Saturday, July 15, 2017

Do the Necronomicon! In which a bunch of geeks threaten the democratic process. . .

Hmmm. . .

It is fascinating the lengths some folks will to go in order to:

a) legitimize their prejudices


b) dignify their fantasies.

Writing for The Point magazine ("Final Fantasy:Neoractionary Politics and the Liberal Imagination") James Duesterberg  introduces us to the “neoreactionaries”, the pseudo intellectual branch of the alt-right who played a significant role in getting Donald Trump elected and poisoning the political discourse.. It’s an intriguing read – Duesterberg deserves a medal if he actually read all those tracts – but it what it all boils down to is this: the neoreactionaries are a bunch of nerds who’ve watched the Matrix too many times.

That’s it. These guys think they’re Neo. The world is the Matrix – or “Cathedral” as they call it - and they can rip it apart. There’s all kinds of bloated reasoning behind it – millions of words of it apparently – but that’s what it boils down to.  The world around us – specifically Liberal Democracy -is an illusion foisted on use by. . .Cthulhu apparently (I’m not joking), and we are brainwashed to accept it. Naturally they see “political correctness” as a kind of Newspeak designed to lull us into believing the illusion. Nothing new there. But it’s not just pc: they’ve no patience for democracy or freedom either. Basically any notion of civility gets their gander up. We’ve been brought up to believe these are good things, spoon-fed it from birth to keep us from envisioning anything else. Nothing to do with liberty or self determination, or even common decency – it’s all brainwashing. The Matrix has you.

I will say this much: it’s never wrong to ask questions. It’s never wrong to question your surroundings, or notions you were brought up with, or consider other possibilities. When I first read Nineteen Eighty Four as a teenager, the thing that disturbed me most was not that the people were enslaved, but that didn’t seem to realize it. They even enjoyed it. So the question burned within me: if I were enslaved, how would I know it? So it became very important to scrutinize everything any politician said or did, to question every social construct, no matter how deeply ingrained or self evident, and to basically take nothing for granted.

Despite all that, I never ended up as much of a radical. I basically came to the conclusion that the world wasn’t so bad; not perfect to be sure, but a damn sight better than what came before and most of what else has been proposed. You will notice in Duesterberg’s article that the neoreactionaries apparently cite the economic success of China to claim democracy is unnecessary (as if economic success were the only point of society). This isn’t Panglosiism; it’s just keeping things in perspective. The corollary of always asking questions is to learn to accept the answers supported by the best possible evidence. That’s why 9/11 truthers aren’t actually questioning anything – they’ve just switched one set of assumptions for another.
Nothing is as it seems

Which brings me back to the neoractionaries. They’re not questioning anything in any useful or constructive way – they’re removing barriers to their prejudices and rationalizing their assholery.  (They apparently argue slavery is natural as well.)

In his house at Ryleh, dead Cthulhu
invents liberal democracy
Is ironic or appropriate that these folks claiming reality isn’t reality exist entirely online? I mean, turn off your computers and go outside ffs! Also notice that aside from the occasional mention of Hume, their main influences are The Matrix and “Call of Cthulhu”, two fiercely middlebrow[1] works of fiction. While they’re lecturing us on the nature of reality, their lives have been defined by works of fantasy. They’re a lot more like LARPers than Revolutionaries – nerds trying to bring their fantasies to life.

(At least LARPers admit they’re only pretending).

It would be tempting to laugh off these losers. Trouble is, they believe their fantasy, and are acting on it. They’ve formed voting blocks based on it, and treat their fellow humans accordingly – like shit. They will not engage you in a civilized debate – for them, civility is just Cathedral propaganda, and you are an agent of Cthulhu. An enemy. Remember in the Matrix when Morpheus told Neo that the other citizens of the Matrix were “all enemies”? Basically giving him license to slaughter anyone he met? That’s how the neoreactionaries see you. Your criticisms of Trump? They know them: they love them. They think it’s all wonderful.

Those are the folks we’re dealing with. Your worst fears are exactly the kind of world they want.

[1] That’s not meant to be a snobbish dismissal. I love Lovecraft! But he sure as hell ain’t no basis for a political philosophy. 

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