What are neo-reactionaries

Dark Enlightenment - An Introduction to the NRx / Neoreaction Movement - Part 1

For several years now, a ghost has been haunted - on the Internet, in articles in the major media and in political zines, and in the intellectual spheres - the ghost of Neoreaction (NRx) or Dark enlightenment. This post-modern and futuristic right-wing ideology is transgression in its purest form, it demands nothing less than the establishment of an ultra-capitalist cyberpunk feudalism and the abolition of politics per se. At the same time, she briefly declares the conservative establishment and populists like Trump to be system-internal pseudo-oppositions of a democratic system that must be overcome in its entirety. But it is also a silent specter, because the supporters of the NRx strive neither for the spotlight nor actively for political office - on the contrary, they think little of activism and generally of what is now called politics.

They prefer to sneak around behind the stage of political operations, do theoretical work, create new terms and analysis tools, set up companies and network. Their hundreds of pages of long analyzes and tracts fill obscure blogs in which they dissect the power relations of our present, puddle on right-wing counter-drafts to left-liberal democracy and promote a reactionary exit from society, which is said to have become far too left. This focus on intellectual work and this outwardly carried political passivity, reminiscent of Ernst Jünger's anarchs, should by no means lead one to regard the NRx as an insignificant group of harmless ivory tower inhabitants - on the contrary, the NRx is more like a meditating dragon, his Wing has not yet unfolded.

Why it is important to deal with the NRx

Like the father of Nouvelle droite (French New Right), the philosopher Alain de Benoist in his right-wing Gramsci exegesis "Cultural Revolution from the Right" from 1985 writes:

All the great revolutions in history have done nothing but put into practice a development that had previously taken place subliminally in the minds. You can't have a Lenin before you have a Marx. This is the revenge of the theorists - who only appear to be the big losers in history. One of the dramas on the right is its inability to grasp the need for long-term planning.“- Alain de Benoist, Cultural Revolution from the right, Jungeuropa Verlag, 2017, p.38

In the same book he stated that the old right was dead and deserved it, mainly due to her lack of current philosophical theories, clear goals and a will. At the time of writing this was largely true of the political right of Europe, but in the 35 years since de Benoist formulated this criticism of his own camp, a lot has happened.

Even if the radical and extremist right is currently conspicuous with a lot of anti-intellectual, intellectual skunk such as crude conspiracy theories, corona denial, QAnon and the verbal puke of people like Höcke and Trump, it would be extremely naive to assume that right-wing intellectuality would no longer exist On the contrary, it is currently experiencing a renaissance in the background, as it was probably most recently during the Conservative Revolution, and the firefight has long been in full swing in the positional battle for cultural hegemony.

In the past few decades, right-wing theorists have diligently tinkered with new theories and philosophies as ammunition for this culture war, often far away from the university halls in their own networks and increasingly also in the dark corners of the Internet. A new generation of young, internationally networked right-wingers full of innovative spirit and entrepreneurial aggressiveness is growing up. The convictions and ideas they have formed are already beginning to pour out of the darkness into the light and manifest themselves in parties and discourses, in personalities such as Trump, Thiel, White, Salvini and Sellner, in the emergence and metastatic growth of right-wing populist parties almost all western states. However, in many respects this is only a foretaste, because these current parties still have much older, boring nationalistic and pathetic dust clinging to them, from which the very young right-wing cohorts in the background emancipate themselves to a new one, from biohacking, technocapital, decentralization and Cyberfuturism accelerating a certain age and adapting to it.

One of the newer and most radical and probably also the most exciting theoretical currents of this new, anti-conservative right spectrum is precisely the NRx in this regard. At its core, it has little to do with the continental philosophies of the European New Right à la de Benoist (one can most likely find a few parallels to Guillaume Faye's archeofuturism) and most of its representatives come from the Anglo-Saxon region and were formerly libertarian and neoliberal shaped milieus, especially from the USA and Great Britain. The only thing these neo-reactionaries do with the New Right, New Right or the Nouvelle droite have to do (which all three incidentally represent different currents) is often only the anti-gallitarianism that unites the heterogeneous right spectrum.

Despite its novelty and its marginal existence so far, the NRx is likely to gain some popularity in the coming years. Because not only does it provide arguments and thus intellectual ammunition for less intellectual movements like the Alt-Right. For some years now, thanks to prominent personalities such as Peter Thiel, it has been gaining influence in the largest technological and cultural future forge in the West: in Silicon Valley, and even more so in the currently emerging Silicon Hills in Texas. Many projects that are being promoted there, such as the preparation for the colonization of Mars and the founding of private cities there and on the high seas, are among the central longings and theoretical fixtures of the NRx and could enable the realization of the NRx goals without a metapolitical change or a Bringing about a shift in discourse.

It is therefore more than worthwhile in my opinion to devote some attention to this new theory movement on my blog. Not only because the NRx presents an interesting intellectual challenge with its theoretical claim. By studying the radical theories of today, one can often gain an understanding of the possible politics of tomorrow - and there is a lot brewing on the dark horizon of this century, the supposed end of history and thus liberalism and democracy with forever seems to leave faster steps and disasters behind.

The main thinkers
At first glance, the Reactosphere consists of an extremely loosely spanned network of numerous bloggers and YouTubers, most of whom only have one thing in common: they weave extremely complex (or at least extremely complexly formulated) theories and no longer believe in the compatibility of freedom and democracy and advocate anti-democratic models of society. In many ways they are the mirror image of the postmodern left with its theory blubber about intersection and progressivity.

Three main characters can be made out in this dark spider web of the NRx:

The entrepreneur Curtis Yarvin, who under his pseudonym Mencius Moldbug on the blog Unqualified Reservations from 2007 to 2013 formulated the basics of the neoreaction on hundreds of pages and on the blog The Gray Mirror of the Nihilist Prince this has been further developed since this year. He is undeniably the center of neo-reaction and his current Gray Mirror is designed as a handbook for young politicians. The fact that Yarvin has returned with this project after a 7 year hiatus indicates that he is trying to develop the NRx in an increasingly practical direction.

Former philosophy professor and father of accelerationism Nick Land, who, after his rebirth as a dark prophet of the political right in 2014, took up Yarvin's ideas and in the essay that gave the movement its name The Dark Enlightenment provided additional academic depth. However, it is somewhat questionable to what extent Nick Land is really a neo-reactionary, and how much he sees the NRx as a vehicle to further advance the acceleration of techno capital that he imagines. (I recommend reading my second article on accelerationism here). Whatever his motives, his influence and power on the NRx are very great.

The third is the iconic billionaire and entrepreneur Peter Thiel, who himself, as a studied philosopher and avowed right-wing libertarian, repeatedly gives keywords for the theorists of the NRx or seems to paraphrase their ideas in his own essays and speeches. He does not officially consider and designate himself as part of the NRx, but he did invest in Yarvin's company and, according to media reports, appears to be working with him and quite obviously having identical ideas in many areas, which is why he is considered by many to be one of the most important and influential players in the NRx is looked at. His essay The Education of a Libertarian is considered fundamental, in which he prominently announced in 2009 that he no longer believes in the compatibility of democracy with freedom and progress - which is also one of the basic beliefs of the NRx.

The basic idea

In contrast to the Old Right, the Conservatives or what is commonly referred to as the New Right, neo-reactionaries care little about traditions and the preservation of any conservative values, identities or nations. They don't want to make America great again or make Germany German again - on the contrary, if it were up to the NRx, there would be neither the USA, nor Germany, nor any other nation-state. According to most NRxlers, like democracy and egalitarianism, nationalism is an idol of the Enlightenment and modernity that must be overcome. Egalité and Fraternité belong on the stake in history, they just give us Liberte with a pinch of more securité; abolish democracy and please hand over power to a bunch of technocratic CEOs who manage the people like a company with capitalist efficiency and aristocratic dignity.This is the only way to preserve freedom and progress, which is essential if the West is not to sink back into a dark age like in the Middle Ages. Or as Yarvin himself writes:

"The essence of any 21st-century reaction is the unity of these two forces: the modern engineering mentality, and the great historical legacy of antique, classical and Victorian pre-democratic thought. The adept, to achieve reactionary enlightenment, observes that both yield the same result. What can it be, but the truth for which all good men seek? Armed with this sure and fearless faith, the reaction conquers all. " - Curtis Yarvin

But how do the supporters of the NRx imagine freedom or democracy and what does this ideological synthesis look like in concrete terms? To understand this, in Part II of this article I will summarize individual theoretical concepts of the NRx - anti-egalitarianism, criticism of democracy, criticism of universalism, head for exit patchwork, cathedral, hyper-racism.


As with my articles on fascism and accelerationism, I distance myself from the ideas presented here by the NRx. I am presenting these theories here out of an intellectual interest, without advocating them myself. My own political opinion can be found in my essays and marginal writings.

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