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A reactionary is a person who holds political views that favor a return to the status quo ante, the previous political state of society, which they believe possessed characteristics that are negatively absent from the contemporary status quo of a society. As an adjective, the word reactionary describes points of view and policies meant to restore the status quo ante.

A reactionary is a person who holds political views that favor a return to the status quo ante, the previous political state of society, which they believe possessed characteristics (discipline, respect for authority, etc.) that are negatively absent from the contemporary status quo of a society. As an adjective, the word reactionary describes points of view and policies meant to restore the status quo ante.

Political reactionaries are at the right-wing of a political spectrum; yet, reactionary ideologies can be radical, in the sense of political extremism, in service to re-establishing the status quo ante. In political discourse, being considered a reactionary is generally regarded as negative; yet the descriptor "political reactionary" has been adopted by the likes of the Austrian monarchist Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, the Scottish journalist Gerald Warner of Craigenmaddie, the Colombian political theologist Nicolás Gómez Dávila, and the American historian John Lukacs.