While creating the Free Man’s Reading List, some recommended I add some books on what is sometimes referred to as the Dark Enlightenment. The Dark Enlightenment is something I’ve been reading for years and my blog here sometimes edges near the periphery of that territory, moreso as time goes on. Neoreaction is something I desire to learn more about.
So, I’ve been trying to create a reading list over the last few monehts for those wanting to learn about the Dark Enlightenment and I’m going to try to read through it while reading through the Free Man’s list (because one massive, multi-year reading list just isn’t enough).
Before that, I’ll briefly explain the Dark Enlightenment. It is essentially the realization that men are not equal. It is a reactionary movement against the progressivist ideology that dominates the Cathedral (ie. the elites) and is based on the untrue assumption of the equality of man.
Beyond that, there is a diverse array of ideologies among those that would be considered part of the Dark Enlightenment. Among those in the Dark Enlightenment are reactionaries, paleo-conservatives, paleo-libertarians, Christian traditionalists, formalists, fascists (in the non-pejorative sense), monarchists, tribalists, ethno-nationalists, nihilists, hedonists, and many others. The uniting link between these disparate ideologies is opposition to the current progressivist order and her sister ideologies of democracy, egalitarianism, socialism, feminism, multiculturalism, modernity, etc.
This list is meant to introduce someone to the Dark Enlightenment and its ideas. There is little discussion of the various little tribes of the movement; these are more focused on the broad-brush issues.
Not all (or even most) of the writers here would consider themselves part of the Dark Enlightenment, but these are books and writings I think would be useful in introducing the ideas that are fundamental to the DE.
First we start with a few introductory web readings on what the Dark Enlightenment is:
The Dark Enlightenment Defined
The Dark Enlightenment Explained
The Path to the Dark Enlightenment
The Essence of the Dark Enlightenment
An Introduction to Neoreaction
Neoreaction for Dummies
Here is are two longer introductions that may be helpful for some. The first is by a non-reactionary and may be useful for those now from the right:
Reactionary Philosophy in a Nutshell
The Dark Enlightenment – Nick Land
The Cathedral Explained.
Being introduced to Dark Enlightenment thought, I would suggest reading When Wish Replaces Thought by Steven Goldberg. The book itself is written by a liberal, but thoroughly debunks numerous liberal shibboleths through objective logic. It’s not reactionary in itself, but it will cause someone capable of thinking to question what they view as accepted “truths”.
Then try Three Years of Hate from In Mala Fide. The collection of essays touches on numerous neoreactionary topics and is an enjoyable, easy-to-read entry point, as long as you don’t mind the virulent nihilism and offensiveness of the book.
Now we can get down to the various categories of dark enlightenment thought. You can read these categories in whatever order you wish; each is somewhat separate, but all are inter-connected.
I probably have missed some stuff, so feel free to provide some suggestions.
These books introduce outline the decline of our civilization, the reasons, and the potential consequences. These books are more ‘mainstream’and due to their natures, each highlights numerous interrelated ideas. Because of this, they should make a good introduction.
We are Doomed – John Derbyshire
America Alone – Mark Steyn
After America – Mark Steyn
Death of the West – Pat Buchanan
The Abolition of Britain – Peter Hitchens
Civil Society and Culture
The importance of organic community and culture are embraced by all rightests. These books outline the the disappearance of organic community due to modern society and the decline of our culture.
Coming Apart – Charles Murray
Disuniting of America – Arthur Schlesinger
The Quest for Community – Robert Nisbet
Bowling Alone – Robert Putnam
Life at the Bottom – Theodore Dalrymple
Intellectuals and society – Thomas Sowell
These books analyze the importance of western civiliziation.
Civilization: The West and the Rest – Niall Ferguson
Culture Matters – Samuel Huntington
The Uniqueness of Western Civilization – Ricardo Duchesne
Mencius Moldbug is one of the more influential neoreactionaries. His blog, Unqualified Reservations, is required reading; if you have not read Moldbug, you do not understand modern politics or modern history. Start here for an overview of major concepts: Moldbuggery Condensed. Introduction to Moldbuggery has the Moldbug reading list. Start with Open Letter series, then simply go from the beginning.
Start with Carlyle’s first two:
Chartism – Thomas Carlyle
Latter-Day Pamphlets – Thomas Carlyle
Then move onto the other two major works necessary to enter the Froude society:
The Bow of Ulysses – James Anthony Froude
Popular Government – Henry Summers Maine
Then finish off Carlyle:
Shooting Niagara – Carlyle
The Occasional Discourse – Carlyle
On Heroes, Hero Worship & the Heroic in History – Carlyle
Having gotten through Carlyle we can move onto Julius Evola. Here’s his three main works in recommended reading order, but first a very short summation of his work and practical application thereof.
The Handbook of Traditional Living – Raido
Men Among the Ruins – Julius Evola
Ride the Tiger – Julius Evola
Revolt Against the Modern World – Julius Evola
Here are a few other reactionaries to read gained from Moldbug, Radish, and elsewhere.
Reflections of a Russian Statesman – Konstantin Pobedonostsev
Decline of the West – Oswald Spengler
Hour of Decision – Oswald Spengler
On Power – Jouvenel
Against Democracy and Equality – Tomislav Sunic
New Culture, New Right – Michael O’Meara
Why We Fight – Guillaume Faye
Dark enlightenment economics tend towards either the Austrian school, techno-capitalism, or some form of economic nationalism/protectionism/mercantalism. Here’s some basic Austrian economics to destroy what modern keynesian notions you may have. This overlaps with the other reading list.
Economics in One Lesson – Henry Hazlitt
Basic Economics – Thomas Sowell
That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen – Frederic Bastiat
Man, Economy, and State – Murray Rothbard
Human Action – Ludwig von Mises
Human bio-diversity (HBD) studies the biological roots of human behaviour a major topic within the Dark Enlightenment as genetic differences between people and groups provide a more fundamental view of inequality than the “root causes” touted by the Cathedral.
Darwin’s Enemies on the Left and Right Part 1, Part 2
The History and Geography of Human Genes (Abridged edition) – Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza
The 10,000 Year Explosion – Gregory Cochrane
Race, Evolution, and Behavior – Rushton
Why Race Matters – Michael Levin
Intelligence and Mind
The science of intelligence and the mind is closely related to HBD and provides one of the more visible and controversial aspects of the Dark Enlightenment, while destroying the blank slate ideology.
The Bell Curve – Charles Murray
The Global Bell Curve – Richard Lynn
Human Intelligence – Earl Hunt
Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence – Robert Sternberg
A Conflict of Visions – Thomas Sowell
The Blank Slate – Stephen Pinker
Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature – Murray Rothbard (essay)
The control of the modern education system and its leading role in the perpetuation of the Cathedral has made the modern education system and its
Real Education – Charles Murray
Inside American Education – Thomas Sowell
Illiberal Education – Dinesh D’Sousa
God and Man at Yale – William Buckley
Weapons of Mass Instruction – John Taylor Gatto
The Higher Education Bubble – Glenn Reynolds
These books outline the biological realities of sex and sexual differences that are denied by the Cathedral.
The Way of Men – Jack Donovan
Sperm Wars – Robin Baker
Sex at Dawn – Christopher Ryan
Why Men Rule – Steven Goldberg
Demonic Males – Dale Peterson
The Essential Difference – Simon Baron-Cohen
The Mating Mind – Geoffrey Miller
The Red Queen – Matt Ridley
It is essential to know how government works for any reactionary; these books will show you. Also, yes, I did include a TV show; watch Yes, Minister, there is simply no better way to actually understand the actual mechanics of government than to watch this show. I work in government, and yes, bureaucrats will say this is exactly how government works.
Mau-mauing the Flak Catchers – Tom Wolfe
Public Choice: An Introduction – Iain McLean
On Government Employment – Foseti (blog post)
Yes, Minister – TV Show
Complete Verse – Rudyard Kipling
Harrison Bergeron – Kurt Vonnegut
Camp of the Saints – Jean Raspail
Other Related Reading Lists
Derbyshire’s list of Dark Enlightenment blogs
The Great Books of The Aristocracy
Library of the Dark Enlightenment