This is a question that arose on Twitter earlier today and it’s a good one which brings up points I’ve been wanting to mention for awhile. For the uninitiated, NRx stands for “Neoreaction”, a diverse and somewhat amorphous intellectual movement dedicated to combating the contemporary Leftist zeitgeist. It came together around the late twenty-oughts, led by blogger Mencius Moldbug who has since stepped down. You can find links to their primary sites on the left sidebar, labeled Neoreaction.
A note- when discussing Neoreaction one must necessarily make some generalizations which may be inaccurate when applied to specific members. It’s a young group and there is much disagreement on who should be included, the core beliefs and goals, etc. Also, most of those guys are much smarter than I, so it’s very possible I get something wrong here. If so, please let me know.
I am not a Neoreactionary, although they are primarily responsible for jolting me out of the Progressive viewpoint which I never knew I had. I like NRx and most of the people in it, and read as much of their output I can. Their criticisms of Leftist society in the West are often penetrating and enlightening. But ultimately Southern Reaction is not compatible with NRx.
NRx is a coalition of the thede-less. Most grew up deep in Progressive strongholds, apparently divorced from any kind of traditional way of life. They went to Progressive schools, have Progressive family, and work with Progressive people. In a way this is a strength: they recognize the inner workings of Leftism, how it gains control and how it affects people, better than anyone. They are also better situated to appeal to the type of people who are influential in the modern world. These strengths should not be discounted and they will likely serve them well. But NRx can’t help but be foreign to the traditional Southern way of life. They may be able to conceptualize some of the benefits of our worldview, but I think ultimately it can only be a means for them to achieve a non-Progressive society, and not an end. Speaking for myself at least, I’m not aiming simply for a non-Progressive society, but a truly Southern one. I would have to regard living in a Rightist New England-style society a failure.
NRx wants to save Western Civilization, and we want to save the South. Of course, these goals are not mutually exclusive; traditional Southern society is necessarily a part of Western Civilization. But as I’ve mentioned before, the South has much more of our traditional society left than most other places in the West. NRx-ers usually point out that we lost our fight against Leftism and that we are currently in a much weakened state. This is no doubt true, but every other traditional way of life in the West also lost their fight, and most have been completely swallowed up. We have a relatively strong contingent of traditional Southerners remaining, despite hundreds of years of pressure from Leftist forces. We were among the first to come under serious attack by SJWs, and we are still here when so many others are not. I think this speaks to the strengths of our way of life, and I think it demonstrates that we are in a good position to revive our worldview to some type of prominence.
Outsiders may be forgiven for mistaking NRx as a European movement. NRx is built nearly exclusively on European [EDIT: actually, Anglophonic is more appropriate – Thanks to @Outsideness] schools of thought, uses European aesthetics, and wants to bring back some kind of modernized European-style monarchy. I praise and support their utter disdain for American-style…everything, but they disregard a rich tradition of Rightism in their own country: the South. I don’t hold this against them, it wouldn’t make much sense to try adapting San Francisco or Vancouver to the Southern worldview. But it shows where NRx’s goals and loyalty lie: not with us. Luckily, Southerners are used to this, and it shouldn’t prevent working together to accomplish mutual goals.
The biggest obstacle facing NRx is the total absence of blood and heritage tying the group together – not that there’s anything they can necessarily do about this. It is a set of ideas only, and as Chateaubriand told us, “Men don’t allow themselves to be killed for their interests, they allow themselves to be killed for their passions.” Obviously no one needs to go getting themselves killed just yet but the principle of appeals to blood over appeals to the mind stands. This avenue may be closed to NRx, but it is still open to the “provincial reactionaries”, my term for reaction based in shared blood and cultural heritage over that based in ideas. As to who has the best chance to succeed, who can tell? It is a question of goals – if yours is to save Western Civilization as a whole, or if you find yourself thede-less, NRx may be the best group for you. But my goal is to save the Southern worldview, and that is why I’m a provincial, or Southern, reactionary.
I would like to see my fellow Southern reactionaries stake out our own territory, perhaps allied with but ultimately separate from NRx, grounded in the Southern way of life and taking inspiration from Southern heroes and traditions of the past. As it stands now, I look at NRx the same way I’d view a Rightist movement in France, say, or Connecticut (albeit with some added intellectual chops): I sympathize with it, support it in a general sense, wish it the best, try to learn from it. But ultimately, I won’t put my heart into it, because it is foreign to me; it will not save my people. We still have to do that ourselves.