GNON is an acronym popular among reactionaries. It stands for “the God of Nature Or Nature.” It is intended to function for reactionaries and their interlocutors of an agnostic or atheist persuasion as the Torah, Logos, dharma or Tao do for religious types, but without entangling them in any religious commitments, or the difficulties that ever attend them. It is the Order of Being. The general idea is that, whether or not there be any God of Nature who is its source, Nature herself has an inherent and utterly implacable, incontrovertible order, which we contravene at our peril, and which it behooves us therefore to discover and then faithfully and meetly enact; so that, recusing ourselves for the nonce from any tiresome discussions of a religious sort, with their endless bitter controversies over obscure points of doctrine, we may get on quickly to remembering that it is a Very Bad Idea to Mess with Mother Nature, to learning about her, and to shaping our policies accordingly.
This is certainly true. It really is a bad idea to mess with Mother Nature. So GNON is a handy way to cut to the chase in controversies over policy. It has furthermore the advantage of engendering a more ready agreement among our modernist adversaries to the notion that things have real natures, real essences, and that reality therefore is really ordered toward the realization of their natural ends, so that she imposes her order upon us willy nilly. Modernists are generally besot with Science™, so their minds are open to the notion of Natural Law (although not, usually, to questions about what and how it might be, how it might operate, and so forth). And they revere The Environment™ and Ecology™, even naming them after the divine Gaia, angel of our planet. Mother Nature is in their intellectual economy therefore a term with rather a concrete referent. They view her as more than a mere placeholder or heuristic, albeit less perhaps than a vengeful divine person, who might at any moment reach out and crush the life from them for their transgressions.
Whether they are correct so to debase her power and dignity is a question they do not often entertain. Meseems they have not perhaps been much out in the woods and wilds and desert wastes when she is in her wrathful moods, and felt how puny are they, and how vain all their fancy conceits. They spend their time too much indoors, perhaps.
The world is dangerous, or it is nothing.
But even a merely hypothetical obeisance to Mother Nature nevertheless opens the modern mind a crack to the notion that we simply *cannot* controvert her. And this recognition can furnish a few square inches of common ground from which a modernist and a tradent may at least agree upon meanings of the terms of their discourse; a first prerequisite of discourse as such, rather than mere lethal combat. From that, a modernist may possibly find himself compelled to agree to the justice of our perspective, if not to its truth (the integrity of justice and truth is not generally acknowledged by such minds; not at first, anyway).
So GNON is handy. It is in fact a wonderful cudgel, in the right hands. Allow me to mention in this respect the beautiful Tumblr site Wrath of GNON, a fecund source of daily aesthetic delectation to such as we, a continual reminder of the precious value and beauty of our beleaguered patrimony, and a bottomless font of trenchant memes.
Notwithstanding all that, and despite the recusal from theological battles it enables, GNON is inherently a religious concept. Nature is nothing without her God. By herself, she is no more than a series of adventitious events, not as a whole ordered to any purpose transcendent to herself – which is to say, not ordered. Except insofar as they are grounded in Eternity and ordered under his Law, events are just stuff happening for no reason, and cannot therefore by themselves sway us authoritatively. If Nature is just stuff bouncing around, then any order we might ourselves propose for our lives is just as good as – nay, better than – her dead aimless thrashings. For, we evidently have reasons of our own, even if there be no others. Why subject ourselves to mere chaos? Why subject ourselves to anything at all? If there be no God of Nature, there can be no reason, no rhyme to things, in the end nothing to which we might subject ourselves in the first place. Any sort of subjection in that event would be no more than a basic and stupid misprision of the true situation.
In practice, no one thus errs. Everyone behaves as if the world really is ordered, and thus – whether they realize it or not, whether or not they admit it to themselves – that it is ordered to some absolutely transcendent end; this being the only way that things can be ordered ultimately, ergo really. There is no other way to behave, for behavior per se presupposes the teleological orderliness of things.
Then again, this very fact constitutes the appeal to the modern rootless mind of the notion of GNON. Men all know deep down that in living they rely every moment upon God and his Son the Logos, who is the Order of Being. This knowledge is the source of the profound cognitive dissonance that bedevils faithless men, of their despair, their rage and terror at their fundamental bewilderment when all things ought by right, they cannot but feel, to make good coherent sense, and to flow together toward some final triumphant good. GNON can let them think for a moment in calm dispassion about their true relation to the Order of Being, without triggering all their pent up feelings. It can open their minds to the truth that there is Truth, and thus to a beginning of spiritual health.
So, I’ll take it as a sign of that health, and a useful lever. Thanks be to God for GNON.