There’s a story you’re not hearing on the news. It doesn’t get posted on CNN. Facebook shuts it down instantly, even in private Groups. It’s been banned on YouTube to the point where those who ascribe to the theory are using so-called “private” messaging apps such as Telegram to organize, and speak in code words. It’s the deeply flawed revolutionary philosophy common to several mass shooters who have been radicalized online to rain death down on innocents from Christchurch to Highland Park.
It’s known today as “Neoreactionism”, and in contrast to what its modern proponents would have you think, it was invented almost two centuries ago.
The story is being suppressed because the authorities rightly fear copycat slayings, and to reward these evil acts by giving their cause free press is by any metric counterproductive. And yet, I have become persuaded that the public needs to be aware of what’s happening — in part so they can take precautions, but more importantly so they don’t react to the events as the revolutionary program of the actors and the architects behind them dictates.
The philosophy can’t be put simply because it’s innately hollow, hiding falseness in artificial complexity. Based loosely on the modern form of Accelerationism espoused by Nick Land (and often borrowing its name), it is no less than a stated embrace of nihilism, anarchy, and societal collapse, predicated on the root idea that capitalism contains within itself a mechanism which will inevitably lead to the destruction of humanity through self-sustaining cycles in pursuit of efficiency over all else. Accelerationists, for various reasons, attempt to force the process forward — and those reasons differ widely: Some want to push the present system to self-destruction, others to what they view as an ideal, anti-democratic condition.
Viewed politically, it is neither left nor right wing; it’s beyond either fringe. Some are revolutionary eco-fascist white supremacists, for instance, which combines the worst of both sides. Less radical Accelerationists can be found across the spectrum; some would destroy the present system to promote communism, others to create a new top-down aristocracy of the most able (defining that, of course, as themselves — the “Awake”).
The Neoreactionists are generally proto-fascists of this ilk. However, it’s foolish to generalize; their numbers also include Libertarian Socialist followers of Bakunin, the so-called “Boogaloo Boys”, “The Base”, a few among the “3%” crowd, and the most violent among the Portland Anarchists. They could be found wherever BLM protests turned to riots and on January 6th at the barricades around the Capitol — not at the core of any demonstrtion, but always on the front lines where they can do the most damage. Many join law enforcement and the military in order to receive free training and gainful employment in a violent occupation. And a very few shoot up parades, concerts, churches, malls, and festivals.
Revolutionary doctrine of the 1840s first embraced the philosophy of “Propaganda of the Deed”, expressed cogently by Bakunin thus: “…we must spread our principles, not with words but with deeds, for this is the most popular, the most potent, and the most irresistible form of propaganda.” The idea was twofold: first, that any violent act against oppression would inspire others to violence; second, that each act would force governments to react oppressively, pressuring further the disenfranchised into violence. The two reactions would continue to reinforce each other until they led to violent revolution.
It didn’t work as intended. Instead, while governments across Europe toppled and revolutionaries gloried in the chaos, the population usually reacted with disgust and rejection. It was also remarked upon that those who preach violence very rarely have the courage to risk themselves, preferring instead to seek out vulnerable and unstable youths and encourage them to self-destruction. Movement after movement collapsed in the face of profound rejection by society and contempt from those who would rather build than destroy. They found their zenith at the assassination of the Archduke that touched off the First World War, from the ashes of which rose Italian Fascism, Nazi Germany, and the authoritarian Soviet regime of Stalin — each the precise opposite of the freedom from oppression desired by the revolutionaries, and none of which rewarded ability with authority.
Today, the revolutionary doctrine espoused by these mass murderers is the same as Bakunin’s: Be violent in order to encourage government repression, which in turn will encourage more violence — the more horrific, the better. Just as in the days of Bakunin, they start as vulnerable youths, and are recruited and radicalized online by sociopathic predators. The same methods are used by radical Imams to create suicide bombers, violent anarchists to persuade protestors to burn down courthouses, and online nuts to recruit the unstable to shoot up a parade.
The flaw in their doctrine is simple: Violent revolutions build nothing; they merely destroy. Even when political violence achieves its desired end, all it can ever accomplish is the annihilation of the structures that created society. The survivors can rebuild with what is left, but often that’s not enough to prevent starvation, much less improve on what was there before.
The world sought after by these foul excrescences will never come to pass; their ideas are too scattered for that. But what will certainly occur unless we resist it is a form of society that is worse than that of today, one in which freedom is ever more tightly restricted and privacy regularly violated in our efforts to keep ourselves safe. Unfortunately, that safety we seek is and always has been an illusion; that it was not violated before now was the great fortune of former generations, but one we can no longer share — just as Europe in the 1840s could not.
It falls to us to oppose their ends. Where these nihilists seek to destroy our society, we must fight them by building more and better. They would promote increased division; we must come together and find common ground. They would have us pass repressive laws; we must embrace freedom with all its costs — including, to a certain extent, that of personal safety. We must take reasonable precautions, but never unreasonable; for if we err in this regard, we but do the terrorist’s work for them.
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