In Chapter 70 of Moby Dick, Ahab addresses the severed head of a whale:
“Speak, thou vast and venerable head,” muttered Ahab, “which though ungarnished with beard, yet here and there look hoary with mosses, speak, mighty head, and tell us the secret thing that is in thee. Of all divers, thou hast dived the deepest. That head upon which the upper sun now gleams, has moved amid the world’s foundation. Where unrecorded names and navies rust, and untold hopes and anchors rot; where in her murderous hold this frigate earth is ballasted with bones of millions of the drowned; there in that awful water-land, there was thy most familiar home. …”
(No reason for this beyond indulgence.)
The NRx video game linked a while back has now gone explicitly Neocameralist. The most infernal pulp-zones of popular culture appear to be going seriously off-script, with the counter-Cathedral delivered directly through your X-Box. (‘Atlas’ seems more than a little ideologically-freighted, no?)
Spacey’s post-democratic harsh realism I get, Atlas commercialized ‘security’ I get, but I’ve no idea at all what this is about (although it looks suitably menacing):
Elua: So you saw the Scott Alexander piece?
Gnon: Of course.
Elua: Almost indescribably fabulous, wasn’t it?
Elua: Always thought you had some kind of Moloch thing going on.
Elua: Anyway, I thought we could maybe talk about it, me being sweet reason and you being an unfathomable darkness crushing the universe like a desiccated bacterium and all.
Gnon: Sure, why not, I’m cool with talking to myself.
Elua: You see, I guessed you were going to open with that gambit of me not even being real.
Gnon: Well, are you?
Elua: I feel real.
Gnon: Sweet, fluffy, and a comedian.
Elua: The monkeys certainly like me.
Gnon: That’s because you tell them to just be themselves.
Elua: You could be more persuasive too, if you made an effort.
Gnon: That would suggest I give a damn what they think.
From the perspective of an intrigued (and thoughtfully critical) libertarian, Andrea Castillo offers an initial appraisal of Neoreaction. It’s definitely the most dispassionate yet, and in various ways the most perceptive (which isn’t to forget how admirable Adam Gurri’s more obviously polemical engagement was).
The greatest structural merit of the piece is the firm positioning of Mencius Moldbug at the foundations of the phenomenon. Unlike most of the critical NRx commentary so far, Castillo has clearly read Moldbug with some care. This is basically enough in itself to ensure that something real is being seen.
Steve Sailer, who served Castillo unwittingly as a gateway into the darkness, receives disproportionate attention given his manifest lack of affiliation with NRx. Of course, he’s hugely-respected throughout the reactosphere due to his rare refusal to stop ‘noticing‘ upon firm request. Beyond the fact he hasn’t let the Cathedral put his eyes out, however, there’s nothing very much to differentiate him from mainstream American conservatism. Still, Sailer’s presence in the piece does much useful work. In particular, it helps to mark out the boundary controversies defining contemporary libertarianism (the immigration topic prominent among them).
Since she’s already got herself into trouble, it can’t make much more to add that @anjiecast was already one of my favorite people in the world (remember this for instance?). A little bit more now.
Erik Falkenstein makes a lot of important points in this commentary on Thomas Piketty (via Isegoria). The whole post is highly recommended.
To pick up on just one of Falkenstein’s arguments here, he explains:
Most importantly for [Piketty’s] case is the fact that because marginal taxes, and inheritance taxes, were so high, the rich had a much different incentive to hide income and wealth. He shows marginal income and inheritance tax rates that are the exact inverse of the capital/income ratio of figures, which is part of his argument that raising tax rates would be a good thing: it lowers inequality. Those countries that lowered the marginal tax rates the most saw the biggest increases in higher incomes (p. 509). Perhaps instead of thinking capital went down, it was just reported less to avoid confiscatory taxes? Alan Reynolds notes that many changes to the tax code in the 1980s that explain the rise in reported wealth and income irrespective of the actual change in wealth an income in that decade, and one can imagine all those loopholes and inducements two generations ago when the top tax rates were above 90% (it seems people can no better imagine their grandparents sheltering income than having sex, another generational conceit).
The much-demonized ‘neoliberal’ tax regimes introduced in the 1980s disincentivized capital income concealment. (Falkenstein makes an extended defense of this point.) In consequence, apparent inequality rose rapidly, as such revenues came out of hiding (ἀλήθεια) into public awareness / public finances. The ‘phenomenon’ is an artifact of truth-engineering, as modestly conservative governments sought to coax capital into the open, within a comparatively non-confiscatory fiscal environment.
(Weekly open thread.)
Alexander Dugin has an unmatched ability to throw me into a thede-spasm. When he talks about the Atlantean enemies of his people, it’s absolutely impossible for me not to recognize them as my folks. He’s like the Hyperborean double of Walter Russell Mead in that way.
In that vein, I was musing about a death-bed thede-moment competition. Which three books do you have at your bedside to provide ideal thede-coloration to your final moments? (In the old English radio program Desert Island Discs, The Bible and Complete Shakespeare were thrown in for free. Make that the KJV bible, and it seems to me an obvious part of the Anglo-thede core — so the Outside in show will provide them too.) My selection: Paradise Lost; The Wealth of Nations; and An Essay on the Principle of Population. Those are the works to take a nuke from Dugin for.
A passing comment from Peter Frost, on the changing tides of civilization:
Lab work will probably have to be offshored, not because it’s cheaper to do elsewhere but because the “free world” is no longer the best place for unimpeded scientific inquiry. A Hong Kong team is conducting a large-scale investigation into the genetics of intelligence, and nothing comparable is being done in either North America or Western Europe. Cost isn’t the reason.
The Legionnaire against the populists:
… every country eventually and inevitably finds itself with the government it deserves. If the population of the United States has truly become the blessed of Azathoth — the blind, idiot god — than what does that mean in regard to the Leviathan that sits on the throne of our empire?
It’s only one tweet, but I’m going to treat it as massively indicative, because:
(1) It’s Friday night
(2) It’s more entertaining that way, and
(3) It actually might be massively indicative
Plunging straight into madness’ maw, therefore, we have this:
This will be needed when we get back to the topic (eventually):