An Abstract Path to Freedom

At this thread (and in other places), commenter VXXC cites Durant’s Dark Counsel: “For freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies. Leave men free, and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically.” He then remarks: “That’s fine with me, I’ll go with Freedom.” Outside in concurs without reservation.

Take this dark counsel as the thesis that a practically-significant ideological dimension can be constructed, within which freedom and egalitarianism are related as strictly reciprocal variables. Taking this dimension for orientation, two abstract models of demographic redistribution can be examined, in order to identify what it is that neoreactionaries want.

The Caplan-Boudreaux Suicidal Libertarianism Model (SLM), touched upon here, and then sketched here, takes the following arithmetical form:

Suppose there are two countries with equal populations. The quality of policy ranges from 0-10, 10 being best. In country A, bliss points (people’s first choice for policy) are uniformly distributed from 2-6. In country B, bliss points are uniformly distributed from 4-8. […] When the countries are independent, country A gets a policy quality of 4 (the median of the uniform distribution from 2-6), and country B gets a policy quality of 6 (the median of the uniform distribution from 4-8). Average policy that people live under: 50%*4+50%*6=5. … suppose you open the borders, and everyone moves to country B (the richer country). The median of the whole distribution is 5. Result: The immigrants live under better policies, the natives live under worse policies. The average (5) remains unchanged.

A few preparatory tweaks help to smooth the proceedings. Firstly, convert Caplan’s “bliss points” to freedom coefficients (from ‘0’ or absolute egalitarianism, to ‘1’ or unconstrained liberty). A society in which freedom was maximized would not be wholly unequal (Gini coefficient 1.0), but it would be wholly indifferent to inequality as a problem. In other words, egalitarian concerns would have zero policy impact. It is in this sense, alone, that freedom is perfected.

Secondly (and automatically), the question-begging judgments of “better” and “worse” are displaced by the ideological reciprocals of freedom and equality – there is no need to compel acquiescence as to the objective merits of either. Indeed, there is every reason to encourage those unconvinced of the superior attractions of liberty to seek ideological satisfaction in an egalitarian realm, elsewhere. From the perspective of liberty, egalitarian exodus is an unambiguous – even supreme – good, analogous to political entropy dissipation.

It is further, tacitly presumed here that freedom coefficients correlate linearly with intelligence optimization, but this depends upon further argument, to be bracketed for now.

The extraordinary theoretical value of the SLM can now be demonstrated. Due to its radical egalitarianism it defines a pessimal limit for neoreaction, and thus – by strict inversion – describes the abstract program for a restoration of free society (the Neoreactionary Model of demographic redistribution, or NM). In order to chart this reversal, the simplest course is to presuppose the full accomplishment of the SLM in an arbitrary ‘geographical’ space, which it taken to be flexibly divisible, and populated by 320 million people, SLM-homogenized to a freedom coefficient of 0.5.

Confining ourselves to the tools already employed in the establishment of the climax SLM (whilst – for the sake of lucid presentation — ignoring any degenerative ratchet asymmetries), let us now proceed on the path of reversal. The SLM conservation law holds that average freedom is preserved, so an initial schism produces two equal populations – equivalent to those of Caplan’s starting point – each numbering 160 million, but now differentiated on the dark counsel dimension, with freedom coefficients of 0.6 and 0.4.

Pursue this fissional procedure of territorial / population division and ideological differentiation recursively, focusing exclusively upon the comparatively free segment each time. The 160 million 0.6s become 80 million 0.7s, and an equal number of 0.5s. After five iterations, the final neoreactionary-secessionist de-homogenized distribution is reached:

160 million x 0.4
80 million x 0.5
40 million x 0.6
20 million x 0.7
10 million x 0.8, and – incarnating the meaning of world history, or at least absorbing neoreactionary exaltation —
10 million x 1.0

Roughly 3% of the original population now live in a truly free society. For Caplan and other SLM-proponents, of course, nothing at all has been gained.

Yet, assume instead of SLM utilitarian universalism, on profoundly inegalitarian grounds, that the aggregate quantity of freedom was considered of vastly lower importance than the exemplary quality of freedom, then the neoreactionary achievement is stark. Where freedom nowhere existed, now it does, at an essentially irrelevant cost of moderate socialist deterioration elsewhere. Half of the original population – 160 million souls – have now been released to enjoy a ‘fairer’ society than they knew before. Why not congratulate them on the fact, without being distracted unduly by the starvation and re-education camps? It can be confidently presumed that they would have voted for the regime that now takes care of them. Their internal political arrangements need no longer concern us.

For Neoreaction (the NM), it is not a question of whether people (in general) are free, but only whether freedom (somewhere) exists. The highest attainment of freedom within the system, rather than the averaged level of freedom throughout the system, is its overwhelming priority. By reversing the process of demographic redistribution envisaged by the SLM, its ends are achieved.

The zero-sum utilitarian conclusions of this comparison would be unsettled by a more concrete elaboration of the NM, in which the effects of exemplarity, competition,  the positive externalities of techno-economic performance, and other influences of freedom were included. At the present level of abstraction — set by Caplan’s own (SL) model — such positive spin-offs might seem no more than sentimental concessions to common feeling. It is the ruthless core of the Neoreactionary Model that has, initially, to assert itself. Better the greatest possible freedom, even for a few, than a lesser freedom for all. Quality matters most.

The quasi-Rawlesian objection — fully implicit within the SLM — might run: “And what if the free society, as ‘probability’ dictates, is not yours?” — our rejoinder: “It would require a despicable egotist not to delight in it, even at a distance, as a beacon of aspiration, and an idiot or scoundrel not to set out on the same path, in whichever way they were able.”

Disintegrate destiny.

July 16, 2013admin 35 Comments »
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35 Responses to this entry

  • Arred Says:

    Still have yet to see a neoreactionary who acknowledges that the inequality which follows freedom is only secondarily a product of innate ability. In fact, most of them seem to be operating out of resentment that their own innate abilities haven’t quite served them to the extent they think they deserve. Funny how similar they are to affirmative action recipients in terms of motivations.

    The central delusion of the entire movement is that everyone thinks freedom will put them on top come the revolution. Brother, if you’re not on top now, you’re never gonna be.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “Still have yet to see a neoreactionary who acknowledges that the inequality which follows freedom is only secondarily a product of innate ability.” — Probably because there’s no evidence to support this claim (except subjective feelings of resentment), and bundles supporting the opposite.

    Ad hominum hominem is never an impressive mode of argument, and it’s usually tedious psychological projection.

    (The Left should embrace NM, it’s the best route they’ll ever get to socialist utopia — it even filters out all the capitalist running-dogs for them. If they push for the same dynamic of secessionist ideological differentiation on the left side of the freedom coefficient curve, they can take it all the way to the egalitarian absolute.)

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    Check your Latin sir.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Thanks

    Arred Reply:

    Nick —

    Actually, it was ad hominem. That commenter has left me a spate of comments incensed at my extended family for betraying “honest, hard-working Americans”…shortly before coming out categorically in favor of freedom and the reformative social consequences it entails over here. Something there seems awry, and I think it’s illustrative.

    Obviously I am not a socialist, but I hesitate to preemptively proclaim support for any social order the market produces. Feudalism proceeds very naturally from complex civilization. it hardly selected for the best and brightest last time, and I don’t expect it to this go around. The reaction should consider NML and ask Argentina if all inequality produced by free competition counts as a triumph of ability vs inferiority. Obviously, I don’t think it necessarily does.

    The reaction seems unified by a common interest in what the social order will look like once the distribution of status and power reaches new levels of naked inequity in response to the now global hierarchy. I take Charles Murray’s point seriously that the nascent feudal order already exists, and that it revolves around access to specific institutions. My point: the “we” (I.e. the upper class) that so many people keep referring to is shrinking, and there is a good chance their children will not be a part of it. In the new order, roman values resurrected by rigid status hierarchy, the strong will do as they will and the weak will suffer as they must. Taken from the perspective of the majority, whose hatred of the Cathedral suggests they are not currently aligned with the institutions of America’s ruling class, and whose descendants will thus not be in a position of strength — we are obliged to acknowledge that inequality is natural — but are we obliged to support it?

    [Reply]

    Saddam Hussein's Whirling Aluminium Tubes Reply:

    Well said.

    t seems to me that reactionaries sometimes seem to forget that laissez-faire economics is a product of the Enlightenment. As such, the “Dark Enlightenment” should incorporate an examination and critique of the universal power of free markets to bring progress to humanity.

    I guess it depends what you want though. If you want lords and peasants, you’ll have them, but there is a good chance that many of your grand children will be playing the peasant role.

    If you want a strong middle class or yeomanry, the market may not provide it. This may be more of a transitional stage that will not naturally last for long. There may be however be advantages to state intervention to prolong this phase.

    Arred Wade Reply:

    Saddam — I’ve never thought about that before, that is an outstanding point.

    I have no hard stance on any of this stuff, I approach it all as a gadfly. I enjoy Nick Land’s writing immensely, partially because I sense an innate oppositional defiance that I identify with heavily. In this case, I advocate free market economics but I have reservations over the fact that the market reforms all complex societies — in many ways, forcing them to play by its rules. Relevant to the discussion, this means that it will reform the status hierarchy in a way that does indeed eliminate the non-aristocratic intellectual class that I suspect most of us are members of (per Xenosys’s mind-bogglingly brilliant post about the obsolescence of science.)

    Relevant to the original comment, it means that if, as civilization becomes more complex, participation in the labor market becomes progressively mandatory, then human freedom and market freedom become mutually exclusive. No more yeomanry — you join up and accept your place with the proles in the surveillance state.

    spandrell Reply:

    we are obliged to acknowledge that inequality is natural — but are we obliged to support it?

    I’m no friend of the plutocrats. But you can’t fight nature. Equality doesn’t work. Willing a strong middle class is not going to make it happen.

    Saddam Hussein's Whirling Aluminium Tubes Reply:

    “I’m no friend of the plutocrats. But you can’t fight nature. Equality doesn’t work. Willing a strong middle class is not going to make it happen.”

    Generally speaking, equality doesn’t work. But that does not necessarily mean that it is optimal to maximize inequality across the board, ie: tear down all barriers to concentration of wealth in the hands of the mobile bandits / plutocrats who are currently in the process of terribly misusing that wealth.

    You may not be able to will a strong middle class into existence, but some societies have had a strong middle class arise and in some societies that middle class is surviving a whole lot better than in others. Maybe they’re on to something, maybe not.

    But reaction is supposed to be about “what works” and it’s not currently clear that concentration of all wealth in the hands of the plutocrats “works” better than societies where a significant percentage of the people are middle class. More research is needed.

    Luckily (or not) it looks like we’ll be able to get some first hand experimental evidence about how the concentration of wealth option looks in practice.

    Orlandu84 Reply:

    @Arred
    “The central delusion of the entire movement is that everyone thinks freedom will put them on top come the revolution. Brother, if you’re not on top now, you’re never gonna be.”

    Although I cede that many in the neoreaction would prefer to be higher up the food chain, I do not see how you arrive at your claim that none in the neoreaction will ever move up the social ladder. Social movement has always had as much to do with talent as it does with luck.

    I do acknowledge, however, that many in the neoreaction would love to see some sort of Zombie apocalypse give them the opportunity (or freedom) to establish their own personal fiefdoms. So, what? Human beings have always desired “more” of something. Many in contemporary culture want a life and culture that accords to human nature more closely. The real question of cultured life is to what “more” they dedicate their lives.

    [Reply]

    Arred Wade Reply:

    I take a long view. To me, the reaction began with a long-term analysis of what democracy was always going to devolve into, and I’m interested in where the post-liberal abandonment of equality will inevitably leave us. The reaction identifies that social mobility will inevitably go the way of the buffalo, and wants it to get a move on. What I’m asking is — what makes everyone so sure that our descendants will be in the slim upper class — particularly when the contemporary predecessor of the future ruling class has been so artfully described by Moldbug and SWPL.com, and we should all know whether we’re a part of it or not?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Without wanting to nag, I truly think you’re overestimating the role of narrow egoism in all this. Do you really think everybody involved in this discussion is so entirely blinkered by their own narrow concerns that even momentary attention to the abstract dynamics of the system escapes them? Even Marxists sometimes manage to get beyond “what’s in it for me?” Surely we can.
    Philosophy is the imperative to step outside squalid monkey greed. I think people here are capable of it.

    Arred Wade Reply:

    Nick —

    It’s not that I don’t think others are capable of objectivity — it’s that I can’t fathom what the true motivation for defending market-driven social reform is, other than enlightened self-interest. There’s certainly no moral argument in favor of allowing the market to eliminate equality of opportunity. The only other possibility I can imagine is a compulsion to organize society efficiently — or fatalism once it sinks in that it’s going to happen one way or the other. But still, why pour gas on the fire?

    Doug Reply:

    “The central delusion of the entire movement is that everyone thinks freedom will put them on top come the revolution. Brother, if you’re not on top now, you’re never gonna be.”

    Well, I’m already on top now. The appeal is that post-revolution being at the top will become a lot more sumptuous than it is now.

    I’d love the ability to never have to deal with a feral poor person again. Except in their capacity as well-managed slaves, topping off some freshly prepared lines of cocaine.

    [Reply]

    John Hannon Reply:

    Rich want the poor as slaves: poor want the rich as lunch.

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 16th, 2013 at 2:56 pm Reply | Quote
  • dan Says:

    Except that equality can never prevail in reality. You can only kill freedom more and more in pursuit of the impossible goal of equality. See the extremes of Communism.

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 16th, 2013 at 4:48 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    You’ve actually increased freedom throughout the system, assuming that your divisions aren’t wholly arbitrary but have some connection to preference (it doesn’t have to be a perfect connection). Since one component of freedom is living in the sort of society that one prefers, your sort increases average freedom. The effect is enhanced if there is some degree of voluntary movement between your tranches that corresponds at least partly with preferences with respect to mixes between freedom and equality.

    Because we assume that more freedom often leads to greater prosperity, the problem with allowing movement between your tranches is that you give people a motive to move that is not related to their preference for freedom, which is the Suicidal Libertarianism problem. Eliminating movement entirely probably isn’t optimal, since some movement maximizes freedom. The optimal solution is probably significant barriers to entry in the free tranches, but where the barriers are the sort that can be overcome with sufficient capital and hard work and initiative (not lotteries). Assuming that the desire for more prosperity is not negatively correlated with a greater personal preference for freedom, the result should be that migrants will be more freedom-loving than not.

    If your proposal actually increases freedom, does it also actually decrease equality. Probably, if greater heights achieved in one tranche affects the feeling of equality experienced by those in other tranches. Nonetheless, it seems to me that equality should be disproportionately affected by the people in one’s own society, one’s own tranche (assuming that tranches are geographically and politically separated, allowing for different status hierarchies and reducing social exposure between tranches), so its possible that this proposal could actually increase equality at the same time that it increases freedom. This effect would be enhanced if equality-seekers would actually emigrate to tranches of increased equality. In real life they don’t often. Why? This is a question we haven’t asked ourselves enough. To the extent the United States was a freedom-loving area that has been transformed into something less as its population has been transformed, the transformation is as much due to shifts between generations of the native stock as it is replacement of the native stock by outsiders. Theoretically, then, your thought experiment suggests in a free society the need to identify the barriers to exit by egalitarians and to lower those barriers.

    My guess is that finances are a major barrier to exit by egalitarians. Both because egalitarian societies are poorer, so movement requires a reduction in one’s accustomed standard of living, but also because egalitarian societies tend to be more suspicious of outsiders and the financial costs they bring. Financial incentives could help overcome those barriers.

    So your thought experience suggests a tentative immigration policy for a free country. Immigration is permitted on the basis of an expensive auction, e.g. Some of the proceeds are used to subsidize exit to countries that are willing to accept Americans as ctizens, that are relatively prosperous (reducing the necessary subsidy), and that are relatively egalitarian.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Yes, the whole point of the NM is to simply systematize non-arbitrary divisions (through near-exact inversion of Caplan’s SLM formulation). There might be all kinds of ethno-racial correlates of such divisions, but these are distractions (something like emergent phenomena). The sole essential factor is heightened ideological differentiation on the dark counsel axis, splitting a freedom coefficient into maximally-distinguished components ensures that secession serves an effective purpose, rather than merely repeating the same political haze in a larger multiplicity of resonant sub-societies. Haze, of course, if not exactly the purpose of the SLM, is at least its explicitly-tolerated entropic outcome.

    Your proposal for migration politics post-secession is useful. Any system that fostered further ideological differentiation through population swaps would be functionally positive. This strikes me as the basic insight of dynamic geography, where it work in multiple dimensions. The Moldbug Patchwork would no doubt be receptive to similar dynamics.

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 16th, 2013 at 8:11 pm Reply | Quote
  • John Hannon Says:

    Rather than delighting in the free society as a “beacon of aspiration” and wanting to “set out on the same path,” the unfree masses would probably just want to pillage and rob from it.
    Border policing would need to be eternally vigilant.

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    +1

    Or in other words, Envy>Greed

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Indeed. Free societies would be motivated to minimize positive political rights in order to defend themselves against their own children (during their immature leftist phase).

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 16th, 2013 at 9:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    “I guess it depends what you want though.” — What I want is technocommercial singularity and space colonization, but that doesn’t really matter, because the interim point of a free society is that it allows for the avoidance of any preliminary coordination of goals / desires. That’s why it’s a much stronger right-wing default option that a tightly-scripted reactionary wish list (those can be saved for a world in fragments, where a whole bunch of specific things can be tried out).

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 17th, 2013 at 5:06 am Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    @ Arred Wade
    “I can’t fathom what the true motivation for defending market-driven social reform is, other than enlightened self-interest.” – That goes against the grain of the history of market ideology, which has always been under-served by self-interest. Of course, the market as a catallactic automatism expresses an uncoordinated dance of self-interest, but as a deliberate stance — who has wanted it? That’s reflected in its rarity, In Hong Kong, it was inherited from a few unusually excellent governors, but in the old Anglo heartlands it has been gnawed away progressively by special interests, who always have private advantages outweighing the attractions of free competition. To promote competitive markets, as policy, is extremely — even untenably — selfless, because incumbent interests of all kinds would almost certainly be better served by some or other kind of targeted protection, The one unmistakable medium-term beneficiary of the market is the future, and that doesn’t have a vote.

    If, for instance, Peter Thiel was a far more selfishly motivated businessman, he’d drop the markets nonsense and go hunting for special favors for high-tech financial innovation — he’d clock up a lot more narrowly-accounted benefits that way. If he’d started out on the road, he’d be in and out of the White House and Congress every week, with the business perks to show for it. Even according to your own psychological theory, market advocacy is anchored in some kind of fantasy that one’s own undervalued virtues would be better rewarded in a freer environment. That’s weak, compared to the obvious benefits of pork hunting, in all its flavors.

    As to pro-market motivation, in the absence of evident special interests aligned to it, the most widespread is sheer attachment to social dynamism. The more open the market, the faster societies move, the more dazzling the productive innovation — which is empirically obvious to all travelers. If you find that attractive, your ideology is adjusted accordingly. If you don’t, likewise (in the opposite direction).

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 17th, 2013 at 10:33 am Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    This post has been on my mind.

    Granted its only a theoretical construct, and quite useful as one. But theoretical constructs are useful in two ways: for what they reveal conceptually, and also for crystallizing our understanding of the real world by seeing how reality diverges from the construct.

    In particular, your construct has helped me realize that the Cathedral/Inevitable March of Progress/the Left is not straightforwardly about equality. A man from Mars would not look at what the left elites actually do, what they actually try to do, and the actual repeated effects thereof, and say ‘oh, they’re trying to increase equality.’ If the Almighty decreed a patchwork of little states with no barriers to exit or entry and lots of prosperity in each one, we shouldn’t expect wholesale migration of the left elites to La Republique Communard. Because that is not what they want.

    Once we perceive that equality isn’t an actual goal for the left elites, but more of a myth, then we should start to be suspicious of the simple-minded concept that freedom and equality mechanically vary in inverse proportion.

    There is no free market without the freedom to fail. So in a really free market, the billionaire’s superior status is tentative. The ferocious creative destruction of the market continues and if he doesn’t keep answering the question ‘what have you done for me lately’ others will take his place at the top of the heap. He will probably still be quite comfortable, but its even possible that he will go bankrupt.

    I would argue that for whatever reason, human perception of status is tied to a perception of its permanence. So in a truly free market, at a fundamental level everyone has the same status. This is especially true where there is some realization that fortune’s wheel plays a role–success is not wholly about hard work and vision and drive and smarts. I don’t want to push this point too far, because it can’t be pushed too far. But I do assert that there are real ways in which a free market increases equality. It is monopoly, too big to fail, regulation and bureaucracy, rents, that entrench wealth and therefore confer status.

    Similarly, humans tend to treat the law not merely as a functional means to an end, but as authoritative pronouncements. So status conferred by law has a social heft that a free market cannot provide. Credentials, licenses, legal authority–these are all necessarily sources of inequality. But they are also the Left’s mother’s milk. Whereas in a truly free market all men are ontologically equal before the law.

    You know, it just now occurs to me . . . you know how leftists are more likely to refuse to date righties than vice versa? It may, literally, be a question of good breeding.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “… we should start to be suspicious of the simple-minded concept that freedom and equality mechanically vary in inverse proportion.” — Despite the understandable impression to the contrary, I actually strongly agree with this (and with the nebula of associated points you build around it). The correct formulation, I think, which was gently indicated in the post, is that — whilst egalitarianism and liberty are related, by strong mechanical reciprocity — egalitarianism and the realization of equality need not be remotely correlated, and might even themselves be at least loose reciprocals.

    A truly free society is, for all consequential purposes, entirely indifferent to equality. Does that necessarily produce an atypically inegalitarian outcome? The only reason to think so would stem from confidence in the altruistic sincerity and practical effectiveness of equality-branded policy-making. I have no confidence in either, at all. Is Hong Kong less equal than France? I don’t think so, not when all privileges are realistically accounted. (But then, if it is, I also don’t remotely care.)

    Of course, the irony of all this for the left is that Maoist China, realistically conceived, got closer to a Gini coefficient of 1.0 (with all national resources super-concentrated into a personality cult) than any capitalist society possibly could.

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 17th, 2013 at 2:17 pm Reply | Quote
  • Peter A. Taylor Says:

    David Friedman has a nice paper on the subject of the supposed trade-off between liberty and equality, “Many, Few, One: Social Harmony and the Shrunken Choice Set”. Unfortunately, it’s a $10 download from JSTOR. I can’t comment on it effectively without some graphics. No ASCII art today! My (brief) comments are here:

    http://home.earthlink.net/~peter.a.taylor/ccg-notes.htm#shrunken

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Typically clever, but also a diversion, because actual pro-liberty and pro-equality policy preferences are almost perfect reciprocals.

    [Reply]

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    I like to tease people on Facebook by saying we need complex numbers to talk about politics. There’s a real axis and an imaginary (kabuki?) axis. I usually say that the imaginary axis is Republican vs. Democratic and the real axis is insider vs. outsider.

    Here I want to say that freedom vs. equality is the kabuki axis and graft is the real axis. There’s definitely sharp conflict between freedom and equality on the kabuki axis. But how does this map onto the real (graft) axis?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    By ‘graft axis’ you mean “who’s getting what” rather than “graft is good / not so good”? (If the latter, I think it converges with the liberty axis quite strongly, since the freedom pole on that is against politicized redistribution for anybody — which is why it can’t survive in the GOP.)
    The libertarian claim that I not only like, but consider indispensable to clear thinking, is that politics is corruption, and nothing counts as an improvement unless politics is minimized. Doesn’t this claim force ‘real’ and ‘kabuki’ axes to intersect?

    Posted on July 18th, 2013 at 12:22 am Reply | Quote
  • Peter A. Taylor Says:

    @admin

    Instead of “graft”, I should have said “secure property rights are good vs. bad” or “rent seeking is negative-sum vs. zero-sum”.

    “Politics is corruption.”

    I would have worded it differently, but yes.

    I think what we’re arguing about is whether to judge people and their policy choices by their stated intentions or by their consequences. In terms of stated intentions, freedom and equality point in opposite directions, but in terms of consequences, this is unclear. Friedman is suggesting (plausibly, IMHO) that on the real axis, having secure property rights (less “politics”) is generally the better alternative for both freedom and equality. If this is true, the socialists have either got the control reversed or there is a disconnect between their stated vs. actual intentions.

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    “Politics is corruption.”

    Yet,

    “Man is a political animal”

    Ergo…

    “Man is a corrupt animal”

    We’re getting dangerous close to Calvin now.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I tend to like Calvinists. (Gary North is one, I think — his father-in-law certainly was.) They take the implicit metaphysics of Christianity seriously, which is attractive, and they’re not prone to absurd hallucinations in regard to ‘altruistic’ government. The [semi-secularized] presumption that people are despicable apes isn’t a bad Bayesian prior.

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 18th, 2013 at 1:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • fotrkd Says:

    The title of one of Nick’s papers is called “Making It With Death”, a brilliant title. Because death is inherently productive, it’s the motor, the mode of antiproduction which generates all production, the production of production. This is not simply Freud’s “Beyond the Pleasure Principle”, where life itself and all vital differences are unilateral deviations from intensive death. The claim is that you can have a moment of convergence with absolute intensity, or absolute deterritorialization. What is this, who would be the bearer, what vehicle would continue to exist to be the bearer of this thanatropic acceleration?

    Not the human species, certainly. The claim is that all terrestrial history is a history of intensification, of human social organisation and the developments of advanced technological capitalist society are just a moment or a phase in the process. The continuation or intensification of the process demands the elimination of humanity as a substrate for the process. (Ray Brassier, Accelerationism)

    And what if the free society, as ‘probability’ dictates, is not yours?” — our rejoinder: “It would require a despicable egotist not to delight in it, even at a distance, as a beacon of aspiration, and an idiot or scoundrel not to set out on the same path, in whichever way they were able.

    (No offence to Ray, but OK – how do we turn this thing around?) 🙂

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    (I should add (if it was too implicit), going at the appropriate pace is vital, lest we stray).

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 12th, 2013 at 12:03 am Reply | Quote
  • Um Caminho Abstrato para a Liberdade – Outlandish Says:

    […] Original. […]

    Posted on October 21st, 2016 at 11:43 pm Reply | Quote

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