Jan 31, 2014

"Reactionary" is a Poor Choice of Word [by HRH Jonathan]

There are many words for the movement I tend to refer to as, "Traditionalism." For any group so fragmented and with so many distinct points of origin, this is inevitable; but the number of names for Traditionalism exceeds what even those facts would lead one to expect. Social Conservatism, Traditionalism, Reactionism, Counter-Revolutionism, and Anarcho-Imperialism are all names I've seen applied regularly, but in this brief article, I shall discuss only the third one.
     It is becoming increasingly common for Traditionalists to call themselves, "Reactionaries," that is, followers of Reactionism. This is especially true amongst new converts to our fold, who have gone so far as to take up the name, "Neo-Reactionary," seeing themselves as a new flowering of a concept almost entirely effaced after the last fall of the French Monarchy. These Neo-Reactionaries have formed a rough internet alliance of respectable orthodoxy, though they often have weak communications with the rest of the Traditionalist web. They are laudably pursuing the truth, but today, I have one, seemingly-small criticism to level against them.
     I don't like their name.
     A very common topic in the writings of my father and I is that words have power, and also that their meanings are not always obvious to those who use them. These truths are especially applicable to the term, "Reactionary." A Reactionary is, rather obviously, someone who reacts. Someone who pushes back. Someone only interested in the status quō, the way things stood. Reactionism is, by necessity, defined in terms of its enemies and their choices. Regardless of what its followers actually do, the name conjures up images of people who do not think about the future, or care about what is right, or consider their enemies' positions; but are concerned only with the comfortable past. In just the same way as many have gone astray by referring to, "political science," instead of, "political philosophy," those who call themselves, "Reactionary," are unwittingly defining themselves as everything that is actually wrong with Tradition, and separating themselves from what is good
     Of course, the same problem may be found, with less strength, in the word, "Traditionalism," but I do like this term a good deal more. It is a good catch-all term, encompassing a large number of views; it is already established and well-known; and it is not nearly so bad as the topic of this article. In the end, however, there is not a truly good name for those who desire to restore Western Civilization to its full splendour. At least, not unless you count 'Edanian'.
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