What is success in blogging?

Continuing my investigation of the relatively greater vigor of the neoreactionaries compared to the orthospherians.

Let us consider how we gauge success in blogging.  Now, you may say truly that it is a greater thing to bring one soul to Christ than having a large following who are not spiritually helped in any significant way by your writings.  But we are talking here about visible blogging success.

The increasing levels of success, as I see them:

  1. People read your posts.
  2. People comment on your posts.
  3. Other bloggers link to your posts.
  4. Your posts trigger conversations among other bloggers.
  5. Your posts introduce new ideas or arguments that are then developed or applied by other bloggers and by online journals.

(As Bruce Charlton has pointed out, the purpose of media is to generate more media.  This applies as much to reactionary media as to any other kind.)  Notice that the three highest levels of success pretty much require one to be part of some sort of blogging community.  I conclude that neoreactionaries are at present a better community for a blogger to belong to than any comparable group in the religious reactionary Right.  It’s easier to make a splash on the internet–that is, to write blog posts that inspire other people to write blog posts–as a neoreactionary speaking to other neoreactionaries.

Not that you can’t have this success as an Orthosphere-style religious reactionary.  See Bruce, whether he likes it or not, achieving this “success” in the previous paragraph.  Another example:  Larry Auster and the concept of unprincipled exceptions.  You can do it, but you have to be very good.

So why then do we generate fewer multi-post, multi-author conversations than some other internet groups?  That I don’t know.

36 Responses

  1. I’m commenting here so that this post is guaranteed to reach at least level 2 success.

  2. Neoreaction appeals to modern sensibilities in a way that traditional religiosity cannot … at least, not as long as the conversation is among folks with mainly first world problems. And when life starts really excavating the lower levels of Maslow’s hierarchy, who has time for blogs?

    Christianity isn’t for people who are pleased with themselves and their situation. The Internet isn’t for anyone else. (Overstated perhaps, but the gradients are there).

  3. There is the matter of 2000 years of Christian thinking and writing. It’s a little intimidating to throw one’s two cents into the same arena as Aquinas. With a clean slate, it’s easier to make one’s mark.

  4. Plus the matter of 200 years of uninterrupted defeat that makes enthusiasm more difficult.

  5. Sometimes I think they’re just like us except for a difference in emphasis. Then one of them actually lays out
    what neoreaction is ultimately about


    and I realize, no, I have nothing in common with these people (at least qua neoreactionaries).

  6. “So why then do we generate fewer multi-post, multi-author conversations than some other internet groups? ”

    Because the Mass Media is intrinsically anti-Christian; and therefore and Christian success (success by Christian criteria) is a matter of swimming against the tide; a little eddy or a counter-current.

    And if it becomes much more than this it can only be by being misunderstood, misapplied, co-opted or something like that.

    All the things that increase blogging success (linking to other blogs and social network media, blogrolls, referencing other blogs, commenting a lot on many other blogs, open comments, etc – none of which I do) diminish the Christian success of the blog. This is just a fact that must be lived with.

    (Indeed, part of blogging success is to do the opposite of the five points you state – since blogging feeds on blogging. That is each success-seeking blogger should 1. Read many other blogs; 2. Comment on many other blogs; 3. Link to many other blogs; 4. On your own blog join (and link to) to conversations on other blogs; 5. Develop and apply arguments and ideas from other bloggers, online journals etc – with links to them. There you are – that’s how to do it! No need to thank me!)

    There seem to me to be terribly few real Christians in the Western world, but especially few in the UK; and most of them (probably wisely) don’t engage with blogs or other more recent networking media. I do not know of any blogs *at all* where I both approve of the content and which are also big impact.

    wrt neoreactionaries – this seems to me like a sub-microscopic mini-phenomenon in relation to the mass media world, which has expanded several fold in the past decade or so – I seem to recognize nearly all the names, which suggest there aren’t many people involved since I make no effort to ‘keep up’.

    One other problem is that real Christian and neoreactionary bloggers are *lazy* – or else why am I the one and only non-professional ‘Right wing’ religious traditionalist blogger IN THE WHOLE WORLD who has blogged every day for a few years? It’s absolutely ridiculous!

    (OK, maybe there are others but I don’t know of them.)

  7. Yes, laziness is a big problem, at least for me. Writing is fun, so I do it, but adding links and commenting (even sometimes on my own blog) feel more like work. I couldn’t even be bothered to look up the post of yours that I was referencing. Then again, this whole blog arguably exists so that I can procrastinate instead of doing my day job. Another thing is that Christian reactionaries like me give in to the temptation to write big long essays rather than short conversation-starters, even though it’s a turn-off for readers and doesn’t facilitate a rapid exchange of ideas.

  8. Bonald:

    … and I realize, no, I have nothing in common with these people (at least qua neoreactionaries).

    Yep. Got that t-shirt.

    Funny but I swear I remember Mencius Moldbug as a sometime commenter much earlier than his current incarnation, maybe even back in the Usenet days, and certainly much earlier than a cursory search turns up. Once you’ve been around long enough you’ve got to admit that God has a hell of a sense of humor.

  9. Neoreactionaries are like ancient jews who thought the messiah would bring a temporal kingdom with the subjugation of all nations to them.
    Orthospherians know that the kingdom to come is a spiritual one,it concerns the soul.

  10. Hi Bonald. I am curious exactly who you have in mind when you say “neoreactionary.” Does this include neofascists? Secular monarchists? Does it simply mean all non-religious “dark enlightenment” positions? The meaning of the term isn’t obvious to me. Thanks.

  11. Possible definitions:

    1) neoreactionary = anyone who identifies as such
    Neoreaction then just refers to a self-conscious online community.

    2) neoreaction = functionalism + conscious dismissal of egalitarian goals
    Neoreaction then just refers to a region in ideological space.

    I might consider a fascist or secular monarchist to be neoreactionary if either
    he thought he was, other neoreactionaries thought he was, or his political
    worldview is based on taking an exclusively outsider/anthropologist’s approach
    to his own society. (E.g. if he not only considers authority from the standpoint
    of efficiency and stability–setting aside questions of legitimacy and its basis–but
    considers this is the proper way to understand authority, he has certainly taken a
    neoreactionary rather than a reactionary stand.)

  12. Age is a possible factor that hasn’t yet been mentioned. The writers I would classify as neo-reactionary seem to be, preponderantly, young men with plenty of energy and plenty of time. That same demographic cohort is, on average, the least religious. Some of them will never become religious, but those who do will likely become religious when they have children, and hence have much less energy and time. There is a certain incompatibility between compulsive tweeting and the Christian life.

    I also think that political and culture war posts will always draw more comments than theological posts because most people have strong and definite opinions on these topics. Commenting on a theological post is harder, unless one is a bigot or an expert, and it becomes especially hard when the post is really an essay.

  13. I think part of the reason the “neo-reactionaries” get more attention is that they give more attention to racial topics which are so taboo in our society, particularly race and IQ.

    I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to go down that path, and I don’t think they realize what they’re unleashing. I tend to agree with Rod Dreher’s position in these two columns about “forbidden knowledge”:



    I just can’t imagine a scenario in which Blacks and perhaps other minorities, including some high-achieving ones, are not stripped of their rights and persecuted or worse. It follows inevitably and logically and the arguments about treating people as individuals and “human rights” ring hollow.

    Here are some comments from popular HBD blogs which gives you an idea of what you can expect if HBD becomes accepted public knowledge. Keep in mind that these bloggers moderate comments and there are no doubt more extreme sentiments elsewhere:

    ”Why?Incontrovertible proof of racial intelligence differences totally tickles ME pink, so there. There are plain old racists in the world, like me, who rejoice in scientific support of their views; that may make a lot of people uncomfortable, but facts are facts. And one fact is that unsavoury characters like me read Sailer. But he can’t change that, and pointing it out isn’t an argument.”

    ”What McWhorter, Saletan, and others need to realize is that a lot of whites just don’t give a flying f**k about black people and thier problems anymore. It’s that simple. We’ve heard about them incessantly for forty-five years. We’ve seen thier issues take center stage, recieve a great deal of money, and constantly demand our attention. We’ve seen the very history of this country warped in such a way as to make it into little more than a passion play featuring black americans, with the rest of us just being reduced to walk-ons.

    And yet, during that whole time, black behavior has grown worse, black culture has plumbed new depths of foulness and at the same time has come to define much of american popular culture. Many blacks have grown shameless in thier tolerance and promotion of crime – especially crimes committed upon whites. And whole cities have been taken over by blacks and have become blasted wastelands.

    We just ain’t buyin’ it anymore.

    Deal with it.”

    ”The problem is that in light of the current situation with a disproportionate poor black population and rich white population, the only reasonable solution is to essentially eliminate the black population globally. Black people have no chance to become rich on their own merit or succeed, so it makes far more sense to spare them from being perpetual losers by killing them off. If we spare mentally handicapped children from going to school with normal students, why can’t we simply spare black people from the public embarrassment of failing. Just leave the Earth for the groups who are able to compete and make the best of scarce resources. We can’t fix black people and make them white, and the few intelligent black people are flukes that become upset when you point out the failings of black people, and they’re relatively easy to write off, so why not?”

  14. I’m sure lots of HBD people and their enemies think they’re getting at something profound or dangerous, but I don’t get it. When has there ever been a persecution of stupid people based on their stupidity? I don’t think Rod Dreher has demanded that we pretend that there are no people with below-average intelligence. Just the idea that there are low-IQ people out there isn’t supposed to tickle my inner Nazi, so why should I care if they’re concentrated in particular races?

    What really matters is the humiliation of whites carried out in the Negro’s name. Of all the peoples in the world, only we are expected to despise our ancestors, condemn our culture, and disassemble our communities. IQ doesn’t count one way or the other in the victimization hierarchy–we’re supposed to grovel both to the blacks and to the Jews, groups a SD away from white gentiles in IQ in both directions.

  15. Aside – the work of Thomas Sowell convinces me that repeatedly in world history the groups most likely to be repressed/ exterminated are successful middle class minorities – Jews, Chinese, Armenians, Tamils etc. In the US today the most vulnerable are Mormons.

  16. “so why should I care if they’re concentrated in particular races?’

    Because the practical result is that said race is incapable of maintaining a first-class civilization left to their own devices, and is therefore a burden on society and a complete waste of resources, not to mention other unpleasant qualities such as the astronomical Black crime rate. Furthermore, regression towards the mean would warn against Whites intermarrying with them, since it would lower the average intelligence of the White gene pool and decrease the number of high-functioning people produced. The best one can say about a Mulatto country like the Dominican Republic is that it’s better than Haiti.

    Here is IQ researcher Richard Lynn describing the views of IQ researcher Raymond Cattell, who followed this logic:

    “If the evolutionary process is to bring its benefits, it has to be allowed to operate effectively. This means that incompetent societies have to be allowed to go to the wall. This is something we in advanced societies do not at present face up to and the reason for this, according to Cattell, is that we have become too soft-hearted. For instance, the foreign aid which we give to the under-developed world is a mistake, akin to keeping going incompetent species like the dinosaurs which are not fit for the competitive struggle for existence. What is called for here is not genocide, the killing off of the populations of incompetent cultures. But we do need to think realistically in terms of “phasing out” of such peoples. If the world is to evolve more better humans, then obviously someone has to make way for them otherwise we shall all be overcrowded. After all, ninety-eight per cent of the of the species known to zoologists are extinct. Evolutionary progress means the extinction of the less competent. To think otherwise is mere sentimentality.”


    “When has there ever been a persecution of stupid people based on their stupidity?”

    The Nazis thought it justified to exterminate and/or enslave the Slavs because the Germans were the superior race and could make better use of their resources. Why should those drunken and incompetent Slavs be permitted to waste all that fallow land?

    “Think of the fruitful plains of the Ukraine, and imagine what German industry and German ability could have done with them! Compare them with the sandy soil of Mark Brandenburg. The smallest village there displays a culture that towers over Bolshevism’s model cities and collective farms.”


    Similarly, the Confederates argued that slavery was justified because Negroes were genetically inferior to Whites. For example, here’s Alexander Stephen’s Cornerstone Speech

    “The Constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly used against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the idea of a Government built upon it-when the “storm came and the wind blew, it fell.”

    Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition. [Applause.] This, our new Government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science.”

    Obviously, genocide would be the most extreme scenario, though I wouldn’t say it’s a guaranteed outcome. Yet who could forget Colin Liddell’s classic article “Is Black Genocide Right?” and the approval it received from his readership?


    I also mentioned the strong possibility that high-achieving minorities could suffer from the fall-out as well (I had Jews in mind), albeit for different reasons.

  17. I just can’t imagine a scenario in which Blacks and perhaps other minorities, including some high-achieving ones, are not stripped of their rights and persecuted or worse.

    What one thinks about this statement depends a lot on what “stripped of their rights and persecuted” actually means. Most HBD types are likely to be in favor of things like racial profiling by police, sundowner towns, permitting segregration in housing, education, and employment, disenfranchisement, and etc. The more extreme ones are in favor of complete segregation into homogenous states.

    Those might be bad ideas, but I don’t see how any of it is objectionable, per se. I don’t see how any of that constitutes persecution. Blacks do, in fact, engage in a wide variety of pathological behaviors to the detriment (and often great detriment) of the people around them. Theories that they can be fixed don’t seem to be working out very well in practice. Wanting to be apart from them is reasonable.

    The exterminationist position you are highlighting in your last quote is pretty much advocated by nobody. Most of the other quotes are, at worst, a little emotional. What’s wrong with this one, for example:

    And yet, during that whole time, black behavior has grown worse, black culture has plumbed new depths of foulness and at the same time has come to define much of american popular culture. Many blacks have grown shameless in thier tolerance and promotion of crime – especially crimes committed upon whites. And whole cities have been taken over by blacks and have become blasted wastelands

    That’s just true, isn’t it?

  18. Good point. Amy Chua’s World on Fire has a similar theme.

  19. The Mormons are vulnerable because they defy the secular elite on some key points of sexual morality and they do not have the unqualified support of other traditionalist Christians. At the same time, they lack one of the key characteristics of deeply resented middle class minorities. They do not, so far as I know, practice an exclusive morality in which the in group is treated differently than the out group. The Mormons I know are not theological universalists, but they are certainly moral universalists. Deeply resented middle class minorities are normally, on average, more capable, but they also operate according to a moral code that condones exploitation of the less capable majority. Any elite will contain many sociopaths who operate on the principle that one should “never give a sucker an even break,” but the number of sociopaths will rise when that when the elite is governed by an exclusive system of moral regard that rationalizes this behavior.

  20. I’ve not broached this topic with many non-Mormon Utah residents. But my sense was that there is a big insider/outsider difference in one’s career prospects and general treatment. The difference is that opportunities which Mormon colleagues get by dint of being “one of the boys” just sort of don’t happen for non-Mormons. I don’t have any problem with this, of course, but I wonder if you have a different impression.

  21. Bonald, your long essays are my favorite thing about your blog. We need the long essays in order to tie together different aspects of traditional thought in a coherent manner and to provide more in-depth analysis from first principles than a short blog post will do. I think I may have said this before, but your essay on monarchy was my introduction to traditionalist thought, and I was instantly hooked.

    I think at some point you should combine all your essays into a book.

  22. Again, stupidity per se has never been persecuted. No one has ever denied that there are fools in every race, and only meritocrats, not “racists”, would like to tie social status and power exclusively to IQ.

    I notice that you have allowed the white-hating Leftists to dictate your view of history, in that you don’t seem to be capable of imagining any historical precedents in our civilization other than American slavery and Nazism. Instead of worrying about these ridiculously implausible hypotheticals, when will you face the reality of the current situation? It is the white man who is demonized. It is the white man who is told he is inferior, told he should be ashamed, told he has no right to exist. It is white civilization whose extermination is explicitly and as a matter of policy pursued.

    And yes, admitting the appalling level of black criminality would be a good thing.

  23. I would make a distinction between social networking and moral particularism. Social networking will lead to partiality in the distribution of favors and opportunities, but it does not normally condone dishonesty in dealings with members of the out group. It’s the difference between giving particular people advantages and taking advantage of particular people. The intelligent and disciplined will probably always take advantage of the unintelligent and undisciplined, but the impulse to exploit is in some degree checked when the two groups share a common identity. The Mormons I know have a strong American identity and outside of the religious context do not view the rest of us as “the Other.”

  24. In response to Bruce: I think you have misunderstood Sowell’s argument. He is talking about middle *man* minorities, not middle *class* minorities. In other words, he is saying that minorities are often scapegoated for finding ways to make money as capitalists, lenders, traders, managers etc. rather than as laborers. The idea is that people who are ignorant of economics fail to understand things like the time value of money and see anyone profiting without engaging in manual labor as cheating and stealing. When the middle men are a conspicuous ethnic/cultural minority you get persecution.

    I find Sowell’s ideas interesting, but anyone who discusses antisemitism in such a way as to portray it as *entirely* unjustified or baseless is clearly being deceitful. Surely the movement toward more and more radical ideas among Jews in Europe in the early 20th century was at least part of where Nazism came from.

  25. “stupidity per se has never been persecuted.”

    You’re attacking a straw man though. Races and groups thought inferior have certainly been persecuted and treated brutally throughout history, and I gave you specific examples of that logic at work.

    You know, a few years ago you were still an intelligent and reasonable thinkers, but hanging out with racialists has completely fried your brain. The rest of your post in all honestly reads like a paranoid Stormfront rant (“the White man is demonized and is marked for extermination!”). Is that your company now? I see why you don’t want to use your real name.

    I didn’t always agree with Larry Auster, but at least he knew evil when he saw it and was unafraid to unequivocally denounce it, even if it meant attacking people “to his right”:


    You might want to remember the words of Pope Piux XI (hardly a “leftist”!): “Catholic means universal, not racist, nationalistic, separatist.”

  26. Chris B.@ I now see that we were supposed to read the first paragraph of your 10:00 a.m. post as snarky and sneering. You need to work on your style if you want it to be clear that these are not your real opinions. I think Bonald goes too far when he questions whether allegedly stupid peoples have ever been persecuted, but you hardly display the moderation of an “intelligent and reasonable” thinker when you imply that, to consider the possibility of group differences is to set one’s foot on the slippery slope to slavery and genocide. Incidentally, Laurence Auster had some very robust views on the inferiority of some groups, and was, at least in his last years, a segregationist. Pope Pius is saying that the Church is catholic, and not the exclusive domain of any race or nation. It transcends but does not abolish these subordinate classifications. If, looking out over a crowd, I tell my children that “we are all human beings” or “we are all Americans,” I am pointing toward categories that transcend but do not abolish the much more modest social unit known as the Smith family.

  27. Who I hang out with hasn’t done a thing. I have always supported the principle of particular loyalty based on kinship and culture, and so has the Church. I have always warned about the use of wedge minorities to delegitimize particular communities. It’s true that there was a time I thought that Negro criminality and Jewish media control were matters that should be de-emphasized, and I still regard them as very secondary. However, it’s more clear to me than ever that our constant solicitude toward the feelings of Jews and Negros is buying us no reciprocal good will, but only calls of ever more humiliating self-abasement. This issue can’t be sidestepped. It must be confronted head-on. Larry Auster did that every day of his life.

    Don’t you see how delusional it is to revel in the very real danger of white defenders being persecuted (“I see why you don’t want to use your real name”) while affecting to worry about genocide directed at groups that no one dares even criticize?

  28. In fact, let’s think about this some more. You realize that writing what I do under my real name, I would be subject to career termination, social ostracism, and perhaps even mob action. What have I done to provoke such things? I have said nothing against any other race. I have not even said anything in favour of people who have criticized any other race. I have not even said anything in favour of the right of these people to criticize any other race. All I’ve done is to dismiss your concern that whites will automatically persecute and murder any group they imagine to have a lower IQ. The thing that sets me outside the bounds of acceptable society is just the fact that I refuse to believe that most members of my own race are subhuman monsters.

    Now I ask you, does a society with these sorts of strictures sound like one where non-whites are in any kind of precarious position?

  29. Hi JMsmith,

    Thank you for the defense, but I have not gone too far. Stupidity has never been considered ipso facto a persecutable offense. Sure, persecuted groups have sometimes been regarded as unintelligent. We tend to imagine all sorts of faults in those we hate. But that’s a different thing.

    It may well be that we tend to find women we don’t like unattractive. This doesn’t mean that we automatically dislike any woman who is ugly, much less that we should be propagandized to believe that all women are equally attractive thinking that this will make it so no man ever again dislikes a woman.

  30. I was thinking that your claim of “no persecution” would be difficult to defend because the word persecution can be stretched to cover such a very wide range of treatments. Denying highly paid employment to stupid people will be seen by some as “persecution.” Some will see “persecution” of stupid people in a failure to sufficiently admire and celebrate the tastes and pastimes of stupid people. And I would add to this that these same people will see “persecution” in the efforts of civilization to defend itself against the depredations of stupid people. I’ve read articles by lefties that describe restrictions on public urination as “persecution.”

    Of course all of these semantic distortions can be reduced to the leftist claim that a society is either egalitarian or riven with persecution and oppression, which is nonsense. Your right that stupid people have seldom if ever been persecuted simply for being stupid. What actually happens is that they are checked when they threaten to destroy the social order with their stupidity. A decent society has a place for stupid people and treated them with respect so long as they stay in that place.

  31. You can really see Sowell’s background as a Chicago School economist in this part of his work. For him, the fact that it was possible for Jews to make money as loan sharks, tax farmers, estate managers, middlemen, and etc is, itself, proof of the goodness of those occupations and of the value of Jews’ contributions to European society. Once you stop and think about it, this is more of a reductio ad absurdum on Chicago School economics than it is a defense of the Jews, but Sowell is apparently blind to this.

    Another tick of his is his obsession with “culture.” In his work, he does a beautiful job of documenting that there are characteristics of ethnic groups, that these characteristics are amazingly persistent through time, space, and different circumstances, and that these characteristics are somehow passed down in families. So, he demonstrates that there is some important thing which is passed down in groups of common descent and which is amazingly persistent. He calls this thing, whatever it is, “culture.” Of course, one might prefer to call this thing genetics.

    For example, to explain the poor performance of blacks, he claims that blacks have picked up their bad culture from rednecks (who, in turn, brought it with them from the English/Scottish borderlands). Again, this would appear to be a reductio ad absurdum on culture-ism more than a defense of blacks, but it is what it is.

    Some days, I think this is a kind of Straussian put-on. That readers are supposed to see through his asinine exoteric explanations and penetrate to the real, esoteric, ones. Other days, I think he is just a little nuts.

  32. Hi Ian,

    I admit that I really like the essay length. It’s longer than a post (which I suppose ideally should be about a paragraph long), so I can introduce a more complicated idea, defend it, and develop it. And it’s shorter than a book, so there’s still the discipline involved in writing something that can be read in one sitting. This forces me to tighten the writing–final drafts are always much shorter than rough drafts, and much better for it. It also excuses me from having to fill in every detail and anticipate every objection. I could easily see myself getting lost if I tried to write an actual book. There’s a lot of freedom in having hundreds of pages to play with, and one must be a very good writer (much better than me) to use it well.

  33. Moldbug is not really a ‘neoreactionary’ and has never used the term. Nick Land is the originator of the term and the reason for neoreaction’s success.

  34. Hi Bonald,

    It’s not obvious from your post whether you are seeking a similar level of success or just reflecting on its nature. If the former, I think that the answer is simple: you need to step outside the religious reactionary ghetto and engage with bloggers from different communities, including (but not limited to) those on the secular right.

    This would be good to see because, speaking as an agnostic — or, at any rate, someone who is not a Christian — I feel that the Orthosphere generally has a much more developed and coherent set of ideas than neoreaction, and so it would be interesting to see what they made of you.

  35. Mostly I’m comparing the vitality of two ghettos.

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