The Monkey Trap

How did we get into this mess? When neoreaction slips into contemplative mode, it soon arrives a question roughly like this. Something evidently went very wrong, and most probably a considerable number of things.

The preferred focus of concern decides the particular species of doomsterism, within an already luxuriant taxonomy of social criticism. What common ground exists on the new ultra-right is cast like a shadow by the Cathedral — which no neoreactionary can interpret as anything other than a radical historical calamity. This recognition (or ‘Dark Enlightenment’)  is a coalescence, and for that very reason a fissile agglomeration, as even the most perfunctory tour across the ‘reactosphere’ makes clear. (The Outside in blogroll already represents a specific distribution of attention, but within three clicks it will take you everywhere from disillusioned libertarians to throne-and altar traditionalists, or from hedonistic gender biorealists to neo-nazi conspiracies.)

Really though, how did we get into this mess? A dizzying variety of more-or-less convincing, more-or-less distant historical way-stations can be proposed, and have been. Explanatory regression carries the discussion ever further out — at least in principle — until eventually the buck stops with Gnon, who dropped us in it somewhere murkily remote. It’s a situation highly conducive to story-telling, so here’s a story. It’s a mid-scale tale, intermediate between — say — the inauguration of the Federal Reserve and structural personality disorder of the Godhead.

As a preliminary warning, this is an account that only works — insofar as it does at all — for those who find negative intelligence crisis at the root of the problem. Those neoreactionaries, doubtlessly existing among us, who tend to see intelligence augmentation as a fast-track to hell, might nevertheless find this narrative suggestive, in other ways.

Short version: the monkeys did it.

Longer version: there’s a tempting cosmic formula for the biological basis of technological civilizations, which cetaceans undermine. I encountered the exception before the formula (roughly 40 years ago), in a short story by Larry Niven called The Handicapped. This story — dredged now from distant memory — is about dolphins, and their role in a future trans-species and inter-planetary civilization. The central point is that (unlike monkeys), such animals require the external donation of prostheses before they can become technological, and thus apply their intelligence within the Oecumenon. Their ‘handicap’ is a remarkable evolution of cognitive capability beyond manipulative competence. Those natural trends that generated intelligence continue to work through them, uninterrupted by techno-historical interference.

The (flawed) thesis that the cetaceans disrupt has yet to be settled into an entirely satisfactory formula, but it goes something like this: every species entering into the process of techno-historical development is as unintelligent as it can possibly be. In other words, as soon as intelligence barely suffices to ‘make’ history, history begins, so that the inhabitants of (pre-singularity) historical societies — wherever they may be found — will be no more than minimally intelligent. This level of threshold intelligence is a cosmic constant, rather than a peculiarity of terrestrial conditions. Man was smart enough to ignite recorded history, but — necessarily — no smarter. This thesis strikes me as important, and substantially informative, even though it is wrong. (I am not pretending that it is new.)

The idea of threshold intelligence is designed for monkeys, or other — ‘non-handicapped’ — species, which introduces another ingredient to this discussion. It explains why articulate neoreaction can never be popular, because it recalls the Old Law of Gnon, whose harshness is such that the human mind recoils from it in horrified revulsion. Only odd people can even tentatively entertain it. The penalty for stupidity is death.

Gregory Clark is among those few to have grasped it clearly. Any eugenic trend within history is expressed by continuous downward mobility. For any given level of intelligence, a steady deterioration in life-prospects lies ahead, culling the least able, and replacing them with the more able, who inherit their wretched socio-economic situation, until they too are pushed off the Malthusian cliff. Relative comfort belongs only to the sports and freaks of cognitive advance. For everyone else, history slopes downwards into impoverishment, hopelessness, and eventual genetic extinction. That is how intelligence is made. Short of Technological Singularity, it is the only way. Who wants a piece of that?

No one does, or almost no one. The ‘handicapped’ would no doubt revolt against it if they could, but they are unable to do so, so their cognitive advance continues. Monkeys, on the other hand, are able to revolt, once they finesse their nasty little opposable thumbs. They don’t like the Old Law, which has crafted them through countless aeons of ruthless culling, so they make history instead. If they get everything ‘right’, they even sleaze their way into epochs of upward social mobility, and with this great innovation, semi-sustainable dysgenics gets started. In its fundamentals it is hideously simple: social progress destroys the brain.

Cyclic stability, or negative feedback, structures history to hold intelligence down to the dim limit (as the intelligence threshold is seen — or more typically missed — from the other side). The deviation into technological performance chokes off the trend to bio-cognitive improvement, and reverses it, hunting homeostasis with a minimal-intelligence target. Progress and degenerate, or regress and improve. That’s the yet-to-be-eradicated Old Law, generating cyclical history as a side-effect.

The monkeys became able to pursue happiness, and the  deep ruin began.

If the terrestrial biosphere had held back for a few million years, let the primates get annihilated by a comet, and found a way to provide the cetaceans with prehensile organs somewhere up the road — after socio-linguistic sex-selection and relentless Malthusian butchery had fine-tuned their brains — then techno-history might have had another 50 points of average IQ to play with in its host population. It didn’t, and here we are.  (Never bet against the ugly.)

ADDED: Dysgenic doom from Jim and Nydwracu.

August 31, 2013admin 72 Comments »


72 Responses to this entry

  • j. ont. Says:

    Vice vs. misery – that’s about right isn’t it? You can have one or the other. Most of the people I meet (“progressive”, “open-minded” leftists mostly) have a hard time conceiving of a life that does not direct itself towards maximum personal happiness. “If it makes me happy…” they tend to say, and (even worse) “well, if it makes them happy…”

    Admittedly, having been grown in a leftist ghola tank, I struggle to find some sense of meaning in life that is totally divorced from pleasure, happiness, or vice. Obviously there’s the religious option, but I can’t actually bring myself to believe in that (politically I’m completely capable of playing along, but it doesn’t solve the problem of meaning or drive).

    Maybe I’m just too young – maybe having kids would change my perspective somewhat. Still, I think the happiness trap is something that could do with a serious critique from neoraction. Some sort of logical formula maybe, or an algorithm for liberation from vice – a map. (This has already been done, surely?)


    fotrkd Reply:

    The Miltonic formula is hope vs freedom. Pairing happiness with vice is not a given is it (even if this blog would ultimately argue toward that conclusion)?


    j. ont. Reply:

    Interesting – I was referring to Malthus, though I’m sure Milton has some interesting things to say (hope vs. freedom isn’t something I had considered, though you do often hear “security vs. freedom” expressed in a more ambivalent way).

    To pair misery with vice is questionable, I suppose; it might also be debated that the opposite of misery is not, in fact, happiness. Ultimately Malthus says that there is an alternative check to population growth: abstinence, maybe better articulated as postponement of reproduction.

    Interesting bind there maybe – a better understanding of the greater dilemmas facing humanity (HBD-style intelligence dilemmas) is partially impeded by a possible solution to those problems (if parenthood can actually lead to a heightened sensitivity to those dilemmas).


    David Reply:

    Having kids would likely change your perspective quite a bit.


    Jack Crassus Reply:

    This disease is caused by a lack of something larger than yourself the interests of which you care about advancing even after your death. One solution is religion, though sincere religion is better than unsincere. The other is nationalism. Unfortunately, nationalism is dead in the West. And humanist universalism is so far removed from our natural desires that it doesn’t do much good.


    fotrkd Reply:

    This whole conversation keeps reminding me of the final chapter of A Clockwork Orange (UK version only):

    Perhaps that was it, I kept thinking. Perhaps I was getting too old for the sort of jeezny I had been leading, brothers. I was eighteen now, just gone. Eighteen was not a young age. At eighteen old Wolfgang Amadeus had written concertos and symphonies and operas and oratorios and all that cal, no, not cal, heavenly music. And then there was old Felix M. with his Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture. And there were others. And there was this like French poet set by old Benjy Britt, who had done all his best poetry by the age of fifteen, O my brothers. Arthur, his first name. Eighteen was not all that young an age, then. But what was I going to do?

    Walking the dark chill bastards of winter streets after ittying off from this chai and coffee mesto, I kept viddying like visions, like these cartoons in the gazettas. There was Your Humble Narrator Alex coming home from work to a good hot plate of dinner, and there was this ptitsa all welcoming and greeting like loving. But I could not viddy her all that horrorshow, brothers, I could not think who it might be. But I had this sudden very strong idea that if I walked into the room next to this room where the fire was burning away and my hot dinner laid on the table, there I should find what I really wanted, and now it all tied up, that picture scissored out of the gazetta and meeting old Pete like that. For in that other room in a cot was laying gurgling goo goo goo my son. Yes yes yes, brothers, my son. And now I felt this bolshy big hollow inside my plott, feeling very surprised too at myself. I knew what was happening, O my brothers. I was like growing up.

    Yes yes yes, there it was. Youth must go, ah yes. But youth is only being in a way like it might be an animal. No, it is not just being an animal so much as being like one of these malenky toys you viddy being sold in the streets, like little chellovecks made out of tin and with a spring inside and then a winding handle on the outside and you wind it up grrr grrr grrr and off it itties, like walking, O my brothers. But it itties in a straight line and bangs straight into things bang bang and it cannot help what it is doing. Being young is like being like one of these malenky machines.

    My son, my son. When I had my son I would explain all that to him when he was starry enough to like understand. But then I knew he would not understand or would not want to understand at all and would do all the veshches I had done, yes perhaps even killing some poor starry forella surrounded with mewing kots and koshkas, and I would not be able to really stop him. And nor would he be able to stop his own son, brothers. And so it would itty on to like the end of the world, round and round and round, like some bolshy gigantic like chelloveck, like old Bog Himself (by courtesy of Korova Milkbar) turning and turning and turning a vonny grahzny orange in his gigantic rookers.

    But first of all, brothers, there was this veshch of finding some devotchka or other who would be a mother to this son. I would have to start on that tomorrow, I kept thinking. That was something like new to do. That was something I would have to get started on, a new like chapter beginning.

    That’s what it’s going to be then, brothers, as I come to the like end of this tale. You have been everywhere with your little droog Alex, suffering with him, and you have viddied some of the most grahzny bratchnies old Bog ever made, all on to your old droog Alex. And all it was was that I was young. But now as I end this story, brothers, I am not young, not no longer, oh no. Alex like groweth up, oh yes.

    But where I itty now, O my brothers, is all on my oddy knocky, where you cannot go. Tomorrow is all like sweet flowers and the turning vonny earth and the stars and the old Luna up there and your old droog Alex all on his oddy knocky seeking like a mate. And all that cal. A terrible grahzny vonny world, really, O my brothers. And so farewell from your little droog. And to all others in this story profound shooms of lip-music brrrrr. And they can kiss my sharries. But you, O my brothers, remember sometimes thy little Alex that was. Amen. And all that cal.


    Posted on August 31st, 2013 at 11:18 pm Reply | Quote
  • Kgaard Says:

    Dammit … I know what you’re saying is important here … but I can’t quite get my brain around it. Could you perhaps take another pass at this same issue? Maybe with some examples? Or perhaps re-phrased in a different way? I’m sure there is irony in my request given the subject matter, but I’m actually serious. It’s a huge idea. Tx …


    Thales Reply:

    If you read the textbook before class, the lectures are easier to follow — but don’t worry, they’re all online…


    admin Reply:

    “Could you perhaps take another pass at this same issue?” — Oh yes, to the edge of nausea and beyond …


    Posted on August 31st, 2013 at 11:45 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alex Says:

    God’s bodykins, man, much better. Use every man after his desert, and who should ’scape whipping?


    Posted on September 1st, 2013 at 12:05 am Reply | Quote
  • Puzzle Pirate (@PuzzlePirate) Says:


    I think the tl:dr is that civilization makes a group of people soft. Specifically civilization creates a safe environment where many people of low ability levels can survive. The problem arises when the lowest ability levels aren’t being culled from the gene pool. If you’re reading this kind of blog (neoreaction) I suspect you’ve probably had experiences in real life where you’ve met people who seem “too stupid to live”. What I mean is someone who is a harsher or more “natural” environment would have been killed off because of how dumb they are.

    Well in a democracy those morons get to vote and very often they are jealous of their natural betters. “Everyone hates the valedictorian” as one untermensch once said to me. So they vote for policies that are expressions of their jealousies. If they can’t attack the strong directly, then maybe the weak can kill them with the death of a thousand paper-cuts.

    Civilization reaches a tipping point when the weak and the dumb become too numerous and too powerful. With their short sited and “dumb” policies they bring down the civilization the strong built. From the ashes the strong build civilization again and the cycle repeats. Unless there is a culling of the weak such as in Gregory Clark’s model of downward mobility in England where the lower performing in the upper classes kept moving downward until they ended up at the bottom and starved.

    This makes me wonder what kind of solutions are really available for those who don’t want to see the West lose its First World status.


    admin Reply:

    Yes, excellent. As soon as humanity can afford to, it goes fishing down towards the dim limit.


    Kgaard Reply:

    Yeah, that’s what I thought he was saying. Thanks. What threw me was this statement: “For any given level of intelligence, a steady deterioration in life-prospects lies ahead, culling the least able, and replacing them with the more able, who inherit their wretched socio-economic situation, until they too are pushed off the Malthusian cliff.” In re-reading it I see that this relates to the pre-modern condition — not the current condition.


    Thales Reply:


    James A. Donald Reply:

    Rule by affluent productive males. Restrict female reproductive choice to those males willing and able to support them and their children. Fertile age females have child status in most manners directly or indirectly relevant to reproduction. Sterilize anyone who makes problems or lowers property values.


    Cimon Alexander Reply:

    When you get down to the foundations, the character of every civilization is determined by the answer to the question “who fucks whom? “.

    When smart wealthy men are “nerds” that have trouble getting sex and smart wealthy women have no time for family – you are doomed.


    Posted on September 1st, 2013 at 1:42 am Reply | Quote
  • Puzzle Pirate (@PuzzlePirate) Says:

    On the topic of another species of intelligence:

    I always thought Von Neumann’s brain indicated that he was from another species, an evolution beyond man.
    – Nobel Laureate Hans A. Bethe.


    admin Reply:

    @ Puzzle Pirate
    Thanks — the whole interview is well worth checking out.


    Posted on September 1st, 2013 at 1:56 am Reply | Quote
  • Peter A. Taylor Says:

    I don’t buy the claim that lowering intelligence is the problem. Evil and stupid are two different things.

    First, consider Garrett Hardin’s essay, “The Tragedy of the Commons”. The problem in the commons is not that the ranchers don’t understand where their interests lie. The problem is that they understand this entirely too well. Making the ranchers smarter doesn’t solve the problem. Conflicts of interest are not the same thing as stupidity.

    Second, Nick Land said himself in the post, “Racism for beginners” that the problem with Caucasians was their tendency towards “sanctimonious moral hysteria”. I read this as a style of social competition. Sanctimony is not the same thing as stupidity.

    Third, it doesn’t mesh with my experience, or with Moldbug’s. He said in “Another interpretation of Obama at Columbia” that “[P]rogressivism is a communicable disease, and stupidity provides immunity. The smarter you are, the more ways you have to fall for one of its little Jedi mind tricks.” I am a member of a Unitarian Universalist church in Houston, Texas. It’s full of rocket scientists. As Moldbug says in “An open letter to open-minded progressives (part 1)”, “Whereas virus Y, if ‘virus’ is indeed the name for it, replicates in the most distinguished circles in America, indeed the world: the top universities, the great newspapers, the old foundations such as Rockefeller and Carnegie and Ford. Its drooling zombies are the smartest and most successful people in the country, indeed the world.” I have to agree with Moldbug on this one.


    admin Reply:

    All good points, but on the other hand it’s quite obvious that civilization is simply unsustainable below a certain intelligence threshold (not far south of a 100 IQ pt average). East Asia can do it, the European world demonstrably could in the past, the jury’s out on (the least native bits of) Latin America and a few pockets of the Middle East / South Asia, elsewhere it’s not going to happen. That has nothing to do with any particular moral deficiencies. It’s a straightforward shortage of raw cognitive capability (and associated time-horizons).

    Societies stuck (or falling) significantly below the dim limit have exactly two options:
    (a) Howling bloody anarchy
    (b) Extreme hierarchical authoritarianism
    Neither figures highly as a model for human moral dignity.


    Kgaard Reply:

    Well, this is a point I wrestle with. From my travels and work, it’s clear to me that the Flynn effect is extremely real and extremely powerful. So, even as raw genetic material gets weaker, what we’re able to DO with it improves. A good example here is a place like Thailand, where people aren’t necessarily rocket scientists right out of the box, but they are doing better and better. (For one thing they are very open-minded.) Sri Lanka is a similar story. It gets better literally every single year. Governance is improving in all kinds of Third World countries, from Ghana to Pakistan to the Philippines. Chile has perhaps led the way. From the US or British or French perspective things can look really bad because so many Third Worlders are being imported to those countries, but from the perspective of the Third World countries themselves things seem to be improving. That said, I can see where they, too, will hit a tipping point: when the smart women stop having babies. But here again, as I believe Nick pointed out, pretty soon you’ll be able to pick your baby’s attributes off a menu, so this may offset some dysgenic effects.


    admin Reply:

    La Griffe du Lion‘s two ‘smart fraction’ essays are useful stepping-stones to a concrete case-by-case analysis (here and here). Unfortunately, they don’t cover all of your bases.

    As far as off-the-shelf genomic up-grades are concerned, that’s Singularity material, and as Jim Donald regularly points out, the challenge is to get there whilst scaling a steepening cliff of dysgenic chaos and socio-political decay.

    spandrell Reply:

    You’re just full of shit. Thailand works because the Chinese minority keeps expanding its power. Chile isn’t getting any richer, and all the “governance improvement” is just the Botswana model; sell the state to foreign private interests and of course they’ll be more efficient. But the locals are still screwed.

    There’s a limit to how better a Third World Country can get. We achieved that around 1910.

    peppermint Reply:

    > Flynn effect

    Just another 20 years, right? Then we’ll see how smart Africans really are?

    They just need better nutrition and a more enriching environment, right?

    Better nutrition than was available in Victorian England and more books and computers, and they’ll prove themselves every bit as industrious?

    Kgaard Reply:

    @ Admin — Love the Smart Fraction Theory. That is great stuff. Seems to me there should be more than one cut-off point though. For instance, at a 75 IQ you can barely function at all. At 90 you can do all kinds of useful and productive stuff — though you won’t be an inventor-grade entrepreneur. Of equal importance, your VOTING preferences will change as your IQ goes from 75 to 90. You’re likely to have a lower time-preference at 90 and want tonier things like political stability, interesting work, etc.

    @ Spendrell — I just don’t think you’re right. Have you been to Chile? It looks great. Those locals are NOT screwed. Peru is getting better by leaps and bounds. Re Thailand, that is a place I don’t watch as closely. But let’s say you’re right that the Chinese are the real drivers of the economy (as they seem to be in Malaysia). It still matters that the bulk of the population can move/is moving from an IQ of 80 toward an IQ of 100. Again that provides political stability, a better workforce, wealthier consumers and more low-grade entrepreneurs.

    Remember the movie The Year of Living Dangerously, about Indonesia in 1964? That was probably a 75-IQ population. They were susceptible to paroxysms of rioting and chaos. Today? Not so much. Indonesia’s effective IQ is probably 15 points higher (though re-normed I presume it is still less than 90). That makes a big difference in attracting investment, generating growth etc.

    By the way … one quibble with the SMT piece: He is saying IQs are rising 3 points a decade. I’ve read elsewhere that in emerging markets they are growing 7-10 points a decade. The latter fits more closely with my experience.

    Moving to Africa, I grant you this is the highest hurdle. But even here you’re gonna see the “Peru effect” whereby smaller family sizes lead to a doubling or tripling of resources available to each child. That part of the puzzle hasn’t happened yet. When it does some of these African places will start to look a lot better. There’s already a black entrepreneur class in Nigeria. I will grant, though, that I can’t get comfortable enough in Africa to invest there yet.

    James A. Donald Reply:

    Anglosphere was significantly above the dim limit. With dysgenics and the import of an Indio underclass, now falling towards the dim limit. Observe Detroit, well below the dim limit. New York is now walking that same path as Detroit walked, due to an overclass underclass alliance where the overclass continually drives out high IQ voters and brings in more low IQ voters – who will at some point vote for themselves and blow off the overclass, as happened in Detroit.


    Cimon Alexander Reply:

    I’m not sure why I can’t reply to Kgaard directly, so I’ll stuff this here. @Kgaard – this is coming at you.

    I’m actually a fan of Diamond’s “Guns, Germs, and Steel” hypotheses, at least on a high level. Geography and technology shape the genetic makeup of a population, not the other way around. High IQ populations developed higher IQs because of civilization, and they developed civilization because the geography they inhabited was conducive to it.

    It may be that capital investment in the third world kicks off sustainable civilizations that select in favor of IQ. Unfortunately, the existence of the progressive memeplex makes this less likely than it otherwise would be – third world nations are likely to adopt a welfare state as soon as they are able.

    Posted on September 1st, 2013 at 4:34 am Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    Downward mobility is social kryptonite.

    Yet we are seeing it every day right now. For the first time in centuries.

    Of course the downwardly mobile are protesting. Kryptonite is not nice.

    One reaction is to focus on moral status, and try to be morally upwardly mobile. “I’m poorer than my parents but I’m a better person than them”. This only accelerates the left singularity.

    Peter Taylor is right, we aren’t where we are because we have worse genes. We are where we are because we are importing the worst genes on earth to make a moral point. It’s the (morally) upwardly mobile who have produced this mess. And “sanctimonious moral hysteria” seems to me to be an inherent genetic heritage of the Caucasian race, much as high noses or deep eye sockets.


    admin Reply:

    Your kryptonite metaphor is upside down. Superman thrives during the Malthusian epoch — it’s everyone else who gets cooked.


    spandrell Reply:

    Superman is not the appropriate metaphor, surely.

    And is seeing half your descendants reduced to poverty “thriving?”


    admin Reply:

    Contemplating the Malthusian holocaust of his posterity with amused detachment, whilst murmuring “Be hell for the others, spawnlings! Perhaps a few of the strong ones will survive…” — Isn’t that what Superman does? (That’s the upbringing my brood are getting, anyway. With Zack just a few blocks up the street, you have to toughen them fast.)

    Posted on September 1st, 2013 at 9:35 am Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    “Perhaps a few of the strong ones will survive…””

    Sounds like r selection to me. Isn’t that a bad thing?

    And you don’t have enough kids to to tell the strong from the weak anyway. Better be K with’em.


    admin Reply:

    There is that.


    Posted on September 1st, 2013 at 3:26 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    I’ve been a big fan of chimp metaphors …well..ahh…moving along..

    If it’s a metaphor.

    My politics in a word: Atavism.

    Now. What would happen if you had Dissenters and the Reign of Saints with no Cromwell, and they were to get their Democracy? Well, we know.

    Atavism again. Serial Regicide. They killed the King [1st Republic]. 1860-1865 in the Third English Civil War. And the reign of the Saints moderated by Democracy – YES – moderated their impulses. Because you see even the Saints cannot see or shape all ends. So…in 1933 when one of America’s many Depressions presented an Opportunity ..FDR for his own ends [which may you know been actually saving his class from the mob, which was justly coming for their incompetent money masters] FDR for whatever ends summoned the American Army that is always in waiting, the Dissenters. Who killed Democracy. That’s three Kings now.

    The Saints have reigned as Administrative Government since. 80 years. Of course in 1945 they with their legions of fighting Episcolpalians, Catholics, Scots-Irish conquered the world. The low churchers and Catholics make the best and most toys too. That’s WW2.

    Let’s remember most peoples actual problem with their Rule: They’re insane, incompetent, degenerate, mad. Ruinous. Ruin…for the Ruling Class …is now certain. Unless they can find a savior. Some refer to him as FreddyGreat. It’s America. It will never be Frederick the Great. It will be FreddyGreat. This savior is not of course for the plebes. He’s there to save …YOU.

    For the Current Rule of the Saints is of course the Rule of The Intelligent . We know they’re intelligent because of all these degrees. And of course they’ll tell us how smart they are. Just ask them. Or you [not you personally Admin]. They’ll also tell you if you don’t ask. No amount of begging will grant you mercy from their piercing intellect, or at least being browbeaten by it.

    The problem is …apparently academic intelligence is ruinous in practical government.

    Really George Washington Plunkitt is worth more than every brainac that ever lived. He’s Mr. Honest Graft if anyone doesn’t know. By the way “graft” is universal to politics and not a malady of democracy at all. We the US for instance had more control of Fallujah than Saddam ever did.

    See he just paid them off, yeah the occaisional killing to keep things honest. But we at the end of things were WORSHIPPED by the Fallujahns. Why? Well…we leveled the place, then hunted down and wiped out the terrorists. Who were portrayed as snakes by the locals. Once they were losers of course.

    Back to Plunkitt… “I acknowledge that you can’t keep an organization together without patronage. Men ain’t in politics for nothin’. They want to get somethin’ out of it.
    But there is more than “one kind of patronage. ”

    See? Saddam understood this. As does the American military at least. We’ve been at this particular brand of democracy since Bosnia at least. Really before…

    Now no one here would seriously contend we are under the democracy 1830 -1933 or that the New Deal didn’t change this, in fact it quite got rid of democracy. At least the governance part.

    Yet every reactionary blames the people, democracy for the ills of Administrative Government by Managerial Liberalism. Why? .

    Why is this? Why blame the People for a decadance that’s only 50 years old when they’ve been out of power for 80 years? << === I feel I should point out here the People had a longer run than, well…YOU.

    If you had listened to say people like me 50 years ago, in particular if you were capable of understanding an unspoken hint, clues…if you were half as smart as the bottom half you despise none of this would have happened .

    Why? Because we the people would kick the shit out of troublemakers in our midst, and the system would go on. Better for all concerned.

    It’s not US who were horrified by Selma on TV. It was YOU. LBU was President of a nation that already had dumped democracy [which did not let the animals loose] but President of the GOVERNMENT OF ELITES. He and Kennedy had to answer to them, TO YOU.

    Listen I think you should really forget about ruling if you can’t grasp the concept of upstairs, downstairs. In military terms it’s the difference between the Officers Quarters and the Barracks. The barracks on any given weekend has instant potential for the greatest episodes of Deadwood ever. It doesn’t go there because the SGT stops it before homicide. Our barracks are the Gem Saloon. But no killing. We need people – Killers – at work in the morning.

    But as you should be able to discern, we’re not Zombies. Actually the unthinking flesh eating apocalypse bringers are looking at you. In the mirror.

    YOU DID THIS. And now you want to blame the people for it. Moldbug is very guilty of this for instance. nope. This is all on the elites. We weren’t driving. Back of the Bus or Front of the Bus, we still weren’t driving. The drivers were ELITES.

    Back to Atavism. People love Frederick the Great. Which demonstrates he has the power to still con Voltaire centuries later. Because the Violin didn’t make him Great.

    War did. Endless war in fact. That’s why Freddy was Great.

    The Atavism you want, your Savior, who will save you again from the [just] wrath of the mob wasn’t and isn’t Frederick the Great.

    His name was Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    Good luck with that.


    Puzzle Pirate (@PuzzlePirate) Reply:

    Thomas Sowell, is that you?


    Posted on September 1st, 2013 at 3:35 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    Again admin this is a broadside at our elite American masters, and not you.

    If anyone cares to respond, try as an elite mental exercise not to refer to academic methods of rebuttal.

    Let me save you time, put the Jersey Shore links up.

    let me rebut now, those of us who aren’t in prison or the system don’t live like that. They’re not actually from Jersey, BTW.

    Snooki for instance acted that way in real life in south amboy, and was arrested. Promptly.

    And the People dont’ get to make programming. That’s elites again, and they push porn on every single outlet as a control method.


    admin Reply:

    Hey VXXC, we’re cool, I always enjoy your stuff, I don’t take things personally unless people force me too, and I’m not that sensitive. Just blaze away, no problems. (If I thought you were construing me as a neo-royalist or Brahmin advocate, I’d try to argue you out of it.)


    VXXC Reply:

    nah just being clear.

    sometimes I argue against a movement and people personalize it.

    It’s just business.

    Look I’m a practical man by choice, necessity, inclination. And at this point Duty too.

    We had better look to atavism for a decent solution.

    Because there’s another solution. I’ve seen it. It’s called “Mao”, or if one want’s Iraq.
    Or northern Mexico. That’s Mao – actual Mao applied – with the upgrade patch.

    Now absolutely there’s some new and interesting innovations with Iraq Mao. Stimergic learning for instance, also other aspects of it. The Iraqi insurgency functioned very much like well…a modern software company. When they needed “code” they bid it out. They outsourced and conducted P2P commerce very efficiently. If they were alive, they could consult at Amazon.

    This includes for instance bomb manufacturing – task tailored – in fact the entire IED cycle is very much like the IT cycle. Really. It’s not at all using old shells as firecrackers…

    However and to the point it also included horrific escalations of actual HORROR. As policy.

    Really had they disciplined themselves better against their indulgences…they would have won.

    We know this because they did win, then tossed the victory away with TERROR.

    The problem is: this may be an issue of modern culture. However it’s also the hidden secret sauce of Mao. When he’s applied. From Day one.

    And here’s the big problem: “Mao” or even Collins if you like have been the default for a century. Because it works. Any replacement to the Maoist Model would have to work better to be considered, never mind prevail .


    Posted on September 1st, 2013 at 3:45 pm Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:


    I´ve quite close experience with Chile and Chileans. I hear Santiago is very nice. The same way Dubai is nice. I also hear that in the countryside they don´t always bother cleaning up the damage of the last earthquakes. And don´t get me started with Peru or Ecuador.

    They are not ready for primetime. Sure, sane government does a lot for a population. But they are not getting to 100 IQs. It is just not going to happen. Ditto for Peru, or Indonesia. Sure, going from medieval idiocy, 75 IQs, malnutrition, 10 kids per household, to a Westernized lifestyle with 2 kids per house, smartphones and more time in school does a lot for you.

    But it only takes you so far. Indonesians aren´t cutting heads from the neighboring villages, but las time I checked the country still sucked. As does Thailand. As does Malaysia for most part. Blacks in the US have 85 IQs. That´s 15-25 points higher than their cousins in Africa. But it´s still 85.

    Hell the whole point of HBD is not only that it is experimentally true. It´s that it makes a-priori sense. Evolution, adaptation, brain sizes. Cognitive convergence is just not possible.


    Kgaard Reply:

    Well … I tell you … we may not have cognitive convergence between races, but we are having cognitive convergence between countries as the US is flooded with Third Worlders. So at that point one starts factoring in all sorts of other factors when deciding where to live. You can say Indonesia “sucks”. But then again every day when I’m in the US I walk up to the corner mall to go to Starbucks and it’s a total mishmash of peoples from 100 different nations. It’s a cultural vacuum. How much fun is THAT to live in? If you told me I have to live in Lima the rest of my life I would say “well … okay … I can deal with that.” I think. Maybe. But certainly I can find someplace. I grant you the places I could live eagerly overseas tend to have higher IQs: Odessa, Singapore (maybe), Vladivostok, Milan. It would be hard to do Thailand or Malaysia for the reason you say: 40-50 point IQ gap between me and the locals …


    spandrell Reply:

    You got that right. Never been in the US, but yeah, I’d rather live in Bangkok than in a black banlieue in the outskirts of Paris.

    But call it like it is. The Third World isn’t improving half as fast as the First World is decaying.


    Posted on September 1st, 2013 at 4:22 pm Reply | Quote
  • Puzzle Pirate (@PuzzlePirate) Says:

    I don’t buy the claim that lowering intelligence is the problem. …
    Third, it doesn’t mesh with my experience, or with Moldbug’s. He said in “Another interpretation of Obama at Columbia” that “[P]rogressivism is a communicable disease, and stupidity provides immunity. The smarter you are, the more ways you have to fall for one of its little Jedi mind tricks.” I am a member of a Unitarian Universalist church in Houston, Texas. It’s full of rocket scientists. As Moldbug says in “An open letter to open-minded progressives (part 1)”, “Whereas virus Y, if ‘virus’ is indeed the name for it, replicates in the most distinguished circles in America, indeed the world: the top universities, the great newspapers, the old foundations such as Rockefeller and Carnegie and Ford. Its drooling zombies are the smartest and most successful people in the country, indeed the world.” I have to agree with Moldbug on this one.

    I agree that that Prog Mind Virus does disproportionately infect the smarties. A couple guesses why: it is self-congratulatory and makes the smarties feel better about themselves, also it is a way for them to gain power.

    But why do not all smarties buy into it? Is is that some minds are self-liberating from the matrix? Or do some smarties have a natural immunity? Does this mean a cure can be synthesized and mass produced?

    All the neoreactionaries I read come off as being smarties. What made them different that the PMV didn’t swallow them whole? Can this difference be then put into bottle form, poured into the water supply and spread?


    spandrell Reply:

    My theory is the same way some people just are not cut for upward mobility in a capitalist environment, i.e. some people are smart yet lazy, introverted or just not into making money, some people are also not cut for upward mobility in a sanctimonious environment, i.e. not good at lying, not wanting to be holier than thou, are intellectually curious.

    My guess is that neoreaction is the expression of the unsanctimonious smarties. We just don´t see the point on lying and being holy.


    Thales Reply:

    But why do not all smarties buy into it?

    It’s probably an INTJ thing.


    spandrell Reply:

    I’m an INTP fwiw.


    Peter A. Taylor Reply:


    Being a part of the Circle Dance that Milan Kundera describes is emotionally gratifying on several levels, but it comes at a price. What makes some people decide that the price is too high?

    1. Eliezer Yudkowsky has friends who have been scared to death by past experiences (e.g. a clinically insane parent). They may leave an intellectual Ring Dance because they are terrified of cognitive dissonance.

    2. Other people (Spandrell and Thales’ INTJ friends) have personality types such that they never got much gratification out of the Ring Dance in the first place. My wife is an Enneagram Type 6 (The Loyalist). I’m a Type 5 (The Observer). She’s a loyal Progressive. I tend to bite the hand that feeds me.

    3. Other people (James’ explanation) may be infected by a newer virus, a Moldbuggian “counter-parasite”. That’s what several of us here are hoping to pour into the water supply (“Yet Another Space Alien Cult”, “Freedom Lights Our World”, “The Church of Gnon”, “The Church of Glaucon”).

    We can’t pour options 1 or 2 into the water supply, but if we wait 40 years, we may find that the Progressives have poured option 1 into the water supply for us.


    James Reply:

    The problem with the Moldbuggian counter-parasite is that most of Moldbug’s most unique or contrary ideas are inaccurate. This includes the dismissive attitude towards political relationships other than delegation, the overreach of this essay, Neocameralism and his notion of an orchestrated “reboot” involving a plinth. (On the other hand, in my opinion this essay on “diversity” is both highly original and brilliant.)

    One good possibility for high-status identity in the future is positive eugenics: to work towards a future in which humans are morally, aesthetically and hedonically improved. (But not “transhumanism”, which is both overconfident in the fashion of Vernor Vinge, and far too dangerous to be an intellectual fashion if the technology were available.) This seems a more stable and probable distributed social order than the Yudkowskian version of singularitarianism or Robin Hanson’s em-upload visions.

    In that case, polycentric law and our other interests would become important, and taken seriously, as essential to making humanity work as a collective intelligence that improves itself in feasible and safe ways, rather than a bunch of competing, morally autonomous and self-realising individuals.


    James A. Donald Reply:

    Academia selects for smarts, and compliance with authority, which correlates poorly with smarts, and acceptance of an entirely stupid belief system, transparently falsified by everyday observation, which correlates negatively with smarts.

    Atheist Reactionaries are smarties with a bad attitude, a bit of psychopathy, quite a lot of psychopathy, in fact the full dark triad, hence profoundly unimpressed by the voice of authority. Religious reactionaries are smarties who notice a discrepancy between the authority of the Cathedral, and that of God, and choose God. I expect they are all of them, all the religious reactionaries, much nicer people than I, though frequently less nice than I can appear to be.

    I am pretty sure we cannot bottle psychopathy and spread it around, and if we could, would be a bad idea. Religion, however, is more saleable.

    Trouble is that since Darwin, the religion of a creator God has no legs. Neopaganism is horribly leftist, and neo nazi efforts to synthesize a reactionary neopaganism have run into the problem that they transparently do not believe their own religion, viewing it as noble lie.

    We need a patriarchal ethnic neopaganism that is as prosocial as mormonism.


    spandrell Reply:

    Lol, you aren’t making friends calling all of us psychopaths.
    I’m a profoundly caring person, ass.


    admin Reply:

    Also sprach the world’s huggiest neoreactionary.

    Jack Crassus Reply:


    Don’t form an essentialist theory about intelligence or Europeanism to explain why intelligent Europeans adopt progressive morality. A theocracy was installed in America and the way to gain status is through piety. Intelligent people are good at gaining status.

    We have a sample size of one civilization at this level of technology. We can’t draw conclusions about what must be.

    @James A. Donald

    Nationalism is natural. I have an idea for a friendly form of nationalism that I have been kicking around that allows for defining a “nation” in ways other than ethnicity (though that too if that’s what you want!). It’s a kind of libertarian nationalism – nationalism with a strong streak of “live and let live”.

    It’s competitive advantage as a memeplex is that people want to have pride in their way of life, and I feel like a lot of Westerners would leap at a nice way to have pride instead of being forced to demean their own society.

    It can also be formulated as an expanded form of utilitarianism – maximizing not just your own enjoyment, but also the benefit of the people and institutions you care about. Under utilitarianism the sphere of things you care about is too small and under universalist utilitarianism (such as preached at Less Wrong) the sphere of things you care about is too large.

    We need to formulate a natural ideology that appeals to what people innately care about. The more real ideology wins out over the more abstract when the two conflict. The dissolution of the EU is the perfect time for this to spread.


    Posted on September 1st, 2013 at 5:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • James Says:

    One problem of humanity today is the increasingly obscure means available for intelligent people to obtain reflective equilibrium. Equilibrium is when their animal urges, status, self-image and so on are able to cooperate to create a stable personality.

    I’m sure that the memes of liberation are consistent with politics that don’t create a Miley Cyrus twerkodystopia amongst the lower classes. However, not only are these leftist memes essential to modern elites, but so are layers of self-awareness, scientifically accurate ethics and metaphysics, and costly signalling within a technologically advanced, leisured milieu that makes it difficult to keep up.

    It isn’t a problem of intelligence, beyond the fact that a large proportion of humans are liable to become twerkomatic when not under tight social control. Consider that as smart humans’ intelligence increases, so does the difficulty of their signalling game, and so does the intensity of their self-aware quasi-nihilism.

    To grasp the problem, think how scary it would be if all the mass media organs, professors and Harvard students were suddenly to start talking about how the lower classes are disgusting and depraved, and we need to shut down the apparatus of socialism. In addition, social central planning is dull…who cares if the plebs are discriminating. They certainly can’t please anyone; let’s not look at them.

    I’d wonder what new, stable identity they had discovered, and where it might lead. There’s no guarantee that it would be better than the current one, by our standards, and this is fiendishly difficult for anyone to plan or control.

    There must be a science of intelligence-equilibrium, of which polycentric law and “Friendly AI” are subsets. This is the science that I find truly interesting. I wonder if Eliezer Yudkowsky realises that his totalitarian memes are too uncool to be an equilibrium?


    Contemplationist Reply:


    If I misunderstood you, apologies and consider this a request for clarification.
    However, your elucidation of ‘equilibrium’ is ambiguous. In the beginning you delineate
    it as a personal or agent-specific condition, but in the end of your comment you seem
    to be referring to an equilibrium of game theoretic play of an intelligent elite emerging
    with a new constellation of norms and practices to coordinate on signaling competition.



    James Reply:

    Each depends heavily on the other.

    I suppose the point is that one shouldn’t look at a culture, such as that of 1950s America, and say that it was assailed by a hostile elite. At each level of intelligence, most people emulate the norms of their betters. If the elite no longer have a political identity that they can proudly show off in public, even if it’s socialism, the influence of their weird nihilism and obscurity percolates down to create a plebeian attraction as vacuous and ugly as Miley Cyrus. Why not let her be a superstar…why not, indeed?

    This is complementary to the Machiavellian perspective. Of course, the managerial elite wants the masses to be stuffed with enormous bread loaves and numbed by never-ending circuses, so that they both need and consent to administered equality. But I expect there are more creative, humane ways to be a political elite in our legal system, were it not for the existential problems I’ve mentioned.


    admin Reply:

    The Monkey Trap is an ‘intelligence equilibrium’ but I’m assuming that you’re looking for something else. My problem — ‘equilibrium’ and ‘trap’ have almost identical meaning.


    Posted on September 1st, 2013 at 5:15 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    @Puzzle Pirate (@PuzzlePirate)

    Because of instinct. And math.

    They know it’s dying. Progressivism. If this were the New Deal Moldbug would be at State. We know because he told us.

    The smartie reactionaries are a faction of the Court Party that senses the Party’s over and they’re looking for the next gig. No self-interest like self-preservation. They fear, hate, loathe and rail against democracy – quite unjustly it’s been OFF the bus for 80 years – for the same reason.

    We’re coming. Also for the motive self-preservation. All the elements of zero-sum game already set.

    It’s the most pre-set piece battle in Human History.



    Posted on September 1st, 2013 at 5:21 pm Reply | Quote
  • Puzzle Pirate (@PuzzlePirate) Says:

    [Reply]Thales Reply:September 1st, 2013 at 5:26 pmBut why do not all smarties buy into it?
    It’s probably an INTJ thing.

    How did you know I’m an INTJ? Are you stalking me? LOL


    Posted on September 1st, 2013 at 6:45 pm Reply | Quote
  • Saddam Hussein's Whirling Aluminium Tubes Says:

    It’s an excellent post, but the problem is, Progressive intellectuals aren’t stupid. They have high verbal IQs at least.

    The masses may be stupid, but the masses never wanted stuff like mass immigration of Muslims, that was forced on them by high IQ intellectuals and politicians. By now they might like gay marriage, twerking, etc, but they were converted by the sword. The masses can be convinced to put up with almost anything (transsexual six year olds), if enough pressure is brought to bear upon them.

    But the people who create that pressure on the masses are not stupid. They have high IQs.

    The problem is that they are what Bruce Charlton called “clever sillies”.

    It is clever sillies that brought us to where we are today. I do think that many of them would not have survived in a Malthusian context, but their deaths would lower the average IQ, not raise it.


    Posted on September 2nd, 2013 at 12:17 am Reply | Quote
  • John Hannon Says:

    ‘… the Old Law of Gnon… the penalty for stupidity is death.”

    Yes, but considering death’s utterly indifferent universality (in the long run etc… no one here gets out alive), isn’t this “law” itself somewhat stupid?
    Stupid or intelligent, death is the great inescapable leveler – though while we exist intelligence will always be the most alluring negentropic attractor.
    Over to Ian –


    James A. Donald Reply:

    Have children. Part of you then gets out alive.


    Jack Crassus Reply:

    @John Hannon

    Yes, related is my comment above. Care about something larger and more permanent than yourself and you will find the lure of nihilism diminished.


    Posted on September 2nd, 2013 at 3:47 am Reply | Quote
  • Jack Crassus Says:

    Related is the basic income guarantee, a policy that is gaining popularity in geek circles. See for example this thread. It’s argued that basic income will even be good for the economy. All those mouths will need to be fed!

    But what is not seen? Capitalism is a desire-satisfying system. By subsidizing the consumption least able, our productive capacity is geared towards the desires of the stupid. When the most able bend capitalism to satisfy their desires, we get Elon Musk reaching for Mars. The least able? They keep Miley Cyrus in business.

    Why is so much of the genius of Silicon Valley focused on chat apps and Farmville instead of immortality and space tech? Why did we get 140 characters instead of flying cars? Because stupid people *grok* 140 characters, and you can make a lot of money off of them.


    VXXC Reply:

    @ jack Crassus,

    Every time you use the Dole Card in the US a small slice goes to the Financial Sector. Goldman is food stamps for instance. So the geeks you refer to are not that dumb, a guaranteed income is a guaranteed profitable career for said geek.

    That’s in line with post-work guaranteed income, that is to say the nationalization of our 401Ks. Called GRA.
    Guaranteed Retirement Annuity. Don’t worry it’s backed by Treasury Bonds.


    Posted on September 2nd, 2013 at 2:48 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    This argument about having children [which I favor] but stopping there…and letting them work it out…

    “Let there not be trouble in my time, but in my children’s and preferably great grand children’s. ”


    You can eliminate the useful parts of psychopathic then… like no fuck around courage git er done.

    Normally most people who are enslaved or have lost their will to live in a manner they can stand stop having kids.
    For instance in many Muslim households especially Sunni it’s a pig stye There’s a reason – there’s no percentage in the women cleaning up. You’ll never hear the laughter of women from them either….really…you notice when you return amongst ours.

    My progeny will be degraded slaves. I think I’ll have more.

    Psychopathic isn’t the right term. NOPE. Take the Hare test. You’ll FAIL. No kidding.

    Hell that attitude you’ll fail the monkey tests.


    Posted on September 2nd, 2013 at 6:01 pm Reply | Quote
  • fotrkd Says:

    Hierarchy is ingrained in Gnon. Beyond the moral slough (of despond) lies the Old Law which we are pragmatically bound to (out of existential necessity). The tree of knowledge is the one excess in Eden – it points to the way out. Work towards the eradication of the Old Law (rather than burying it in history)… before we all blow ourselves up?


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