Left and Right

The Limitations of the Neo-Reactionary Critique of Modernity

This is an interesting critique of the neo-reactionary movement by social scientist Scott Alexander, who also postulates the emergence of a libertarian “Grey Tribe” as a third force beyond the “conservative” Red Tribe and the “liberal” Blue Tribe. Alexander is very much in the progressive camp, although not in a rigid or doctrinaire way. For example, he criticizes the excesses of the”social justice” milieu.

While my own views are often polar opposite of those of the neo-reactionaries, I frequently find their no-holds-barred criticism the Left, liberalism, and mainstream conservatism contains interesting and sometimes important insights.

By Scott Alexander

Slate Star Codex

Neoreaction is a political ideology supporting a return to traditional ideas of government and society, especially traditional monarchy and an ethno-nationalist state. It sees itself opposed to modern ideas like democracy, human rights, multiculturalism, and secularism. I tried to give a more complete summary of its beliefs in Reactionary Philosophy In An Enormous, Planet Sized Nutshell.


2 replies »

  1. Scott Alexander is currently my favorite blogger, but he isn’t a social scientist in the usual sense of the word. He is an MD with a wide range of interests, a great deal of intellectual energy, and amazingly fair minded. He has another post, linked to in what you quote, in which he summarizes the neo-reactionary position, on the grounds that he couldn’t find a good summary of it. If one read only that post one would guess that he was sympathetic to the view.

    I don’t know what counts as “in the progressive camp.” His political views strike me as closest to those of the Bleeding Heart Libertarians—generally libertarian, but with inclinations towards a guaranteed minimum income of some sort. Culturally he probably thinks of himself as part of the left, although he’s also a G.K. Chesterton fan.

  2. Okay, an amateur social scientist, then? Social science as a hobby? LOL.

    “Culturally he probably thinks of himself as part of the left,”

    That’s more or less what I meant by progressive. I’m probably using the term in a broader sense than you might think is appropriate. But I agree that Scott Alexander is one of the best bloggers out there.

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