Enjoy the Decline? Not Quite

Recognizing the truth of one key Reactionary observation concerning the Modern World, that of definite, observable entropy, we are consigned by our political knowledge to an inescapable resignation. It is not a surrender, for that would indicate a relinquishing of our resistance, principles, and ultimately our souls. The kind of ‘resignation’ we observe is an acceptance of our enemy’s insurmountable predominance in lieu of the present circumstances, rather than a true end to hostilities. It is to acknowledge that conditions as they are make our victory completely impossible. There will be no revolution, there will be no coups d’état, nor will the current society ‘evolve’ and slip back into an ordered structure. Deviations from the organic state of man cannot be redeemed with coaxing, but have to be smashed against the cliff face of reality.

smashed so hard all the teeth fall out


There is a phrase that describes one attitude to such an acceptance: “enjoy the decline”. We do not try to conserve the current society, the trinkets of our bygone eras which still stand as ignored ornaments today among the rubble. It cannot be conserved, and it cannot be saved. No amount of digging our heels into the riverbed will stop us being carried to its eventual mouth. This said, I find it difficult to see how such a process can be enjoyed. It puts us in a constant state of discomfort and such is the reason we are aware of what is going on. If Modernity didn’t chafe us so, we would be Modernists.


The attitude to have is one of a heroic fatalism, a marriage of two concepts that at first seem antonymous. For our society we expect only death. For ourselves we expect only death. But for Tradition, we know that life will soon spring anew and the organic currents of this world will push their way to the surface, humming with life. This is what we dedicate ourselves to, a Reaction that sees the battle already won, not for us, but for our cause. Until we have succeeded in bringing about that which we desire, that which is holy and good, the Reaction does not falter, for it is not ordained to, our spirits forbid capitulation and thus serve the inevitability of our triumph. The Reaction rages on and on.

Our aim is not to bring our enemy down, for it is by his own actions that he will ultimately fall. Our aim is to anticipate his fall, and to have prepared an unconquerable force with one guiding purpose, to achieve palaces from ruins, glory from desolation, and diamonds from coal.

It should be stressed that our hate for the enemy knows no bounds. We are justified in our attacks upon him by this alone, but such attacks always have our primary directive in mind. The Reactionary is perhaps the only political agent who wages war not to defeat the enemy, but to make himself worthy of succeeding the enemy. There is something to be gained by keeping our spirits up, but I contend that any joviality that we can justifiably lift from the present condition of human civilization is taken from the absurdity and comic tragedy of our enemy, not the slow and agonizing death that we have been put through and must now somehow enjoy as if we have embraced a kind of contagious madness. To enjoy such a thing seems impossible, for as individuals, it has robbed us of the lives we should have had, that which our now distant ancestors experienced. Modernity is like a grand thief in the night, and we its arisen victims, are subsequently constant harriers.

René Guénon
one of our most unshakable intellectual pillars


Everyone, and I mean everyone, should head over to Soul of the East and check out their article on René Guénon’s attitude towards the end of the cycle, penned by Branko Malic. Some choice quotes:

“When subversion reaches the lowest point, releasing, quite literary, hell on earth, things immediately have nowhere else to go but upwards. Once the lie is absolutely realized, the ground falls out from under it – it can exist only as a parasite on the body of truth.”


“Once the luminaries of progress unmask themselves, they can’t help but show what they truly are: a tedious bunch with sinister intent, naked for everyone to see, including themselves.”


“So, if we are living out the great End, let’s give it a defiant laugh. For as civilization accelerates into freefall and panic – generally masked as euphoria, just as the freefall is masked as progress –one cannot help but notice how progressively surreal and unavoidably funny it all becomes. So, why not mock the great mockery until it dissolves into nothing from which it came? Come to think of it, when all is said and done, there is not much else left to do besides repentance. The world won’t be redeemed by laughing at its tail-spinning counterfeit, but it’s a step in the right direction.”


There is a peculiar comedy to the enemy’s self-destruction, which somehow manages to sit aloft with his abominable evil in the face of which we are correctly nauseated. The ever-increasing entropy of our society makes for ever-more inane contradictions, self-parodies, and farcical stereotypes. Why might these bring us joy? Because they are like the scent of death from the opposing side of the battlefield, and now we know the torturers of man gasp their last. The decline carries us all with it, but our enemy’s death is theirs and theirs alone. To this we are only interested observers captivated by a spectacle, a pantomime. It is this which might bring us crude joy in the closing edge of the Iron Age.


This is a relatively short piece, but I still think it’s an important one. We do not enjoy the decline. We do not go gently into this good night with the rest of the world, but instead we go with defiant laughs, and on our lips a promise to our drowning enemies: “Our torch outlives us! Yours is extinguished here and now! Kill us, persecute us, silence us, do what you will while you can, but know that you have become naught but a cruel joke, and what remains of mankind, within only a few generations, will never even know your ideals existed.”

In the end, it is our clear vision and knowledge which brings us pain where others feel blissful nothing. We can see the devil. The rest of the world is oblivious. What better thing then to take our minds off the decay around us, than to ridicule the suicide of Liberalism, to skewer with tact every misstep it makes towards the grave? There is a difference between what we will ourselves to outwardly project and what we are compelled to feel inside, but the two are complementary. We despise the decline, it being unnecessary and destructive to an incalculable point, and consequently we find satisfaction in the downfall of its architects.

here’s looking at you, kid
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15 thoughts on “Enjoy the Decline? Not Quite

  1. I'd like to think that liberalism will destroy itself, but is that really a reasonable belief? If you've been driven over several cliffs, and you're still alive, you must have a good stunt driver. I mean, the devil isn't an idiot, two hundred plus years of revolution and the only real threat to the functionality of the liberal system is underpopulation, which will be accounted for by murder of the elderly. So I see little reason to think that he'll drive his system into the ground any time soon.

    If we want to retake society, we're going to have to work towards that, I very much doubt that it'll be handed to us.

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  2. The theory is based off of an observation of societal entropy, as Bryce Laliberte defined it: “A system that is in disrepair will work itself to even greater disrepair the longer it runs. It tends in one direction because disorder causes disorder.”

    This is consistent with the Reactionary school of Guénon, Evola, and to a large extent, Dávila. We exist today in the last age, the 'Kali Yuga', but being devoid of any higher principles, the world we observe is on a short chain. 200+ years is chump change in the grand scheme of things. To point to metrics via which we can observe societal disintegration, one can look at the racial mongrelization of the Occidental world, with the heightening ethnic conflict (i.e – Yugoslavia) dangers this poses to stability. One may also look at the economic system as it is laid out, built on a prodigious mountain of invisible money, complex transactions, debts, I.O.Us based on out-of-date calculations, etc. We might consider the growing ease of access to technology with things like 3D printers, the growing sophistication of cyber attacks, both of which are running in conjunction with a growing societal dependency on electricity and networks. There are issues of the spiritual composition of man as well, with a deeply sick society proving less able to fend off hostile cultures.

    The idea isn't that anything will be “handed” to us. First of all, I'm clear in saying that we as Reactionaries don't expect anything great and should not see ourselves, the bearers of the torch, as synonymous with the ideal itself. What the notion observes is that human civilization is trending towards a chaos point which it is completely ill-equipped to avoid. After this comes the abolition of ideology, barbarism becomes the means of survival. From this milieu, the Reactionary ideal springs forth successful. It is the antidote to disorder. People can reject the antidote with all their might, but there comes a point where the only other option is to be content with anarchy. We would, I'm sure, like to ensure that humanity's contentment with anarchy is very short, whether this has to be ensured with manipulation or force depends on your point of view.

    This post should be of great interest to you:

    http://citadelfoundations.blogspot.com/2015/02/is-prophetic-catastrophism-pollyannish.html

    There are other theories of Reactionary ascendancy, I just am party to this school myself.

    Your statement that the devil isn't an idiot actually underlines a profound truth perfectly. No, he is not an idiot in the sense of his aptitude, no agent in history has ever come close to his deceptiveness and diabolical cunning. However, he is hopeless. Even he knows, while he can have some dominion that is allowed to him in which he can wreak evil upon the peoples of the earth to disastrous effect, his rebellion has already failed and he is condemned to the fire no matter what he does. The Kali Yuga is synonymous with a satanic essence, while Tradition is the organic current that floweth in complete alignment with the hierarchy of the Divine Realm, the Lord at its head.

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  3. I understand your position, but I think there are a few flaws with it.

    First of all, as I said, the devil surely knows what new social disintegrations are likely to result in the collapse of liberalism, and I doubt that he would bring those about.

    Second of all, liberalism isn't *just* disorder. There is, as one example, a huge infrastructure, existing in both the public and private spheres, dedicated to strictly enforcing the antidiscrimination laws of the United States. they're destroying order sure, but they're also replacing it with their own insane versions of it.

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  4. On a side note, I have not thought of viewing the decline of society as you put it, but in some ways, it is rather encouraging during these darker times. I can only imagine what it was like for some Christians in the Western Roman Empire, watching as society declined, and viewing the barbarian hordes swarming over the border.

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  5. Of course, Liberalism ≠ Anarchy, although someone I believe on Social Matter recently did equate Liberalism with something called 'Anarcho-Tyranny'.

    We're talking about the stability of systems. Traditional systems, are inherently tending towards order, whereas Modern systems are inherently tending towards chaos. The trends I outlined are continuing unabated, and it is the very ideological rigor of Liberalism which you point to that prevents any emergency measures from being implemented. The very things that would safeguard Liberalism's future are anti-Liberal. The choice is between implementing anti-Liberal policies (reversing progress, which is heresy to their cult), or continuing on. Any reaction is further hindered by the fact that Liberalism has already defused democracy at the mass level, so even if the masses want something changed, they can circumvent this using things like court decisions. Right now they seem happy to continue, just look at the insane migrant wave in Europe. If these people had flooded the shores of China, they would have been shot.

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  6. The problem is that liberalism is full of unprincipled exceptions. If it becomes absolutely necessary, they can always do something illiberal and use liberal reasoning to justify it (e.g. we need to stop Muslim immigration because Muslims will turn Europe conservative). And of course, that assumes that further doses of liberal policies can't “fix” whatever the problem is. In the case of immigration, simply secularizing and deculturing Muslim immigrants (and specifically their children) will render them no longer a threat to the stability of the secular state, while they will continue to destroy what little Christian hegemony is left.

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  7. I must confess that I'm not convinced that Guenon's assessment of modernity is correct. Are we prepared to say that democracy, science, and liberty are wrong full-stop? Is Liberalism as diseased as the Traditionalist claims? I think it is terribly important to distinguish the difference between the freedom to choose the Good versus choosing the Good freely.

    Vincit Omnia Veritas

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  8. Liberalism is not diseased, it is itself a disease, a heresy in fact and a cult all its own.

    Democracy is a degenerate form of government. It can function effectively at only the smallest levels and only when given to patriarchal authorities, i.e – no suffrage. Democracy is effective in townships. It is wholly inadequate for a state. Codreanu observed of democracy in Romania:

    “Democracy prevents the politician's fulfillment of his obligations to the nation. Even the most well-meaning politician becomes, in a democracy, the slave of his supporters, because either he satisfies their personal interests or they destroy his backing. The politician lives under the tyranny and permanent threat of the electoral bosses. He is placed in a position in which he must choose between the termination of his lifetime work and the satisfaction of the demands of party members. And the politician, given such a choice, opts for the latter. He does so not out of his own pocket, but out of that of the country. He creates jobs, sets up missions, commissions, sinecures–all rostered in the nation's budget–which put increasingly heavy pressures on a tired people.”

    Science is a questionable matter, certainly it can be no axis of the state in so much as it is the methodological expression of 'rationalism'. See Guenon's discussion of 'sacred vs. profane science' and Joseph De Maistre on the French Revolution and the Cult of Reason. Science has its boundaries that it should not step over.

    Liberty in the civic sense is no good in and of itself. It can be used to good ends, for instance local markets work far more effectively when they are unregulated by burdensome environmental or zoning requirements. This is a good to which liberty can work. However, to idolize civic liberty as akin to the freedom of the will is false. We have the freedom to do anything that is within our power to do, but the state and society have the responsibility to punish or reward the choices we make in this regard. Everyone agrees with this principle, unless they endorse legal anarchy. The Reactionary merely states that he believes prohibition of degenerate social conduct is of paramount importance, and so would curtail 'liberties' in areas where they are not curtailed today. Important to note however, in terms of the number of laws on the books, a Reactionary State would have 10 times fewer laws than the Modern State has.

    Of course we have the freedom to choose the good. No Reactionary is a totalitarian in favor of brain control. We are strictly authoritarian. This means you have the freedom to choose the good, but if you choose the bad, you face consequences from the society, the state, and ultimately, God. And let's not kid ourselves, in reality this is the society we live in today, the only difference is a radically different conception of what the 'Good' is. I do not take the 'Good' of a society which slaughters millions of unborn children in the name of liberty, and without feeling a thing, as a true 'Good'.

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  9. Mark,

    Thank you for your thorough response. Question- would you say that Tradition necessarily entails monarchy and caste? Is the conservatism of say a Russell Kirk, that of “ordered liberty” and deeply rooted in classical liberalism, a fulfillment or departure of/from Christian principles?

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  10. Tradition entails monarchy and caste in some form, but not necessarily in pre-set definite forms. For instance, there are big differences between the caste systems which developed in Ancient India, and those which developed in A.D. Europe. The same with regards to monarchy, for instance those of the Holy Roman Empire differed greatly from the Chinese dynasties. The essence of such things is more important than their expression in fact.

    With regards to what some call 'Classical Liberalism', this is proto-departure where institutions are abolished, but the people those institutions shaped still remain. This is why post-Revolutionary America was still a rather moral place. The people dwelling within it were not temporally disconnected from institutions like state church and sovereign. They still held Traditional views on sex roles, as a good example. The afterglow lasted surprisingly long.

    But let me address Kirk rather than Classical Liberalism itself. Let us take Russel Kirk's shortened 6 principles of Conservatism:

    1) A belief in a transcendent order, which Kirk described variously as based in tradition, divine revelation, or natural law

    The Reactionary agrees with this, although he would say that Tradition, divine revelation, and natural law work in synergy with one another, rather than as potential individual justifications.

    2) An affection for the “variety and mystery” of human existence

    The Reactionary takes this affection further and says that the variety and mystery of human existence is in fact necessary for societal stability and goodness, so we have more than just an affection for such things.

    3) A conviction that society requires orders and classes that emphasize “natural” distinctions

    The Reactionary is in 100% agreement with this. We may however see different “natural” distinctions than Kirk did.

    4) A belief that property and freedom are closely linked

    I can't think of a Reactionary counterpoint to this statement. It is effectively true.

    5) A faith in custom, convention, and prescription

    Yes.

    6) A recognition that innovation must be tied to existing traditions and customs, which entails a respect for the political value of prudence

    Again, yes.

    So, we can see a high degree of agreement with Kirk! I would also applaud his apparent rejection of 'universal rights'. This said, he remains a marginalized figure in American Conservatism today, and this is likely due to the philosophical inspiration he took from De Maistre. Kirk is someone we could have a very successful dialogue with, but I maintain letting in any of the ideological innovations of the 'Enlightenment' is the camel's nose inside the tent. It is unfortunate that there are very very few 'Conservatives' who base their ideology around Kirk.

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  11. It's always easier to talk about specific concepts or proposals than philosophers as a whole, because they often have multi-faceted views which can't be summed up easily.

    I want to stress, the Reactionary likes human freedom, not from the perspective of rights but from the perspective of legitimate bounds of authority. What history has shown us however is that democratic institutions, liberal institutions, are HORRIBLE at preserving this in the long term. They degenerate in this area over time down two possible routes: a totalitarianism of progress, where liberty is sacrificed on the altar of society's 'improvement', or a totalitarianism of man, where liberty is sacrificed to a single unrestrained dictator and his wishes.

    If man wishes to be free and for his descendants to be free, even if freedom be his only concern, he must want for an apolitical population, that is a population that has been politically disarmed, that is a population ruled by an elite cadre/caste/aristocracy/sovereign who have very little interest beyond the maintenance and defense of the nation and typically their own self-aggrandizement. These are the people who are least likely to involve themselves in a man's personal affairs, or set up a bloated bureaucracy to do it for them.

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