Manifestory Preamble

Neoreaction has blown up from its “foundation” by Mencius Moldbug into something which really cannot be described as Moldbuggian any longer. This is not such a bad thing, or at least it wouldn’t be if what it has blown up into resembled anything like legitimate reactionary fervour—but that’s debatable. At least the “dissident right” exists, which is more than can be said of the last couple of decades, although it cannot be said that the dissident right exists as a single entity. If you are part of the dissident right, you probably fall within one of these four categories: traditionalist conservative of the Russell Kirk/Roger Scruton school, or similar paleocon of some description with some vague hopes of preserving what remains of a dead system; “alt-light” liberalist/libertarian who has a bone to pick with Muslims but doesn’t care about much else; “alt-right” for whom there is no metaphysical existence beyond skin colour, perhaps you also like Dugin, or at least you claim to; or indeed an Orthosphere lurker, a Christian medievalist with angelic visions of the new Kingdom of GNON. All of these groups, whilst admirable in their own ways for attempting to make a clean break with conservatism, are also deficient in their own ways.

There is a fifth school of theorists beginning to develop, born from the fires of the feudalist counterrevolutionary tradition—that old and slightly Romanticised line of forgotten legitimists and royalist conservatives, but fully red-pilled and thus immune from the temptation to rebuild the technological aesthetics of the Ancien Régime. The political aesthetics, however, are fully up for grabs. This expression of the ‘Oldest School’ conservateur has been seen in a new wave of “neoreactionary” blogs, such as Carlsbad 1819, which has formed the purest inspiration behind this Metternichian offering. But there is a difference between myself and mainstream neoreaction, between myself and Christian reactionaries, between myself and Carlsbad. This brief introduction will attempt to outline those differences, just to try and persuade the curious reader that they have good reason to stay for the long haul.

We shall begin with Carlsbad’s diagnosis of the problem with the present schools of reactionary theory, for I believe him to be correct in the first instance. I shall leave the problems of Moldbuggian neocameralism to one side, and instead focus on the counterrevolutionary project:

The Orthosphere and other “theonomists” are probably closest to the counterrevolution, but being interested in a spiritual revival of Christendom they are more focused on the sacerdotium side of things and less on the imperium—understandably so.

Vide.

The counterrevolutionary project of the 19th century succeeded and failed. It kept the lid on nationalism and liberalism for a time, but for all the Concerts of Europe, the Zeitgeist remained then, as today, firmly against the Old Order. But the result of this, of course, has been a complete loss of interest in the “conservatism” of that Old Order amongst mainstream conservatives and the liberal machine alike. The closest to such ideas you can get are found in those isolated regions of the internet populated by Catholic theonomists and traditional Burkeans whose ideology is firmly rooted in Enlightenment theory if not practice.

Reading a few more recent “New Right”-related theorist projects got me thinking: in the words of Moldbug, “I decided to build a new ideology.” Although in reality, I am not building anything overly new at all. Whilst Carlsbad approaches issues from a legitimist,  perhaps we might even hazard to say ‘aristocratic cameralist’ position, being very much the child of political reaction, my own interests lie in the forward planning of those forces contemporary to Carlsbad’s political gods, who considered the future of Europe after the Revolution. The astute reader will recognise Klemens Fürst von Metternich in the title, and one can deduce easily enough that many of the “old books” which I shall be drawing on will be built from more of a Germanic, and for my sins, theoretical flavour. As this new formalisation of a modern counterrevolutionary Metternichian Theory is put together, the topics described in the About section shall be linked off.

There is a threefold purpose to this project: first, to build a systematic theory for counterrevolutionary forces in this new and valuable corner of the dissident right, then to offer insight into our own (meta-)political crises with the help of our own preferred intellectuals, pre-Hegelian and otherwise. Thirdly, in the spirit of our inspirations, to be a voice of aristocratic and old imperial thought, owing its loyalty to the First Reich, rather than the vastly overrated Third. This is the Old Right within the Old Right, long forgotten, but only half-dead. Hopefully this project will help it along the way to achieving limited self-fulfilment, and a new age of youthful exuberance.

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12 thoughts on “Manifestory Preamble

  1. I’m pleased and all the same somewhat bewildered that a rambling blog which I’m barely even a quarter of the way in to yet has left an impression on you. Can’t say there are enough people writing today from an “alter konservatismus” perspective (as defined by the Silesian-born jurist Wilhelm von Merckel for the purpose of declaring it dead and buried after the events of ’48), so I look forward to seeing what you deliver.

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    1. I think “rambling” is far too harsh on yourself. Still, I’ve been reading Carlsbad for a number of months now and thought it was about time I started something of my own, since I had been meaning to do similar long before my interest in the orthosphere. I can only hope my future offerings prove to be insightful for the followers of this refreshing quasi-Bourbonist right.

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      1. Do you have some ready drafts and a planned schedule of some sort? Speaking as you did of “Germanic” old books, it’s a fact that much of the first-generation Kreuzzeitung conservatives are an untapped source of insight. Alas not much of a “quasi-Bourbonist right” that I’m aware of, but again anything in that direction is a necessary corrective and alternative to the latest breed of volkisch ethnopopulism — an eternal staple of the right since the Boulanger affair and the belle epoque, at least.

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      2. Besides from the series in which I’m planning to elucidate a counter-rev. “theory” (more of a description than a theory, but see the ‘About section’) my main interests cover the pre-/post-Concert-era figures (Adam Mueller, von Haller etc.). I’ve recently been researching the Hegelian Right’s response to Marx’s early journalism/coming up with my own anti-bourgeois yet anti-materialist responses. Mainly I wish to prove that the old right is still perfectly able to offer viable solutions, but without the volkisch nationalist or Enlightenment liberal baggage which one seems to find at either end of modern “traditionalism.” It’s funny — I always found the Ligue des Patriotes insanely liberal. Most people who I express that to think it’s a mad theory, but I have reason to believe that it’s sound.

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  2. I see what you are trying to do here, and appreciate it. However, if I may offer this criticism, the Neo-Metternichian movement neither reaches far back enough into the past, nor looks far ahead enough into the future. The “First-and-a-Half Reich” of Metternich only superficially resembles the original, and kept few of the eternal principles which served as the foundation of the first. And its flaws are not only that the Holy Alliance was a poor substitute for the Holy Empire. Its main weakness is mainly in the fact that it is a “reaction” and not a response. It is defined not only by its opposition to 19th century “liberalism”, but by its adherence to 19th century “anti-liberalism”, and thus bound to the circumstances of the 19th century. “Feudalism” (in the narrow sense of manorialism) must be good because it was what they had in the “old days,” whereas in reality the specific sense in which most reactionaries refer to it was the result of a specific historical circumstance, and more or less obsolete by the 13th century. “Feudalism” in the sense of the principle of decentralized personal government on the other hand is applicable to any circumstance. Or take the problem of national anarchy. The solution to Nationalstaat is not the Polizeistaat of Metternich, but the Rechtsstaat of Charlemagne and Karl I. Legitimism is not about feudalism, nor even necessarily monarchism, but the primacy of law, Divine, Natural, and Human, about eternal principles and not necessarily their particular forms in changing historical situations To his credit, Metternich did many things necessary and counter-revolutionary in his time. Yet he was never really legitimist, and his mistakes are not ones those looking to further the cause of Right ought to uncritically repeat.

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    1. I hear your criticism and equally appreciate what you say. One has to admit — the failure of the Metternich system would seem to be a fairly damning indictment of it, and your critique of the use of the word “feudalism” is spot on. I don’t consider myself a blind acolyte of Metternich, though. Consider this a manifestation of his spirit, or at the very least, a right-wing movement which one almost never sees in contemporary politics. The problem with Metternich and many of his contemporaries was that their counter-Enlightenment was steeped in the language and methods of the Enlightenment, if not all its values. It is hard to escape that ourselves today, but at the very least, I can hopefully prove that the ‘only option’ for dissident rightists is not merely ethnonationalism, techno-commercialism and Christian theonomy. I might well end up repeating the work of others at times, but these things, I think, are worth repeating.

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      1. I am heartened by your response. Although I think there is still some distance between our positions, there is much less than I initially thought (for instance I think part of what many assume to be “enlightenment” language and methods are in reality fortunate survivals from earlier periods). My experience with Reactionaries has mostly been one of disillusionment, therefore to find the opposite is a welcome relief. I should therefore like your permission to republish your response (and any further comments you have) on my website in the form of a dialogue.

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      2. Please go ahead an republish what you like — I appreciate you asking. I think whilst we will disagree on a number of matters you were (rightfully) wary of any affinity to the word “reactionary.” I use it as a label mostly out of disillusionment with “conservative” although these days what with the broad scope of neoreaction, even that too is losing its flavour. The main problem with Metternichian reactionaries (both of the 19th cent. and today) is that they are very much products of Romanticism, as most ‘old style’ conservatism was, but that means it has a tendency to approach “feudalism” and medievalism in an appealing yet flawed manner. I can’t claim to be 100% free of Romantic influence myself (it brought me to this road) but I am not one of those neo-Metternichs who will advocate for global Kleinstaaterei or Catholic corporatism out of misguided nostalgia. Many of the blogs I’ve read which advocate similar things are onto something, but in the case of corporatism, for example, economic restructuring is a complicated business, and it’s not going to be as simple as retraining ourselves to think in cameralist terms.

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  3. Pingback: The Paradox of Metternich: A Dialogue | The War for Christendom

    1. Before attempting to take my place amongst this small group of internet theoreticians I had been a reader of your work for some time. Whilst it is with some melancholy that the Steel Cameralist Manifesto journey is at an end, such is the way of things. If Metternichian Theory develops with half the spirit of Imperial Energy, I will be best pleased.

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