That Word Called ‘Order’

With Googling so ubiquitous today, it’s tempting to find shallow, slogan-level knowledge of every new thing before diving into it for the first time. This is especially true for uncanny politics–‘did you hear about Marxism-Nixonism?’–and it is certainly true for a den of irreverent tricksters like the contemporary alt-right. Otherwise, who knows what a fool they might make of you?

If a curious and intrepid visitor from far afield were coming to Social Matter today, I would guess that their slogan for what to expect might be one of two things. First, an edgier libertarianism–in which case, they’re in for something much more interesting. Second, intemperate and fervent hatred–but a picture of a woman alone in the fog on a skyscraper? It’s the wrong aesthetic. This is a site from which one can quietly look out and over the world. There’s no such thing as Batmanism-Libertarianism, right?

Ideally, a new visitor would come with the idea the right is somehow about ‘order.’ Whether it’s the military, the police, high-finance plutocrats, old church morality, fathers as heads of households, or walls to keep out immigrants, the right is on the side of order, while the left is on the side of license.

But this idea that ‘the right is for order’ is unintelligible unless order is carefully defined and fleshed out. Vocabulary shifts, especially during times of cultural upheaval.

Uncharitable observers say our order is regimentation. They imagine the right organizing battalions of citizens to salute as one, all individuality subsumed into faceless, even ranks. All families forced to be nuclear families constituted in identical, cookie-cutter forms, all homes identical ‘little boxes made of ticky tacky.’ This is not the case; totalitarian order is degenerate order. It is chaos. In the false order of regimentation, all men are given identical places, rather than being given the places that properly fit them. Wherever men can be assigned to duty randomly and interchangeably, that is disorder and chaos.

Uncharitable progressives say our order is stasis. They imagine us trying to freeze society into an atemporal traditionalist culture, with all families eternally revering the same God in the same way with the same mores and the same aesthetics. This is also not what we desire. Static order is also degenerate order. The healthy, organic growth of societal development is never opposed; rather, the continuities of tradition are the foundations of artistic and moral progress. The right seeks to ensure orderly development–and, most importantly, development that is not simply the fluctuation of wild animal populations, but that which brings man closer to perfection, God, or Truth. All true artists work in this way, from Gilgamesh to Homer to Michelangelo to Malick. The alternative would be a society that is continually hacked and cut to prevent growth, stunted like India under the Brahmin. Wherever outcomes are static and divorced from natural possibility, that is also chaos. The link between man and time is broken, splitting men from the world and from consequence.

Whether it is the decrees of God or Nature or inscrutable Power, the philosophy of the right is a philosophy of thriving under conditions set from outside oneself. Without these, reaction properly appears to be a caricature of stasis and regimentation–but the left recoiling here is simply a 5-year-old grossed out by sex, seeing only the possibility of cooties and none of the depth of love.

A virtuous society repudiates order without outside influences, like virtuous men repudiate sex without love. A closed system lives on its own excrement, and perfect autonomy and complete madness are indistinguishable. However, like sex without love is tempting and all too common and callous, closed autonomy is also tempting and also all too common. How much easier it is to be a shut-in with whisky and opinions rather than to raise a family. How much easier, even as a husband, to renounce one’s headship rather than to lead. But lazy sex is no argument against good sex, and lazy order is no argument against good order.

Multiculturalists disingenuously claim that “if order is a matter of fit to the world, then like us, you should respect every way people have found to fit to the world.” Or, “I am the true traditionalist because I respect all traditions.” This self-serving mischaracterization of the right ignores the most final, inarguable, and seemingly obvious way what is outside us orders our lives: through death. The longest tradition of life, long preceding man, is deadly struggle for supremacy. As any gardener or evolutionary biologist knows, pruning is no enemy of growth or antonym to order. Multiculturalism can find a place in reactionary thought as a base for otherwise differentiated cosmopolitan cultures, but universal toleration could never be an essential principle of order. Et in Arcadia ego.

Next, the cynical, nihilist determinists claim that “if order means moving in concert with the world, well, there is only one way for the world to move and we must accept it whatever it is.” Perhaps all human decision-making is supervenient on the unthinking propagation of particles through spacetime. Perhaps there is no free will. In that case, what is the argument? That one is deluded if one seeks any particular goal? But this has no power to persuade–in this case my belief is part of the way that the world is, and so is my resolution to fight for the goal. Is it supposed to change my mind to discover that, to paraphrase the determinist, my choice is the work of Nature or God rather than my own private judgment? Far from it.

I’d be delighted to serve these true sovereigns and delighted to be guided by them deeply. Even granting the unlikely premise of determinism, accepting the world as it is would also mean accepting the apparent conflict between oneself and the rest of the world. Otherwise one finds oneself resisting one’s own obvious convictions–simply a new and different conflict in place of the original.

In both cases, the non-reactionary has incorrectly taken ‘conflict’ or ‘frustration’ to be an antonym of order, which could not be further from the truth. A building ‘rests’ on its foundation the same way that the Berlin Wall could be safer than the Bronx: order is a matter of the balance of forces rather than their absence.

A virtuous reactionary society does not suppress forceful conflict and self-assertion. Limp openness is a funhouse image of the closed autonomy described earlier and no better. Openness means one succumbs to any passing madness, and limpness means one is merely more of the excrement the world recycles endlessly. A society without conflict is sterile, and a society without force is flimsy. Of course, it is often tempting to forgo conflict when it is costly and to be weak when that is easy, but this is no argument: the vices remains vices. One should protect oneself and one’s fellows; the prices of unprincipled appeasement and atrophy are higher in the long run.

Could a preference for order be rephrased as a form of utilitarianism? “Order is matching everyone to what makes them happiest.” One might say, “Disorder is mismatch between duties, abilities, and rewards.”

It has quite a bit to recommend it from a narrow rationalist perspective. First, it turns questions of order into more familiar questions of game theoretic equilibria: for instance order is however we can cooperate most and maximize our complementarities, or order is the way we cooperate least, while still ensuring the greatest liberty, or order is a way to reduce transactional costs and uncertainties. Relatedly, it seems to make the desire for order a nonthreatening problem of calculation: it becomes an optimization with a flexible objective function, and if the objective is up for discussion, then the definition of order is also implicitly up for discussion, as well. The ideological baggage of this order then appears to be defused. The associated worldview seems safe to model as a sterile optimization process without fear of memetic contagion.

However, even if some utility function could envelop the reactionary conception of order, there is little reason to think that that would do any good.

At its heart, the reactionary conception of morality contains a conviction that individuals do not and cannot know what is best.

It requires a game theory in which players never precisely learn the payoffs for actions and do not even know the actions available to them. At best, they eventually learn variable estimates for the payoff of an action someday, and at worst they die unexpectedly years later with no idea of the causal connection–but in fact I spoke too soon–at the truly worst, all of their distant offspring die together unexpectedly, centuries later, with no idea that the action was ever performed and even less idea that it caused their deaths. For better or worse this is the ‘game’ we play.

Likely too late, a rationalist will also find that the optimization problem is not memetically sterile. Thinking about these problems leads down a road to understanding embodied cognition, which leads to intelligence nonorthogonality, evolutionary game theory, which leads to human biodiversity, and rational bias, which leads to virtue ethics and even functional ritual. Grappling with the difficulty of this civilizational calculation problem leads away from individualistic rationalism, just as certainly as grappling with the economic calculation problem leads away from socialism.

So enough. We are not merely utilitarians trying on a more frightening costume.

But is it possible we might still remain progressives behind the reactionary mask? Is our ‘order’ a species of Progress? It’s certainly true that we’re no enemies of less meretricious forms of progress. Order makes room for improvisation, creativity, technological innovation, and moral development. For people who want to make their lives genuinely better, we consider the reactionary lifestyle ideal. But it is better not to compare ourselves on the the basis of this present name ‘progressivism’ at all. It is better to summon forth the left by a string of names that it has worn before: Dissent, Puritanism, Whiggery, Quakerism, Jacobinism, Unitarianism, Universalism, Progressivism, Communism, Multiculturalism.

In every case, it appeals to individual consciences for solidarity as individuals, even across current group lines. It asks new followers to give up their memberships in small inner groups for stronger individual identities in a larger group, and it always moves on by forming the larger group from a inner group vanguard plus whatever outsiders can be converted. The movement progresses by appealing to naive consciences seeking equality in the inner group and avaricious conscience in the outer group; the former uses the latter’s desire for inner group resources as the drive for purges and internal reorganization. Then the process repeats with a new vanguard and new outsiders. The right gloats that ‘the left devours its own,’ but this is a stable part of the lifecycle. It has rarely been a hindrance–certainly never since the American First Great Awakening turned Puritan sons against their fathers.

In the core of contemporary reaction, there is no hint of a centrality for oppressed and spoiled conscience. There is no hint of a call for equality of individuals and universal respect inside the group. The order we call for is not an ordering of morals by inborn conscience, but an ordering of conscience by morals. The goal is not vainglorious, absolute Progress, but humble, tangible development. The existence of progressives mistaking themselves for reactionary is no argument against the reality of this truer core; heresies are always plentiful at the conception of new orthodoxies.

So we are not progressives, then, but one might still find something disquietingly modern about contemporary reaction.

To begin with, however much we read old greats like Carlyle, Froude, and Maine, we cannot help  having also read Darwin, Boltzmann, Schumpeter, Feynman, and Schelling. Whatever the mendacity of liberal ideology, it should be inarguable to an honest man that the last two liberal centuries have provided vast intellectual and scientific knowledge. Given the scale of the changes, it is almost impossible to imagine what a genuinely reactionary society for today’s world would look like. This is why the ‘neo’-reactionary label is used. As stated in the first section of this piece, a true order must fit the nature of a time and its material facts.

It has been 100 years since WWI destroyed the last technologically advanced, yet plausibly reactionary European societies, Austria-Hungary and Russia. Therefore, we are in the uncomfortable position of having to build and experiment. One of the things we experiment with most dangerously is materialism.

The body is physical and physical manipulations have effects on character. This is inarguable and traditional; it was known by older societies, and traditions sprang up to say what foods were good for the soul and for growing strong children. However, the scale of the changes and the rapidity with which cycle in today’s society make traditions learned over generations an unwieldy adaptation. Imagine keeping a traditional diet of milk, eggs, plentiful wheat and vegetables, and occasional meat, but always buying cheaply and from local stores. The animal products would likely come from animals fed antibiotics and unnatural feed. Much of the wheat and vegetables would likely be transgenic or grown with fertilizers and pesticides. These have unknown, often deleterious effects on nutritional content and hormonal influence, and worse, the technologies change so rapidly that even before one understands what their effects on health and character are, they have changed again.

Comparable effects are active in almost every corner of life. The styles of advertising and journalism change so rapidly that a tradition of reading news each morning means something quite different from decade to decade. The march of liberal influence through Christianity can make sticking with just one church for a lifetime a wild ride. Skills such as driving manual transmission briefly seem to be essentially masculine, then quickly become foibles of old men. If we do not appreciate this, then our hopes of restoring order are empty vanity. So, we spend more time than ancient reactionaries may have in terms of thinking about the changes wrought by these things: diet, profession, media, material. We can be confused, wrongly, with material determinists.

However, the challenge of designing environments to support virtue is not solely a determinist’s challenge, as any monk or priest could tell you. Our goal is neither to shape man alone, nor to shape nature alone, but to ensure that the reciprocal influences between man and nature are maximally harmonious and lead to ever greater and deeper harmonies. In the media Cathedral, men’s loud voices encourage others to raise their voices until all is shouting chaos. In a true cathedral, the ceilings absorb the noise from the pews and amplify the voice from the pulpit; the long echoes off the walls keep every man mindful of his disturbances of the peace. Our determinism goes only so far as desiring the latter over the former.

We could now appear to be relativists to the coarser eye, given our confession that we must experiment and try multiple new ways of life. We also have a suspicious interest in patchwork civilizations, in which many societal subgroups coexist despite contrasting laws and traditions. However, there is a deep and firm dividing line between believing that what is best for a people depends on who they are and believing that what is best for that people depends only on what they believe. The former is common sense, while the latter is nonsense.

The particular ways different peoples might require different ways of life are undoubtedly what cause us the most trouble with impolite society, but they also prove beyond doubt that we are not relativists. Sexism is often a proper order. What’s referred to as racism is often a proper order. Slavery can be a proper order. These orders can be subtle enough that outliers from each group would not contradict them, and they can be lenient to encourage outliers in the rare cases they do pop up. The essential problem is to achieve a stable order that reinforces and deepens the best aspects of the group. This discrimination is nothing unusual. For instance, current racist laws keep down Asian college admissions to ensure apparent equality of opportunity among all races. Whether or not this equality is a goal of injustice and disorder, the point is simple: what is normally labeled as racism is in actuality a ubiquitous, unavoidable adaptation to objective differences between human subpopulations.

Individualists may be howling at this point, questioning my focus on societal virtues rather than personal virtues. But man is a social animal. Man’s highest perfections are expressed in friendship, comradeship, citizenship, and discipleship. Without others to serve and to lead, man leads a stunted, poor life, and no amount of individual strength or intelligence will make up for it. Even a solitary writer has his references and his audience, and even Mowgli had his wolves.

It is simply impossible for individuals inside and outside of society, or in different societies, to be ordered in the same way. Feral children do not learn language. Teenagers typically change their characters dramatically in front of different audiences. An adult’s profession will often shape him deeply by middle-age. And after death, a man’s success or failure will be judged solely by his effect on what remains. The individual, without responsibilities, is something only half real; the truth of a man is revealed in his relationships and his duties.

Order must be emergent and collective to reflect the way all admirable people actually live and judge. And what constitutes order in this sense? That conflicts should be minimal and stable, while harmonies are maximal and ever-growing. A clear negative example is the feminist project, which undermines the harmony between men and women while destabilizing the conflicts among men, among women, and between men and women. A clear positive example is the early Christian monasteries, which acted as nuclei for towns, repositories for knowledge, and supports to resettling the countryside after the fall of Rome.

In less obvious cases, there can be disagreement about what is order and what is chaos. There may be a right answer from an objective position, but no human is objective. In practice, good men follow the judgment of those they trust most. In practice, morality is personal choice within the context of a greater system of partially shared trust, partially shared property, and partially shared interests.

The name for this system of shared information, shared property, and shared goals is civilization.

Your earliest virtues come from your parents; your later virtues are developed in school and play; as you learn to read, the sources of guidance become overwhelming in number; as you become an adult, you learn to filter that guidance and rely on wisdom from the few you trust. Throughout it all, you are embedded in a system of reciprocal actions and relationships that you may never trust or feel fully loyal to, but you cannot escape as the frame and ground for all of your choices and values. It contains your parents, your school, your playmates, your books and internet, and your adult friends. Civilization is that system.

This is not the relativist’s metaphysical ‘what is true for one civilization is not for another’ but the concrete fact that what is good in one civilization may not be in another. The truth is often contingent but never relative.

This is enough to have made the most important points. Our order is not totalitarian, multiculturalist, Progressive, determinist, relativist, or individualist.

We are civilizationists. Our order is civilization.

Our reaction is not a matter of fixed, rigid patterns. Nor is it limp-wristed surrender to whatever comes. It is reinforcement and elaboration of whatever good comes from God and Nature along with avoidance and containment of whatever chaos comes. It is not a matter of forcing God and Nature to conform to conscience or intellect, but rather training the conscience and intellect to follow God and Nature. It is morality, not in the sense of a tyrannical law, but in the sense of the virtues identical with human flourishing.

And because human flourishing is a collective, social activity and the best virtues for a people depend on who those people are, we go further.

Reactionary order is a people’s elaboration of itself, their continued hallowing of their traditions, their conquering of new spaces, and their advancement to new heights of wisdom. These are the virtues that constitute order.

Order is morality, and morality is civilization.

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28 Comments

  1. This is excellent, but I would contest the relativist rejection with common sense. Mcintyre in “whose justice, which rationality” has a superb defence against this based on assesing traditions based on their abilities to solve problems. It is summarised to a point here, but its very difficult to explain concisely. http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/10/004-the-virtues-of-alasdair-macintyre and
    http://www.iep.utm.edu/mac-over/#SSH4bi
    I want to explore it at some point when I get the time, but I think the author will find it fascinating from direct reading.

    1. Thank you for your generous comment and the recommendation of MacIntyre. An older Catholic friend of mine suggested After Virtue years ago and I still refer to it. I am sure I would also learn from reading Whose Justice, Which Rationality.

      However, I am having trouble pinning down what you intended to contest as ‘the relativist rejection with common sense.’ Could you please explain that further to me? I would not call MacIntyre’s positions relativist like his conservative critics are alleged to in the ‘First Things’ article, so I didn’t see anything there that I meant to contradict in this piece.

      1. I warned it would not be easy to summarize, but I will have a crack. Here -“However, there is a deep and firm dividing line between believing that what is best for a people depends on who they are and believing that what is best for that people depends only on what they believe. The former is common sense, while the latter is nonsense. ” You skip around the relativist charge by claiming common sense, but this is weak. The weakest part of the whole piece by far (but is redeemed by the end of this comment!). McIntyre addresses this in ‘Which rationality, Whose justice’ by asserting the historical and spatial contingency of the society, and the rejection of a universal standpoint from which traditions and societies can be judged. This is significant, as this cuts modern philosophy and Liberalism off at the root. Note that modern philosophy is in effect Cartesian philosophy, which claims basis from no tradition at all (from the first principle “I think therefore I am” onward, this rejects any contingency of place, person, tradition or time.) The key aspect of this then, is that MacIntyre for his argument must place Liberalism and modern philosophy as a tradition regardless of it’s claims to the contrary – because it has failed to find objective standards and as such is an ongoing discussion with itself by it’s own developed standards of reason and rationality. If it is then impossible to escape tradition (which can be seen as rolling discussion based on certain logic and premises which form the superstructure,) then all questions and ways of viewing the world are contingent on this tradition and the accepted precepts.
        This is starting out from Aristotle’s endoxa and using dialectics to move to a better conception of things (endoxa being kind of tradition if you will – it’s not empirical and it’s not an axiom.) You may derive first principles from endoxa, but these first principles are not fabricated, but they are in accordance with reality.
        So, this far it is asserted that all ways of looking at the world are grounded in tradition/ endoxa until the liberals find that objective standard as promised by the Enlightenment (not holding my breath here.) So what makes one tradition better than another? Well the question is pretty silly if there is no objective standard. Instead, the only way to measure is to do so based on a problem which the multiple traditions may face, and their ability, or inability, to solve the problems given their constituent rationality.
        If faced with a problem which the tradition cannot resolve by it’s own rationality and premises, the tradition is thrown into epistemic crisis, and a solution must be found with creativity, or the tradition is abandoned for one which can deal with the given problem. This is all premised on the correspondence theory of truth, which is a rejection of idealism and skepticism and an acceptance of a reality apart from our mind (which takes you down the Scottish Enlightenment not taken and the “common sense” school (I told you your call to common sense would be redeemed.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Common_Sense_Realism

        1. Ah, good! I am aware of these issues and intentionally elided them. I tried to be careful to say that ‘what is good for different people may be different’ is common sense and that ‘what is good for different people depends only on what they believe’ is nonsense. I hope it is understandable that I was also playing a very particular language game when I wrote that, one in which ‘common sense’ isn’t necessarily simple or universal—especially among philosophers!—and in which ‘nonsense’ may be subtle and difficult to truly refute… especially among philosophers.

          Though I don’t exactly disagree with MacIntyre, I think there remain other ways out of the thicket that I also haven’t ruled out yet. Thus I haven’t committed to full agreement with him, either. Still, I respect his approach and it’s an excellent example of the broader class of philosophies that I would consider to be civilizationist. Though I wouldn’t change the rhetoric of the piece I wrote above to include it, skeptical readers will benefit for having the opportunity to read your more thorough philosophical elaboration of why civilizationism need not imply relativism.

  2. Seconded, an excellent article. Ostensibly this could be a article for outsiders, but perhaps it’s really more valuable to fellow reactionaries— I find this sort of synthesis extremely important. It’s relatively easy to find more exciting puzzle pieces, less so to put them together meaningfully and concisely.

    I hope we can expect more coming soon, Thomas.

    1. Thank you for this warm welcome, Salguod.

  3. ConantheContrarian February 12, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Very, very thoughtful. One thing that I would like for you to consider in your view of ordering society and civilization: the nature of man. As a Christian, I believe Mankind to be fallen, and as such, each person has an inherent wickedness. I like what you say: “Our goal is neither to shape man alone, nor to shape nature alone, but to ensure that the reciprocal influences between man and nature are maximally harmonious and lead to ever greater and deeper harmonies.” I wish that I could see a way to channel the energies of fallen Mankind with nature, which has its own shortcomings, into a deeper harmony. There might be a formula for this, but I do not quite see it yet.

    1. But paired with that fallen nature is the ability to sense what we ought to do. It is true that most of the time, the good things we do are really Christ doing them through us. But just as we deserve condemnation for refusing to do good, I think we deserve some respect for doing some, even if we do not deserve full credit. A part of the reactionary project, the project of civilization, ought to be to encourage men to, when confronted with the choice, to do good.

      Without good men doing good things (despite their fallen nature), we are at the mercy of Moloch. And that’s not even counting Satan.

    2. You suggest a rich theme! For my own (fallen) part, I’d suggest to be wary of formulas for Mankind and instead to focus on faith and particulars. Find something beautiful you love and cultivate it; start somewhere humble.

  4. Fantastic piece. Linh Dinh, in recent article on UNZ, defined the project of the Right in this way:

    “…speaking in the words of Nikolai Berdyaev, the point of conservatism is not that it prevents movement forward and upward, but that it prevents movement backward and downward, into chaotic darkness and a return to a primitive state.”

    Of course, “conservatism” is a decaying corpse. What is left is to look to the remanifested order to come.

    1. Thank you for this welcome and your comments. I think you’re right to be wary of any formulation that defines the right solely in terms of conservation. Sometimes the right’s job is to journey like Aeneas to found a new Rome: to ensure rebirth rather than to prevent death.

  5. Michael Savage calls it ‘border, language, and culture’ seems right. Those are the pillars of a functioning civilization.

  6. This will add to the article of Barghest. I wrote an article ‘Biopower and the Origin of Liberal Politics’. The headline is in Finnish, but the article is in English:

    http://hiljaistapohdintaa.blogspot.fi/2016/02/biovalta-ja-liberaalin-politiikan.html

  7. This is the best piece i’ve read on Social Matter in a long time, Bravo sir. The most important point that was made, which isn’t made enough. Is that the goal of the alt-right/neo-reactionary movement can’t just be paleo-conservatism. There is an important distinction here, one that needs to be talked more about. Conservatism as we know it is inherently a static concept, the desire to freeze time. Conservatives always reject the “organic growth” that you mentioned, for them everything is eternal recurrence. It’s all in Spengler… and this is why they fail. We have to distinguish ourselves from these people. From the Ross Douthat’s and Rod Dreher’s of the world, from the Liberals at First Things, from the Burkean bullshit spewed by David Brooks. It’s all poison.

    And please keep writing, like I said , this was a great piece.

    1. Thank you for this praise, P. T., and thank you for publicizing the article on your twitter feed as well.

  8. Barghest,

    You wrote good points, but the whole edifice of words collapsed here:

    “However, the scale of the changes and the rapidity with which cycle in today’s society make traditions learned over generations an unwieldy adaptation.”

    Traditions are concentrated knowledge about repeating good and bad patterns and processess in society. They may have different outward forms, but their inner processess are fundamentally the same. It also tells us that there is not much new in society, the same old plays are played with new toys and in new technological environments.

    “Slavery can be a proper order.”

    Why would anyone want the burden of slaves and their lives to themselves? It is better that people have so much skills and independence that they can take care of themselves.

    “The truth is often contingent but never relative.”

    If truth is contingent, then it is relative, especially from the manipulators point of view. Those we have plenty in our present societal environment.

    1. Valkea this is bordering on trollish. I think you’ve taken these words and applied your own context instead of adopting Tom’s and attempting to see his meaning. This after using the comments section to pimp your own article which is tangentially related at best.

      I’m not saying criticism is out of bounds, but this out-of-context semantic nitpicking doesn’t seem productive. For each of your points I would just say read the *whole* article again.

      1. Selguod,

        my article describes why we have the order we have today, so it is relevant.

    2. Thank you for the defense, Salguod, which I have to second.

      Valkea, your blogger profile image appears to be Aristotle; I would also recommend more carefully reading the Politics on slavery and instruction and the Rhetoric on vocabulary and equivocation… or changing that picture to one of Foucault. Please do not be hasty to assume I would say transparent nonsense.

      1. Barghest,

        my reply was a friendly warning, to you it was narcissistic injury, so you shut out everything I said. It is recommendable that even if the commenter is hostile, it is first contemplated if anything can be learned from him.

        Traditions always seem on the surface old-fashioned and surpassed by the new, and they cause little inefficiencies, because upholding them requires time, energy and some resources, and when they are followed, people have to abandon some things and desist from maximizing some things, so it is always tempting to get rid of them, and when it is done societies and civilizations decay and/or die. Certain little inefficiencies and abandonments are exactly what people and civilizations need to have staying power and endurance.

        Slavery was already problematic and inefficient in ancient Greece and Rome, but it was more rational and useful then than now. It was also a universal normal in human societies. Slavery as a “tradition” has not withstood the test of time and the continuity of peoples and civilizations is not dependent on slavery. Slavery was a necessary phase in history, but it never was a core tradition. I dont blame Aristotle or ancients for supporting slavery, but in this case we have really moved on to better arrangements. This audiobook chapter from Thomas Sowells book gives a good concise account of slavery:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao7FKReHYKY

        Despite some occasional small leftist biases in his books, Foucault has made excellent contributions to political philosophy. Foucault was a fairly radical leftist activist, and homosexual. I could use Foucaults picture, but I dont want to give misleading political and sexual orientation signals to readers and passers by. But I appreciate him anyway. Foucaults purpose was to give intellectual tools to anybody, who opposes excesses of power, whatever is his political orientation. Foucaults books gave me the right analytical tools, they gave good answers to many important questions, and they led me to the right political direction. For that I am thankful.

        1. Valkea,

          I took your comment and linked articles as attempts at a constructive contribution, considered them carefully, and decided to give you the best short advice I could. However, I do not have the time to engage fully with you unless you make it easy or you’re paying. Dialectic is work and it’s expensive. However, this last comment gives me more material to reply to—thank you for that—so I will respond more to it.

          First, I’m in no way against tradition, as Salguod correctly understood. What I said in this article was, if I may use your language in this new comment, that certain forms of tradition that had seemed to be core traditions have turned out to be less deep and less core. Our challenge is to figure out what was the real core and thus return to tradition.

          Second, if you’re willing to say that slavery was a necessary phase, then whatever made it necessary is where you should look for what could make it a (contingently!) proper order. However, the fact that it can be proper was not meant to imply that it is proper now in our civilization, and my article was not meant to contradict those who believe we’ve moved on to better arrangements. Slavery appears to have been a welfare mechanism among the ancient Hebrews, for instance, providing a way to avoid death for the most destitute and least capable of organizing their own lives. We now have prisons & psych wards for that. In other Biblical cases it appears to have been a less human capital destructive alternative to massacre in interethnic warfare. In the 20th century we preferred massacre and famine.

          Foucault is a philosopher whose works I read often and who I respect highly, in certain ways. I think a reactionary blog with a Foucault profile could be a nice provocation to the radical left, who’ve themselves tried to label Foucault as a reactionary in the past. ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ Perhaps photoshop him into a toga and laurels. Aristotle on the other hand doesn’t seem as important to you and seems like a more misleading signal.

          1. What I said above, ‘figure out the core and thus return to tradition’ is sloppy and may be backward. It may be that simply returning to tradition first will reveal the core better and earlier than any intellectual reflection could. As I said, I don’t have time for this.

  9. This is one of the best descriptions of the neo-reactionary doctrines ever produced. Not too short, but not too verbose either. Intelligible to anyone with an above average intelligence. Well done, sir! I tip my hat.

    1. Thank you, I’m honored to have you speak so well of it.

  10. This is absolutely fantastic. A canon-worthy contribution. Empedocles (Darwinian Reactionary) has worked on defining Teleofunction as a purely objective model for order, but this more accessible to the lay reader, and happens all in one stop. Bravo, sir, whoever you are.

    1. Thank you! It was a huge honor to me to have been your pick for NRx best of the week, and even more to be called canon-worthy.

      1. Tom are you on the social matter forums? Or any other way to contact you? I’d love to ask some follow ups on “Order” without mucking up the comments too terribly.

        1. I’ve created a profile on the forum. If you’d like to start a discussion on your follow ups, I’ll keep an eye out for it.

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