Interview With Reactionary Future Part 2.

RF10

 

What follows is the second and final part of our interview with Reactionary Future.

Part 1:

1: Introduction to Reactionary Future.

2: Political Development and Moldbuggian Influences.

3: The Reactionary Future Blog.

4: Bertrand De Jouvenel and Imperium in Imperio.

5: Alasdair MacIntyre and Modern Moral Philosophy.

 

Part 2:

6: Philosophy of History and Empiricism, Darwinism and Determinism.

7: Disagreements and Confusions.

8: Christianity, Catholicism and the Protestant Reformation.

9: The Patron Theory of Politics.

10: Neo-absolutism.

11: The Future for Reactionary Future and Other Final Questions.

RF1

(Artwork from Reactionary Future.)

 

6: Philosophy of History and Empiricism, Darwinism and Determinism.

IE:

You have taken on some pretty big targets in your writing; for instance, the three “big beasts” of Empiricism, Darwinism and Determinism. Can you tell us why?

RF:

Working from de Jouvenel and seeing his model as correct, it is obvious that a great deal of philosophical thought has been promoted specifically by power. A big clue that this is the case is if the thought system posits something which is incoherent by its own standards or just trails off into nonsense. All three of these “beasts” do just that. Additionally, it is clear anarchistic ideas are absolute catnip to power. Power itself is never under threat from these anarchistic notions as it is always behind it. Anyone trying to turn these systems upon power simply loses funding and cover.

Empiricism asserts that the observer is stage one. This is absurd. We can only perceive the world from a framework which is given to us by language and tradition. What empiricism is good for is rejecting that tradition. The minute you turn empiricism on empiricism, it just collapses into idiocy. This is the same with Darwinism. Darwinism cannot account for the direction of evolution (which people always conflate it with.) Its reliance on random mutation doesn’t really make sense and in a way you can see how Darwinism, just like empiricism, and also modern ethical systems like Kant’s, are parasitic on an underlying system which they can’t account for. Darwinism is parasitic on an evolution which it can’t account for (hence its basic boiling down to “it’s all random”,) empiricism is parasitic on a tradition and language which is already there, and ethics such as Kant’s are parasitic on an ethical system already in place. It can’t tell you what actions to initiate, but only what actions are good once presented to it. Determinism meanwhile is again nonsense on stilts. It is when you find such idiocy which is self-refuting that you can see power’s finger prints.

This is all a big step to take though. Not only does Jouvenel allow you to see that much of what we have as sacred cows are gibberish, but that it only exists because of power conflict. It’s liberating, but also disturbing.

IE:

A few follow up questions:

1: Did you reject empiricism, Darwinism and Determinism before you read Jouvenel or after?

2: Is Jouvenel the main reason or do you have independent arguments that you would use to reject them?

3: If Darwinism and Determinism are useful for Power (because it completely undermines the Christian worldview say) how would you account for the fact that many secular progressives struggle with them as well? For example, why would Pinker write the Blank Slate or Dennett have a title like Darwin’s Dangerous Idea?

RF:

1: I had no reason to reject them before. It is only from the platform of Jouvenel that their role in power, and their evident intellectual vacuity, becomes clear. 2: yes. 3: Intellectuals are always working on specific aspects of a thought system and developing it, often in some nominal opposition to it, the true test is how much traction they get. Ultimately they will get no traction unless some power center needs them to undermine the current order, then they will suddenly find they have a megaphone in their hands.

 

7: Disagreements, Confusions and Critics.

IE:

You have repeatedly criticised and, on Xenosystems, clashed with Nick Land. Why?

RF:

I object to the project he has run which has been a waste of time and energy. This is especially the case after I realized that the Cathedral concept and all of the analysis which is clearly correct in Moldbug’s writing has an underlying basis in Jouvenel. This makes Land’s attempt to restart republican division of power absurd. He is trying to use an argument denouncing division of power to posit a new division of power, only with more solid blocks, but this is itself wrong because law cannot govern. I will grant it is very much in line with Jouvenel’s sentiments though.

I think the discussion on that point has moved on though, because I don’t think he has any care to engage with the arguments of Jouvenel, and he is quite comfortable in his position. When faced with logical contradictions he will revert to rhetorical slurs. These slurs get quite funny at times, especially the claim that absolutism is advocating some King Canute style sovereign. Just consider this, working from de Jouvenel the entire point is that those in positions of power are not only penned in and controlled by nature, but also by their social positions within the web of power centers which makes his rhetoric absurd. The entire thing is an attempt to study the effects of the environment on Power! In comparison, the liberal conception of Power (his) is simply 1) get into power 2) do whatever you want 3) we need to block the actor at step 2! In his conception, power can master all of reality. This gets even better when you consider the claim of AI/ Bitcoin governance. This is supposed to be code/ AI which is so powerful it doesn’t care about anything – it just runs its code! But this is all a waste of time, there are really only two games in town now – Jouvenel, and all the rest.

IE:

1: So there are two areas of disagreement here correct? One is the cause of the “Cathedral” or “Modern Structure” etc. Secondly, you disagree over solutions, which for Land is some sort of republicanism.

2: One of the errors we consistently see, both in Land, and in many others, is that political history and cultural development is just “spontaneous” or “anarchistic” – that there is no central power behind it, a position you attack strongly based on your Jouvenalian assumptions.

In addition, there seems to be particular confusion over Moldbug’s  “crypto-Calvinist hypothesis” or the “puritan hypothesis”. The false dichotomy revolves around arguments over whether or not Christianity is responsible for progressivism or, say, the “Jews” are – no mention of Jouvenel. Can you comment on this?  (Jouvenel’s general explanation is extended by Moldbug to account for progressivism.)

RF:

There is no Jouvenel in their analysis, they have just taken the concepts – that progressivism derived from Christianity, and that we have a ruling blob called the Cathedral – but then back filled them with individual centered accounts of societal formation and not power center accounts. This is basically a version of nominalism. Land and Hestia are nominalists, but Hestia keeps releasing interesting heretical posts so it appears very schizophrenic.

This is pretty strange, as what the Cathedral is, is Moldbug using Jouvenel as a framework to view our claimed “democratic” society and showing that it fits like a glove – it cuts out all the noise and we can see the monster directly. Jouvenel predicts and the current system confirms. Crypto Calvinism is a little more subtle, yet still within the frame, and this is where Macintyre helps. Moldbug’s account was rough, but basically correct. Power conflicts create culture and culture can only develop from given traditions. So not only is it not surprising that progressivism developed from Christianity, but blatantly obvious. One of the keys for allowing us to believe the claim that it is not is that progressivism and the Enlightenment claimed to have developed first principles not dependent on tradition. Consider Descarte’s radical doubt or Kant’s categorical imperative – none of them work, but each time the same claim is made that we can base our ideas on abstract grounds that all right reasoning individuals can assent to. It’s a total fraud.

MacIntyre calls this fraud and draws our attention to the continuity between pre-Enlightenment thought and post Enlightenment thought. I mean, Kant managed to claim that his ethics were abstract and universal yet they somehow confirmed the Lutheran Protestant ethics of 17th century Prussia? Really? Or again, Descartes managed to reason from radical doubt yet was using French and Latin to think – a French and Latin indelibly marked by categories created by his given culture, which was Christian. It would be interesting to literally provide an etymological breakdown of every word he wrote in to really hammer home how absurd his central claim is. MacIntyre is pretty scathing on this mythical modern first principle and this is where he adds exponentially to Moldbug. He really fleshes out what it means for our society to be a derivative of Christianity. He pretty much completes the concept Moldbug was groping towards.

IE:

It is no secret that you disagree, fundamentally, with the Hestia Society; why?

RF:

I have no idea what their position is on anything anymore. You can get a different position from each person. There are hints some are going down the Jouvenel route, but I have no idea generally. We will see.

 

 

8: Christianity, Catholicism and the Protestant Reformation.

IE:

Are you a Christian? Would you accept the argument that Catholicism (or even Christianity itself) is a potent source of Imperium in Imperio? How important was the Protestant Reformation? You have a revisionist theory of the Reformation, what is it?

RF:

Not a Christian. Yes, Catholicism has been the birthing ground of imperium in imperio in its modern form. I am following some trains of thought on this, and it is looking pretty grim. Following de Jouvenel it seemed obvious to me that Protestantism/ the Reformation was power led, and William Cavanaugh’s The Myth of Religious Violence confirms it. Following on from that it seemed that some of the thinkers that Protestants worked from (remember they were Catholics) would have been promoted as well by power, and this is what we see. First Filmer gave a strong indication of this by directing criticism at Suarez and Bellarmine for playing high-low in Patriarcha and then I find that Larry Siedentop has followed this process in some detail in his book Inventing the Individual. Siedentop basically presents the Catholic Church as acting as a parallel power structure in internal conflict within itself, and then external conflict with the secular authorities. Medieval Europe was a battle royale of high-low.

Given the above, I don’t merely have a revisionist history for the Reformation, but also for European history. The Reformation wasn’t as great a break as has been claimed. It was merely the victory of secular institutions over the Church using the same tactics and thinking of the Church which were being promoted to undermine secular authority. They out-“Christianised” the Church. It was basically the promotion of Franciscan theology, which MacIntyre also notes with the fact that all modern ethics are merely secularised voluntarism. So the likes of William of Ockham (Franciscan) who were so influential didn’t develop their idea out of thin air, they were hyper Christian, way, way out there Christians. Siedentop has this down quite well, and also John Milbank has written on it. This hyper individual Christian belief based on larping as Christ with no property but my own self then gets judo flipped into hyper-capitalism “muh homestead labor theory.” It’s hilarious.

Jouvenel really does provide a framework in which things like the Reformation and the Enlightenment then become visibly fraudulent because we can follow the institutions and the thinking backwards and tune out the noise. This noise is the belief that these ideas pushed events, as opposed to being pushed by events. Not that I am rejecting a certain circularity in this ideas/power relationship.

IE:

Yes, if Moldbug’s Reactionary Theory of History starts from 1757, you start at the 1500’s, but what about, say, our theory which begins with Constantine the Great (Power) adopting Christianity and formalizing it in order to help secure his power?

RF:

I don’t start at 1500. I assert that this process of high-low is a constant of human political organisation. I consider all culture as being a result of political structure which is something Adam has been working on in his blog with regard to the sacred center.

I have also previously commented on the push back of this to the Roman period. Going even further, it now seems that it can be found in ancient Egypt with the very invention of monotheism. This would imply monotheism is a result of extreme centralisation.

 

 

9: The Patron Theory of Politics.

IE:

1: Your Patron Theory of Politics is, in our opinion, along with Undiscovered Jew’s How Comte Overthrew Marx, one of the best pieces of work in reaction/right-wing blogosphere since Moldbug; in addition to its explanatory potential, why does it matter? 2: Nevertheless, we want to push you a little more on it. Do you think that Patron Theory needs to link up more with Power’s need to centralise in order to fight wars more successfully? For example, one reason that the American Civil Rights movement mattered (to the High) and the West’s use of Africans and Muslim client states and terrorist proxies, was to outcompete the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

More fundamentally, however, the ultimate reason the High make use of the Low (patron-client relationships) is so that the High (central and centralising power) has more power to tax the population and to create dependency on the High which allows the High to more easily field and equip armies for war.

This was our ultimate take away from Jouvenel’s On Power and it is best expressed in the claim, ascribed to Tilly, that “war made the state and the state made war”.

From this then, it seems clear to us that war is the fundamental cause of the growth of Power and largely its sustaining cause. War is the demand and the state is the supply and in order to meet this demand the state via the use of the High-Low mechanism is able to serve this need. Again, like evolution, the long-term growth of Power is not a conscious, controlled process but one that operates almost “naturally”. 

Recently, for example, you and Adam have done work which appears to us to be consistent with the pattern of Power creating institutions and centralising power due to the need to wage war. For example, the recent work done on economics by Adam and you drawing attention to this article on war, capital and markets displays this.

RF:

1: It matters because it retains the underlying Jouvenalian framework and emphasizes its importance. It makes it far harder for nominalists to undermine it. It also provides a consistent societal law which only comes into focus when nominalist conceptions are cast out. Society breaks down into segments (you have put them in a useful categories on your blog) and how these interact is of key importance. 2: Maybe this can be put aside for now because it is a developing area. I can see your reasoning and have followed it myself with the issue of Islam. If you read Ghost Wars you can see the CIA agents and Pakistanis/ Saudis promoting Islamism for this very reason. Islamism (especially Wahhabi Islam) being an equalizing nominalising thought system protected by the power promoting it. The difference in our position is then resting on war as a means, or war as an end. I’m not sure I have seen war as an end being posited by anyone in power.

(Jouvenel) makes it clear that power is a duality. It both seeks expansion and security, as well as claiming to be for the public good. War making is a means. No one builds up infrastructure to go to war for wars own sake, they go to war to further the good of their society. This is why I said this question is one of war as an ends, or war as a means. Beyond this question, I have no argument with your analysis of the role of war in providing major overriding impetus for centralisation and the promotion of high-low wreaking.

IE:

What do you mean by “nominalism”?

RF:

The denial of abstract objects and universals. Land is probably openly nominalist, but the Hestia guys work with nominalist conception and likely don’t recognize it. This point really hit home when I was reading an article by David Ciepley in the Amercian Affairs Journal. What we have with neoliberalism is a thought system which takes the corporation as a legal fiction that cannot really exist, and that is really a stand in for the individuals that comprise it – the shareholders. This is batshit insane, but this a mirror image of the state in liberalism – from where this has been lifted. Just think of Margaret Thatcher and her great Milton Freeman derived nominalist declaration that:

[T]here is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first.

This is a ground up theory. Start with the individuals then build upwards. Just look how people keep trying to present purity spirals in this nominalist guise.

We are dealing with the question of power, and while Jouvenel has strong nominalist leaning, we are dealing in abstracts. True, we are trying to consider the effect on the individuals operating within that role, but it doesn’t mean nominalism – we are fully granting that a government as an entity in itself, with societally encoded imperatives, does exist, and is not a legal fiction for a bunch of self-interested individuals. You can see from the Ciepley article that this nominalism is a wreaking philosophy. It’s designed to break up corporate bodies, and who do you think loves ideas like that? Power.

 

10: Neo-absolutism.

IE:

What is Neo-absolutism?

RF:

As a name, it is a place holder until we get tarred with some derogatory term we can take on. Fundamentally it is a general suite of ideas based on a fairly coherent absolutist ontology. Top down, not bottom up. I think at root is a question which turns on the sovereign authority’s role. In our account, the sovereign authority is the ultimate determiner of what occurs under their control. Under modern accounts, which frankly make no sense, the sovereign authority is a kind of strange thing that just formalises society’s spontaneously developed culture (see the liberal account of law deriving from custom) and which is a kind of parasite. Its presence makes no sense. So we see Locke, Hobbes and the rest trying to square the circle with their ridiculous conceptions of societal formation based on fairy tales and just so stories. Filmer is eloquent on this because he sees that even this custom was merely the regularization of the sovereigns will, and law was the regularization of the sovereign’s decisions. History is firmly anti-liberal. This is not to say that the sovereign is omnipotent, but to say that what occurs within society occurs within the boundaries set by the sovereign, and by his delegates.

IE:

You write that “what occurs within society occurs with the boundaries set by the sovereign.” In other words, the “sovereign” or what has the “sovereign power” is what does the “selecting.”

We want to follow this up, because you and Adam have done work on this topic (see “Auditioning”) which can be accurately called (as we have done) the theory of political evolution by a process of Power selection. Power selects the people and the policy it wants. Can you elaborate on this?

RF:

It is almost tautological but whatever occurs within the purview of a sovereign power is by definition allowed by it unless it objects to it. If I were to promote and organise assassinations of high ranking officials in the Democrat Party I would find police on my doorstep pretty quickly. If I were to promote and organise direct action by black people to smash windows, I would find a shit load of money on my door step from foundations and media officials lining up to grant me sexual favours. This also works with Islam, which is magically exempt from basic civility (as in not murdering people with knives and trucks.) The surreal nature of this suddenly ceases when the origin of our current wave of Islamic theology is noted in the battle fields of Central Asia. The idea of the US being central to Islam just seems so absurd, it doesn’t compute, but with Jouvenel it makes sense. This shit is promoted abroad, that it blows back is a problem to be managed, not fixed. These guys are too valuable as military assets in places where the US needs to keep things broken up. Then they become valuable to power as a form of oppression – immigrant vote blocks ensure the population stays fragmented. Then of course we have business which first provided a demand and pay to bring them in. It’s a multistage collapse, and each time if goes in one direction.

IE:

Patron Theory can be understood as a form of political Darwinism, would you accept this?

RF:

The Darwinistic element is something which I was aware could be leveled, with the political structure being the environment which selects culture, and as you claim, war being a further higher selection point (I would note Dugin adds another similar selection level with geopolitical position,) but I am somewhat wary of the connotations and the potential for derailing the central points that this has. I think it has to be understood on its own terms, not on Darwinism’s confused terms.

IE:

Are you an “American Imperialist” or do you wish to see something more like Patchwork?

What possible method, beyond the obvious, do you think America could adopt a Monarchy? Should America re-join a re-structured British Empire?

RF:

America already joined a restructured British Empire. It was named the international community. It is really astonishing to find quotes from the British side (the Milner/ Curtis gang) which talks about relabelling it as such because the only way to get the Americans on board is to use international rhetoric.

I think patchwork is a misdirection. That thought experiment was an attempt at reasoning out an international system based on rejection of Imperium in Imperio. How it will all fall out is difficult to determine as of yet, and I haven’t got an idea.

 

11: The Future for Reactionary Future and Other Final Questions.

IE:

What do you think the future has in store for America? What possibilities are on the cards? How probable do you think each possibility is?

RF:

Things staying as they are for longer. It’s chronic squalor. Having to watch the same shit over and over with idiots screaming in your ears is pretty appalling.

Restoration. It’s going to happen. I think our current predicament has been exaggerated beyond all reason by the role of the deranged hyper power that is the USA. It seems like it is too cumbersome to act in a coherent manner at all now. It’s still powerful beyond all imagination, but it is a mess.

IE:

What plans do you have for the future?

RF:

I am trying to tie things together into a book. Beyond that, it’s not clear what will happen next.

IE:

1: What is your opinion on Passivism? Do you agree with it?

2: What kind of strategy for restoration do you think could work?

RF:

I’m not sure if I could give a clear or concise answer to either of those questions.

IE:

What do you think about this book, and its theory of how political power really works? The core of his theory concurs with Jouvenel on some key points, but from a different analytical method (political science).

In particular, Mesquita’s “rules for ruling” articulate the logic of the High making use of the Low which results from their position as an “unsecure power” as you describe throughout your work and in in Patron Theory.

RF:

I haven’t read it, so I am not able to give any serious comment. It would seem to be very compatible at first glance, but again, I can’t give much comment.

IE:

Finally, what are your favourite reactionary/right-wing blogs?

RF:

Beside your blog, I only read Adam’s now. All the rest are too disparate and intellectually discordant. Everyone is running on their own philosophical, ethical, political systems. Merely pooling around the banner of being anti-leftism isn’t worth a thing.

IE:

If you could have a dinner party with five men from history, who would you, choose?

RF:

Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Napoleon, and Julius Caesar.

IE:

What are you most worried about and why?

RF:

Chaos.

IE:

What are you most proud of in your work?

RF:

The Journal.

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(Artwork from Reactionary Future.)

Reactionary Future’s original blog is here, his new blog is here, his journal can be accessed here and his Reddit page, where he and Adam can be engaged, is here.

 

 

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “Interview With Reactionary Future Part 2.

  1. Well, that was interesting, but more I disagree with than agree. Pros: no Puritan hypothesis. Cons: reductionist realism/idealism (?).

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  2. When somebody’s argument consists of denouncing nominalism, I give up. While arguing about the existence of abstract universals is an interesting parlor trick, I do not think it has anything to do with why the West is so screwed up in the Current Year.

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