Zero Sum

AoS has a “Fudamental Concepts” post about the zero-sum mentality, which it identifies with leftism, getting a lot of things convincingly right. Unintentionally, however, it exposes the limits of conservatism, and — even more unintentionally — suggests why NRx is something else.

Zero sum games are wars, and market (or catallactic) economics are indeed different. It was by putting war to bed too early, that conservatism destined itself to the ratchet of defeat. Treat an enemy as a business partner, and you lose, over and over again.

The payoff matrix is easy to draw. Re-purposing a prisoner’s dilemma quadrate works fine.


Treat “Stay Silent” as a positive-sum contract, and “Confess and Betray” as stubborn zero-sum antagonism. Searching for positive-sum engagement with a committed zero-sum opponent is the loser’s game that the mainstream ‘right’ has been playing for centuries. It’s the reason libertarians are so often dismissed as smart imbeciles (or worse). There’s business, and there’s war, and only the latter is definitely not going anywhere. In reality, (positive-sum) capitalism depends upon (zero-sum) counter-revolution. Otherwise, the right ‘stays silent’ while the left ‘confesses and betrays’. Our little matrix, and the course of recent global history, equally exhibit where that leads.

Positive-sum is the civilized order at the end of a far dirtier process. In the interim, if it hurts the left it’s worth doing, unless it hurts you more.

February 16, 2015admin 27 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations


27 Responses to this entry

  • Chris B Says:

    So you are philosophizing/ retro fitting game theory as a counter to Marxist dialectics?


    admin Reply:

    One version of condensed Moldbug: The Right has been almost unimaginably bad at games.


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    And people why the unix epoch has been marked by a resurgence of Games.

    Subconscious rapprochement of the civilized with zero-sum survival tactics necessary to fight the coming zeitgeist?

    Or just a jumble of terms I googled? (Hint: I don’t use Google)


    butlerian jihad Reply:

    @unix epoch

    2038 draws near.

    Chris B Reply:

    Apply this to NRx’s internal dynamics. Positive sum or zero sum? Or are some branch of the “trike” playing zero sum, whilst other are playing positive sum?


    Posted on February 16th, 2015 at 5:00 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bryce Laliberte Says:

    Sounds familiar.


    Posted on February 16th, 2015 at 5:10 pm Reply | Quote
  • Stargirl Princess Says:

    This game is negative sum not zero sum.


    admin Reply:

    It depends upon the ‘utility’ of defeating the enemy. Harsh wars are zero-sum from the perspective of war (negative sum from the perspective of business).


    Posted on February 16th, 2015 at 5:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • Kwisatz Haderach Says:

    I think this single little post of yours might be the most important idea I’ve read in the entire gnonosphere.


    MLR Reply:

    I’ve been linking to this video of Iain McGilchrist for awhile now:

    and trying to suggest to people a link between how the brain works and Progress, to very, very little response.

    This one where he trolls an SJW audience is also priceless:


    Alrenous Reply:

    That poor introducer. Looks like she’s a druggie, but it’s probably just a bad feminism infection.

    So, half an hour of generalities which are flat wrong. (Summary: bad philosophy should not be confused with philosophy per se. The opposite of bad philosophy is also bad philosophy.) Analysis should be left to qualified logicians. Immediately transitions into specifics which are piercingly correct. Pretty surprising to find such a strong libertarian pulse in a psychiatrist. Rest of the talk appears to be inside his expertise, that is, correct.


    Mechanomica Reply:

    I watched the videos when you first posted them and have been giving this some thought.

    I think you’re right that Iain McGilchrist’s ideas on the divided brain are of relevance around here (although the traditional association of weakness and femininity with the capabilities of the right brain will make this a difficult sell). Most importantly what his work points toward is the possibility of reintegration—that there is a way to achieve and sustain a kind of harmonic give-and-take between the hemispheres and their respective modes of thought.

    Such harmony, in practice, is far less warm and fluffy than it may initially sound. As McGilchrist wrote in his 2012 follow-up to The Master and His Emissary: “The left hemisphere is not in touch with reality but with its representation of reality, which turns out to be a remarkably self-enclosed, self-referring system of tokens…” whereas “it is the right hemisphere that is the devil’s advocate.”

    Through its ability to track complex patterns and interrelations between objects and actors, as well as its capacity for distinguishing rapidly between various language-defying shades of reality, it could be fairly said that the right hemisphere has a firmer grasp on the cold, hard nature of what’s really going on out there, as compared with the left.

    Sidebar: It’s interesting, too, to reflect on phrases such as “left hand path” when one considers that each brain hemisphere is associated with motor control on the opposite side of the body. Shiftiness, selfishness, self-preservation, the devil, etc are reliably associated with the left hand whereas godliness, loyalty, community-friendly values, and so on are reliably associated with the right.

    This all ties in rather nicely with Admin’s talk on hot/cold collectivities:

    If you mean to imply that it is only progressives who embody and propagate what McGilchrist refers to as the tyranny of the left hemisphere, I do think you’re mistaken. This attitude permeates the alt-right as well—and to its detriment. It’s a fine enough outlook for peons, but historically there has always been a need for cultural leaders to take a step beyond the norm. This time around will be no exception.


    MLR Reply:

    I’m part-way through his book, and your post has given me a lot to ruminate on. Which I’ll do.

    I’m not sure what stock we should put on anything described as “traditionally associated.” If, in FACT, it’s men who are more capable of the wise-connection-making right-brain functions then if that’s considered “not fashionable” or “not where the traditional associations are made” then anyone who doesn’t like it can lump it and take it up with Gnon. See if the crab gives a damn.

    Final point: aren’t WE “alt-right” or did I miss a memo in the memo-wars of the NRx? And insofar as things being “fine for peons” isn’t any world-view extra-special-with-whipped-cream-on-top doomed to being terminated by Gnon if it doesn’t account for ordinary people and their predilictions to SOME non-zero extent? I mean: yes, wise leaders but also wise leaders who can appreciate the way the proles see the world and factor it into decision-making?

    Posted on February 16th, 2015 at 6:41 pm Reply | Quote
  • Peter A. Taylor Says:

    Anyone who has not read chapter 12 (“Nice Guys Finish First”) of Richard Dawkins’ _The Selfish Gene_ needs to do so now. You really can’t participate in this discussion intelligently if you have not.

    For extra credit, I recommend _The Strategy of Conflict_, by Thomas C. Schelling.

    Note that The Prisoners’ Dilemma is a variable-sum game.

    “One is reminded of the comment that is was perfectly clear to Chamberlain that he could not treat Hitler as he would a Birmingham businessman. It was too apparent that Hitler was another breed. Chamberlain recognized this and therefore dealt with Hitler in the same suspicious and skeptical fashion that he would have a Manchester businessman.”
    — Herman Kahn, _Thinking About the Unthinkable_ (original edition)


    grey enlightenment Reply:

    I guess you could call that a categorical error of judgement


    Posted on February 16th, 2015 at 7:26 pm Reply | Quote
  • Zero Sum | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on February 16th, 2015 at 7:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • Kwisatz Haderach Says:

    Perhaps admin intended that the meta-game of picking your core ethics (i.e.: is the world positive or zero-sum?) is a game that has a payoff matrix analogous to prisoner’s dilemma. But maybe he was just being sloppy.


    admin Reply:

    If a “core ethics” obstructs strategic flexibility, it will be a secular losing machine.


    Posted on February 16th, 2015 at 7:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:



    Posted on February 17th, 2015 at 4:35 am Reply | Quote
  • Shenpen Says:

    Doesn’t work. Try using force on the left and you are the next evil authoritarian police state dictator to hate. Remember, they control opinions. Don’t try to use force against people who control opinions, they make sure you will look evil and lose support.

    Remember movies like The Children of Men or V for Vendetta? Or even Star Wars? One would think this kind of portrayal of evil authoritarian police state regimes is so simplistic, cliché and two-dimensional that people understand this is a joke, but no, this is how the left sees its opponents if they resort to force and the people lap it up.

    There is a psychological reason behind why people lap this up. Lucas got it right when he named his evil authoritarian police state boss Darth Vader i.e. Dark Father. The reason people lap this up is that all this authoritarian evil police state Godwin’s Law stuff partially reminds them when they were kids and their father was strict and really scary. I too remember how bone chillingly scary it can be, when I saw my dad really angry at me. The point is, there was still love and trust, we could still know father wants good. Imagine when it is not the case, imagine the bone chilling scare factor of being a five year old under a scary authoritarian dad who is not loving, not trustable and does not want your good. This incredibly scary fantasy, the symbol of the Dark Father, the Scary Authoritarian Who Is Also Evil, is what drives fantasies about being oppressed by and fightinging evil authoritarian police states. This is what drives Godwin’s Law. This is what the left exploits to make their opponents scary.


    admin Reply:

    I don’t disagree. Game theoretic ‘war’ (or ‘counter-revolution’) need not mean violence — only consistent non-cooperation with determined adversaries.

    Exit is generally far preferable to confrontation.


    Marxist toady Reply:

    Does it all come down to “how is exit possible?” —

    It seems to be not only the unresolved problem on the level of the social totality, but also on a very basic theoretical level — the problem of guaranteeing the possibility of exit within Patchwork without an external authority remains, as far as I can tell, unresolved. (The idea that it’s bad for business only goes so far — when business is bad, sometimes slaves look like an increasingly viable option.)

    Simplistic or overly confident engagements with this problem will translate very badly into practice. One that does not take into account the merciless drive towards centralization (thus, enclosure) that capital takes to insure profitability being perhaps the most glaring example.


    admin Reply:

    Deep capital teleology is decentralizing, it seems to me (Internet, blockchain …).

    Thales Reply:

    “Deep capital teleology?” Can we just call it “Exit in situ“? Rolls off the tongue nicely, and retains the firm implication that the mind must be freed first., since only then will one know what must else be freed.

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    Force does work. The problem is that Rightism in One Country leaves too much terrain to the enemy, i.e., there are too many areas where force isn’t applied. The one element of Hitler’s strategic vision that he is most faulted for–his megalomanic vision of a world-mastering Reich–is probably the one element of his strategic vision that he had the most correct.


    vxxc2014 Reply:

    There’s only one country where Force needs to work.


    Posted on February 17th, 2015 at 12:11 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    Excellent post, admin.


    Posted on February 17th, 2015 at 3:11 pm Reply | Quote

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