When trawling the internet, one is frequently reminded that 90% of the content there is ego-driven, like self-expression, self-adornment or simply pitching pleasant mental images to others in exchange for popularity points. While it would be nice to say that the underground right is different, the same normal distribution (“Bell Curve”) seems to apply there as well. On the far-right of that Bell Curve are some thinkers who demonstrate exceptional clarity, and the persona known as Reactionary Ian is one of them. Fortunately, he had a few moments to write an interview with us.
You identify as a reactionary; from what schools of thought do you come, and why did you choose these?
I guess you could call me a Christian Reactionary. I think of myself as a skeptic of modernity who would like to see a more hierarchical, unified order rooted in Christianity. Being a Christian has always been a part of my identity, and I don’t want a vision for the future that minimizes or omits it. I’m also an opponent of democracy who favors monarchy as the system of rule.
When did you first realize you were heading in a different direction from most of the population? Was it hard to break out?
To be honest, I’ve always been a little different than most people. Even when I was a kid I was a quirky misfit. In some ways it’s made me an interesting specimen, and in others it’s made it difficult for me to find my way in life, since I have trouble relating to the average person. Even today, I’m still trying to figure a lot of stuff out.
In sane times, the views of those who call themselves “reactionaries” would be taken for granted.
As far as embracing my reactionary tendencies, yes, it was hard. It’s difficult to think outside the Overton Window (either because aren’t exposed to other ideas, or our cultural narrative tells us they’ve been discredited), so for a long time I had a nagging feeling that something was wrong with our civilization, but couldn’t offer a coherent alternative. When I started becoming active on Twitter, I was at a point where I was starting to turn to the dissident side, but still afraid to talk about it openly. I tweeted as a Tea Party type for about a year or two before I finally started saying what I really thought. A part of it was the desire to fit in, and a part of it was the hope that the system I had always known was still salvageable.
Has your activity caused you problems with family, friends or the so-called “real world”?
Nothing major. I’ve talked to my parents extensively about my views, and I think that while they don’t completely agree with them, they at least know I’ve thought them through and there are good intentions behind them. As far as friends and other relatives, I’m more guarded. Some of them know a little about my views, but generally prefer to keep the peace by not bringing it up. I’m not sure what they’d think if they knew about my Twitter or YouTube activities.
Your Christian hangout attracts a core audience. What do you think appeals to them, and where do you plan to take it from here?
I think that a lot of Christians with more Traditionalist and racially aware leanings are looking for a place where they can discuss their thoughts without having to water down their views due to the presence of irreligious or anti-Christian types in the Alt-Right. In fact, the initial idea for the hangouts came from one of Millennial Woes’ Christmas hangouts I participated in last December, where I felt outnumbered by critics of Christianity. Christians need fellowship with other Christians, and that’s what I’m trying to provide.
As far as where I plan to take it, I don’t have any specific plans right now. Perhaps it could develop into a more focused podcast, or perhaps it’ll continue as a biweekly get-together. We’ll see where it goes. I’m certainly interested in taking it to a new level if it’s feasible.
This topic is so huge that it is hard to even figure out how to ask, but: what is wrong with the modern world? What should be better?
As a Christian, I would say that a loss of faith plays a big role in our current state of affairs. People are lacking a sense of transcendent purpose, and it leads to a nihilistic existence where the only unifying goal is to be good little believers in Progressivism. The things that are held up as virtues, such as tolerance, inclusion, etc. are in fact anti-virtues, because adhering to them requires passivity, not moral strength. We’ve come to a point where the highest good is not to exercise any sort of discernment.
Even among people who consider themselves Christians, there are many who think they can adopt the prog worldview and not be at odds with their faith. They’ve essentially thrown out centuries of Christian tradition, practice, and scholarship in order to assert that here in the 21st Century, we’ve finally discovered the true doctrine, and it just so happens to be the one pushed by Christianity’s ideological enemies. The last several years of being awakened have made me realize how true the words of Christ are: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Few truly wish to remain faithful when it goes against the grain of their degenerate civilization.
As a race realist, I also know our ever-increasing diversity is a big problem. I’m not a race totalist, but the ill effects of diversity are well known to all of us in the dissident sphere. We know that people who live among their own kind are usually happier, more functional, and even more engaged in religious activities. If anyone is to find a place in this world, it has to be with people they can consider their own.
If you can tell us, how are you riding out the decline, and are you preparing to take that to another level if events get worse?
My only plan is to keep on keeping on. I’ll keep trying to improve myself to the extent I can, and hopefully it will lead me to where I need to be. And of course, I put my faith in God.
What writers, thinkers and artists inform your worldview, and are there any contemporary sources that you read?
I must confess I’m not nearly as well-read as so many others in these circles. Much of my philosophical worldview has been formed from pondering the things I observed in the world around me and trying to understand what they say about human nature. From there, the Alt-Right/Reactosphere has helped me flesh out these views and develop a more well-rounded perspective.
As I remember it, this very blog was my first discovery into this world. I was going through a rough time trying to reconcile my mainstream conservatism with the contradictions I saw within it, and was trying to figure out what it all really meant. I found the post “Why Conservatism is Important,” and I remember it being a breath of fresh air, because it articulated the problems with liberalism better than any mainstream conservative I knew ever had. I read some of the surrounding posts on Amerika, and it was a lot to digest, but it got the ball rolling.
People are lacking a sense of transcendent purpose, and it leads to a nihilistic existence where the only unifying goal is to be good little believers in Progressivism.
Also, while he’s more of a paleoconservative, Theodore Dalrymple was another early influence, which is why I’ve used him as my avatar for so long. He was sort of my go-to guy for about a year, when I needed a voice of comfort in an intellectually uncertain time. The beauty of so many of his essays gave me a lot of hope and encouraged me to start thinking differently. I’m probably farther to the right than he is, but he helped me cultivate a higher appreciation for aesthetics and an understanding of how they shape the world we live in.
As far as what I currently read, it’s mostly Alt-Right, NRx, and some dissident Christian blogs.
This is a bit personal, but usually fascinating: What is the source of your faith? In other words, what leads you to believe in God and reject the rampant atheism and materialism of this time?
To put it plainly, I’ve made a conscious decision to have faith. I’ve struggled with faith at different times in my life, but my personal experiences have long suggested to me that God is real. You can talk yourself out of anything if you question it long enough, but when you decide to let yourself believe, things become much simpler. And as a person who constantly struggles to stay focused, I definitely need that.
For those who enjoy what you do, how can they stay on top of your latest doings and/or writings?
My stuff is mainly on Twitter at @ReactionaryIan, and there’s my YouTube channel too, where I host the hangouts.
Do you consider yourself a type of “conservative”? Do you think there can be unity between social and fiscal conservatives?
That’s an interesting question, since I’ve recently been pondering the word “conservative.” I’ve grown to dislike it, because it’s taken on the connotation of a fairly narrow and unsatisfactory set of positions held by the “conservative movement,” and I don’t feel completely comfortable lumping myself in with them anymore. Thanks to our cuckservative political parties, it also carries the implication of weak liberals who have a slight distaste for change but will passively accept it when it’s imposed on them.
On the other hand, terms like “alt-right” and “reactionary” imply an opposition to the current state of affairs, and in my ideal world, my views would be considered normal and mainstream. The word “conservative” is a good one, because it ideally would indicate that you approach potential changes with a view of the larger picture and a knowledge of what has historically worked. You strive to conserve what needs to be conserved and change what needs to be changed, nothing more. I’d love to see the word “conservative” reclaimed with such a meaning, but that’s probably not going to happen any time soon.
As for fiscal and social conservatives (as those terms are understood currently), I think both have lost their way already. Social conservatives won’t touch certain issues like race, and even traditional family values have to have some concessions made to modern-day feminist thinking (You can read Dalrock’s blog to see many examples of this). Fiscal conservatives seem to have decided that the rightmost point on the axis is a completely unfettered free market, which really isn’t “conservative” in any meaningful sense other than that it places itself in opposition to the extreme Leftism of Communism (To give another link, AntiDem has a great piece on this subject called “Dump Capitalism”).
Few truly wish to remain faithful when it goes against the grain of their degenerate civilization.
I think to be a true social or fiscal conservative, one must be oriented toward the long-term growth and health of family and tribe. The Christian faith provides the best framework on the social end, and on the fiscal end, there should be room for entrepreneurship and innovation, but not when it comes at the expense of society as a whole. Any approach that takes into account only numbers, and not the people behind them, is missing a key component. To use a cinematic analogy, we should take the George Bailey approach rather than the Mr. Potter approach.
In your view, what does it mean to be a reactionary?
In sane times, the views of those who call themselves “reactionaries” would be taken for granted. In these times we live in, it means we are reacting against a modern world that worships the self and its own capacity for knowledge and wisdom. We reject the tenets of the false religion of Progressivism: democracy in favor of aristocracy, diversity in favor of nation, and equality in favor of hierarchy. We look at the world as having a natural order, which we upset at our own peril, and we aspire to higher ideals and values that are in line with it.