Panic!

Faux darkness discovers the Trichotomy. Hilarity ensues.

If anyone is heading over there to explain, please be polite, and try not to interrupt the moral purification ritual.

May 21, 2013admin 80 Comments »
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80 Responses to this entry

  • vimothy Says:

    Amusing. The preceding post (“Shuggoth’s Revenge”) seemed more substantial. It would be interesting to hear your response to that, if you are so inclined.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    Agreed! I was at the event when Brassier set out those arguments. I didn’t understand a fucking word at the time.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    My problem with all this stuff is that it installs leftism as an unquestionable axiom, and any hesitation to do likewise is met with spluttering indignation, or at best blank incomprehension, rather than the slightest hint of an argument. That makes productive engagement structurally impossible. (It’s just religious diversity.)

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    “ktismatics on May 20, 2013 at 1:47 pm said:

    Ray Brassier offers what’s termed in the blogs these days as a “generous reading” of Nick Land’s current thrust, namely that he’s fallen in with a bad crowd. Brassier knows the guy personally so he might be right. Occam’s Razor suggests a more direct interpretation: Land wants money and power and the happiness that comes with it, and let the devil take the hindmost.

    In one cross-post and one string of comments I tried to engage at the empirical level some of Land’s specific interpretations. It became clear that that’s not where he really wants to go. E.g., in the post immediately preceding the blog-as-chaos-patch, he reblogs something about quantitative easing, the supposed spending spree this policy has enabled, and the inevitable depression that will result. There are empirical criteria by which this assertion could be evaluated: the increased money supply hasn’t increased inflation or consumer demand, the Keynesian proposition isn’t being supported by policy because the increased money supply is going toward privatization rather than hiring, the US Treasury’s debt to the Fed is basically only a balance sheet transaction, etc. But in response to the first comment on the thread that makes a couple of these points, Land immediately goes all mystical:

    “If the Austrian-types are wrong about this — and of course, they could be, if reason counts for nothing in economic matters — then Keynes is deeply vindicated, and anyone with intellectual integrity is compelled to become a fascist. Whilst accepting the cosmic possibility of this, I would seek the ruinous comforts of madness (or terminal reality refusal) before bowing the knee to such universe, in which the lies of power are the ultimate foundation of all cooperative activity. (There are subterranean ironies to this speculated defiance, however, which are perhaps not entirely invisible. The option of an evasive madness would be refused, because the idea of anything other than madness would no longer be a tenable one. Maniac authorities would reign without fear of any rejoinder from reality — a ‘cosmos’ worthy of Lovecraft at his bleakest. As for ‘intellectual integrity’ under these circumstances, the raging shattered laughter of the ‘asylum’ begins …)”

    I mean this reads as if he is writing speculative futurist fiction rather than actually evaluating economic information.”

    Surely THIS will spur you into action? 🙂

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    You could start by suggesting they decouple you from Mark Fisher. That may aid understanding. And not equate the Cathedral and Capitalism (only to twig in the following post that was a mistake). On a personal level, if you wanted me to exercise a bit more self-control when posting you could have just linked to this article. To the extent commenters help shape the overall impression people get of a blog, I took the misrepresentation offered by ‘Shuggoth’s Revenge’ as undeniable proof that I must try harder.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    “You could start by suggesting they decouple you from Mark Fisher.” Nail.On.Head, Fotrkd. Surely they’ve read Fisher’s Capitalist Realism? It’s more Zizek/Althusser inspired. I think Land gets one mention regarding his cybernetic(invisible) hand.

    Posted on May 21st, 2013 at 9:23 am Reply | Quote
  • Mark Warburton Says:

    I’m kind of surprised it’s taken this long. This is the first emotive reaction to the neo-reaction I’ve come across. The one criticism that was (oh-so-faintly) touched upon which remains an issue for me is the being ‘politically incorrect and offensive’ for the sake of it attitude. As if such intensity of childish-mind-anarchy could infect and infilitrate the Cathedral mainframe. I guess this is a way of making it attractive to the young-autistic types? “The neo right is no longer establishment, it’s the online arm of subversion.”

    I also find the quality of the neoreactionary blogverse oscillating considerably. While I won’t name sites I deem poor, I do think that the neutral observer who lands on a said site will be given a poor first impression of Neoreaction.

    (Defensive mode) And before anyone counters with knocking my new blog, it was never intended to be anything special. Merely a vector to get my thought processes and writing skills back on track after a lengthy spell on the side-lines, being gym-bound, doing menial work and generally body-orientated.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “I also find the quality of the neoreactionary blogverse oscillating considerably.” — How could it be otherwise? (Pareto: “80% of everything is garbage.”)

    [Reply]

    nydwracu Reply:

    The second.

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 21st, 2013 at 9:28 am Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    Have you guys seen the (Left) Accelerationist Manifesto? It’s quite entertaining, from the Proletarian Front for the Radical Intensification of Exploitation, which is sure to prove massively popular.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    I have. It’s a bit silly. Your first two ‘quibbles’ from what I remember /thread on it for me, personally. Can’t find where you posted your response.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Here.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    Yes – point a). Hahaha. I don’t think the more orthodox Marxists are going to be impressed with that paper! Noys, Powers, all of them were out-and-out dismissive of accelerationism regardless of any leftist intentions a sympathetic re-reader may have. As I have mentioned before (in less satifying detail) Powers was squirming and convulsing at the very idea; Marxist terminology was being thrown around in a cyclone of hate!

    Posted on May 21st, 2013 at 10:06 am Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    I get linked occasionally from hard core Marxist forums. It’s hilarious too.

    “They call THEMSELVES reactionaries!“

    i.e. ‘that’s our word! how dare them!’

    Not too talk of the english college students dismayed at seeing how being a fan of Nick Land is no longer cool. ‘When did he become a racist?!’

    Do a search for ‘Nick Land’ in Tumblr or Twitter, it’s lots of fun. I wanna be famous too.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    … and then there’s all the “money and power”. What’s not to like?

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 21st, 2013 at 10:26 am Reply | Quote
  • radish Says:

    “The Neoreactionary movement is comic fanfest for the middling professional, an open joke that purports to offer ideological charms for the mystified net runners. … That’s right, folks, poetry… hmm, did I hear Plato rolling over in his grave? … the names tell it all”

    you know what

    i think it thinks it’s smart

    it is not

    PS i are a scary!

    [Reply]

    Scharlach Reply:

    Plato did have a place for poetry, or for rhetoric at the service of dialectic. The Phaedrus is an excellent defense of the necessity of poetry so long as it serves reality and doesn’t lead people to construct their own realities at the expense of truth.

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 21st, 2013 at 12:00 pm Reply | Quote
  • Little Hans Says:

    I’m noticing a lot of blog arguments boil down to: “We’re the cleverest people in the world so we should be appointed as x”

    For the leftists, it’s as moral arbiters. For the neo-reactionaries, it’s the political elite / new sovereigns.

    At least neo-reaction aims higher!

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 21st, 2013 at 12:21 pm Reply | Quote
  • James Goulding Says:

    Hypernihilist of the effete elite:

    I liked Scott Alexander’s piece, but it is mostly an articulate exposition of vanilla, toothless rightism, perhaps of a paleoconservative bent—except for the political absolutism, which is by far my least favourite Moldbuggian belief*. Alexander scarcely touched on what I consider to be the core memes of Reaction, i.e. Machiavellian analysis of liberal democracy, nor did he cover such meaty topics as academic corruption, the Austrian business cycle theory and America as vampire of the world.

    I’m disappointed that an intelligent outsider’s—and perhaps many self-styled Reactionaries’—perception of Reaction is this mediocre paleoconservatism. I shall rectify the problem.

    *And even then, Alexander doesn’t mention Moldbug’s really laudable motive to propound Neocameralism, which is that if public opinion did not strongly influence political power, it would be less necessary for rulers to elect a new people. He also elides Moldbug’s penchant for “formalism”, which positions Neocameralism as merely a structured recognition of the central state’s already overwhelming power.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    A far superior version of my own squirmously-unformed thoughts on the matter, as usual.

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    I shall rectify the problem.

    Reaction isn’t Moldbug. Reaction is HBD.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    That would surprise a lot of HBD proponents (scarcely any of whom consider themselves reactionaries).

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    Scarcely any of whom? Really?

    Razib calls himself a reactionary.
    Lynn sounds quite reactionary to me.

    I don’t know about Steve Hsu, but he doesn’t sound very supportive of the Cathedral lately.

    nydwracu Reply:

    That would also surprise me. HBD seems probable, but we need more data. I don’t want to ascribe any position to reaction as a whole, but a major part of Moldbug’s point is that the currently existing connection-structure between information and state makes it next to impossible to do a proper job of answering the question.

    Scharlach Reply:

    HBD is an essential plank in reaction because it vindicates a lot of traditionalist beliefs and gives the future-inclined a basic primer for tinkering with mankind (e.g., BGI). But one can accept HBD and still end up a Marxist like Robert Lindsay.

    [Reply]

    raptros_ Reply:

    yeah. HBD is an instance of a broader point, which is that people are not equal. this is important because it gets at a key realization of reaction – if you structure your society (or your government) on what amounts to bullshit, you’re going to wind up in serious trouble. there are, in fact, correct ways to do things, and you’re not going to find those ways if you’re working from how you’d like reality to be.

    spandrell Reply:

    You can be stupid and not see the consequences of things. That doesn’t mean that Marxism and HBD are compatible.

    Scharlach Reply:

    Spandrell, now that I think about it, you’re right that many HBD’ers possess reactionary sympathies. (HBD Chick told me point-blank that she’s an ethno-nationalist.) Many of them work in an academic environment, however, so they’re more careful about the tones they take and the words they use; Steven Pinker is the king of caution in this regard.

    I just noticed that Razib has “Reactionary” on his Twitter description. And Geoffrey Miller publicly gave a shout-out to the manosphere just this week. So, you’re right, many HBD’ers, while they may not fly their reactionary flag as prominently as we do, are clearly against the PC, academic wing of the Cathedral, so that in and of itself puts them in the reactionary camp.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    OK, maybe a tactical backwards shuffle is necessary. My initial skepticism was based on the fact that most of the more academic HBD types are Cathedral-normalized in other respects, and Sailer isn’t even a right-wing Republican. The shock of the Razib Khan point is the decider for me — I had him pegged as super-squish GoP.

    Posted on May 21st, 2013 at 1:10 pm Reply | Quote
  • Scharlach Says:

    Post-capitalism has no real meaning except an end to the engine of change

    Realizing that the Left is (ostensibly) fine with such an end is one of the things that led me away from Leftism. Destroying the engine of industrial change means reverting to the poverty and deprivation of pre-industrial tribal life. (Non-competition and non-capitalism can only mean non-industry.) The valorization of indigenous tribal living is the Left’s way of getting themselves excited about post-capitalist living, which can only ever be the same as pre-industrial living.

    Of course, the Left blames patriarchy, greed, distributed networks of production and a million other things for their continued failure at realizing post-capitalism that isn’t just national socialism. In reality, they fail because they don’t really want post-capitalism; they don’t really want to go back to pre-industrial living. They reap the benefits of capitalism every day—every time they talk on a cell phone, get on a plane, log onto the internet, drink a cold beer, eat a raspberry in winter. They really don’t want to dismantle any of it; they just want to talk about dismantling it (moving “beyond” it) to purge their bizarre sense of guilt.

    Of course, half-assed attempts to “move beyond” or even ameliorate capitalism, when they become policy, don’t actually move beyond capitalism. They simply get in the way of the proper functioning of capitalism, which makes things worse for everyone in the long run. (Bush proved the point most beautifully by trying to make everyone in America a homeowner only to set into motion the eventual collapse of the economy for half a decade.)

    [Reply]

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    Half?

    Only sorta joking. The bubble (malinvestment) that began to burst under Bush is not merely a problem of HBD meets Mortgage Finance, but is a (multi-?) generational bubble that began as early as 1987 under Greenspan. Once the US Treasury bubble pops, few will remember the “Housing Bubble”.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I hope you’re going to remember all this when the impending Neoreactionary Monetary Theory discussion erupts — sometime before you get to your micro-economic consensus post, if I’m reading the storm-clouds right. Taking down Handle’s formidable argument is going to require a multi-pronged attack, and carefully-honed dirty tactics.

    [Reply]

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    I’m still waiting for Handle to come and over and answer for his heresy.

    If you’re hoping for a full take down of Keynes-Fischer Macroeconomics (KFM) from me… you’ll be hoping a long time. I am trying to document the consensus, not prove that it is correct. I offer supporting evidence where I can, of which I am aware, but stronger minds than my own have in my opinion already done the heavy lifting, and I’ll try to point to them.

    Scharlach Reply:

    Touché, Nick B. I’d still argue that a failure to take HBD into consideration will lurk beneath any discussion of the failures of government policy, whether that policy be social or monetary.

    [Reply]

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    The housing bubble was a failure to take HBD into account, buried deep inside a failure to take microeconomics (e.g., financial sanity) into account. The outer problem is the much much bigger one and is no respecter of skin color.

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    In other words, failure to take HBD into account is a special of the general problem: Institutional Stupidity.

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    In other words, failure to take HBD into account is a special instance of the generalized problem: Institutional Stupidity.

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    oops. This isn’t a chaos post.

    Posted on May 21st, 2013 at 2:41 pm Reply | Quote
  • survivingbabel Says:

    Levity aside, I certainly hope none of you are expecting a warm reception from the general populace. At least not now. Too many people are way too invested in prevent collapse for another X years (X =expected lifespan). That kind of ego investment will not play well with us, nor we with it. Mock and disengage, or simply disengage, and wait for conditions to… ripen.

    [Reply]

    teon lrotsky Reply:

    you may not be interested in collapse, but collapse is interested in you.

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 21st, 2013 at 5:15 pm Reply | Quote
  • Scharlach Says:

    @ Nick B.

    Write up a post that can allow us to continue the conversation. And btw, by HBD I don’t just mean white/black/brown—I also mean things like time preference and IQ. In Southern California, prole whites were jumping into idiotic mortgages and not thinking about property taxes just as often as mestizos.

    [Reply]

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    HBD also includes sex… although there is a lot of fraternizing the with “enemy” on that one.

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 21st, 2013 at 6:41 pm Reply | Quote
  • Richard D. James Says:

    “The Manifesto for Accelerationist Politics.” What a hoot. Reading it, you might think that the Left had just discovered technology. And that it was being oppressed by the Right. “Scotty! Beam me up to the Cathedral!”

    In a very real sense, though, maybe the authors haven’t even discovered technology yet, if they believe that the magical thinking of “post-capitalist” (a dubious term if there ever was one) planning will allow humans to set the agenda for technology and society. Hence the paragraph about Nick’s thought, navigational prowess, and the distinction between acceleration and speed: it strikes me as particularly weak because it overstates the ease of setting the coordinates and then reaching them—as if all we had to do was punch them in, and we were the ones driving technology, rather than it driving us. New or Political Accelerationism? Not hardly. It’s more like “Accelerationism Defanged,” although that may be what folks on the net are disposed to refer to as a “generous reading.”

    I don’t know. Have I missed something here? Should I read the manifesto again? Could scholars who are so strong on issues of science (these guys are heavily influenced by Ray Brassier, right?) be so weak on those of technology? Or is it that coming at things from the deontological perspective might lead you to overestimate the capacity humans have to control massively-distributed networks of inhuman intelligence? So that you can look at the head-long, brain-deadening rush of techno-capital speed and declare that it’s actually slowing humans down, all the while overlooking how it certainly isn’t making the machines any dumber?

    It is, of course, first a manifesto about politics, and only then about technology. Is it just me, or do the authors make technology out to be just as fundamentally tractable and pliable as human nature according to the Left? It seems like the dominant model for technology here is that of a tool that can always be brought into compliance with human (read: Leftist) interests. Never mind that technology has its own ideas for us.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    “Or is it that coming at things from the deontological perspective might lead you to overestimate the capacity humans have to control massively-distributed networks of inhuman intelligence?”

    For sure. If overestimate you mean flagrant hubris. The left is very selective when it comes to what side of agency/structure they side on.

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 21st, 2013 at 9:27 pm Reply | Quote
  • Nicholas MacDonald Says:

    It has struck me from the beginning that there is an unbridgeable fissure between the ethnic/nationalist/religious neoreaction and the cosmopolitan/technocratic/transhumanist neoreaction. It’s partially just cultural- most of the cosmo-techno wing are people who Moldbug would identify as being culturally associated with the leftward edge of the spectrum- but aside from that, their interests are mostly inimical, aside from a common desire for an end to the megastate (which is one that I share with them, even if I can’t really call myself a full-blown neoreactionary).

    I noticed this when I’d read HBD blogs a few years ago- while I always enjoyed reading Steven Sailer, HBD Chick, and a few others (what ever happened to Asian of Reason/Oriental Right? Did he ever resurface, or was he hauled off to the PC gulags?), I generally found the comment sections barbaric- as if I’d wandered into Stormfront by accident. The repugnant commentators simply prove the point of the PCniks… and don’t do anything for the pursuit of academic inquiry and substantial discussion of these issues.

    By contrast, I find including most of the techno-cosmopolitan bloggers- esp. Robin Hanson, who has surrounded himself with one of the most intelligent communities on the net, aside from that of his occasional partner-in-crime Eliezer Yudkowsky- to generally be model citizens who seem to be able to get away with bending the Cathedral’s laws from time to time (okay, perhaps blatantly and frequently- but as everyone knows that they’re engaged in thought experiments, nobody really seems to mind as much). Very different from the HBD groupies, who strike me as the sort who could be found beating Mexican immigrants with tire irons if they could get away with it.

    Just the “respectable” side of neoreaction – or something altogether different? I vote for the latter, but I could be persuaded of the former.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    This comes up a lot, from both sides. Mark Warburton, in particular, echoes you closely on the subject. Try to enjoy the nerve-shredding tension. Pretty clearly, there’s a class aspect which is informative, too.

    My intuitions would be opposite to yours on the left / right aspect, though. Aren’t the Ethno-nationalists decidedly more ‘left’ than the zero-solidarity Techno-commercial types?

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 22nd, 2013 at 7:27 am Reply | Quote
  • Nicholas MacDonald Says:

    “This comes up a lot, from both sides. Mark Warburton, in particular, echoes you closely on the subject. Try to enjoy the nerve-shredding tension. Pretty clearly, there’s a class aspect which is informative, too.”

    Yes… a comment on the post that you refer to at the beginning suggests that the ethno/national and religious wings are just the useful idiots of neoreaction, which is actually driven by the techno-libertarian-cosmopolitan agenda. (I would suggest that this interpretation just sees neoreaction as the endgame of neoliberalism- a society where all the ideas associated with the memetic soup of neoliberalism have been pushed to their furthest extreme. Carrico would agree, I’m sure.)

    “My intuitions would be opposite to yours on the left / right aspect, though. Aren’t the Ethno-nationalists decidedly more ‘left’ than the zero-solidarity Techno-commercial types?”

    Ah, well, here I’m speaking “culturally”- and I’m also speaking as an American, where these terms have different meanings than the ones Europeans would usually use. In the US, a software engineer of Jewish extraction who hangs out in the Castro district (like Mencius Moldbug) would be considered “culturally left”, whereas a rural Christian fundamentalist (who might, for all we know, have some very left/populist economic views, especially concerning international trade) would be considered “culturally right”; while there’s no real political substance here, that’s just the knee-jerk, system A response. (And could be completely untrue- my dad is a grey-jacket midwestern businessman who spends a lot of time at the golf course and has lived almost his whole life in small-town South Dakota. Culturally right? Nope – he’s a die-hard liberal Democrat and atheist who reads the New York Times on a daily basis. Never judge a book by it’s cover.)

    Thomas Friedman, of all people, seized on this one- he thought that American politics would make more sense if the right was a socially liberal, technocratic, bi-coastal affair (the “web” party) while the left was a socially conservative, populist, middle-american grouping (the “wall” party). One can see a bit of this; I’ve noticed that most of my friends and acquaintances who are west-coast, Silicon Valley libertarian types generally prefer the Democrats over the Republicans, because they tend to “get” their issues (see the JOBS act- which had more to do with Steve than employment), or Obama’s surprisingly (to those who aren’t following the money) market-oriented space policies), Peter Thiel being more of an exception than a rule… whereas middle-American libertarian types tend to be hardcore Republicans. Politics in the US is more about culture and perception than substance.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    Left/Right – Economic attitudes
    Libertarian/Authortarian – Social attitudes.

    That clears it up for me, personally.

    Class hasn’t really been brought up here. I think Steve B. mentioned it briefly. I guess this is a local irritation of mine. No one needs to read the Dailly Mail to realise that things are nose-diving here in the UK. My latest post was written purely because of a recent saturday trip to the centre of my local town, Watford. It actually made me more sad than angry (regardless of how that post reads!). Fingers crossed I get the position at Mediacorp in Singapore, then. I’d gladly exit and give up my PHD if it means escaping a sinking ship. Besides, I’m starting to get pretty disillusioned with the number of meets/free lecturer on the Centre for Cultural Studies FB feed that have ‘Zizek’ or ‘Neolliberalism’, in the title.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    That sounds very convincing. It’s Codevilla-world.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    I’ll give it a read and get back to you (if need be).

    [Reply]

    Thales Reply:

    “Obama’s surprisingly (to those who aren’t following the money) market-oriented space policies”

    The reason it’s surprising is because it didn’t come from Obama but New Space advocates. Obama first won the office then realized his office required a Space Policy and only then grasped what was at-hand, New Space being the new hotness (as opposed to the old and busted).

    I pick this nit not to bash Obama, but to ensure the credit goes to where it is due.

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 22nd, 2013 at 8:15 am Reply | Quote
  • craig hickman Says:

    What Codevilla says here is pertinent:

    “Our classes’ clash is over “whose country” America is, over what way of life will prevail, over who is to defer to whom about what. The gravity of such divisions points us, as it did Lincoln, to Mark’s Gospel: “if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.””

    Replacing ‘classes’, ‘country’, and ‘America’ with whatever affiliation one needs too we can still admit to Lincoln’s use of Mark’s Gospel. The point for me being that the extreme Left and Right are much closer than they would admit to each other. Realizing my satiric lambast stirred a hornet’s nest I must admit that many of the comments had merit. What to do? Shall we continue to throw ideological mud bombs at each other or is there a better way? Who is our real enemy? Is it not what you term the Cathedral which seems to be the ever present power of the Global Financial and Governing Machine that is cannibalizing us from the inside out? Is not the metaphor for ‘Outside in’ a way of bringing the future into the equation? Of allowing us to break out of old habits, pulling the ripcords of our ideological straight-jackets and allowing a non-partisan alliance that might actually construct a world worth living in.

    Isn’t it time to listen to each other, learn from each other, even if we have certain distinct differences of opinion of some issues? I agree that we need an enlarged forum that takes in a more open exchange of ideas from both camps. Some of the attacks from both sides has helped me understand that what each of us labels as Left and Right has become in itself obsolete: that these terms are comic book characters in a dime novel and no longer viable for whatever we are doing now with our lives. In fact much of what we label as Left or Right is part of this Cathedral hypermatrix rather than actual intelligent objects representing us as individuals.

    So I’m offering a truce from my own singular and independent standpoint, and hoping to enter into dialogue and exchange in a way that benefits us all. Obviously I have much to learn from your perspective as you might from the eccentric voices that once belonged to the now defunct Left. What say ye?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Any resonances?

    [Reply]

    craig hickman Reply:

    Almost Spenglerian except with a generational slant… I see that Howe is a consultant: “He is cofounder of LifeCourse Associates, a marketing, HR, and strategic planning consultancy serving corporate, government, and nonprofit clients.” Not sure about Strauss. Seems to be almost a Systems theory analysis, game-theory mode as an experiment, maybe, rather than prophecy. Unless it is a sort of meme bomb or propaganda dilation for certain world weary religionists (or even those of a religionless religion).

    Strange how time and causation always seem to go back to Nietzschean or even Eliade’s myth of the eternal return… a pattern within a pattern, maybe. New Dark Age… a Bubble world to reload the datamatrix, keep the DNA of civilization alive during the great transition. The world considered as a single cosmopolitan macro-sphere, and then our contemporary decentralized network of social and cultural spheres, in which the concept of a central, self-structuring totality — religion, myth, science, enlightenment (The Cathedral) — has collapsed, and we find ourselves living in a complex sea of fragmentary yet contiguous spheres, which Sloterdijk likens to a “foam.” Philosophy as a branch of immunology. He embraces the biotech future. He would have us embrace what he calls “anthropotechnics” for the future good of humanity, not shrink away from the bioethical implications.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Yes, its a deutero eternal recurrence: endless recycling of cycle theories. That’s not to say there’s nothing to it …

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    This was the closest recent thread I thought would be relevant to post this. Seeing as you’ve made no post on the Woolwich stabbing, I thought I’d do my best to at least get people talking about the event in question.

    http://cyder534.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/dumb-and-dumber-3the-end-is-nigh-all-kinds-of-chaos-edition/

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 22nd, 2013 at 5:07 pm Reply | Quote
  • Rasputin's Severed Penis Says:

    I remember Alberto Toscano’s reaction as being the best / worst: http://moskvax.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/accelerationism-questions-after-session-1-mark-fisher-and-ray-brassier/

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    For the “disappointing day-to-day reality of sausage patties” remark alone he should win. It’s easy to mock but (at least some of) these are clever people – I know they’re much more intelligent than me – and yet you read the transcript and aside from the bits where nothing much at all is being said, an overwhelming horror for the practical keeps emerging (“This is something of conceptual interest, which could be pursued independently of this whole practical thing”), resulting in bizarre diversions into the question of proper names (eventually leading onto personal agency); “why give up terminator to the bad guys?”; and Mark Fisher’s odd finish (“There are some fairly benign examples of interesting things in capitalism at the moment… [decommodification; the internet]… which would not have happened without capitalism in the form that it has… [but] they are not bits of capitalism”) which leaves you… back with toothless theory. And lunch presumably.

    My favourite observation was that while Alberto begins the discussion asking whether there is a Landian (almost went with Adminian then) theory of Capitalism beyond the “lyrical vision… you famously encounter in the Communist Manifesto“, Mark in answer to how ‘we’ really get this thing moving in the right direction suggests “It’s not about accelerating just anything whatsoever about capitalism. It’s about going back to the fundamental insight of the Communist Manifesto, that capitalism makes available certain possibilities that didn’t previously exist in any social system.” So… well, insight may not constitute a theory, but if you’re basing your strategy on it… anyway. Thanks for posting the link – I hadn’t seen this. Ray’s presentation is worth trying to understand (I think… as in I’ve been working on it) – it seems to make a genuine effort to engage at least.

    [Reply]

    Rasputin's Severed Penis Reply:

    Actually, I am 99% sure he said “sausage parties” and it has been mis-transcribed. These are always a potential hazard at Marxist events at Goldsmiths. But I agree that lot of the people there were smart and highly knowledgeable concerning Marxist theology. They are certainly much smarter and more knowledgeable than I am.

    For me I guess it comes down to a question of sensibility, which is also where the Neoreaction seems to fragment into (something akin to) the much-mooted trichotomy. At the Accelerationism event I just couldn’t get my head around what / how they were proposing that accelerationism might be repurposed as a viable strategy for the Left. But when you read Nick talking about capitalism as a runway “without which nothing is happening”, and as something that was self-autonomously constructing itself before anyone even had a clue what was going on… well it all just kind of makes sense. Perhaps because the argument is not being twisted into all sorts of complicated, convoluted machinations in service of a preconceived ideal. Or perhaps it’s just because I lack the background / raw brainpower to understand the argument properly. But, again, coming back to the idea of sensibility, like Nick has said, leftist academics always seem to argue from the a priori position that the Left is – always and in every instance – right about everything. And in the 21c I am not sure that the argument of history converging on the liberation of the proletariat (of which I am a member) is anything like as compelling (or even likely) as history collapsing in on itself in a technological singularity. I am happy to accept this as the interim meaning of life and the only viable alternative to nihilism. So the moment that you are willing to entertain the notion that the Left is actually the source of the madness which flows into our waters, effectively retarding us, and making us about as efficient as a light bulb that gives off 99.99% of its energy as heat (and we’re already stuck in a sauna with no windows, and that guy that sat down next to us seems kinda friendly, and… wait… it’s dark in here, but did he just drop some soap?!).

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    [Embarrassed confession of naked ignorance:] What’s a ‘sausage party’?

    fotrkd Reply:

    I’ve found some evidence that Alberto actually meant ‘sausage pâtés’. Mark Fisher began his presentation with this Lyotard quote:

    “Why political intellectuals, do you incline towards the proletariat? In commiseration for what? I realize that a proletarian would hate you, you have no hatred because you are bourgeois, privileged, smooth-skinned types, but also because you dare not say that the only important thing there is to say, that one can enjoy swallowing the shit of capital, its materials, its metal bars, its polystyrene, its books, its sausage pâtés, swallowing tonnes of it till you burst – and because instead of saying this, which is also what happens in the desires of those who work with their hands, arses and heads, ah, you become a leader of men, what a leader of pimps, you lean forward and divulge: ah, but that’s alienation, it isn’t pretty, hang on, we’ll save you from it, we will work to liberate you from this wicked affection for servitude, we will give you dignity. And in this way you situate yourselves on the most despicable side, the moralistic side where you desire that our capitalized’s desire be totally ignored, brought to a standstill, you are like priests with sinners, our servile intensities frighten you, you have to tell yourselves: how they must suffer to endure that! And of course we suffer, we the capitalized, but this does not mean that we do not enjoy, nor that what you think you can offer us as a remedy – for what? – does not disgust us, even more. We abhor therapeutics and its vaseline, we prefer to burst under the quantitative excesses that you judge the most stupid. And don’t wait for our spontaneity to rise up in revolt either.”(LE 116)

    Of course Alberto could have misheard.

    Posted on May 23rd, 2013 at 8:16 pm Reply | Quote
  • Mark Warburton Says:

    @Rasputin’s Severed Penis

    A party with too many plugs and not enough sockets!

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 25th, 2013 at 3:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • Mark Warburton Says:

    Great post, Rasputin

    “and as something that was self-autonomously constructing itself before anyone even had a clue what was going on.”

    Yes, exactly. STS studies are always far behind because of this. We’re always playing catch up. This is why if a TS comes, it will hit us from nowhere. Although I’m admitted agnostic when it comes to the TS.

    I think structure over agency plays a big part in techno-capital – this feeds into the whole spontaneous order of the Austrian-Libertarians. The Left just want to – and do- throw spanners into the works. Big ones at that.

    “And in the 21c I am not sure that the argument of history converging on the liberation of the proletariat (of which I am a member) is anything like as compelling (or even likely) as history collapsing in on itself in a technological singularity. I am happy to accept this as the interim meaning of life and the only viable alternative to nihilism.”

    Again, they over estimate their power as game-chaning agents for the most part. I don’t think anyone will agree with me here on this – but I don’t think that that arm of the left (the more radical, populist side) is taken seriously anymore. I watched a terrible video up of Laurie Penny recently. It was cringe worthy. I think that if everyone just nods and stays quiet, we can let these crazies dribble on about being social revolutionists will charging event-cancelling big fees for appearances: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hdVbP0YhL8 car-crash viewing.

    My ideal when it comes to techno-capital is that it would get to a stage where it hovered and hummed close to Skynet, but never quite got there. Think Blade Runner with blue skies I guess. Haha.I need ideals these days. Nihilism got me doing a ‘NIck Land’ in 2011.

    Back to reality though. Can anyone think of a bigger alarm bell of Western decadence that this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIn38ThUckk&feature=youtube_gdata_player ?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “… they over estimate their power as game-chaning agents for the most part. I don’t think anyone will agree with me here on this” — well I, for one, couldn’t agree with you more. That’s a central pathology, and a source of endless comedy. What makes it especially humorous is the marriage of a supposedly ‘materialist’ historical analysis with an unquestioned presupposition that a conversation about post-ontological neo-Marxism in a university canteen is no more than half a step from global administrative authority, with all the leaden gravity and anguish that such responsibility entails.

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 25th, 2013 at 3:52 pm Reply | Quote
  • Rasputin's Severed Penis Says:

    Which is perhaps the one thing that hardcore Neoreaction and hardcore Marxism has in common.

    In all seriousness, it would be interesting to see you engage head on with some of the criticisms raised at this event, in particular Brassier’s concluding comment about the inherent danger of confusing tactics and strategy – and the potential for getting pwned. I am curious as to how this criticism applies to something which is self-assembling, such as evolution or nascent capitalism? But I guess that’s a question for Ray not you.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “Which is perhaps the one thing that hardcore Neoreaction and hardcore Marxism has in common.” — To the extent this is true, ‘Hardcore Neoreaction’ needs to take a step back to elementary historical realism, before it makes a complete ass of itself. Sure, it’s fun to get into the minute details of plotting a military coup, but it’s sandbox stuff, and you’re right to identify it with Trotskyite delusion.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    Actually, I think Rasputin has tapped into something crucial here. ‘Hardcore Neoreaction’ is basically the racist or religious elephant, surely? And, as you stated before, you rather our micro-bug parasite attaches itself to one of these elephants backs, than the millenial fantasies of (any kind ‘o) left – but what if they suffer from the same neglect for historical realism, instead of just taking us away from the left, the automation of capital remains in stasis because ‘humanistic’ agents of ‘change’ look to the neo-reich (Godwin? Godwin!) or theo-universalism, or what have you? Is it out of the question to (still) have faith in Capital’s hyper-assembling? Or does your ‘Meltdown’ ‘Machinic Desire’ era read as nostalgic idealism to you now?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “Is it out of the question to (still) have faith in Capital’s hyper-assembling?” — ‘Faith’ doesn’t seem uncomfortable enough for what’s needed. I’d like to follow a long(ish), strange curve, and get back to this topic following a different angle of approach. Mere repetition would (rightly) bore people, and there’s plenty of boredom kicking around already.

    fotrkd Reply:

    I’ve always taken that Brassier comment as a reference to Meltdown:

    Foucault delineates the contours of power as a strategy without a subject: ROM locking learning in a box. Its enemy is a tactics without a strategy, replacing the politico-territorial imagery of conquest and resistance with nomad-micromilitary sabotage and evasion, reinforcing intelligence.

    I also understood this as implying the tactics are disconnected from a strategy (and therefore not constrained by) but that this doesn’t mean you are operating without a goal (“reinforcing intelligence”). In which case you can construct tactics on the fly without the idea of forgetting what you “want to realize” becoming an issue. This fits with Foucault’s idea (contra Chomsky) that you can’t strategise for a post-Cathedral world (not his terms obviously) before you get there (i.e. until you are free from it).

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    Here’s the Foucault bit I was thinking of:

    FOUCAULT:
    Yes, but then isn’t there a danger here? If you say that a certain human nature exists, that this human nature has not been given in actual society the rights and the possibilities which allow it to realise itself…that’s really what you have said, I believe.

    CHOMSKY:
    Yes.

    FOUCAULT:
    And if one admits that, doesn’t one risk defining this human nature which is at the same time ideal and real, and has been hidden and repressed until now – in terms borrowed from our society, from our civilisation, from our culture?
    I will take an example by greatly simplifying it. The socialism of a certain period, at the end of the nineteenth century, and the beginning of the twentieth century, admitted in effect that in capitalist societies man hadn’t realised the full potential for his development and self-realisation; that human nature was effectively alienated in the capitalist system. And it dreamed of an ultimately liberated human nature.
    What model did it use to conceive, project, and eventually realise that human nature? It was in fact the bourgeois model.
    It considered that an alienated society was a society which, for example, gave pride of place to the benefit of all, to a sexuality of a bourgeois type, to a family of a bourgeois type, to an aesthetic of a bourgeois type. And it is moreover very true that this has happened in the Soviet Union and in the popular democracies: a kind of society has been reconstituted which has been transposed from the bourgeois society of the nineteenth century. The universalisation of the model of the bourgeois has been the utopia which has animated the constitution of Soviet society.
    The result is that you too realised, I think, that it is difficult to say exactly what human nature is.
    Isn’t there a risk that we will be led into error? Mao Tse-Tung spoke of bourgeois human nature and proletarian human nature, and he considers that they are not the same thing.

    Of course some people might prefer to stay entirely secreted away in their virtual cloisters…

    RSP: I might be one of those people. I’m also so remote the information wouldn’t be of much use. Currently north of the border anyway.

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 25th, 2013 at 4:13 pm Reply | Quote
  • Rasputin's Severed Penis Says:

    ‘Which is perhaps the one thing that hardcore Neoreaction and hardcore Marxism has in common.’ Actually, I didn’t mean to imply anything ‘crucial’ by this at all. It was meant to follow on from MW’s helpful definition of a sausage party as ‘a party with too many plugs and not enough sockets’. But I went to feed my cat before I finished posting, so it fell out of sequence, creating an interesting misalignment. Not that I disagree with your response, but I only meant that there don’t seem to be very many women present at the extreme edge of either tendency / movement. It’s a mundane observation, although I expect that there are probably some fairly interesting reasons as to why this is the case.

    @ fotrkd: that’s helpful context, thanks. I will have to go back and re-read Brassier’s talk (as well as his co-introduction to Fanged Noumena) much more closely. Out of interest, where are you based? Perhaps there has been a post about this already, but it would be interesting to build a picture (perhaps on a Chaos Patch!) of the Neoreaction landscape (scene?) in the real world, as well as the virtual one. Of course some people might prefer to stay entirely secreted away in their virtual cloisters…

    @ MW: the donkey-based-refreshment link was a good one, and a fascinating example of ‘out’ i.e. mainstream entertainment: posing the crucial question: is a civilisation that has donkey-piss/cum-drinking entertainment more or less likely to optimise for intelligence?! But it’s pure vanilla compared to the darkened corners of the Net – which is really the new Event Horizon of Horror – the Dark Place where the id becomes unshackled, and astral projects across a hyperlinked, free associative terrain of degenerate, twisted filth, commingled with mind-numbingly insipid, banal inanity.

    I would link, but it would probably be unwelcome.

    Laurie Penny is indeed very annoying. But I still would.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    I think it’s more telling that something like the donkey-semen-drinking is on TV – our mainstream access. I mean grans will likely catch that. Plus there’s the whole celeb culture angle. What would you do to jump-start your flailing z-list career? Drink horse piss on TV while people mimic throwing up? Why certainly, join us..! I know what you mean by the internet; it plays by different rules entirely though.. (if any at all), I have had the unfortunate experience of watching three russian serial killers dealing with a middle aged man – I wish I could erase seeing that, because it isn’t a memory that fades from recollection.

    Unless you mean a spite-fuck-to-get-one-over-on-miss-priss-I-mean-miss-comrade.
    Then I don’t see the appeal myself on the Penny front. I’d give Louise Mensch one though.

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 25th, 2013 at 7:22 pm Reply | Quote
  • Rasputin's Severed Penis Says:

    Not at all. I’d even let her wear the hat.

    The comments underneath the video are fantastic:

    “The reason there’s no women up the top of the academic hierarchy is because those people were born 50 years ago probably! 50 years ago there was much less gender equality! Old people’s positions can’t really be judged by standards of today…”

    “Universal suffrage must be abolished ASAP.”

    – Have these people been reading Moldbug?!

    “Feminism is completely anti masculinity borne of an inferiority complex, blame_ shifting & a pathological envy of masculine values & qualities namely strength, courage, forthrightness, scepticism, selflessness, fearlessness, self control, freedom, ambition, competitiveness, superior cognitive ability, rational thinking, inventiveness, humour, emotional depth, emotional intelligence etc and most importantly men continue to outclass women in every single field of human endeavour.”

    – Or Jim?

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 25th, 2013 at 8:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • Mark Warburton Says:

    @Rasputin’s Severed Penis

    I’m not surprised that Foucault has come up, here. His critique of the inherent ‘leftness-to-come’ nature of the human is pretty damning – I think the debate with Chomsky is a highlight. Sociology teachers worldwide have an ambiguous relationship with him. On the one hand he can’t be overlooked because of the diversity of his scholarship (madness, prison life, sex etc.), on the other, he lays a path for tactics contract strategy – something anethema to the (neo)marxist ideology. In fact, like Hayim Bey’s TAZ (Temporal Autonomous Zone), Foucault’s tactics of resistance mirror the reactosphere in a way. However, Foucault’s ideal ‘harems’ were hedonistic and homosexual. This sphere is hetero-normative and emphasising intellectual work. Same could be said for Bey, actually. Although I heard he likes his sexual conquests a tad too young, to put it diplomatic as possible. (don’t want NAMBLA after me).

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Ad hominem argument is an intellectual vice, but these guys certainly don’t make it easy to avoid.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    I know I know. I couldn’t help it. Even their logo infuriates me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Man/Boy_Love_Association

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    As Foucault put it: “We are becoming more Greek.”

    Posted on May 26th, 2013 at 11:00 am Reply | Quote
  • Rasputin's Severed Penis Says:

    ‘Ad hominem argument is an intellectual vice… ‘

    But very recently there was much discussion on these threads about Niles Fergusons’ comment concerning Keynes’ homosexuality vis a vis his economic theories, time preference, etc, and some people were saying that everything – right down to whether someone preferred blueberry or raspberry jam – is potentially of significance in relation to how they develop their theories, and therefore how we should interpret them.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    That’s a good catch. It might be possible to worm out of it, to the extent that ‘Bloomsbury culture’ is understood as an intellectual formation, and not simply a personal behavioral disposition. But then, the same could be said of ‘God-has-no-beard’ pedophile anarchism, so I suspect that you’re right — the two arguments are structurally indistinguishable.

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 26th, 2013 at 11:29 pm Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    @ fotrkd
    Awesome research — not quite sure what to conclude from it though.

    [Reply]

    Posted on May 30th, 2013 at 10:04 am Reply | Quote

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