The State of the Union address happened recently, which was a blunt reminder that the political theater in this country really is like a bad movie. I was actually planning on livestreaming it, but I calculated that I would be just as informed about what’s going on with a lot less investment of time if I just read the news recaps the next day (as it turned out, I ended up putting in additional effort and actually read the transcript of the whole thing). With the time I was able to free up, I was able to bang out a post and drink some whiskey. I think I made the right choice.
Still, there’s one thing that I realized about the whole state of affairs here that I don’t think I would have picked up had I not been paying some attention to the whole process.
Legitimacy in our society is partly determined by the ability to entertain. Why is Jon Stewart considered to be trustworthy? Because he is funny. Why do we continue to believe in the legitimacy of our government? Because it can put on a grand spectacle. One cannot help but think of Rome, when politicians won elections based on how well the feasts, celebrations, and gladiatorial matches they sponsored were received.
It’s easy to bemoan this state of affairs and call for something better, but it bears remembering that part of the reason all governments throughout history have managed to stay in power is by awing their subjects. Pomp and circumstance and ritual do much to cement the status quo (or put into place a new one), and the more I ponder on this the I more that I think they are absolutely necessary for sustaining the established order, whatever it may be.
Humans are not just creatures of myth, but also creatures of ritual, and it would be a cruel, dystopian society indeed that would take these things from them.
It seems we’re converging on the idea that perhaps things like critical thinking, leadership, and public speaking can be improved in the right people with the right training, but the way leftists try to do this is stupid. Sounds about right to me.
Suppose a militaristic, nationalist, right-wing political party comes to power in a major world country (say, for example, a Top 25 state in terms of population) by means of a military coup. This factions clamps down on the flow of immigration, encourages religiosity in the populace, promotes the formation of families and the production of children, and reforms the tax code to allow for the greater flourishing of independent enterprises. Neoreactionaries would be wetting themselves in ecstasy and tripping over themselves to apply for visas.
Suppose a militaristic, nationalist, right-wing political party comes to power in a major world country by means of a popular referendum. This factions clamps down on the flow of immigration, encourages religiosity in the populace, promotes the formation of families and the production of children, and reforms the tax code to allow for the greater flourishing of independent enterprises. Neoreactionaries would be strongly condemning them for promoting demotist ideals and encouraging democratic governance. We would only let them off the hook if they took away the right to vote upon assuming power.
This isn’t entirely unfair, either, as a group that derives support from the masses in such a way is going to feel beholden to the people instead of responsible for them, and this opens the entire country to the same demotic slide that occurs in any nation that allows for too much enfranchisement.
Is this a case of the perfect becoming an enemy of the good, or a case of historically-cognizant foresight correctly pointing out that we have in this case is the proliferation of the bad masked in a facade of the good?
This example is meant to illustrate the ontological/teleological divide that Neoreaction is attempting to build.
In one I my free-roam sessions this week, I spent a good chunk of time reading through various “Polandball” comics. Polandball, for the shamefully unaware, is a cutesy open-source style comic in which various world countries (mostly European) interact with each other in ways that reflect historical relationships and national character. It’s astounding just how often it hits the nail on the head. It’s also dangerously amusing.
Here were some of my favorites:
Dangerously amusing stuff.
There’s a world war one memorial on my university campus dedicated to the men from this institution who went off to fight and die in the trenches of Europe. It’s a little out of the way from the busiest campus hubs, but the route I take to walk downtown takes me past it. I’ve found myself stopping there and standing and staring for longer and longer periods of time as of late. Am I paying my respects to the dead? I don’t know. What I do know is that there is something beyond myself compelling me to stand there and contemplate.
There’s something about this memorial that exists beyond the mere physical. Stand too close, and you can feel the weight of the sacrifice that these men made. It sounds a bit crazy, but the feeling in the air is tangible. These men fought and bled and died in the mud, and that means something. How do I know? Because I can feel it. If you possess any sense of the spiritual, you’ll pick up on it too.
It’s the same way in a lot of old European churches. There’s a feeling in the air that lingers and settles upon you. It is the weight of hundreds of dead men, and it cannot be ignored.
If you have never experienced this, I cannot explain it to you. I can only recommend that if you ever set foot on that great continent, you find your way to a rural village church and read each and every one of the names on the walls. Once you read the same last name five or six times it will hit you.
Fathers. Brothers. Sons. The entire male lines of certain clans, wiped out. Gone forever.
So much death. So many lives taken. So many fires extinguished, banished to eternal darkness, culled by the harvest of Azrael, a feast for the table of Ares. There is a certain symbolism in the imagery of death as a figure with a scythe, and it is a fitting imagery indeed.
The spiritual. The divine. The occult. Call it whatever you like. Something is out there, and that something is very real indeed.