Thermidor

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Change

Change is a fetish in modern society. The point of philosophy, argued Marx, isn't to understand the world, but to change it; and today the same is held to be true of every field of human endeavour. Something called "evolution" is supposed to be the fundamental ontological truth of all being, and change an moral end in itself, in fact, a categorical imperative. Change isn't merely permitted, but required. It is not, as Liberal rhetoric would have it, the fruit of the unleashing, under the rule of law, of the creative forces of the individual from the fetters of despotism and superstition that for too many dark centuries held them back, but a matter of deontology, i.e. a positive ethical duty. Change is what law and morality command, not what they have become too enlightened to continue to forbid. Change!

Thus exhorted, traditional wisdom on the subject in the form of common sense counsel, cautions, and qualifications on the desirability of change- you can't improve on perfection; if it's not broken don't fix it; a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and so on- are thrown out the window right along with traditional wisdom and common sense in general (they are, after, all the stock of verities that are timeless and do not change), and both individuals and the things they make are unrelentingly pressured to "grow", "adapt", "innovate", and of course, "evolve". Every individual tries to style his particular performance of his ethical duties in the service of change as "revolutionary" (big or qualitative changes are always more ethical than small or incremental ones); and enormous status, prestige, and wealth accrue to those who can convince news media to confer on them the title of "disruptor". A two-term President of the USA even won an election with the slogan, "hope and change". Just what was supposed to change and why beyond having a Black president for the first time was very unclear, but the electorate was supposed to hope for it anyway, and vote accordingly- and it did.

Conversely: since the change-fetish agrees with Hegel that being and becoming are ontologically one and the same, it follows that those cannot, or refuse to, innovate, grow, evolve, etc. have no right to exist, since they have no positive existence as such; their being, since it has refused the duty of becoming, is purely negative, that is to say, defined not by what it is, but by what it lacks, by its putative unfulfilled potential, by what it could have become but didn't, since it stubbornly refused to change or was just too feeble to. Such being, by definition, is stunted, stupid, retarded, and failed; it is defective merchandise, so much garbage to be either disposed of or possibly, repaired so as to realize its progressive potential by identifying and forcibly eliminating change-retardant forces in the form of despotism, superstition, and the dead weight of obsolete and stultifying cultural traditions.

Thus in the 19th century, the targets of European colonialism were deemed "peoples without history" and as such fair game for conquest and subsequent cultural and/or biological extermination; the great totalitarian ideologies of the 20th. century gave everyone the choice to either end up in a mass grave or be remade, alternately, as a new man of Socialism or a Coke-swilling clone of an American; and under the curious fusion of big business and Communism- Cultural Marxism- that defines the polity, economy, and society of 21st. c. North America, the White working class is given the choice of either "adapting" to the "new economic reality" by abandoning its traditional aspirations, occupations, and places of residence or being abandoned to die of drug addictions and suicide, while Christians and White cultural traditionalists of any social class are given the choice to either bring their beliefs into conformity with the Cultural Marxist orthodoxies of the moment or be radically discarded by society with a set of social and legal disabilities rivaling those of the excommunicates and outlaws of the Medieval world.

People today, then, change if they know what's good for them. And they do in fact change, constantly, and in just about every aspect of their individual and social being. They strive to change their inner lives with psychotherapy and self-help books, and their bodies with fad diets, exercise machines, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetic surgery. In stark contrast with traditional society, they frequently change employers, occupations, places of residence, and marital partners and/or status. They conspicuously and continuously change the things they consume and produce. Even those of their beliefs that approximate religion are subject to incessant and rapid revision; increasingly, keeping up with Cultural Marxist orthodoxy is no easy feat, at least as difficult as following along with the latest styles in music and fashion in the bohemian demi-mondes in which Cultural Marxism originated. The cultural Marxist style-leaders often do not even seem to know what the orthodoxy is themselves- but that hasn't stopped them from embarking on a continent-wide campaign to tear down historical monuments for reasons that aren't defined and don't seem to matter, because change.

These changes and others, to be sure, aren't always for the better. But it is at best terribly gauche, at worst, actionably unorthodox to point that out- for the worldview underpinning the change-fetish does not even recognize change for the worse as ontologically possible (save in cases where change involves reversal or restoration to a prior state). We have seen that, in the ontology for which being is becoming, that which fails to change is no longer defined positively in terms of what it is, but negatively in terms of what it isn't. Mutatis mutandis, in the case where change entails loss, mutilation, or deformation of the attributes of the entity that changes, the change is nonetheless interpreted as ontologically positive as opposed to negative: in other words, it appears as substance and not lack, increase and not decrease, gain and not loss, improvement and not degradation. Things cannot appear or be understood otherwise- for if being exists only as becoming and vice-versa, then the process of becoming cannot yield nothingness as its result or end up with less than what it started with. Thus, while that which does not change can always be legitimately criticized by means of an invidious contrast between what it actually is and "how much more it could be" if only it would change, that which does change must never, ever be conversely criticized for being much less than it used to be. (To do so is a potentially serious form of hatethink, and at the very least incurs being scorned and ridiculed as a cranky and irrelevant old man who's afraid of change and fortunately won't be alive to go on complaining about everything much longer).

This explains a number of rather odd beliefs and practices of the present day that will no doubt leave the archaeologists of the future scratching their heads, among them:

  • how our "evolutionary" biology concludes, in evident perfect seriousness, that the atrophy of the eyes of certain degenerated populations of fish and the corresponding loss of their faculty of sight in fact comprise a positive phenomenon- an "adaptation"- and so literally tries to make something out of nothing by descriptive fiat.

  • oxymorons such as "creative destruction", "less is more", and so on, absurd on their face, but repeated without irony as though profound truths by educated people who pride themselves on their rationalistic and scientific spirit.

  • The notion- an especially privileged item of cultural Marxist orthodoxy- that a man surgically castrated and altered to resemble a woman becomes a woman, as opposed to a mutilated man; or even better yet, becomes a woman simply by dressing as one, and moreover by so doing gains a rightful expectation to be desired as a woman by heterosexual men in spite of not having the sex organs of a woman.

  • Using basil instead of mint to flavour ice cream, and a thousand and one likewise poorly-thought-out culinary innovations that strike the credulous bourgeois diner as a triumph of creativity, without it seemingly ever even occurring to anyone that e.g. mint is traditionally used as an ice cream flavour for a reason, and that if basil actually worked better, then basil instead of mint would have become the default flavour found on the shelves of every grocery store.

The list could keep going like that, but these examples- some merely trivial and silly, some truly pernicious- should suffice to illustrate both the nature and the pervasiveness of the change-fetish, which is an intrinsically totalitarian principle that leaves no aspect of modern life unaffected.

It should be carefully noted that the "progress" the change-fetish ordains as a sacred duty and master organizing principle of all human activity is not, in the final analysis, truly eschatological. It does not work towards the final realization of any Eschaton in particular, immanentized or otherwise. Cultural Marxism, unlike the Socialisms that preceded it, is not a Utopian ideology. Both Marx and Hegel before him were bogged down in quasi-biological conceptions of change as analogous to a process of organic growth in which change works towards nothing else than the realization of a final mature form of Reason, the State, or the mode of production at the end of History; this teleological conception, since it subordinates change to purpose and assigns limits to the set of possible or desirable change, is an intolerable fetter on change as far as the change-fetish is concerned.

This explains why Cultural Marxism, distinctly unlike the Socialisms, offers no concrete plans or vision for the just and Progressive future beyond proclaiming that it will be more just and Progressive than the present, nor any definite road-map for getting there, beyond asserting that more change is needed. Its imagined arc of History bends towards justice on an infinite curve.

But the absence of definite plans to someday socialize the means of production and all that doesn't make Cultural Marxism less of a menace than classical Communism was. On the contrary: it's much worse than that. As foolish and depraved as classical Communism was, in that particular enterprise revolutionary change was a but a means to a more or less well-defined end. In this respect, Communism still obeyed formal rationality and thus, while certainly wrong-headed and immoral, wasn't altogether insane- for a man who still chooses his courses of action according to some calculus of their likely consequences (however flawed) with respect to some future state of affairs he hopes to attain (however immoral) continues to be governed by his faculty of Reason. His actions are not altogether senseless, for they are still regulated by some sort of purpose; means are still subordinated to ends. To the Cultural Marxist, though, change is an end in itself, and the consequences of revolutionary action thus a matter of indifference. Nobody in social-justice circles knows just what exactly their antics are supposed to contribute to the end of building a "just" society, because nobody cares. If the likes of:

  • feminists and secularists supporting the uncontrolled mass importation of the most obdurately religious and severely patriarchal peoples to be found anywhere on the planet

  • anarchists aligning themselves with the interests of cronyist big business in their fight to do away with private property and the State

  • social elites who disdain bearing arms, and in any case are utterly unfit to do so, trying to destroy precisely those social strata from which the bulk of the nation's soldiers and policemen are traditionally recruited

all seem to fail the rational-basis test in their actions, it is because they weren't trying to pass it to begin with. These actions are senseless, in the strict sense of the term; and nobody ever said they have to make any sense. Cultural Marxists are therefore not merely short-sighted or misguided; they are insane, demented and deranged in a sense far from merely figurative or rhetorical.

However, the florid insanity of their behaviour- which is starting to alarm even other members of the Leftist coalition as it increasingly approximates the psychotic- cannot be laughed off as a passing craze, bubble, mania, or other collective-behavior episode that irrupts suddenly and convulsively but then just as abruptly goes back to normal. Cultural Marxism is no episodic abnormality or aberration, but rather the Natural, inevitable and inexorable expression of the change-fetish, which is a generic feature of modern society, in contemporary democratic political action. It is therefore about as realistic to expect it to just go away by itself as it would be to expect capitalists to stop bringing new consumer gadgets and gimmicks to market each year, or consumers to stop wanting to buy them. Recall, in this respect, that consistent application of the ontological premises of the change-fetish demands permanent revolution. No matter how many social-justice reforms are implemented today, the future, in principle, will be every bit as racist, sexist, transphobic, and whatnot as the present if it ceases to undergo constant revolutionary change itself. And, since the logical connection between means and ends has been severed and there is thus no longer any rational criteria limiting the supply of potential means, there will be no shortage of crazy reform schemes- and reforms of crazy reforms that are crazier still- for the SJWs to choose from. The only criterion is that they be novel.

It follows from these considerations that the change-fetish will sooner or later prove pathological and ultimately, fatal to the power-interests it historically served. An examination of what those interests are is in order here.

Modern Power originally stood before a space densely populated with all sorts of social obstacles- the Church, the Estates, the guilds, the kin-and-kith networks of the extended family and the village- and the reciprocal forms of solidarity that linked those obstacles so as to form a self-reproducing ecosystem as opaque and inaccessible to nascent modern Power as a virgin forest to a hiker.

This self-reproduction in its continuity is assured by antithesis of the change-fetish, what we can (not because it is original, but for lack of a better term) call the patrimonial principle. Under the patrimonial principle, the social arrangements and organization, values and beliefs, customs and laws, techno-economic practices and activities, etc. that make up the way of life of a people have a sanctity grounded in the past; they comprise a patrimony bequeathed by venerable ancestors and predecessors, living or dead, who are sacred relative to their juniors (social power and authority is always a function of age and marital status under the patrimonial principle), and sometimes attain to semi-Divine or Divine status. The origins of this patrimony are backdated past the point where historical time shades off into eternity, to the acts of founding figures and culture-heroes in mythological time, or an eternal cosmic-Heavenly order that the secular-Earthly order of men and things is supposed to duplicate. As with any patrimony, its inheritors are obliged to conserve and transmit it to legatees in turn. Thus continuity and reproduction are assured through sentiments of filial piety and reverence, and through the repetition of ritual (which directly or indirectly encompasses every activity, juridical, religious, and techno-economic alike) handed down from father to son, master and apprentice, the senior to the junior men of the maennerbund, etc.

All of this is decisively uncongenial to the ambitions of modern, totalitarian State power:

  • The power of the modern State is self-legitimating. It grounds its legitimacy neither in the ordinances given by sacred ancestors in a sacred past nor a sacred cosmic order that stand outside secular time, but in the State itself by means of various self-referential tautologies: the consent of its own members ("the social contract"), the formal codification of its own internal structure ("muh Constitution"), its own rules of construction of its own laws and regulations ("Natural right" grounded on pure Reason as interpreted by various State functionaries).

  • The modern, totalitarian State presides over atomic individuals legally equal and isolated from one another, who all have the same generic status ("citizenship" or more recently, "personhood"), and who have no obligations whatsoever prior to their actual or fictive consent. Under the patrimonial principle, any individual is but an incumbent of a position within various solidary social units (e.g. household, guild, village, Realm, Church, etc.) in which membership, along with the obligations and privileges attached to the asymmetric positions in the internal hierarchy, is assigned by and at birth prior to even the possibility of consent, or otherwise compulsory. These a priori allegiances, obligations, and privileges, are obviously formidable barriers to the totalitarian power of the modern State, which demands that the individual who consents to live on its territory do whatever it is the acting government right now tells him to, whatever it may be- something that might not happen if e.g. family honour demands that the individual family member attached thereto do something else. (N.B. the obligations inherited from the past define the pride, manhood, and independence of their inheritors. They are a personal law, in the strong sense of the term, "law"- and this law does not derive from the State).

  • Likewise, under the patrimonial principle, the State itself is a household and a patrimony; as with any patrimony, its inheritor is certainly free to usufruct from it, but not to dispose of it at will. He is more of a custodian than either an owner of private property or a government in the modern sense- both of which are free do as they see fit without any regard to what the previous owner or the previous government did. Indeed, in contemporary North America the party of the Left, upon forming a new government, as a matter of partisan principle immediately reverses every policy of the preceding government where that government had been formed by the party of the Right. The patrimonial Sovereign, by contrast, is hamstrung at all times by the past: the acts of predecessors, Divine and Natural law, customs whose origins nobody can remember. Thus, where the modern totalitarian State claims an unlimited legislative power, the patrimonial State scarcely has any legislative power, if at all; as paradoxical as it may seem, as Henry Sumner Maine pointed out the patrimonial ruler can wield absolute power and yet be unable to pass a single law, leaving power of taxation and the sword as the chief prerogatives of a power rather less absolute than what we're used to today. Likewise, the regulatory-police power of the State, which today intervenes in every economic and other day-to-day activity of the governed, is a non-starter where the techniques of material production, too, comprise part of the social patrimony and cannot be modified by State technocrats and regulators at will, since they are sanctified by tradition and must be followed as handed down.

The change-fetish cut through the dense old-growth forest ecosystem of patrimonialism like a chainsaw. Marx provides the following famous and extremely important characterization:

The bourgeoisie...has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. [...] It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. [...] The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.

The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. [...] Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned.

A permanently valid insight of Marx is that this process, once set into motion, is like the killer robots or Doomsday devices of old science fiction that can't be turned off, or, in Marx's own words, "like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells".

Marx, however, errs grievously in seeing this inherently and fatally morbid and suicidal process exclusively as a techno-economic and not a political or mental phenomenon, i.e. for Marx, "the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie", and its associated culture-mentality written off as "ideology", a mere ineffectual by-product of techno-economic forces.

This so-called "materialist order of explanation" puts the cart before the horse. Uncontrolled techno-economic change is not the first cause of the destruction of patrimonial (and ultimately, modern) society. The reverse is true. Bourgeois technological innovation and capitalist economics are both the consequence of the destruction of society and the instrument of its further destruction at the hands of Power- which in turn can only realize itself to the extent that it can alter the terms of the legitimacy of social relations, to condemn that which stands athwart Power's advance and exalt that which facilitates it. Bourgeois techno-economic innovation as we know it cannot proceed unless and until the solid has already melted into air, until men are released from the obligations that bound them to the past and to one another and encouraged to run away from the old ancestral home (literally and figuratively) as fast and far as possible- in other words, until they learn to think of the obligation to stay there as pernicious, to scorn the ways and wisdom of their ancestors as so much darkness, bigotry, and superstition, to despise their fathers as ignorant fools and what their fathers taught them as obsolete nonsense, to disdain doing things the old-fashioned way as evidence of craven lack of spirit or brainless stupidity.

Power institutes and sanctions this way of thinking less in order to benefit from the inventions and growth of revenues that appear as its by-product than to drive men into the waiting arms of the totalitarian State; for rootless and masterless men isolated and separated from the patrimonial social unit are as helpless and vulnerable to Power as any member of any social species vulnerable to predation once separated from the herd. Those who neither command nor obey, who renounce their seniors and are renounced by their juniors, who are neither patrons nor clients, are without independent social power or protection. Marx's cash-nexus, as the only tie between bourgeois men, exists only in and through a juridical contract enforced exclusively by the State and its public monopoly of legitimate power and force. Such men are Rousseau's ideal republican citizenry: totally independent of one another, totally dependent on the State.

Modern technological innovation and economic growth, then, depend on underlying enabling conditions in the form of a general process that goes far beyond the techno-economic, which is but a detail in it. Contra both Marxism and a certain snooty moralizing tendency that has traditionally marred much Reactionary thought, new technology per se isn't destructive of social relations- for it can be no more than reification to attribute agency to inanimate tools that by themselves do nothing. Guns don't kill people; the government does. Likewise, notwithstanding the knee-jerk Jeremiads of a naive Reactionism a la Rod Dreher that continues to give Rightist critique a very bad name, it is not cell-phones, the Internet, or the television set that are to blame for moral delinquency in the youth.

It would also be an extremely serious mistake to give the change-fetish the credit for the proliferation of new technologies and technological improvements in the modern era. To do so would be to take the boasts of its propaganda at face value. The propaganda written under the sign of Progress, to be sure, makes nothing less than a cult of technology, all the while taking care to see to it that credit for every technological advance goes to a mythical Enlightenment that, having at long last banished the priests and kings that stood in the way of the sunlight, ushered in the bright reign of science, technology, and modern medicine. But this propaganda is disingenuous. The change-fetish is a principle of pure irreverence that doesn't have a genuinely technological bone in its body. That the Cultural Marxists at once exalt tech companies but notoriously despise the engineers that work for them is highly suggestive here. The change-fetish isn't constructive, but entirely destructive; it is not, in the final analysis, interested in creating or improving technology, but only in destroying society and culture. As we have seen already, it is not truly eschatological and thus only superficially appears to be "progressive"; it measures "progress" in terms of distance from the ancestors and traditions from which it flees, by the breadth of the chasm that separates past and present, and not proximity to the attainment of any future goal in particular.

In this respect, although the change-fetish certainly to some extent creates a safe space in which technological innovation can go to work (the element of reality in the mythology of Enlightenment is that, under the patrimonial principle, innovation is inherently problematic for obvious reasons, and while it can and does happen can't be carried out by just anybody), it otherwise contributes nothing and is extraneous, in fact, radically antithetical, to technological rationality. Nobody, for example, ever invented anything without having any idea exactly what the invention was supposed to do, or caring. And, since the change-fetish is much more interested in change than in technology per and in se, it can nonchalantly turn around and destroy the very safe space it creates for innovation; thus it has come about that, in the name of Progress, the Cultural Marxists are presently doing everything in their power to destroy the occupational subculture of engineers as a top-level priority of the Cultural Marxist agenda.

Finally, the Cultural Marxists endorse "science" only opportunistically, in their struggles to do away with Christian religion and obstruct natural-resource and other economic sectors perceived to support the party of the Right; outside of these arenas, the "postmodern" irrationalism for which they have become infamous is the rule, since the ontology of being-as-becoming necessarily entails radical nominalism and idealism at a philosophical level. Both natural science and technology of any sort, by contrast, at the outset must recognize that things have a determinate nature that is not infinitely plastic and does not permit infinite modification, and which neither changes according to what we decide to call it or disappears if we fail to take cognizance of it. But for Cultural Marxists- champions of Science and Rationality when hyping climate-change scams or demanding Christian prayer be outlawed- this a priori condition of possibility of all techno-scientific activity is so much "essentialism", viz. badthink of a very grave degree.

The spirit that actually produces important technological and scientific advancements, then, is a phenomenon distinct from, and irreducible to, the change-fetish and the power strategies materialized in it. The spirit that invents and discovers is of a different order than that which merely destroys and deforms, although, as we have seen, the two are sometimes bedfellows and even combine in the same persons.

The spirit that invents and discovers is in constant direct contact with the real at every step of way (the mythology according to which invention and discovery always originates in a personal "dream" is but a rhetorical fabrication of journalist biographers and image-consultants, and reflects the misplaced idealism and subjectivism characteristic of the change-fetish). The innovator quickly learns to adopt a certain reverence and respect for the world of objective reality outside his subjectivity. He is made to learn that his dreams and wishes are not Nature's command, under pain of swift, certain, and severe punishment for transgressing her immutable laws- an offense for which ignorance is not a defense. He must accordingly learn what those laws are (discovery), and/or obey and execute them faithfully (invention). The laws of Nature are made known to men only in the form of precepts of right Reason binding on every thinking subject; the inventor/discoverer must accordingly with Stoic self-mastery subjugate the emotions to the intellect, opinio to ratio, the subjective to the objective, the self to the Universal, and the infantile wish-fulfillment belief to the reality principle that governs the grown-ups.

All of this bears strong generic resemblance to many of the values of traditional religion and other institutions animated by the patrimonial principle: the affirmation of an immutable order of eternal forms and timeless laws to which Man must conform; obligations of duty, fealty, and service to something larger than oneself; the Stoic subjection of the passions to Reason, which duplicates in a single individual the right ordering of relations between children and adults, women and men, the governed and their governors, and on the same formal grounds. Likewise, the obligations that attend the inheritance of a patrimony come with rights and privileges, too: just as an apprentice becomes a master of the art he learns from his master, as the successor to a Throne enjoys right of dominion over a realm whose ancient laws he defends and puts into execution, the inventor/discoverer, by apprehending and executing the laws of Nature, acquires mastery over a domain of possibility from which he has earned the right to usufruct (the laws of Nature consist not just of constants, but variables, the states of which can be controlled and combined by Man and put to use to his advantage; this is the formal definition of technology).

Finally, and importantly, the techno-scientific spirit is purpose-driven and goal-oriented. It teleologically strives towards a definite future state of affairs it seeks to contribute to realizing: enlarging the stock of scientific knowledge, or making some process or practice more efficient and effective. This striving for improvement, significantly, is something it shares with the disciplines of traditional religion. We will return to these points.

The techno-scientific spirit of invention and discovery, is, in a word, Reactionary- as scandalous as the idea may seem to those naive Reactionaries who, endowing dead and dumb tools with the agency of that which lives and is intelligent, still trace the etiology of the diseases of society to some intrinsically pathogenic property of electronic devices and gadgets. But the Reactionary character of the techno-scientific spirit doesn't seem to be lost on the Cultural Marxists, who for their part increasingly identify STEM personnel as their natural enemies. Thus, if Silicon Valley appears to be a bastion of support of Cultural Marxism, it is the rent-seeking capitalists, corporate lobbyists, shrill HR ladies, image-consultants and publicists, and slogan-parroting executive officers there who are the true allies of the Cultural Marxists, not the engineers who actually write code and invent things. The recent case of James Damore made it painfully clear.

In the ongoing process in which earlier Leftist traditions, above all Liberalism, are under the incessant operations of the change-fetish dissolved into the jumble of incoherence that is Cultural Marxism, the change-fetish, which hitherto sheltered and encouraged the techno-scientific spirit, in this terminal stage is increasingly acting as the latter's fetters. Likewise, there is underway a commutation of alliances in which the techno-scientific spirit, which for so long let one flavour or another of Leftism speak for it, is realigning itself with its erstwhile opposite, Reaction, renewing and reinvigorating a tradition which had become moribund.

This infusion of the techno-scientific spirit has given the reconstituted and new Reaction what it needs to be viable at a time when it has become impossible to rely on the sentiment of reverence and the repetition of ritual to bind us to the inheritance of the past, since the chain of continuity has long been broken and thus neither the patrimony nor the ties that bind to it exist any longer. There is no going back to the ways of our forebears when most do not even know who they are beyond a generation or two, never learned their ways first-hand, and in any case are in no position to practice them. We simply no longer have the sociological, political, economic, or technological wherewithal to revert to rural life, and any circumstance that would necessitate doing so (e.g. a general collapse of the urban economy) would be nothing short of an extinction-level event for us here in the 21st century. Right here and now, Restoration is no longer simply a matter of putting Prince So-and-So back in his rightful place on the throne, throwing a few thousand Reds out of helicopters for good measure, and rolling things back to the way they were in living memory. We are on the contrary so far removed from our patrimony that our knowledge of it is no longer a memory, but a pure academic abstraction reconstructed from old books.

Reaction can therefore no longer assume the form of a fight to defend an existing social patrimony against usurpers. Nor, Heaven forbid, can it hope, as so-called "Conservatives" do, to stand athwart History and by yelling it at it cause it stop and freeze bourgeois society at a less disagreeably morbid ("classically Liberal") stage of the course of its congenital terminal illness- for bourgeois history is but the clinical history of this illness, of the change-fetish running its intrinsically uncontrollable and incurable course. (We should not dwell too long on the manifest absurdity of hoping to conserve the change-fetish and thwart its natural operations at once, all in the hope of conserving the social order that spawned it and was spawned by it).

The new Reaction thus cannot, and in any case actually does not, find the ethical foundations of its political practice in the values, attitudes, sentiments, and worldview that see to the transmission of a patrimony from one generation to the next. The new breed of Reactionaries are not the guardians of a tradition against usurpers; they are the usurpers, or much more precisely, founders Their task is the eventual creation of what will, if all goes well, become a patrimony for future generations to inherit and accordingly sacralize, revere, and render unconditional obedience to by fact of being born into it and brought up under it. But the reverential attitude proper to the legatee cannot possibly be that of the founders of the legacy, who of necessity must be plenty irreverent themselves. (Hence the privileged place of Nietzsche in the history and canon of contemporary far-Right thought).

This irreverence, however, is not the senselessly demented principle of pure irreverence that animates the change-fetish; it is rather a reverent irreverence. The contradiction in terms is resolved in the techno-scientific spirit.

Disputations between Right and Left hitherto comprise so many variable points of contention within a shared frame of reference whose constant feature is that anything is judged by its order of appearance in time. The two possible axes of contention are reverence versus irreverence for that which is old, and disdain versus enthusiasm for what is new.

Origins are entirely irrelevant from a techno-scientific point of view, which dissolves time into function and evaluates a technology in terms of its adequacy to its function. No engineer in possession of his senses would propose to do away with the wheel the way our atheists urge us to do away with Abrahamic religion on the grounds that it is a "Bronze-Age invention". But nor would he insist that we keep putting wheels on cars just because that's how things were done when he was growing up; the rationale is rather that wheels are as adequate a technological means to the performance of their particular function in the overall process of propelling an automobile as our know-how and other constraints allow us to achieve right now or in the foreseeable future.

Hence the dilemma between tradition and innovation has, by recasting its terms according to techno-scientific rationality, i.e. from a question of origins to one of function, been transcended and resolved into a higher-order synthesis, namely the concept of social technology. From the point of view of social technology, as Dugin said "everything is on the table" no matter the relative point of its appearance on the temporal record. Social technology does not discriminate on the basis of age; but nor is anything old or new above the scrutiny of functional critique. Design and engineering are about results.

Not that there's anything new about trying to treat social questions as engineering problems. The modern era already furnishes a long and undistinguished record of such attempts, along with familiar pejoratives to describe them: "enlightened despotism", "technocracy", "social engineering", "sociology", et cetera. These attempts failed because they wound up being swallowed and digested by the change-fetish. They correctly diagnosed modern social problems in terms of the pathology that ensues when the functional needs of Man and society are no longer adequately met, because social institutions are no longer adequate to the task, especially to the extent that they have become deformed, decayed, and dilapidated under stress of modernization.

So far, so good. Under the influence of the change-fetish, though, these attempts managed to systematically misconstrue both the disease and the cure. They simply assumed that all existing social institutions, irrespective of their integrity, are obsolete and therefore pathogenic ("cultural lag"). As a corollary, their solution to every problem was to have the central State directly take over, or at least intervene in, every function that had hitherto been supplied by religion, the family, commerce, or local authority. All these institutions, regardless of the shape they were found in, were deemed functionally inadequate on an a priori basis* owing to their juridical status as "private" entities that, since legally incompetent to discharge "public" functions at right, were a fortiori deemed inadequate to the performance of any kind of important social function in fact as well, and thus need to be replaced by, or at least annexed to, the administrative State.

Hence the infamy of Socialism. The State, as the sole competent guardian of "social welfare", was endowed with God-like powers not just to solve any social problem, but to instantly leverage any state of affairs it wished for into being, all by decreeing and regulating and nationalizing. Man and society were viewed as infinitely plastic and elastic blobs with no fixed attributes prior to the operations of State administration ("the blank slate"), and that would assume the shape of whatever mould the State pressed them into. Under these terms, the concept of degeneracy became meaningless and eventually fell into desuetude; pathology occurs not because society has lapsed into dysfunction, but because society has yet to become functional, so much unsocialized and unformatted raw material that awaits being lifted out of the Hobbesian state of Nature and subjected to the civilizing and transformative operations of the State (Hegelian aufhebung).

This tapestry of error is underpinned by the change-fetish and its ontology of being-as-becoming at every step. Social problems of any sort boil down to a case of arrested development, to a failure of the State to force those yet-unenlightened people who have atavistically failed to evolve and thus been left behind by History to undergo "progressive" change. Since all "progressive" change, in this mentality, by definition is change for the better, since this mentality is much more interested in change than its consequences, and since it effaces the reality principle that ordinarily enables men to apprehend the practical gulf that separates the wish from its actual fulfillment, the various "progressive" reform schemes quickly became notorious for their characteristically and incredibly naive and poorly thought-out character, and above all for the inability or unwillingness of their architects to anticipate the obvious unintended consequences that typically followed their implementation. Last but most importantly, it served the interests of totalizing Power.

The idea of social technology, in turn, is predicated on a staunch rejection of naive social engineering on the basis of a self-consciously realist critique of its assumptions, above all the assumption of the "blank slate". This critique asserts, variously, that there are innate differences between men and women, and between individuals and populations more generally; that across the divergent varying modalities of human society, there are invariant and uniform modes of relation between men and women, and rulers and ruled; that hierarchies are established wherever human beings are found; that Sovereignty is a constant that, whether vested in this or that particular individual or collective actor or bounced between them, is always conserved. In other words, while the contents of social relations are historically contingent and variable, their formal properties are fixed and unchanging. Their capacity to change and be changed is not infinite, but bounded by the limits of possible variation compatible with the maintenance of their formal constants- in a word, their Nature.

The State, to be sure, has a privileged and indispensable functional part to play in the maintenance of social relations by prescribing and enforcing norms of conduct that see to it that Man and society, which are not perfectly self-ordering, conform to their own Nature in the face of pressure from their own disordered desires to do otherwise. But if the State or anybody else tries to alter or abolish this Nature and carelessly tinkers with the social mechanism, and by so doing damages or removes some its formally and functionally indispensable parts, the result will be a pathological and anomic recrudescence of those parts. Abolish traditional and Established religion in favour of secularism and "tolerance"- and the religious function ends up being taken over by the Cathedral and the holiness-spirals of our Cultural Marxists. End legal protection for the sanctity of marriage and efface the roles that socially underscore the biological difference between man and woman- and watch "liberated" women enter one dysfunctional relationship after another with various abusive but masculine low-lifes prior to being abandoned to die alone, with upright men either retreating into a world of pornography or learning to become abusive low-lifes themselves. Institutionally divide Sovereign power- and watch supreme power become the supreme prize in destructive zero-sum political contests that end up involving, and imperiling, the whole of society.

Thus, by way of a logically consistent and coherent application of scientific method, by way of a (still-emerging) science of Man in society that last takes itself seriously enough to aspire to the status of Natural science properly so-called (i.e. a general theory of a determinate positive phenomenon irreducible to any extraneous phenomenon, defined by necessary and invariant constant formal properties, and relations between those properties, that in turn define the possible variable-states of that phenomenon and the laws governing the succession of changes in its variable-states, which laws are irreducible to those governing extraneous phenomena), social technology rids itself of the change-fetish for good. From the point of view of social technology and the new social science, the old, blank-slate social science that went hand-in-hand with "social engineering" can be no more than pseudo-science- since epistemologically speaking, it makes no sense whatsoever to speak of a science whose own object is, in itself, indeterminate (randomness is not a positive phenomenon) and so, lacking any integrity or consistency of its own, varies lawlessly and haphazardly according to the capricious operation of extraneous forces. The old social science, in the final analysis, was little more than a survey instrument that furnished, for Power, an inventory of all those people and activities yet to be aufgehoben by remaking them according to a suitably Progressive spec-sheet. (Cf. Foucault's theses on the modern "power/knowledge" nexus).

Both in its premises and in its still-preliminary findings, the new, fully-fledged social science, unfettered by the change-fetish, converges with the best of what the old Reactionary and Conservative traditions had to offer:

  • It concurs, at the outset, that there is a timeless and immutable order of things, that being involves continuity as well as change and that existence therefore cannot be a matter of pure and perpetual becoming.

  • The functional analysis confirms that much of what our forebears did was done the way they did it for very good reason, that the values and beliefs which saw to it that they kept on doing things that way was much more than a force for ignorance, stagnation, and unreason, and that if anything it was the very depths of ignorance and unreason for moderns to indiscriminately throw the baby out right with the bathwater for the cheap thrills of transgression and novelty, winning for themselves only a way of life that is unnatural, impoverished, dehumanized, and moreover increasingly and catastrophically dysfunctional as a result.

  • Thinking in terms of function leads from a mechanistic, reductionist, and atomistic to a teleological, holistic, and corporativist worldview. It does not consider being in isolation from purpose. It does not ask what something is, or could be made to become, without also asking what it is for- which means treating it as a component part inextricably interrelated to, and interdependent with, other component parts of a complex system that is internally differentiated, and whose parts are therefore heterogeneous, non-interchangeable, and hierarchically ordered even as each has an indispensable functional role of its own to play. To try to throw any of them away without first finding functional equivalents, or tinker with them without knowing what exactly what they're supposed to do in the first place, isn't engineering, but folly. (Engines and other relatively simple man-made mechanical devices, in point of fact, have much more of an organic character than the pseudoscientific mechanistic-reductionist-atomist philosophy is willing to attribute to social and other living systems of a much greater order of complexity than anything made by Man).

At the same time, thinking in terms of function does not imply simply resurrecting the past without alteration, nor ossifying the whole of human activity into a state of permanent stagnation. The new Reaction is not an historical recreation society. Given that Restoration will involve refounding the social order and thus, designing it anew, there is no reason not to subject traditional designs to functional scrutiny and find technical room for improvement where feasible. Contra a very ill-considered item of Conservative and Libertarian dogma, the fact that traditional social institutions are the product of a long and cumulative process of "organic" development does not imply that they are perfect as we find them, nor the product of an unconscious super-human intelligence ("spontaneous order") impenetrable to formal Reason. This is so much mere Romantic irrationalism; its "organic" metaphor confounds the development of the structures of the biological organism, which is an autonomic and unconscious process, with the institutions of a society, which are always the product of conscious reflection and intentional action on the part of the wise men of that society. If the "Constructivism" rightly critiqued by Hayek and others has indeed tended to fail, it is not because of some ineffably mysterious vital property that necessarily eludes and thwarts all attempts at deliberate social design and planning, but because of the fecklessness and short-circuited thinking the change-fetish has hitherto systematically inculcated in the planners.

In particular, insecure power- something sooner or later attended by extremely destructive and ultimately, fatally destabilizing social conflict- was a conspicuous design flaw of the traditional order, indeed, if the Jouvenelian analysis is correct, the very reason it doesn't exist any longer. Fortunately, the new Reaction has no intention of letting this pathological history simply repeat itself, and there is no reason why it ought to.

Another reason why a post-Liberal order cannot simply rest on a rollback to pre-modern designs is that Liberalism, notwithstanding its many, many flaws, has thus far proven itself absolutely peerless as a social operating system for the modern industrial economy. Since a rollback to an agrarian economy and accompanying way of life would either be an outright extinction-level event or, if successful, lead to conquest by still-industrialized rival States, any post-Liberal operating system will either have to import many of the features of its predecessor (especially its civil law, and the social esteem the Liberal tradition accords to peaceful commercial activity and of course, technological innovation) into itself, or furnish functional equivalents of its own.

Change, then, isn't an evil in itself. Change that strives towards greater adequacy to a purpose and the fulfillment of a telos given in a Natural order of being that itself does not change is positive change; it must not be confounded with negative and nihilistic change, with the senseless spiral of destruction, mutilation and aberration set into motion by the change-fetish. Positive change, governed by unconscious autonomic processes at the level of the organism, is biological growth towards the mature form of the organism; at the level of conscious social action, it is the effort to bring human affairs into conformity with precepts of Divine and Natural law, in short, the struggle for improvement prescribed by the religious traditions of all the great civilizations of every race and age of Man.

The techno-scientific spirit that strives for ever-greater efficiency and efficacy of technical practices relative to some standard or target is of a piece with this religious spirit of improvement, notwithstanding a long-standing tendency of both Right and Left to oppose the techno-scientific and the religious, and to see nothing but dehumanization in new technology and technological rationalization. Rightly understood, and disposed towards the right set of ends, both the techno-scientific spirit and the innovations it brings about will be a force for the re-humanization of social relations once the Liberal order, already moribund on its death-bed, is finally dead, buried, and forgotten.

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