As I’ve said before, I think the key difference between reaction and neoreaction is the latter’s adoption of the outsider (functionalist) perspective on the social order they wish to preserve. Nyan Sandwich at More Right agrees with me.
NRx is the analytic rightward synthesis of the Ethno-nationalist, Techno-commercialist, and Traditionalist insight. It takes elements of each, and synthesizes them into something that actually ends up being to the right of each. Further, “analytic” means that NRx takes the sacredness structures of those components seriously, but studies and justifies them from the outside, rather than buying into them from the inside.
Traditionalism as such is often all about the sacredness of traditional social technology; the value of kneeling before your God and king, the glory of serving him, the spiritual importance of living out a virtuous life in a rooted, patriarchal, religious community. That said, some trads approach it in a much more rationalistic manner.
Unfortunately, traditional social technologies have been disrupted by the massive social effects of our recent material wealth, and have not yet had a chance to adapt to the realities of capitalism or the post-malthusian selection environment. Traditionalists are often naive about economics, and sometimes neglectful of the importance of biology and identity. Further, by taking their sacredness structures so seriously, trads have a hard time reevaluating and redesigning them as necessary.
I think this states things fairly. (I wouldn’t have classified “techno-commercialists” as being on the Right at all, but the author was right to use peoples’ self-descriptions for the purpose of general exposition.) Neoreaction means taking the sociologist/anthropologist’s viewpoint. What’s wrong with this? Nothing–it’s always legitimate to abstract certain features of a system and analyze the structure of those particular features. However, a form of analysis that does this, that studies social function from a position of agnosticism on questions of metaphysical truth and ethical principle, must necessarily be a subordinate form of analysis. The only valid criteria for deciding when to reevaluate and redesign “sacredness structures” have been excluded from the beginning.
The original reactionary tradition traces back to Cicero and is almost defined by its concern for the insider perspective, for highlighting the distinct value of the political community’s consensus on justice. An insider can study how his social system was built up and works without breaking the spell–see how well Cicero does it!–but starting out with the outsider’s perspective one rarely works one’s way inside. Although the sociologist’s perspective is an abstraction, it feels like reality, especially when the sociologist sneaks in an implicit normative structure based on maximizing stability, wealth, or the like.