Neoreaction is interesting and important because it provides a bridge from libertarianism/progressivism to reactionary thought. It is brand new and fragile.
Whether anyone likes it or not, neoreaction is a movement. Whether we approve of the connotations behind the word “movement”, that’s essentially what it is. Pick some euphemism for “movement” if you like, it makes no difference.
As neoreaction grows, it is causing people to change the way they think about progressivism, democracy, and modern governance. To maintain this property, it needs to contain a certain concentration of people who understand its principles and can communicate them.
Because neoreaction is quickly growing, it is at risk of becoming diluted by hostile groups. Today, the most prominent adjacent hostile group are libertarians. This puts us in a difficult position because we also gain many new recruits from libertarianism.
At some point along the way, some neoreactionaries picked up the idea that having standards or expecting people to adhere to standards is a feature of Leftism. This is mistaken.
Many libertarian anti-authoritarian types rightfully see neoreaction as a threat. They have every reason to. This is because neoreaction provides a theoretical and practical justification for authority, which they detest.
Because certain neoreactionaries have things in common with libertarians, there is some tendency for them to associate. For instance, both neoreactionaries and libertarians are critical of the excesses of progressivism.
The problem arises, however, when a critical mass of anti-authoritarian libertarians blends in with neoreaction, takes an interest in it, and fools outsiders into thinking that their views are typical for the group.
Pretty soon, neoreaction becomes watered-down Free State Project libertarianism. It is swallowed up by a failed philosophy and its original insights are destroyed. This is accomplished by innocuous fraternization between libertarians and neoreactionaries, what Evola called “the tactic of dilution”. What neoreaction was, its original values, are diluted beyond measure until they are gone or irrevocably compromised.
Neoreactionaries have observed what is called “holier-than-thou spirals” among Leftists which are arms races of self-righteousness. This causes us be to naturally cautious about condemning others for not being ideologically pure, which can be healthy—in moderation.
Danger arises when it becomes socially unacceptable to enforce any ideological standards, and the group begins to evaporate, blending in with the hostile libertarianism that surrounds it. Neoreaction is then destroyed, because it failed to set standards for itself or create ideological boundaries.
For something to continue to exist, it must protect itself, and set boundaries between itself and other objects. There is some crucial threshold where a failure of a group to protect itself and set boundaries leads to the death of the group and the principles it used to believe in.
If someone cares about the group, and the principles it stands for, they don’t want it to die. They want it to retain a bare minimum of coherence and adherence to its original principles. Specifically, this may involve discouraging the group from moving in the direction of libertarianism.
If any efforts to ensure the integrity of the principles of the original group are condemned as “holier than thou posturing,” the group will eventually evaporate, due to the influence of the greater numbers of the hostile group trying to destroy or swallow it.
The key is to strike a balance; allow room for disagreement, while clarifying that certain minimum standards must be met for someone to qualify as a “neoreactionary”. If any libertarian can call themselves a “neoreactionary” and get away with it, the integrity of the group will be fatally compromised through dilution. This is exactly what anti-authoritarian libertarians want.
In the same sense, an organism can only continue to exist if its immune system destroys foreign cells and protects native cells. An organism in a hostile environment will be surrounded by other organisms that want it to die; they want it to die so they can tear it apart and digest it for nutrients. Any embryonic philosophy or worldview faces the same threat.
Neoreaction is now facing a new risk because there is actually a defined group forming that is libertarian, vaguely passes itself off as neoreactionary, and passes off its opinions as if they were neoreactionary opinions, though they come from an anti-authoritarian ideological space. This is a tumor that wasn’t there before.
For any group to achieve its aims, it must set certain standards and adhere to them. It also requires some social selectivity. Because many neoreactionaries are former libertarians, they get along with libertarians, exchange ideas with them, and so on. Some of this is harmless, but it’s a matter of degree. There is some threshold where neoreaction becomes so saturated with fraternization with anti-authoritarian libertarians that it loses its identity. If this happens, much effort will be wasted.