Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Neoreaction: Right Wing Postmodernism Pt 2

Suppose one had a world view characterized by Wikipedia's definition of postmodernism, "an attitude of skepticism, irony or distrust toward grand narratives, ideologies and various tenets of universalism, including objective notions of reason, human nature, social progress, moral universalism, absolute truth, and objective reality" and instead insisted on the primacy of identity and society in a manner that precluded a universal truth that would be binding on all of humanity.

Alongside this you cultivate an extreme distrust towards the social structures within which you lived.  You regard these structures as inherently dangerous to the identity group to which you belong, and indeed to all distinct identity groups to which people could belong, and this was a serious threat because on some level, you realize that identity is fundamental to human nature.  You live in a society that is inimical to your race, nationality, culture or religion and privilege other groups at the expense of yours.

However, you are nagged by doubts about whether these social structures could ever really be defeated, however much you might want them to be.  Perhaps the culture in which you live benefits you materially, or in some other way that you're unable or unwilling to be fully aware of, and this deters the kind of sustained pushback necessary to truly overthrow or separate from it.  Or maybe you can't shake the notion that these social structures are just too strong, and the group to which you belong has passed the point of no return in a terminal decline, and so you approach the whole issue with any of several reactions.  Grim resolve.  A smirk.  A kind of ironic nostalgia.

So as a result, the subgroup to which you belong is characterized by a considerable degree of angst and irony. The popular culture that appeals to you appropriates imagery (or sound or some other form of artistic or cultural creation) from the culture it despises and uses it in a deconstructive or even a subversive sort of way.  To the extent that your identity group becomes politically conscious, it adopts a counter-cultural and adversarial stance vis-a-vis the dominant culture, without pushing things to the point of outright revolt.  You do need the apparatus and institutions of the dominant culture to maintain your standard of living, after all, though you understandably loathe to admit it.

With me so far?  Good.  Now here's the curveball.  You don't live in something like a patriarchy or a colonialist society.  The angst you're experiencing is not as a result of the recent failure of socialism, that grand experiment in democratic egalitarianism, though to be honest it was known to be corrupt and ineffectual for quite some time now.  Indeed, very much the opposite.  Your angst is as a result of the apparent unravelling of western civilization, whether you frame it in racial (white) or religious (Christian) terms.

The society that oppresses you is not marked by an ideology of racial supremacy, but rather an ideology of forced racial integration and contrived egalitarianism.  All around you: in academia, in the media, from the ever swelling ranks of government bureaucracy, and no small number of your family, friends and acquaintances, is repeated ceaselessly an incessant cant stressing the evils of your racial and ethnic group.  Only that group is white and European in origin.  Your identity and culture are being invisibilized under an endless barrage of egalitarian dogmas and smug platitudes stressing culpability for the evils of history.

Like your relatives on the postmodernist left, you feel that the last few hundred years and its insistence on the primacy of reason, universality, the individual, science and progress is a massive sham, and that your race and culture have suffered for it.  But you can't really blame the postmodern devils like racism and patriarchy for the decline of your own race and identity, since racialism, heteronormativity and patriarchy are very much what you actually believe in, were you to be honest. So this kind of rules out postmodernism proper, given its egalitarian implications, though it shares many other elements with what you believe.

So we'll have to call the worldview you've embraced since being redpilled something else.  Maybe ... the dark enlightenment?  Sure.  Why not?  And speaking of red pills, has anyone who's actually taken one made note of Neo's copy of Simulacra and Simulation - a significant work of decidedly postmodern philosophy by Jean Baudrillard when we first meet him in The Matrix?  Isn't it kind of remarkable that one of the neoreactionary movement's most well known metaphors is taken from a film franchise that deals very heavily in postmodernist themes such as reality creation and the distinction between the symbolic and the real?

Truth is, the right wing has been flirting with postmodernism for a while now.  And why shouldn't they?  If all cultures are equal and there's no objective means of deeming one superior to another, than on what grounds can a left that makes multiculturalist claims object to the claims of racial distinctiveness and demands for cultural protectionism made by the white nationalists?  Indeed, it was postmodern cultural relativism that laid the groundwork for a reemergence of white identity politics in the post WW2, post civil rights era.

Likewise, postmodern critiques of the scientific method as being mere ideology or social construct, or at the very least impossible to disentangle from the language, culture, politics and power relations from which it emerges, opened the door for the emergence and legitimization of intelligent design as being the equal of evolution, for climate change denial or for the acceptance of just about any conspiracy theory you can name.  And through its embrace of postmodernism, the left gave up its moral and intellectual right to tell any of these people that they're objectively wrong, and they all damn well know it.  Just try telling conspiracy theorists, white nationalists and religious neoreactionaries they're wrong.  The tone of voice you'll hear when they call you a cuck or a degenerate will sound strangely like the tone you get out of feminists and SJWs when they dismissively insist that you're a white male.

We're all writing our own realities now.  The road to a presidential administration claiming the validity of "alternative facts" in the face of "fake news" can really be said to have begun in the English departments of the 1980s and 90s with claims of "the death of the author" and the "deconstruction" of the western canon to reveal its subtexts of power and privilege.  How appropriately ironic.  Those who once insisted that free and open discourse, especially across racial and gender lines, is really impossible since "all principles are prejudiced" and "all discourse is about power" now find themselves trembling at the ascension to the White House of a man who flaunted all norms of decency and civil exchange across racial and gender lines.  Again, appropriately ironic.

To say nothing of an internet culture that is saturated with mimetic imagery that is used to deconstruct their opponent's political positions - meme magic so called, the ironic appropriation of corporate icons - think McDonald's "Mac Tonight" - synthesised and sampled vaporwave music, cynical youth culture - think 4chan, and even a whole satirical, synthesized religion to rival that of the Spaghetti Monster or the Sub-Genius: the Cult of Kek and its use of Pepe the Frog as a postmodern avatar of an ancient egyptian chaos deity.

All the while, the progressives can only look on with the same kind of horror that traditionalist conservatives did when the western canon and the Christian faith were savaged in the halls of academia and in popular culture alike.  It would be meme magic that would finally deconstruct the deconstructionists.  And good on them.  Quite an impressive feat for weaponized autism.

But many of the outcomes of all of this haven't been so good.  The extremes of skepticism, balkanized identity, cynicism, bitterness and defeatism that were pioneered by the French postmodernists and have gradually migrated across the political spectrum over the last few decades have left the western world hopelessly divided and bereft of either the will or the know-how to sort itself back out again.  Though originally thought of as an antidote to a potential reemergence of totalitarian ideology, postmodernism may well have backfired, and itself become a vehicle for the reemergence of willfully anti-rational fanaticism and hatred, both on the right and on the left.

There are no doubt dark days ahead.

Read Neoreaction: Right Wing Postmodernism Pt 1.

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