What is Neoreaction?
Honestly, it’s a good question. Every once in a while, someone tries to answer it. Then there’s a bit of a discussion, some kerfuffle, everyone chews it over for a while, and then we shelve the question for another few months. Rinse, lather, repeat.
We never really get an answer, but sometimes it feels like we got a little bit closer to one, which I guess is progress.
But really, what is Neoreaction?
There is Neoreaction, the conceptual toolkit that was built to analyze societal dynamics. There is Neoreaction, the philosophical framework framework intended to be a safe space for the development and discussion of various political ideologies. There is Neoreaction, the prescriptive set of political positions involving a synthesis of ethno-nationalism, religious traditionalism, and techno-commercialism (it also tends to really like monarchy). There is Neoreaction, the sinister cabal that is run by a shadowy council of Eldars who are tech moguls by day and dangerous subversives by night. There is Neoreaction, the intellectual brand whose colors are flown by such organizations as Phalanx and The Hestia Society, and there is even Neoreaction, the community of like-minded people who share similar interests and who have been making an effort to meet each other in person.
What is Neoreaction? It’s all of these things, and this isn’t even an exhaustive list. Well, maybe it isn’t a sinister cabal run by tech oligarchs, but then again maybe it isn’t necessarily not maybe a sinister cabal of dangerous, shadowy figures who might or might not also be lizard people.
Neoreaction is a lot of things, and some of those things probably need a word that isn’t “Neoreaction” to describe them, but until someone comes up with a really good neologism (or two or three) then “Neoreaction” is the best word we’ve got.
We could, of course, dispense with the term entirely, and instead refer to certain parts of Neoreaction by other terms (or discuss “the thing that shall not be named”). I can’t say I have a strong position one way or the other here.
So what is Neoreaction? A lot of things. What can you do with it? Much.
You can build Neoreaction by helping to develop the conceptual toolkit and philosophical framework. You can tinker with Neoreaction by refining the arguments and the points of inquiring. You can apply Neoreaction by seeking to implement Neoreactionary prescriptions. You can express Neoreaction by creating art that appeals to Neoreactionary sensibilities. You can connect Neoreaction by bringing Neoreactionaries together in person.
What does it mean to “do” Neoreaction? In the end, it could mean doing any number of things to strengthen Neoreaction.
The coming year is one in which Neoreactionaries begin to see the differences among these ends and begin to cluster towards the one(s) that they feel most comfortable doing.
It’s likely this will be a focal point for potential schisms. Those who prefer to tinker might run into conflict with those who would prefer to apply. Those who prefer to connect might not always understand why those who prefer to build are continuing to wrestle with abstract concepts. Any number of divisions is possible, though I suspect that the tendency of most of us to try to pursue multiple aims will breed too much respect and appreciation for alternative goals. It’s hard to have a vicious feud over end goals when everyone agrees that they are all important and that at least a few people should be working on each one.
The most likely outcome is that a difference in preferred goal is likely to be additional fuel to the fire of any potential separation and not cause for divide in and of itself.
So what is Neoreaction? It’s a lot of different things with a lot of different uses and a lot of different end goals and no one has any idea as to the full extent of any of those bits. It’s a small word that is trying to do way too much and cover far too much ground. It’s a hydra pretending to be a snake, and it will take an awful lot of smoke and mirrors to keep that idea going.
It is a bundle of fragments held together by a few common ties.
This might lead one to suggest that Neoreaction is the tie that binds this all together, but this, I think, ignores too much of substance and focuses on the things that, counter-intuitively, matter the least.
What is Neoreaction? What, indeed.
INTER SPEM ET METUM