Having reread the first three months of Mencius Moldbug’s “Unqualified Reservations” blog, which started in April of 2007, it’s become more and more obvious that Neo-Reaction is simply Bush-era Neo-Conservatism rebranded to appeal to what was, at the time, a growing anti-neo-conservative movement in the Right.
The neo-conservatism of the Bush era had become discredited. The Iraq war, a wildly successful Israeli project, had destroyed Iraq (as was intended) and American sentiment had turned firmly anti-war.
Increasingly, the white libertarian movement, centered around Antiwar.com and Ron Paul, openly defied neo-conservatism and turned isolationist. The Israel lobby was increasingly under public scrutiny, thanks to the new popularity of the internet which provided a mass platform able to break the mass media monopoly. You know, the, er, “liberal” media.
So, Mencius Moldbug starts his free Google blog. Within four days he is being linked by mainstream media neo-conservatives.
Curtis Yarvin’s chutzpuh is pretty amazing too. Early on he trashed Matthew Yglesias for taking paid writing gigs for a “normal” publication, bloviating about how, in the age of free blogs, anyone getting paid to write for someone else was a shill.
Now, of course, Curtis Yarvin is writing for the Claremont Institute, a neo-conservative arm of “the Cathedral” started at Claremont McKenna College. Founded by students of Harry V. Jaffa. Jaffa was close friends with William F. Buckley (of course.)
Jaffa spent his career promoting the “ideals of the Declaration of Independence” especially the idea that “all men are created equal.”
Part of Yarvin’s gimmick is that the “libs” are all “Progressive Idealists” which is just a secular form of Calvinism.
But Yarvin’s supposedly profound takedown of “Idealism” – and his note that “democracy” is considered “good” while “political” is considered bad – is just first year rhetoric. It’s literally high school debate level stuff.
All of Yarvin’s breakdown of “Idealism” can be summarized by the wiki article:
A glittering generality (also called glowing generality) is an emotionally appealing phrase so closely associated with highly valued concepts and beliefs that it carries conviction without supporting information or reason. Such highly valued concepts attract general approval and acclaim. Their appeal is to emotions such as love of country and home, and desire for peace, freedom, glory, and honor. They ask for approval without examination of the reason. They are typically used by politicians and propagandists.
Yes. “Democracy” is the glittering generality, and “political” is the opposite. I can’t recall the clever phrase for “opposite of a glittering generality” – perhaps a “lusterless locution?”
Moldbug’s gimmick was to convince his fans that his analysis of progressive claptrap of the kind spewed out by the professors at Harvard was an actual, substantive ideology as opposed to self-serving rhetoric. And that these neo-Calvinists at Harvard really believed in “democracy” as “the will of the people” as opposed to electioneering via mass media as a means of manufacturing consent.
In other words, Harvard isn’t run by self-serving and self-interested, er, “non-Calvinists” using base level propaganda, but is instead run by self-deluded post-Christian fanatics hardly different than their witch-burning great-grandparents.
I mean, George Orwell said it better in “Politics and the English Language” – a great piece I read literally in 12th grade.
The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements like “Marshal Pétain was a true patriot,” “The Soviet press is the freest in the world,” “The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution,” are almost always made with intent to deceive. Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, liberal, reactionary, equality.
It’s interesting too, that in one of Moldbug’s famous “thought experiments” he lays out his ideals of “neo-cameralism” in an essay devoted to “what to do with Iraq.” It just so happens to coincide pretty directly with the Yinon plan.
Of course, the immediate smear is going to be that I’m somehow accusing Yarvin of directly working for PNAC or something. Of course not. It’s just that Yarvin – a Zionist and a self-identified Ashkenazi – intellectually swims in that same milieu.
In fact, Yarvin’s famous “Plan for Iraq” is not altogether different that what Noam Chomsky proposed as his “ideal” anarcho-syndicalist utopia. Which just so happens to also be extremely compatible with the Yinon plan
Imagine that, Chomsky and Yarvin being so intellectually compatible, at least in their plans for the, er, non-Ashkenazi people. After all, it’s dangerous for “Gentiles” to have a nation-state with closed borders geographically bigger than Israel.
Ten years on, with some hindsight, it’s pretty obvious what Yarvin’s “neo-reaction” was, just like it’s obvious what Noam Chomsky was.
The pattern reminds one so much of the classic TOO essay, “Why Mahler? Norman Lebrecht and the Construction of Jewish Genius.” You can observe the pattern on Moldbug’s original blog, in the career of Noam Chomsky, and in the recreation of Gustav Mahler from “a relatively minor figure in the history of classical music at mid-Twentieth Century, into the cultural icon of today.”
Gustav Mahler, Noam Chomsky, and Curtis Yarvin are talented, but otherwise forgettable, figures that are circled by Jewish commenters and writers who constantly declare their “genius.”
Sadly, you can see this in action quite recently at AffirmativeRight.blogspot.com, where Colin Lidel, for some reason, decided to publish the mediocre Israeli hasbarist “UtterContempt” and got rewarded by a half-dozen Jewish commenters declaring how “brilliant” he is.
Most of us would never had perceived their “genius” unless a bunch of Jews – posing as a random assortment of disinterested observers – explained it to us.
It’s just the fallacy of an appeal to popularity, at its base. This particular group is particularly good at it, because they are highly ethnocentric and well organized.