First for a definition: reactionarism or simply reaction is an ideology which promotes a return to a previous political state that they believe possessed positive characteristics that are absent in the current society.
Modern-day society is obsessed with progress. In fact, “regressive” is defined as “returning to a former or less developed state; characterized by regression”. While “former” is not necessarily less developed, and neither “former” or “less developed” are automatically inferior, regression is clearly given an
But progress can easily be lethal for the society. If progress is seen as an ideal in and in itself, then progress becomes imperative. But any problem has only so many solutions which can be tried, and not all solutions are equally good. As a result, any inherently progressive ideology is forced to constantly change, constantly move to even greater extremes, implementing solutions and measures which are worthless at best, and outright destructive most of the time. But despite that, ideology of progress rules the today’s Western world.
One reason why progressivism is so powerful philosophy and ideology is that it is idealistic. Instead of remaining within the constraints of the reality, it constructs a new reality of its own. And this reality is explicitly designed to appeal to humanity’s base instincts: hope, belief, religiousness. Progressivism becomes a popular religion in the place of of now largely-discredited traditional religions. And its success is a consequence of the same advantages which propelled Christianity and later Islam above traditional polytheistic religions: it is disconnected from the world and reality. In place of facts, it offers hope; in place of cruel reality, it offers divine protection. Where progressivism differs from Christianity is that instead of worshipping supernatural but personal diety, progressivism ascribes supernatural qualities to ideas: to progress, humanism, and to administrative (super)state.
The only way to counter such an amount of fairy tales and myths is to construct fairy tales of one’s own. Reactionarism takes an idealized view of the past, and thus can counter progressive idealized view of the future. Conservatism, with its strictly factual and rationalist approach, can never cope with the emotional appeal of progressivism. Where conservatism is rational, progressivism is idealistic. Where conservatism is either static or evolutionary, progressivism is revolutionary. Where conservatism advises us to accept the flawed world, progressivism offers an idealized future.
Therefore, it is no surprise that progressivism is such a powerful force. It is always accepted by the dreamers: by the young people – higher-class students especially – who had not experienced anything of what the life could throw at them. By the downtrodden masses, who can only dream of rising up and came to believe that anything is better than the current situation. By the intellectuals and academics living in their ivory towers, rising high above the mud of reality. Dreamers accept it and propel it.
The only counter to such a powerful force is another ideology built on dreams, but pulling in the opposite direction. Whereas progressivism promotes pipe dreams about the future, that ideology has to promote myths and legends of the past. It has to not only defend but actively promote the ideals and the values of the past, offering them as a superior alternative to either present or the progressivism. Reactionarism achieves that goal, as rather than merely putting up resistance to “progress”, it actively seeks a return to an earlier state. But progressives are aware of this, and have preempted it by promoting their own mythology of the past: but this one degrading where all good aspects of the past societies are degraded and negated, and all bad aspects overblow. Good example of this leftist propaganda is George Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire which portrays what is really a postmodernist society – but because Martin is using a historical, feudal veneer, readers are left with the impression that Westeros was how Middle Ages really were, and Martin gets praised for his “gritty realism” when nothing could be further from the truth. By covering his morally bankrupt and cynical failure of a society with a medieval caparison, Martin transfers flaws of modern society onto a past one and thus allows readers to continue bathing into their alleged superiority and progress. It is true that this may not be the intent – almost certainly, Westeros is a postmodernist society because it is intended as a commentary not of Middle Ages, but of modern, 20th to 21st century society. This is supported by Daenerys’ experiences in Meereen being a clear parallel to US War on Terror and occupation of Iraq. But nevertheless, intent is one thing, outcome is another, and as a result ASoIaF has promoted a highly hurtful presentation of the medieval society.
Above misrepresentation of the past, examined on the example of George Martin’s work, is a reason why “reactionary” is seen as an even more degrading adjective than “conservative” is – and why both are often seen as negative to begin with. By imposing their own progressive ideology through media and academia while at the same time destroying traditional influence of family, community and Church on education, progressives have hijacked the political discourse and achieved complete terminological and ideological dominance. It is a recipe taken straight from George Orwell’s 1984: change what words mean in order to change how people think. Or, rather, George Orwell had merely described what Left was already doing, and what it was hoping to achieve, in the Soviet Union. And Left has not stopped. Even today, it is leading civilization onto its steady progress into the abyss and complete destruction.
Subjectively, I became a reactionary because I believe that reactionary idealized view of the past is much closer to how past actually was than progressive idealized view of the future is to how the future actually will be. It is a highly probable view: after all, reaction looks to the past, about which some things are known, and only critical thinking and research is needed to come close to sources. On the other hand, progressives are free to make up completely unreal fairy tales. They are, in fact, Communists in disguise, dreaming of an idealized society that can never be achieved. But because that society always lies in the “better, brighter future”, they are free to dream – while destroying societies and murdering people in the name of their dream. Ideals that have no basis in reality are dangerous: they are always one mass murder, one destroyed economy, one war, one campaign of suppression away. Communists and Nazis killed millions in the name of progress, even though their ideas of progress differed. Compared to these ideologies, traditional monarchies were exemplars of humanism.