The neo-feudal world and its aristocratic champions striving for trollightenment. Futurist economics without economic mobility and limitless favour for kleptocrats, aristocrats and oligarchs. Mobilisation of people who would in principle benefit marginally from the new order. The “endarkenment” (surely this should be “endimming”?), the new gilded age, right accelerationism. Trolls, Moldbug, etc. The mobilisation of clientelism as the engine of society. Discontents for multiculturalism and tolerance. Are the institutions of a neofeudalist order capable of fostering human progress? Or economic growth? Are they good at it?
The Next American Oligarchy looks at client-patron dynamics in US admissions systems.
An intro from a couple of years back was acb’s quick guide to the Trollightenment:
The latest idea making the rounds of the fringes of the Libertarian Right (and, to be fair, the Libertarian Right is a fractal body that is 99.999% fringe): Neoreaction, also known as Libertarian Monarchism or, among those partial to wearing fedoras and goatees, the “Dark Enlightenment”; the idea that, perhaps, the Enlightenment and the rise of democracy wasn’t such a good idea, and a return to absolute monarchy would be better for freedom.
The Moldbug blog is a fascinating read for its internal market positioning; It’s probably a more compellingly transgressive read if you grew up in the USA without any political studies after your school “civics classes” (is that what they are called?) and have internalised the local oddities of their particular political discourse. I wander what e.g. an Australian targeted one would look like? Surely we have some?
Beyond Alt is a kind of catchphrase megamix:
To understand this new right, it helps to see it not as a fringe movement, but a powerful counterculture.
When did the right wing get so bizarre? […] weirdness, perhaps, is what happens when a movement grows very quickly and without any strong ideological direction — from a disciplined party, from traditional institutions like churches and chambers of Congress, from anything more organized than the insurrectionist internet. […]
Britain, where the idea of free trade was born, is withdrawing from the largest free market on the planet because of fears that national identity and sovereignty are under threat. In France, a reconstructed neofascist, Marine Le Pen, has just won a place in the final round of the presidential election. In the Netherlands, the anti-immigrant right became the second-most-popular vote-getter — a new high-water mark for illiberalism in that once famously liberal country. Austria narrowly avoided installing a neo-reactionary president in last year’s two elections. Japan is led by a government attempting to rehabilitate its imperial, nationalist past. Poland is now run by an illiberal Catholic government that is dismembering key liberal institutions. Turkey has morphed from a resolutely secular state to one run by an Islamic strongman, whose powers were just ominously increased by a referendum. Israel has shifted from secular socialism to a raw ethno-nationalism.
We are living in an era of populism and demagoguery. And yes, there’s racism and xenophobia mixed into it. But what we are also seeing, it seems to me, is the manifest return of a distinctive political and intellectual tendency with deep roots: reactionism.
Reactionism is not the same thing as conservatism. It’s far more potent a brew. Reactionary thought begins, usually, with acute despair at the present moment and a memory of a previous golden age. It then posits a moment in the past when everything went to hell and proposes to turn things back to what they once were. It is not simply a conservative preference for things as they are, with a few nudges back, but a passionate loathing of the status quo and a desire to return to the past in one emotionally cathartic revolt. If conservatives are pessimistic, reactionaries are apocalyptic. If conservatives value elites, reactionaries seethe with contempt for them. If conservatives believe in institutions, reactionaries want to blow them up. If conservatives tend to resist too radical a change, reactionaries want a revolution.
Trial balloon for a coup has a yet-darker take on a hypothetical militarized kleptocracy, based on, you know, recent reality:
[…] if combined with the DHS and the FBI, which appear to have remained loyal to the President throughout the recent transition, this creates the armature of a shadow government: intelligence and police services which are not accountable through any of the normal means, answerable only to the President.
(Note, incidentally, that the DHS already has police authority within 100 miles of any border of the US; since that includes coastlines, this area includes over 60% of Americans, and eleven entire states. They also have a standing force of over 45,000 officers, and just received authorization to hire 15,000 more on Wednesday.)
I’m not a huge fan of framing geopolitical events in conspiratorial terms usually, but it’s worth measuring how far they do wander down this road.
There is a tendency to cite “American Authoritarianism” here, but I’m not totally persuaded by the attached “activation” model of the generation of authoritarian sentiment. More on that when I have actual data to make an actual case. Don’t hold your breath.
Stefano Zorzi, How to beat neo nationalism in 3 moves
This is sort-of about recycling what is convenient from the neoreactionary program, judo style, through re-branded empire rather than toxic nationalism.
I come finally to the nation-state. We are used to taking it for granted, but we forget that this idea established itself barely two hundred years ago. As Elie Kedurie reminded us in his famous essay on nationalism, the fact that we today consider national self-government “the only legitimate type of government” is more a testimony of the success of a concept born in a specific ideological and historical setting than proof of its universal validity.
I’m curious about the relationship between the actual political authoritarianism and one current support base, the angry merely mildly privileged.
More fun is Rachel Haywire’s quiz:
Your friends are discussing social justice. They ask you about your opinion on equal rights for asexual otherkin. You reply by:
A. Getting into a long rant about how “equal rights” are meaningless and how “asexual otherkin” stopped being cool when you signed the constitution with your iron fist. (and then burnt it with your superior mind because it was too current for you)
B. Crying about the death of tradition. Can’t your friends see that asexual otherkin are about as meaningful as a poem written by a random phrase generator? Why do people believe in nonsense instead of religion?
C. Explaining that asexual otherkin are beyond equal rights. Asexual otherkin invented equal rights!
D. I don’t have any friends. Friends are for populists who don’t understand what it’s like to be a soldier fighting alone in this war against the tyranny of equality.