Alexander on the Ratchet
It’s carefully hedged (and ultimately contested), but it’s well worth noting. He begins the relevant section of a recent post by revisiting the self-observation: “In the past two months I have inexplicably and very very suddenly become much more conservative.” (Pass-the-popcorn.)
The explanation I like least is that it comes from reading too much neoreaction. I originally rejected this hypothesis because I don’t believe most what I read. But I’m starting to worry that there are memes that, like Bohr’s horseshoe, affect you whether you believe them or not: memes that crystallize the wrong pattern, or close the wrong feedback loop. I have long suspected social justice contains some of these. Now I worry neoreaction contains others.
In particular I worry about the neoreactionary assumption that leftism always increases with time, and that today’s leftism confined to a few fringe idiots whom nobody really supports today becomes tomorrow’s mainstream left and the day after tomorrow’s “you will be fired if you disagree with them”. Without me ever really evaluating its truth-value it has wormed its way into my brain and started haunting my nightmares.
I’m usually reluctant to take Alexander seriously when he tells us what Neoreaction is, but in this case I think he gets it right.
He embeds this passage in an encompassing theory, aiming to frame the degenerative ratchet within a directionless random-walk of fashion (driven by something like abstract cellular automata). The theory is clever, but its historical fit is so poor I don’t expect it to last indefinitely. In the best case, during the few months it takes for this psychic-defense system to start falling apart and strewing parts along the doom-route of accelerating Left-Singularity, Alexander can dedicate his exceptional mind to collecting alternative cognitive defense-mechanisms and testing them to destruction. In this way he can contribute to clearing the desert at the end of our world.
ADDED: The voyage into darkness continues …