This paleo-reactionary outline and critique of Moldbug is superbly done, if (of course) fundamentally unconvincing to those of a Tech-Comm persuasion. In particular, it’s hard to imagine a more incisive series of feature-not-bug points than this one:
That, then, covers the main aspects and positive sides of Moldbug’s thought. But now it is time to point out his many shortcomings. […] All of them ultimately flow from three things: 1) his “reservationist epistemology” which denies a place for sources of knowledge outside of “irreducible and untranscendable reason,” 2) his Bodinian (and ultimately Roman) conception of sovereignty, and 3) his Machiavellianism and frequent resort to raison d’etat.
If the conclusion drawn is that Moldbug — all royalist trolling aside — is in fact a consistent Cold Modernist, clarification is served.
While not quite living up to its (superb) title, this critical leftist exploration of the NRx-AI nexus makes some suggestive connections.
… in the decades since, as the consumer-oriented liberalism of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs gave way to the technological authoritarianism of Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, this strange foundation paved the way for even stranger tendencies. The strangest of these is known as “neoreaction,” or, in a distorted echo of Eliezer Yudkowsky’s vision, the “Dark Enlightenment.” It emerged from the same chaotic process that yielded the anarchic political collective Anonymous, a product of the hivemind generated by the cybernetic assemblages of social media. More than a school of thought, it resembles a meme. The genealogy of this new intellectual current is refracted in the mirror of the most dangerous meme ever created: Roko’s Basilisk.
The further right Silicon Valley shifts, the more dangerous their machines will become.
Running the connection through Roko’s Basilisk is sufficiently non-obvious that Sandifer’s book (which does the same) clearly merited a mention.
(Park MacDougald does it better, though, 1, 2.)
We [neoreactionaries] are born of these intellectuals ourselves. We come from the same social classes, we attended the same institutions for education, and we have many of the same shared cultural touchstones. We’re not so far away; we fit in well to Progressive society. Hence the crippling Progressive paranoia currently cutting free speech out of our culture: make truth your enemy and you never sleep soundly again.
(Much else of interest at the link, despite the sadly typical ‘transcendence’ and ‘community’ silliness.)
ADDED: Cowen comments.
It’s probably unrealistic right now to think the non-demented Left is going to be able to cut the hysterical weeping long enough to realize: You’re going to have to put your social ideals into Neocameral format if you want to play in the 21st century.
They really could do that. Sovereign stock distribution could be wholly egalitarian. If Neo-Maoism seeks a sensible sized patch, they should clearly be given one. (That would be a Neo-Maoist garbage disposal program, as far as everyone else is concerned.) At the highest level, NRx is first-order politics neutral. Do whatever you want, within precisely formalized bounds.
There’s no audience for this point yet. Eventually there will be.
“But … but .. the whole point of the Left is that we don’t think government is a business!” — Then call it a ‘co-op’ or some equivalent bullshit. Jesus, use some imagination.
Late to this, which is what the comparatively honest faction of the Cathedral is seeing.
Main XS-specific quibbles:
(1) No, I didn’t have anything to do with The Dark Enlightenment blog. Nor, I’m highly confident, did Curtis Yarvin. I’m especially confident that the Open Letter was not written as an introduction to the DE.
ADDED: See this TDE statement.
(2) I have no social connections at all with the Lesser God-tier of SV. (If I did, I’d brag about it all the time.)
(3) Anyone who thinks this usage of echoes is non-ironic needs a Kek-check.
(4) The RamZPaul link is complete black-thread and duct tape conspiracism. (C’mon, seriously, that’s obvious, isn’t it?) A little reciprocal linkage isn’t a social relationship. We both merely acknowledge that the other guy exists.
Induction would suggest there are some other howlers beyond my epistemological horizon. Frankly, though, I don’t see much deliberate malevolence here. Cramer seems to be doing his best to understand what’s going on, and to remain as calm as possible about it. If he’s primarily interested in the Alt-Right, I’d recommend much more attention to Richard Spencer, and much less to Neoreaction. My recommendation to NRx, naturally, is to vindicate that suggestion.
Broken on Twitter, but containing far too much insight into traumatic discrimination disorder to leave there:
NRx and Alt Right share just about one thing in common, but because that thing is “hating the media” the media naturally can’t tell them apart.
(Sentence unchanged, but glued back together, with one semiotic shortcut — “bc” for “because” — edited up into English)
For historical reference, this was the occasion.
Have to plug in a link to this (at Columbia) for history’s sake.
“We have edited this post, because the original tone of the post was inappropriate for the severity of its content.”
The comment thread turns into a dark irony envelopment exercise some time before its end. (Digressive sub-question: When was it exactly that irony become exclusively and bitingly right-wing?)
ADDED: “The Dark Enlightenment doesn’t even have good memes.”
The reason neocameralism makes sense is that joint-stock companies basically work.
(Read the whole thing — of course.)
This isn’t something XS has done before, but it seems necessary to do it now. Here (from October last year) is an anticipation of where this blog finds itself right now. Perhaps NRx was from the beginning part of the Cathedral funeral process.
Some serious adjustment is called for. An enemy that can suffer a defeat this stupendous clearly isn’t a radically intimidating adversary. We can already see beyond it. The conflict has moved on.
My current (uncertain) take: The regime analyzed by classical NRx has descended into a deeply morbid state. Things will get worse for it, perhaps catastrophically, more quickly than we yet imagine, in a cascade of collapse. All the trends that count against it are still strengthening, in many case exponentially. It would be an analytical error to remain fixated upon its corpse.
Demotism is, of course, undefeated (perhaps even temporarily reinforced). The Cathedral, however, appears mortally wounded. This year was — quite plausibly — its 1989.
ADDED: To be a little clearer, it isn’t really 1989, it’s 1517. The quasi-universal authority of a church died (as a result of techonomic media innovation, among other factors).