By now, anyone who still browses by this blog is already aware of the Dark Enlightenment or Neoreaction (Here in TVOHville, we'll call it DE/N for short). Other than things aren’t going well tone, I can’t say my knowledge of the phenomenon is all that much. It has been noticed and has enemies bent on suppressing it. The enemies of DE/N seem a smarmy lot and make me want to join the defenders for that.
A recent example of someone who is going after DE/N in a hysterical tone is a Jamie Bartlett. The title says it all, Meet the Dark Enlightenment: sophisticated neo fascism that's spreading fast on the net.
Decades ago, while wasting my youth, I had a job that led me to interact with the denizens of an academic swampland. They worked at the same place while going to school. Most were just interested in making some money while getting the degree. There was a subset that seemed to live for politics. They were far to the left and uber politically correct long before the term PC had been invented.
Not at all a serious fellow, neither was I shy. I would engage with them with the idea of having some fun. It was easy to notice they were probably to the left of Pol Pot, but imply they might be a tad to the right of the Cambodian fellow and they had to defend themselves. When they would say something, if you could artfully suggest they held a position that might be “fascistic” you could get to them. I had some fun, but I was on the wrong side of history at least in an employment sense. They all seemed to eventually get jobs either in the bureaucracy or some group identified by initials.
Mr. Bartlett has the tactic down. Call them neo-fascist and what can they do? The lovely thing about the tactic is that in common parlance, no one defines fascism. When someone like Jamie uses the term, he means not that they are a follower of Mussolini. What he intends is that they are meanies and bad people.
He kind of admits it here,
The philosophy, difficult to pin down exactly, is a loose collection of neo-reactionary ideas, meaning a rejection of most modern thinking: democracy, liberty, and equality. Particular contempt is reserved for democracy, which Land believes "systematically consolidate[s] and exacerbate[es] private vices, resentments, and deficiencies until they reach the level of collective criminality and comprehensive social corruption." The neo-fascist bit lies in the view that races aren’t equal (they obsess over IQ testing and pseudoscience that they claim proves racial differences, like the Ku Klux Klan) and that women are primarily suited for domestic servitude. They call this "Human biodiversity" – a neat little euphemism. This links directly to their desire to be rid of democracy: because if people aren’t equal, why live in a society in which everyone is treated equally? Some races are naturally better to rule than others, hence their support for various forms of aristocracy and monarchy (and not in the symbolic sense but the very real divine-right-of-kings-sense).
So the philosophy is kinda hard to define and then he defines it. Maybe he is right as I have been following it only lightly. What I've gotten out of it is that democracy is not god, equality is impossible, but liberty is okay.
It appears to be popular among people who have stopped feeling libertarianism. It is obvious that if most people have a choice of greater public benefits at the expense of freedom, that will win the day in a democracy. Recognizing that is hardly fascism.
My read is most DE/N types want a system that allows the maximum freedom while maintaining order. In no sense could that mean a totalitarian system such as the German form of socialism that ended in 1945 or the Soviet form that imploded in the late 1980s, early 1990s. A supposedly educated man such as Mr. Bartlett should know that. Either he is cute or his thought processes are deficient.
I live not far from another academic swamp now (we have no lack of them in the Northeast of this nation). I remember when Palin was nominated. The sea of progressives that inhabit the town thought it high culture to repeat the latest Palin joke. I think this explains much about Bartlett. His type is quick at getting the talking points, but have nothing really other than the throwing of mud.
The followers of the DE/N are no danger to the current order. There is no chance they can garner a mass following. Unlike Marxists, National Socialists or Fascists, they have no desire to build a mass movement. The simple slogans of totalitarians would, one would guess, disgust them.
That is probably not what bothers him. We get to the nub of it here,
The neo-fascist bit lies in the view that races aren’t equal (they obsess over IQ testing and pseudoscience that they claim proves racial differences, like the Ku Klux Klan) and that women are primarily suited for domestic servitude. They call this "Human biodiversity" – a neat little euphemism. This links directly to their desire to be rid of democracy: because if people aren’t equal, why live in a society in which everyone is treated equally? Some races are naturally better to rule than others, hence their support for various forms of aristocracy and monarchy (and not in the symbolic sense but the very real divine-right-of-kings-sense).
He gives away his prejudice. No one is ever allowed to question anything about the accepted policy on racial groups. That viewpoint is understandable, but you know what, it is in its own way , dare I say it “fascistic.” To write off anyone who disagrees with the idea that groups might not be equal without a hearing is the tactic of a Goebbels. Jamie does not argue, he just throws the mud.
To look around you and think that on average, Jews are smarter than the average bear is not unreasonable. It may in the end be wrong, but it does not mean one is donning a sheet. Just the opposite.
To look at Zimbabwe, or the murder rate in post-apartheid SA, or even Detroit and think that some races organize better than others is not without the realm of possibility is rational even if it turns out to be wrong. My own Causcasian run state will face the same deficit problems Motor City is experiencing, just in slow motion. Does that mean white folks can organize. Maybe yes, but most pale societies crash in the end too.
Now no one thinks the races are not physically different. Why is it insane to think that cognitive differences are not possible.
Whatever the establishment is, the biggest threat to it is itself. In this country, life is, you could argue, not as good as it once was. The manufacturing jobsthat allowed for the raising of families are few and far between. Retirement is getting to be problematic for more and more people approaching that age. Maybe bludgeoning a theoretical opposition will solve those problems.
The voice of humility is not a neoreactionary if only because we don't believe there is a system of government that works forever. Past golden ages were probably not all that golden for many. We would not disagree that our society appears on a downslope culturally and economically. The possibility that a just constitutional order is on the cards does not appear likely. We live in hope.
If Mr. Bartlett is right, it is by accident as he did rationally argue his points. Someone else will have to do that. It's early in the bash the DE/N game. So expect a lot of mud to be thrown. In the realm of ideas, DE/N is ahead because the opposition has tendered none.
Is there a Cathedral? Don’t know. tvoh went to the Demos website. To their credit, they are transparent about funding. That may have something to do with Brit disclosure rules, but let's not quibble. The funders are lots of banks and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament as well.
We know how that worked out."Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land."