NRx and Liberalism

In much of the neoreactionary camp, ‘liberalism’ is the end-point of discussion. Its argumentative function is exactly that of ‘racism’ for the left. The only question, as far as this stance is concerned, is whether the term can be made to stick. Once the scarlet letter of micro-cultural ostracism is attached, there’s nothing further to discuss. This is unlikely to change, except at the margin.

The obvious preliminary to this topic is, if not quite ‘American English’, something like it. ‘Liberalism’ in the American tongue has arrived in a strange space, unique to that continent. It is notable, and uncontroversial, for instance that the notion of a ‘right-wing liberal’ is considered a straight oxymoron by American speakers, where in Europe — and especially mainland Europe — it is closer to a pleonasm. Since we still, to a very considerable extent, inhabit an American world, the expanded term ‘classical liberal’ is now required to convey the traditional sense. A Briton, of capitalistic inclinations, is likely to favor ‘Manchester Liberal’ for its historical associations with the explicit ideology of industrial revolution. In any case, the discussion has been unquestionably complicated.

Political language tends to become dialectical, in the most depraved (Hegelian) sense of this term. It lurches wildly into its opposite, as it is switched like a contested flag between conflicting parties. Stable political significances apply only to whatever the left (the ‘opposition’, or ‘resistance’) hasn’t touched yet. Another consideration, then, for those disposed to a naive faith in ideological signs as heraldic markers. (It is one that threatens to divert this post into excessive digression, and is thus to be left — in Wikipedia language — as a ‘stub’.)

The proposal of this blog is to situate ‘liberal’ at the intersection of three terms, each essential to any recoverable, culturally tenacious meaning. It is irreducibly modern, English, and counter-political. ‘Ancient liberties’ are at least imaginable, but an ancient liberalism is not. Foreign liberalisms can be wished the best of luck, because they will most certainly need it (an exception for the Dutch, alone, is plausible here). Political liberalism is from the beginning a practical paradox, although perhaps in certain rare cases one worth pursuing.

Burke is, without serious room for doubt, a liberal in this sense. He is even its epitomy.

The positive content of this liberalism is the non-state culture of (early) English modernism, as represented (with some modicum of ethnic irony) by the thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment, by the tradition of spontaneous order in its Anglophone lineage, by the conception of commercial society as relief from politics, and by (‘Darwinian’) naturalistic approaches that position distributed, competitive dynamism as an ultimate explanatory and genetic principle. This is the cultural foundation that made English the common tongue of global modernity (as has been widely noted). In political economy, its supreme principle is catallaxy (and only very conditionally, monarchy).

It is from this cultural matrix that Peter Thiel speaks, when he says (notoriously):

I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.

Democracy is criticized from the perspective of (the old) liberalism. The insight is perfectly (if no doubt incompletely) Hoppean. It is a break that prepared many (the author of this blog included) for Moldbug, and structured his reception. It also set limits. Democracy is denounced, fundamentally, for its betrayal of Anglo-Modernist liberty. Hoppe’s formulation cannot be improved upon:

Democracy has nothing to do with freedom. Democracy is a soft variant of communism, and rarely in the history of ideas has it been taken for anything else.

Moldbug’s explicit comments on this point are remarkably consistent, but not without ambiguity. He writes (I contend, typically):

The truth about “libertarianism” is that, in general, although sovereignty is sovereignty, the sovereign whether man, woman or committee is above the law by definition, and there is no formula or science of government, libertarian policies tend to be good ones. Nor did we need Hayek to tell us this. It was known to my namesake, over two millennia ago. […] Wu wei – for this is its true name – is a public policy for a virtuous prince, not a gigantic committee. The virtuous prince should practice wu wei, and will; that is his nature. Men will flock to his kingdom and prosper there. The evil prince will commit atrocities; that is his nature. Men will flee his kingdom, and should do so ASAP before he gets the minefields in.

Is this flocking and fleeing to be conceptually subordinated to the analysis of sovereignty, or — in contrast (and in the way of Cnut the Great) — set above it, as the Mandate of Heaven above the Emperor, which is to say: as the enveloping context of external relations, grounded only in the Outside? Despite anticipated accusations of bad faith, this is a serious question, and one that cannot be plausibly considered simply exterior to Moldbug’s work and thought.

In any case, it is the lineage of English Liberty (and beyond it, Wu wei, or the Mandate of Heaven) that commands our loyalty here. Insofar as Moldbug contributes to that, he is an ally, otherwise a foe, the brilliance and immense stimulation of his corpus notwithstanding. NRx, as it now exists, similarly.

“… the State should not be managing the minds of its citizens” writes Moldbug. (That’s actually a little more moralistic — in an admirably liberal direction — than I’m altogether comfortable with.)

March 23, 2016admin 71 Comments »
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71 Responses to this entry

  • NRx and Liberalism | Neoreactive Says:

    […] NRx and Liberalism […]

    Posted on March 23rd, 2016 at 4:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    In any case, it is the lineage of English Liberty (and beyond it, Wu wei, or the Mandate of Heaven) that commands our loyalty here.

    English liberty was guaranteed by two things: (1) a legacy of good rule by aristocrats, and (2) the genetics of the population.

    However, it collapses under two other things: (1) class warfare, as is inevitable as societies become wealthier, and (2) the need to respond to both external threats and internal game-changers like technology.

    When is anarchy not anarchy? When it is rule from within a population, by its best leaders, as in aristocracy.

    The headless society does not last. Culture and genetics can go only so far. The effects of leftism show us this.

    I use a simple formula: after the French Revolution, Rightists who accepted the basis of Leftism — individualism — came to adopt “invisible hand” formulas.

    Many of us believe in the old concept of liberty, which is that those who do what is not harmful should not be interfered with, as was the case under the healthy years of aristocracy.

    I also tend toward strict capitalism because nothing else works, but also realize the limits of capitalism. “Systems” do not work. People do; when good people are in charge, a nation prospers.

    In this sense, English liberalism is compatible with my vision, but like many things, requires balancing by other forces or it becomes a cause in itself and swallows up everything else.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    My problem with this — maybe one problem — is that ‘aristocracy’ is far less discriminating than the specifically Anglo-Modernist terms employed here. Everyone had an aristocracy (even the Russians). Few of them communicate useful lessons to the inheritors of NW European commercial republics, IMHO.

    Also: The ‘invisible hand’ is a translation of providence into, first, celestial mechanics (Newton), and then social theory (The Scottish Enlightenment). It’s the hand of God.
    (a) Isn’t it the transcendental criterion you’re asking for? And
    (b) I don’t think the French ever consolidated the notion (as Védrine acknowledges).

    [Reply]

    Brett Stevens Reply:

    is that ‘aristocracy’ is far less discriminating than the specifically Anglo-Modernist terms employed here

    It makes sense, I think, to take the term at its historical root: rule by the best, which in English terms meant a cascade of aristocrats from monarch to local lords.

    Modernist terms, by definition, are corrupted and incorporate Leftist thought. At least, I thought Fred made that point quite well in “On Truth and Lies in a Postmodern Sense.”

    And while it is true that there have been many aristocracies, there have also been other factors that influenced those. Past the Magna Carta, the aristocracy was infiltrated by mercantile interests, so was a fusion much like liberalism is a post-Leftist Rightism.

    Few of them communicate useful lessons to the inheritors of NW European commercial republics, IMHO.

    That’s an interesting question. Does technology change the game? Or in other words: is $currentyear a valid argument in this case? Certainly people are more informed. Whether they understand it or not is a Bell Curve question…

    The ‘invisible hand’ is a translation of providence into, first, celestial mechanics (Newton), and then social theory (The Scottish Enlightenment). It’s the hand of God.

    Religious theory aside, the reason I support capitalism over the alternatives is this: lowest degree of human mediation between cause and effect.

    However, that alone does not address all of the needs of a society. Leadership in particular is essential.

    And we must consider the other Enlightenment ideas that go hand-in-hand with this. Democracy is an invisible hand system as well. Democracy, commerce and social popularity are all forms of demotism.

    I prefer the somewhat archaic (now) post-modern distinction between bottom-up and top-down ordering. Bottom-up clearly has its place, as it is the order of nature, but animals which must choose their future like humans need top-down order as well.

    Finally I would add that the concept of God as egalitarian had firmly become entrenched in Christianity at that point, but before it, the hierarchical order of nature was more well understood.

    I would say this division typifies the Enlightenment. Shelly/Keats vs. Blake/Wordsworth.

    The point that liberty advocates are attempting, in my analysis, is that social inclusion should not be used as a motivating force for ideological ends. Realistic ends are a different question.

    [Reply]

    woods Reply:

    “Certainly people are more informed.”

    Abundance of information, let alone understanding, seems to be met with rational ignorance, keeping the Bell Curve in place (altough one would wish for the mean to go up)

    Posted on March 23rd, 2016 at 5:08 pm Reply | Quote
  • John devereux Says:

    It’s amazing how reading a few thousand words of Moldbug and shitposts can turn liberalism from seeming legitimate to an infectious disease

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 23rd, 2016 at 5:16 pm Reply | Quote
  • Mariani Says:

    My understanding is that Peter Thiel’s dislike for democracy is characteristically libertarian, not [classical] liberal. Such an opinion about democracy is what separates the two, or so I’m told

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    The terminology — as is necessarily the way of these things — is profoundly unsettled. There’s a substantial constituency arguing for the strict equivalence of ‘classical liberalism’ and ‘libertarianism’ — but this is, of course, controversial (and will remain so).

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 23rd, 2016 at 5:49 pm Reply | Quote
  • Nick B. Steves Says:

    That the state should not manage the minds of its population is a vastly different proposition from the state shall not do so.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    As soon as you’re saying what the state ‘should’ do, you’re occupying an implicitly liberal critical position. Saying that does nothing to subdue the irreducible complexity of the topic, whatever the ardent desire for simplification. The opposition you set up can itself be interpreted in a number of different ways. Is ‘shall not’ merely legalistic, or is it cosmo-theological? The latter, clearly, is much stronger (and, I would argue, far more interesting (but then we’re back to Cnut the Great)).

    [Reply]

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    “Should not” is a theory about outcomes: the sovereign should prudentially, ordinarily refrain from doing X because of likely outcomes A, B, and/or C.

    “Shall not” is a theory about legitimacy. Deontological and universalist. Of course, it may be some Future Iron Law which has yet to become manifest, but that puts it back in the empirical theory category. “The Sovereign cannot outlaw the Moon. (Yet.)”

    I think classical libertarian effects are what everybody wants broadly. But Moldbug’s key insight was that these are outcomes you cannot get by putting liberty (in the abstract) first on the agenda. If you pursue order, liberty will tend to flow, at least to those who deserve it. But if you pursue liberty first, even if only for those who can afford it, you’ll end up with chaos, and in the end a whole lot less liberty.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    What, though, of the “flocking and fleeing”? There’s a peculiar option in the analytical viewpoint here (almost a wave-particle duality). Do we look at everything through the model of domestic order, or the selective process through which the Mandate of Heaven is implemented? The former tends to the prioritization of the NeoCam model, the latter to Patchwork dynamics. Neither is clearly absurd (despite zealous assertions to the contrary).

    Moldbug models the state on the corporation. It ‘should’ (if efficiently organized) have untrammeled internal executive discretion, and it also exists within a system of external relations that subordinates it to an external and impersonal criterion (competition, the Mandate of Heaven, “flocking and fleeing”, the tides of Cnut). From the domestic perspective, the imperative of order predominates. From the contextual perspective, “flocking and fleeing” are guided by an unsubordinated criterion of liberty, selecting effectively in the direction of Wu wei. A single, unquestionably authoritative supremacy of the domestic optic over the other is not rigorously attainable. Hence the continuing (and potentially productive) wrangle.

    Brett Stevens Reply:

    But Moldbug’s key insight was that these are outcomes you cannot get by putting liberty (in the abstract) first on the agenda. If you pursue order, liberty will tend to flow, at least to those who deserve it.

    I concur here. Liberty cannot exist without order; order cannot exist without aristocracy, nationalism and a transcendental goal.

    grey enlightenment Reply:

    From what I can glean, Moldbug seems to be advocating a joint-stock republic with well-defined property rights but much of everything else remains the same. Moldbug has always struck me more of a technocrat than a traditionalist or nationalist.

    http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com.tr/2007/07/democracy-as-adaptive-fiction.html#3304748398891063160

    Here in a 2007 comment he rejects minarchism

    Minarchy or libertarianism says: taxation is theft, your rent should be zero. Effectively, it says that government, which is the oldest and greatest form of capital, should not generate profits. Jesus called – he wants his economics back.

    This essentially leaves a huge pile of money sitting on the table for someone to steal. And indeed, anyone who can grab control of the democratic process will steal it.

    In a formalist, propertarian design, the closest way to duplicate this is to allocate dividend-paying shares proportionally to all taxpayers. So you pay your Laffer-maximizing taxes but you get a rebate. The net result is still zero profit, at least, zero external profit.

    But I don’t see how this could work. Too many people would sell their credits, creating inflation.In 2013, state and local governments collected $1.5 trillion in taxes. If equivalent credits were sold it would cause the money supply to swell and depress the value of the state-company.

    Mr. Archenemy Reply:

    Bret,

    order cannot exist without aristocracy, nationalism and a transcendental goal.

    Nationalism is a pretty recent ideological phenomenon, isn’t it? Order, aristocracy, and presumably even transcendental goals all predate it significantly.

    Ahote Reply:

    >But if you pursue liberty first, even if only for those who can afford it, you’ll end up with chaos, and in the end a whole lot less liberty.

    It’s exactly what Hoppean theory suggests, the most [classicaly] liberal state will become the richest, and subsequently the most powerful and tyrannical (this is the development that happened to Britain and US both).

    Brett Stevens Reply:

    Moldbug models the state on the corporation.

    So… he’s into Mussolini? 😉

    [Reply]

    Chris B Reply:

    @greyenlightenment “From what I can glean, Moldbug seems to be advocating a joint-stock republic with well-defined property rights but much of everything else remains the same. Moldbug has always struck me more of a technocrat than a traditionalist or nationalist.” Because you have poor reading skills.

    [Reply]

    Chris B Reply:

    @Brett stevens “Moldbug models the state on the corporation.

    So… he’s into Mussolini? ?”
    I”m seeing his usage of De Jouvenel as leading to something which last had echos in Italian fascism, but which goes much further.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 23rd, 2016 at 5:49 pm Reply | Quote
  • slumlord Says:

    That’s actually a little more moralistic — in an admirably liberal direction — than I’m altogether comfortable with.

    But the problem, well recognised by Christianity, is that the mob is primed to have someone else do the thinking for them. Classical Liberalism understood man as autonomous, Christianity saw that he was minimally autonomous and very easily led. Creating a state where the state is neutral on the subject of morals, may maximise the freedom of philosophers but it also provides a space for demagoguery. Our current conceptions of human anthropology are wrong. Most men are not men, they are sheep instead.

    [Reply]

    SVErshov Reply:

    such traditional societies exist in tribal belt of uttar pradesh and many other places in india. self governed and perfectly functional. elected governor function as observer and milk cow. no functional police force or judiciary. imo it is only kind of societies with adequate resilience to counter up coming barbarism.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 23rd, 2016 at 8:25 pm Reply | Quote
  • grey enlightenment Says:

    Democracy is criticized from the perspective of (the old) liberalism.

    so in other word, welfare liberalism vs. classical liberalism

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 23rd, 2016 at 8:25 pm Reply | Quote
  • ZK Says:

    “The positive content of this liberalism is the non-state culture of (early) English modernism, as represented (with some modicum of ethnic irony) by the thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment, by the tradition of spontaneous order in its Anglophone lineage, by the conception of commercial society as relief from politics, and by (‘Darwinian’) naturalistic approaches that position distributed, competitive dynamism as an ultimate explanatory and genetic principle. This is the cultural foundation that made English the common tongue of global modernity (as has been widely noted). In political economy, its supreme principle is catallaxy (and only very conditionally, monarchy).”

    As it is currently composed, the reactosphere is begging for more synthesis of this position. Or maybe as a 2016-entrant to the NRX landscape I simply haven’t yet stumbled upon peripheral blogs that embrace it?

    And isn’t that strange considering 2 of the most powerful and widely agreed upon ideas within this nascent movement– the conceptualization of the Cathedral, degenerate properties of democracy– are best illuminated when juxtaposed with what Admin likes to call catallaxy?

    Both the Cathedral and democracy are second-order systems that have the effect of over-dampening (zeta>1) naturally occurring feedback loops. If an ideology is taking a position against these things, it ought to have a grounding in the system being dampened: the above-mentioned distributive competitive dynamism. The market, broadly conceived.

    The study of markets is not a new domain. There is a foundation of theoretical rigor and empirical evidence. Theory of Price, as Donald (now Dee) McClusky liked to call microeconomics, wouldn’t be the worst place to start for someone who wanted build out an underserved corner of reaction. Szabo goes there, but who else?

    We owe our abstract philosopher-kings for making NRX the most intellectually exciting development in the last 30 years of political philosophy, but someone needs to do the yeoman work of formalizing the microfoundations.

    [Reply]

    SanguineEmpiricist Reply:

    go on

    [Reply]

    Chris B Reply:

    This is the arse backwards, blind application of liberalism economics which is symptomatic of Nrx. It is astonishing when you step back and survey it. Moldbug – it is all bunk, do away with the whole anglo theory, which obviously means analyse everything in accordance with trendy anglo economic theory and interpret it as rightly liberalism. This is the distributed conspiracy in minature. Look how it works.

    [Reply]

    SanguineEmpiricist Reply:

    nio, i’m getting an australian shepherd soon. should i get a blue merle or a brown one
    http://www.navrockaussies.com/keegan.html

    i’m trying to maximize for fluffy here. which color would be better as a ‘velcro ‘ dog.

    [Reply]

    SanguineEmpiricist Reply:

    that brown one is my dogs great grandpa

    Posted on March 23rd, 2016 at 10:46 pm Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    “In any case, it is the lineage of English Liberty (and beyond it, Wu wei, or the Mandate of Heaven) that commands our loyalty here.”

    Why one would think you were an Englishman in Shanghai!

    For you…and welcome home…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1c3YIbEt2wg

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    My home is the Oort Cloud (or at least, on my deathbed I’ll miss it more).

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 23rd, 2016 at 11:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    narrow escape from deluted and delusional francophone current and functional framework, enough for monograph in one post. I did not see that coming, have to admit.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 24th, 2016 at 1:49 am Reply | Quote
  • Chris B Says:

    Trying to read Moldbug without a conscious appreciation that it is basically De Jouvenelian at core is to miss what is going on. This is the same with Hoppe and his arguments. De Jouvenel is the hidden hand here. Liberalism (and the cathedral) is nothing more than the outward appearance of the high-low mechanism without a conscious actor at the centre that can act in a multi directional manner. Anyone in power trys to get off the ride, and it swiftly leaves them in the dust. All of the Scottish tradition etc is merely an articulation of the process in wildly positive terms (MacIntyre makes the very good point that it took an outside group being subject to the process to see it well – The scots, and of course being conversos… well.) Moldbug in advocating the central power be unopposed is trying to break the high-low mechanism. The further ramification is that this mechanism is the driver behind culture. Once Unopposed, then Wu Wei may reign, as no more high low, no breaking of enemies, no left and right. Absolute corporatism seems the closing thing in modernity.

    [Reply]

    Chris B Reply:

    “The new French government considered corporatism’s emphasis on group rights as inconsistent with the government’s promotion of individual rights. Subsequently corporatist systems and corporate privilege throughout Europe were abolished in response to the French Revolution.” translation – they were threats and the rights of the low were used to destroy them because the monarchs and the republic wanted more power. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporatism

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 24th, 2016 at 4:14 am Reply | Quote
  • The Autopsy | reactionaryfuture Says:

    […] applaud Land’s attempt to bring the Liberalism and Nrx question into the open, as it is something that is really […]

    Posted on March 24th, 2016 at 8:40 am Reply | Quote
  • Dotplot Says:

    they lived on an island

    will wartime emergency bureaucratic structures train in VR or scholarly journals during peacetime?

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 24th, 2016 at 9:45 am Reply | Quote
  • woods Says:

    “Is this flocking and fleeing to be conceptually…”

    If the state is a corporation, as per Moldbug, then is the world not a giant (free) marketplace and the flocking and fleeing of people yhe measure of success of sovereign corporations?
    Any value in viewing the question in capitalistic (free market) terms (or has this already been done?)

    Also, how does the growth of monopolies affect the Patchwork?
    While initially formed of lots of city states, is government a market that is apt for the growth of (natural) monopolies? (or will too much growth/success ultimately lead to splintering/secession?)

    [Reply]

    SVErshov Reply:

    hardest part to grasp here attributed to expectations, if we are planing such amazing project, it has to be success, no it is not. most certainly it is going to become deserted place. does it mean that our concept/implementation strategy fail – not!!! we was not planing/hoping for success in first place to begin with.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 24th, 2016 at 9:50 am Reply | Quote
  • TheDividualist Says:

    In my opinion, liberalism isn’t just about how to govern or what should the state do. I find that it is a core mistake of libertarians to think politics is just about the government, they are starting to realize now that mistake when they see that e.g. even when the government does not violate freedom of speech, SJWs can efficiently police / violate it. Liberalism is a general sentiment or attitude that you can see in many aspects of life, often far from government.

    It is hard to define, but it can be seen as a trust in the decision-making ability of average people: when in Anna Karenina landowner Levin tries to stop micromanaging his serfs and tries to turn them into a kind of business partners who work autonomously, he is being liberal. Letting women control their reproduction choices is liberal. And so on. On the other side, liberalism is the attitude to be offended when your choices are not fully free, when they are controlled, this makes one feel lower status (because control, unfreedom feels like domination and that makes one feel like a lesser being), and people who have an inferiority complex cannot bear that, this is why liberalism and a form of inferiority complex or a wounded self-esteem are linked.

    There is the aspect and that libertarians get right, that there must some kind of a line drawn between government and the private attitudes and sentiments if people, that it should be understood that “would be good” does not equal “the government should do”. But this attitude should not be called old liberalism or whatever: it should be called the essence of anti-democracy, the critique of democracy. Separating widespread opinion from government is precisely anti-democracy. Mixing them is precisely democracy. Every libertarian ever who thought “that should be done, but not the government should do it” was rejecting democracy in principle without knowing it: he was basically deciding he is not going to vote for something he would like to have. (What if monarchs follow their own sentiments? Sometimes do, but it is a different case, we can see how most CEOs tend to not base business decisions on what they like.)

    Thus the way I see it, liberalism is something sort of a personality type, and only democracy ties it to government.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 24th, 2016 at 12:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • TheDividualist Says:

    >The obvious preliminary to this topic is, if not quite ‘American English’, something like it. ‘Liberalism’ in the American tongue has arrived in a strange space, unique to that continent. It is notable, and uncontroversial, for instance that the notion of a ‘right-wing liberal’ is considered a straight oxymoron by American speakers, where in Europe — and especially mainland Europe — it is closer to a pleonasm.

    You have a too limited view here, seeing Europe as the Van Rompuy types. For the Franco-type hard-right it is an oxymoron just as much, although for different reasons, not an attachment to small government, but to the contrary, he sees the liberal as someone who wants a value-neutral government, e.g. one that does not prefer any religion, culture or way of living over the other, and rejects that. The Orthosphere, while written by Americans, is very similar in mindset to the harder-right in Europe, probably because Catholicism, and the similarity mostly comes from rejecting the idea of a value-neutral state.

    Note – this does not automatically mean big gov or giving up wu vei. If a country, its identity and culture and major religion is not value-neutral, and why would it be, then the most effortless thing for government to do is relaxing and swimming with it. I think this is what British anti-disestablishmentarianism means. Value neutrality is a form of government activism, because it is directed against a not value neutral society. A good example how the French Minister of Defense is present on the burial of dead soldiers but when the procedure gets to the church, he stays outside because he represents a laiciste state. This is not wu vei. He belongs there and probably wants to.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 24th, 2016 at 12:30 pm Reply | Quote
  • TheDividualist Says:

    … just don’t confuse wu wei or liberty with individualism. Look at my nickname 🙂

    Individualism is the myth that people somehow have one indivisible personality and will, and then it somehow follows that this singe vector like will ought to be respected and never repressed. Of course people have in reality multiple conflicting motives and wills, this is why we have such a thing as psychology or even philosophy, thinking of Plato’s appetite-emotion-reason etc. A human should not be seen as a linear agent pursing one goal but more like everybody having a little parliament in their heads where the “I want some cake” and “no damn it you should lose weight” factions are yelling at each other. Therefore the ideal environment for humans is one that tends to suppress our wrong kinds of wills and boost our goods kinds. Living in an environment that tends to suppress you appetite in Plato’ sense is good.

    The essence of liberty is not the liberation of this mythic “individual”, but the idea that people who exercise power should be just as bound, if not more, as everybody else. If I get Moldy right, his version is that they should be mostly bound by their own rational self-interest.

    Putting it differently, tyranny is where this little parliament – the human person – is repressed as a whole, because he is just used a mean to the tyrants ends and the tyrant does not care about his inner factions. “Licence”, the wrong kind of freedom is where the little parliament is set fully free. In that case the bad factions tend to win, because Darwin / Augustine. A good governance is where the bad factions in our heads hit walls, the good factions flourish. A good law is when we feel “part of me is uncomfortable with this, but it should be, say the other parts”.

    I totally see this as a father. Sometimes it is the “be cute, smile, and play nice and smart” factions winning my daughters inner parliament and sometimes “scream, kick and make a mess”. Of course I encourage the first ones and limit and repress the second ones. But there is no such a thing as what she, as some kind of an undivided person wants. It is just which faction wins temporarily.

    Everybody who understands incentives stopped believing in individuals, just did not fully realize it yet, maybe.

    [Reply]

    an inanimate aluminum tube Reply:

    essential post

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 24th, 2016 at 1:58 pm Reply | Quote
  • Froude Society Says:

    This is an admission of Whiggery, there may be a cloud of ink shot forth here that obscures that move, but the yellow letter “W” affixed upon thee can be easily discerned through the miasma Trying to frame this as Anglo vs. Continental is only partly correct, there is clearly an alternative to capitalism and modernity throughout the British historical narrative. You already confessed this in that previous post with the literature quote, this is a done deal, not much of an argument to be had any longer. Middling Reactionaries will come to your defence again, loudly proclaiming immaculate innocence, but the evidence is out;- Neoreaction is Whig revisionism of classical Reaction. This may not be rhetorically acceptable, that is fine, there will be disagreement, but to anyone who has read UR honestly, the Whig question is the primmest of questions, you do not see them as the historical enemy, but a legacy to be cultivated enthusiastically. Such a gap is unbridgeable, to deny the dichotomy at this point is foolish, yes, most bloggers lie somewhere between the two poles, but the energies of Hyperborea and Atlantis are pulling at us constantly.

    On a side note, I believe nearly all of Moldbug’s liberal posturing was to win converts and appear more accessible, his most serious reflections very much contradict any moderate outreach.

    [Reply]

    TheDividualist Reply:

    Question: to what extent could be Chesterton part of the alternative?

    [Reply]

    Ahote Reply:

    “Capitalism has an alternative!” said heroic king of poverty and famine stricken realm.

    [Reply]

    SVErshov Reply:

    capitalism is fine, just requre periodical, theorecical re-grounding.

    for example one can say “capitalism is the only system that works”

    whithout knowing about second part to this argument

    “… You just have to work hard and believe!”

    [Reply]

    Henk Reply:

    I believe nearly all of Moldbug’s liberal posturing was to win converts and appear more accessible

    Maybe you should also believe all of admin’s anglo-tribal posturing to be monkeysphere outreach to win converts and appear more accessible.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Informal poll: Is there anyone who visits this blog who has ever appreciated a Cichlimbar comment, or found anything in one, ever, except vacuous snark? Speak up if you have, because I’m going to read silence as informative.

    I’m probably going to start deleting Cichlimbar’s comments, even if they don’t strictly violate house rules, just because they bore and annoy me (I’m not running a charity for tedious jack-asses here). Treat this as an opportunity to make a case for the defense.

    [Reply]

    Ahote Reply:

    And here‘s Moldbug basically declaring himself an anarchist, so to speak:

    […]Likewise, it is not in the abstract a problem to move a bunch of Syrians to Belgium, because Syrians are human beings and human beings are easy to govern. It may not be the world’s best idea, but it is not an obvious disaster. However, with the present system of government, I’m a lot less enthusiastic. Belgians, and more generally today’s First World populations, basically need no government at all — and our governments have lived down to this challenge.

    That ought to put an end to the discussion (on what Moldbug meant) once and for all.

    I’m not saying that I agree with Moldbug, I’m merely pointing at the freshest information, information that came straight from Moldbug’s mouth, so to speak.

    [Reply]

    Dick Wagner Reply:

    Froude Society guy, were you wearing a powdered wig when you typed that?

    [Reply]

    Chris B Reply:

    @Ahote “That ought to put an end to the discussion (on what Moldbug meant) once and for all.” I don’t think that means what you think it means.

    [Reply]

    Ahote Reply:

    So, what does, pray tell, “basically need no government at all” mean?

    [Reply]

    Chris B Reply:

    @Ahote “So, what does, pray tell, “basically need no government at all” mean?” I don’t think you can understand a thing he is saying without putting it through a De Jouvenel filter. Surely he is saying the central power (government) is not needed to govern first world people, which is in line with his statements on Wu Wei. This is *not* “we need no government anarcho-cqp paradise now!” The goal is to free the middle to act accordingly. I wish he would come along and spell it out clearly for everyone. This is getting boring.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 24th, 2016 at 10:17 pm Reply | Quote
  • Dale Rooster Says:

    What a refreshing read. I’m happy to see that at least one neoreactionary out there still understands how important liberty is to maintain order. Really, how can you have one without the other? Actually, I fail to see a substantive difference between natural, spontaneous order and liberty.

    I suppose my only question is in regards to the “rule of law”….I think Moldbug might come up short here. Maybe not. I should go back and find where Moldbug discusses how sovereignty reconciles itself with the rule of law. The “rule of law” is scribbles on paper. Sovereignty is power. Wu wei, I would hope, makes up the difference if it were employed as public policy by the sovereign. A do-nothing dictator (DND) would be ideal, perhaps. Look at our glorious supreme leader! All hail the reincarnated King Charles II ! (Confused parliamentarian says, “What does he do? What are his climate change policies? What sort of social and economic progress is he working towards for the People?”…Reply: “Nah. He doesn’t do a damn thing but, you know, sits on his fat ass all day. Respects and protects our private property, I guess. That’s about it. We pay him for this service. Happily”….Parliamentarian: “Wow. I can’t even.”–storms back to his democratic realm.)

    [Reply]

    Ahote Reply:

    So, Ron Swanson for emperor?

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 25th, 2016 at 1:00 am Reply | Quote
  • Dotplot Says:

    doesn’t patchwork mean some new states? the UK and Japan exited modern history geologically, by His grace. of Switzerland, Chile, Spain, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and even Korea, only Chile and maybe Spain – but probably not Spain – could’ve done without their common dirigiste patron since mechanization

    if your patch is next to another patch as serious as your patch, domestic policy is not preeminent. your patch needs esprit de corps / numbers / industrial policy / macroeconomics / fine humans

    of course, yeah, property and argument

    [Reply]

    SVErshov Reply:

    just wait for 50 years and dont forget to post it here again

    [Reply]

    Dotplot Reply:

    to clarify, I think new states will form. many have, in my lifetime. I plead for more explication, as I don’t have much confidence of New Hampshire and Utah retaining their admirable philosophies of governance when their neighbors r not subordinates of the feds. maybe I need to read more European history

    [Reply]

    SVErshov Reply:

    I do not oppose it. my point is that if concept cannot be translated into practical political action immidiately it is useles. when basic conditions changing so fast any actionable idea will beatten up half dead in 2 years, if not 2 months.

    Posted on March 25th, 2016 at 10:53 am Reply | Quote
  • S.C. Hickman Says:

    THE SENATOR: This is an abyss into which it is better not to look.
    THE COUNT: My friend, we are not free not to look.
    – Joseph de Maistre, St Petersburg Dialogues

    For Moldbug Progressive Idealism and Liberalism in our time were one and the same thing:

    “My stance on the world should be pretty clear by now. I think the West’s replacement of Christianity with Idealism was a disaster. (In fact, since the roots of Idealism in Protestant Christianity are so clear – ideals such as Democracy and Equality simply reek of pure Jesus – it’s arguable that Idealism is simply a fanatical strain of nontheistic Christianity. But the idea of nontheistic Christianity is hard for people to swallow and it at least deserves its own post.)” see: http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/05/our-planet-is-infested-with-pseudo.html

    In another place he’ll say: “what I mean by “liberalism” is just good old cryptocalvinism”. see: http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/06/cryptocalvinism-slightly-tweaked.html

    So that the Progressive Idealist is a cryptocalvinist: “that, like Calvin and as a direct result of his intellectual heritage, cryptocalvinists are building the Kingdom of God on Earth, a political system that seeks to eradicate every form of unrighteousness; and that they prefer not to acknowledge this characterization of their mission and heritage.” The path of Max … etc. Utopianism, etc.

    As he’ll say: “Since I’ve changed the name, let me repeat the four ideals of cryptocalvinism: Equality (the universal brotherhood of man), Peace (the futility of violence), Social Justice (the fair distribution of goods), and Community (the leadership of benevolent public servants). … Cryptocalvinists that believe these ideals are universal, that they can be derived from science and logic, that no reasonable and well-intentioned person can dispute them, and that their practice if applied correctly will lead to an ideal society.”

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 25th, 2016 at 1:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • Chris B Says:

    @ahote ” “Capitalism has an alternative!” said heroic king of poverty and famine stricken realm”” Until people spell out what they mean by ‘Capitalism’ it should be acknowledged as meaningless. It does not reduce to a concept which is transferable. Person A claims it is an elemental process akin to evolution that is over and above everything, person B claims it is mere business which is obviously subservient to society, like, duh, man! while person B thinks it is X, person B thinks it is Y… ad nauseum. It is utter bullshit.

    [Reply]

    SVErshov Reply:

    “Capitalism has an alternative!” said heroic king of poverty and famine stricken realm”” 

    despite of having satirical impression, this statemet are not so far from the truth.
    Capitalism has an alternative! – barbarism. characterization of capitalism based on basty books not required to assume that.

    [Reply]

    Ahote Reply:

    If we take capitalism for a meaningless word, then why are even MOAR contested words neoliberal, liberalism and fascism not considered meaningless?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    He doesn’t really think it’s meaningless — he wants you to stop talking about it precisely because he knows what you mean by it.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    So any contested word is meaningless? Good luck with political discussion in that case.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 25th, 2016 at 1:24 pm Reply | Quote
  • Isaac Dian Says:

    This is a good post, and it helps clarify some of the big differences between groups that use the “nrx” label. I don’t dislike the Hestia Society guys on a personal level, but state enforced traditional Catholicism is not compatible with American/Anglo traditions (neither is weird Evola shit btw). Catholicism is opposed to our Protestant derived social norms and traditions, and those are key to preserving the success of the Anglosphere. Modern “capitalism” didn’t spring out of nowhere, it was consciously adopted by some societies and proved so successful that almost everyone has chosen to emulate it. There is a reason that everyone speaks English instead of French or German. There is a reason that Silicon Valley is in California instead of Île-de-France. I know that admin already agrees with me on this, but it really seems like an obvious point. Individualist, capitalist societies keep succeeding and other societies keep failing. This isn’t debatable anymore, and railing against it because you think it is sinful or destroys meaning is as silly as saying that little girls shouldn’t get cancer because it makes you sad.

    Over time the Social Matter clique has drifted further and further away from spontaneous order and markets and toward completely insane ideas that remind me of North Korea.

    This is an illustrative example

    http://www.socialmatter.net/2015/11/14/a-letter-to-france/

    I’m not really on anyone’s “side” since none of us have any real political power anyway, but I am definitely *not* on the side of anyone that can read something like that and think it makes good points. I’m a traditionalist, and since I’m American that means I’m an individualist.

    Kind of related: It is always slightly odd to see American whites bashing individualism and liberty one minute and then complaining about ethnomasochism in the next. They’re ethnonationalists that don’t even understand their own group’s history or ethos. Sad!

    [Reply]

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    That was the least Social Matter clique thing ever published at Social Matter.

    [Reply]

    Nathan Cook Reply:

    Bad illustrative example anyway: it was written the day after the attacks. Tempers running high and all that.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 26th, 2016 at 3:50 am Reply | Quote
  • an inanimate aluminum tube Says:

    There is also a reason that America and England’s dominance has led us to a wrecked world that is liable to have three Africas in it by 2100.

    There is also a reason that America’s tradition led the WASPs to basically self genocide by blending themselves out of existence but not before giving away their country to the worst people in the world, thus ensuring that every positive aspect of their culture would be forcibly expunged from society.

    Given how Anglo civilization worked out, need to learn from the past not simply emulate it. The Anglo tradition looks like a mixed bag. To put it charitably.

    As an American, I’m partially descended from WASPs who chose to self genocide and give away their country. Luckily the other portion is only misc European, not African. The next fools who go the Anglo route won’t be so lucky, and then it’s all over.

    Since I’m only an Anglo-remnant, not Anglo, I’m under no obligation to stick to the Anglo-cuck tradition even if I was bound by traditionalism. As a generic European descended person I’m free to incorporate insights from European countries who saw this fate coming and tried to stop it.

    [Reply]

    SVErshov Reply:

    in my PoW relations between tradition and concept determined by current conditions in which tradition functioning and tradition can be used as a decoding/asesment tool to determine validity of concept in those pirticular transient conditions.

    for example, some time ago in tradition of some oriental islandic tribes, that was a rule that if priest going to say somebody – it is your time to die. this person will to the beach close his eyes and die. but nowadays condition change and this tradition become history.

    in that sense does ot make sense to identify your self with any tradition in our fast changing world. problem is not in tradition itself, but in fact that world around which provide functionality for this tradition in gone.

    understanding tradition can help us to choose right connection interface. it will not going to work if some one will come to sinagoue and declare, – now it is time to become stupid. not understanding tradition resulted in this case in wrong connection interface.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 29th, 2016 at 10:18 am Reply | Quote
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