Apparently Neo-Reactionaries are a thing now. Here’s a Metafilter discussion; here’s David Brin’s excellent takedown; here’s Scott Alexander’s devastating rebuttal.

The irony is that these dudes, while swooning over the loveliness of noblemen, have no chance of becoming nobles themselves. And surely they know this? I mean, Mencius Moldbug doesn’t think he’s going to be king, does he? So he’s hoping to be named house intellectual for the thugs.

None of this is really new; there have always been intellectuals (almost all white men) with a hankering for feudalism. More strangely, quite a number of them add to this a fascination with science fiction. This has given us one of the weirdest of sf tropes: the Wild West space habitat– examples include Gibson’s Freeside, Heinlein’s Luna, and Firefly.  More cheap irony, because a space habitat is the last place compatible with libertarianism.  Guns and anti-authoritarianism do not mix with fragile life support systems.

Brin speculates that the neo-reactionaries “have swung in this bizarre direction because they are too smart to be fooled any longer by the undead thing that has hijacked American conservatism”.  That is, the GOP has become so anti-intellectual that they’re no longer comfortable being its intellectual lackeys.  As they can’t bring themselves to admit the other side is right, they retreat further into contrarianism.  But I think Brin gives them too much credit. The neo-reactionaries, like the Tea Party, think the GOP just hasn’t been GOP-ish enough.  They want more more economic quackery, more elitism, more trolling of liberals.

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