Am I a reactionary?

I've never understood the term "reactionary" as it is used by self-described "progressives" to label those with whom they disagree. Is any response to an argument necessarily reactionary? Are only those responses which intend to maintain the status quo reactionary? Are only those responses which intend to revert to a previous state of being reactionary? Or does the term mean something entirely different?

I could ask the same questions about the term "progressive," but I think you get the point. People who use these terms are implying something about justice, but justice is not defined by past conditions, the status quo, or possible conditions which could be implemented in the future. Justice is independant of all of these conditions, and one could just as easily oppose a change out of a sense of justice as one could propose that change itself.

I mention this because a recent post on Crooked Timber attempted to characterize "right-wing response to facts" by pointing to an essay identifying various reactionary arguments. I expect, of course, that Henry Farrell, Brian Weatherson, and Kieran Healy will all condemn Chris Bertram, just as they condemned Randy Barnett for an equally silly post lumping together as one all "left-wing responses to facts."

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Chris wrote "a certain type

Chris wrote "a certain type of right-wing response to facts", which is much different from saying all right-wing responses.

Chris mentions, at the end

Chris mentions, at the end of his post, the "invariance of conservative responses to reform from Burke to Murray." This certainly sounds like lumping to me.

Had I been writing some

Had I been writing some carefully crafted essay on right-wing politics, I would certainly had made all the required distinctions. As it is, I'm afraid that the furious response of some conservative readers to some fairly casual and conversational remarks ("now he's trying to make out those remarks were casual!") says something about the oversensitivity and insecurity of the reactionary reactors. Lighten up Micha!

Chris, Now I am not only


Now I am not only reactionary but oversensitive and insecure? That certainly says a lot about me. I bet there is even a Freudian explanation for my psychological malladies.

Regardless, I am a bit amused by this whole situation, considering that Randy Barnett's "fairly casual and conversational" remarks about the left met with such an overwhelming response by the Crooked Timberites. Pot calling kettle?

Apropos of nothing on this

Apropos of nothing on this comment thread, I've wondered that since most "progressives" wish to return society to social programs favored in the 1920s and 30s, shouldn't they be more aptly named "Regressives"? Much like correctly describing so-called liberals as "Illiberals" (being that they advocate an illiberal agenda of government control over individuals and society).