Twitter cuts (#59)

57 Responses to this entry

  • Twitter cuts (#59) | Neoreactive Says:

    […] Twitter cuts (#59) […]

    Posted on April 12th, 2016 at 4:01 pm Reply | Quote
  • Tentative Joiner Says:

    >Progressives aren’t running on your epistemology. Or even your metaphysics.

    The difference in epistemology and meta-epistemology (Gnon-theology) is a likely major factor why Less Wrongers disillusioned with progress end up in NRx or generating idiosyncratic minimalist rightisms. Other shared traits that guide them include (meta×n-)contrarianism, Lovecraftian and science fiction (“hard right“) aesthetics, insight porn addiction and use of the essay over the news article form.

    From the link above:

    [W]hat makes ‘The Cold Equations’ hard sf is the fact that there are rules that must be obeyed, rules in the face of which common human feeling is irrelevant.

    The hard sf universe, therefore, is a constrained universe. Much has been achieved, much can be achieved, but there are limits in the shape of the laws of nature, the state of knowledge about science. If all fiction deals in conflict, then, at its core, a hard sf story sets up as its antagonist not a figure of evil, of moral corruption, but the cold, unfeeling cosmos. Every hard sf story involves coming up against the limits of what can be done in accord with the current state of knowledge, though the story may then go on to record submission to the rules (as ‘The Cold Equations’ does), or it may present an exceptional hero figure, the competent man, finding a way to circumvent or avoid the law. I’ll come back shortly to the figure of the competent man, but for now I will note that for the common mass of humanity there is no alternative to submission to the law, and their individual feelings, wishes and desires have no part to play in an entirely intellectual engagement with the laws of nature. Which may go some way towards explaining why characterization has never been a strong point of hard sf stories.

    [Reply]

    Tentative Joiner Reply:

    Oh, and of course, functional programming is a shared interest. Who could forget functional programming?

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 12th, 2016 at 5:31 pm Reply | Quote
  • Herbert Z. Oinlein Says:

    “It’s interesting that, when progressives leave the reservation, they tend to end up on the alt-right.”

    If it is real, I’d like enough examples to, at the very least, hint at a trend. Is that too much to ask for, I wonder. The comparison seems to rely on abbreviation/caricature. But then again, twitter tends to make people dull. Maybe I’m asking for too little.

    (I still don’t understand why you have a whole rubric for this stuff.)

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    Aristocles Invictus Reply:

    The majority on the Alt-Right, much like NRx, are former libertarians, i.e. classical liberals, not progressives. That’s true for the figureheads of the movement anyways.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 12th, 2016 at 6:43 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    Speaking as someone who was running an alternative right or dissident right blog back in 2008 and the ten years before, yes, NRX looks to us like an offshoot of our ideas adapted for libertarians with the fiction of “exit.” There have been other libertarian hybrids before; you might see NRX as a theoretical wing of the classical liberal wing of the paleoconservative movement, since its beliefs are exactly the same (including the Benedict Option or “exit”).

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 12th, 2016 at 7:24 pm Reply | Quote
  • Mariani Says:

    When he says “Communist campaign against Less Wrong,” by “Less Wrong” does he just mean positivism in general? Because that’s a pretty obtuse way of putting it, unless LW has actually been targeted by communists

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 12th, 2016 at 7:49 pm Reply | Quote
  • Frog Do Says:

    This is about “Neoreaction a Basilisk”, a book comming out soon by one of the tumblr commies, about Yudkowsky-Yarvin-Landism, claiming that they are basically cladistically related in idea-space. It’s obviously not directed at Yarvin or Land, given that the author’s a leftist, so by process of elimination it’s against Yudkowsky, and therefore Less Wrong.

    [Reply]

    Herbert Z. Oinlein Reply:

    Hey, thanks for dropping by with the backdrop. The few excerpts that I found online don’t read like the usual dolt-invective. Instead, it seemed sufficiently well articulated to be prone to subtle failure modes.

    [Reply]

    Jesse M. Reply:

    If you read the excerpt Sandifer has posted, the idea that his main target is Yudkowsky doesn’t seem true at all (where do you get the idea that a leftist wouldn’t be eager to write up a criticism of a right-wing target, particularly one that tends to go under the radar of more well-known leftist commentators?) In the excerpt, his criticisms of Yudkowsky are psychological, not political–he’s basically saying Yudkowsky has gone too far in certain directions that autodidact nerds in general tend to be pulled in, like OCD perfectionism about rooting out all error and approaching life in a perfectly rational way, and thinking of oneself as the smartest person in the room and therefore being too mistrustful of any form of intellectual authority. After quoting a bit from Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality which show Harry complaining about how all the adults in his life are clearly his intellectual inferiors, Sandifer writes the following about Yudkowsky, which is about the harshest criticism of him in the excerpt but is still fairly sympathetic and entirely non-political:

    Yes, it’s clear that Yudkowsky is at times one of the most singularly punchable people in the entire history of the species; and to be fair,Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is unequivocal about the fact that Harry is. But there’s something genuinely moving about this passage, and moreover that something is a fundamental part of Yudkowsky’s appeal. Indeed, it’s in some ways the most basic similarity between him and Moldbug: they are both animated by an entirely sympathetic anger that people with power are making stupid, elementary errors. But what’s really important is how this sheds light on what exactly Yudkowsky is fleeing from, and in turn on why the Basilisk is the monster lurking at the heart of his intellectual labyrinth. Yudkowsky isn’t just running from error; he’s running from the idea of authority. The real horror of the Basilisk is that the AI at the end of the universe is just another third grade teacher who doesn’t care if you understand the material, just if you apply the rote method being taught.

    On the other hand, Sandifer also talks about Land and Moldbug, and his criticisms are quite clearly about their politics, not their psychologies. So if the rest of the book follows suit, I would predict that to the extent that it’s talking about “cladistic relations” between Yudkowsky and Land/Moldbug, the point will mainly be that Yudkowsky illustrates a certain kind of intellectual folly common in autodidact nerds, which in the neoreactiories (particularly Moldbug, who judging from the excerpt will be the focus more than Land) is combined with certain kinds of political views that Sandifer finds repugnant (anti-democracy, anti-racial-equality-and-feminism, social darwinism, etc.). I doubt there will be any concerted effort to show that Yudkowsky, too, must be secretly sympathetic to these kinds of political views, or to condemn him or his fellow LessWrongers in any kind of righteous moral sense as Chelikov seems to assume in the tweets above.

    [Reply]

    Phil Sandifer Reply:

    I haven’t actually measured, but my sense writing it was that I was equally focused on all three writers. If someone got more attention, it was probably Land, who is of the three by far the one I find most interesting.

    In any case, yeah, I do not subject Yudkowsky to a political critique, and am very clear on the fact that he is not a neoreactionary. And even when dealing with Moldbug and Land, although I am certainly repulsed by certain aspects of their political views (including some of the ones Jesse identifies) and I don’t try to hide that fact, it’s not the whole of my objection , and I definitely do considerably more than just go “ew, racist.”

    For the most part, it’s a book about eschatology and horror philosophy that uses Yudkowsky, Moldbug, and Land as its primary lens. And although it spells out the what I view as the problems with all three, it’s in the end more interested in subversion than refutation. Very much a book that aspires to be criticized for having subtle failure modes. 🙂

    Nydwracu has not read it, and I admit I’m finding his repeated and vocal misrepresentations of it on the basis of no evidence somewhat irritating.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Do we know that Nydwracu was focusing his criticism on your book? There’s no specific mention of it in this tweet-storm. He’s more of a competent net-hound than I am, so I’d assumed he was tapping into wider currents. (That’s certainly what the lead tweet suggests.)

    Phil Sandifer Reply:

    https://twitter.com/nydwracu/status/719976107538300928, in reply to someone asking what he was talking about, makes it pretty clear that my book is at least one of his major targets, and on Tumblr refers to it as a “an intentional PR attack on Yudkowsky” (http://severnayazemlya.tumblr.com/post/142620662808/but-sev-whats-your-metaphysics-i-agree-with), so I’m inclined to find it pretty clear at least, narcissistic as that may be.

    admin Reply:

    Your book is obviously in a catalytic position, but N. explicitly denies that it exhausts the point.

    Also:

    Phil Sandifer Reply:

    I am aware, yes, Still rather seems to be a sizable chunk of the point.

    (And for what it’s worth, I’d not have popped into comments here had Frog Do not already made the connection and started a conversation specifically about it.)

    admin Reply:

    FWIW it’s worth, you’re very welcome to pop into the comments, with or without pretext.

    Grayscale Plaid Reply:

    1. Do you plan to include Moldbug’s critique of Yudkowski? Seems important.
    2. I take issue with this claim: “[Yudkowski and Moldbug] are both animated by an entirely sympathetic anger that people with power are making stupid, elementary errors.” I don’t have any input on Yudkowski, but my read on Moldbug is entirely different. Specifically, that Moldbug thinks the people with power are behaving perfectly rationally- for them. The problem arises when the incentive structures of democracy mean that the rational behavior for the people with power is to co-opt society’s information arms as a propaganda mill in order to protect and expand that power. It’s not that the leadership is stupid; it’s that the nature of their authority makes them enemies of the population they nominally represent.

    Phil Sandifer Reply:

    1. I talk about at least one critique of Yudkowsky on Moldbug’s part, in “How Dawkins Got Pwned,” which is the only one I’m aware of, but I could well have missed one; I didn’t read every single essay of Moldbug’s. If there’s another, I’d appreciate a link; the final text isn’t locked yet.
    2. I think that’s tough to square away with his vocal conviction that if only the world were run by a few tech guys it would all be OK.

    goat Reply:

    “2. I think that’s tough to square away with his vocal conviction that if only the world were run by a few tech guys it would all be OK.”

    Phil, it’s not clear that you understand the ideas which NRx actually represents. The upshot of the Moldbugian analysis is that our bureaucracy is an emergent, self-coordinating phenomenon.

    The central idea is that our bureaucrats are constrained by the cathedral synopsis, itself emergently selected – not for ideas and policies which are necessarily beneficial to the polity, but for ideas which are selected for on the basis of their ability to propagate, achieve power, and capture the state.

    Even if any individual bureaucrat in our oligarchy wanted to defy the synopsis, they are unable to, as they would find themselves replaced with bureaucrats selected for compliance.

    This is the essence of what Moldbug wrote about. Whether it is correct or not, or has any merit, it should be critiqued on that basis. It’s not just “find some smart nerdy dudes to run the country”. He makes it perfectly clear that the top levels of our bureaucratic oligarchy are already run by people who are plenty smart (if not necessarily genius) – indeed, they are in part selected for their ability to pass difficult cognitive performance tests provided by some of the top intellectual institutions on the planet. (They are also selected for on their ability to signal compliance with our nontheistic Christian religion, by writing humanities essays etc.)

    Moldbug repeatedly emphasizes in his writing that you don’t need genius level super-nerds to run the country, just reasonably smart people, combined with an incentive structure that isn’t corrupted by a bizarre and arbitrary selection process like the one we have. If your selection process is corrupt, appointing Sergey Brin is not going to save it.

    If this is not clear to you, and if you are interested in intellectual honesty and critiquing NRx on its actual merits, you may want to scrap your book and start from scratch.

    goat Reply:

    PS. the other critically important factor of NRx analysis is in creating a system that doesn’t degenerate back into where we are now.

    i.e., is it possible to create a machine state that doesn’t converge toward Brezhnevland? Is neo-cameralism a solution toward this end? That’s what matters here. If you aren’t critiquing along those lines, you aren’t critiquing Moldbug, but a strawman.

    Mariani Reply:

    @Phil Sandifier way to block that someone, jerk.

    Phil Sandifer Reply:

    @Mariani

    Sorry, not sure what you’re talking about.

    nydwracu Reply:

    1. I talk about at least one critique of Yudkowsky on Moldbug’s part, in “How Dawkins Got Pwned,” which is the only one I’m aware of, but I could well have missed one; I didn’t read every single essay of Moldbug’s. If there’s another, I’d appreciate a link; the final text isn’t locked yet.

    Interstitial comments on Dawkins, but I assume that’s the one you’ve already read. The in-depth version is here — “Bayesian inference certainly does not offer any suggestion that you should look at who’s pulling balls out of the urn and see what he has up his sleeves.” — and in the comments: “There are always people looking for a formula for truth. Look at Marxism, for God’s sake. Extremely smart and articulate people, such as Yudkowsky and his ilk, need to actively work to ensure that they are not inadvertently purveying any such panacea. A lack of intent to purvey such is necessary, but not sufficient.” Also here: “My main problem with the Yudkowskian way of thinking is that in my experience, most of my past errors have been the result not of miscalculating the answer, but of not asking the right question. If Bayesian analysis can help me with this, please let me know how!”

    2. I think that’s tough to square away with his vocal conviction that if only the world were run by a few tech guys it would all be OK.

    A few tech guys? A cabal of people who apply his methods and are willing to dispense with old things that don’t work, sure, but if your litmus test for ‘neoreactionary’ is ‘someone who thinks a benevolent dictator would be great’…

    Phil Sandifer Reply:

    I was answering a question about Moldbug specifically, who has offered a “if you only put some sensible tech people in charge it would be fine” argument in the past. (Alas, my pre-morning-coffee Google-Fu is proving weak; I could have sworn it was in the AMA or one of the commentaries on the LambdaConf kerfuffle, but I’m not finding the exact quote I’m recalling. Sorry.) It is worth noting that this suggestion seems to carry its own selection-process, however; it’s very much not “if only some smart tech people ran for office” and much closer to “government should hire like Google does.” But all the same, I do think one of the major differences between Moldbug and Land is that Moldbug is much more inclined towards a heroic model. (Which is unsurprising given his debt to Carlyle.) There’s some ambiguity/places where Moldbug tries to curtail this tendency, but the heroic tendency keeps reasserting itself.

    More broadly, I generally duck attempts to make statements about NRx in the broad case; the book sticks closely to Moldbug and Land (as well as the non-NRx Yudkowsky). And Moldbug’s specific diagnoses of contemporary bureaucracy’s failure modes are not an aspect of his thought I spend a ton of time on. So for the most part, reading your two comments, my reaction is roughly “sure, yes, but that’s not really an objection to anything I wrote.” And going back to the original question to which you find my answer unsatisfying, I would point out that the quotation alleges that Moldbug is angry that “people with power are making stupid, elementary errors.” This is a distinct claim from “people with power are stupid.”

    [Reply]

    goat Reply:

    @Phil

    Fair enough, if your book is more about the heroic/Carlyle aspect. You seem like a decent, civil person, not like the spear-shaking idiots (on either side), and I don’t intend to come across as rudely dismissing your project without even having read it.

    But back to the point, my interpretation of Moldbug is not “government should hire like Google does.”, but rather, “government should actually BE google”. If that makes sense.

    I just remembered that I had read an article of yours a while ago, regarding the Flint debacle, linked in the Yarvin AMA: http://www.eruditorumpress.com/blog/the-dark-enlightenment-of-flint/

    Quoting you here: “What’s striking about the Emergency Manager position is that it’s more or less exactly what Mencius Moldbug proposes as the ideal system of government. Moldbug advocates for, essentially, government by CEO – an individual manager with absolute power subject to oversight by a board of directors who can replace him, with the metric for whether a government is successful being the degree to which the government turns a profit.”

    I remember reading that and thinking “has this guy even read anything Moldbug has written at all?”

    (Actually, that whole article is pretty nasty, bad-faith. But I think you’re just preaching to your choir, and you seem civil and good-faith in these comments, so I give you the benefit of the doubt.)

    The point is, nowhere in Moldbug’s writing would I interpret him to suggest that a politician, appointing what amounts to an unelected, unaccountable government contractor, is a good solution to any problem. He’s certainly no fan of the defense contracting industry for example, which he has described disparagingly as beltway bandits.

    Moreover, I have never interpreted his writing as “people with power are making stupid, elementary errors.”, but more something like “governing a sovereign state is very complex, and largely a judgement call”. Describing him as “angry” or “infuriated” strikes me as an interesting observation; he always seemed to me to have a humorous, detached analysis, and consistently so.

    So I would be very much intrigued to see the Moldbug quote you refer to, but I sort of assume that you may have misinterpreted his intent. Moldbug is not a prophet, and some of his micro-solutions are surely facile and overly simplistic, but as far as I can tell the man is consistent in his outlook.

    I’ll leave you with a recent quote of his concerning the LambdaConf stuff, which I think demonstrates very well what I’ve written here. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but a serious reply, and I believe perfectly consistent with his writing and demeanor as I have described:

    “My critics are behaving very appropriately and effectively within the moral system they were trained in. Frankly, I admire them. They strike me as natural aristocrats, and I think they would be excellent people in a better world. They are intelligent, energetic, industrious, and often even witty. I would be happy to hand absolute power over to any one of them. Two would be unstable and a junta of any more than three would be downright dangerous. It’s not even the staffing that’s the problem with USG, just the org chart.”

    nydwracu Reply:

    @goat: I almost left a comment on that post to the effect that Flint is in the same position as the Belgian Empire with regard to Moldbug, and can be dismissed with the same response: while it looks superficially like what Moldbug promotes, the incentive structures are completely different. Leopold II got the Congo as a result of weak property rights, so he (with good reason) couldn’t be sure that he’d keep it, so he bled it dry in the time that he had it. The Emergency Manager got Flint as a result of some obviously stupid law, but the obviously stupid law didn’t turn Flint into a publicly-traded corporation, make him CEO, establish a board of directors, and ensure the company’s property rights over the city, so.

    The accurate way to use Flint here is to ask how many people left Flint as a result — although of course this isn’t a perfect measurement, since our dominant paradigm still holds voice over exit. (There’s also the fact that most of the inhabitants were probably too poor to leave, but that stands.)

    Phil Sandifer Reply:

    Regarding the Flint piece, I cannot help but feel like the “sure there are bunches of superficial similarities but there’s this big difference in the incentive structures” is a form of argument routinely mocked (including in recent memory by nydwracu) when employed by Marxists to distance themselves from Leninism or Maoism.

    Which is neither here nor there, ultimately. The Flint piece is ultimately (and unspokenly) indulging in a sort of spectrum model of politics whereby it’s meaningful to say that something is “somewhat neoreactionary,” and that this constitutes an equal and opposite move away from an alternate ideological pole. In reality that’s a sloppy but sometimes useful model. I cast some shade on Moldbug for similar rhetoric at points in Neoreaction a Basilisk, and so can hardly reject it outright as a criticism. But equally, I don’t think the imprecisions it introduces are inherently dealbreakers – just things one must be aware of.

    I will point out that I do talk about exit in the piece, though not in as many words, pointing out, as nydwracu does, that it’s not meaningfully possible (not least because you can’t sell a house with a known lead problem). And I think problems of that form would be, to say the least, difficult to prevent within Moldbug’s proposals, even with the transformed org chart. Certainly it seems a concern Moldbug is inappropriately disinterested in.

    But more broadly, Neoreaction a Basilisk does not share the Flint piece’s inclination to approach any of its three main subjects via analogy to real-world examples, and is much less inclined towards the specturm model.

    nydwracu Reply:

    No it isn’t. The book is part of the backdrop, but the trend would exist without the book.

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    Frog Do Reply:

    Sure, but I figured the book was a major part of why the Twitter rant happened.

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    Posted on April 12th, 2016 at 8:04 pm Reply | Quote
  • Zimriel Says:

    As for hardcore progressives joining the (rahowa wing of the) alt-right, I haven’t seen that, but I have seen a LOT of progs ending up in Islam. Cat Stevens, John Walker Lindh, Ingrid Mattson.

    [Reply]

    michael Reply:

    they used to convert to Catholicism theyre romance addicts and religion gives them a set

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 13th, 2016 at 1:04 am Reply | Quote
  • Alan J. Perrick Says:

    Anyone who isn’t redpilled on President Kennedy, that this P.O.T.U.S. was a full-on globalist with his “Civil Rights Act” is probably useless, or a self-flaggelator, or a partisan in support of the Trentian heresy (practising a religion originating at the 16th Century Council of Trent).

    Ref:: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964#Origins
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_Trent

    A.J.P.

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    Posted on April 13th, 2016 at 3:15 am Reply | Quote
  • grey enlightenment Says:

    Intellectual ties may be closer than ideological ones. Maybe that’s why there is a tendency for NRx and less wrong to commingle. They both seem to reject reductionist views of the world and what constitutes mainstream discourse

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    michael Reply:

    leftism as intellectualism is a stretch, what defines it is transcendence of reason, sure it pays lip service to reason but only as a cover and diversion. It doesnt take much reason to understand putting Aquinas and the village blacksmith on equal footing as theologians was going to end up destroying religion and hierarchy would be destroyed by the magna carta, or declaration of independence. Leftists are visionaries not engineers, like all traits they come in varying distributions and intensities and combinations. If you could get AI to do what we have tried, argue a leftist down every single rabbit hole with irrefutable evidence keeping track of closed exits along the way and after a minute the score between the two AI was leftism completely defeated, leftists still would believe. Unless something stronger pulled them away but it wont be reason they donty need no stinkin reason, reason is a tool of oppression for the small minded the unimaginative, LW will eventually turn right hes got too much of that trait many of you will go back to leftism, but there are other traits at work as well that support either side.

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    nydwracu Reply:

    I really don’t see it. NRx and LW both spread their memes by writing things on the internet, and they’re both made of people who read things on the internet. Some degree of overlap would be expected. It’s a small world.

    There are more commies from the Neon Genesis Evangelion fandom than NRx people from LW, but that doesn’t mean NGE is communist — it just means communism attracts some of the types of people who watch NGE. (This could be due to some sort of psychological similarity — say, if communism attracts nerds because it tells them they ought to rule — but it could just be that NGE is popular.)

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    Posted on April 13th, 2016 at 1:24 pm Reply | Quote
  • Grayscale Plaid Says:

    @Phil Sandifer
    1. A Reservationist Empistemology. (FWIW, it’s a short read.)

    2. Having a bunch of tech guys run the world is a bit of an oversimplification. I can’t add much to what goat said, beyond “incentive structures matter, and ours is both extremely bad and constantly getting worse.” Tech guys running the world under the current conditions would produce results no better- in fact, no different save in cosmetics- than the current crop of Harvard Law grads. If the system doesn’t change, the only thing that will change it will be the economy making contact with Stein’s Law and splattering everywhere.

    [Reply]

    Phil Sandifer Reply:

    1. Ah, excellent. Thanks. I had indeed not read that one. Will have a look and see if there’s a few sentences worth suturing into the draft somewhere.

    2. Sure, but I don’t think that takes away from the observation that Moldbug is endlessly infuriated by the tendency towards what he sees as stupid errors.

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    Tom Reply:

    > Moldbug is endlessly infuriated by the tendency towards what he sees as stupid errors.

    This a fairly banal observation. How many philosophers have there ever been worth reading that haven’t been prone to seeing stupidity everywhere they look? Is it a cornerstone of your characterisation of Moldbug’s psychology, or just an off-hand comment you’ve decided to defend at length for some reason?

    [Reply]

    Phil Sandifer Reply:

    More an off-hand comment that was challenged at length I’d say.

    Posted on April 13th, 2016 at 4:56 pm Reply | Quote
  • Grayscale Plaid Says:

    1. http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/08/reservationist-epistemology.html It’s a pretty short read, FWIW.

    2. I can’t add much to what Goat said, beyond “incentives matter, ours are bad and getting worse, and putting tech guys in charge won’t change that.” There’s a reason that formalization of power and stripping the state of it’s altruistic pretenses play such a huge part in Moldbug’s neocameralist idea: because it brought the interests of the state and the people into alignment. Under current conditions, there’s no “right person” solution to our government that stops anywhere short of Sulla.

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    Posted on April 13th, 2016 at 5:04 pm Reply | Quote
  • Frog Do Says:

    @admin
    How bizarre, I meant for my comment to be a reply to Mariani’s post. Perhaps I misclicked.

    @Jessie M.
    It is against Yudkowsky, I think, but this is not immediately obvious, nor do I think Phil Sandifer it to be, at least explicitly. I of course have not read the book, only excerpts, so my response is open to obvious correction in the future.

    Firstly, let’s start with the obvious: any grouping of people in this way is going to Imply Implications: this will be true even if it’s not the author’s explicit aim. Phil Sandifer could be writing in the best of faith (I have some reason to doubt this, nothing personal, Phil, I have low trust for people writing about politics in general), but the way these kinds of things are structured inevitably leads to these implications, especially for the less clever readers. The less clever readers are going to outnumber the clever, this is what is going to dominate the narrative.

    Secondly, (again I repeat this is not a personal attack in any way) there is historically a tendency for those on the left to disguise political disagreement under the cover of psychological analysis, going back to the fifties. Here’s just one example of how that works: I think this would be much better if Phil Sandifer were comparing the politics of Yudkowsky, Yarvin, and Land EITHER/OR their respective psychologies. You would more easily see the differences between them, and the similarities. But by deliberately not mentioning Yudkowsky’s politics, this comparison is hidden, and is going to imply a false comparison merely by being grouped together whether that was Phil Sandifer’s intention or not. If the point of the book focuses on eschatology and horrorism, I have two objections to that: firstly, as far as I am aware Yarvin is not especially focused on horrorism or eschatology at all, certainly Yudkowsky and Land are; secondly, if this was really the point of the book, the title is not indicative, “[Easily Understandable Political Term] A [Obscure Meme]” is probably not what you want to go with if you’re not writing about politics.

    Thirdly, I offer something constructive: I do believe there is a good grouping of Yudkowsky, Yarvin, and Land; that being “contemporary assessments of libertarian thought from various Anglo non-libertarian perspectives”. Yudkowsky would be in the social-democrat/technocrat tradition, Yarvin in the Old Tory tradition, Land from more of a post-Marxist tradition (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here, admin). Of course I am speaking in generalizations, here.

    @Phil Sandifer
    I apologize if you did not want to be in the comment section, believe me I understand, I very rarely comment here myself. That is why I didn’t mention your name, for what it’s worth, a minor discouragement. I was unaware of nydwarcu’s claim that there are other critiques similar to his perception of yours on Brietbart or 4chan, I don’t read them, so I assumed it was about your book. That said I also have no reason to think he’s lying about it, either, so I would accept nydwracu’s claim that it’s not entirely about this.

    As for your critique of Moldbug, I understand it’s surely much more sophisticated than “I think that’s tough to square away with his vocal conviction that if only the world were run by a few tech guys it would all be OK.”, but if this is part of your summary I have major misgivings, which I will explain.

    The phrase “if only the [political unit] were run by [our guys]” has two possible interpretations that I see. The first is a personal critique: [the political faction] is opportunist and thinks things will be run well if only the ruler is one of them. This is something that every political faction says about every other political faction, and really, it’s kind of a childish critique, accusing someone of having no principles. The second is much more interesting: if you are claiming this is a structural feature of Yarvin’s politics, that these are actually principles. Unfortunately, a cursory reading of Moldbug will show this is not the case, since you claim to have read some Moldbug, this makes me doubt you a little. If you’d like a good example of why this is so wrong, I would point you to Yarvin’s recent remarks in response to the LambdaConf affair: he’s writing as Yarvin not Moldbug so there is less of his “style” and he’s not deliberately trying to be abhorrent.

    [Reply]

    Phil Sandifer Reply:

    I’m not sure “our guys” in this case can be taken in the traditionally ideological sense; I think Moldbug is ultimately inclined to view Silicon Valley tech geeks as ideologically neutral hyper-competent technocrats. But this is not a major part of my critique of Moldbug. I give him a solid ribbing on the whole “King Jobs” thing, but I openly admit it’s a cheap shot, and I mostly use that as a metonym for his tendency to be overcredulous about clever technical solutions.

    [Reply]

    Mariani Reply:

    By the 1980s, the USSR’s politburo was run by something like 85 percent engineers. I don’t think Moldbug would consider these people stupid – they were just trying to build something stupid. Something stupid, in this case, is a flight of fancy that breathlessly swears that it can reverse the laws of reality (markets and incentives) known as communism.
    Think entropy. Such a system requires “energy” to hold it together. Markets, which should extend all the way into the realm of sovereignty/politics in Moldbug’s formulation, arise without energy, and energy is in fact required to make them stop working. No top-down assembly required.

    [Reply]

    Mariani Reply:

    Man, those italics should not be there

    admin Reply:

    Is that better?

    Phil Sandifer Reply:

    I am, to say the least, skeptical that there is any direct relationship whereby markets are directly governed by any sort of “laws of reality,” but that seems a bit beside the point, and probably ends up being a banal epistemological disagreement.

    In terms of the discussion in progress, I don’t dispute that Moldbug thinks “put the right people in charge” is insufficient without a radical redefinition of what “in charge” means. That doesn’t seem to me to eliminate the instinct towards the heroic in his work, however.

    Mariani Reply:

    @admin perfect!

    Posted on April 13th, 2016 at 5:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • Mariani Says:

    @Phil Sandifer
    >That doesn’t seem to me to eliminate the instinct towards the heroic in his work, however.
    Are there specific posts that give you this idea, or is it just your own eisegesis? If it’s the latter, I’d question how much it’s worth basing any part of a book on

    [Reply]

    Phil Sandifer Reply:

    Yes; it’s something of a grace note in the larger scheme of the book – a roughly 800 word passage that argues for Moldug’s heroic tendencies in the course of some other points – but it’s there, rooted in the conclusion to the Gentle Introduction and his general debt to Carlyle.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 13th, 2016 at 9:12 pm Reply | Quote
  • FOAM Says:

    I dont know where @nydwracu gets this from:

    “Boris Groys talking about “total linguistification of society”, as if it’s possible to talk your way past Gnon. He seems to think it is.

    If atheistic immaterialism is true (and it isn’t), then 1) there’s no Gnon, 2) badthink necessarily makes the world worse.”

    He should really check out the reader that includes Boris Groys ‘Cognitive Architecture.From Biopolitics to Noopolitics.Architecture & Mind in the Age of Communication and Information’.

    A spatialized and cognitive understanding of metaphor and language sees concepts in a web of politics, cognitively connected in a network of highly used and lesser-needed words. The form of this network is scale- free. Cognitive and linguistic patterns ow between concepts and ideas – or rather nodes and hubs – and follow predictable mathematical laws and inscribed path dependencies that affect the direction of later flows materially on the brian in a form of neuro-plasticity

    Here is the material “total linguistification of society” — it is not atheistic immaterialism. Hard to follow @nydwracu if he does not take into consideration this kind of Groys thinking

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 14th, 2016 at 3:53 am Reply | Quote
  • Grotesque Body Says:

    “A spatialized and cognitive understanding of metaphor and language sees concepts in a web of politics, cognitively connected in a network of highly used and lesser-needed words. The form of this network is scale- free. Cognitive and linguistic patterns ow between concepts and ideas – or rather nodes and hubs – and follow predictable mathematical laws and inscribed path dependencies that affect the direction of later flows materially on the brian in a form of neuro-plasticity ”

    Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 14th, 2016 at 5:22 am Reply | Quote
  • VKR Says:

    “s/poc/whites/g
    s/whites/jews/g”

    NRx claims it wants to dig deeper than simplistic views. The above completely ignores a whole slew of differences like ethnic nepotism among jews, etc. And then NRx writers wonder why they are seen as cucking for jews.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 17th, 2016 at 3:52 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    A pre-Socratic came with evolution from the smoking chair, in fact.
    http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/08/reservationist-epistemology.html#6447184733681761922

    In particular, Empedocles. To be precise, he came up with a model that would have naturally refined into natural selection and speciation as we know it, had enough thought been put into its consequences and contradictions. Shocking news: Empedocles was not too well read on information theory, which is required if we want to get from his theory to ours.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 17th, 2016 at 8:14 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    http://www.xenosystems.net/twitter-cuts-59/#comment-271645

    I think you want
    https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/4bxf6f/im_curtis_yarvin_developer_of_urbit_ama/d1dfd0t?context=3

    Context being not that he wants nerds running Obamacare, he is simply aware that nerdcon-valley has an endless supply of the necessary talent to run a country well.

    >heroic model

    There’s no contradiction. The point is to have an incentive structure that reliably finds heroes and puts them in charge, instead of sociopaths. The current system reliably suppresses heroes.

    http://www.xenosystems.net/twitter-cuts-59/#comment-271557
    >Nydwracu has not read it, and I admit I’m finding his repeated and vocal misrepresentations of it on the basis of no evidence somewhat irritating.

    I’m aware tu quoque is a fallacy, but if you find this irritating, considering refraining from writing pieces like the Flint piece in future. I don’t see being mutually irritating as terribly productive.

    http://www.xenosystems.net/twitter-cuts-59/#comment-272123

    Marxism always turns into Stalinism, Leninism, Maoism, etc. I can summarize the reasons in a paragraph or two – this is not highly technical scholarship. Second it’s not at all clear the incentive structures are truly different. Thus it’s indeed laughable.

    Marxism isn’t a self-consistent system so it’s impossible to be sure what exactly the incentives structures are. It depends on which features the implementation deprecates as an entry tax to reality.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 17th, 2016 at 8:33 pm Reply | Quote
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