The Hacker News discussion thread on The Moldbug Affair is not to be missed. To call it ‘historic’ wouldn’t be (much of) and exaggeration. It’s well-worth a look just for the Urbit insights alone. In addition (and quite separately from the last point) ‘yarvin9’ pops up to make an impressive demonstration of not groveling to the mob. That, hopefully, could provide a model for the many others who will find themselves in analogous witch-trial hot-seats over the months and years to come.
A few highlights.
devalier , on Urbit:
It wasn’t the code itself that I learned from. I have more been enriched and stimulated by reading the blog posts, documentation, hacker news threads, and mailing list. A couple of the more interesting ideas are:
* He created Nock, which in a way is bytecode language, like compiled java bytecode or the .NET CIL. But his idea was that this bytecode should be the simplest possible thing, far, far simpler than the CLR. In fact, it should be versioned in Kelvin versioning, starting at 5,000 and counting down, until it is finally perfected and will never need to change. Going forward, all consumer apps will always compile down to this bytecode. All new hardware platforms can build interpreters for this bytecode. I think that is a pretty novel and neat approach. If it caught on, it would ensure that any program we wrote now could be run for the next thousand years.
* His view is that to beat spam, you simply need to have a finite number of cryptographically secured identities. This number can be large. But if it is finite, that means accounts will not be costless, which means the market over time will be able to solve the problems of trust and filtering out spam in a way far superior to how it works today.
It’s hard to do the ideas justice by trying to repeat them myself. In reading through the material it was just lots of little things, where I said to myself, “Ah, that is a neat solution to that problem, I wonder if he’ll be able to make it work.”
Quality sarcasm from 13thLetter:
What a crazy coincidence. This talk was accepted when nobody knew who Yarvin was, but now that you and your friends want to cast him out into the wilderness for disagreeing with your political opinions, all of a sudden you realize that the talk was technically uninteresting anyway. What are the odds, huh?
yarvin9 on racism:
I shouldn’t post as urbit. Quite a few other people, few of whom agree with me on anything, have worked on the project.
The word “racist” and its conjugations does not appear in the English language until the 1920s – see Peter Frost’s cultural history *. If you asked Shakespeare if he was a “racist,” he would not know what you meant.
“Racist” is essentially a term of abuse which no group or party has ever applied to itself. Like most such epithets, it has two meanings – a clear objective one, describing a person who fails to believe in the anthropological theories of human equality which became first popular, then universal in the mid-20th century; and a caricature of the vices, personal or political, typically engaged in by such a foul unbeliever.
[This non-apology under pressure is truly glorious]
topynate on the realistic micro-sociology of crimethink definition:
Kicking people from your tech conference because they were racist outside of it hands veto power to whoever determines what racism is and when something is ‘too racist’. The same goes for the other beyond-the-pale isms like sexism, fascism, etc.
paxdickinson on precedent:
It’ll be [Alex Miller’s] decision next time too. And now that the Red Guards know he’ll succumb to even the slightest bit of pressure, there will certainly be a next time.
convexfunction on prophecy:
It’s funny because he definitely saw this coming.
djur on “this is so … I can’t even …”
This is a core tenet of Moldbuggian neoreaction, that American and European politics are run by a “Cathedral” that adheres to communist beliefs. Claiming that mainstream political positions are communism is absolutely insane.
corporealist on perspective:
This guy is a rightwinger (outside of his industry) and somebody didn’t like it. What an embarrassment. They’re proving the right’s points.
ShardPhoenix on more perspective:
… socialism is much worse than racism. Socialism (actual socialism, not “social democracy” aka capitalist welfare state) destroys countries (eg North Korea), while racism is merely a moderate problem (eg South Korea is very racist but doing fine).
ADDED: So I guess the Streisand Effect really is a thing.