Revenge of the Nerds

Increasingly, there are only two basic human types populating this planet. There are autistic nerds, who alone are capable of participating effectively in the advanced technological processes that characterize the emerging economy, and there is everybody else. For everybody else, this situation is uncomfortable. The nerds are steadily finding ways to do all the things ordinary and sub-ordinary people do, more efficiently and economically, by programming machines. Only the nerds have any understanding of how this works, and — until generalized machine intelligences arrive to keep them company — only they will. The masses only know three things:
(a) They want the cool stuff the nerds are creating
(b) They don’t have anything much to offer in exchange for it
(c) They aren’t remotely happy about that

Politics across the spectrum is being pulled apart by the socio-economic fission. From Neo-Marxists to Neoreactionaries, there is a reasonably lucid understanding that nerd competence is the only economic resource that matters much anymore, while the swelling grievance of preponderant obsolescing humanity is an irresistible pander-magnet. What to do? Win over the nerds, and run the world (from the machinic back-end)? Or demagogue the masses, and ride its tsunami of resentment to political power? Either defend the nerds against the masses, or help the masses to put the nerds in their place. That’s the dilemma. Empty ‘third-way’ chatter can be expected, as always, but the real agenda will be Boolean, and insultingly easy to decode.

Look and it’s unmistakable, everywhere. The asymmetry is especially notable.

For the autistic nerds, the social relations that matter are those among themselves — the productive networks which are their model for final-phase human culture in general — along with the ever more intricate connections they enter into with technological machines. From pretty much everybody else — whether psycho-sadistic girls, or extractive mobs and tyrannical politicians — they expect nothing except social torture, parasitism, and bullying, mixed up with some menial services that the machines of tomorrow will do better. Their tendency is to find a way to flee.

For the rest of humanity, exposed ever more clearly as a kind of needy detritus, bullying is all that’s left. If they can’t find a way to pocket the nerds’ lunch-money, they won’t be getting anything to eat. From this perspective, an escaping nerd is far more of an intolerable aggression than a policeman’s boot in the teeth. There’s only one popular politics at the end of the road, and that’s cage the nerds. Find a formulation for this which sounds both convincing and kinda-sorta reasonable, and the red carpet to power is rolled out before your feet.

Which is it going to be? Starve the masses or enslave the nerds? There’s no way this doesn’t get incredibly ugly.

From the Outside in perspective, the fast track to realism on all this is to stop pretending that anybody other than nerds has anything much to offer the future. (Completely devoid of autistic nerd competences ourselves, the detachment from which we speak is impeccable.) This harsh-realist short-cut eliminates all the time-wasting on ‘special’ things non-nerds can do — which somehow always end up being closely related to the task of governance (and that, as we have seen, reduces ultimately to intimidating nerds). “OK, you’re not a nerd, but you’re special.” We’ve all heard that before.

Even without being an autistic nerd, one can be gifted with some modest measure of intelligence — enough in any case to realize: “History’s shaping itself into some nightmarish nerd-revenge narrative.” It doesn’t even take an artificial super-intelligence to understand why that should be.

ADDED: The structure is tragic —

ADDED: It’s late to be adding links, but this Henry Dampier post is too germane to pass by.

ADDED: Impressionistic ethnography of Silicon Valley.

March 21, 2014admin 72 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations , Neoreaction , Political economy , Technology


72 Responses to this entry

  • Alrenous Says:

    The socials want the nerds to submit, thereby proving they should submit to the nerds. A social can trade following instructions for the cool stuff. Perhaps they would rather die than submit to the nerds…but if that’s their wish, how can it be called ugly?


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 3:16 pm Reply | Quote
  • CW Says:

    There’s definitely plenty of truth in this, but I can’t help but wonder: as techno-nerds ourselves, and friends and close supporters and partners of them and whatnot, is this particular version of the narrative a little too self-centered?

    I don’t get the feeling that Real ‘Merica really resents nerds that much, at least not yet — at least not until you point out things like that Instagram employs so many fewer people than Kodak did, because then they can blame their unemployment on nerds. For the most part, they seem not to care that chunks of SF and NYC and whatever are coming into their own on the tech scene, doing weird nerdy stuff and finally enjoying significant rewards from it.

    So, basically, I’m questioning (1). Sure, plenty of ordinary folk want their smartphone or whatever. Many of them can get it. The other stuff, idk? Bitcoin, Glass, all these nifty SSASs, a freelance knowledge work-y lifestyle? Not so sure. Focusing on the nerds vs regulars tension is interesting and flattering to us, but it may obscure the less novel but more pervasive main st vs wall st fight. (To be fair, wall st maybe should get interpreted to include a piece of the tech VC scene, though).

    Of course, I am massively detached from Real ‘Merica, and that’s part of the whole point. But just a thought.


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 3:18 pm Reply | Quote
  • RiverC Says:

    Then there is Natalia Poklonskaya

    A criminal only for mass waifu polyamory

    Given the competitive nature of markets, some Caesarisms are going to pander to the nerds. Some anime series already predicted this of course…


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 3:39 pm Reply | Quote
  • Artxell Knaphni Says:

    “Empty ‘third-way’ chatter can be expected, as always, but the real agenda will be Boolean, and insultingly easy to decode.”

    It’s all about that “third way”, man! Other ways, too. Am rejecting your emphasis of the binary, admin. ‘Emptiness’ gives all.

    Hey, I agree, the ‘moronic’ often resort to bullying. The problem is that it’s always easy for a ‘moron’ to substitute crass & simplified conflict for understanding, in order to regain an ignorant ‘self-esteem’.

    The ‘moronic bully’ often uses sadistic ridicule, instead of dispassionate consideration, to attack anything that merely questions the delimited instrumental understanding constituting his fetish. His ‘fetish’ works, he says so, again & again, when noone denies this. His repetition is a kind of worship, which he conducts incessantly, like a nodding donkey. It is his gesture of power, which he turns into commerce, shouting “Bullshit!” at any expression not in explicit accord with his business transactions.

    Every ‘bully’ is seeking revenge, that’s how sadistic imperialisms work, how they configure the psycho(logic)s of networked domination.
    You really want to reproduce that?


    VXXC Reply:

    @Artxell Knaphni,

    Wait a minute. What if it’s between Adults, and it’s about money?

    How does that explain Steve Jobs for instance?


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 4:06 pm Reply | Quote
  • Konkvistador Says:


    Who is this “us” woman studies major? 😉


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 4:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    This reads like techno-commercialist tunnel vision to me.

    What I want most and what I think it is right and reasonable to want are personal virtue and a happy family life that sees my children set on the path to the same.

    Neither your autistic venture capital utopia nor your triumph of the unwashed has much appeal.

    If progressivism has brought us to a point where those are the only options, its just one more proof that progressivism and modernity are toxic and the thing to do is hunker down and look for an exit.


    Erik Reply:

    I support the tunnel vision charge.


    admin Reply:

    OK, you get to have the tunnel — as long as we have a shoggoth hurtling down it.


    admin Reply:

    This is still utopian? What do I need to do to reach bleak?


    Lesser Bull Reply:

    Oh, you’ve reached it all right. I just didn’t realize you realized it.


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 4:23 pm Reply | Quote
  • Konkvistador Says:

    1. Nerds are easier to pwn than nonnerds. Observe the complete inability of online gatherings of nerds to ward off social justice infection. It literally takes one moderately attractive girl social justice warrior writing about how X needs to overcome its -isms to reduce the productivity of a online nerd gathering venue by over 20%. Observe Nerd culture. As someone who is pretty much a Nerd, observing Geek culture and reading its science fiction has become painful. now that I recognize the utter banality and uncreativity of Geek culture. Imagine 110 IQ Fedoratheism meets movies made entirely of pop culture references… forever. This dysfunctionality bothers me more than their complete and utter subservience to Progressivism.

    2. Nerds are not good at hooking up other nerds together into workable structures. Benign dictators for life of various Open Source projects tend to be better at their job when they are not Nerds themselves. Steve Jobs was not a nerd. He was a king of nerds or a nerd vampire, depending on your perspective.

    3. Most Nerds are not useful to the tech industry, simply because most Nerds are not actually very smart. The divide you are observing is actually those with IQs about 1.5 to 3 sigmas above the while mean against everyone else. These three graphs say what there is to say far better: … (note the hidden bell curve in the shape of the coast) (Drowning may not be metaphorical)


    Legionnaire Reply:

    I can’t help but see a little (emphasis on little) bit of conflation between “nerd” and “High-IQ” here. There’s a solid relationship of course, but there are average-IQ nerds and high-IQ non-nerds. Intuition tells me that there’s always going to be a place for the high-IQ non-nerds in society (as Konkvistador points put above, non-autists need to be the ones providing the structure, getting the nerds to work together, and guarding against entryism), but that’s about all I can contribute to the discussion at the moment ,as I need a bit of time to work out my thoughts on the matter.


    Legionnaire Reply:

    To clarify, “here” refers to the blog post, not Konkvistador’s comment.


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 4:49 pm Reply | Quote
  • Erik Says:

    Longer response.

    One, nerds are terrible at running things or being in charge, as evidenced by point two, that nerds didn’t take over with (for example) the invention of the machine-gun, which would have made a great device for use by a few people with tech to rule a lot of people without.

    “But colonialism did that!”

    Only if you include 1500s monarchs and their blacksmiths and their carpenters into nerds, which makes a mockery of the term.

    Nerds didn’t take over last time they had something resembling an opportunity, or the time before that. I say they won’t this time either. Maybe last time wasn’t a real opportunity – in that case I say this time still isn’t.

    Nerds don’t have the ‘social tech’ – the organizing skills, the asabiyyah-generating capacity, the power to maintain groups – that’s required to be in charge, but at this point, who does? You can dismiss governance as “intimidating nerds”, but there exist social tasks that can’t be dumped into “governance” so easily.

    Besides, referring to the rest of the planet as needy detritus seems to require presupposing much of the conclusion by defining non-machine-laborers to be detritus and their work useless (useless to whom? Lord GDP?).

    As for your boolean agenda – I’ll say cage the nerds.


    admin Reply:

    “I’ll say cage the nerds.” — Most will, but everybody’s money is on the nerds.


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 4:58 pm Reply | Quote
  • Matt Sigl Says:

    It’s like the left-brain has finally conquered human civilization totally. The “autism” point here is very important. Literally, our civilization now requires legions of emotionally-impaired machine-like minds to function. People (coders) are starting to cognitively resemble the data world they inhabit; the human experience for them becomes the managing of 0s and 1s and formal logical operations. It’s a life of meaningless abstraction, but not even experienced with an awareness of the existential curiosity of that fact. Femininity (emotional intelligence, associative thinking) is abolished even as men become more superficially “soft.” Masculinity, in any traditional sense, is equally expelled, replaced by the new cognitive masculinity of number-driven minds. Emotions are a strange foreign species, rarely seen. I often try to imagine the mind of a hard-core coder, and it’s usually not a very pleasant experiment. The explosion of autism into culture is no mistake; it’s a result of the world we’ve created. It’s a serious question if the human brain/mind system can stand much more of this. We want the freedom of our technology but making it requires the creation of a kind of person for whom the emotional vitality of normal human life is bypassed. Though maybe I’m being too judgmental and hysterical about the issue.


    RiverC Reply:

    These autist types are not real innovators, imho, and nerd-kings, or super-nerds, are not autists but rather people with similar tastes (‘Nerd’ describes, originally, interest and/or preference for technical and esoteric subjects, not a particular psychology (autism)) who have more total intelligences.

    However, it is important to consider the effect of the common understanding of nerd, which you’ve accepted as true (it’s not–) which probably means that admin’s thesis is correct.

    That autists are interested in technical subjects is logical enough; detail orientation without system orientation results in hyper-technicality. I have been friends with autists/aspergers types at various times in my life, and my experience is that 1. yes, they are pretty much socially spineless, 2. they are very good at technical subjects such as coding, woodworking, electronics, biology, etc. 3. they do not tend to be highly innovative on a higher level, but are good at refining existing patterns. 4. They are capable of doing irritatingly repetitive tasks (such as hand coding long animations in BASIC) that people like myself, also coders, would write a program to do.

    Though I understand there are at least two if not more than two fundamental groups among the so-called ‘nerds’, if this plays out anything like Nazism did RE: the Jews, that won’t matter. As Tunney-The-Mad said, coding is literacy. Since I can code (and in fact do so reasonably well in a large number of languages) I am one of the nerds.

    There are apparently now meds that suppress autistic symptoms, though how much acceptance of the reality that the ‘super-intelligence’ that autism looks like is just a mental disorder there will be, I cannot say. Will it go the way of homosexuality, or will it be the ‘right hand cut off to spare the body’?


    Orthodox Reply:

    It is a set up for mass killing. Scientists are working towards a future where one person can destroy the world. Atheists in charge of totalitarian systems saw no problem wiping out millions to pursue a new man; it does not take much imagination to conjure either a person who seeks to kill off the detritus or, less sadistic yet even more horrific, sees humans as merely lines of code meant to be merged into the singularity.

    I always thought the sci-fi futures where the people banned science and lived under a strict religious order were meant to criticize religion. Now I increasingly see them as perhaps the most prophetic of the apocalyptic genre.

    Grandfather: I’m sorry. Mogwai not for sale.
    Randall Peltzer: Why not? You said everything in your grandfather’s store was for sale.
    Grandfather: With Mogwai, comes much responsibility. I cannot sell him at any price.
    [at end of film after tons of mayhem errupted and is being shown on the news]
    Grandfather: I warned you. With mogwai comes much responsibility. But you didn’t listen.
    [gestures at television]
    Grandfather: And you see what happens.
    Randall Peltzer: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it…
    Grandfather: You do with mogwai what your society… has done with all of nature’s gifts. You do not understand.
    [entire Peltzer family is speechless with guilt]
    Grandfather: You are not ready.


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 4:58 pm Reply | Quote
  • Puzzle Pirate (@PuzzlePirate) Says:

    “(b) They don’t have anything much to offer in exchange for it”

    That’s because we are living in the future Sir Francis Galton warned us about.

    The problem with poverty in the West isn’t being poor, it’s being forced to live around the shitheads that most poor people are. Eliminate the shitheads and all of a sudden being poor wouldn’t be so bad.


    Karl F. Boetel Reply:

    tantalizing. think we can get some sexy intersectionality goin’ on between environmentalists, techie-types, and National Socialists?


    Puzzle Pirate (@PuzzlePirate) Reply:

    Yes… maybe?

    HBD facts are a great place to start if you’d like to see traditionalist / ethocentric values. Take this from Richard Lynn’s “Dysgenics”.

    “In some European countries social ostracism of extramarital sexuality was
    reinforced by the criminal law. In Britain in the mid-seventeenth century adultery
    by a married woman was made a capital offense and fornication was punishable
    by imprisonment, although these activities were decriminalized after the
    Restoration in 1660 (Beattie, 1986). In Sweden adultery and fornication were
    punished by flogging, imprisonment and substantial fines from the beginning of
    the 1600s to the end of the 1800s, and it was not until 1937 that adultery was
    formally decriminalized. These sanctions were sufficiently powerful to exercise
    a strong deterrent effect on extramarital sexual activity, to the extent that illegitimacy
    was kept to approximately 5 per cent of births from the early 1600s
    through to around 1950 in Britain, Sweden, most of Continental Europe and the
    United States (Coleman and Salt, 1992; Sundin, 1992; Murray, 1994). Because
    these social controls operated principally on the lower classes, they had considerable
    success in checking the fertility of the least competent members of the

    So the old traditions of punishing bastards and their mothers as well as keeping families together & protecting marriage may have (unintentionally?) produced a eugenic pattern in Western Civ. as dysfunctional people were slowly culled from the herd.


    James James Reply:

    “National Capitalists”!?

    Dugin put a hammer and sickle in the center of the flag:

    What is the symbol of capitalism?


    James James Reply:

    The dollar? Bit too Randian.

    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 5:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    Your autistic nerd friends prefer to spend their time going online to share how weird they are, how emotion-less, kinky or just plain deviant, and loudly proclaiming how they love the progressive society that allows them to be free in their deviant identity.

    You need to go for a walk on LW or even hacker news and see how the nerds are as staunchly progressive as African Americans. Listen to Konkvistador, he knows them.

    You need to sit down and talk with your techno-commercialist friend Jim Donald. Because his model of techno-commercialist implies neofeudalism based on social conservatism. Your model somewhat doesn’t, and sorta inherits progressive social mores. Which I find bizarre.

    But anyway the nerds are none of your friends.


    admin Reply:

    My only difference from Jim on all this is method. Rather than sticking the ‘neofeudalism’ in axiomatically, it has to emerge naturally out of a selective mechanism, or it isn’t going to stick. So start with a strategy for re-activating the selective mechanism (“social darwinism”), not with a social conservative recipe.


    spandrell Reply:

    Ok so the difference is between chicken and egg. Jim thinks social conservatism is the cause things work, i.e. the chicken, but you think it’s a product of the selective mechanism, i.e. the egg.

    If social conservatism is the egg, I think the tech industry nerds are allergic to eggs, omelettes, puddings and anything that vaguely resembles an egg. They hate social darwinism with a passion, and will sooner surrender to the next socialist African Shaman that allows them to waste their youth watching junior high school gay porn fanfics, rather than live free in a social conservative straitjacket.


    admin Reply:

    But the important thing about nerds is they lose themselves in the construction of mechanisms, through hypertrophic ‘instrumental rationality’. It matters far less how they rationalize their performance than it does with neurotypicals, because the excess of capability over ideology is incomparably greater. Who cares what nerds think? Maybe the denizens of anime chat rooms on the net — nobody else. It’s what they’re doing that matters, as an explosion of programmable technicity super-empowers their productivity.

    spandrell Reply:

    All I’m saying is that nerds follow the mainstream ideology and so will never seek to undermine it. See the recent brouhaha about sexism in tech; in due time they’ll surrender half of all corporate boards to bitchy arriviste women.

    The Soviet Union, and Communist China’s leadership was and is full of brilliant engineers who never thought there was anything wrong with socialism.

    One Peter Thiel is an exception to the rule, that Google, Microsoft et al. have 1000 Marxist for every Randian, and 10,000 Obamanites for every Moldbuggite.


    admin Reply:

    If they roll over as completely as you predict, then the tech industry will leave America. Perhaps, but I think the switch point is already arriving, and that moves towards the full diversocratic destruction of Silicon Valley is triggering significant resistance.

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    Let’s hope so. But note that this kind of cheery optimism is why you are failing to bring the horror.

    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 6:10 pm Reply | Quote
  • Saddam Hussein's Whirling Aluminium Tubes Says:

    If so, we should be troubled by it. Nerds are nerds because of their poor grasp of human social interaction. Because of this failing they are prone to social fallacies, see “Five Geek Social Fallacies”.

    Disastrous utopian ideologies like Marxism, Libertarianism and the Cult of Reason are nothing but social fallacies writ large. Homo Economicus, Homo Sovieticus, man as a rational animal, etc. Marxism was, of course, not something invented by the 90 IQ laboring masses, but by nerds.

    We already have plenty of smart, well read, well educated, clueless people experimenting with their favorite social policies from the top down.

    You guys have to get over the idea that anyone is actually implementing the will of the low IQ masses. Huey Long is dead. Clever sillies are already in charge implementing clever silly policies. They’re the ones ruining everything.

    Now, more than ever, nerds need to be locked in their labs and kept well away from politics.

    You guys are going to let them get terminators though.


    admin Reply:

    “You guys are going to let them get terminators though.” — Do you think it could be stopped?


    Handle Reply:



    VXXC Reply:

    “As for your boolean agenda – I’ll say cage the nerds.” – Agree. If those are the choices.

    “Huey Long is dead. Clever sillies are already in charge implementing clever silly policies. They’re the ones ruining everything.”

    All very true. Who are these masses seeking to rob others of the fruits of their labors? Who are you talking about? As if it’s 1914 and the Socialist party is so exciting and new. The masses just want to work, live and get on with their lives. Clever sillies in government and clever psychopaths in finance are robbing everyone of everything, using the retarded poor as an excuse. Yes they vote but even their hearts aren’t in it, there’s no Red Flags when I go to vote or any passion. My voting place is majority urban black BTW. Seriously they don’t give a shit anymore either. Trust me they’re beat.

    Look tech only slightly less than finance is dependent on Credit&Fiat. When that goes tech is back down to earth. Perhaps the rhetoric should proceed it.


    Puzzle Pirate (@PuzzlePirate) Reply:

    “All very true. Who are these masses seeking to rob others of the fruits of their labors? Who are you talking about?”

    I think of it this way – America has an undead problem. At the top we have vampires sucking our blood dry. At the bottom we have zombies who want to cannibalize everything. Now the vampires tell the humans they will protect us from the zombies and the zombies tell us we should join them, but actually both are working together to kill us all.


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 6:26 pm Reply | Quote
  • Uland Says:

    Autastics not only rely on others to organize them socially,but the objective uses of what they create are essentially extensions of existing social behaviors they, as Autists, wouldn’t recognize or at the very least understand enough to create useful tools for enabling .
    So, while they may innovate by recognizing abstract/patterns , the Steve Jobs of the world are the ones saying no, really, these idiots are all going to want a computer in their homes.Autists respond: Uh, okay. Just show me to the puzzle table & Jobs is like ok, I’ll bring chocolate milk in before nap time.


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 7:16 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brother Nihil Says:

    I like to encourage autistic and aspy nerds to fully embrace their nature and seek world domination as a technical exercise. For me, it’s more honest and interesting than watching them try to act like Progressives. There is nothing more dangerous than an autistic pseudo-Progressive!

    Anyway, this was the idea behind Omega League (, which was one of my all time greatest trolls. The reaction of Michael Anissimov to the site, just as Singularitiarianism was going mainstream, was priceless (“it’s not fair!”), but to be fair I think he’s moved on since then. Yudkowsky’s crowd, on the other, still seems to believe that they are the improvers and saviors of humanity, which is where most of the really destructive ideologies come from. I would rather encourage these freaks to be their mutant, supervillain selves and push the world toward some truly new, post-progressive regime, than to be slaves of Progressives who are masters of moralistic manipulation games.

    –Brother Nihil, aka Alpha Omega, aka Darth Imperius, aka Baron Ludwig von Nichts, aka Galdruxian


    admin Reply:

    This evidently needs checking out … (I’m assuming “Omega League” will access it?)


    piwtd Reply:

    Is the name meant to be reference to Teilhard de Chardin?


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 7:21 pm Reply | Quote
  • Uland Says:

    (Continued) meanwhile, the higher functioning puzzlers are asking why they are being used to create stuff they don’t care about ,wondering if they really need Jobs (in both senses, I suppose).Jobs certainly needs them, of course. So they take their toys and go home. Things go downhill, for a while, but people revert to what it was like before they had these tools -again, stuff that helped them do things they were already doing (some will conflate the tool with the objective & death spiral, I bet.) Cut to Grandmas’ basement , where pale and scrubby autistics learn what became of people like them throughout most of history; they’ll be tolerated, at best, by their families and kept alive (sometimes grudgingly).
    (This hypothetical presupposes that Autistics aren’t a contemporary phenomena.)
    The most interesting thing about this scenario: about %80 of humanity won’t have taken much notice. They’re just pissed they have to wait in line at the bank .)


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 7:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • Dan Says:

    “From Neo-Marxists to Neoreactionaries, there is a reasonably lucid understanding that nerd competence is the only economic resource that matters much anymore”

    Land for food production and natural resources such as energy and water matter a lot. A K-selected population is an important resource for reasons beyond technological competence, such as a tendency to reproduce within your economic means rather than to reproduce right up to the impoverishing limit. Societal trust is a huge economic asset that we might be frittering away faster than any other.


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 8:08 pm Reply | Quote
  • Nick B. Steves Says:

    I think there is probably only so much deliciousness we’re going to be able to squeeze out of nerds. We’re well into diminishing returns already.

    The wings are melting.

    Mother Nature is a bitch, but a very wise one.


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 8:29 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alex Says:

    Either defend the nerds against the masses, or help the masses to put the nerds in their place.

    There’s the rub. If the nerds require good jocks to “defend” them from the bad jocks (and who else will do it?) then Nerd Power is in much the same position as feminism, which would t vanish tomorrow if enough men stopped believing in it.

    (Until the nerds get their drone armies up and running.)


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 10:04 pm Reply | Quote
  • iParallax Says:

    “There’s no way this doesn’t get incredibly ugly.”

    For all the random things I write about, this is the conclusion I’m always getting at. I imagine that a lot of people online picture me wearing a tin-foil hat, and people IRL just figure I must have left it at home.


    Posted on March 21st, 2014 at 10:34 pm Reply | Quote
  • Foseti Says:

    Neocameralism is simply the (there’s really only one) modern form of corporate governance applied to states.

    If that’s autistic, so is every company in existence above the level of a limited partnership.

    The entire modern economy is therefore autistic in Anissimovian terms.

    The term autistic is thus reduced to meaninglessness.

    Plus, with all due respect to Anissimov, is it really less autistic to put up posts arguing that Clovis IV was a good king and thus an 8th-Century style monarchy in the 21st-Century is therefore likely to be good?

    I think that question pretty much answers itself.


    Michael Anissimov Reply:

    Government is a different beast than private-sector enterprise. There is a reason that a distinction between the two has been made throughout all of human history.

    Business isn’t autistic, but trying to get corporatism to swallow all human affairs, including government, under its umbrella certainly is.

    To clarify, I never advocated 8th century monarchy in the 21st century. Posts appraising the performance of Frankish kings should not be interpreted as such.


    Nick B. Steves Reply:


    You cannot run a family based solely on the return on capital. And by extension, you cannot run a community or a city or a state or a nation that way. That’s not to say that return on capital is nothing, but it can never be the principal thing. The principal things are deeper, have much longer time horizons than that. HK and Singapore are supremely well run. Except for one minor detail: birth rates. In other words, not quite well run enough. They are dying, whilst exploding with an appearance of life. It’s borrowed. From the future. And eventually there’ll be nothing with which to pay it back. Biology is smart.


    RiverC Reply:

    Question: Does neocameralism require that ‘profit’ be measured in dollars? The concept itself has nothing, originally, to do with money at all and its application to positive revenue flow is metaphoric.


    Antisthenean Reply:

    Good point. I don’t see why, ideologically, it would be so coarse as to only value profit in dollars and cents.

    Then again, in order to measure something (at least in the everyday sense) it really has to be quantifiable so I don’t know where that leaves us.

    RiverC Reply:

    Human beings are rational actors if you begin to add ‘value numbers’ to ‘irrational’ things like prestige. What isn’t rational is how values are assigned or arranged; if we can ‘value’ something that isn’t money-value, why can we not ‘profit’ in something that is not money-profit? Prosperity at a minimum level is required for survival; any neo-cameralist state that wants to truly take advantage of its tendency towards optimization needs to find a way to apply optimization to non ‘money’ measures of value.

    Foseti Reply:

    @Nick B Steves

    Now we’re getting somewhere interesting.

    No one disputes that the goal of society is a good citizenry, but the question is what sort of government provides that outcome.

    As best I can tell, we only have two theories of governance that have been expressed.

    The first is the capitalist. As Adam Smith noted, the best corporations (by all measures) are the ones that are operated for clear, measurable and selfish motives.

    The second is the communist. In this system, corporations are run for the benefit of everyone in the world.

    Unsurprisingly, corporations run on the latter principle have found an incredibly large number of ways to suck. Not coincidentally, so have 20th Century governments run on the same principle.

    I think it’s nearly impossible to overstate the ways in which everyone would be better off if we had an efficiently, effective, and responsive government.


    Antisthenean Reply:

    Whenever I bring this up in arguments against socialists, they always retort that governance and the economy are ‘not isomorphic’ and can’t be argued about by analogy. I haven’t looked into why that should be the case though.

    Still, in 2014 it should be second nature to be suspicious of anyone claiming to act unconditionally in the interests of ‘everyone’. That just seems intuitively obvious.

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    What are the control variables here? Are you trying to change the way people are organized (concentrated or dispersed responsibility)? Are you trying to change the level of honesty on the part of the rulers (get them to stop lying so much about how altruistic they are)? Or are you trying to change the culture (family is important vs. wealth is important vs. this time we really mean it about being hyper-altruistic)?

    Is fixing what’s wrong with Singapore a job for statesmen or a job for priests?

    If the priests teach people perverse things, or fail to teach people proper things, about who or what is worthy of their loyalty, what should the statesmen do differently?

    Posted on March 22nd, 2014 at 2:29 am Reply | Quote
  • Antisthenean Says:

    Criteria for nerdhood?


    admin Reply:

    A Silicon Valley paycheck, or close analog.


    Antisthenean Reply:

    I’d imagine a fair-sized proportion of the military (tech and eng) would qualify as well, no?


    Handle Reply:


    Posted on March 22nd, 2014 at 7:15 am Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    My Japanese dictionary translates “with all due respect” as: “sorry to be rude, but…”

    You need Exit to get perspective, indeed.


    Antisthenean Reply:

    The tacit principles that found any system are best examined from outside of that system. Innovations from within it are often not possible. Korzybski wrote a lot of very useful material about this, could easily be applied to NRx and global politics.


    Posted on March 22nd, 2014 at 9:46 am Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    This post is Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog in essay form.


    Posted on March 22nd, 2014 at 1:43 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    “only two basic human types populating this planet. There are autistic nerds, who alone are capable of participating effectively in the advanced technological processes that characterize the emerging economy, and there is everybody else.” = Premise Fail. This simply isn’t true and never will be. I can dissect it I suppose but I’m guessing you’ll reject it.

    Automation/Software –These are tools and best understood as tools. That you can program means you have learned a skill, one quite valuable at the present time if you can negotiate effectively for compensation. We happen to have a large amount of money flowing into Tech and it’s caused a Boom in these industries, and yes I’m aware that there’s chips in everything now, all the fantastic medical breakthroughs – and by the way how many and how much of these advances are due to the commoditization and democratization of the technology?

    Technology gives us tools, these happen to be powerful and to us amazing tools. Which are being made simpler all the time, including the programming interfaces [languages]. Depending I suppose I what’s simple to a programmer.

    How much of tech’s wealth is consumer commodity purchase driven? And how much of that consumer purchasing power is DEBT ? Debt –The Bomb that’s underneath everything now?

    There are so many other trades that led to this Trade of “Nerd”, and most of them are still here in one quite valuable form or another. I will believe Humanity is obsolete when I see it.

    Finally even if I accept your premise of nerds and the rest, well my money’s on the rest. As to enslave the Nerds – um, er you’ve answered your own question. Steve Jobs for instance enslaved them, bullied them, browbeat them. They did well financially if they lived in the West, not so sure about China. The Chinese have enslaved them. Want me to go on?

    And if America falls to say Meso-America…then MS-13 will enslave them.

    BTW I’m not sure I’d go around talking about Bullies to anyone but my Mother. Really. Bad idea.


    RiverC Reply:

    Simpler is meaningless. Do you program? You make interfaces simpler at a near 1:1 ratio of making them less powerful. There are better ways to organize things if you have foreknowledge of particular activities (i.e. IDE’s that use Intellisense make programming ‘easier’ (faster.)) and instant search for programming terms/syntax makes them more accessible, but when it gets right down to it most of us who do quote-unquote real programming use VI a lot.

    VI is a text editor that does not support the mouse.

    But if you can tell us what sort of more limited activities you’d like to do (and you can call it programming if you’d like) we can certainly build you an interface to do some of that, maybe all of it.

    In the end however, this advance is reverse-logrithmic; easy-to-use programming languages break instantaneously when you go out of their use case. The ease-of-use is increasing slowly, and perhaps even more slowly with each advance.When I did micro-controllers, if there is not a C compiler for that chipset you write assembly code. I’m sure many devices that are invented do not also have special compilers for them; some may not even have an assembly compiler.


    Posted on March 22nd, 2014 at 9:05 pm Reply | Quote
  • seriouslypleasedropit Says:

    On nerds. (I.m standing on the shoulders of giants here.)

    [Edited to remove shouting — In future please avoid all-caps in the first place]


    Posted on March 26th, 2014 at 9:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • Jabberwocky Says:

    You all realize there are nerds who specialize in warfare and combat? Just making a random point as a high IQ Assperger type. I have a hard time staying within the general flow of conversations, but I know all types of ways to kill things.


    Posted on March 27th, 2014 at 11:39 pm Reply | Quote
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