Off-Topic for Me: What is Neoreaction?

Mostly via Free Northerner’s (who has graciously linked my posts on many occasions) Lightning Rounds, I sometimes come into contact with the writings of folks who call themselves NeoReactionaries; shortened as “NRx”. At times, and in other places, I have disparaged the movement’s authors and works; particularly after the “Gnon” crap surfaced. You’ll have to look elsewhere for the (poor) explanations of it.

Over the last several months I have seen an increase in posts attempting to describe and unscribe what NRx is. In truth I have read more than once that there is not (or should not be) a NRX movement. Whether it is a movement, philosophy, posture, or whathaveyou: You know what I mean, and if you don’t then you can talk to me about it in the comments. While only the core NRx guys (NBS, FN, SP, Bryce, etc.) can tell you what NRx is supposed to be, I can only tell you what I see.

Neoreaction is Reformation. There’s more science, and more ritual (natural, as there is a lot of Roman Catholic NRx-ers), and a little too much Otaku, but it sure looks like Reformation to me. Of the historical figures who could recognize NRx as a thing after suffering a space-time vortex displacement, I would put Thomas Cranmer at the top of the list.

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20 thoughts on “Off-Topic for Me: What is Neoreaction?

  1. NRx is a subversion, weakening, dumbing down, and atheisising of Christian Reconstructionism as reconstructed and promoted by John Rousas Rushdoony. NRx is weak, pale piss-water compared to Rushdoony’s robust, strong, Bible based writing.

  2. I have an odd perspective here, but I think it’s a good one.

    Of all the things NRx does not want to be, Reformation is near the top of that list. The thinking is that: entropy happens, and institutions can’t be cured, and rather than reform existing institutions, the thing to do is to create new ones.

    The problem is that, uh, what do you create new institutions around? NRx is basically anti-democracy and so a political party is out of the question. The really (charitably I will use the term “naive”) have floated the idea of creating a religion to bind society together. A Mens’ Improvement Society exists in some form as Phalanx, but I’m apparently the only member in the Bay Area, so, yeah.

    Nevertheless: Nrx has managed to purge itself of many modern falsehoods, and they are sufficiently general that dispelling them gives a good viewpoint of other things.

    I don’t know if NRx the people will be able to refrain from a movement and the problems attendant thereto, but I do think there’s much to be gained at least from reading some Moldbug.

  3. @Mycroft

    Don’t hold back next time. Just let ‘er rip…

    It is possible that the current NRx is nascent Reconstructionism…not that such would make me happy.

    Myself, I do not think OT laws should be brought back; as Rushdooney favored. They were once imperative and indicative. Even then grace, which is Christ’s to give, reigned, as he was already anointed to rule. As evidence: King David was spared from death. Now, freed by Christ, the OT law is indicative alone. Those who do not submit to the law of the spirit are to be turned out, and their “allies” of the world will destroy their bodies.

    @SPDI

    Of all the things NRx does not want to be, Reformation is near the top of that list.

    It is one of the hilarious truths about life: If you aim at what you don’t want, you will hit it.

    I’m not against the NRx guys (except the Gnon crap. Can’t say that enough.). As a Protestant, Reformation isn’t a dirty word for me. The fact remains that the aims (truth, purity, clarity, in thought and practice) of the folks of the Reformation, and the aim of the folks of the NRx are synonymous. The Cathedral came out of the cathedrals; by both some of those who went out from it and those who chased them out of them. As far as I am aware: The issues coming from the Protestant side have been roundly criticized (rightly and wrongly), but the issues of the chasers is not addressed…ever. And they have a lot for which to answer. For example: Why are the strongholds of leftism so often found cheek-by-jowl with high church congregations? Things like that.

    If NRx is ever going to go anywhere, there’s going to be decades of humble-pie eating contests on all sides.

    @lgrobins

    No chicks here. See “A Grace for Men” for more.

    @Kidd Cudi

    We shall see how it develops.

  4. @Cane Caldo:
    ”As far as I am aware: The issues coming from the Protestant side have been roundly criticized (rightly and wrongly), but the issues of the chasers is not addressed…ever. And they have a lot for which to answer. For example: Why are the strongholds of leftism so often found cheek-by-jowl with high church congregations? Things like that.”

    It is especially pertinent(At least among the Moldbuggians) that they blame the reformation for unleashing a whirlwind of left-ward drift previously kept under wraps by the Roman Catholic church. And after Calvinism the Puritans inherited the Calvinist impulse and through holiness competition end up being holier than Jesus, becoming apostate and leftist in the process. It is frequently referenced or argued that the modern day progressives are the direct descendants of the puritan memeplex.

    I do not however buy that argument and a few others do not either:
    https://praiseoffolly.wordpress.com/does-progressivism-grow-out-of-protestantism/

    http://www.aimlessgromar.com/2014/02/11/the-folly-of-blaming-protestantism/

    https://patriactionary.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/quote-of-the-day-2/

  5. Of what I have read minus the more fanatical racial theories I’m inclined to generally support it. However, and I say this as an obvious outsider, I don’t think it is coherent. There are lots of factions in NRx that I think Northern could explain much better. There are the religious folks (mostly Mormon and Catholic it would seem) and then the Techno-Anarchists. These appear to be the two poles with a few White Supremicist neo-pagans thrown in for fun.

    Of the Mormon/Catholic folks I seem to largely agree with them. The techno-anarchists (strangely given my background) worry me quite a bit.

    As to the reformation leaning tendencies I can see that in the technos but not in the religious.

    Could you explain the problem with Gnon?

  6. @GK Chesterton

    Isn’t Gnon just a placeholder for God among the secularists in the NRx community?

    A symbol of the pitiless forces of nature like entropy and death.

  7. My problem with Gnon is when people who believe in God use it. The word itself represents an agreement to circumvent a discussion about God/not-God, and why a Christian, especially one pouring hours into blogging/arguing on the internet, would ever want to circumvent that discussion is beyond me.

  8. @GKC

    Could you explain the problem with Gnon?

    1. As the name suggests, Gnon has been personified. That in itself is at least lazy and akin to–if not outright–paganism.

    2. Nature and Nature’s God are not the same things. At all. They cannot be fused into one meaningful thing. To merge them in discussion is to pollute and confuse our minds.

    3. God is personal. Nature is impersonal. God can and does move nature for effect. Nature does not move God. Whatever conclusions one draws from nature may tell us something about God. It does not follow that if one understand nature that one “gets” God, or that one can predict God’s reasons and movements, or even that nature will remain the same. After all: God may move it again.

    4. What can the light have to do with darkness? Can two walk together except they be agreed? Can familial, civilizational, scientific, or any other true and lasting bonds be forged by a Christian with a person who chooses to refuse to make distinction between God and nature? No way. First get them into the light, and on the path. Then we can walk together in light towards family, civilization, and knowledge.

    @IW1

    Thanks for those links. Todd Lewis’ post has great content, but needs to be reformatted for legibility.

    One other point of interest: There are currently six Roman Catholic justices in the SCOTUS. In our history there have been only twelve. Is there a correlation to sharp rises of both RC justices and moral decay? If so, what is it?

    Just to be clear: It doesn’t necessarily follow that the RC is bad/wrong in toto if we find evidence that large sectors of the RC community is reliably producing leftists. That could be a case for…reformation. In my view, such would be a vindication of the possible need (or at least the viability) of NRx.

  9. @Cane

    I don’t see NRx as nascent Reconstructionism. I see it as co-opting many of the ideals and ideas of it. But everyone wants to get rid of that icky “Old Testament Law”, so they keep going round and round identifying the problems, but never agreeing on a workable solution. NRx just keep repeating the Rushdoony analysis, but without his Bible based vision of how to improve the situation.

    > Myself, I do not think OT laws should be brought back; as Rushdooney favored. They were once imperative and indicative. Even
    > then grace, which is Christ’s to give, reigned, as he was already anointed to rule. As evidence: King David was spared from death.

    That was Rushdoony’s own position. The Law was from the beginning; so was Grace. The Law is a Law of Love and Grace. To keep the Law, is Love. The New Testament says so.

    > Now, freed by Christ, the OT law is indicative alone.

    Indicative of what? What does “thou shalt not murder” indicate? What does “do not covet your neighbors wife” indicate? Rushdoony had cogent reasons, based on centuries of human experience, why the Law consitution in the Bible works out the best.

    Christians have always had a problem with trying to be holier than God. This is cruelty and oppression, and lays a burden on people that Christ himself never did. Without the gentle rudder of God’s Law, Christian societies, like every other, veer and plunge like drunken men, between extremes of permissiveness, and excessive, cruel holiness spirals.

    >Those who do not submit to the law of the spirit are to be turned out, and their “allies” of the world will destroy their bodies.

    Now you have suddenly added a “law of the spirit” to the mix. Probably because you recognize the need for SOME law. And if not the Law of Moses, of which Christ said “Not one jot or tittle will pass away”, then… why is your “law of the spirit” superior to “natural law”? How is one to know this law of the spirit? How can one verify that a person is following it, as opposed to just making stuff up?

    Without the concrete Law to use as a standard, I have seen that the people who speak of a “spiritual law” really mean THEIR law: do as I say, obey me and do what I feel is right. This is no sort of law I can agree to, when the Almighty has already given a perfectly balanced Law system that is fair and just for everyone, gentle and kind.

    The Law of Moses is called good, just, and the perfect Law of Love in the New Testament. If you break it then, aren’t you being the opposite of good, just, and loving? If you have a path that is guaranteed to be good just and loving, why cast away the Divine Constitution for the sake of “Wherever my feelings lead me”? For, there is a way that seems good to a man, but afterward leads to disaster. And the heart indeed is treacherous.

    The Law was a tutor leading to Christ. If you think you have Christ but live without Law, then you have not approached through the gate, and you have no Christ. The tutor will still lead you, just as it always has.

  10. @infowarrior I saw Gnon as representing the primordial Chaos from which God created the world, and also the machinery of the Universe as God organized and set it in motion. It has its own principles, but is always subject to God’s intervention. As such, it is a useful concept, a polite way to say “fecal matter happens”.

    But @caldo is also right, Gnon is usually a pitiful cop-out by people who are afraid to admit to or say “God”

  11. @Mycroft

    Now you have suddenly added a “law of the spirit” to the mix. Probably because you recognize the need for SOME law. And if not the Law of Moses, of which Christ said “Not one jot or tittle will pass away”, then… why is your “law of the spirit” superior to “natural law”? How is one to know this law of the spirit? How can one verify that a person is following it, as opposed to just making stuff up?

    St. Paul is clear:

    7 Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

    4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

    I don’t write the mail; I just deliver it. See the whole of Romans, and Colossians, and Galatians. If circumcision is law (and it is), and if Paul rebukes those who uphold circumcision (and he does), and if we accept Paul’s instruction as from God (as we do) then we must conclude that obedience to the law (written code) is of no benefit. None.

    More specifically: You picked the easy parts of the law to uphold, which even the pagans held: against murder, against adultery, etc. There is more to the written code Law than that: Hair, threads, foods…and punishments. It is these last which, for the most part, I cannot support and are no longer to be in force amongst humans.

    Without the concrete Law to use as a standard, I have seen that the people who speak of a “spiritual law” really mean THEIR law: do as I say, obey me and do what I feel is right.

    Yes, I’ve seen that, too. We can recognize them.

    The bothersome part about it is that we cannot convict them; we can’t prove to those people or to observers that they are wrong. But with faith it can be no other way, and has been no other way. Job is a good study here. He is called a righteous man; not because he inflicted punishment on his children, but because he offered sacrifices on their behalf that they would be forgiven. He’s a Christ-like figure. In the same way we find the prophets rebuking the priests for not going out into their cities to bring instruction and forgiveness (via sacrifice) together to the people. They are not rebuked for failing to meet out punishment according to the Law.

    Though I believe it would have been better for them if they had even the zeal for that; provided they had such zeal for their own daily lives, as well. They lacked both, and yet they did not forgive their people who also lacked both (demonstrated by several of Jesus’ parables of servants).

  12. I can see Gnon not being taken well by a believer, but there is a sort of discussion of “Gnon” like concepts in that exists in Christianity for a very long time.

  13. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2015/04/22 | Free Northerner

  14. Yesterday I ended up debating someone regarding the Apostle Paul. Now a little background on this. I grew up as a Christian. My mom is the daughter of a Baptist minister and my dad is Assembly of God. They met each other at Bible College. It was my grandfather, my mom’s dad, who married them. So I grew up believing the authenticity of Paul’s apostleship. However, when I came upon Hebrew Roots about a year ago, I ran into some folks who said Paul was a false apostle and taught against the Torah. Well, since I was new to all this stuff, I sort of accepted it while I researched it. Kind of like, “I’ll buy that for the moment” type of thing. This meant testing the very core of my beliefs. So I read and studied their material and literature, but I found it problematic at best. I was able to see that they were taking things out of context. When they found out I wasn’t buying their program anymore, they gave me the boot.

    In my studies, I dug up church history, and examined some Talmud excerpts. So like I said, it was easy to refute the accusation that Paul is a false apostle and that he taught against the Torah. How so? In Acts its mentioned three times that they falsely accused Paul. Let me say that again. In Acts its mentioned three times that they FALSELY accused Paul. This false accusation has continued through the centuries till today. Twisting what Paul has said has been going on since Paul’s day. The thing is, it’s so prevalent today that it even influences how rabbis interpret Paul’s teachings. The rabbis do the same thing that Christians do, which is to take things out of context.

    The apostle Paul, out of all the apostles, was the most educated and the most well versed apostle with scripture. By the time he was 13, he had to be able to quote the entire Torah, at the very least. The other apostles received their training from Yeshua Himself. As my mom would say, the best teacher. The apostle Paul, in today’s world, would probably be a lawyer. Paul could argue and debate with the best of the pharisees. We know from Acts that Paul was a very passionate pharisee. He was pursuing those of this heretical faith, those who were followers of Yeshua, to incarcerate them. He was trying to stop this false teaching about a false messiah. Paul was like the prosecuting attorney. Then, as you know, on the Damascus road, he had an encounter with Yeshua. The apostle Paul continued in his passion and fervency, but now he was on the side of Yeshua. Instead of persecuting the body of believers, he was now one who was equally, avidly, passionately spreading the Gospel. This is where mainstream Christianity says that Paul taught that the Torah was abolished. If that was the case, then Paul would have been guilty of the accusation made in
    [Acts 21:21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.]
    We can read Paul’s own defense in
    [Acts 26:22,23 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.]
    Paul clearly was saying that he taught the Torah and the prophets to the Jews and the gentiles. We have again that Paul said in
    [Acts 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.]
    Again, it is evident that Paul is teaching the Torah and the prophets. So if Acts, the historical account of the apostles shows Paul teaching the Torah, why then would his letters teach that the Torah is abolished? Remember, Paul was accused of just that in Acts on more than one occasion. So either our understanding of Paul’s letters are wrong, or we have a contradiction.

    But then we have Paul’s teachings. This is where people really get tripped up. Now I’m not going to go over all of them. Not even close. 119ministries.com has a nice series on the Apostle Paul. Five parts and growing. So, let me take a classic verse that people massacre.
    [Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.]
    So everyone quotes the latter half of the verse, that we are not under the law, but under grace, which is certainly true. We are no longer under the law. We are under grace. But you have to ask yourself, which law? The problem is that people automatically assume it’s Torah, the law of Moses, that Paul is talking about. But we seem to have forgotten the first half of the verse; “For sin shall not have dominion over you:”. So the first half of the verse is talking about sin, and it’s authority that it has over us. That we are UNDER sin. So now if we continue to the second half of the verse, where Paul says that we are no longer under the law, the “law” that Paul is referring to is the law of sin. Sin, when it’s fully matured brings death. That’s the law of sin. Paul throughout his teachings and various letters always upheld the Torah. Just as he testified in Acts.
    [Rom 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.]
    In the above verse, Paul is making it clear that the Torah is by no means abolished or made void or null. Paul continues and exclaims that we establish, confirm, the Torah.

    So next time you are reading Paul, remember to catch the context. In my studies I have developed what I call (context context context)^2. What does that mean? Simple really. Let me give an illustration. Say your reading from the New Testament, as I mentioned before, you need to get the context of whatever your reading. It might be a paragraph. It might be a chapter. It might be more than one chapter. Just get the context. So where does the squared (^2) come in. Most of the New Testament is pulled from the Old Testament. When Paul was writing, he was doing what the Jews call, midrash. A midrash is simply an expositive teaching. We’d call it a commentary. So the scriptures Paul was pulling from, would obviously be what we call the Old Testament. So here is where the squared comes in. You’ve already got the context of the New Testament passage that you’re reading, but you don’t have the context of what Paul is pulling it from. So now you need to find what Old Testament scripture he’s pulling from, and get that context. Once you have both sets of context, you will have a lot better understanding. Once you do this, then you will see that Paul did not teach against the Torah, rather he upheld the Torah and he taught the Torah.

    I suppose my idea, (context context context)^2, could be extended further, as one looks to the Greek and Hebrew and looks for the context there. Could even do a contextual thematic study on top of the other methods. So it can go as deep as one wants to go.

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