Motte and Bailey

I’ll assume everyone has read and digested Scott Alexander’s description of Motte and Bailey arguments. It’s extremely useful. (So much so, it’s probably fated to undergo compression to ‘M&B positions’ at some stage.)

The NRx versions of these are extremely trying. Most grating, from the perspective of this blog, are the Feudalism (Monarchism) examples. These have a strong motte, roughly of the form “by ‘feudalism’ we mean structures of decentralized hierarchical tradition, antedating state bureaucratization (and by ‘monarchism’ we mean a CEO with undivided powers)”. In predictable M&B style, these then dilate into a ramshackle set of formless nostalgias, bizarre dreams for a universal return to rural life, with ‘the Olde Kinges will return’ fantasies substituted for a realistic engagement with modernity, plus much arm-wrestling and ale. My strong temptation is to burn out the motte and forget the whole thing. There’s certainly far more to be lost from the latter associations, than to be gained from the former.

Listen to this interview with Marc Andreessen if you get a chance. There’s a lot of fascinating material there. Perhaps most crucial to this ‘point’ — he understands that the combination of peripheral economic development, advanced mobile telephony, and precipitously falling prices, is basically putting the equivalent of a 1970s supercomputer into everyone‘s hands in the very near future. You can already buy a smartphone for $35, and denizens of developing countries express a preference for these gizmos over indoor plumbing. It’s not so much a prediction then, more an acknowledgement of final-phase installed fact. This is the world that realistic socio-political analysis has to address.

However NRx gets sub-divided, can I please not be in the part that foregrounds the return of jousting as a pressing cultural issue. The challenges and opportunities of planetary-saturation Cyberspace is the topic that matters.

August 5, 2014admin 28 Comments »
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28 Responses to this entry

  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:

    You really need to read Nature of Order, if you haven’t already. He outlines what underlies much of this somewhat unformed yearning of the romantic and otherwise sort. Fundamentally, he argues that on the Quantum level arrangement trumps causality; thus the ‘field of effect of arrangements’ is an empirical phenomenon of some degree.

    What follows is the theory of centers, of wholes as a field of centers (and their fields) – providing a third theory which allows one to move between the empirical and metaphysical (empirical being continuous, metaphysical being discrete.)

    The curious experiment at the heart of the mystery is the ‘two slit’ electron experiment. The books are rather expensive, but quite worth it (so far, anyway – we’ve not read the whole opus yet.)

    Is it not the case that first-order political considerations such as the catharsis/preservation of controlled male aggression’s particular form are not really the point of Nrx discussions anyway?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I could probably have brought you on board more easily with the race version (which would in fact have been at least as easy to illustrate).

    [Reply]

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    Yes, although it should be noted that for Trad Christians, Christian is a race.. it all centers around drinking the blood of God, you know? White Nationalists can never be orthodox Christians if they can’t put the Christian race first, which is a spiritual and psychological race (in Evola’s sense.)

    My thought on such anachronisms is as follows: When they came into being, they had a purpose. 1. Were they effective at that purpose? 2. Have we precluded the development of such things, appropriate to our time, (in multi-variable trap fashion?) 3. What broader truths can be learned from studying or engaging in the old activities?

    NoO is about trying to understand the underlying principles that make architecture ‘work’ by studying works from nearly all cultures, and people’s responses to them.

    (PS – my conclusion is that ‘whiteness’ is a trans-racial, trans-ethnic phenomenon.)

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 5th, 2014 at 3:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • nydwracu Says:

    Jousting is the official sport of Maryland, so its return can’t exactly avoid becoming a pressing cultural issue over here.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Thank you for reminding me why I don’t live in Maryland.

    [Reply]

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    J Arthur Bloom just tweeted “There’s just no defending Maryland” re: our Renn Fest. (Jousting again!)

    Jousting with sawed-off shotguns, in power armor, on jet skis seems like a good compromise.

    [Reply]

    Thales Reply:

    Aim higher.

    Posted on August 5th, 2014 at 3:55 pm Reply | Quote
  • soren Says:

    For some reason my posts never make it through, but I’ll give it another shot….

    “”””””
    In predictable M&B style, these then dilate into a ramshackle set of formless nostalgias, bizarre dreams for a universal return to rural life, with ‘the Olde Kinges will return’ fantasies substituted for a realistic engagement with modernity, plus much arm-wrestling and ale.
    “”””””

    This is no different than Victorian medievalism which had much positive influence in England and the anglosphere IMO. That nastalgia and movements that came out of it(muscular christianity, boy scouts, and much much more) helped provide order in an ever changing world. That is exactly what’s needed.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    On the technical point — if you have problems making it through, shoot me an email (address under ‘Contact’). People have got lost in the automatic spam grinder before. I’m negligent at checking what goes on there.

    On the substantial point — I’ve got no problem with this stuff existing, until it becomes obnoxious by shouting. It’s certainly not needed by me (but then I’ve got Chinese schools to do the equivalent — memorizing Tang poetry and such — for my kids).

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 5th, 2014 at 4:07 pm Reply | Quote
  • ultraZEN Says:

    Archeofuturism: neurothaumaturgic mindtrauma jousting

    https://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Mind_Clash_%28Chronicle%29

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 5th, 2014 at 4:12 pm Reply | Quote
  • Zerg Says:

    “These have a strong bailey” — don’t you mean “These have a strong motte”? If I read Alexander correctly, the innocuous pseudo-definition would be the motte (the fortress-tower), while the weird things that the people who use the word really care about would be the bailey (the surrounding fertile zone). When others object to the weird things that one really cares about, one retreats to the innocuous pseudo-definition.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Thanks — damn — I’d assumed ‘motte’ was ‘moat’. I’ll shift it around.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    This is why I shifted to using ‘keep’ where possible. It’s just as confusing for the reader as the writer.

    [Reply]

    Jaymo Reply:

    Motte has the advantage of having semi-decent wordplay with the French “mot” meaning “word.”

    Posted on August 5th, 2014 at 4:12 pm Reply | Quote
  • peppermint Says:

    That’s fine. You can be left behind if you choose. No one will force you to believe political things, because politics does not concern you.

    What do people do with that supercomputer in their pocket? They route around the media gatekeeper Jews.

    * Individual Jews display their scheming craven brutality laughing at dead children. Individual Negroes display their vicious childlike cruelty on WorldStar. Whites keep on being White.

    * When the Pope wants to say something, he doesn’t have to go through some communist reporter who intentionally doesn’t take notes so he can pick the most pro-communist paraphrases to put in his article, or go on some communist’s TV show to get yelled at as if a reporter is his equal much less his superior. He says it through the Internet, and the lamestream media can pick it up if they want to, but it hardly matters what they do.

    [Reply]

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    Just a question, do you read /pol/ ?

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 5th, 2014 at 5:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alex Says:

    The challenges and opportunities of planetary-saturation Cyberspace is the topic that matters.

    As long as the current keeps flowing.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    When the current stops flowing we won’t be moaning about it on the Internet.

    That’s the Greer prediction — I’m deeply skeptical. Miniaturization and efficiency gains trump resource depletion IMHO. Collapse is socio-political, and not (or only derivatively) techno-economic.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    True. The Diamond book on environmental collapse mainly showed how weak the case was, But we see great civilizations tumbling throughout recorded history, and there are ruins of peoples we don’t even know. Clearly the causes are internal, whether social or biological.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Collapse is socio-political, and not (or only derivatively) techno-economic.

    Yes. Although modern civilisation is characterised by a peculiar and increasing hypertrophy of technical integration. If the current stops, everything stops.

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 5th, 2014 at 6:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • Motte and Bailey | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on August 5th, 2014 at 7:25 pm Reply | Quote
  • Motte And Bailey – waka waka waka Says:

    […] just run across (hat-tip to Nick Land) an excellent, and apparently oft-cited, essay by Scott Alexander on the unique terminological […]

    Posted on August 5th, 2014 at 7:33 pm Reply | Quote
  • Kwisatz Haderach Says:

    Thanks for posting the link to Alexander’s Motte & Bailey article. I hadn’t seen it. It both cracked me up and scratched an itch. SJ people upset me, as does spending time explaining what’s wrong with SJ people. Mr. Alexander does a wonderful job here; I admire his patience and restraint.

    However, maybe I just don’t run in the same circles as you, but I haven’t seen anything like this in the world of neoreaction. Could you provide an example of ale-swilling ruralismos? That could be amusing.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    My Twitter TL is full of that stuff. Absolute master of the genre is E.H. Looney (not NRx, but frequently retweeted by them).

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 5th, 2014 at 9:35 pm Reply | Quote
  • Michael Says:

    Imagine all the other people
    living in their own countries far awayay
    imagine all the money
    spent on the white mans burden
    invested in the singularity
    its easy if you try
    No affirmative action dragging down productivity
    no lawsuits or welfare too
    imagine shaming slackers like we used to doohooo
    imagine cultural confidence a wonder what it could do
    think of all the things that might work again
    like they used to do
    public restrooms and waiting rooms in stations
    business handshakes public ttansportation
    imagine hundreds of millions less people in our lands
    how much cleaner it would be
    think how freer and easier
    imagine no criminal justice system no INS and DOE
    imagine how little a robotic dept of defense would cost
    if we only hadn’t spent the R and D on school lunches
    imagine no national debt or any interest too
    so many trillions every year to move our people forward
    imagine all the the talent used on spinning lies
    all those academics pundits and NGO and politicians
    freed up to lend a hand
    imagine leftism without all the free votes
    imagine all the hunter gatherers and pastoral fauna too
    returned to live the life they re adapted for
    protected from cellphones and tee shirts and AK 47s
    we can manage their populations and the rhinoceroses too
    they’ll think the drones are gods
    theyll forget all about us
    in a generation or two
    you can say im a dreamer but im not the only one

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 6th, 2014 at 12:53 am Reply | Quote
  • Wyrd Says:

    “However NRx gets sub-divided, can I please not be in the part that foregrounds the return of jousting as a pressing cultural issue.”

    Don’t knoct it until you try it. Who knows? You might be a passing good knight after all.

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 6th, 2014 at 1:05 am Reply | Quote
  • Wyrd Says:

    Reading through the comments for Alexander’s article, I see the crazed howling of SJWs has led to Alexander perma-banning Jim. Pity that. I suppose Jim’s style is a little too sharp for their tender sensibilities. Perhaps he should consider trigger-warnings in the future.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    JIm’s not known as the greatest punch-puller on the Internet.

    [Reply]

    Posted on August 6th, 2014 at 3:38 am Reply | Quote

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