As culture is emergent, it ought not come as any surprise that some matrices of rule confer evolutionary advantage to adopters, but strict evolutionary stability requires that such matrices be open to use by others, and that use raises the possibilities of mutation, adaptation, and selection.
That appears to be Professor Cowen's second organizing principle.
The historical ruling cultures for America and Western Europe — two very successful regions — have largely consisted of white men and have reflected the perspectives of white men. This rule and influence continues to work, however, because it is not based on either whiteness or maleness per se. There is a nominal openness to the current version of the system, which fosters competitive balance, yet at the end of the day it is still mostly about the perspectives of white men and one hopes this will continue. By the way, groups which “become white” in their outlooks can be allowed into the ruling circle.Here's where the tussle begins. Reduced to caricature, it's the identity-politics multiculturalists throwing out all that is good in the current matrix of rule, because there's intentional or implicit or perceived or hallucinated privilege therein, which must be rooted out. Never mind that it's the conventions of the matrix of rule that make it possible for the outsiders to participate, and to raise the possibilities of mutation, adaptation, and selection. The neo-reaction might be a primal response to too much mau-mauing of the people who have respected the matrix of rule, and that response might have a little "make a positive case that there's a better way, rather than guilt-tripping us" to it.
I think it is a category mistake to dismiss neo-reaction on the grounds of racism or prejudice. There exists a coherent form of the doctrine perfectly consistent with the view that different races are intrinsically equal in both capabilities and moral worth, even if such a variant tends to get pushed out by the less salubrious elements. Furthermore calling neo-reaction racist, as a primary response, seems to personalize the debate in a Trump-like way, ultimately playing into the strengths of neo-reaction and distracting the liberals, in the broad sense of that term, from building up the most appealing vision of their philosophy and doctrine.That doesn't surprise me.
Liberalism isn’t actually an automatic emotional default for most people on this planet, so being a scold is in the longer run a losing strategy. I believe many current “democratic mainstream” thinkers genuinely do not understand how boring and unconvincing they are, as they live in bubbles filled with others of a similar bent.
I'd sometimes explain to beginning economics students that thinking about exchange and arbitrage and the rest had in common with schooling a fish about water the property that going shopping and working for wages, like swimming, were things that people could do without having to think much about them.
That matrix of rule is to the inhabitant of a liberal society as the water is to the fish. How easy is it for a fish to escape water that is starved of oxygen, or for an inhabitant to escape a now toxic common culture?
In two thousand years, did we get these things right?
That's neither a boring nor an easily answered question. And yet, it is one, dear reader, to pose to the neo-reactionary or the deconstructionist alike.