Thank you for the informative article on Neoreactionaries. This is indeed a rising political trend and something that would be of interest, even just to observe, by TechCrunch’s readers. Unfortunately, I take some issue with the article, but these issues are not with you specifically.
In particular, I am a bit bothered by calling Mr. Yarvin and others “Neoreactionaries”. As someone who considers themselves somewhat a reactionary character, I cannot stand the idea of being associated with the ideology that Yarvin and supporters proclaim.
Yarvin has done great work by exposing the flaws of progressivism and encouraging readers to return to the old classics like Carlyle and Evola. But Yarvin and the other “neoreactionaries” do not fall in line with the ideas proposed by these classics.
First, the “neoreactionaries” believe that technology and capitalism have improved us, as you point out. This is not in line with reactionary thought, and something that I discuss here. According to the old reactionaries – Carlyle, Schmitt, Cortes, Guenon – the modern emphasis on technology and capitalism is part of the problem. They believe that any movement away from a spiritual understanding of the human condition is one that leads to the current problems of democracy and progressivism. Part of the reactionary critique of the twin evils of democracy and capitalism is that our material interests have been made the supreme decider of things. Our politics, our spiritual life, our actions are all evaluated under a materialistic framework. As Cortes would say, if you ask capitalist questions you will find socialist answers; capitalism and socialism are, under the reactionary’s paradigm, two sides of the same materialistic coin.
Technology is not held in much higher regard. Guenon believed that technological advances were a sign of a decaying civilization; humanity has used up its spiritual and intellectual capabilities and has now turned to burning out its material state of being. Guenon argued that technological advances merely look like advances just as a fire only looks bright as long as it has some kind of substance to burn. Once we burn out this last vestige of creativity, we’re basically screwed.
The loyalty to technology is just the same as a loyalty to democracy; both are religiously believed to solve the challenges of the human condition and do away with political struggle once and for all. See in particular Yarvin’s post on the Dire Problem and his idea of computerized guns. It is all an attempt to end politics, and with it the most important questions humans have ever asked. Under the reactionary view, we cannot solve violence any further than we can solve mortality. People fight because they have deep, primal views about the universe that exist in a world grounded in faith, and conflicting faiths will always conflict. An attempt to stop the conflict is an attempt to stop the faith, which is just a repetition of progressivism’s promise to end fighting by exposing all to the light of reason and democracy.
Second, the “neoreactionaries” have come up with biological, scientific explanations of the differences between people. See in particular your links referencing the genetic differences between races and the God-awful human biodiversity argument. Evola, who largely gets a pretty stern treatment by modern academics, was even opposed to this idea and criticized its existence in Europe during the 1940’s. It is horrendously shallow, insulting, and hardly more than a return to 19th century skull-measuring. The underlying goal, then as now, is to reduce differences to something scientific so that it can be brought under human control and socially engineered. The reactionary adopts a view that states that there will always be different cultures because different communities understand the universe in different ways. An attempt to bring that kind of thing under human control will lead to an attempt at wiping out the opposing culture altogether. The reactionary will point out that the concentration camp is a modern invention.
Third, the “neoreactionaries” merely opt for a capitalistic, democratic competition of governments as per your reference to the competing city-states. I refer you to this article.
In short, a neoreactionary is to a reactionary what a neoconservative is to a conservative. A neoconservative is a progressive with a gun just as a neoreactionary is a modern liberal with an angrier government.