Archive for August, 2014

Fission II

The Umlaut has long been doing an embarrassing amount of our thinking for us, and perhaps even more of our controversy. The latest installment, by Dalibor Rohac, is here. The connections it makes are frankly disturbing to this blog, whose pro-capitalist, post-libertarian, and general Atlantean sympathies have been pushed as hard as realistically possible, along with an explicit attempt at differentiation from those tendencies with an opposite — I would argue self-evidently anti-Moldbuggian — valency. It is going to be difficult to condemn conflations of NRx with the ENR for so long as the ‘voice’ of Neoreaction includes remarks of this kind:

NRx, across its whole spectrum, is neither libertarian nor fascist. There is, however, a remarkable polarity — our axis of fission — which is based upon which of these associations is found most disreputable. From my perspective, this distinction lines up extremely neatly with Alexander Dugin’s Hyperborean / Atlantean continental forever war. It seems to me beyond any serious question that the inheritance from Mencius Moldbug lies unproblematically on the Atlantean side of this divide. The standing Outside in prophecy is that, by the end of this year, a definitive break along these lines will have taken place. There’s no reason I can see to back-track on that expectation.

ADDED: “One could see a situation in which libertarian inattentiveness to political concerns, in the face of masses of people that are growing frustrated with democracy, abets extremism. If freedom and democracy are incompatible, like Peter Thiel thinks, it is important to articulate ways to preserve freedom.”

August 6, 2014admin 55 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction
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Deals with the Devil

I’m assuming this wasn’t intended as a Satanic argument for Monarchy, but it works as one:

Q: Why does the devil keep his deals?
A: As an immortal, he has an infinite time horizon of other deals he jeopardizes if he betrays any given deal. Therefore the opportunity cost of any betrayal is too high.
Q: What does that make politicians, then?
A: Lower in ethical reliability than the devil.

Even a demonic permanent government makes a better contractual partner than the most angelic temporary regime.

(Recalled by David Chapman).

August 6, 2014admin 10 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Democracy
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Shelling Out

By no means is all of NRx like this:

SpeedCrab

It doesn’t even capture the full spectrum of our religious practices.

(via HRH Misha)

August 5, 2014admin 6 Comments »
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Motte and Bailey

I’ll assume everyone has read and digested Scott Alexander’s description of Motte and Bailey arguments. It’s extremely useful. (So much so, it’s probably fated to undergo compression to ‘M&B positions’ at some stage.)

The NRx versions of these are extremely trying. Most grating, from the perspective of this blog, are the Feudalism (Monarchism) examples. These have a strong motte, roughly of the form “by ‘feudalism’ we mean structures of decentralized hierarchical tradition, antedating state bureaucratization (and by ‘monarchism’ we mean a CEO with undivided powers)”. In predictable M&B style, these then dilate into a ramshackle set of formless nostalgias, bizarre dreams for a universal return to rural life, with ‘the Olde Kinges will return’ fantasies substituted for a realistic engagement with modernity, plus much arm-wrestling and ale. My strong temptation is to burn out the motte and forget the whole thing. There’s certainly far more to be lost from the latter associations, than to be gained from the former.

Listen to this interview with Marc Andreessen if you get a chance. There’s a lot of fascinating material there. Perhaps most crucial to this ‘point’ — he understands that the combination of peripheral economic development, advanced mobile telephony, and precipitously falling prices, is basically putting the equivalent of a 1970s supercomputer into everyone‘s hands in the very near future. You can already buy a smartphone for $35, and denizens of developing countries express a preference for these gizmos over indoor plumbing. It’s not so much a prediction then, more an acknowledgement of final-phase installed fact. This is the world that realistic socio-political analysis has to address.

However NRx gets sub-divided, can I please not be in the part that foregrounds the return of jousting as a pressing cultural issue. The challenges and opportunities of planetary-saturation Cyberspace is the topic that matters.

August 5, 2014admin 28 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction
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Pet Trolls (#1)

(Formatted as a series, in case it turns into one. ‘Pet’ denotes nothing beyond detached affection.)

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August 5, 2014admin 11 Comments »
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Autophagic Leftism

Oh come, come, this kind of entertainment deserves a real link:

For these [New Atheist] thinkers, Islam is obviously a bad and destructive system of thought. Yet billions of people spend their whole lives trying to live according to these stupid teachings, generation after generation. What’s worse, in the modern world, they have ready access to knowledge about the superior system of secular modernity, but they persist in embracing a crappy religion. At a certain point, you have to wonder if there is simply something wrong with such people, right? Perhaps their reasoning capacities are hampered in some way. Indeed, one begins to wonder, could it perhaps be something … inborn? […] Basically, declaring oneself to be on the avant-garde of “reason” is always going to lead to racism if you take it to its logical conclusion. Thankfully for the mental health of the “party of reason,” however, their self-regard and in-group loyalty keep them from following the dictates of reason on this matter, because it would make it seem like maybe their empty gesture at a contentless “reason” had accidentally made them into bad people.

We’ve come a long way baby.

August 4, 2014admin 17 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Pass the popcorn
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Disintegration

As argued here before, Outside in firmly maintains that the distinctive structural feature of NRx analysis is escalation by a logical level. It could be described as ‘meta-politics’ if that term had not already been adopted, by thinkers in the ENR tradition, to mean something quite different (i.e. the ascent from politics to culture). There’s an alternative definition at Wikipedia that also seems quite different. This congested linguistic territory drives NRx to talk about Neocameralism, or Meta-Neocameralism — the analysis of Patchwork regimes.

From this perspective, all discussion of concrete social ideals and first-order political preferences, while often entertaining, locally clarifying, and practical for purposes of group construction, is ultimately trivial and distracting. The fundamental question does not concern the kind of society we might like, but rather the differentiation of societies, such that distinctive social models are able — in the first place — to be possible. The rigorous NRx position is lodged at the level of disintegration as such, rather than within a specific disintegrated fragment. This is because, first of all, there will not be agreement about social ideals. To be stuck in an argument about them is, finally, a trap.

Is this not simply Dynamic Geography, of the Patri Friedman type? As a parallel post-libertarian ‘meta-political’ framework, it is indeed close. The thing still missing from Dynamic Geography (as currently intellectually instantiated), however, is Real Politik (or Machiavellianism). It assumes an environment of goodwill, in which rational experimentation in government will be permitted. The Startup Cities model, as well as its close relative Charter Cities, have similar problems. These are all post-libertarian analyses of governance, at a high logical level, but — unlike NRx — they are not rooted in a social conflict theory. They expect to formulate themselves to the point of execution without the necessity of a theoretical and practical encounter with an implacable enemy. ‘Irrational’ obstruction tends to confuse them. By talking about the Cathedral, from the beginning, NRx spares itself from such naivety. (Sophisticated conflict theory within the libertarian tradition has to be sought elsewhere.)

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August 4, 2014admin 22 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction
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Chaos Patch (#21)

(Open thread.)

Some bits and pieces, which everyone if of course free to ignore:

Commercialization of war (video). This trend seems to be huge.

The (first) Age of Unqualified Reservations has now formally passed: “I think it’s clear that UR has gone on de facto hiatus, so it seems best to adhere to my own philosophy and make it official. … UR will reemerge, of course. But not here, and not soon – and probably not even in this form. I’ll also try to do something non-lame with the archives.”

Nydwracu crafts a conceptual tool of great value.

Action at Reddit.

William Gibson and Hyperstition (or not): “… was Gibson just a smart reader of the way things were already going, or — as Jack Womack suggested in the afterword to the novel’s 2000 re-issue — has ‘the act of writing it down, in fact, brought it about?'”

Alain de Benoist interviewed.

Either an extraordinary techno-scientific breakthrough, or not. (This, I’m supremely confident, isn’t.)

Singularity won’t save us (a conclusion I share, for entirely different reasons).

My Russian isn’t good enough to understand what the hell is going on in this, but NYC looks spectacular even when it’s teeming with Slavo-fascists.

Hate.

August 3, 2014admin 41 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Chaos
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Counter-Dysgenics

Heartiste (finally) discovers Weiss.

Of Heartiste’s six proposed policy responses, #2 (introduce counter-dysgenic incentives) is the only one this blog endorse without reservation. High-IQ immigration, assortative mating, and open markets all make a positive contribution to general social competitiveness, although due theoretical deference to IQ-Shredder problems is required. His point #6 is valuable if it is inverted, to make socio-political fragmentation a primary objective, rather than a consequence, or subordinate instrumental goal. Point #5 (“Eliminate all female-friendly public policies”) is unobjectionable because all ‘X-friendly’ public policies are objectionable, and its specific emphasis is material for consideration within a disintegrated oecumenon, where polities could experiment with all kinds of things. Talented people will tend to flee a heavy-handed authoritarian state, even if it’s social policies have impressive traditional validation. Consequently, as a response to local dysgenics, the outcome of any attempt to socially engineer a restored patriarchy from the top-down is likely to be counter-productive.

Social Darwinism, seriously understood, is the theoretical default that every attempt to neutralize spontaneous selection processes (entropy dissipation) will be subverted by predictable perverse effects. It’s no more possible to suppress Social Darwinism than it is to annul the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and social philosophies which teach that this can be achieved are the strict equivalent of plans for perpetual motion machines. That’s what Weiss is explaining, as Outside in understands it. Subsumption into an effective competitive environment is the only possible response that could work to reverse dysgenic trends, and this will eventually occur, whether human politics cooperates or not. Patchwork is the gentlest way this could be realized, since it enables a multitude of societies to decide on their own levels of entropy-accumulation tolerance. (That is not, of course, to suggest that a Patchworked-world is gentle in any sense we have grown accustomed to.)

August 2, 2014admin 32 Comments »
FILED UNDER :History
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Chu on this

Arthur Chu wasn’t prepared to put in the work to write the worst NRx-denunciation screed yet, but he’s done his best. Too many absurd errors to enumerate, and AC proudly declared on twitter that life’s too short to bother with right-wing garbage like facts. Still, the spreading menace has reached The Daily Beast now. (They just can’t stop themselves.)

(In context it’s easier to recognize that “nodding thoughtfully at racists” is a cute way of saying ‘reading stuff’.)

ADDED: This (from the article) is morbidly intriguing:

I’ve known who Moldbug was since he was just starting his career of intellectual trolling … […] I’ve known about the “neoreactionaries” a lot longer, before they were given that name—back when they were just teenagers on the Internet, like me, furious that there were people less intelligent than us who dared tell us what to do. […] I never bought into the ideology fully, but I understand its appeal.

A smidgen of identification? Careful Arthur, that could be very dangerous.

ADDED: More on JT at The Daily Dot. (Still more, at Twitchy.)

August 1, 2014admin 78 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction
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