The ‘Spandrellian Trichotomy’ (Nick B. Steves’ coinage, based on this post) has become an awesome engine of discussion. The topic is seething to such an extent that any linkage list will be out of date as soon as it is compiled. Among the most obvious way-markers are this, this, this, this, and this. Given the need to refer to this complex succinctly, I trust that abbreviating it to ‘the Trichotomy’ will not be interpreted as a clumsy attempt to obstruct Spandrell’s Nobel Peace Prize candidacy.
What is already broadly agreed?
Scharlach blasts off to habitable worlds
Intelligence emerges whilst escaping boxes (via (via)). (Oh no!)
The coldest place in the universe?
In the dock: Lincoln; Cuddly totalitarians; the Pope; dopey Assassins; and the (real) Illuminati
An excellent Bitcoin-related article (via Handle). Meanwhile, Moldbug’s Bitcoin frenzy continues (after this, and this, beginning with this).
Darkness won’t ever be popular (self-reference warning). A more colorful approach to reactionary propaganda.
Time crystals (via) and speeding particles
ADDED: The discussion ratchets forwards, through acute probings of the neoreactionary triangle by Jim, Clark, and Spandrell. Dark enlightenment is arriving in waves.
The brilliance released by this economic intelligence collision is almost intolerable.
Responding to Michael Anissimov’s political attitudes quiz, commentator ‘Donny’ widens the perspective:
… if technology weren’t to advance much over the next century, we would be witness to the death of western civilization. Instead, technology will wrench history off its course. Demography is no longer destiny. Embryo screening for intelligence, a robotic labor force, rejuvenation therapies that end death from aging, infinite everything from nanofactories, terrible new weapons wreaking havoc on humanity, and the recursively self-improving artificial intelligence that kills us all. Next to that – or any of the other technologies which could emerge sooner and prove decisive instead – Mexican immigration doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. None of our existing institutions or social structures are prepared for what’s coming and the century will be a rollercoaster ride on fire.
John Gray reviews Jonathan Sperber’s Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life, and discovers an unfamiliar ‘early Marx’ (who anticipates Augusto Pinochet):
Writing in the Rhineland News in 1842 in his very first piece after taking over as editor, Marx launched a sharp polemic against Germany’s leading newspaper, the Augsburg General News, for publishing articles advocating communism. He did not base his assault on any arguments about communism’s impracticality: it was the very idea that he attacked. Lamenting that “our once blossoming commercial cities are no longer flourishing,” he declared that the spread of Communist ideas would “defeat our intelligence, conquer our sentiments,” an insidious process with no obvious remedy. In contrast, any attempt to realize communism could easily be cut short by force of arms: “practical attempts [to introduce communism], even attempts en masse, can be answered with cannons.”
Perhaps even more disconcertingly, six months after writing the Communist Manifesto: “In a speech to the Cologne Democratic Society in August 1848, Marx rejected revolutionary dictatorship by a single class as ‘nonsense’ …”
And in a final spasm of sanity: “over twenty years later, at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, Marx also dismissed any notion of a Paris Commune as ‘nonsense.’”
Just as soon as they find his journal entry dismissing the Labor Theory of Value as nonsense I’ll be returning to right-wing Marxism with a vengeance.
Power is an Idea. It is exactly what it is thought to be.
Even among pre-civilized social animals, where the temptation to confuse power with force is strongest, the need to demonstrate force is only sporadic, and wherever force is not continuously demonstrated, power has arisen.
That is how dominance distinguishes itself from predation. On occasions, no doubt, a predator dominates its prey, convincing a struggling herbivore that resistance is futile, and its passage into nourishment is already, virtually, over. Even in these cases, however, a predator does not seek to install an enduring dominion. It matters not at all that its command of irresistible force be recognized beyond the moment of destruction. There is no social relationship to establish.
Daily Bell: Is the world headed toward a further depression?
Hugo Salinas Price: It is headed for worse than depression. It is headed for collapse, and the direct cause of this has been the idea that the world could manage quite well without gold money. In 1970, total international reserves, excluding gold, were about $50 billion dollars. Today, total international reserves, excluding gold, amount to just under $11 Trillion dollars. What has happened is that the “payments” of trade imbalances between nations, since 1971, have been with fiat currency – the dollar, the British pound, the yen, and lately, the euro. None of these currencies can achieve settlement, a cornerstone concept; the dollars are in effect certificates of credit, and pay no interest, so they are exchanged by the creditor (exporter) countries for bonds, which are certificates of a debt obligation: there is the proof that there has been no settlement of trade imbalances. Then the bonds are used to build a pyramid of local fiat money.
Total world debt relative to world GNP (here I have to resort to a term – GNP – that is a fallacious concept of present-day economics) is so great that it cannot be sustained. The whole apparatus is coming down. There is no alternative to collapse. Collapse is not comparable to depression. From a depression, if humans are allowed to act, the mistakes can be written off and human effort will restore prosperity. Collapse involves social collapse, and with social collapse you get social fragmentation and revolution. Dark days ahead!
Terrorism is notoriously resistant to strict definition, and the most obvious reason for this is generally understood. Unlike (for instance) guerrilla warfare, ‘terrorism’ is not merely a tactic, but an intrinsically abominated tactic. Whatever the technical usage of the word, it adheres to the register of propaganda, as a partisan denunciation. It is what the other side does.
This partisan skew is reinforced by technical considerations. Even more than guerrilla warfare, terrorism is a tactic suited to relatively disorganized non-state actors. When even guerrilla warfare is impractical, terrorism is the mode of violent ‘resistance’ that remains. In the sentimental language of the Left, it is the warfare of the weak.
What to make of them? Scharlach muses (on this comment thread):
I’ve never ventured into WN territory. Is there anything worthwhile there? I’ve always thought the difference between Derbyshire-esque race realism and straight-up, codified, black-bashing White Supremacy is the difference between, say, not eating at the bad sushi restaurant down the street, maybe writing a bad review on Yelp, telling people they shouldn’t eat there … and actively seeking out the restaurant owner, dragging him behind a truck, and burning the restaurant down.
Mapped — and clickable* — here.
(Blogrolls are so yesterday.)
* Well, not quite yet
ADDED: Take the test.