Book Notes No. 1, July 2018

Posting here has obviously been light, lately–seven posts since February, all about books, and mostly about my book, Sanity. Others have taken care of things quite nicely in the  the politics/government/social commentary department; if you haven’t yet, do go over to Social Matter and sign up for the email list, which will get you “This Week in Reaction,” which will likely be plenty.

I’m sure I’ll do some more essays, someday. For now I’ve found my groove with books, writing them and also spending more time reading them and less on “news” and commentary. So just to keep the blog on some kind of regular schedule I’m going to do at least a monthly book post. This is No. 1. Continue reading

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“The Powers of the Earth” by Travis J. I. Corcoran–a Review and an Appreciation

About a year ago I opined on The Right Sort of Reactionary Fiction here, while I was in the middle of writing Sanity. As I wrote then:

What’s needed is an interesting story and interesting characters. What’s needed is what any good novel needs, making the reader care about what happens next…What I’ve found is that if you just write the story, there are plenty of opportunities to slip the Dark Enlightenment and the Red Pill and whatever other points you want to make in as a natural part of the narrative.

I just finished Travis J. I. Corcoran’s The Powers of the Earth, and while it’s not necessarily, precisely DE/RP, it’s…a great book. It’s great as “hard” sci-fi, it’s great as satire on Political Correctness and the various idiocies of Current Year and politicians and DC and socialism. But what makes it more than good is the way these strands come together in a great, big story, a story in which the reader an hardly wait to find out what happens next.

I’ve read thousands of novels, friends. This is the Real Deal.

I’ll let the Author explain his own plot (from the Amazon description):

Earth in 2064 is politically corrupt and in economic decline. The Long Depression has dragged on for 56 years, and the Bureau of Sustainable Research is hard at work making sure that no new technologies disrupt the planned economy. Ten years ago a band of malcontents, dreamers, and libertarian radicals bolted privately-developed anti-gravity drives onto rusty sea-going cargo ships, loaded them to the gills with 20th-century tunnel-boring machines and earthmoving equipment, and set sail – for the Moon.

There, they built their retreat. A lunar underground border-town, fit to rival Ayn Rand’s ‘Galt’s Gulch’, with American capitalists, Mexican hydroponic farmers, and Vietnamese space-suit mechanics – this is the city of Aristillus.

There’s a problem, though: the economic decline of Earth under a command-and-control economy is causing trouble for the political powers-that-be in Washington DC and elsewhere. To shore up their positions they need slap down the lunar expats and seize the gold they’ve been mining. The conflicts start small, but rapidly escalate.

Yes, there will be fighting.

The thing I’d point out, though, is just how vivid are the characters. They’re masterfully built up so that shortly after the first chapters I cared about them. And some of the most interesting and memorable characters are Dogs, with a capital “D”–I won’t say too much about them, except Dogs are people too…

I am a great admirer of Robert Heinlein’s work and anyone who’s read Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress will soon realize The Powers of the Earth has some interesting echos of it. Corcoran even brings them up himself, with characters discussing TMIAHM within the book. He manages to pull off exploring some of the same themes as Heinlein, giving tribute to Heinlein but taking things in new (and often surprising) directions. This is not rehashed Heinlein, nor is it really Galt’s Gulch on the Moon–though it has some elements of Atlas Shrugged, too (especially Rand’s gift for creating Bad Guys and Gals That Work for the Government).

The Powers of the Earth is a vivid, riveting page-turner that had me caring a great deal about its characters, and what’s going to happen next. And it ends on the perfect cliffhanger…luckily the second book Causes of Separation is already loaded, so I’m going to go find out.

Richard Carroll Reviews “Sanity” at Thermidor Magazine

Richard Carroll, refined literary blogger at Everything is Oll Korrectreviews Sanity in Thermidor Magazine.

At Thermidor: “Our Aesthetic is lucid madness.” Interesting how well that does fit with one of the things I was trying to do with Sanity, explore the balance of Apollo and Dionysius, reason and ecstasy, in a well-lived life.

It’s a generally favorable review, but more important to me is that Richard took the time and had the intellectual chops to understand the book and communicate that. There’s nothing a writer wants more, deep down in his soul.

A sample:

I bring this all up because preachiness was my main concern going into today’s novel, Sanity, written by Neoreactionary blogger Neovictorian. Since I only know him through his articles and am unaware of any previous experience he may have writing fiction, I feared that his book would turn out as either a political tract thinly disguised as a story or a wish-fulfilment fantasy. Though there are NRx and broader dissident Right gang signs all over the joint, they never get in the way of the narrative and the end result is, I’m happy to say, a genuinely good novel that stands well on its own as a novel.

You can follow Richard and read his most interesting takes on a universe of topics at @CheshireOcelot

Review: “A Rambling Wreck” – Book 2 of The Hidden Truth by Hans G. Schantz

I’ve had a deep fascination with “hidden truths” as long as I can remember. Conspiracies, secret societies, smoke-filled back rooms, intelligence agencies, etc., etc. I believe I was 11 when I found None Dare Call It Conspiracy in Grandpa’s bookshelf; perhaps not old enough to really understand it, but old enough to be interested and to look in the encyclopedia for the persons and entities mentioned there for follow-up research.

After that there were the spy novels of Ian Fleming and others, then I got into the JFK conspiracy books when I was 14…may adventures with that are described in my piece Occam and Me on JFK and 9/11. In conjunction with my reading on the UFO phenomenon:

It was a slow-motion mystical journey similar to the quest for the Great White Whale, a quest for the Key to Everything “they” had been withholding from “us” over the whole history of the Republic, the real meaning of the symbols on the dollar bill and the goings-on in Ivy League secret societies and the Jekyll Island Duck Hunt and, probably, the aliens on ice at Wright-Patterson.

While I may have concluded that Lee Oswald, Lone Gunman, shot JFK, that didn’t take away from a whole lot of other interesting things. Not all the good conspiracies are true; but some of the best of them are in fiction…

Now comes Hans G. Schantz with his “The Hidden Truth” series. I mentioned it in my post The Right Sort of Reactionary Fiction last summer, but at that time I hadn’t read the second volume, A Rambling Wreck. Now I’ve read it twice. And not only is it a fun and entertaining read, it’s also practical; a practical manual for flying under Big Government’s radar and infiltrating, undermining and ratfucking Social Justice Warriors. What could be more fun than that?

Since his debut in The Hidden Truth our hero Peter Burdell has grown up, a lot. Losing your parents to government assassins will do that. But Peter is also trying to ace (or at least pass) his classes in his freshman year at Georgia Tech, infiltrate the power elite (The “Civic Circle”) and the burgeoning SJW movement at Tech. Also, earn some money working in a lab. Also, possibly, meet a nice girl.

You do need to read The Hidden Truth to understand what’s up in A Rambling Wreck, but that’s a feature, not a bug. Just buy them both! Hell, at the same place you can buy Dr. Schantz’s awesome book on ultrawideband antennas.

But back to the specific book at hand, A Rambling Wreck. Why should you buy and read it?

It’s fun, it’s well written, it’s just plain good science fiction and it satisfies. Also, it’s a practical guide to understanding, infiltrating and grandly screwing with college SJWs. After you’ve read it, buy a copy (of both volumes) for your friends and children at school! Buy copies for younger kids, too. These books show how young people should conduct themselves with honor and perseverance, and not through preaching, but through example.

Anyway, as I said, our hero has grown up quite a bit in the course of the two books. There is some mild profanity and a singular use of the ‘f-word” and the sexual content is a little more advanced, but it fits with the arc of the story appropriately. In fact something I particularly like is how Peter is tepid about “Gaming” girls and leans toward finding himself a more serious, committed and deeper relationship.

One last note: There are several sections of the book with discussions of physics that are not going to be easily digested by the “casual” reader. They’re important to the plot and belong. If you can’t shut out the buzz of stupidity around you for a few minutes and buckle down to some deeper thinking, well, you haven’t Become Worthy quite yet.

Think. Deeply.

And buy and read A Rambling Wreck.

America 3.0, Richard Fernandez and Prophets Without Honor

Outside in pointed us to this column by Richard Fernandez (nee “Wretchard”) from the other day.

“Opportunity”:

If people go their separate ways such a divorce would be an astonishing defeat for the Left. For the first time since 1917 it would be giving up its claim to guide the entire in order to settle for parts.  As late as 2016 it was possible to imagine an America led to a “progressive” future by Hillary Clinton;  an EU guiding all of Europe to a similar destiny and the G20 taking the whole world to the same destination.  Indeed everyone told they were fated to follow an Arc of History.  Yet after Brexit, Trump and G-Zero it is no longer possible to visualize this outcome.  A blue-red division would confirm the failure to create a “progressive” world. No conceivable rollback will ever put Humpty Dumpty together again.

While this would be bad for the political ambitions of the Left, the people on the Left may actually benefit.  The alternative to the gloom doom scenario is to recognize that we may in fact be on a pathway to a new American century, a new epoch of world prosperity.  Except that it will be a different America and a different globe.

As I commented, this reminded me of the book America 3.0 by James Bennett (The Anglosphere Challenge) and Michael Lotus (aka “Lexington Green”).

I think it’s a good and informative read, but if you have no desire to get the book, the authors published an excerpt/summary at American Enterprise Institute.

America 3.0 came out over four years ago, before I was fully “NRx” but well on my way, and I think I first heard of it on Instapundit. Glenn Reynolds (who also wrote the preface) did a number of positive posts on the book. I started writing about it on a previous blog, but at the time I was puzzled at how little traction the book was getting on the “Outer Right.” I wrote, I commented, and with one or two exceptions, the reaction was, “Meh.”

I wasn’t really sure why the negative reaction, or just plain lack of it, but three guesses; 1) Too “mainstream,” doesn’t fit into Moldbug’s worldview” (I’d been reading Moldbug for a year or so by mid-2013); 2) Too optimistic, “Don’t even try to tell me that Progs aren’t going to succeed at bringing on the Gotterdammerung! What fun will the future be without some shit burning down?” and, related; 3) Too unrealistic, “DC will never, ever give up a scintilla of power over states, localities and every grain of sand, and Boomers will never, ever take a benefit cut!”

Experience of the last 100 years is, indeed, enough to make one cynical and suspicious of optimism about the evolution of government, but I think to be fair to the authors of America 3.0 we should review a few of their specifics (from the introduction and Chapter 1, much of which is available free on the Amazon “look inside”):

America 2.0 was, in many ways, great in its day. But it is over. The technological and economic changes we foresee are already happening, or about to happen. The government sector is in a state of decay reminiscent of the Brezhnev period of the Soviet Union, with apparatchiks with no new ideas repeating the same clichés and the same failed policies, seemingly unaware that their system is doomed…

We have a long way to go before we replace the twentieth century state and economy with their successors. It is too early to pick an end date for America 2.0, which will only become apparent in hindsight…

NEW MORNING

It is 2040…The Social Payments Resolution Fund is still making payments to [Boomers] , but most of them had accepted the lump-sum termination payment of 2028 during the Third Fiscal Reform…

The new manufacturing revolution has been instrumental in keeping material wants cheap…New England (minus, of course, New Hampshire) was the first to set up a multistate authority to take over their portion of the federal health care system…

As a result of the Reforms, the United States now has 71 states, none of which have more than eight million inhabitants. These have arranged themselves into a series of state compacts, and special-purpose agreements between compacts, so that the Northeast and Great Lakes areas form a network with relatively high taxes and levels of government supplied social services…

The Texases, as they are now called, since they exercised their right to divide into five states, form their own compact…

[N]umerous shareware programs are available for the standard house-printing machines…

The war on drugs is long over…

Decentralization encourages the “Big Sort” as families seek out the kind of communities they want to live in…

I think that’s enough to give you the overview without copyright violation. It is optimistic, though the authors acknowledge that pain that will happen during the transition…a transition which in 2013 they claimed had begun to stir, and which I think is farther along in some ways than they may have anticipated, just four years on.

I hope you have the time and inclination to read the book, for there is certainly a lot more to it than in my overview. It’s funny, but recently I have several times on Twitter read something that moves me to recite the words of Jesus (Mark 6:4-6):

A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

It seems to me that Bennett and Lotus haven’t gotten the long-term honor that they merit from the various flavors of the Right: Patchwork, Tech-Cap, Traditionalist communities of the like-minded; all are explicit or implicit in America 3.0 and the authors give what I think are excellent historical, practical reasons for their vision of the future.

I think the book is prophetic. Perhaps the transitions will be messier and bloodier than the authors envision, but they deserve a lot more honor on the Right than they have gotten to date.

(I touched on these issues and this book in the early days of this blog in On Implementation and Possible NRx Territories: Alaska. I think those pieces have held up pretty well, despite being positively ancient in Internet Time.)

Quo Vadis, Reaction?

In the apocryphal Acts of Peter the original The Rock is said to be fleeing Rome and probable death by crucifixion when he meets Jesus on the road. Peter asks, “Quo vadis?” (Where are you going?”), to which He replies, “Romam eo iterum crucifigi” (“I am going to Rome to be crucified again.”), upon which Peter turns around goes to meet his fate.

It’s been almost three and a half years now since I started blogging here about “NeoReaction” (caps in the original) and the “Dark Enlightenment.” The story of that beginning is here. At any rate, I must say that I saw NRx then as an intellectual hobby of sorts, full of people more interesting than the political types I’d been working for, and with, since 1998. I never truly thought, then, that by whatever name, it would be a thing, written up in national magazines and talked about on the Old Media Sunday shows.

Yet, here we are.

It turned out that the label “Alt-right” would be the one that caught fire, with its hint of racist catnip that Big Media just could not resist. Hillary Clinton, in a move that did absolutely nothing to get her elected, opened her trap and gave “Alt-right” about $100 million in free publicity, Donald Trump became President of the United States (I’m still surprised, to be honest), his advisor St. Steve Bannon was/is excoriated daily as the Alt-Right éminence grise racistis (I know, I know) and in the last few days we’ve had a long Andrew Sullivan piece indeed and entire issue of New York magazine devoted to the Reaction, Alt-right and whatever other terms of opprobrium trembling Acela corridor scribes have vomited out.

Since I don’t want to get too confused, and confusing, myself, for the purposes of the rest of this I use the term Reaction as an umbrella to describe something that has surely evolved and changed from the original trichotomy, which was about Neoreaction, not “Alt-right” whatever that is. Still, I find it helpful after all these years:

trefoil2

Where Based Stick Man, Dark Triad Man and the various young blonds fall in there, I’m not sure, but let us proceed.

Where are you going, Reaction?

Breaking things down:

Facts

A list of things  I find basically indisputable (you’re welcome to dispute then, though):

  • Muslims will continue to out-breed everyone else in Western Europe. The conflicts there will simply ratchet up, a little at a time, until we get Soumission. I don’t think there is any amount of persuasion, demotic politics, blog posts and/or Tweets that can change this. Therefor, Traditional Europeans are going to have to form enclaves and possess the real weapons needed to protect them, or…mass deportation sparking civil war as the only real alternatives to converting. This comes to a head within 8-10 years. No Pan-European Right Wing Savior is going to be sent by history to recapitulate the Gates of Vienna. Suck it up for the long haul Europeans–and have as many children as you can, even if it’s just as a big Middle Finger to your would-be conquerors.
  • Eastern Europe is generally going the opposite direction, and will resist Brussels pressure even unto leaving the EU. They actually seem to understand in Warsaw and Budapest that survival is more important than marginal lifestyle gains from trade! Americans and West Europeans will be migrating there in greater and greater numbers over the next decade. Especially men, for the obvious reasons. How long until we read a piece by some freaked-out feminist that advocates immigration laws stopping Western bros from moving over there and mating with the slim, young, pretty homemaking E. Euro girls? Maybe it’s already out there; if not, remember me when you see the first one.
  • For the United States, let’s lay out some more hatefacts: Black people are not going away, they’re going to be basic thread in the fabric for the long term, so don’t write posts that fantasize about how Awesome things would be if they went somewhere else. America is going to be a multi-racial society for our lifetime and more. As in Europe there is going to be more and more movement toward enclaves of the like-minded, both physical and Phyle or Order types, as in The Diamond Age novel that inspired the background and basis of this blog. I posted about this a good while ago, and stand by what I wrote then.

Trump

  • The sharpest minds in the field, like Moldbug and Land, have consistently warned that democracy was the problem, thus amelioration could never be found by Electing the Right People ; none the less, almost all our friends hoped in their hearts of hearts for a Trump victory, as a way to slow the Decline, a breathing space, and in some maybe just a secret tiny hope that he would Drain the Swamp and found the House of Mar a Lago, or whatnot. Sorry, we’re not getting a National Monarchy in the States anytime soon (some good fiction may disagree) and Trump v. Deep State has been one-sided so far…how does one root out the Deep State in the U.S.? American Reaction can only route around it, and is actually doing a fair job of that. If all you do is read the online Reactosphere you wouldn’t know how much is going on behind the scenes and “IRL” – it’s considerable.
  • Any attempt to remove Trump through impeachment or the 25th Amendment route would precipitate considerable pushback by the Deplorables and probably act as an enzyme to rapidly speed up the American societal changes described above. So it is to be hoped for–and the smarter Democrats seem to realize this and are backing off the impeachment talk. Trump will serve his term.
  • Even given that, just keep going to the shooting range on a regular basis and keep restocking your ammo. Seems probable to me that in the next 0.1 to 10 years there’s going to be city-level terrorist act in the U.S. It won’t directly affect 99% of the country, but the supply chain and utilities disruptions and consequent urban riots will.

The Rectification of Names

  • #AltRight – Brett Stevens did an excellent summary piece on the term “Alternative Right” last August. In a previous post he had written: “[T]he Alternative Right is an alternative to white nationalism as much as the Republicans. The goal of the Alternative Right is to establish principles by which civilizations thrive, in contrast to the dying principles upon which we base our current time.”
  • Which to me sounds a great deal like how Neoreaction (#NRx) was defined by some, sometimes. The difference, well summarized in 2015 by Butch Leghorn channeling the dear departed Bryce Laliberte is that Neoreaction is a culture. #AltRight is not a culture. Leghorn also identified, in the broadest sense, #NRx with Land’s Cult of Gnon: Gnon is no less than reality, whatever else is believed. Whatever is suspended now, without delay, is Gnon. Whatever cannot be decided yet, even as reality happens, is Gnon. If there is a God, Gnon nicknames him. If not, Gnon designates whatever the ‘not’ is. Gnon is the Vast Abrupt, and the crossing. Gnon is the Great Propeller.
  • This far, far different than Stevens’ Alt Right. In my Rectification of Names, Land’s Dark Enlightenment is the Base of all the rest, of “Reaction,” #NRx, #AltRight, Human Biodiversity, European New Right, “White Nationalism” (however defined), Archeofuturism and various other people and things in their Infinite Variety.
  • One must first be Darkly Enlightened to understand any of the rest of it. It’s not necessary that one read Land’s series; people had managed to Darkly Enlighten themselves and each other long before that.
omega

Mysterious Awakening Image

By whatever name(s), this phenomenon only began and could only have grown and risen higher after the internet and the rapid memetic mutation it enabled. That’s why it’s so hard to categorize and control. Like water, the harder you try and grasp it, the more it slips through your fingers. But like water, it can gradually erode and even destroy the foundations of a…Cathedral. And it will go where Gnon wills it.

All we as individuals can really do is train. Lifting, shooting, unarmed martial arts, and especially mental training. Conscious control of brain states, logic, memory. Teaching our children and other young people we are in a position to influence All of the Above. “Luck is the residue of design.” Strong individuals are the only strength of the Reactionary Collective Unconscious.

That’s where I’m going. I can feel, I can sense, I know that you’re coming with me, because there is no alternative but surrender.

And that’s not you.

Sanity: A Change in Title and Direction

As of today, the blog is retitled “Sanity in the Diamond Age.” While I still have a distinct fondness for the term, and the ideas, of “Neoreaction” and “NRx” I don’t find myself so interested in writing about them at present.

Continue reading