Here are three links worth sharing:
I think Mark Shea has been “trolled”, as the young people say.
I admire Mark Shea for many of his moral stances, and he even changed my mind on a couple of things, but he is way too ready to believe nonsense about traditionalists, including Catholic Trads (Latin Mass types, who in my quite extensive experience are mostly pretty normal.)
The story of Anil Dash, internationally (in)famous for what he did to another man.
Not a new idea, but well put: how the Left lost control of (some of) the narrative.
[Further on Mark Shea. I think the commenter Outis Nusquam says it well: “The punishment for attacking things you don’t understand is looking like a fool when someone trolls you. Neoreaction/Dark Enlightenment is a loose network of thinkers on the internet who reject most of the principles of the French Revolution/Enlightenment for one reason or another. That’s it. There’s no secret island fortress, anyone can adopt the label, and he speaks for himself alone. You owe us all a big apology for this nonsense. Have the humility to do some research and use some critical thinking before passing yourself off as a “Catholic” “intellectual”.”
I spent about ten years attending a Latin Mass church. This was run a lot of the time by the FSSP, a group of priests in full unity with Rome. The people who attended were mostly unremarkable. There was a smattering of odd types, but no more than in any other group. The only remarkable thing about them was that they were mostly very well educated, with a lot of scientists, political operatives, and so on.
As for the Dark Enlightenment, I suppose I support some of the ideas to the extent that I think the Enlightenment ideas of equality should be critiqued. Readers of my blog will notice that I have a lively interest in women and their capacities and roles, but on the other hand I rarely write on race. It is always a mistake to invent an enemy, caricature him and slap a name on him. Mark Shea should emerge from this “a sadder and a wiser man.”
And now that I have quoted both Shakespeare and Coleridge, that will do.]
Mark Shea defends himself.
I think Mark’s problem is that he is a bit deficient in Humour, and its older brother, a Sense of Proportion. I think the “trading cards” here are meant to be in fun. Like this one of SunshineMary, the indefatigable antifeminist blogger:
Some fairly sensible comments from Rod Dreher, or at least from his reader Athanasius:
“Despite massive promotion of Darwinian evolution throughout the popular culture (haha, look, it’s Jesus riding a t-rex), seemingly for the sole purpose of undermining our traditional religion (the American mos maiorum), no one is allowed to extrapolate the obvious conclusions of evolutionary biology that genetic cohorts (i.e., races) have differing rates of intelligence, strength, and agility and different behavioral traits, all of which evolved over the tens of thousands of years we were separated. Could it possibly be because such knowledge would render many of our policies (from affirmative action to bans on racial profiling) utterly irrational? The same applies to biological differences between men and women and the effect that recognition of such knowledge would have on such absurdities as claiming that physical tests for firemen and soldiers are “sexist” …
… Most of these “Dark Enlightenment” bloggers (and that’s really all they are) are fantasists and contrarians with a weakness for obscurantist and melodramatic language. However, many of the writers whom they’ve claimed (e.g., Sailer) are serious thinkers who are challenging all of the above–all that is unchallengeable in politics, law, art, mainstream/mass journalism and most tragically, academia. If these are discussions that the elites of our society continue to suppress, I do think that we are the verge of a new political movement–one that will hopefully be led by cooler heads.”
Obviously he is talking about the American situation. Australia is a bit less crazy on race and “gender”, thank God.
A breathless journalistic account of the Dark Enlightenment, which seems to have not much more nuance and real understanding than Shea. But that is what journalists do, find patterns and trends that may or may not be real. A more informed discussion.
The latter article includes this:
“Ah, yes. The race thing. If race is a Dark Enlightenment obsession, someone forgot to tell them. While there’s some overlap with human biodiversity (which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like and is thus a horrifying heresy to those of the universalist faith), it’s more a cousin of neoreaction; like the manosphere, it’s hardly a wholly owned subsidiary. On the matter of race, neoreaction’s biggest crime is its refusal to parrot the “White people…ewwwwwww!” meme that dominates much of progressive discourse; instead it offers a critique of the Cultural Marxist “critical race theory” that is an essential leftist article of faith.”
Here is something Shea said after he realised he had been “punked”: “That is, I was too ready to believe that a loose association of racist nuts with theories ranging from transhumanism to the re-establishment of the Holy Roman Empire and who (I am not making this up) enthusiastically have trading cards of their weirdo heroes might behave like, you know, nuts and overgrown teens.”
I would say three things about that:
1) I am fairly easily fooled. I once bought a book on “Why Cats Paint”. I still have it. I really thought that cats could paint, like chimpanzees perhaps.
But even I could see at a glance that the account that Shea believed was bogus.
2) The “trading cards” were a joke. Shea is lashing out wildly here.
These guys are actually Greg Cochran and Henry Harpending, both top scientists and pretty acerbic, especially Cochran. They would not be amused at being described as “weirdo heroes”:
3) More seriously, he gives the game away when he conflates transhumanism with the restoration of monarchies. These are not ideas likely to be held simultaneously by any one group. I know a little about the former, and it is a radical set of ideas associated mainly with the more extreme type of nerd, whereas the latter sound like romantic nationalists who would have little interest in transhumanism (and neither group are likely to be “racist nuts”). There is some “guilt by association” going on here.
Shea is painting with a very broad brush and has no real idea what he is doing – like this cat: