due to the fact the superheros can only exist in a world in which only a select few can ever have a hope of safeguarding the many, who must also be utterly incapable of doing it themselves.

So what does it mean that the popularity of superheros has become resurgent, with what seems like every other big blockbuster movie being an adaptation of some comic-book hero? I say this signals an unconscious desire for a new Aristocracy that will arise to save the masses in what is perceived to be a foreboding time, with a high possibility of crisis in the future. The masses want someone to save them when the crisis hits.

When the crisis comes, will this Aristocracy answer? Will they save the people in their charge? Or will they flee Gotham at that moment when the city needs them most?

The greatest fear of the masses is that the aristocracy will flee, for they know deep down that they cannot run society themselves. The need for an Aristocracy is painted into the deepest corners of the human psyche, especially in those who cannot form a part of this Aristocracy themselves. It is the duty of those with Aristocratic potential to rise to the occasion, and it is only they who are capable of answer the call. Yet if their duty goes unrewarded, will they answer? In a world which despises the Aristocratic, who among the Aristocrats can be relied upon to do their duty?

In the absence of an official Aristocracy, an unofficial Aristocracy will arise. However, without the guiding principles and gentle responsibilities of an Official Aristocracy, this new unofficial Aristocracy will inevitably warp, and become a Fallen Aristocracy, one that is not necessarily particularly well-disposed towards the people who are beneath them on the societal hierarchy (consider Brahmin distaste for all things Vaisya).

There is no such thing as a society without Aristocracy. The vacuum must be filled somehow. You can either have a good Aristocracy or a bad one, and which one you end up with depends on how much you are willing to accept the role of said Aristocracy in guiding society. Support them and be loyal to them, and expect the best from them, and you find yourself with a truly Noble Aristocracy. Reject them and show disdain for them however, and you will not end up with a society without Aristocracy. Instead you will see the Noble Aristocrats withdraw, and the Fallen Aristocracy take their place.

This is not an arrangement that is conducive to the general health of society, and so eventually, society will decline. Perhaps it will even collapse, though this is a rarity in history. The death of a great civilization is not usually so dramatic. In any event, chaos and disorder arise. When this happens, the Natural Aristocracy re-emerges, and finds a way to draw out order from the chaos, beginning the cycle anew…

Just as humanity will always tear itself down if its base impulses are left unchecked, so too will Aristocracy find a way to reassert itself. Aristocracy is a human constant, always there, whether in background or foreground, either guiding humanity to new heights, or waiting in the shadows for the opportune moment to pick up the pieces and begin rebuilding.

This is why, no matter how bleak things may seem, no matter how degenerate, Malthusian, or hedonistic the world may have become, there is always room for hope, for not only does hope spring eternal, the grounds on which we might allow ourselves to have it do as well.

PULCHRUM EST PAUCORUM HOMINUM

Do Neoreactionaries really like Hierarchy?

Imagine, for a moment, a world in which behavioral traits are non-responsive to environmental stimulus. In other words, personality is 100% determined by genetic factors. No environmental impact has any effect on behavior.

Individuals with traits that would put them at a disadvantage in society would be forced to find ways to sublimate these characteristics, or else be punished by society. Individuals with a tendency towards aggression, for example, would be better off joining the military or taking up martial arts, satisfying their urges in a way that wouldn’t drive them to commit crimes or engage in violent acts. People with disadvantageous traits would be forced to channel them into permissible avenues, as environmental mitigation would be merely a pipe-dream.

In our world, of course, character traits are only partly heritable. Environmental impact is still strong. However, most traits do retain a certain degree of heritability.

Tolerance is a probably one of them. Fundamentally, tolerance is just a sensitivity to in-group/out-group distinctions, and it ought to be intuitive that ones level of tolerance is partly dictated by biology.

I could take this opportunity to defend individuals like Fred Phelps, but I’ll pass. I’d like to consider the implications of the short and simple thought experiment I laid out above.

We don’t live in a world in which all behavior is 100% biologically determined, but we do live in a world in which is it most certainly declassé to express certain traits. Intolerance is one of them.

So what are the intolerant people to do? One thing to do is get together and from their own thede. Another is to channel their impulses (consciously or otherwise) into socially acceptable outlets. Another is to do both!

What might these outlets look like? Imagine a group that allows one to engage in intolerance, while simultaneously preaching the virtues of tolerance, and assuring that everyone in the group is the most tolerant person ever (imagine the alcoholic who assures everyone that he doesn’t have a problem, just on the level of a social group). Now imagine that this group has a clear punching bag on which to focus all of their intolerance (that they deny to themselves, of course), complete with rationalizations for why this target deserves it.

My analogy here is hardly veiled. I am indeed proposing that liberals are highly intolerant, and are just in denial about that fact. This is not my full point though. I wish to use it to highlight a greater point: that liberals do not truly know themselves, and they use certain rationalizations and psychological defense mechanism to avoid having to learn about themselves.

Do these rationalizations cross over into how liberals understand the world around them? I would be extraordinarily surprised if they didn’t. I would say it is not that liberals ignore human nature so much as they are ignorant of it, which is why they either write-off, downplay, or straight-up don’t understand the importance of factors like in-group/out-group distinctions and time-preference in determining human behavior.

Now, what do we fear most in life? A common answer is “the unknown”. We fear what we do not understand. Those who do not understand reality are bound to fear it. Following this framework, it is no stretch to assume that one of the biggest fears all liberals have is the fear of reality itself.

It is my personal hypothesis that the ultimate fear of most liberal is their fear of reality, and an unconscious fear of not being able to live up to it. I also think that you can explain most liberal behavior (possibly all, though I won’t go so far as to make that claim) by tracing their actions back to this fear.

But it’s easy enough to make snide remarks about the phobia of the mygs. I’m going to do what I do so frequently and turn the lenses back on Neoreaction (or perhaps more accurately for this case, the Neoreactionaries who comprise Neoreaction).

Is there an underlying motive driving Neoreactionary behavior that we aren’t aware of? I’ve been trying to tease this out recently. It’s been difficulty, as I can’t quite get the outside view that makes these things easier to assess.

Consider this though: We lavish much praise on the merits of hierarchy. We applaud it as being a near-unmitigated good. Yet are we hierarchical? Not at all. Neoreaction is not a hierarchy, it is a loose web of similar individuals acting as nodes in a network, with some nodes being more central than others.

Are we anti-hierarchical? I don’t think this quite is it. I think the truth is a little more subtle. Yet, to a certain degree, (in our personal preferences) I think we are. We just rationalize this by claiming that it just the current hierarchy we oppose, that we feel the US government and the broader Cathedral does not deserve its place on top of the power hierarchy of the West. What we refuse to admit to ourselves is that very few of us want anyone above us on the hierarchy giving us orders.

How many of us really want to be told what to do? The amount of concessions and rationalizations we would need to make for ourselves to tolerate that indicate that we fundamentally don’t want that.

We want effective government because an effective government wouldn’t cause problems for us. We want government out of our lives, but because we see the utility of hierarchy, we need to rationalize our opposition. We want to be able to trust the government to do its own thing so that it can leave us to do ours.

This doesn’t make Neoreactionary wrong, not at all. It just means that the underlying impetus is independent, high-IQ types who are sick of what we perceive as a sick, dying, and possibly illegitimate system chipping away at the fabric society we live in. We are sick of what we feel is encroachment upon our potential. We are sick of those we view as incompetent having any say in what we do. It says nothing about the quality of our analyses, but merely provides a deeper insight into where we’re coming from.

I’d be fairly surprised if there were too many of my compatriots who haven’t already realized this on their own. Yet I still feel it is important to push this out into the open. All flows from the self. When the self is known, and the self is mastered, then the self can change the world.

If Neoreaction can avoid being limited by the psychological quirks of the Neoreactionaries, than it can transcend itself.  Then, and only then, can its true virulence in the realm of memetic infiltration be supremely manifested.

SPQR

A Neoreactionary critique of Hierarchy?

Recently, I talked about the notion of superiority and what constitute a superior individual. There is something easily observable about superior individuals: they tend to dominate those who do not possess the same capacities as they (this is true whether we are talking about levels of dominance or other abilities related to the achieving of some end). These power dynamics end up coalescing into hierarchies.

There are individuals who are utterly opposed to the existence of hierarchy, labeling all hierarchies as oppression. This is of course incorrect. Hierarchies are not oppression, but a justified allocation of talents and capabilities. In fact, stable hierarchies offer room for growth and development that could not be found elsewhere.

That said, unstable hierarchies are less able to achieve their goals and do a poor job of meeting the needs that stable hierarchies do. Realizing this (perhaps unconsciously), opponents of hierarchy will do their best to cripple or undermine effective hierarchies ,and then point to these failures as proof of the evils of hierarchy. This is, of course, manipulative, intellectually dishonest, and possibly morally reprehensible. Hierarchies should be made more efficient and effective, not more egalitarian.

The above represents a basic Neoreactionary defense of hierarchy. It certainly has some merit. All all hierarchies defensible in this manner, though? It doesn’t strike me as beyond the realm of possibility that some hierarchies exist which should not exist, and that these hierarchies cannot be necessarily justified with arguments in this vein (I leave open the possibility they can be defended on other grounds, though).

The above argument also relies on a perfect allotment of individuals into the positions most suited for them. It fails to take into account all the ways that this is not necessarily true. For one example, there might exist individuals who are skilled at climbing hierarchies in ways that are not commensurate with their relevant talents.

Additionally, hierarchies do not always emerge organically, even if there is a common goal involved. If the goal is shaky, misunderstood, or ambiguous, a hierarchy won’t necessarily coalesce the way this model supposes.

Consider Neoreaction, or perhaps the broader Reaction as a whole. I’ve always found it amusing that for all our talk of the merits of hierarchy, we aren’t so much an organized hierarchy as a loose network of individuals functioning as nodes in a network, with certain nodes being more central to the overall structure than others.

Does this all invalidate Neoreactionary defenses of hierarchy? Of course not, though it might weaken it at some points. I consider the Neoreactionary position on hierarchies to be akin to the Libertarian position on free markets: they rarely (if ever) need to be managed. Definitely true an overwhelming majority of the time, but there are some gray zones where the debate gets tricky…

So what am I proposing here? Not too much. The nuances of hierarchy are complex. The assumption that beneficial hierarchies will always form is mostly correct, but thee devil is in the details, and there are a few devilish details that must be investigated. Further interest into the development of hierarchies is in the best interest of Neoreaction, and this area ought to be investigated further in the future.

ESSE QUAM VIDERI

Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies…

I’ve been struggling for inspiration for posts recently.  While I have two in the works at the moment, I’m feeling very ambiguous about them, so it might be a while before they see the light of day.  In my (possibly vain) quest for inspiration, I finally bit the bullet and set up an Ask.fm account, like several other Neoreactionaries before me.  If you’ve got a quick question, head on over and hit me with it…or just follow me…and/or whatever else it is you do with this thing.

NIHIL DICIT

Subversion versus Exit, East versus West, and Eternal Recurrence

I’ve always been a little bit surprised that there hasn’t been more tension within Neoreaction between those who favor subversion and those who favor exit. However, when Nick Land recently made his case for the merits of exit, fireworks broke out in the comment section. Certain of the Sino-Supremacist remarks Land made no doubt contributed to the intensity of the discussion, and they certainly seemed to have touched a nerve among the more Ethno-Nationalist and Occidental-Traditionalist sympathizers.

I can relate. It always hurts to be told that you aren’t the best, and to have powerful arguments made to that effect, but while there are a few details and minor points he puts forth that I might not entirely agree with, I do think the underlying principle he is describing is correct. Western Civilization is in decline, and Eastern Civilization is going to become the pinnacle of orderly civilization in the world as the West continues to decay.

Western Civilization was incredibly successful while it lasted, of course, and the East is standing on the shoulders of giants in its quest to reach further upward. Still, the apogee of Western Civilization has passed. The last great triumph of West over East was the collapse of the Soviet Union, and I do not foresee another big win for the West on the horizon anytime soon. The future offers nothing but decline. In the far future, it is very possible that a civilization (civilizations?) based in Europe or North America will rise to global prominence and superpower status, but that is something to be expected no less than hundreds or even thousands of years from now.

So what is one to do? Well, Western Civilization has certain attributes that I rather like. I would personally like to salvage what I can for my descendants, but I’m not going to pretend that the West can be saved in anything other than tiny pieces. The rot runs too deep and the cancer is everywhere. I doubt much more can be done beyond saving what we can, analyzing where things went wrong, and hope that the conclusions we reach might make it down to our posterity and dissuade them from making the same mistakes.

They will, of course, and there’s nothing we can do about that. Human nature renders it inevitable that history will repeat itself. To break out of this sort of historical cycle altogether would require most unusual circumstances, though I do have a few hypotheses at the back of my mind as to how such a thing might occur…

But I digress. I’d like to take the opportunity to speculate as to how the future will play out. As the East rises in stature relative to the West, we will begin to see a low-level brain drain, as the intelligent, ambitious, and adventurous make their way to lands near the Pacific. We see this happening today in very small numbers, and I predict this trend will pick up. Once the mainstream media notices this, the success of these people (and they will succeed, for they will be among the most elite of the Natural Aristocracy) will be broadcast across the West, and many more will join them. These numbers will be curtailed by controls from both sides, as the West tries to keep people in and the East tries to keep all but the best out, but the migration will still be significant.

There will be plenty who stay in the West though. The exact numbers will also depend on how quickly the West declines and how hard it falls when it hits the floor of its descent (i.e. a full-blown collapse would produce numerous refugees in the process). I personally don’t think we’ll be seeing anything too drastic, but I fully expect a decline in Western power, influence, and standards of living.

 Is Western Civilization worth fighting for? I think it is, doomed as it may be to its fate. I’ll do my part to save it, but I realize that the best thing for it is probably going to be to let it, in its current incarnation, wither and die. That might very well mean fleeing it, taking my human capital (and potential tax revenue) with me in the process.

Subversion might entail exit. Intellectual flight will no doubt accentuate the decline, leaving those who stay behind to pick up the pieces and begin the process of rebuilding Western Civilization. At the end of the day though, I can’t help but be optimistic. The West will rise again. It just has to die first, so that one day it can be reborn from the ashes like a phoenix. Without death there can be no life, and as sappy and sentimental as it sounds, I can’t help but hope that I’ll have a few descendants around who will be able to make that happen.

SPQR

Dark Linkage: Hestia Society for Social Studies

Growth, it seems, comes in fits and spurts.  It is hard to predict the occurrence of these spurts, but if the context is suitable for expansion, then it could come at any time.

I have stated elsewhere, I don’t think we’re going to see a great deal of expansion of Neoreaction per se.  This is not to say that our numbers will not swell with time, but that the main vehicles upon which Neoreactionary ideology will spread will be Neoreaction-derived subcultures and broader reactionary movements with some Neoreactionary influences.  I also suspect that the spread of Neoreactionary memes among the larger proto-reactionary public will be another vector for the spread of our ideas, but all this is a discussion for another time.

This in mind, Neoreaction is in no way done with moving forward.  We see now the next step in this journey: The Hestia Society for Social StudiesThe purpose is simple: take the herd of cats that is the Neoreactionary community, bring them together, and serve as a launching point for projects of Neoreactionary interest.

This is another piece of groundwork upon which to build further expansion.  I recommend taking a moment to browse through the site.  The “About section, for example, contains this little gem:

The purpose of the Hestia Society for Social Studies is to not only diagnose the cancer at the heart of the West’s decline, but to propose a cure.

I’d say that’s a pretty damn good summary of what Neoreaction as a whole is all about.

NON PROGREDI EST REGREDI

Visions of the Future, Shadows from the Past

As I’ve touched on before, I’ve been living for the past two months in Morocco, with another two months left to go. Given that Morocco is one of the last remaining monarchies in the world, I like to think I’ve been making certain other Neoreactionaries jealous. I can tell you all with certainty that you’d all hate it here…alcohol is damn hard to find.  Muslim country and all, you know?

I wouldn’t make too big a deal about it though. With a little foresight and strategic planning, it’s not too difficult to find booze here. As with everything in life, you need to look ahead and make a plan.

What do I see for Neoreaction looking ahead? Well, while I’ve admittedly been less up-to-speed on things in our corner of the internet than usual, I have noticed that we seem to be dealing with fewer hit pieces than usual recently. What does this mean to me? A lot of things, and I can’t help shake the feeling that we’ll be seeing something big coming in, perhaps even later this year. Neoreaction has not fought its final battle, and I get the sense a big one will be coming before the calender reads 2015.

So what’s the plan? That’s hard to say. So far we’ve not needed to do more than circle the wagons and watch as the soft, ineffectual rhetoric of the “mygs” has been torn about the teeth and claws of sympathetic internet commentators. Will we ever be on the receiving end of attacks with bite? Probably at some point.

We’ve got our tactics on how to deal with all of this in the short-term down pat. In the long-term though, I’d like to do more than just play defense. I’d like to shut down their ability to even be able to muster any decent attack. We need to remove all the grounds on which they base their critiques. This means shifting the Overton Window to make everyone realize that they’re the crazy ones. This means making words like “racist” more dangerous to the wielder than the intended recipient.

How are we to go about this? Building a new culture, one that instills and promulgates ideals that build and maintain society, not destroy it. Given the vast wealth of classical works that promote such ideals, re-appropriation is the easiest thing in the world, but we should go further than that. We ought to start creating our own new and original stories and narratives.

This may seem like an odd approach, I grant that. Yet to ignore culture is a great and terrible mistake. Progressive dominance was ushered in by the leftist seizing of cultural narratives. Hollywood is just as culpable (perhaps more so) than Harvard and The New York Times for our current state of affairs. It is the public relations arm of the Cathedral. Whatever the Cathedral wants depicted, it will depict.

I propose fighting fire with fire. Let’s build a better culture. American culture is geared towards satisfying and heightening time-preference. It is meant to appeal to the seed of hedonism in all of us, to bring it out and make us slaves to it. It is the low and base is its most appealing form (with, admittedly, noble and powerful exceptions).

Reactionaries must build a culture that focuses on the high. We need a culture that will inspire and elevate, instead of merely entertain and debase. Think the pursuit of truth, the defeat of evil, and the rule of the best, as opposed to the pursuit of pleasure, the defeat of tradition, and the overthrowing of the nobility. We need a culture that will appeal to the best of humanity, the elite and the aristocratic, as our bulwark against the regression of us all towards the lowest common denominator.

This isn’t a short-term initiative. This isn’t even about the United States anymore. This is about the preservation of the cultural ideals that have sustained Western Civilization since the days of the Ancient Greeks. This is about a return to a culture that facilitates greater stability and cohesiveness and incentivizes the types of behaviors that make civilization work. This is about opening up a new front in the revolt against the modern world.

Neoreaction is what happened when philosophers and other thinkers decided to point out the underlying structural flaws in the Modernist worldview. Neoreactionary culture will arise when the writers, storytellers, and artists decide to do the same thing in their own special way.

EX CULTU ROBUR