How Not To Help

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:

  1. Complain about how they’re being called racist. Often (as in the case of Land!) without anyone having made the charge.
  2. Claim that virtually everything genuine racists believe is scientific truth.
  3. 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.

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32 Responses to How Not To Help

  1. Nick Land says:

    “I’ll tentatively take him at his word.” — A serious mistake in this case. His penchant for dishonesty is almost unbelievable.

    Seriously Handle, not doing Twitter is completely understandable, but then you need to refrain from crediting second-hand reports about it.

    • Handle says:

      ‘you need to refrain from crediting second-hand reports about it.’

      This is a just criticism. On further consideration of it, I admit, you are right and I am wrong.

      I have no reason, especially after seeing how he misrepresented your work, to grant him any presumption of accuracy or honesty. If Jason wants to change my mind he can always post some examples of nastiness here, but otherwise I won’t credit him with veracity.

  2. asdf says:

    I’m sorry, but this shit is nerdy as fuck. Does anyone speak English anymore. The goal is to get your point across, not use the biggest words and longest sentences you can think of to feel smart.

    On a side note, I don’t know why you people want mass media exposure. You do know its going to backfire pretty bad right? I wouldn’t engage at all.

    • Nick Land says:

      Being uninterested in media exposure doesn’t stop media exposure being interested in you.

      • asdf says:

        The outcome is still better if you don’t engage.

        • Handle says:

          Should I not engage with you when we disagree?

          • asdf says:

            When you think an opponent disagrees because of an error in fact or analysis, and they are interested in the truth and will change their mind once corrected, then engage. Similarly true if you think they know something you might not and want to update your own ideas.

            When you think an opponent takes his views based on what advances him personally, rather then truth, even if that decision is subconscious, then debate is useless. The sole point of debate will be for him to require raw material to slander you. Engagement in this sense is worthless.

            I don’t consider ignorance the main reason for progressivism. I consider weakness and selling out the main reason. It’s mostly a tragedy of the commons problem, where advocating truth is personally harmful while all the benefits go to a diffuse society.

      • Handle says:

        Well said. My impression is that their hit jobs will backfire. Their optimal strategy is to feign ignorance or claim it’s not worth anyone’s time. But they can’t help themselves. The Taliban are the same way. The ideal strategy for them in Afghanistan after 2002 was simply to go to ground, lay low and wait it out in Northern Pakistan, and retrain, reconstitute, rearm, etc. while the Americans were lulled into believing they had won a clear and total victory. The US forces had no reason or desire to stay, had other missions on the horizon, and would have left the country in an unhardened state, and then the Taliban could have rolled right over it almost unopposed. But, being Taliban, they just can’t help themselves; they’ve just got to jihad.

        • Magus Janus says:

          well, to be fair they kind of have to fight back to maintain credibility. they cant just not fight back; someone else will and then that person will get the support/etc.

          not saying it’s the wisest of courses, simply that it is what the incentives will lead to.

    • Handle says:

      Backfire how exactly?

  3. VXXC says:

    If they are foolish enough to offer free airings of the tenets of reaction….they’re blind fools remember, who don’t compete normally except holier than each other. Merely acknowledging the term “Dark Enlightenment” is folly. Yeah, no kids gonna google that…let the MSM be interested, as they will be [sorry Nick Land]. The way MSM and the Cathedral works is what’s on edgy left today is moved to the “center”. Let them take the bait.

    BTW Handle when your enemy is foolish enough to tell you what he fears, embrace whatever that is..

  4. spandrell says:

    You can check out Twitter with the web interface at your home. Just check And see the exchange.

    I’d say the guy is a dishonest ass if it wasn’t completely obvious from the start.

    Agree that twitter’s character limit sucks. Actually the limit works *very* well in Asian languages. I wouldn’t worry about exposure if nobody knows you.

    • Handle says:

      Yeah, I tried that a little, but even with the ‘follow conversation’ feature (bug) the web interface is terrible way to actually follow the conversation. I admitted to Nick that I shouldn’t have taken Jason’s word for it, and looking over a few of the things he wrote I can see how wrong I was. He never had any intention of doing anything other but to trash talk the guys on another team to show off for his buddies. Juvenile stuff.

      I’m not worried about exposure or engagement at all. In my personal life, I come across a lot of people who think they are conservatives or libertarians or republicans or tea partiers, or what-have-you, yet express nothing but reactionary views and deep frustration with the establishment of their ‘movements’. It has only even taken a tiny push to make all of them start reading the reactosphere, realize the folly of remaining with their old team, and so de-associate slowly from their previous affiliations.

      I call these people ‘pre-reactionaries’, and I think there are a lot of them of there. They will enrich the discourse of our social network. It’s just that there are only tiny and infrequent paths of discovery from their social network into ours. Almost anything that comes to their attention will help them see the tiny crimson dots of red pills in the distance, calling them home.

      • spandrell says:

        The feasibility of neoreactionary outreach has been discussed a lot, and I stand firmly in the sceptic camp. HBD is toxic to a vast majority of people. Even white nationalism has a better chance of attracting the masses than “your genes define who you are, and there’s a 80% chance you suck.”

        To the extent that people, and especially media people need scapegoats to which compare themselves with so as to proclaim how pious and loyal they are, there is little chance that even a little silver of the MSM will listen.

        And especially libertarians. They are pretty much the junior scapegoat of progressive thinkers, so the only way libertarians have to proclaim their faith in the Cathedral is to protest too much and find someone out there who is even more heretical than they are. Hence Caplan branding immigration restrictionists literally “morally indefensible, i.e. evil and worthy of hell.

        Not to say that the old man with his life done and little to lose might not agree with everything you say after a couple of drinks. But he’s not telling his wife.

        • asdf says:

          Well said Handle.

        • Nick Land says:

          Lots of reality in this remark.
          We’re naive if we think there are any significant incentives for honesty among this crowd.

        • Candide III says:

          As I see it, there are two polar kinds of outreach — personal (basically what our gracious host does) and media outreach. It is media outreach that many neoreactionaries, including myself, are justifiably skeptical about, as it has many undesirable properties, one of them being adverse selection. There are in-between kinds as well: high-readership net journals are way towards media, whereas blogs like MM’s, yours or Handle’s are way towards personal: they don’t market themselves and thus avoid most of adverse selection. (This underscores again the deadliness of marketing.)

        • Handle says:

          ‘The feasibility of neoreactionary outreach has been discussed a lot, and I stand firmly in the sceptic camp.’

          I agree with a lot of what you say here, but I am more optimistic. Maybe Candide is right and there’s an unbridgeable and vast difference between personal, online, and media ‘outreach’.

          So, while I know it’s just rehashing some very thoroughly hashed hash, I’m still going to promote the topic to an open thread anyway so I can benefit from everyone’s more thorough takes on the subject.

        • Handle says:

          Oh, also, I’ll add that the degenerate / illegal pornography crowd works the same way. When you catch and interrogate them, they almost always use the same ego-defense mechanism as characterizing themselves as having ‘a problem, yeah, but at least I’m not as bad as those guys that … X,Y,Z, etc.”

          So, people who like post-pubescent adolescents with secondary sex characteristic phenotype say they’re not as bad as the guys who like per-pubsecent 12 year old who look like pre-sexual children. The ones that like 12 year-olds say they’re better than the guys who like 8 year olds, and the terrible, horrible, part of it is that no matter how far down you guy, they always know some deeper dungeon, some more outrageous sub-community, etc.

          The funny thing is that ego-defense by having a category of ‘even worse’ has, as a strange corollary, and even more excitable sense of moral offensiveness to exposure to one’s preferred ‘real freaks’. So, when I look at a guy who likes 8 year olds, who maybe even arranged for some new material to be created, then I feel anger and contempt because I’m thinking of what they did to the victims. But it’s not necessary to feel that way to my own sense of self-worth.

          But when the guy who likes 12 year-olds looks at that guy, he’s murderously enraged, can barely hold himself back, because that, other guy has to be the devil incarnate in order for the ‘mere’ 12-year-old-fan to feel ‘normal-ish, with an unfortunate problem’ by comparison. Self-esteem by relativity syndrome combined with the narcissism of small differences.

          As a result, none of these guys do well in jail. The rapists prey on the child rapists. The child pornographers prey on the younger-child pornographers.

  5. asdf says:


    “1.Complain about how they’re being called racist. Often (as in the case of Land!) without anyone having made the charge.”

    Shows once again why I think people need to stop being defensive about the word racist.

    • Nick Land says:

      “Complain about how they’re being called racist. Often (as in the case of Land!) without anyone having made the charge.” — I thought I had become thoroughly habituated to the gonzo lying Kuznicki seems to specialize in, but this remark still floored me. It seems to presuppose that no one is going to carry elementary fact-checking even to the level of reading the article in question.

    • Nick Land says:

      I’m reluctant to badger people into following this, because substance is totally drowned out by Kuznicki’s sleazy dishonesty, dodging, and evasion. On this (‘racism’) point, for instance, he throws up a smokescreen of confusion by repeatedly re-phasing his accusations, in wildly varying forms. The original accusation, expounded at length in his article, was specifically White Nationalism. That, alone, is the real bone of contention. Kuznicki knows he got it wrong, and has since been cynically lying about it (in lieu of a correction), but because even he knows he has no case, he keeps switching vocabulary around in the hope people will lose sight of the issue. It’s exactly ‘intellectual’ Three-card Monte. I have made no effort whatsoever to distance myself from the subsequent “racism” accusation, precisely because it is an ultimately meaningless social positioning marker.

      At a late stage in this back-and-forth, Kuznicki switched to bargaining, and said that he’d stop calling me a White Nationalist if I stopped being nasty to him. (The exchange is preserved on Twitter.) That’s the level of intellectual integrity we’re dealing with here.

  6. Kgaard says:

    Handle … You said something interesting above. What did you mean by this here?:

    “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.”

    Are you arguing that the US is clearly the best place for conservatives and libertarians to live? Interesting argument (if that’s what you’re saying). What is the background on that? Tx …

  7. Scharlach says:

    My experience with neoreactionaries has been that they all do roughly the following:

    . . . It’s not the sort of thing to spark a genuine curiosity.

    Sounds like someone might be being a little . . . prejudiced! Judging the group by his interactions with individuals! It’s almost as if prejudice might be a natural, perhaps even reasonable, human behavior.

    Nah. Das raciss.

  8. Pingback: The 2013 Anti-Progress Report | Radish

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