Fire and Ice

It is an inevitable fact of life that the more materially comfortable humans become, the more they will seek luxury and entertainment (a small minority will also seek fulfillment, but this represents a percentage of humanity so small that we can afford to ignore them, except in those circumstances in which we are discussing not ordinary, but extraordinary, people, which is not the case here). In other words, a civilized society finds itself dedicating increasing amounts of energy catering to its emotions instead of to its survival.

The problem with the way most people conceptualize emotions, however, is that they assume they are useful stimuli for guiding decisions. This is a mistake. You do not “have” emotions. You interpret them. Misattribution of experiences is the default human condition.

How do we interpret emotions? Through the lens of environmental cues, past experiences, and personal desires. The problem is, the more we exist to cater to our emotions, the less we can say that our experiences are useful guides in and of themselves for emotional understanding. Emotions guided by past emotions guided by emotional experiences. It creates its own feedback loop, one that begins to drift further and further from objective reality.

The more we are engulfed by this sentimental Charybdis, the more we attempt to clothe our rationalizations in objective language, in a desperate attempt to delude ourselves into believing the validity of our perceptions.

Fairness. Justice. Progress.

Fools. Does anyone truly know what those words mean? How many of us can honestly say that they have asked themselves that question?

Philosophers are misunderstood because they seek to find the answers to the questions that others do not even know can be asked. Neoreactionaries, like all philosophers, are doomed to this fate. We most proceed accordingly.

What most people hold to be unassailably correct knowledge is an illusion, a subconscious impulse masquerading as conscious thought. This is the end result of experiencing emotions without context. Lost like a puppy in the rain who doesn’t even know its state is to be pitied.

The more our environment and our experiences become artificial, the more we become like rats in a lab. We are not the wild, healthy, majestic creatures we think we are. We are like a laboratory experiment that went horribly wrong and now lives a soulless existence, wishing it could beg for death but not knowing how. We spend so much time trying to fill the void but all our efforts merely show us the depth of the maw and in our quest to find the light at the end of the darkness we find ourselves unable to allocate the effort needed to survive.

In due time, the death drive becomes the zeitgeist of all civilizations. The richer and more comfortable a civilization, the more potent this becomes. Rotherham. Ferguson. Ukraine. This is the death-knell. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.

It is very hard to kill a civilization that wishes to survive, It is impossible to save one that has already decided to be dead.

Pure, unchecked emotion and the drive for death go hand in hand. The former is the most supremely passive tool for experiencing the world, the latter is the final conclusion of the former; the grand surrender to ultimate totality.

The purely emotional nature of the supreme (dare I say divine?) feminine renders it the counterpart of death. The femme fatale is not only fatale becuaes she is femme, but femme because she is fatale. You cannot have one without the other. Two sides. One coin.

Emotion. Comfort. Death. This is the realm of the feminine.

Struggle. Pain. Life. This is the realm of the masculine.

Yin and Yang. Ice and Fire. Death and Life.

Life is borne from death. Life is defined by the struggle against death. Life will always and inevitably succumb to death.

 

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

-Robert Frost

COR AUT MORS

Fire and Steel

I saw something the other day that I must admit I’d never expected to see.  A friend of mine had put some photos up from his trip to the gun range.  I looked through several pictures of this person firing what appeared to be a FAL (I couldn’t quite get a good look at the rifle) complete with the caption “No Mercy”.

Why was this so shocking?  Well, this individual happens to be one of the most politically liberal people I’ve ever met.  Yet, despite his extreme egalitarian sentiments, he recognizes that violence is not only a fact of life, it is indeed the most basic principle of life.

To give some further context, he’s not from the US.  He’s from a foreign county with some history over the past century of paramilitary groups fighting against the government.  As a patriot and a nationalist, he considers it his duty to be proficient with arms in case he ever needs to fight against those who would (in his mind) do his country harm.

Seeing these photos made me think of the great English writer George Orwell. Orwell was a rather left-leaning individual himself, yet still had no qualms going off on his own to fight in the Spanish Civil War.  Indeed, Orwell had no timidity in regard to guns and warfare in general, famously stating: “That rifle on the wall of the labourer’s cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”

Many liberals nowadays would be aghast, to say the least.  The democrats are the party calling for more gun control, after all.  Yet, those on the left have historically tended to like their guns.  Guns were, after all, one of the key inventions that br1535551_10202848631475430_741186523_nought about the decline of feudalism, paving the way for English common law to develop into what we now know as liberal democracy.  The American Revolution was, for its time, and exceedingly liberal concept.  Left-leaning thought spent much of its history waging war against powerful opponents.  I certainly am opposed to liberalism, but I will admit that for a period of time, liberals had to be bad-ass simply by virtue of having to defend themselves against vested interests.

Somewhere along the line though, liberals stopped being tough and battle-ready.  Instead, leftism became mired deeper and deeper in the “victim ideologies”; the slave moralities of feminism, anti-racism, and the like eating away at a movement that (it must be said) at least had some element of masculinity at its core.  Where progressives 100 years ago had as their symbol Theodore Roosevelt, who once gave a 90-minute speech after being shot in the chest, wound dripping blood the whole time, progressives nowadays have Pajama Boy and Tumblr feminists.  Somewhere, something went horribly wrong…

Rather than taking a look at the specifics of what went wrong though (that is perhaps a matter for another time), it makes one consider a more philosophical question:  Do ideologies take on the character of their adherents, or is it the character of its adherents that define the character of an ideology?

Perhaps I equivocate.  It’s fairly obvious that this question cuts both way, and is possibly a chicken-and-egg style inquiry.  Still, allow me to propose one model that might explain how this happens.

Suppose that a movement is born.  The details don’t particularly matter.  What does matter is that this movement will always have the stamp of those first individuals, both the ones who created it, and the early adopters.  If these individuals have a certain characteristic (say, conscientiousness), this movement will always have some element of conscientiousness to it (barring drastic change, which can admittedly happen over time).

Additionally, those who become a part of this movement, if they invest in it to a certain degree, will become more conscientious in themselves.  This will make the movement appeal to more conscientious people, and a significant proportion of the adopters will tend toward conscientiousness.  A feedback loop is set up, and inertia becomes self-propelling (up to a point, the progression eventually stabilizes).  Furthermore, if this movement becomes popular, it will gain a reputation as being full of conscientious individuals, and, by extension, be considered a conscientious movement.

Any difference in membership though, will change the fundamental nature of the movement, just as a large enough infusion of immigrants will change the character of a nation.  In the case of liberalism, the infusing of the ideology with the ideologies of victim-hood made the movement weak and pathetic, coddling the degenerate, embracing servility, and opposed to anything that might possibly be K-selected or aristocratic.  Strength, power, and success became not ideals to be achieved, but “oppressive”.  This is why modern liberals are considered such pussies.

What kind of feed-back loop are reactionaries setting up for ourselves?  We all know what it is at the moment, a whole lot of blogging and talking online, but little in the way of taking real-world action.  You’re not going to find me opposed to intellectualizing over a keyboard, but it’s easy enough to see that this isn’t the feedback loop we want to be setting up for ourselves if we want to see society become even a tiny bit more reactionary.

The beauty of Reaction being relatively new and unknown though, is that there’s still time to alter the feedback loop.  Make no mistake, it’s great that we’re intelligent and intellectual enough to be discussing the topics we’re discussing.  It’s beautiful that we have the cognitive firepower to erase our modernist brainwashing and deconstruct many of the liberal tropes that have taken hold in the popular consciousness.  Yet, beyond writing essays and articles for each others’ sakes, there is little real-world action that we actually undertake.

It suits our interests far more to be also spreading and applying our ideas so that we might shape society into something more to our liking.  This not only will help us bring about a less liberal society, but also affects the feedback loop dictating how our movement is to be perceived.  One day, we are going to have to deal with Reaction being public knowledge, and we will have a reputation to manage.  How can we go about making sure that the general consensus on us Reactionaries is most favorable?

We not only need to be building ourselves into stern, hard men of action and capability, but also need to be setting up an ideological feedback loop to further that effect.  This is both a matter of affecting our public perception (people love the strong horse), as well as genuinely being prepared for the future of the West.  We need to be men of fire and steel, capable of exerting our wills on the world and dealing with whatever the world has in store for us.  We need to become the process of shaping ourselves into Legionnaires.

In this day and age, liberals are pussies and conservatives can’t get anything done.  People need a group they can turn to, whom they can trust and rely upon for whatever is needed.  If the reputation we can cement in peoples mind is that Reactionaries are strong, intelligent, capable, and downright aristocratic individuals who are the people everyone wants at their side in a crisis, we do ourselves a big favor.  All we have to do is make ourselves people who can live up to that image.

2014 looks like a good year to get on that.

IGNIS AURUM PROBAT

The Path to Legionnaire: Series Introduction

There’s a reason I chose “The Legionnaire” as the name of this blog.  Part of it was indeed a reference to my ancestry, but the reasoning goes a lot deeper than just that.  Not only do I find the image of a strong, tough, focused warrior marching on for imperial glory to fit in nicely with neoreactionary themes, but I also think that those sorts of people are going to become ever more important as the future comes upon us.

No, this blog is called “The Legionnaire” because from the beginning I have always had an ideal for what a modern reactionary ought to look like.  This is not the archetype of The Natural Aristocracy I refer to now, but a different one, a neo-Legionnaire of sorts, trained for the struggles of our age.  A Legionnaire may be an Aristocrat, and an Aristocrat a Legionnaire, but the difference lies in skill-set and capability.  An Aristocrat might not be a Legionnaire, but a Legionnaire will mostly have good aristocratic potential, even if they do not possess all of the requisite qualities to meet the full definition.

So what exactly is this Legionnaire?  It is something akin to a few other concepts, drawing influence from the concepts of the “Alpha Male”, the Strong Horse“, the “Student Reactionary“, the “Mindweapon“, and the “Polymath“, as well as principles from biology and philosophy, among other disciplines.  I envision a K-selected, smart, savvy, and tough individual capable of handling everything from rigorous debate and social dynamics to the workout room and the fighter’s arena to whatever turbulent futures may lie ahead, adaptable and flexible in skill set, with core proficiency in the few things I shall lay out here, with individual specialties being up to each person.

If you remember, I promised I would begin putting out my ideas on dealing with the media and laying out a strategy for aiding the spread of neoreactionary principles.  The Legionnaire archetype is part of that, but by no means solely defined by it.  The Legionnaire is meant to be a multi-faceted ideal of varied capability, and although knowing how to deal with the media when it becomes necessary is part of that, it is not the only trait.

If you’ve spent any time here, you’ll have noticed that I have what I call The Legionnaire’s Reading ListThis list has always meant to fit in with this series that I have planned.  It has the categories and format that I intend to follow, with each piece building off the previous one.  The books I recommend are a part of each step, though they are by no means the only hurdle to be overcome before making your way onward to the next stage.

Reading, after all, can only take one so far.  It is also necessary to put knowledge into practice, refine the application of that knowledge, and develop these sorts of things with time and experience.  It makes no sense to read “The Prince” (to give one example) if you cannot ascertain when to be a lion and when to be a fox.  These sorts of things can only be made known with practice, and I shall put forth my experiences in matters like these so that I may both continue to refine myself and to bring others along with me on this process.

And so I present this series.  Think of it as a boot-camp for young neoreactionaries, although I hope all may find some benefit from it.

DUCTUS EXEMPLO

The Rumblings of Discontent

This will be a bit shorter than my usual fare, because I’m merely tying together a few ideas I’ve put forth before.

I’ve previously discussed the possibility that any movement  that could fall under the reactionary umbrella will have to focus on the quality of its members rather than quantity of support, at least in its beginning stages.  As such, I believe that any such movement will initially be spearheaded by the Natural Aristocracy, and that only later on, if it gains momentum, will others rally to that cause.  This will more likely than not be the case, although I am not so unsubtle in my thinking as to be under the impression that this is a hard and fast rule.

Now, who among the aristocracy will be those who spearhead these movements?  Well, those with the least investment in society and with the most to gain from a potential upheaval will always be the ones most likely to push for societal reorganization.  This means, for the most part, the young, a term which I use here to refer to the demographic under the age of 30 (but perhaps most accurately for my purposes here, those between the ages of 18 and 30).

Finally, which demographic (on a very broad level), is the one most likely to stir things up, go to extremes, and be devoted to causes beyond the pale of mainstream thought?  Men.  Men are more likely to be found rioting, revolting, revolutionizing, reinventing and reorganizing whenever things start to get a little unstable.  Because of the male power of violence, men are not only the segment of the population most capable of keeping order, security, and balance within a society, but are also most capable of destabilizing it and undermining it.

This sort of thing has been realized throughout history of course.  Stable societies find outlets for their young men so that they may be content and channel their urges into preserving the order and prosperity of the social structures and superstructures at large.  However, a society that offers few outlets (or even inefficient and suboptimal outlets) will find itself with a backlog of built-up male urges and desires. Combine this with other factors like a lack of economic opportunities and watch a dangerous concoction ferment before your very eyes.

Put this all together and what do we get?  Young, aristocratic men tend to be the forefront of any initiative that seeks to alter the status quo.  Keep them happy and content, of course, and they devote their talents and efforts to the proper upkeep and elevation of society.  Alter the dynamic and give them a society in which the young and aristocratic feel angry, disconnected, and (for lack of a better term) fucked-over and you get a society that will inevitably face major discontentment and fracturing.  Is this going to play a part in the future of the west? Count on it.

Update 11/12/13: It seems Peter Turchin has been having similar thoughts recently.  I love it when I’m not the only one who thinks of these things.

SEMPER VIRILIS

(This post dedicated to AnarchoPapist.  Happy Birthday, Bryce).

The Path of the Warrior: A Martial Arts Journey

In my free time, when not reading old books and pretending to be a liberal, I like to train in martial arts.  As I move into my 13th year of practicing various styles, and move into teaching what I know to others, I find myself looking back on my experience and realizing just how much my persistence and devotion to various warrior arts have defined me as a person.

I’m sure at this point half of you are wondering which arts I’ve trained in.  This seems a good place to start.  I trained in Taekwondo for 10 years, developing my body to be flexible and agile, learning to use my legs to drop people with powerful kicks.  Mentally, I developed self, control, discipline, and I learned a hell of a lot about myself as a person.  To this day, one of the proudest moments of my life was enduring the gruesome test for my second-degree black belt.  I stood with 9 others as the test began, facing the assembled contingent of instructors who were to put us through the most painful, grueling experience of our lives.  By the end of the test several hours later, only 3 of us were still on our feet.  Limping out of the testing grounds, there was no guarantee that I had passed, but I had made it, and accomplished something that only a very small percentage of men will ever achieve.

After I went off to university though, I could no longer train at my Academy (which is one of the finest in my home state).  I began to search for other styles to train in.  I dabbled in Krav Maga, Wing Chun, and Boxing, but I never really stuck with them.  This is not to say that they didn’t each have important principles and concepts to contribute to my education, but that I never felt the strong desire to practice them that I had for Taekwondo.  I essentially spent a year in a transition period looking for an art to immerse myself in.  While this was going on, I took up weightlifting to give me the sort of physical exertion that I so deeply missed (which in and of itself is a highly worthwhile activity, just not one I will be discussing today).

About a year ago I discovered the Indonesian martial tradition of Silat.  It was like nothing I had ever experienced before, which led to a bitch of a learning curve as I had to iron out a lot of my old habits.  The physicality required for the movements and strikes wasn’t even remotely close to anything my body had done before.  It was a painful lesson that what is proper in the context of one art can be outright wrong in another.

I’ve trained in arts meant for sport.  I’ve trained in arts meant to kill, maim, and cripple.  I’ve trained in arts developed in the past century.  I’ve trained in arts that have been around for more than 1000 years.

I’ve learned it is far better to rise to the occasion than to back down from a challenge.  I’ve learned it is best to fight as hard as you can even if you can’t win.  I’ve realized that defeat may be unpleasant, but surrendering without a fight is the worst emotion you can ever feel.  I’ve learned that when you’re exhausted, covered in sweat, and barely able to stand on you feet the best solution is to fight harder.  I’ve been beaten, bruised, bloodied, and battered, and I’ve given out hefty doses of the same.  I learned that discipline is painful, but losing is inevitable without it.  I’ve learned the meaning of self-control, and I have held a man’s life in my hand and had him hold mine in his.

So where am I going next?  For one, teaching what I know.  No art can survive if it is not passed on, just as a race will die out if it refuses to breed.  However, I don’t intend to stop learning either.  A good friend of mine knows Muay Thai, and has agreed to train me.  I look forward to what should be a painful experience…

I also think it would be prudent to become well-acquainted with guns.  While I’m well-trained in unarmed combat, as well as bo staff and eskrima, the last time I checked firearms were by far most effective weapons on the planet.  If I’m truly going to take on the mantle of the warrior ethos, I figure it would be prudent to get with the times and leave the romantic fantasies to the local Renaissance Fair.

In more glorious times, men actually went off to battle and fought and died and were encouraged to do so.  In our current age, we are forced to find meager substitutes.  Many will turn to video games or actions movies as replacements, but why not strive to be better than the soulless masses?  Training in a martial art (or two or three) won’t ever make you as hard or as tough as a Spartan or a Legionnaire of old, but it will speak to parts of you buried deep in your very core.  It will carve you into something greater than the form you now possess.  You will surpass what you thought were your limits, transcend the capabilities you now possess.  You will become stronger, faster, and tougher than you ever could have imagined.

You will never be the same again.

SPQR

On Masculinity

What is masculinity?  This is a question men have been trying to answer since the dawn of time.  One would think that after thousands of years of analysis, there would be a satisfying answer.  Yet, just as philosophy has not yet been completed, so too it seems that masculinity will never be categorized in a fashion to everyone’s liking.

One of the big reasons that the part of the internet known as “The Manosphere” even exists is because so many men nowadays lack the guidance previous generations received as to how to be a man.  As such, different definitions have been worked out.  Roosh would argue that it mostly comes down to how many women you can sleep with.  Brett McKay thinks it has a lot to do with living up to your specific culture’s norms about what constitutes manliness.  Jack Donovan proclaims the idea that masculinity is all about being a high-value member of a tribal gang.

I’ll throw my hat into the ring.

The way I see it, masculinity is composed of four categories.  What we know as masculinity can be seen as a four-legged stool, with each of these categories being one leg.  Undercut one of them, and the structure becomes incredibly unsteady.  Cut out two, and the whole thing collapses.  With that in mind…

Hard Masculinity: Hard masculinity is, quite simply, the ability and willingness to employ physical force.  The most overt example of this would be delivering a violent beatdown in a fight.  However, this category extends beyond violence.  Being a star athlete is a less extreme expression of this component of masculinity.

Hard masculinity is the component of masculinity that you find feminists complaining about.  It is that primal, violent animal inside of all men that when awakened is capable of great and terrible things.  It is Achilles slaughtering Hector before the walls of Troy, MMA fighters pounding each other in the ring, or even just an ordinary individual setting a new PR in the weight room.

This is why many recommend martial arts and weightlifting as ways to become more masculine.  Both work together nicely to increase your ability to become a physical threat.  They make you dangerous, which is a consequence of increasing one’s hard masculinity.

Note that hard masculinity is not just the capability to use force, but the willingness to do so.  Someone big and strong but afraid of getting hurt does not possess the same capacity for hard masculinity as a lightweight boxer who does not fear pain.

Soft Masculinity:  Soft masculinity is the ability to control yourself and others.  Can’t stop eating food you know to be bad for you?  That’s a lack of soft masculinity coming into play.  Soft masculinity is, in a nutshell, control.

It is from that this control of the self that several manly virtues such as courage, honor, and self-discipline are derived.  It is from the control of others that charisma and dominance come into play.  If bashing someone’s head in represents hard masculinity, having people who will do it for you is soft masculinity.  If the gladiator in the arena embodies hard masculinity, the Emperor who ordered the gladiators to fight represents soft masculinity.

If you see a man crying or displaying excess emotion, and tell him to “man up” or “act like a man“,  this is the component of masculinity you are calling upon.

The interplay between hard and soft masculinity is nuanced.  At times, they complement each other, like when grinding out the last few reps in a painful set of deadlifts when you’d rather go home and drink beer.  Other times, however, they may be at odds.  Kicking someone’s ass in a bar fight because you felt they insulted you is a great example of hard masculinity, and an utter failure of soft masculinity.

Soft masculinity without hard masculinity leads to pacifism and aestheticism.  Hard masculinity without soft masculinity leads to thuggery and barbarism.  A man needs both, for one without the other is nearly useless.

Soft masculinity can be thought of as control, discipline, and dominance.

Low Masculinity: Low masculinity represents the ability to take care of yourself and satisfy primal urges.  In the modern world, this means having enough self-reliance to be able to go out and make enough money to have your own place and provide for yourself, as well as having the social skills to be able to convince women (or men, if that’s your thing) to have sex with you.

The reason why moving in with your parents after college is considered unmanly is because it’s a declaration that you still lack enough self-reliance to be able to live on your own.  This is also part of the reason why so many men find it emasculating to be fired from their job (the other part has to do with high masculinity, which is expounded upon below).

Like it or not, a man capable of getting laid has a greater capacity for low masculinity than one who is not, all other things being equal.  In this regard, men who advocate ones “notch count” as a measure of masculinity are half-right about a small piece of a bigger picture.  They’re not wrong per se, they’re just missing a lot.

Skills like being able to change a tire and live off the land are considered masculine because they directly increase a man’s ability to take care of himself.

High Masculinity: If low masculinity is the ability to satisfy your primal needs, then high masculinity is the pursuit of a higher purpose.  This could be as down-to-earth as taking care of a family and children, or something more akin to conquering a huge empire.  Just as a boat without any means of propulsion is really just a large buoy, a man without a higher purpose to strive for can never be described as a “real man”.

The second reason why it is considered emasculating for a man to lose his job is because it interferes with his ability to provide for his family.

The archetype of high masculinity without low masculinity is the starving artist, making beautiful music or divine paintings but forever being a dependent on others.  Think Vincent Van Gogh, although annoying hipsters living off trust funds often fall into this category as well.  Low masculinity without high masculinity is the realm of the hedonist.  The so-called “schism” in the Manosphere is just the debate over whether high masculinity or low masculinity is a more valid measure of a man.

Granted, the labelling of these terms as “high” and “low” would normally imply a moral judgement.  This is not, however, the case here.  Just like with hard masculinity and soft masculinity, you need both high masculinity and low masculinity to truly be “manly”.

The takeaway message one needs to realize here is that many if the ideas that people subscribe to as to what composes masculinity are incomplete, and are part of a larger whole.  The pieces need to be balanced in order for the whole to be complete.

Strength

Control

Self-Reliance

Purpose

If anyone of these is lacking or dysfunctional in some way, then masculinity begins to wither.

Given that this is a fairly brief summary of my thoughts on the matter, it would seem prudent to examine each piece of the puzzle in more depth in future posts.  Look for that in the coming weeks.

SEMPER VIRILIS