(The only illumination comes from the right.)
(The only illumination comes from the right.)
How much credit is to be given to honest dishonesty? Answers should be addressed to Rod Dreher, in response to a truly astonishing blog post that sums up where we are right now more frankly than anything I have seen.
Short summary: We have a duty to lie.
In Dreher’s own words:
Given the history of the 20th century, I flat-out don’t trust our species to handle the knowledge of human biodiversity without turning it into an ideology of dehumanization, racism, and at worst, genocide. Put another way, I am hostile to this kind of thing not because I believe it’s probably false, but because I believe a lot of it is probably true — and we have shown that we, by our natures, can’t handle this kind of truth. […] My point is simply that all of us believe that some facts are too dangerous to be known; they are like the Ring Of Power, in that the temptation to abuse them is too great for our natures to bear. […] Admittedly, this puts me in a tight spot. Am I saying that we should ignore reality? I suppose I am.
So there we have it — we have to ban acknowledgement of reality, because Hitler. This stuff is all going to fall apart so quickly (and nastily) that it will shock everyone.
Jim wonders whether AI is still progressing:
AI is a hard problem, and even if we had a healthy society, we might still be stuck. That buildings are not getting taller and that fabs are not getting cheaper and not making smaller and smaller devices is social decay. That we are stuck on AI is more that it is high hanging fruit.
Do we need a theory of consciousness to close the deal? (Alrenous has a long-standing commitment to this topic — see the comments.)
FWIW, Outside in is strongly emergentist on the question: doing AI and understanding AI might not be tightly — or even positively — related. (Catallaxy and AI are not finally distinguishable.) Of course, that makes the relevance of social decay even more critical.
Into the closing days of this Cambodian escape, I’m now in Kep, on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. It’s an interesting place (which I’ll say something about in the Cambodia scrap log). Note the link there? There haven’t been any of those for a while. The reason it has now become possible is the Kep Lodge guest computer, which leaves my tablet in the dust. Links, cursor control, copy-and-paste … ecstasy. So I have to try and seize the opportunity …
Starting meta, there are two media-reaction compilation resources which everyone needs to know about (and I’m sure just about everyone already does). Both are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up. Handle’s (here) might by updating sluggishly for a few weeks, because the Hausmeister is taking a well-earned break. It might fall upon Amos & Gromar (here) to track developments, which are getting steadily more encouraging.
The Angkor remains tend to overwhelm the experience of the country — probably as the pharonic remains of ancient Egypt do there. The better half raised some thought-provoking points about the situation. A regime based on god-king sovereignty, caste, and war — hardcore even by the wildest imaginings of contemporary reactionaries, therefore (and with no hint of ‘neo-’ in sight) — created a legacy that continues to support the country six centuries after the collapse of the Khmer kingdom. How does this affect calculations of social order, economics, and time? It certainly inclines the mind toward illiberal musings.
Cambodian money is a study in the contemporary world order. In Siem Reap, especially, the economy is fully dollarized. The local currency, the Riel, is worth USD0.00025, and we never came across a note worth more than 25 cents until leaving SR. Riels were used as change (compensating for the absence of US specie). Seignorage bitchez. Everyone says it doesn’t amount to much in aggregate, but the symbolism is certainly something.
In Kampot, we threw a chunk of the local economy into chaos trying to break a 10 dollar bill. The first group of street traders we approached had no idea whar it was (might as well have been some kind of arcane futures contract). It was only when we got into the center of town that ‘money’ and ‘small change’ became differentiable concepts?
Uploading images of (what are for us) psychotic despotic-militaristic glories — upon which Cambodia still floats after six centuries of cultural senescence — is impossible here due to bandwidth issues. So I’m falling back upon relative trivialities, of the kind Handle has so masterfully compiled in his Reaction Ruckus resource (which I can’t link to now, either).
It strikes me that the basic accusation against Neoreactionary thought, found in the increasingly mainstream channels Handle tracks, is that of moral nihilism. This is a non-trivial issue, or at least, it is not one that will soon cease to make noise. As a symptom, it opens onto seriously involving questions.
Nydwracu (twittering) describes the MSM’s recursive regurgitations of the previous week’s neoreaction creep-out as “the human centipede” — sheer genius.
ADDED: The Centipede.
The Dark Enlightenment needs to keep its message to the mainsream ‘right’ as simple as possible, because it is dealing with people who have let chronic dishonesty lay waste to their powers of organized cognition. The point I would most like to see addressed is this: “Over two centuries of historical experience strongly suggest that you only exist to facilitate the triumph of the Left, have you any response to that? (And if not, do you seriously expect to dominate the right pole of the political spectrum indefinitely, i.e. to prevent anything from deterioration leftwards ever happening?)
I’m not holding my breath.
Siem Reap (Cambodia) is a scruffily exotic town that never threatens to over-stretch the adjective bank. For anyone who has been out of the tropics for a while, it’s charming enough, and the locals are pleasant, dignified folk. Our hotel, with its hints of French colonial heritage and lush foliage is more than OK (as long as you don’t make the mistake of testing their catering capabilities). Siem Reap, however, is just a jump-off point.
The Angkor sites, in contrast, incinerate all available positive adjectives within seconds, threatening speechlessness. It’s absolutely necessary to assume a front-rank wonders-of-the-world baseline in what follows, with awe-struck mind-melt accepted as the default perceptual mode (in the absence of, and in addition to, any explicit qualification). There might be more stunning spectacles to be found on this earth, but that would require a serious argument.
Due to a mixture of out-in-the-stickitude, device deficiency, and technical incompetence I can’t even link to the Demos attack on ‘the dark enlightenment’ hosted by The Daily Telegraph (at the right edge of the UK MSM). I’ll be grateful for a link to this piece in the comments here (complacently confident there’ll be one).
Some not-quite-random remarks:
1. The article is dismally poor, even by the standards of these things. Neoreaction is something cooked up by Moldy and me, apparently, starting from “two blogs”. It’s also ‘neofascism’.
2. The comment thread isn’t remotely cooperating.
3. Demos has an interesting history.
4. As this nonsense gets bigger, it’s descending into sheer self-parody. Cathedral culture is a kind of chaos, which makes the strategic issues far more intriguing than the quality of this material might suggest.