The Necessity of a Neoreactionary Doctrine
By Arthur Richard Harrison
In the early days, neoreaction did not need an articulated set of doctrinal premises: we all knew each other (again, at least as much as anyone can know anyone else online), and we knew who was who. We knew who was in and who was out. And there was no one, really, who wanted to be ‘in’ but was rejected by a significant percentage of us.
Now, however, our movement numbers in the hundreds at least (gauging by my number of Twitter followers; it’s possible there are many more that I am not aware of) and we dont, and indeed cant, all know each other on anything like a personal level. Moreover, we are not all going to get along, realistically speaking. It wouldn’t be beneficial in any way to name names or talk about specifics, but I can assure all my readers, from experience, that there are already people in the neoreaction who have all kinds of personal problems with each other.
If our movement, then, is to remain a meaningful, purposeful school of thought or even broad collection of schools, we need some kind of doctrinal agreement. Social bonds are not enough to hold together a group of this size. And if we dont have anything in common in terms of goals and/or methods we’re not a meaningful grouping.
Now, we must avoid stating this doctrine too narrowly. I would not claim, for example, that one must be a traditional monarchist to be a neoreactionary. However, one certainly cannot be a democrat and be a neoreactionary. If neoreaction is allowed to be transformed into a pro-democracy movement, a great deal of work will have been for nought.
I dont intend to attempt to articulate the definitive neoreactionary doctrine here; a great deal of work has been done on that already by Michael Anissimov. Also, it’s not quite the same thing, but some related work has been done by Bryce LaLiberte in his ‘Neoreactionary Canon’.
Rather, my point here is to underscore the need for those of us who are established voices in the neoreactionary world to agree on at least a few of the basic doctrines that distinguish us from the other ideologies now circulating. Let us learn from the history of American traditionalist conservatism. Against the Communist threat, traditionalists made a deal with the neoconservative/libertarian devil under Reagan. They were absorbed into ‘movement conservatism’, and have never recovered. A similar phenomenon occurred in the UK under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Something similar could very easily happen to neoreaction. There are a number of ways it could go, but here’s one possibility: A socially-leftish ancap reads a little Moldbug. He then decides to import his ideas of ‘anti-racism’, ‘anti-sexism’, ‘anti-transphobia’, and the like into the general framework of something like Moldbug’s Patchwork (which, after all, bears some resemblance to Ancapistan.) He talks a lot about ‘exit’ and he emphasises the ‘CEO’ model of rulership over the royal model. \ He then sells this ‘new neoreaction’ as the ‘moderate’ or ‘rational’ form of the ideology, more palatable to progressives as it is to a great extent either compatible with their own ideas or impotent to oppose them. As a result, genuine neoreactionaries are marginalised and dismissed as ‘extremists’ even within neoreaction.
Make no mistake: this will be attempted. Something very like this is happening as we speak. And unless we can clearly identify, to each other and the world, who is and is not a neoreactionary, we will be incredibly vulnerable to all manner of entryism and subversion. The only way to mark our borders is with a shared doctrinal core. I may attempt to contribute to that core at some point in the future, but for now I think Anissimov has done a decent job identifying the main points, and I hope that I have done a decent job explaining why it’s necessary.