Reaction is foremost about embracing reality. An objective reality exists apart whatever stories men may tell themselves. This reality is harsh and bitter as we live in a fallen world. Reality can be denied temporarily, but will always win in the end.
Utopianism is a denial of reality, the attempt to create heaven on earth. It is the belief that somehow fallen man can be perfected if we simply change societal institutions. This has been attempted numerous times and has failed every time, usually with disastrous results. Social engineering is the mechanism through which leftists attempt to implement utopianism.
Both utopianism and social engineering are inherently leftist and antithetical to reaction.
Nihilism is the rejection of meaningfulness. It is purposelessness. The core of reaction is that civilization is meaningful and worth preserving, so nihilism is inherently antithetical to reaction.
On the other hand, it is reality that we have lost. Civilization is an undending war against barbarism and chaos, and at this historical point, the latter are winning. By definition, reaction has lost, if it hadn’t lost it would be conservatism. Western civilization is, at least temporarily, mostly hopeless, mired in existential despair, and everybody knows it on a gut level. The collapse is coming.
But simply because the situation is currently hopeless doesn’t mean giving into despair or nihilism. Holding to a meaningful lost cause is itself honourable and meaningful. But beyond that, all earthly things pass, eventually the gods of the copybook heading will have had their fill. Then there will be time to rebuild. By holding on now we can at least provide future generations with an analysis of what went wrong. Maybe it will help them rebuild, maybe it will mitigate the extent of chaos, maybe they will be able to avoid or mitigate chaos in the future, we can not know. But the watchmen must watch and sound the alert.
Reaction is knowing doom approaches, but holding our values strong and sounding the alarm, so that once the doom has passed, civilziation can be rebuilt.
* For Christians the fallen world is a result of spiritual seperation from God due to sin, for non-Christians the fallen world is a result of harsh, uncaring evolutionary forces. The practical result of both beliefs is the same, the world is harsh.