Thursday 8 December 2011

Should Christian reactionary blogs be called the Kalbosphere?


I suggest that we Christian reactionary bloggers might call ourselves the Kalbosphere on the basis that James Kalb (currently at Turnabout) is our 'blogfather'.

JK founded View from the Right - currently run by Lawrence Auster and VFR budded-off the Thinking Housewife. There are some ace commenters here too, like Kristor and Alan Roebuck.

Other Christian reactionary blogs that I read regularly - and comment at - include Bonald at Throne and Altar, Proph at Collapse: The Blog, and Daniel at the new blog Out of Sleep (strictly, he is a Christian seeker at present).

We form something of a micro-network within the Kalbosphere, and there may be others?

e.g. Jim Kalb kindly blurbed my Thought Prison book, and it was reviewed on T&A and Collapse, and Daniel's comments helped in writing it. 

I am not sure what Jim Kalb would have to say about this idea - and strictly speaking Bonald did not lineally derive from the Kalb-sphere of influence (I don't think).

So maybe they would object...


The 'Kalbosphere' name corresponds to the Secular Right paleo-conservative 'Steveosphere' which has grownup around Steve Sailer - such as Dennis Mangan, 'Ron Guhname' at Inductivist (actually he is Eastern Orthodox, not secular), Audacious Epigone, HalfSigma, OneSTDV, Razib at Gene Expression and so on.  



Proph said...

I didn't derive from Kalb, either, and actually for some reason I have always had difficulty accessing Turnabout (I'm thinking it's the strange URL formulation, but in any case I've been to his site a total of perhaps three times, all in the last few months). I started out largely as a child of Ferd at IMF and then moved in you and Bonald's direction. Perhaps he could be my blog-grandfather?

The Continental Op said...

Kalbosphere is too much cult of personality. "Reactosphere"

josh said...

Have you considered adding a list of blogs to your sidebar. I would love to find more Christian reactionary blogs. I only read you, Turnabout (never updated), and Auster on that front.

BTW, thank you for the fantastic essay on bureaucracy. Your idea of committee unpredictability as generating variation has really supplemented my moldbuggian worldview.

Wm Jas said...

I don't know. I read most of those blogs, but I don't get the sense that Jim Kalb is particularly central -- at least not to the extent that Steve Sailer is central to the Steveosphere.

(By the way, in the future you might not want to abbreviate "Throne and Altar" as "T&A," the latter having a well-established vulgar slang meaning in America.)

Bruce Charlton said...


The problem is that this 'sphere' is both Christian and reactionary - most of the Christian blogs are Liberal, most of the reactionary blogs are atheist.

That's why I thought it better to make the name eponymous.

The choice of JK was that - by establishing VFR, and writing The Tyranny of Liberalism, he is more central than any other blogger I can think of.

Even atheist reactionaries are often derived *indirectly* from VFR, or epend on VFR for data - for example via Mencius Moldbug.

Another alternative, which avoids the term reactionary, could be




(with the plus sign signifying a cross) but it is revolting word!

or how about (modifying COp's suggestion)

The Reac+osphere

with a 'cross' replacing the letter 't'...

Hmmm - I rather like that:

so we have



or even


All horrible words, but I think I prefer the first, not least because the Christian element comes first


CorkyAgain said...

Why not drop the hipster notion of a sphere altogether and use the traditional language instead? We are reactionaries after all.

Call it the Old Church, to distinguish it from the modern, liberal one.

(Or is there already a denomination by that name which some would not like to be associated with?)

Bruce Charlton said...

@CA - I have strong sympathies with your stance! - but there must be some indication that we are talking about blogs, and blogs are intrinsically 'modern' things.

So if we do not use an eponym like Kalb then we need something about them 1. being blogs, and 2. Christian, and 3. reactionary/ traditional/ orthodox (small 'o').

Another possibility is to have a venerated traditional Christian who was a 'modern' communicator - magazine editor, printer, book compiler and editor, translator and might well have been some kind of blogger if still alive:

I mean Fr. Seraphim Rose.

I have a sense that he is venerated by all of us, whatever our denominations.

Let's keep brainstorming...

Rich said...


Would you mind providing a link to the essay on bureaucracy?


Bruce Charlton said...

@ADS -

Proph said...

I don't know that I like "Tradosphere." (Something about it just strikes me as discordant, perhaps the possibility that we would come to be referred to derogatorily as "Trads.")

Why not come up with some equivalent of the "Inklings"? Not to suggest we're ACTUALLY equivalent to them, but we're all reasonably prolific writers with similar ideals, and I think it would be healthier to refer to ourselves not using some sexless, identity-less agglomerate (like "X-o-sphere" -- how does one say one belongs to that group, anyway? "I'm a member of the X-o-sphere." What a creepy formulation). I'd rather we refer to ourselves, if anything, as a voluntary association of men, mutually cooperating to achieve a common goal. Something like the "Inklings" comes closer to this -- it expresses our identity both individually ("I'm an Inkling") and collectively.

At any rate, I like this discussion because it is moving in a direction I've been calling for us to move toward for some time: toward greater common self-identity and enterprise. Far-right bloggers are too scattered and disorganized; we've had, I think, as much impact as we can hope to have independently.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Proph -

I like this line of thinking.

There is of course The Notion Club - which was Tolkien's name for a fictionalized Inklings.

(I have a blog of this name, as you may have noticed; driven by my obsession with that obscure unfinished novel.)

Suitably obscure and suitably modest too.

Bonald said...

Actually, I would say that I was inspired by Jim Kalb more than anyone else in taking up blogging. (I used to joke to myself that my goal was to become Kalb's mini-me.) So maybe that's another data point in favor of "Kalbosphere".

Other points in favor

1) He was definitely the first and does hold a certain preeminence. When he started posting material, there was nothing like it on the web. He proved that you could make a clean break with liberalism, instead of just critiquing it here and there, and that the clean break makes you more coherent rather than less.

2) It's particular. It's historical. Reactionaries like that.

3) We actually have more in common than being Christians and reactionaries. There are certain common themes in our writings, which are certainly exemplified in Kalb: the insistence that a social order should "make sense" to its participants, the idea of liberalism as a way of smashing organizing principles that rival markets and the State, a hermeneutic of suspicion directed at bureaucratic rationality, and an appreciation for tradition rooted in its orientation to the transcendent rather than in a mere fear of reckless change.

By the way, does anybody know what Kalb is working on now?

Proph said...

I like the idea of calling it a "club," which of course has very masculine overtones (although also very juvenile ones, e.g., a clubhouse, no girls allowed, etc.). Personally, I think the imagery any such title invokes ought to make reference to our common religion while simultaneously evoking our opposition to modernity. Perhaps something like the "Leonine Club," in honor of Pope Leo XIII, who identified modernity with Satanism and penned the beautiful Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel accordingly:

Pierre said...

Call it simply The CCC: the Conservative Christian Circle.

(CCC vs. 666)

Pierre said...

Edit: Community, not Circle. The Conservative Christian Community (CCC).

Kristor said...

But we do definitely want it to become a sphere that expands, so the notion of a club (with restricted membership?) doesn't quite work.

How about "orthosphere"? Right, order and orthodoxy all implied at once. Could be or+hosphere.

FHL said...

Kalbosphere? Steve Sailer? Visual Flight Rules?? Bonald???

Who are these these people? I've never heard of them. Am I the only one who is confused? Is this like the Conservative Superhero League?

A sphere that expands? Is this a physics question? Do we get to wear tights?

Oh I'm so confused!


On a more serious note, I really haven't heard of these people so I don't know, but is it possible that creating a "blog-sphere" club would have the effect of stifling the introspective nature of the posts and not allowing you to say what you truly mean? I mean, having a group watching your back, always being responsible for them and all.

Once again, I'm not sure, just wondering.

Bruce Charlton said...

FHL - as a recent Christian convert I came *from* the Steveosphere - as the first blogs I read regularly (together with libertarian and economics blogs).

(I daily still read Steve Sailer, Dennis Mangan, Inductivist for example.)

The other Christian Reactionary blogs mentioned in relation to the 'Kalbosphere' are those blogs to which I turn each day for edification - not just entertainment.

All these perspectives have something in their favour - Pierre's idea is neat, but most of us would want to be distanced from 'conservative' mainstream politics, which we see as merely a branch of Leftism.

But I note that Bonald in his comment (and by personal e-mail) seems to cast his vote for Kalbosphere - and he is probably the biggest fish in this small pond.

So Kalbosphere may suffice - if others are prepared to go along with it, and acknowledged a kind of spiritual foundership (direct or indirect) of Christian Reactionary blogging from James Kalb?

This is Jim's (intermittent) blog:

and he wrote The Tyranny of Liberalism.

Kalb means 'calf' (or baby cow) - which may or may not have relevance...

Proph said...

I submit utterly to y'all's authority. But may I suggest e-mailing Mr. Kalb and getting his permission before we appropriate his name?

James Kalb said...

bgc sent me a note asking for comments, so I thought I'd jump in.

The original suggestion is flattering, and I'm grateful, but would it really have legs? "Steveosphere" makes a lot of sense, because Sailer's active and prominent, but even so I think he's mostly the one who uses it, along with associates like Brimelow who aren't really part of it.

I think "HBD blogs" is at least as common. Maybe that shows that if something can be named there are going to be several names for it? My own suggestion would be "traditionalist blogs," because that emphasizes non-modernist epistemology, and I think that's a basic issue. Or maybe "antimodernist blogs"? "Counterrevolutionary blogs"? Both those seem to put the emphasis on reaction, though, and the point is that we have something better to offer, so we're not simply reactive.

Bonald asked what I'm working on. I'm trying to finish a couple of long pieces, a expanded version of a talk I gave on PC as the Antichrist and another that gives a sort of architectonic of present-day political positions and why everybody should become Catholic. I'm also trying to finish a book about inclusiveness and why discrimination is good.

I'm sorry some people have trouble connecting to my site. The URL is the way it is because it's on my home computer. will also take you there. Does that work better?

Proph said... seems to work fine for me -- I'll have to check it on my work computer next week, which seems dislike unusual URLs.

Brett Stevens said...

From a strictly taxonomic perspective, you're all paleoconservatives, including the secular types. Paleoconservatism prescribes a unity of belief and science, and is tolerant of secularity although views it as a lesser idea than some idealism or religious belief underpinning life. However, you're all anti-moderns and that's the vital part. It may shock you, but your spiritual father is probably Nietzsche more than Eckhart, although they both play a role.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Brett - no, for us Christianity comes first, not politics.

Paleocons are merely conservatives who go to Church - or who at least *allow* people to go to Church.

We aspire to a Christian society, and to accept whatever whatever politics that turns out to entail.

Nietzsche is seen as maybe a brilliant but deeply-confused analyst, certainly not as a Father.

Samson J. said...

I read these blogs, and I don't know who Jim Kalb is, but I have to say that naming a segment of the blogosphere after anyone sounds like a surefire to diminish its importance. We're talking about timeless ideas, not a cult of mortal personality.

Clear Waters said...

Always called it the 'Orthosphere' (yes, i know there is a central blog called that), but it seems to cover the Christian part of the Reactosphere, which is really the much larger umbrella covering all reactionaries.

Bruce Charlton said...

@MC - If you follow this thread you will see it is where the name Orthosphere was coined by Kristor.