So, there’s been quite a stir over Kuznicki’s inaccurate take on Land (Nick’s response here). It’s unfortunate that Kuznicki, who is after all the editor of the Cato Unbound debate series, didn’t arrange for the kind of civil and cultured badinage that would permit for a genuine back-and-forth discussion, exchange of ideas, and, who knows, perhaps the infinitesimal probability of the changing of one’s mind. That kind of thing is useful if for nothing else than that it tends to deter people from making lazy slurs or unfounded accusations lest they be shown ingenuous in their own space on the next iteration.
Now, Handle lives not too distant from Kuznicki, and offered privately via email to discuss and/or debate the subject of neoreaction further if he so desired.
But Handle doesn’t do Facebook or Twitter for prudential reasons (ok, also they’re blocked at work), so he didn’t see all the commotion in those spaces. Jason replied that it was mostly ugly and hateful and he neither had any appetite to take any of it any farther nor to lend his considerable internet clout to giving people of that sort an inch of extra attention, and so he politely declined.
Also, despite its incorrectness, I’m sure the tweet-trash-talk left him feeling reasonably vindicated and even more confident in his asserted faulty belief (and mimicry of every knee-jerk progressive ever) that the neoreaction is just a bunch of slur word archetypes: nazi hitler white supremacist sexist bigoted rednecks, oh, and did I mention das raciss?
I’ll sure it made people feel good for a whole few seconds to spout some 140 character venom, but in my opinion such activity is juvenile and, worse, unhelpful. Twitter, of course, exists in large part to satisfy this formerly unsatisfied human demand for instant bile-spewing and real-life-consequence-less gratification. Restraint (or abstinence, as in Handle’s case) takes a bit more discipline, especially when undeserved by one’s adversary. At any rate, if your ultimate intention is to nothing but drive in the shiv, sometimes it’s best first to draw your opponent close.
So, since I’m not going to get accounts on those online services to verify the sensitive-feeling-hurting hubbub for myself, I’ll tentatively take him at his word. But I’ll note that it’s too bad. To the extent any of us ever even get noticed by anything remotely approaching the mainstream of movements with which we have some mild affinity or compatibility (and from which we can perhaps recruit), then I think it is very much in our interests to promote friendly and sincere engagement.
Always be the bigger man, and endeavor to be as gentlemanly and classy as the situation warrants. That’s my attitude, anyway.
It’s also my opinion that all the remaining Conservatives and Libertarians in America (and the cultural West at large) are operating under a kind of trance of false nostalgia, and if they’d only ‘snap out of it’ or have the equivalent of the ‘mugged by reality’ epiphany experience, they’d realize that there’s no other place where they more properly belong. We should focus on helping them to awaken from their slumber.
And even if more mainstream sources than Kuznicki are doing nothing else than trying to launch naked hit jobs, then, still, the exposure of taboo ideas to even a few curious and open-minded fence-sitters can still produce a net positive benefit.
So, Jason, if you’re out there, I’ll keep my offer open. We probably have more in common than you’d guess. First round’s on me.
UPDATE: Jason Kuznicki’s Response:
My experience with neoreactionaries has been that they all do roughly the following:
- Complain about how they’re being called racist. Often (as in the case of Land!) without anyone having made the charge.
- Claim that virtually everything genuine racists believe is scientific truth.
- Chortle smugly whenever a black person so much as uses the wrong salad fork.
It’s not the sort of thing to spark a genuine curiosity. Thanks, but I’ll pass.
Well, sometimes you have to admit when you’re dealing with a dork. Handle concedes the error of civility. Oh well, live and learn.