Modernity, in its glitz and horror, offers no redemption — just more of itself, clickbait and all. For reactionaries like Don Quijote, there is no way back. And few actually advocate turning back the clock, a fool’s errand not even Don Quijote, Knight of the Sorrowful Face, would undertake. They give themselves over to a nostalgic brand of hope the Portuguese call saudade, “a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist”. Pining for what we don’t have or can’t be, reactionaries are each of us, despairing of a future that ain’t what it used to be.
Chris Kark reviews Mark Lilla‘s The Shipwrecked Mind: On Political Reaction.