Archive for November, 2013

Monkey Business

A protracted to-and-fro on Twitter with Michael Anissimov has exposed some deliciously ragged and bleeding faultlines in the Neoreaction on the question of capitalism. There were a number of parties involved, but I’m focusing on Anissimov because his position and mine are so strongly polarized on key issues, and especially this one (the status of market-oriented economism). If we were isolated as a dyad, it’s not easy to see anybody finding a strong common root (pity @klintron). It’s only the linkages of ‘family resemblance’ through Moldbug that binds us together, and we each depart from Unqualified Reservations with comparable infidelity, but in exactly opposite directions. (As a fragmentationist, this fissional syndrome is something I strongly appreciate.)

Moldbug’s Neocameralism is a Janus-faced construction. In one direction, it represents a return to monarchical government, whilst in the other it consummates libertarianism by subsuming government into an economic mechanism. A ‘Moldbuggian’ inspiration, therefore, is not an unambiguous thing. Insofar as ‘Neoreaction’ designates this inspiration, it flees Cathedral teleology in (at least) two very different directions — which quite quickly seem profoundly incompatible. In the absence of a secessionist meta-context, in which such differences can be absorbed as geographically-fragmented socio-political variation, their raw inconsistency is almost certainly insurmountable.

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November 24, 2013admin 55 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce , Neoreaction , Political economy
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Quote notes (#45)

Klint Finley at Tech Crunch suspects something is going on:

Incidentally, Thiel’s Founders Fund is one of the investors in Srinivasan’s company Counsyl. The co-founder of Yarvin’s startup Tlon was one of the first recipients of the Thiel Fellowship. Anissimov was the media director of the Thiel-backed Machine Intelligence Institute (formerly known as the Singularity Institute). It’s enough to make a conspiracy theorist’s head spin, but I’m not actually suggesting that there’s a conspiracy here. I don’t think Peter Thiel is part of some neoreactionary master plot — I don’t even necessarily think he’s a neoreactionary. But you can see that a certain set of ideas are spreading through out the startup scene. Neoreactionary ideas overlap heavily with pickup artistry, seasteading and scientific racism (more on that later), and this larger “caveman cult” has an impact on tech culture, from work environments to the social atmosphere at conferences.

[You might know Yarvin by another name]

No one’s exactly saying it’s a fiendish plot …

ADDED: Scharlach is following developments (here, and here). More from Amos & Gromar, and Anarchopapist.

November 23, 2013admin 75 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction
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Quote notes (#44)

Jim:

Anti colonialism is imperialist, and imperialism was anti colonialist:

Consider the path that Alassane Ouattara took to power: Educated in the US, career in Washington, raised to high position in the IMF. In due course jointly holds high position in the IMF plus high position in the Ivory government, despite the fact that he seldom visits the Ivory coast, briefly flying in from Washington from time to time, Election rigged in his favor in the Ivory Coast by UN troops, large numbers of native thugs imported from neighboring country. Population replacement and ethnic cleansing of the native population. Alassane Quattara then flies in from Washington to take power, despite the fact that he had not bothered to show up to his high Ivorian government job for six years. Clearly, the power that installed him over the Ivory Coast was located in Washington, not the Ivory Coast. Imperialism is still going strong today, and it still spouts anti colonialist rhetoric. Similarly Aristide and Mugabe, installed from without against the wishes of the locals.

[… ]

The British empire was not conquered by imperialists, but by eighteenth century merchant adventurers, who mixed honest trade, piracy, conquest, and state formation. The nineteenth century imperialists took it over from the colonialists, and immediately the empire went into decline. In the nineteenth century, Colonialists right wing, Imperialists left wing and anti colonialist.

Today’s anti colonialism is still imperialist, as illustrated by population replacement in the Ivory Coast.

(Jim has worked on this crucial distinction before.)

November 22, 2013admin 9 Comments »
FILED UNDER :World
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Nuked

Jonathan H. Adler at The Volokh Conspiracy writes:

Despite allowing the confirmation of judges for other courts, and one D.C. Circuit nominee, Republicans have continued to block Obama’s latest D.C. Circuit nominees. Now that Senate Republicans have … successfully filibustered five Obama nominees — the same number as Senate Democrats blocked with a filibuster (but half those for which cloture was initially defeated) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to change the rules. According to several news reports, Senator Reid is prepared to invoke the so-called “nuclear option” and force through President Obama’s nominees on a party-line vote, perhaps as early as today. What this involves is making a parliamentary ruling that only a majority vote is required to end debate on a judicial nomination and then sustaining that decision with a majority vote. Some Senate Republicans threatened to take such a step during the Bush Administration, but backed off when a group of Senators from both parties forged a temporary deal to end the stand-off and avert the rule change.

The ‘nuclear option’ represents the clear admission that the division of powers is not only dead but spectacularly cremated, with judicial appointees formally reduced to partisan functionaries. It would thus signal the explicit demolition of the US Constitution. Since a wheezing travesty is worse than a corpse, even strong supporters of the constitutional principle should have few problems with this specific instance of incendiary termination.

America’s crisis of governance is hurtling to a conclusion far sooner than most sober commentators had imagined. As with so many other institutional questions posed in the hysterical phase of Left Singularity, there’s only one realistic response: Let it burn.

ADDED: It’s about jobs.

ADDED: “Democrats nuked the ratchet” (roughly my argument, but on MDMA).

November 21, 2013admin 19 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy
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Twitter Mind Virus

[Replicated without mutation from @Outsideness]

The simplest twitter mind virus simply says “retweet me”. No one expects epidemic virulence from that (or even from “retweet me please”).

What the twitter mind virus ‘wants’ is propagation of the replication strategy. Communication extraneous to that is a supplementary payload.

Expect twitter mind virus to begin training its users — were that not to happen, basic Darwinian assumptions would be called into question.

Twitterverse population should be increasingly dominated by twitter mind virus adapted to controlling users to spread more mind virus.

“Retweet me” (or “Click Retweet”) is the twitter mind virus core command, variously coded, for efficiency rather than user intelligibility.

November 20, 2013admin 25 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Contagion
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Assassination Markets

Just in case there could be any doubt about it, the primary point of this post is to insist that this is a really bad idea. It’s certainly ingenious, and highly topical, but considered solely from a perspective of sub-reptilian amorality, it’s still a really bad idea.

For one thing, it’s massively asymmetric, in the wrong way. Assassinate a McKinley, and it pushes things hard to the left. Assassinate a Kennedy, and it pushes things hard to the left. Assassinate pretty much anybody of any public significance, and the result is the same. Leftists are simply better at fantasy counter-factuals and martyrology, so the assassination of a leftist produces an imaginary ultra-leftist of even greater ideological purity (whilst killing a conservative works, or even turns them into a post-mortuary leftist). We all know that if JFK hadn’t been murdered by Texan capitalism we’d be basking in a socialist utopia by now. (There’s a reason why assassination is the preferred tactic of left-wing anarchists and communists, beside the fact these people are demented criminals.)

The reciprocal is even more compelling. Anything that spares leftists from the consequences of participating in reality aids their cause. To consider only the most prominent potential target, Barack Obama alive and in power is the greatest single asset the Outer Right has ever known. Felled by an assassin, he would become the capstone of progressive mythology, and everything he’s aiming to achieve would have turned out absolutely perfectly. If there’s a black counter-assassination market, surreptitiously protecting key agents of the Cathedral from acts of violence, it would be infinitely more effective to invest in that.

November 20, 2013admin 18 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy
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Creative Logic

Bryce Laliberte tweeted a link to this bizarre Atlantic article by Richard Florida, which has me trawling down for the ‘idiots’ tag. It can’t be assumed that writers choose their own headlines, but it’s entitled The Paradox of Diverse Communities, and proceeds to ‘argue’:

Their simulations of more than 20 million virtual “neighborhoods” demonstrate a troubling paradox: that community and diversity may be fundamentally incompatible goals. As the authors explain, integration “provides opportunities for intergroup contact that are necessary to promote respect for diversity, but may prevent the formation of dense interpersonal networks that are necessary to promote sense of community.” […] These findings are sobering. Because homophily and proximity are so ingrained in the way humans interact, the models demonstrated that it was impossible to simultaneously foster diversity and cohesion “in all reasonably likely worlds.” In fact, the trends are so strong that no effective social policy could combat them, according to [Zachary] Neal. As he put it in a statement, “In essence, when it comes to neighborhood desegregation and social cohesion, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

What does it say about the state of the contemporary liberal mind that truism and paradox are no longer distinguishable concepts?

November 19, 2013admin 18 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Pass the popcorn
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Deeper Darkness

At the point where people have begun to talk about “a positive Black Death effect” do they realize how far they’ve descended into the shadows? The hard-core horror of Malthusian analysis always has some new depths to fathom.

The idea that European living standards rose following the ‘relief’ from Malthusian pressure gifted by bubonic plague is far from new. It is even something approaching an uncontroversial fact of economic history. To take an additional step, however, and attribute the rise of the West to its mid-14th century epidemic devastation, is to wander into unexplored tracts of icy misanthropy. Europe was lucky enough to have enough people die.

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November 18, 2013admin 16 Comments »
FILED UNDER :World
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Quote notes (#43)

As a discussion trigger, dedicated to VXXC  (while awaiting something more substantially off-planet):

… we can see that the kind of libertarianism inherent in Planetary Resources is a far cry from the libertarianism of those who wish to see Tennessee opt out of Obamacare. That’s the difference between the Heinleinians and the Calhounians. The Heinleinians are reading technical papers and spreadsheets, not the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.

Yet make no mistake—the Planetary Resourcers are fully revolutionary. None of them are interested in waiting around to see what the federal government is willing to do in space—although, in their pragmatism, they are willing to work with NASA. Still, it has surely has crossed the mind of these investors that there’s no EPA in space; indeed, space can be seen as one universe-sized enterprise zone.

The whole article is remarkably original and thought-provoking. (Outside in is sure to return to it when the trends and prospects of libertarianism stray back into the cross-hairs.)

November 17, 2013admin 14 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce , Cosmos
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Nemesis

Neoreaction, at its core, is a critical analysis of the Cathedral. It should surprise nobody, therefore, to see it hurtled into public consciousness, as the sole cultural agency able to name the self-evident configuration of contemporary sovereignty.

As the Cathedral becomes a self-confident public performance, its only remotely-articulate analyst is drawn into prominence, in its wake. In this regard, we haven’t seen anything yet.

Even had the Obama administration consciously decided to select the Cathedral as a branding device, it could not have been epitomized any more perfectly. Sacralized progressivism, ivory tower ‘brahminism’, academic-media fusion as the exclusive source of recognizable authority, and the absolute identification of governance with public relations have reached a zenith that tilts into self-parody. Soft fascist self-transcending hyper-Calvinism has been lucidly distilled into blitz-promoted political iconography. Everyone with a television set now knows that the Cathedral is in power, and merely await the terminological confirmation of their perceptions. Enthusiasts and dissidents are seeing more-or-less the same thing, characterized in approximately the same words. The only serious matter of controversy is the quantity of spiritual devotion such a regime, faith, and symbolic order reasonably commands.

Politics-as-religious-experience has been seen in America before. Arguably, it is even typical. What has not been seen since William Jennings Bryan at the dawn of the progressive movement, and never at all before then, is democracy pitched to such rapturous extremities of soteriological expectation — and Bryan was stopped. By identifying himself deliberately with a promise of comprehensive socio-spiritual redemption, Obama has more fully exemplified hubris than any leader in the history of the United States. The appropriate frame of political explanation, therefore, is tragic.

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November 15, 2013admin 42 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Cosmos , Pass the popcorn
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