Thursday, November 28, 2013 226 Comments

Mr. Jones is rather concerned

Something is happening here.  But you don't know what it is - do you, Mr. Jones?

Is there anyone else in the room who's here because he's just plain embarrassed by the present world?  The past is a foreign country, someone once said.  If the past is a foreign country, someone else said, a reactionary is a patriot of that country.  Almost an exile from it.

And unlike the presentist, who sees the past as a tiny, backward and contemptible province of his vast eternal present, the reactionary knows the opposite.  The present is a province of the past.  Yes, it's true - like any province, it has its specialties.  The food, for instance.  The iPads - superb.  The movies - never better.

But overall!  Stuck here like Ovid among the Pontic Greeks, Augustus beyond deaf to all appeal, the civilized man can only murmur: barbarus hic ego sum.  Does he wish for friends?  He has no shortage - he could not imagine better.  No, what he really needs is a better grade of critics.  The bar is too low.  And when you're trying - absurdly of course, but with real feeling - to write sub specie aeternitas, that's what kills ya.

In Rome, of course, critics were no problem.  Out here in Pontus, it's pretty much all, you talk like a fag.  What makes the provincial critic so grimly, hilariously terrible is that he imagines himself not just equal to the wits of the metropolis, but vastly superior.  Is it even possible to respond?  Shall the man of letters respond: "excuse me, 'Dr. Lexus,' but I am resolutely heterosexual - as if it mattered - and 'my shit,' as you call it, is anything but 'all retarded'?"

But the present world, province though it be, has some advantages.  It does exist and we do have to live here. So, from one barbarian to another, perhaps a brief comment is in order.

Not to the original source.  Argue with Dr. Lexus?  Really?  With Mr. Jones?  When Mr. Jones is not quite sure whether he's a belletrist or a Stasi-Mann (apparently "Doxing 101" is the cornerstone of the media and communications major these days at Pontus State); when neither he nor his undoubtedly overworked copy editor can balance a quote, place a comma, or master the mysterious art of the proper noun - forget it, Ovid.  It's Pontus.

No, obviously no one should ever respond to a journalist.  (Or a Stasi-Mann.)  It's a mistake to think these people have opinions.  They have careers.  They're paid by the click and not paid well.  If you or I had Mr. Jones' job,  we'd write what he writes or lose it - maybe in slightly better English.  It's a mistake to anthropomorphize Mr. Jones.  He's a piece in a machine.

The basic nature of constitutional government is the formalization of power, and democracy is the formalization of mob violence.  Why is America's constitution democratic?  Because the Puritan mob drove Charles I (who, like Louis XVI and Nicholas II, was basically just a nice guy) out of London in 1642.  In a present world where mob violence is a thing of the past, we wouldn't expect to see genuine demotic opinion actually matter in the political process - much as we wouldn't expect to see feudal knights matter in a world that's invented the musket.  For instance, the closest thing America has to a non-astroturf political force is the Tea Party.  Which doesn't even litter.  Nor does it matter, and this is not a coincidence.

I don't think it's an exaggeration to call journalism the last real remnant of American democracy.  The job is about two things: minting clicks for slave wages, and feeling important.  (You might say that journalists are paid both in money and in power.)  Anything that can produce a good Two Minutes' Hate punches both buttons.  If one Mr. Jones misses it, the next won't.  I've seen the future of journalism in America.  It's called Upworthy.  It's exactly what Pontus both demands and deserves.

Fortunately, the Pontic mob has both the attention and the testicles of a gnat, and its bite-to-bark ratio is really difficult to understate.  Since I regret everything pathetic in the present world, and especially the death of all kings, I mourn even King Mob.  (After all, Priestley got exactly what he deserved.)  In this case, though...

Anyway.  So much for Mr. Jones.  But Pontus does offer its rewards, even intellectually.  When I think of the Pontic critics, my mind turns always to Buck Harkness.  The tragedy of Buck Harkness, "half a man," is that he was born with all the ingredients to be a Colonel Sherburn.  But nurture played him false - the bar was too low.  In Pontus, half a man is all the best of men can be.  (In Rome, I'd be instantly exposed as a ridiculous poser for talking about Ovid when I never even learned Latin.  Whereas in Pontus, just the fact that I've heard of Ovid makes me sound like a fag.)

Take David Brin.  Insomuch as Pontus has real writers - real critics, even - Brin is one.  When I was twelve I read one of his books and really enjoyed it.  Something about superintelligent mutant dolphins in an alien ocean.  He has ideas, too - I've been meaning to read this for a while.  It's not terribly controversial to me, and, you know, 20th-century ideas.  When there's so much of Maistre I haven't gotten to yet.  But it offended a lot of the usual Pontic pundits, and who can argue with that?

But really.  Your Pontic Buck Harkness shows no signs of ever having read anything pre-1922, except inasmuch as he was maybe assigned an excerpt from it in college.  Colonel Sherburn shouldn't have to argue with Buck Harkness and his mob.  If he's really Colonel Sherburn, he just sends them home.  It's less a fight than an episode of Knockout Game.

So for instance, Brin seems very big on the Enlightenment.  It would be interesting to know the last book from the Enlightenment he read.  If he's read any.  My suspicion is that what he reveres is not actually the actual Enlightenment, but the "Enlightenment" as taught in 20th-century universities.  Did you know that powdered eggs are actually made from actual eggs?  Imagine a science-fiction dystopia in which, perhaps on board your starship, you ate powdered eggs for breakfast every day.  Eggs, to you, are powdered eggs.  Real eggs are illegal.  Or something.  But one day, someone smuggles an actual chicken on board...

When I think of the Enlightenment, for instance, the man who jumps to mind is Hume.  Pontus is a busy place and perhaps you don't have time to appreciate Hume yourself.  I've read a good bit of his History of England, which is excellent and really ought to be updated in the proper spirit.  But I'll just quote Wikipedia, which of course contains the truth on all subjects:
David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment.
Unfortunately for Buck Harkness, Hume's ideal form of government was... a "civilized monarchy":
In a civilized monarchy, the prince alone is unrestrained in the exercise of his authority, and possesses alone a power, which is not bounded by any thing but custom, example, and the sense of his own interest. Every minister or magistrate, however eminent, must submit to the general laws, which govern the whole society, and must exert the authority delegated to him after the manner, which is prescribed. The people depend on none but their sovereign, for the security of their property. He is so far removed from them, and is so much exempt from private jealousies or interests, that this dependence is scarcely felt. And thus a species of government arises, to which, in a high political rant, we may give the name of Tyranny, but which, by a just and prudent administration, may afford tolerable security to the people, and may answer most of the ends of political society. 
But though in a civilized monarchy, as well as in a republic, the people have security for the enjoyment of their property; yet in both these forms of government, those who possess the supreme authority have the disposal of many honours and advantages, which excite the ambition and avarice of mankind. The only difference is, that, in a republic, the candidates for office must look downwards, to gain the suffrages of the people; in a monarchy, they must turn their attention upwards, to court the good graces and favour of the great. To be successful in the former way, it is necessary for a man to make himself useful, by his industry, capacity, or knowledge: To be prosperous in the latter way, it is requisite for him to render himself agreeable, by his wit, complaisance, or civility. A strong genius succeeds best in republics; a refined taste in monarchies. And consequently the sciences are the more natural growth of the one, and the polite arts of the other.
Moreover, when we read the Enlightenment, we pay it very little respect indeed if we read it as if it was the Bible.  Hume today would both read and judge himself, and so must we.

For instance, Hume genuinely believed that the way to gain "the suffrages of the people" was for a politician to "make himself useful, by his industry, capacity, or knowledge."  Was he... a moron?  Did he... talk like a fag?

No, his work is a product of its time and place - the Whig aristocracy of 18th-century Britain, a marvelous synthesis of the old Puritan and feudal strains which somehow preserved the virtues of both.  It really was (to some extent) true that the Puritan middle classes of his era were a remarkably virtuous people.  Empowering them with republican forms created a regime that wasn't called Augustan for nothing, and laid the foundations for the empire in whose ruins we live.

But even by the late 18th century, this structure, really a settlement of the great 17th-century conflict, is crumbling.  The engineering does not work.  The republic is too strong for the monarchy and begins to tear it down.  And the virtue... oh, now I'm making myself cry.  Where did all that Puritan virtue come from, anyway?  It brought down the Stuarts.  But it was not born under the Stuarts.

Hume would be the first to point out that the constitution of any country depends on the actual people of that country.  Republican forms are not an end in and of themselves.  When virtue is widely distributed, these forms are a way of concentrating and employing it.  You will find writers who believe republican forms can build a virtuous state from a vile electorate.  Hume is not among them.

No, I suspect the average Pontic will accuse me of a little bait and switch here.  When he thinks of the "Enlightenment," he doesn't think of the Scottish Enlightenment.  He thinks of the French Enlightenment.  He goes "full Rousseau."

To explain what a sane 21st-century reader should think of the French Enlightenment - once again, not worshipping it in medieval scholastic fashion, but judging it in Enlightenment fashion - I have no better quote than the great dialogue of Taine, from the close of his Origins of Contemporary France.  Who?  Hippolyte Taine.  Yeah, I know.  He sounds like a fag.  Worse, he's quoting (probably with some editing) another obvious fag, La Harpe:
It seems to me, [La Harpe] says, as if it were but yesterday, and yet it is at the beginning of the year 1788. We were dining with one of our fellow members of the Academy, a grand seignior and a man of intelligence. The company was numerous and of every profession, courtiers, advocates, men of letters and academicians, all had feasted luxuriously according to custom. At the dessert the wines of Malvoisie and of Constance contributed to the social gaiety a sort of freedom not always kept within decorous limits. At that time society had reached the point at which everything may be expressed that excites laughter. Champfort had read to us his impious and libertine stories, and great ladies had listened to these without recourse to their fans.
Hence a deluge of witticisms against religion, one quoting a tirade from 'La Pucelle,' another bringing forward certain philosophical stanzas by Diderot. . . . and with unbounded applause. . . . The conversation becomes more serious; admiration is expressed at the revolution accomplished by Voltaire, and all agree in its being the first title to his fame. 'He gave the tone to his century, finding readers in the antechambers as well as in the drawing-room.' One of the guests narrates, bursting with laughter, what a hairdresser said to him while powdering his hair: 'You see, sir, although I am a miserable scrub, I have no more religion than any one else.' 
They conclude that the Revolution will soon be consummated, that superstition and fanaticism must wholly give way to philosophy, and they thus calculate the probabilities of the epoch and those of the future society which will see the reign of reason. The most aged lament not being able to flatter themselves that they will see it; the young rejoice in a reasonable prospect of seeing it, and especially do they congratulate the Academy on having paved the way for the great work, and on having been the headquarters, the center, the inspirer of freedom of thought. 
One of the guests had taken no part in this gay conversation; a person named Cazotte, an amiable and original man, but, unfortunately, infatuated with the delusions of the visionary. In the most serious tone he begins: 'Gentlemen,' says he, 'be content; you will witness this great revolution that you so much desire. You know that I am something of a prophet, and I repeat it, you will witness it. . . . Do you know the result of this revolution, for all of you, so long as you remain here?'
'Ah!' exclaims Condorcet with his shrewd, simple air and smile, 'let us see, a philosopher is not sorry to encounter a prophet.' 
'You, Monsieur de Condorcet, will expire stretched on the floor of a dungeon; you will die of the poison you take to escape the executioner, of the poison which the felicity of that era will compel you always to carry about your person!' 
At first, great astonishment, and then came an outburst of laughter. 'What has all this in common with philosophy and the reign of reason?' 
'Precisely what I have just remarked to you; in the name of philosophy, of humanity, of freedom, under the reign of reason, you will thus reach your end; and, evidently, the reign of reason will arrive, for there will be temples of reason, and, in those days, in all France, the temples will be those alone of reason. . . . You, Monsieur de Champfort, you will sever your veins with twenty-two strokes of a razor and yet you will not die for months afterwards. You, Monsieur Vicq-d'Azir, you will not open your own veins but you will have them opened six times in one day, in the agonies of gout, so as to be more certain of success, and you will die that night. You, Monsieur de Nicolai, on the scaffold; you, Monsieur Bailly, on the scaffold; you, Monsieur de Malesherbes, on the scaffold;. . . you, Monsieur Roucher, also on the scaffold.' 
'But then we shall have been overcome by Turks or Tartars?' 
'By no means; you will be governed, as I have already told you, solely by philosophy and reason. Those who are to treat you in this manner will all be philosophers, will all, at every moment, have on their lips the phrases you have uttered within the hour, will repeat your maxims, will quote, like yourselves, the stanzas of Diderot and of "La Pucelle."' 
'And when will all this happen?' 
'Six years will not pass before what I tell you will be accomplished.' 
'Well, these are miracles,' exclaims La Harpe, 'and you leave me out?' 
'You will be no less a miracle, for you will then be a Christian.' 
'Ah,' interposes Champfort, I breathe again; if we are to die only when La Harpe becomes a Christian we are immortals.' 
'As to that, we women,' says the Duchesse de Gramont, 'are extremely fortunate in being of no consequence in revolutions. It is understood that we are not to blame, and our sex.' 
'Your sex, ladies, will not protect you this time. . . . You will be treated precisely as men, with no difference whatever. . . . You, Madame la Duchesse, will be led to the scaffold, you and many ladies besides yourself in a cart with your hands tied behind your back.' 
'Ah, in that event, I hope to have at least a carriage covered with black.' 
'No, Madame, greater ladies than yourself will go, like yourself in a cart and with their hands tied like yours.' 
'Greater ladies! What! Princesses of the blood!' 
'Still greater ladies than those. . .' 
They began to think the jest carried too far. Madame de Gramont, to dispel the gloom, did not insist on a reply to her last exclamation, contenting herself by saying in the lightest tone, 'And they will not even leave one a confessor!' 
'No, Madame, neither you nor any other person will be allowed a confessor; the last of the condemned that will have one, as an act of grace, will be. . .' He stopped a moment. 
'Tell me, now, who is the fortunate mortal enjoying this prerogative?'
'It is the last that will remain to him, and it will be the King of France.'"
Imagine the fate of poor Condorcet. He has drunk his own medicine. Condorcet, the scientist! Lucky the scientist whose hypothesis is never tested.  Condorcet's was tested.  Unlucky Condorcet - unlucky France.  Who can see France today and not realize that it has never recovered from the Revolution?  Go to Saint-Denis.  See the looted tombs of the "thirty kings who made France."  Then get back to the RER as fast as you can - you're in a ZUS...

But most agonizing of all for this scientist, he (like La Harpe) has thought scientifically.  He has seen his hypothesis tested, and (presumably) stopped believing in it.  You have not. Or, well... Buck Harkness has not.  He did study science at one point, didn't he?

Imagine that revolution is a drug.  It's seeking FDA approval.  This drug, it's claimed, creates social harmony, good government, the "reign of reason."  The mechanism has been studied.  Philosophers everywhere agree.  The chemistry seems plausible.

At what point in history do you approve the drug?  After the French Revolution?  The Russian?  Where, in history, do we see the drug produce its claimed results?  Everywhere - from France in 1789, to Russia in 1917, Libya and Syria in 2012 - we see social catastrophe, mass murder, and the most rigid and savage of military despotisms.  Historical comparisons are difficult, of course, but when we're talking about a therapy, the first comparison is obvious: the patient before, the patient after.  I mean, duh.

And yet, the good doctors of philosophy, not giving a shit about Hippocrates (obviously a fag) continue prescribing this medicine.  The Enlightenment cannot heal itself.  It cannot judge itself.  Having given birth to the monster of Jacobinism, it produces this same monster again and again - in the 20th century and even the 21st.  It finds a perfectly functional, if hardly perfect, absolute monarchy, and replaces it with chaos and terror and death - the rule of the gun at its most direct and barbaric, the "Turks and Tartars."  Then it pats itself on the back.  Freedom! Yeah, man, freedom!  You talk like a fag who doesn't believe in freedom, man.  Freedom is cool.

But David (no relation to Sergey) Brin lands what he's sure is a deadly knockout punch:
North and South Korea.
Oh, dear!  Tell me, Mr. Harkness: what is the difference between Kim Jong-un, Elizabeth I, and Louis XIV?  Let's see: all three are absolute monarchs.  One of them is an insane dictator who throws whole families in concentration camps.  The other two... talked like fags?

The enormous chutzpah by which a loyal disciple of the Age of Revolution attributes the North Korean monster to a reactionary absence of revolution can't be overstated.  Who is Kim Il-sung?  Is he more like Louis XVI, or more like Robespierre?  North Korea is not the converse of revolution.  It's the product of revolution - exported overland from America, through Moscow out of John Reed.

In fact, Korea was a perfectly successful and flourishing nation before we spread our cancer there.  To the extent that anything of Korean culture remains after the devastation of the 20th century, it is the culture of the Chosen Dynasty.  This empire was utterly determined to preserve Korea as Korea, adopting a policy of isolation very similar to that of the Tokugawa in Japan and the Qing in China.

Alas, all three failed, or we'd have a Japan, China and Korea that actually was Japanese, Chinese or Korean in some sense, you know, other than the language, the script and the gene pool.  What a treat that would be!  To have an actual non-American civilization, alive and well and living in the 21st century!  Give me a passenger pigeon while you're at it.  Indeed, the mentality of Commodore Perry is very like the mentality that clubbed the passenger pigeon to death with sticks, and ate it.

Instead, after a century drenched in blood, largely through bizarre Cold War PR games that no one really understands yet, we end up with an American puppet state in the South and a Communist prison state in the North.  Certainly the American puppet state is preferable to the Communist prison state.  The whole Anglo-American tradition, which created this monster of revolution and unleashed it on the world, is also the most immune to it - on some days, you could even believe you were living in Hume's "civilized monarchy."

What shines through every line of Brin's screed is this revolutionary passion for murder, desolation, destruction.  The Voltaires and the Condorcets, in France's civilized monarchy, could play with this same fire like a toy.  At present the power of the fire seems pretty weak (which is why I can write this stuff, without a mob burning down my house) - it really is a toy.  A tacky toy.  On the other hand, we still export this toy, and it just burned down pretty much the entire Middle East (except Egypt, which somehow has by the skin of its teeth escaped - infuriating the NYT no end).

And there's something else, besides its revolutionary heritage, that few of us notice about North Korea: it's at war against the entire civilized world.  At least, the entire civilized world would love to replace its regime, which is pretty much the definition of "at war."  If Washington doesn't bother with the Korean equivalent of "Qaddafi must go" or "Assad must go", it's only because it doesn't believe it can get itself obeyed.

In a world that was willing to tolerate the Chosen Dynasty, the Chosen Dynasty would still exist.  It died because it couldn't secure itself against a hostile world.  Burke in his Letters on a Regicide Peace describes the foreign policy of the Jacobins, since inherited by America:
In other words, their will is the law, not only at home, but as to the concerns of every nation. Who has made that law but the Regicide Republick itself, whose laws, like those of the Medes and Persians, they cannot alter or abrogate, or even so much as take into consideration? Without the least ceremony or compliment, they have sent out of the world whole sets of laws and lawgivers. They have swept away the very constitutions under which the Legislatures acted, and the Laws were made. Even the fundamental sacred Rights of Man they have not scrupled to profane. They have set this holy code at naught with ignominy and scorn. Thus they treat all their domestic laws and constitutions, and even what they had considered as a Law of Nature; but whatever they have put their seal on for the purposes of their ambition, and the ruin of their neighbours, this alone is invulnerable, impassible, immortal. Assuming to be masters of every thing human and divine, here, and here alone, it seems they are limited, "cooped and cabined in"; and this omnipotent legislature finds itself wholly without the power of exercising its favourite attribute, the love of peace. In other words, they are powerful to usurp, impotent to restore; and equally by their power and their impotence they aggrandize themselves, and weaken and impoverish you and all other nations.
It's small wonder that a regime that dares to fight against the universal revolution, and actually has preserved itself, would be a bit Spartan and more than a bit insane.  Revolution created North Korea, but the North Korean state has an obvious desire to evolve into something much more like the Chosen Dynasty - the general process of recovering from revolution.

In a world in which Americans actually cared about North Koreans, rather than just using them as rhetorical pawns, or salivating about their chances of causing yet another revolution or civil war, Americans would see that the easiest way to let North Korea heal is to acknowledge the Kim dynasty as what it is: a monarchy.

If rather than exporting revolution 24/7, US foreign policy was actually capable of respecting, supporting and securing its sovereign peers the way, you know, classical international law of the Enlightenment era suggests, the Kims would have no need for their concentration camps.  Possibly they're so insane that they'd keep them anyway - but I suspect not.  Historical examples of a genuinely insane monarch are rare - he has trouble hanging on to his throne.  The regime in North Korea has a very simple problem, which is that if it relaxes its grip it explodes.  The only actions that the outside world can take which will solve this problem: remove the regime by force, or accept and support it.  I don't see anyone proposing either, which leaves me to think Americans don't actually care very much about the aquariums of Pyongyang.

So when he considers the faith in revolution as a whole, the sane man must consider it as a kind of satanic church of murder.  It is as irrational as it is dangerous.  Or to use a simpler word: insane.  There is a kind of symmetry here: to Pontus I appear an insane barbarian; it seems natural to me, therefore, to view Pontus as a country of insane barbarians.

Insanity has consequences - big and small.  The "Arab Spring" is big, but at least it's far away.  I want to talk a little more about the local consequences and knock out another critic or two.

David Brin didn't come up with his Korean "evidence" by himself.  He got it from a fellow named Scott Alexander, who's produced a gargantuan and humorless "Anti-Reactionary FAQ."   Again, the constant embarrassment of life in Pontus is that you wish for better critics than you have.  I really ought to give this thing the thorough reaming it deserves.  But in general, it's not bad enough to be funny and not good enough to be interesting.  I'm a busy guy and my motivation does flag.

Alexander is a disciple of the equally humorless "rationalist" movement Less Wrong, a sort of Internet update of Robespierre's good old Cult of Reason, Lenin's very rational Museums of Atheism, etc, etc.  If you want my opinion on this subject, it is that - alas - there is no way of becoming reasonable, other than to be reasonable.  Reason is wisdom.  There is no formula for wisdom - and of all unwise beliefs, the belief that wisdom can be reduced to a formula, a prayer chant, a mantra, whatever, is the most ridiculous.

I know a lot of people involved in Less Wrong and I have a lot of sympathy.  I even met its charismatic leader, Eliezer Yudkowsky, once.  For a reason which at the time I couldn't quite place, he made me think immediately of a historical figure: Shabbatai Zvi.  But why?  Reading through the comments on Mr. Jones' article, I finally realized why:

Eliezer Yudkowsky of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute here. [...] "More Right" is not any kind of acknowledged offspring of Less Wrong nor is it so much as linked to by the Less Wrong site. We are not part of a neoreactionary conspiracy. We are and have been explicitly pro-Enlightenment, as such, under that name. Should it be the case that any neoreactionary is citing me as a supporter of their ideas, I was never asked and never gave my consent. Some kind of note in the article to this effect seems appropriate. Thanks.

Also to be clear: I try not to dismiss ideas out of hand due to fear of public unpopularity. However I found Scott Alexander's takedown of neoreaction convincing and thus I shrugged and didn't bother to investigate further.
Indeed! That one certainly comes through loud and clear.  In related news, Shabbatai Zvi did not become a Muslim because the Sultan threatened to chop off his head.  No, it was because he found the Koran convincing.  He had certainly never heard of Islam before October 20, 2013.  But once he did, wow, Islam!  Poor Shabbatai - I'm still trying to work my way through "The Cow."

Look, it's no secret why people believe in the revolution.  The revolution is powerful.  Eliezer Yudowsky is, without doubt, rational, and it is the highest form of rationality to serve power.  By doing so, one serves oneself, and what could be more rational?  As a bit of a cult leader myself, I declare that Less Wrong will now and hereafter be known as "Less Wrongthink."

And yet, because one has to lie to oneself to serve a lie, there are certain tics and insanities that actually affect one's daily life.  Take Scott Alexander - who is, in fact, a psychiatrist by trade.  Surely he agrees with my definition of insanity: living and acting in a world that is not the real one.

I would much rather criticize his other posts than his gargantuan FAQ, because I think they are more interesting and illustrative.  The other day he posted one I quite liked - about FDA's (insiders say "FDA," not "the FDA") decision to kill consumer genetic testing:
To whom it may concern:
I am writing to voice concern at your decision to ask the company 23andMe to halt genetic testing.  As a doctor...
Alexander goes on for many paragraphs in a voice of perfect reason.  Everything he says is true, right, politely and elegantly stated, etc, etc.

Which is exactly the problem.  First of all, this is a person who believes - ostensibly - in democracy.  In other words, historically speaking, he is insane.  Yet his actions bespeak actual sanity, because they bespeak an actual, practical knowledge that he is not living in a democracy.

Alexander sees that his government has made a bad, stupid, irrational and really downright evil decision.  But he does not go out and try to convince his readers (all 10,000 of them, perhaps) to vote differently.  In his actions, he reveals that he's perfectly aware that this highly touted failsafe mechanism against bad government, always and everywhere, does not in fact exist.

That, in fact, the elected officials of American democracy have little or no effective control over the actual agencies of USG - and if these elected officials in fact ceased to exist, USG would continue as it is.  In fact, to anyone who knows Washington, it's quite clear that USG would work not only just as well without a Congress or White House, but in fact somewhat better.

Instead, following Maine's law, Alexander adopts the oldest monarchical method of correcting abuses.  That is, of course, petitioning the king. But there is one little problem here - which still reveals some actual insanity.  Namely, Alexander suffers under the terrible delusion that someone in Washington cares what he thinks.

Actually he does not think of himself as addressing his letter to Margaret Hamburg, Jeffrey Shuren and Alberto Gutierrez.  These actual, individual human beings, whose government (in this matter) is no less absolute than any king, are unlike a king anonymous and mysterious.  If he had a king, he would actually know who the king was.  Moreover, he would have some reason to know whether the king was actually someone who cared at all what he thought.

Actually I suspect that Alexander does not sees himself as ruled (in this matter) by these individual human beings.  I suspect he sees himself as ruled by an abstraction, in this case Science.  Who wouldn't want to be governed by Science?  Again we see Maine's law in action - consider the number of monarchies that have convinced their subjects that they are not ruled by a man, but governed by God.  God, of course, listens only to prayers.  Science hears open letters, especially when sent by a scientist.  And so on.

But in fact, these human beings are what they are - bureaucrats.  Their stated reason for killing genetic testing is a deep, sincere concern for the health of Americans.  But it's curious, isn't it?  If they are reasonable and motivated by this concern - Scott Alexander's points aren't exactly recondite.  Surely the King, oops, the Commissioner, has thought about this matter?  What could possibly impede Margaret Hamburg, Jeffrey Shuren and Alberto Gutierrez from noticing these obvious arguments?  Can it be... that they haven't been reading Less Wrong?

Of course not.  Actually, the most parsimonious explanation is that since they're bureaucrats, they care about the one thing almost all bureaucrats care about: power.  By acting effectively, by smashing something and getting away with it, they display their power and their testicles (or ovaries) expand.  It's basic chimpanzee ethology, also applied to our strange mutant human clade.

If we have to ask (in the real world, where we are ruled by human beings, not the imaginary world where we are ruled by Reason itself) why FDA killed 23, the answer might well be quite familiar to the court of Versailles.  Namely, Sergey Brin (no relation to David), has found something younger to boff, and 23 has found itself deprived of its krysha.  I don't know.  It could be true.  Or not.  I'm just speculating.

But in the real world where we actually live, what is the easiest way to get rid of Messrs.  Hamburg, Shuren and Gutierrez?  Is it... an election?  Um, these are permanent civil servants, "We the People" don't have the power to fire them.  Or to elect anyone who can fire them.  Or... really any power at all, when it comes down to it.  So, if USG is abusing its power - what?  What is your real-world course of action?  What can USG be replaced with?

I have an answer, actually.  Alas, Pontus doesn't seem to like my answer. 

Fine!  Let Pontus be happy, therefore, with the barbarian chieftains it serves.  Live more rationally, with less wrongthink.  Write fewer open letters, and learn to love USG.  Be satisfied with power as it is.  Augustus is a son of a bitch, no doubt.  But he's better than the Augusti that will follow.  Sit back, relax, stay out of the ZUS or your local equivalent, and learn to enjoy the decline...

226 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey moldbug do you celebrate thanksgiving

November 28, 2013 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger gwern said...

> David Brin didn't come up with his Korean "evidence" by himself. He got it from a fellow named Scott Alexander, who's produced a gargantuan and humorless "Anti-Reactionary FAQ." Again, the constant embarrassment of life in Pontus is that you wish for better critics than you have. I really ought to give this thing the thorough reaming it deserves. But in general, it's not bad enough to be funny and not good enough to be interesting. I'm a busy guy and my motivation does flag.

That's seriously lame. You can actually implement your worthless Urbit programming ideas & even get venture capital, but you can't respond to the longest, most thorough criticism your ideas have ever gotten?

November 28, 2013 at 3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Writing eccentric and flamboyant prose and aping the style of 19th century writers like a tryhard might have worked when you were relatively unknown. Now it's causing you to be a victim of your own success - your ideas are widespread enough that people are devoting considerable energies to analyzing them and criticizing them, and suddenly you look less endearingly idiosyncratic and more like you just don't give a shit about polite and constructive discourse.

November 28, 2013 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger hat said...

Being constantly sarcastic about the intentions and intelligence of your interlocutors is not the same as being funny, and trying to engage ideas seriously is not the same as being humorless. Then again I'm sure you think a novel-length essay is never complete or "humorous" without calling someone a fag, so I really don't know what you even think is funny.

November 28, 2013 at 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Inane Rambler said...

Is there like some sort of system that pages ankle-biters to come out of the woodwork when a new post comes up?

Inquiring minds wish to know.

November 28, 2013 at 5:35 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Hamburg was nominated by Obama. So presumably an election could change that.

I second gwern that Moldbug should seriously respond. He gave up responding to comments a long time ago, devolving into masturbatory solipsism. Dialogue is more interesting.

November 28, 2013 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I should mention that Scott Alexander/Yvain's post on the social justice/feminism "memetic superweapon" is highly enjoyable even/especially for reactionaries.

November 28, 2013 at 6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole point of this post is to explain to the rest of the Neoreactionary community that no, you really don't have to bother responding to critics when they're *that* heinously incompetent. It is not even remotely constructive to do so, and you may continue as you were without batting an eye.

So no, Moldbug will not be stooping down to the level of his intellectually inferior critics. This message is not for the critics, it is for everyone else.

November 28, 2013 at 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Schizophrenia is treatable. No, the treatment does not involve "spewing on the Internet and hoping it sticks to someone else's schizophrenia".

November 28, 2013 at 7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

""""
Then again I'm sure you think a novel-length essay is never complete or "humorous" without calling someone a fag, so I really don't know what you even think is funny.
""""

WTF are you talking about? Is this some kind of automatic spam?

November 28, 2013 at 8:14 PM  
Anonymous pwyll said...

Another way in which Eliezer Yudkowsky resembles a cult leader: he's a "polyamorist" according to his super-sleazy OKcupid profile. (which was made private sometime after it was featured on Marginal Revolution, item #2 here: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2012/11/assorted-links-609.html
Reading it at the time gave me the overwhelming impression that Yudkowsky is, sadly, just another person who uses high verbal IQ ultimately as a means to justify his own preferences and actions. After that, even reading Yudkowsky's public recantation of heresy in the comments at TechCrunch did't diminish my opinion of him much more than had already been done.

November 28, 2013 at 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

... never complete or "humorous" without calling someone a fag

Perhaps you didn't get the allusion (and link) to the movie "Idiocracy" for the context, where it was used to refer to smart people thought to be dumb by the dumb people because they were too dumb to recognize intelligence. See this paper: Unskilled and Unaware of It https://www.math.ucdavis.edu/~suh/metacognition.pdf

-Cloudswrest

November 28, 2013 at 8:28 PM  
Anonymous PGTB said...

Dear Sir,

It is my opinion that you have mischaracterized the work of David Hume and implied that he was a Whig of some sort. It's true--Hume was no Johnson--but he was most certainly no Walpole.

Sincerely,
PGTB

November 28, 2013 at 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Yudkowsky the Polyamorist

like Mohammed and Joseph Smith. Mohammed even went so far as to use the corpses of his loved ones to satisfy his lust. I would have hoped that Yudkowsky would either figure out how to have the most children, or figure out that banging sluts is only slightly less masturbatory than onanism.

Hey Lawrence, what would you do with a million dollars?

It is nevertheless important to note that polyamory is currently being discussed by young leftists looking to score. It is expressed as "polyamory", not "polygamy", because "polygamy" is patriarchial while "polyamory" has not yet been tried, ever, anywhere in the world. To be specific, I personally know some young men and women who think polyamory is fun. Presumably they will cease to think it is fun by their forties at the latest.

The kind of chick who would double up on a guy like me seems to love stupid ideas, but is mostly interested in charming sophomores.

November 28, 2013 at 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pwyll: EY's okcupid profile is visible if you're logged into the site. It is worth the effort of making a fake account.

2nd anon: the techcrunch article is an obvious smear, lumping together UR with idiots. This post is also an obvious smear, except it is also original and entertaining.

November 28, 2013 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger David Brin said...

Excuse me, sir, but you are very good at conveying extremely erudite-sounding malarkey. Oh, and hilarious slander.

First you go into a lengthy -- stupor inducing - raving about the terminology of the "enlightenment" without once dealing with the fact that there are two branches and the Scots-English-Jewish branch is very different than the continental branch.

The latter was platonist and believes to this day in derived truth via logical incantation -- a major improvement over all previous cultures which held that national or traditionally mystical incantations must triumph over the evidence of experimental fact… but it is still platonist. As you are too, sir.

The English-speaking branch is pragmatic, contingent, and its most important philosopher was not Hume, or even Locke. It was Adam Smith, who made clear what any sensible person knows -- and what your rants demonstrate -- that we humans are all delusional, all the time.

Moreover, the only way truth can prevail is to remove the power of ANY individual or group to domineer and proclaim their vision to be gospel, forcing others to nod, instead of poking at your flaws.

Smith -- and the American framers - declared that all is contingent and that the best people to see through YOUR delusions are your competitors. (Um duh?) Hence we establish arenas for maximizing the benefits of competition -- testing and finding the best products, services, theories, policies and justice… by making everybody compete on level playing fields called markets, science, courts and democracy.

The goal is not just to defeat delusion. Above all, the goal is to prevent inevitable cheating… the Lord of the Flies outcome that ruled 99% of all human cultures, where the oligarchy declared themselves to be chosen by God and slew anyone who tried to compete with them.

I notice you don't mention Smith. Too inconvenient. No mention of 6000 years of rule by brutal cheaters. But distract from that. With blather.

November 28, 2013 at 9:46 PM  
Blogger David Brin said...

Oh but then he dives into his true nastiness: "What shines through every line of Brin's screed is this revolutionary passion for murder, desolation, destruction."

Okay, there is only one response that piece of shit deserves: I look you in the eye and call you an evil person and a liar. Were these the days you yearn for, the ensuing duel would leave your anatomy changed, though I figure I'd have to stand in line. How utterly you depend on the rights that you claim to despise!

When I finish here, I'll have no truck with your vileness, ever again.

Oh, but having said that, let me smile and say what a fool! Violence hit its peak when the two great anti-democracy immune reactions, fascism and communism raged and had to be defeated by the democracies.

(The Neo-Reactionaries try incantations to claim Hitler and Stalin were "democrats" instead of classic feudal bullies, empowered by technology. Really? You guys swallow such white-is-black bull? You are capable of that? Wow.)

After WWII there then proceeded the steepest decline in violence and oppression the world has ever seen. Those of you reading this should look at Steven Pinker's THE BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE, showing the plummet in per capita violence, every decade since 1945.

And the equally steep rise in standards of living and % of kids in school who have never spent a day without food. Even the rapid rise of China, Hong Kong and Singapore, which did not have the democracy of Japan and S Korea, happened under the benign and peaceful American Pax, under which Marshal, Acheson, Truman and Eisenhower set up COUNTER_mercantilist trade systems that uplifted the entire world by allowing poor nations to sell us anything under the sun.

No other pax empire did that. Ever. ALL of them did the opposite. Set up trade rules that impoverished and angered the hinterlands and satrapies. But the Great Democracy deliberately chose to undergo 60 years of trade deficits that could have been stopped overnight at ANY time… new trade policies that resulted the uplifting of the world.

A democracy did that. The only pax ever to have been led by a democracy. And 3/4 of the world's children live in homes with running water and electricity, because of it.

Oh but I am wasting my time. The bit about Shabbatai Zvi was a howler! You are a very funny fellow! I had to skim from then on. But the rest was enough to cheer me up immensely. And I concluded...

The world oligarchy is looking for boffins to help them re-establish their old - pyramidal - social order. And your screeds are clearly interview essays. "Pick me! Pick me! Look! I hate democracy too! And I will propagandize for people to accept your rule again, really I will! See the fancy rationalizations I can concoct????"

But your audition materials are just… too… jibbering… loopy. You will not get the job.

November 28, 2013 at 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Is there like some sort of system that pages ankle-biters to come out of the woodwork when a new post comes up?

Inquiring minds wish to know."


It's like that with every comments section I'm afraid. The idiots always get there first.

November 28, 2013 at 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Dystopia Max said...

Thank you, Mr. Moldbug, for encouraging the humorless Mr. Brin to bring the beef on this Thanksgiving day. A feast among the ruins is still a feast!

Mr. Brin, what mad worship of the spirit and status of the age has led you to think that "YOU SOUND LOOPY! YOU'LL FAIL THE JOB INTERVIEW!!!" is a cutting remark toward someone who's already made it in the job market and begun working on the subjects he likes? It makes you sound like a teenager, concerned heavily with proving yourself in the job market. This is a poor position for a reasoned discussion, as you lack both the innocence and natural reactions of a child and the composure and experience of an adult.

When you've completed your transition, please post again, as we Royalists are all very interested in your intellectual and emotional development, though I'm afraid we're not much into granting certificates.

November 28, 2013 at 10:14 PM  
Blogger peppermint88 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 28, 2013 at 11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moreover, the only way truth can prevail is to remove the power of ANY individual or group to domineer and proclaim their vision to be gospel, forcing others to nod, instead of poking at your flaws.

November 28, 2013 at 11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A petition to the King:

If you do not live among critics of proper caliber, please manufacture them. I do not believe that your Formalism is a product of neo-reaction's Second-Mover Advantage over democracy, and am certain of your ability to dredge up some of the old arguments a young Moldbug fought, and won, against. If there can be found a Hanson of Enlightenment with whom to debate, all the better.

Your return to the cut-and-thrust of the comment section is also much anticipated.

Sincerely,
~fantyv-ralpen

November 28, 2013 at 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Radan Rusanov said...

David Brin himself? Oh boy.

Seems the Cathedral is mobilizing its Potockis and Czarnieckis - low level courtiers all - to nip you in the bud before you grow too popular... we'll see who triumphs in this Zhovti Vodi...

November 28, 2013 at 11:43 PM  
Anonymous Hawk Spitui said...

Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man play a song for me...

November 28, 2013 at 11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brin is a washed up old queer. He's just pissed that young people aren't going to follow his gay democracy bullshit.

November 29, 2013 at 12:01 AM  
Anonymous Wesley Morganston said...

Moreover, the only way truth can prevail is to remove the power of ANY individual or group to domineer and proclaim their vision to be gospel, forcing others to nod, instead of poking at your flaws.

Exactly!

I lack the patience necessary to write in the bombastic style that comes from all sides here; I admit this as a weakness and hope that I can avert dry-as-dust unreadability by getting straight to the point. There are groups that would very much like to domineer and proclaim their vision to be gospel, forcing others to nod instead of poking at their flaws. One such group may well be the world oligarchy; it already is in many countries, many far-off lands that only come up in the news when Washington overthrows their government for the millionth time. But while you gesture to the sea, sounding alarms of vast Loch Ness monsters stirring in the distant fog, there's a two-ton dragon standing right behind you, ready to bite your head off if you blink at it wrong.

Look. If you're worried about groups proclaiming their vision to be gospel, it's best to start by figuring out which groups already have -- and have the power to back it up. After Summers, Wilson, Watson, Miller, Richwine, and Dickinson, this shouldn't be that hard. (I once got kicked out of college for saying I thought 'diversity day' was stupid.) As for power: is mass media a source of power? What about the school system? If these two things aren't sources of power, go tell the many governments that are still running their own radio stations, attempting to influence school curricula, etc. And if they are, that opens up three questions. First: which groups are more common there? Second: which groups are more prestigious? And third: what can you get away with saying, and what can you not?

I'll leave the first two as an exercise for the reader. As for the third: in the early 1970s, the Crimson, the student newspaper of Harvard, took a line in favor of the Khmer Rouge. The president of the Crimson for at least part of that time was Nicholas Lemann, who wrote a very interesting article on the matter in 1975.

And this has never been a problem for Lemann. Compare what has never been a problem for Lemann with what turned out to be a problem for Richwine. Pas d'amis à droite, pas d'ennemis à gauche. You may be looking in the right places for dragons, but you're missing one. This is a sensible strategy if you want to get on well in the halls of power and don't want to practice ketman (which most emphatically is necessary for those who disagree on any issues of substance), but the least you can do is acknowledge the one that'll bite your head off if you blink at it wrong.

November 29, 2013 at 12:24 AM  
Blogger Navi said...

lol "democracy" as the equivalent of a marketplace. Brinny-boy, are you even trying?

How can any human being alive today be that much of a poster boy for the status quo? Niggas be getting a hard-on watching the presidential election.

November 29, 2013 at 12:30 AM  
Anonymous Wesley Morganston said...

Also, this Korea shit is just silly. The side of reaction is represented by a revolutionary, Soviet-installed Communist regime whose primary concerns are not getting overthrown or blown up and not changing what they'd have to change to make the world stop wanting to overthrow them or blow them up, and the side of democracy is represented by a country that ran through six republics in forty years, of which the sixth and current one began with the first direct presidential elections in sixteen years, and... oh, hell, to Wikipedia:

The Sixth Republic of South Korea is the country's present-day government. It began in 1987, with the transfer of power from the authoritarian Fifth Republic of Chun Doo-hwan, as a result of popular protests. In modern independent South Korea, typically governments have changed as the result of coups and assassinations. The Sixth Republic has represented a break from previous South Korean politics and has presided over South Korea's most successful period of economic development.

In 1987, Roh Tae-woo, one of Chun's colleagues in the 1979 coup, was elected president by popular vote.

In 1992, Kim Young-sam was elected president. He was the country's first civilian president in 30 years.

In 1997, the nation suffered from the Asian financial crisis, from which it has now more than fully recovered. South Korea has also democratized its political processes. This was the first transfer of the government between parties by peaceful means.

November 29, 2013 at 12:33 AM  
Anonymous Ballomar said...

Moldbug is right that Scott Alexander's criticism of neo-reaction is not worth responding to. It's upsetting. I was looking forward to reading something that tore down the whole neo-reactionary edifice and made a proper case for our nominal democracies.

The so-called 'FAQ' is not such a document.

November 29, 2013 at 12:59 AM  
Anonymous Super Buu said...

I can't let a power greater than mine exist.

November 29, 2013 at 1:37 AM  
Anonymous Daniil said...

I'm afraid David Brin did not come off very well here, at least in my view. It's a pity, especially after Moldbug's endorsement of him (how ever qualified) - I've been almost tempted to pick up one of his books, but I guess they'll have to wait after all.

He comes across as a pretty typical left-wing nutcase, raving about the nefarious oligarchic feudal theocrat conspiracies and whatnot. Though he's still better than many of them - he's not a Soviet apologist and he even seems somewhat patriotic and willing to praise the super rich. Those are definitely points in his favour, but they don't outweigh the rest of it.

Regardless, I really would like to see a proper cage match between Mencius Moldbug and... well, probably not Brin (he doesn't want anything to do with this vileness and I believe an elder's request must be respected, even when that elder does not act in a manner that befits his age), but one of the critics. After all, now that the cat is finally out of the bag, it would be interesting how Moldbug might respond to more mainstream critics. I understand not wanting to quarrel with such piss-poor polemicists, but surely some of them would have individual points worth refuting in detail. And if nothing else it might be entertaining (I certainly don't believe it'll convert many people who weren't already willing to consider the way of the Sith).

November 29, 2013 at 3:26 AM  
Anonymous nom said...

Regarding those unfortunate comments, the only point in Brin's favor is that at least he didn't use the word "shrill". No, he at least skimmed the OP enough to notice the cliche mentioned and had the sense to pick a synonym like "loopy".

Quite commendable.

November 29, 2013 at 5:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seriously doubt I'm the only one to notice this, but I'm fairly surprised that the novelist missed the irony inherent in his own comment.

Moldbug, in some ways like Brin (in kind if not degree anyway), is an intellectual and a man who seems neither particularly inclined towards, nor skilled in the use of, violence. Moreover, Formalism (somewhat irrationally in my view) sees violence as the ultimate evil to be avoided and Moldbug spends quite an enormous volume of text creating schemes to create societies which minimize every form of it, from the death camp to the common mugger. This aversion to blood is almost pathological; the reason the Patchwork has always seemed like such an impractical dream is mainly because Moldbug cannot or will not stomach thinking about what practical measures it might take to get there from here.

So here we have a man here who has no real physical capacity for violence and a temperament which recoils at the idea of it, and whose political philosophy is in essence a single vast work on the elimination of violence in society. How does his critic, whose main arguments against "feuudalism" are it's supposed brutality and suppression of opposing viewpoints, respond?

David Brin barely manages to go a single post before launching into a not-so-subtle threat that, were he not so restricted by our benevolent Democratic government, he and others would "line up" to pepper Moldbug with pistol-shot (or perhaps just stab him with rapiers, it's unclear which era he imagines this duel to take place in). After all, his ideas are "vile" and make him an "evil person." Like those "two great anti-democracy immune reactions" fascism and communism which "had to be defeated" in such a way that it created the 20th century's "peak of violence."

After all, if we don't stop the spread of these evil ideas how can we maintain our glorious freedom of expression where any idea can be criticized and evaluated on it's own merits? If we don't threaten our political opponents with violence, how can we protect our society from devolving into a brtual system of might makes right?

I knew Brin was a sci-fi writer but I had no idea he was such a talented comedian.

November 29, 2013 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Deogolwulf said...

“we humans are all delusional, all the time.”

Mr Brin, presuming he is indeed human, must be delusional, then, in saying so.

“the only way truth can prevail . . .”

Can’t happen if we’re all delusional, all the time.

“The goal is not just to defeat delusion.”

Can’t happen if we’re all delusional, all the time.

I am of course being a little unfair in taking this so far. I don't believe for a minute that Mr Brin believes for an hour what he says.

November 29, 2013 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger Aris Katsaris said...

Scott Alexander and LessWrong humorless? A strange criticism; seemingly a last resort -- when you can't criticize anything more substantical, condemn that other people are in the mood for fewer metaphorical LOLZ than you.

But moreover: do you suffer the delusion that anyone at all finds fun or true humour in anything that you say? You're always flippant (to use the distinctions of C.S. Lewis), never fun or humorous.

Have you not read The Screwtape Letters? The following passage seems relevant:
http://christthetruth.wordpress.com/2009/03/16/cs-lewis-on-comedy/

November 29, 2013 at 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed how both sides of this debate (and frankly any political movement nowadays) are led by Chosen? The only movement left for us goyim is EGI and both moldbug and brin try to put us off it... wonder why. maybe the goyim unified politically would be too great a challenge to both the Cathedral and its puppet opposition?

November 29, 2013 at 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Ben said...

It's all in the Arrow theorem.

There is no system of government which works - no "government by steam". There is only work.

There is no solution to the political problems. There is only the struggle.

There is no destination. There is only the journey.

November 29, 2013 at 1:34 PM  
Blogger David Brin said...

Couldn't help it. I needed to see if Moldburg's followers truly were the sort that a smart monarch would hire, after he took over. As happened when Machiavelli, a fervent democrat, was captured and tortured by the Medici victors, there can come a time when you face the inevitable and try to make a new life under the new (ancient) system. As Machiavelli succeeded in doing

Alas, reading these comments, in which not one of you grappled with the issues that I raised in either my posting or my response (above), I must conclude that a smart monarch would hire none of you. Good serfs, though. Be careful what you wish for.

Danlil for for example. Riiiiiiight. I am the person online who touts Adam Smith most often and speaks up for strong, competitive markets…… yet I am a "leftist." Talk about instant self-labeling as a sophomore.

Navi, likewise… instead of engaging the fact that democracy, markets, science and courts all use competition, in which rivals point out each others' errors… the core Smithian methodology... he sneers "brinny-boy." It happens that scholars of the field think very highly of this parallel… and you are welcome to disdain that appeal to authority! But I am hoping that at least one or two of you are interested in concepts, more than snarking: == For a rather intense look at how "truth" is determined in science, democracy, courts and markets, see the lead article in the American Bar Association's Journal on Dispute Resolution (Ohio State University), v.15, N.3, pp 597-618, Aug. 2000, "Disputation Arenas: Harnessing Conflict and Competition." http://www.amazon.com/Disputation-Arenas-ebook/dp/B005AK2R74/?_encoding=UTF8&tag=contbrin-20

Not one of you dealt with the flat out fact that the worst oppressors of freedom and market competition in 99% of human societies were your beloved lords. Close your eyes now and envision yourself popping into such a time and place… and DROP the masturbatory fantasies that you'll teach them textile weaving or gunpowder and become an instant lord. Picture your average life in those eras. Then envision yourself speaking up to criticize the duke's son who just raped your daughter.

November 29, 2013 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

Should it be the case that any neoreactionary is citing me as a supporter of their ideas, I was never asked and never gave my consent. Some kind of note in the article to this effect seems appropriate.

That Yudakowsky said this blows my mind. The entire history of western thought involves individuals and groups engaging with the ideas of others and, often, modifying them or incorporating them into their own bodies of thought.

Maybe Yuda should run to his mommy and tell her that the bad boys are playing with his ideas.

November 29, 2013 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger David Brin said...

I note that not one of you who assailed my reference to the duel that would have ensued in YOUR favored society from Moldburg's titanic slander, had the balls to turn and look at the provoking insult, which was dishonest and evil in every conceivable way and the sure sign of a man of deeply low character.

Indeed, it raises an interesting matter for your discussions. Ever read Shakespeare? Here, I'd doubt it. But the more erudite among you might note that in the Bard's works, and Marlowe and Virgil and Homer and so on, the characters are obsessed with such stuff. Honor, reputation, insults and duels.

It is part and parcel of hierarchical social orders and you apparently want all that back! Yet you mock my passing reference to the low chances of survival in the world that you desire, of a courtier who is as cavalier with outright, vicious, and counter-productive lying as your host here clearly is.

Read that paragraph again. Follow the logic. One or two of you… I hope… with notice the irony. This immoral man is not worthy of a decent person's sideways glance.

Then we have Deogowulf, whose deliberate obtuseness wins the prize. Dig this. Were we entirely unable to overcome delusion, we'd still be on all fours. Just because there is a problem, that does not mean there aren't solutions. Indeed, the only solution to human propensity for delusion is Reciprocal Accountability.

Reciprocal (and effective) criticism discovers faults and delusional errors, because we can see each others' delusions, even when we cannot see our own. In a free market we point them out and 3rd party consumers then judge. (Ooops! I forgot! I'm supposedly a "leftist!")

In fact, a fair number of modern people CAN see a fair fraction of their own delusions. These are the ones who were scientifically trained. Of course, they are also the ones who expose all of their notions to reciprocal accountability, daily. Instead of gathering in in-group communities who chant agreement with each other in little Nuremberg Rallies of shared incantation. As when you fellows shrug off Alexander's refutation with blithe, circle-jerk general dismissals, instead of dealing with the devastating refutations that he raises.

In fact, when the New Lords take over. … (and I have always admitted the odds are on their side)… they will want boffins and intellectual lackeys who are able to grapple with such things. With the ferocious honesty of Machiavelli.

Let me repeat… you fellows will not get the jobs. Ironically, clear-eyed Alexander probably will. And you will be working for him. Likely in the fields.

November 29, 2013 at 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Namely, Sergey Brin (no relation to David), has found something younger to boff, and 23 has found itself deprived of its krysha.

Real classy there, "Mr. Ovid." But hey, at least you didn't call anyone a fag!

November 29, 2013 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

@ David Brin

When the New Lords take power they will not be concerned with issues like justice and fairness and they will probably not need to use ideology for control. Alexander is a zealot whose skill set is very useful when ideology is important. Absent the need for ideology? Yeah, not so much.

As when you fellows shrug off Alexander's refutation with blithe, circle-jerk general dismissals, instead of dealing with the devastating refutations that he raises.

I have not directly read Alexander's criticisms, but it's not like he came up with them in a vacuum, as most of the standard "refutations" of neoreactionary ideas have been inchoately floating around for quite awhile. From my experience, most of the weak spots in neoreactionary ideas are well-known to neoreactionaries, themselves, and most genuine criticism is only possible by conceding a lot of ground to neoreactionaries.

Your "Nuremberg rallies" line is just pathetic.

November 29, 2013 at 2:39 PM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

@ David Brin

Ever read Shakespeare? Here, I'd doubt it. But the more erudite among you might note that in the Bard's works, and Marlowe and Virgil and Homer and so on, the characters are obsessed with such stuff. Honor, reputation, insults and duels.

It is part and parcel of hierarchical social orders and you apparently want all that back!


We live in a very hierarchical society but you just don't see that. It's not a massive divide between shooting someone in a duel and trying to destroy their lives ala Jason Richwine. BTW, the duels of honor you mention are almost exclusively seem to be within the aristocratic class.

November 29, 2013 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

@ David Brin

Do you have a unitary truth criterion

November 29, 2013 at 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Brin you are defending a democracy dead 80 years. Unless you mean elections that have no power or bearing on policy.

New Deal government is Administrative. We elect 0.002%. He's right, it's meaningless.

Now democracy as a theme for a marching band can do mighty things, trust me I was one of the marchers. And mighty things were done. But the people didn't make the decisions from the New Deal forward. I don't think you'd claim we had the same government in 1935 we had in 1835 in terms of the voters power, would you?

You are also taking him saying he thinks you're being used as a personal insult.

Finally you are denouncing a straw man, cartoon version of the past, at least our past. As do some reactionaries. Nobles actually didn't go out raping their subjects at will...not much anyway.

I frequently end up pointing out that America's heyday for Americans was the Age of Democracy 1830-1930.

It's over. The USG are criminals now, criminals with no check on their power but their own fears.

Now OTOH - reactionaries fear the people, more so than say me.

What is actually interesting about DEC is how many are you know Cathedral employees..and I continue to say the King you see is desired by a faction of the Court Party. To keep the Party going - which in it's present form it cannot. Self interest is so much more trustworthy than ideals.

VXXC



November 29, 2013 at 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ David Brin

You are angry at a throwaway line amongst Moldbug's substantive criticism, namely "What shines through every line of Brin's screed is this revolutionary passion for murder, desolation, destruction."

You ignored his substance and responded angrily with bluster about how you'd "rearrange his anatomy" in a duel.

So are you pretending to feel insulted in order to avoid the substantive questions or did that just strike such a nerve that you couldn't help lashing out ironically?

November 29, 2013 at 3:01 PM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

It's over. The USG are criminals now, criminals with no check on their power but their own fears.

I would quibble with this. That which is above the law cannot, by definition, behave in a criminal fashion, and this is what Brin does not understand.

Nick Land has conjectured that the most likely outcome of Dark Enlightenment is that the current overclass genetic manipulation to distance themselves from the rest of the population. That's the same overclass pulling the strings by utilizing ideological notions of "fairness".

November 29, 2013 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger Luke said...

Hierarchy is just a consequence of comparative advantage, the laws of physics, statistical outliers, expertise, etc. I don't think Brin, Yudkowsky, or Alexander are missing that point in the slightest.

Rather, there's more of a meta-discussion going on about the proper way to achieve maximum human good in the context of that natural law. Keeping those hierarchies more supple and less rigid, with meritocratic selection processes determining who gets to the top, granting at least something by way of social mobility for those still at the bottom, seems to work better. Also, a system of checks and balances, with agreed upon rules and constant reference to empirical reality, seems to help.

Pointing out that there exist hierarchies and authorities and so forth, i.e. a natural aristocracy, like it's some kind of new revelation, seems kind of pointless. (Unless maybe you've never been discriminated against, in which case it might be pretty eye-opening.)

November 29, 2013 at 3:13 PM  
OpenID mukatsuku said...

The biggest problems with Mr. Brin's blogpost and above comments:

- repeatedly cites Whig history; then when it is dismissed, repeats himself saying "You people need to learn your Whig history"

- doesn't attempt to control his thought experiments for technological advances and social innovations that have nothing to do with democracy -- says that democracy made every man a king, doesn't even address oil and the internal combustion engine, which gave every idiot 5 to 200 horses -- says that democracy cured violence, doesn't even address nuclear MAD or the invention of the suburb / white flight or prosecutors' massive use of the plea bargain combined with the threat of harsh mandatory sentencing

- argues Universally across cultures - so an Anglo-Saxon King is going to behave like a Zulu chief if we give him power

- as for Moldbug smelling murder in Brin's prose, I don't know which part he was reading that gave the offending odor; but certainly it's the peace-loving intellectuals of history that cheer on the bloodiest revolutions - Gandhi (Indian independence), Thoreau (Civil War), Lord Byron (Two Sicilies), Bono (S. Africa)

- Brin constantly accuses us of power-motives - that we want to become a meritocratic kingdom -- could be projection, as progressives love meritocracy and grasp for shards of democratic power no matter how small -- reactionaries are saying that women shouldn't have suffrage, and neither should you, and neither should we -- sovereign power is 'nothing pertaining to' you or us; it's none of our business, as Charles I brilliantly put it - does it sound like power-lusting for us to say that political power is none of our business?

November 29, 2013 at 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

I wish the Brin-thing would quit posting, it's getting embarrassing to watch it make such a fool of itself. I suspect it might be better-served by reading than writing; but if it had the sense to make that realization in the first place, it might not remain true for very long.

welp

November 29, 2013 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

@ Luke

Keeping those hierarchies more supple and less rigid

Here's a better distinction: clearly-defined versus murky. Brin is advocating murky hierarchies, Moldbug clearly defined ones.

November 29, 2013 at 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Buck Turgidson said...

Brinjamin Button gets more infantile as time passes.

November 29, 2013 at 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a world in which Americans actually cared about North Koreans, rather than just using them as rhetorical pawns, or salivating about their chances of causing yet another revolution or civil war, Americans would see that the easiest way to let North Korea heal is to acknowledge the Kim dynasty as what it is: a monarchy.

If rather than exporting revolution 24/7, US foreign policy was actually capable of respecting, supporting and securing its sovereign peers the way, you know, classical international law of the Enlightenment era suggests, the Kims would have no need for their concentration camps. Possibly they're so insane that they'd keep them anyway - but I suspect not. Historical examples of a genuinely insane monarch are rare - he has trouble hanging on to his throne. The regime in North Korea has a very simple problem, which is that if it relaxes its grip it explodes. The only actions that the outside world can take which will solve this problem: remove the regime by force, or accept and support it. I don't see anyone proposing either, which leaves me to think Americans don't actually care very much about the aquariums of Pyongyang.


This is actually what happened with China. Before Nixon went to China, China was similar to what North Korea is today. It was a garrison state like North Korea is today. After Nixon went to China, the US acknowledged the CCP's rule of China, and China was basically able to relax and seek economic growth. North Korea is still technically in a state of war with the US, and can't normalize relations with the US and much of the world. A rapprochement between North Korea and the US and other states would mean that North Korea could relax more.

November 29, 2013 at 4:09 PM  
Anonymous Munchius Moldbrin, strossian said...

"Every great city is a center of race-deterioration... Whoever wins, we lose." --Erica Jong Un, "On Having a Correct Viewpoint and Understanding of the Fable of the Bees"

November 29, 2013 at 4:13 PM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

A rapprochement between North Korea and the US and other states would mean that North Korea could relax more.

the problem with this take is that Koreans, both N and S, have an almost Jewish notion of racial supremacy. This is not an ancient notion but one promulgated by the Japanese to try and woo Koreans into supporting the Japanese cause in WW2. Japan used to have this same notion of racial supremacism, but its back was broken in the surrender to the US.

It's not exactly clear how a rapprochement would change things. Just food for thought.

November 29, 2013 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Luke said...

Asher, isn't 'murky' more in line with reality than an up/down hierarchy? At least, where authority is based on specialized knowledge of an empirical domain, it often appears there is no clearly higher authority.

For example, a physician and a biologist may disagree, one basing an opinion on clinical experience and the other on laboratory experience. Empirical reality is the ultimate arbiter, but until it is well enough understood there will be phases of disagreement, where the outcome could be resolved either way.

Brin seems to argue for diverse specialization, which seems to imply that explicit hierarchy would be detrimental.

November 29, 2013 at 4:41 PM  
Anonymous sunshinemary said...

At present the power of the fire seems pretty weak (which is why I can write this stuff, without a mob burning down my house) - it really is a toy. A tacky toy. On the other hand, we still export this toy, and it just burned down pretty much the entire Middle East (except Egypt, which somehow has by the skin of its teeth escaped - infuriating the NYT no end).

It just astonishes me that this goes unnoticed by the average person. I've been trying to point this out to people since the Balkan wars, saying with each new example - the Arab Spring merely being the latest one - "Have you not noticed that all these democracy-seeking revolutions result in unbelievable violence and bloodshed, leaving disastrous legacies?"

Back then, I simply chalked it up to, "Well, not everyone in the world are Americans. We are special in our ability to make democracy work." Naturally I now see that rather differently. But again, how is the average person not noticing that the result of our democracy-importing is nearly always chaos?

November 29, 2013 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

@ Luke

No, that's not it, at all. Government action involves force, everywhere and always, and force is pretty fungible. The term "male privilege" implies a hierarchy with males, as a group, prior to females, as a group, in terms of societal disposition. In reality, males and females are not homogeneous groups, and it's pretty clear that in many places that hierarchy of group averages is long over.

Progressivism pretends that there are hierarchical relationships where there are none and pretends that they don't exist where they are blatantly obvious.

November 29, 2013 at 5:10 PM  
Blogger Deogolwulf said...

Dr Brin,

Though I watch the neoreactionaries with interest, I remain but a humble reactionary, if I may properly take the name, so I cannot really be counted amongst the followers. I for my part didn’t grapple or deal with the points you raised since they were nothing in essence that has not already been raised by even some of the most dimwitted heirs of Western Civilisation when they find themselves in the surprising position of defending the inheritance that they had never before heard questioned. The usual defence in such a tricky situation is to splutter and reach for the family mythology. You did the usual.

(Mind you, I may well be in favour of those oppressors to which you allude — figments of liberal myth or not —, at least compared with our liberators, so I am the wrong homo for the ad hominem*; but with such fill-in-as-you-please terms like “freedom”, it’s hard to say.)

But really I just wanted to concentrate on something that you and many others doubtless find a trifle and a distraction: your self-undermining claim. Suchlike are very common and get my uncommon goat.

“Were we entirely unable to overcome delusion, we'd still be on all fours.”

You don’t need to persuade me that we are not all delusional all the time. It was you who made the claim and I who pointed out the absurdity of it. “[W]e can see each others' delusions, even when we cannot see our own.” But not if “we . . . are all delusional, all the time”. (There would only be the delusion of seeing each others’ delusions.) Yes, I know hardly anyone cares for this “nitpicking”, etc, but I take the old-fashioned, rational view that one ought not to speak absurdities.

“. . . believes to this day in derived truth via logical incantation”

Logic is truth-preserving. If the grounds are true, then you should take what is derived therefrom via “logical incantation” to be true, or at least seriously. But why this scorn for logical argumentation (“logical incantation”, “word-juggling”, “semantic play”, etc) amongst latter-day moderns?

(*I don’t mean a fallacy or an insult.)

November 29, 2013 at 5:13 PM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

Were we entirely unable to overcome delusion, we'd still be on all fours.

Woah, I missed this one, but h/t Deogolwulf for bringing it to my attention. Is he seriously saying that we walk on two legs because of free will? Cuz that's sure as hell what it looks like to me.

For the dimmer types, what he's saying is that hominids didn't evolve like other life forms but willed themselves from four-legged to two-legged ambulation. Forget selection mechanics ... triumph of the will!

November 29, 2013 at 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Wesley Morganston said...

In fact, a fair number of modern people CAN see a fair fraction of their own delusions. These are the ones who were scientifically trained. Of course, they are also the ones who expose all of their notions to reciprocal accountability, daily. Instead of gathering in in-group communities who chant agreement with each other in little Nuremberg Rallies of shared incantation.

There is a very large difference between Nuremberg rallies and meetings in beer halls on the edge of town.

But who can blame you, or anyone else, for confusing the two? If you attack a Nuremberg rally, your life becomes much harder. If you attack a dissenters' meeting in a beer hall, you win the favor of the Nurembergers.

If you're serious about all this, go out and figure out which groups both adamantly refuse to expose all of their notions to reciprocal accountability and hold power. You seem to see neoreactionaries as on the same level as flat-Earthers, chanting agreement and not realizing that they have no chance of ever seeing the slightest shred of power; so why do you bother arguing with them?

By the way, the feedback mechanism of competition is exactly what Moldbug wants to apply. Read what he's saying before you attack him. That Klint Finley article was a pathetic hack job and should be treated as such; besides, it's just good practice, when you start applying reciprocal accountability, to go to the primary sources to make sure you're not attacking a straw man -- as it looks like you are.

November 29, 2013 at 5:22 PM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

@ David Brin

If your position were so secure you wouldn't resort to the sort of invective you did.

November 29, 2013 at 5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the problem with this take is that Koreans, both N and S, have an almost Jewish notion of racial supremacy. This is not an ancient notion but one promulgated by the Japanese to try and woo Koreans into supporting the Japanese cause in WW2. Japan used to have this same notion of racial supremacism, but its back was broken in the surrender to the US.

This is the argument B.R. Myers makes in The Cleanest Race, but it's wrong. Myers is a leftist who holds the standard leftist view that any form of nationalism or identitarianism is "supremacist." The Japanese hold the same notions of nationalism or identitarianism as they did during WW2.

November 29, 2013 at 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not exactly clear how a rapprochement would change things. Just food for thought.

It's quite obvious how a rapprochement would change things. Moldbug alludes to it in his post.

November 29, 2013 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

It's quite obvious how a rapprochement would change things. Moldbug alludes to it in his post.

Yeah, it's obvious to Moldbug not obvious, at all, to me. Moldbug is smart, not omniscient.

November 29, 2013 at 6:13 PM  
Blogger Luke said...

Government action involves force, everywhere and always, and force is pretty fungible.

Force? When a candidate is elected for office, nobody is *forced* to vote for them.

That is to say, the two parties are constrained to platforms that enough constituents find at least somewhat reasonable. A platform of "supervillians for world domination" would probably not win either party (...in the present political climate), but "republicans for lower taxes" and "democrats for social justice" both have viable chances at winning, since they come across as somewhat reasonable.

Point being, well sure this is a hierarchy (because it has to be), but it's a *regulated* hierarchy where the big dogs can't just do anything they want -- they have to work for it, play within the rules, and win the cooperation of smaller players somehow.

As to the fungibility of force, that's not totally obvious to me either. If I were to end up in court on charges of murder, there'd be all kinds of force involved, but I would have a lawyer defending my case, various rules ensuring a fair hearing, ability to subpoena for evidence, an appeals process, etc. -- again, highly *regulated* force, much of it in my favor as a potentially innocent defendant. It would be pretty different from being called in front of a king who can simply decide whether I'm guilty or not.

The term "male privilege" implies a hierarchy with males, as a group, prior to females, as a group, in terms of societal disposition. In reality, males and females are not homogeneous groups, and it's pretty clear that in many places that hierarchy of group averages is long over.

Hmm. My take on this issue is that the highest status and lowest status cohorts are usually predominantly male, because males tend to be more agressive risk-takers. So the progressive view isn't that far off, even though it isn't quite right: Male members of the higher status class do have significant privilege over women similarly near the high end of the scale, although it would be more aptly named "lucky male privilege".

Progressivism pretends that there are hierarchical relationships where there are none and pretends that they don't exist where they are blatantly obvious.

If it were all so blatent and straightforward, progressivism would be a *much* harder sell.

November 29, 2013 at 7:16 PM  
Blogger DR said...

@David Brin

Call me crazy, but I don't really think that a dude who looks like this and writes about talking dogs for a living probably doesn't have a very good chance at a "duel".

But by all means, please go ahead. I for one would pay good money to see you and some dweeb get into what would inevitably be a sissy slap fight. Maybe after you could deliver a lecture on this obscure Elizabethan playwright that only you have heard of, named Shakespeare.

November 29, 2013 at 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Namely, Sergey Brin (no relation to David), has found something younger to boff, and 23 has found itself deprived of its krysha.

Real classy there, "Mr. Ovid." But hey, at least you didn't call anyone a fag!


He spoke the truth. Why does the truth upset you?

November 29, 2013 at 9:24 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Mr. Brin,
I will start by noting that I have never read "The Transparent Society" or any of your other books (just material online), though I have cited the idea numerous times. You are a science fiction author who likes to use the past or feudal era as a contrast, but my admittedly limited impression is that you have only superficial knowledge of that past. As critical as I am of Mencius (because I want him to refine his ideas, not because I perceive him as enemy of any sort), I'd trust his judgement of the past over yours. He's read his Szabo as well as plenty of primary sources. And their take is more in keeping with the findings of economic historian Greg Clark, who argues that modern first world governments repress the market more than their pre-Industrial Revolution predecessors did. I can believe that without also accepting that dueling is a better way of resolving agreements because I don't try to slot everything into a past/future yay/boo framework. After all, the past isn't even past but part of our inheritance which shares credit & blame.

November 29, 2013 at 9:44 PM  
Anonymous gwern jacks off to kiddy porn said...

"That's seriously lame. You can actually implement your worthless Urbit programming ideas & even get venture capital, but you can't respond to the longest, most thorough criticism your ideas have ever gotten?"

Yeah guys, that's seriously lame. Please respond to my internet nerd argument. Let me know when you do, I'll be off watching japanese kid cartoons, dealing illegal drugs, and editing wikipedia.

November 29, 2013 at 11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Brin seriously just bring up the idea of a duel with moldbug?

L

M

A

O

Hey Brin, please arrive to said duel wearing a fedora and a sonic the hedgehog tshirt.

November 29, 2013 at 11:31 PM  
Anonymous aisaac said...

It's funny how lefties imagine the right is some sort of a top down conspiracy, run by - the CIA? The Koch Brothers?

Brin thinks MM and others are auditioning for a job as running dogs for oligarchs, when they are blogging for free - mostly anonymously.

Meanwhile, actual foundations founded by actual oligarchs (Ford, MacArthur, Gates), and actual media outlets owned by actual oligarchs (Carlos Slim's New York Times, Rupert Murdoch's empire of dreck), are actually funding liberals and boring mainstream cons. Maybe an odd libertarian here and there. If you want to be a thinker for hire, you go where the money is, and that's not neoreaction.

Brin says some other silly things - as pointed out by others, he uses a revolutionary Communist regime, N. Korea, as the living embodiment of neoreaction, when Singapore, Dubai, or Lichtenstein obviously fit the bill more closely. He conflates something bad that was popular during a time when monarchy was more prevalent - dueling - with something essential to monarchy that any monarch would bring back. This is inconsistent with his idea that North Korea is a monarchy, not to mention the fact that Alexander Hamilton among others died in a duel here in the US of A during the time when dueling was a big thing, and relatively few people were dying from it 100 years later, whatever form of government they lived under.

I don't have time to do a point by point assessment of his posts, which are mostly silly, but I think his best point is that democracy is an accountability mechanism which gets rid of bad rulers.

This is true to some extent, but the voters are heavily influenced by the media and educators (the "Cathedral"). It's instructive to look at the Nazi Germany, which had a very different Cathedral. It's true that Hitler didn't have to win any elections, except for the one that brought him into power in the first place. But it's also true that he would have won elections if there had been any, because the people, influenced by Nazi propaganda, supported Hitler to the end. This shows that you can sell almost any turd to the public if you have skillful propaganda and can silence dissent (yes, we have still have freedom of speech, no, the vast majority of people are not going to look beyond what the Cathedral tells them, so for all intents and purposes, the Cathedral can silence dissent).

Democracy also has the problem that virtue-free voters are going to vote to benefit themselves at the expense of others, and balkanized voters will do the same for their group, in which case democracy becomes an exercise in the oppression of minorities by the majority. This hasn't been too much of a problem for most of American history because of the relative homogeneity and fair-mindedness of the American electorate, but this seems to be changing.

There are other ways to get the desired result of accountability for leaders. Mencius's plan, which I don't buy, is to run it like a corporation for profit (an easily measurable outcome), with a board of directors who can fire the CEO-king. Alternatively, you can have small city-states, from which you can leave if you don't like the way it's governed.

I've never heard an idea which seems perfect, or even good (not really a neoreactionary here), but it's not clear to me that democracy is the best way, the only way, or even a good way, to solve this problem, certainly not in all places at all times.

November 29, 2013 at 11:52 PM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

@ Luke

Force? When a candidate is elected for office, nobody is *forced* to vote for them.

I don't know whether you're being dishonest or just showing an incredible amount of blind ignorance. In a representative democracy the people elect the politicians who legislate and enforce the law. When you vote you are exerting force on others. No different from a King passing a decree and enforcing it. Now, it is entirely reasonable to claim that the exercise of force is more legitimate in a democracy than in a monarchy but you are outright lying if you deny that both involve the application of force.

As to the fungibility of force, that's not totally obvious to me either.

Everything that followed in this paragraph was meandering gibberish.

If it were all so blatent and straightforward, progressivism would be a *much* harder sell.

It's not *sold*, at all, because it is the only game in town involving the utilization of power. That's the entire point of Moldbug's Cathedral. Those pretenses are bound up in the possession of power and that is why they are so vigorously enforced.

November 30, 2013 at 12:17 AM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

when Singapore, Dubai, or Lichtenstein obviously fit the bill more closely

The Alexander critique is most trenchant when it focuses on governmental models for neoreaction. It's not very clear that a vast landscape of city states is that plausible for the future.

t virtue-free voters are going to vote to benefit themselves

Calling them "virtue-free" engages in the same sort of shaming language used by the Cathedral. They have power, and they do it better. You're more effective when you don't use their rhetorical tactics.

November 30, 2013 at 12:22 AM  
Blogger Aris Katsaris said...

"he uses a revolutionary Communist regime, N. Korea, as the living embodiment of neoreaction, when Singapore, Dubai, or Lichtenstein obviously fit the bill more closely"

Cities or city states, all three. Isn't "Saudi Arabia" the most significant example of a reactionary state with a monarch in control? Why didn't you list that one?

Like East/West Germany of the past, for the purposes of comparison between two systems Korea has the strong advantage of being a single nation divided in two, a different system applied to each. South Korea is progressive, "Universalist". North Korea is...whatever you want to call it, it's not that.

And there probably has to be a time-limit on a state being called "revolutionary". When the grandson of the actual revolutionary is currently in charge, 60-70 years or so after the 'revolution' doesn't it just mean they're just in the third ruler of a new monarchical dynasty?

November 30, 2013 at 12:36 AM  
Anonymous MPC said...

I have to say I found all this weirdly funny. Truly a spectacle.

http://mpcdot.com/forums/topic/7616-dark-enlightenment-meets-snark-enlightenment/

November 30, 2013 at 12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

North Korea is...whatever you want to call it

Communist. It's called Communist.

November 30, 2013 at 12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say I found all this weirdly funny. Truly a spectacle.

http://mpcdot.com/forums/topic/7616-dark-enlightenment-meets-snark-enlightenment/


Hooray

November 30, 2013 at 1:10 AM  
Blogger Aris Katsaris said...

> Communist. It's called Communist

In the same way that China seems capitalist while calling itself Communist, North Korea seems to be reactionary while calling itself Communist.

November 30, 2013 at 1:15 AM  
Anonymous Anti-Democracy Activist said...

Off-topic a bit, but since I have no other way to contact Moldbug, I might as well put it here. The latest post at my own humble web space is, as one might be able to tell from the title, an open letter to Mencius Moldbug. In essence, it's my attempt to persuade him to stop using the term "The Cathedral" and to use a different term instead. Here it is:

http://antidem.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/open-letter-to-mencius-moldbug/

I hope it is received in the spirit in which it was intended, and that perhaps it can be found persuasive.

November 30, 2013 at 2:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the same way that China seems capitalist while calling itself Communist, North Korea seems to be reactionary while calling itself Communist.

No. It's Communist.

November 30, 2013 at 2:30 AM  
Anonymous Anti-Democracy Activist said...

Also:

It's obvious that David Brin is not defending actual democracy in the real world, but the mythos of democracy as taught in schools and on television. If actual democracy in the real world was actually what the mythos claims it was, I doubt anybody would have any objection to it. But it isn't, and inability to deal with reality as it is, rather than as what we wish it was, is not an admirable quality.

For example: "6000 years of rule by brutal cheaters"? Come now, Mr. Brin - surely you don't mean to suggest that the American Republic has not always been exactly the same. Ask an American Indian about that. Ask a black person over 60 (asking one old enough to remember slavery would be ideal, but alas is impossible). Ask someone whose ancestors worked in the sweatshops of the Lower East Side or burned to death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. Ask the soldiers who died under Smedley Butler's command as he worked as a "high class muscle man for big business". Ask an Iraqi. And these are but a few examples. One of America's defining characteristics is and always has been the willingness to shed blood in order to avoid having to pay fair market prices for the things we want. That's the truth, and to see things any other way is to accept mythos over reality.

As for being cheaters, all I can say is that of you believe that the USG's bookkeeping is on the up-and-up, then I'd like to introduce you to a friend in Nigeria who has an investment opportunity he wants to tell you about.

Speaking of cooked books, the USG's statistics on crime are just about as reliable as their statistics on economics. I don't believe known liars - why do you?

Violence is down? A million and change abortions a year, and that's just in the United States. Oh, I forgot - they're non-persons, and don't count. As were the American Indians once, and black people once, and Jews once, and kulaks once. If the mob says that they're non-persons and that violence against them isn't really violence, then daggumit, that's how things are. Because reality is whatever the mob says it is. That's how democracy rolls.

Anyhow, there's a lot "More Wrong" with Brin's comments that I could respond to, but that will have to do for now

November 30, 2013 at 3:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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November 30, 2013 at 6:20 AM  
Anonymous Brian "GAPO" Dalebout said...

My post... ruined... by a lack of "http://"... the correct link is here

November 30, 2013 at 6:22 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Having nothing to go on but an uncommented-on link to this post, I have the advantage of not "suspecting the person" of either MM or DB.

However, I have recently been rebuffed by a self-proclaimed "intellectual" how I should have a care, not suspecting his real name and bona fides. My sin? I took him to task because he mewled that the GOP has no intellectuals. As that is possibly not true, though greatly supposed, to trot it out as a sort of ennui serves no real purpose but to further debase the spirit of weaker minds, i.e., elected officials. And more instinctively, it sounds like so much insecurity to moan about one's lack of scintillating peers on which iron may sharpen iron.

But it's another thing to wish one's enemies had more mettle for the fray.

Me? Thankfully, I am without regard in any mind that matters. But here, where our Republic has run aground, one can see the markers in the channel of history which we ignored; where too late we learned that the current always carves deepest and safest where it meets solid resistance along the banks. The borderless delta of untested thoughts is but a swamp.

"And, masters, do not forget to specify, when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass."

November 30, 2013 at 6:36 AM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

@ anti democracy activist

Ask an American Indian about that. Ask a black person over 60

You're missing the forest through the trees. Democracy, for the Left, is the means not the ends, and these sorts of references simply reinforces the leftist narrative. This sort of reference is an own goal. Always.

November 30, 2013 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

@ anti democracy activist

Violence is down? A million and change abortions a year, and that's just in the United States. Oh, I forgot - they're non-persons, and don't count. As were the American Indians once, and black people once, and Jews once, and kulaks once. If the mob says that they're non-persons and that violence against them isn't really violence, then daggumit, that's how things are. Because reality is whatever the mob says it is. That's how democracy rolls.

This is how the human species rolls. Talking about irrelevancies does nothing but distract from whatever other point you might be trying to make. Always.

November 30, 2013 at 7:19 AM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

@ Joahn of Arggh

But it's another thing to wish one's enemies had more mettle for the fray.

You miss the point. It's not that MM wishes his enemies were strong but that they were, rather, intellectually serious. Were they the latter we would probably have far less cause for complaint.

November 30, 2013 at 7:24 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Why, Mr. Jacobson, I can certainly see that, surrounded as we are by a delightfully mirthful essay on the intellectual paucity of one's detractors, and within comments on same, I needed to qualify "mettle" to your satisfaction. But I cannot see why it would seem an improvement on my comment. Alas, I am an ass!

Inasmuch as those pretending to intellect can ignore reality and its attendant iron-clad Truth, it's really a given that they are not serious as detractors or intellects. It's why one wishes for more iron, instead of suffocation by many vain words.

November 30, 2013 at 8:12 AM  
Anonymous My Gay Dad Raped Me Now I'm a Blogger said...

"Inasmuch as those pretending to intellect can ignore reality and its attendant iron-clad Truth, it's really a given that they are not serious as detractors or intellects. It's why one wishes for more iron, instead of suffocation by many vain words."

Why do you write like that?

November 30, 2013 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger bdoran said...

Here is what has changed.

The Cathedral, or Progs, or USG INC or whatever one wishes to call them has been called out.

This is now a fight. Richwine was nothing compared to this...

You're about to see the actual crucible at the very least.

November 30, 2013 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

@ Joan of Argghh

Inasmuch as those pretending to intellect can ignore reality

That's cute. You get to insinuate that your interlocutors manifest a pretense to intellect, but you don't bother to argue the case.

November 30, 2013 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Mr. Jacobson, if a man purports to love Truth, as any true intellect should, then his truth should line up with reality. There's an awful lot of intellectuals in charge of our nation who obviously do not accept reality in practice. They wish to control real interactions and results, but then go on to interpret the unexpected! disappointment as a fault in reality, and not in themselves or their intellect. It is insane, and repeatedly so, apparently.

My primary comment was to your interesting way of taking me about what I saw or didn't see to your satisfaction. In my secondary comment, I speak only generally to the theme, and do not address it to you specifically. Unless you mean for me to?

November 30, 2013 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

@ Joan of Arrgggh

Your initial comment references interactions not in evidence for this comment thread.

November 30, 2013 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger The Anti-Gnostic said...

@David Brin: I'll rip off your head and shit down your neck.

November 30, 2013 at 11:08 AM  
Blogger Asher Jacobson said...

One upside of monarchy is that it looks pretty non-ideological.

November 30, 2013 at 11:55 AM  
Anonymous #1 kebab remover said...

David Brin seriously needs to go to church and lose the dorky transhumanism, lol.

November 30, 2013 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

My initial comment was none of your business. What you dislike, assume, and appropriate as relevant to open comments? Who cares?

It's just that you care that I've (unwittingly at first, but now willfully) crossed the very broad path of your Thread Keeper disdain.

Gawd.

November 30, 2013 at 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Crawfurdmuir said...

"Picture your average life in those eras. Then envision yourself speaking up to criticize the duke's son who just raped your daughter."

Mr. Brin - Dukes are so "then." Now we have male members of the Kennedy family and assorted Hollywood celebrities to fulfill this function. Plus ça change.

November 30, 2013 at 4:47 PM  
Anonymous debonaire hamitic gentleman with a 357 and an unquenchable lust said...

"Then envision yourself speaking up to criticize the duke's son who just raped your daughter."

lol, this nerd believes people with power and influence don't get away with all sorts of crime in this day and age.

here come the hollywood directors for my prepubescent daughter *flips chair into reclining position*

November 30, 2013 at 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Nick B. Steves said...

Brin doubles down:

http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/brin20131130

November 30, 2013 at 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Nick B. Steves said...

Naw. Just basically a repost from Brin.

Carry on.

November 30, 2013 at 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Puzzle Pirate said...

"here come the hollywood directors for my prepubescent daughter *flips chair into reclining position*"

You mean prepubescent SON.

November 30, 2013 at 7:04 PM  
Anonymous Daniil said...

Oops, didn't realise David Brin really wouldn't be able to stay away from here despite his earlier pronouncements. Still, surely he has wandered off for good this time.

As I said, I don't really know much about Brin or his ideas; I'm just saying that he sounded left-wing to me. That said, I don't think supporting the free market is at all at odds with being left-wing; so long as you are railing against the Oligarchy, you are still a wannabe Jacobin. He is left in the original, French sense - unless he's actually on record as being opposed to the Jacobins as well?

It's interesting to me that he insists on attacking people by claiming they cannot hope to achieve their perceived, unproven personal ambitions. Quite aside from the fact that I don't even agree with Moldbug, I certainly don't intend to work for some abstract royal government, though I won't disagree to work for the one I already have over here. I'm more interested in humanities than in administration though, in any case.

Also - while this is certainly hypocritical coming from me, I think Brin might benefit from actually reading some of the things that Moldbug wrote. The attacks on how technologically primitive the Middle Ages were and the general bashing of hereditary monarchy and aristocracy seem to indicate that he is as unaware of Moldbug's views as I am of Brin's.

December 1, 2013 at 5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you've read The Postman, you know how unbelievably lefty Mr. Brin is.

The novel is about how male patriarchal survivalists destroy civilization and are fought against by brave and noble former government bureaucrats allied with native americans and feminists (yes, really).

December 1, 2013 at 8:52 AM  
OpenID deconstructingleftism said...

Goddammit Moldbug you have a better critic, which is me, and I have explained a few times how and where you are wrong, but you don't even read comments-

http://deconstructingleftism.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/one-communist-two-communist-red-communist-blue-communist/

http://deconstructingleftism.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/the-evil-heart-of-liberalism/

Brin, you and Alexander are just not that smart or interesting. We read this stuff all the time, in the NYT or Atlantic, so your versions although more pointedly addressed to us are done by much more skilled propagandists- although the most skilled progressive propagandist is pretty retarded, and only listened to because of the fist he has at his disposal.

Everybody before Smith was evil? I think you mean everybody before the social revolution of the 60's in the West was evil, I can't believe you thing the US of the 1800's was not evil.

The truth is social systems are not so much good or evil as responses to certain situations with better or worse outcomes. Feudalism as evil, and democracy as good is a pretty crude way of breaking it down. But the problems and evils that come from the situations and policies people like you advocate are always somebody else's, not yours.

December 1, 2013 at 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Daniil said...

Oh wow, the Postman was Brin? I haven't read it, but I have seen the movie.

He may not be a North Korean or Soviet left-winger (and kudos to him for that; you'd think it would be be easy not to support them when you live outside of them, but many people failed nonetheless), but it seems he is definitely an American one in addition to an 18th-19th century French one. I'm not sure why he's so offended by this identification.

Also, he seems to be a fan of Machiavelli. He buys the once-revisionist, now-mainstream line about how he was actually an ardent democrat. It's my impression though that he was a proto-totalitarian statist first and foremost, with his contempt for any idea of commonplace morality (damning in my eyes, probably not in Moldbug's or Brin's). In his historical writings he seemed to have plenty of admiration for both republics and monarchies, and his ideal seemed to be somewhere in between - aristocratic republics with authoritarian elements. I wonder if Brin considers ancient Rome or medieval Venice to be model democracies.

Machiavelli was also kind of a pathetic failure as a politician (a very important criterion per Brin), which makes me take his book of tips with a grain of salt. A loser spewing cynical about how you're supposed to let go of all notions of honour or morality to make in the world of politics is not a very uncommon sight. Thank God that not every ruler in early modern Europe was this morally degraded; though certainly, plenty enough were, and without any help from Machiavelli.

December 2, 2013 at 12:03 AM  
Anonymous MPC said...

Is Brin left wing? Libertarian? Communist? Duh, he's a neocon, that group Moldbug doesn't really have room for in his bizarro "Cathedral" metaphor, perhaps because he is related to them.

December 2, 2013 at 2:16 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Debating liberal "thought leaders" is pointless; every sentence is an appeal to emotion with the occasional, and often misleading to downright wrong, "fact" thrown in. If at all.

As critical as I am of Mencius (because I want him to refine his ideas, not because I perceive him as enemy of any sort), I'd trust his judgement of the past over yours.

I've refined a number of his more important theorems in the comments, though he still insists on being a huge prick by not correcting points I've already debunked such as the following:


Progressivism is Communist: I've shown in the previous thread that Progressivism follows the script of Saint-Simon and Auguste whereby society is ruled by an unelected bureaucratic aristocracy, not Marx's ludicrous aristocracy of the proles.

The latter wouldn't have lasted to the dawn of the Cold War if it hadn't been propped up by the American progressives, British Fabians and interwar Euro Federalists who ultimately squashed it in four decades.

WASP Liberalism: Moldbug's analysis of post-FDR WASPs is spot on; they all became either Rockefeller Republicans a la John Lindsay, the Bushes, Welds, and the Chaffees. Or they went hardcore lib: David Souter, John Paul Stevens, Howard Dean III, Senator Angus King of Maine.

Contra MM, pre-FDR's another story. A majority of the 1865-1932 Hamiltonian-Lincoln WASPs were corporatist conservative. Alas, they were overpowered by the progressive New Deal WASPs. The last time they were conservative was the Coolidge presidency.

Moldbug's critique of WASPs does hold for pre-FDR progressive WASPs, he just has to note (A) Progressive Anglos were a minority of Gilded Age WASPs and (B) The minority of progs won an internal WASP Civil War that began with Woodrow Wilson's regnum and was later completed by FDR.

December 2, 2013 at 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Crawfurdmuir said...

TUJ wrote:

[Moldbug] "still insists on being a huge prick by not correcting points I've already debunked such as the following:

"Progressivism is Communist: I've shown in the previous thread that Progressivism follows the script of Saint-Simon and Auguste whereby society is ruled by an unelected bureaucratic aristocracy, not Marx's ludicrous aristocracy of the proles. "

Both Soviet Communism and Chinese Communism turned out in practice to be ruled by unelected bureaucratic oligarchies ("aristocracies" is not an appropriate description - they were in no sense ´οι άριστοι).

The Progressive ticket, headed by Henry Wallace, was officially backed by the CPUSA, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Soviet government. Modern soi-disant progressives are the intellectual and political descendants of the Henry Wallace Progressives.

Indeed, control of the Democratic Party has been in the hands of these people since George McGovern, who backed Henry Wallace over Harry Truman in 1948, was the Democrats' nominee for president in 1972. Obama is the cultural heir of the Communist W. E. B. DuBois, and the political heir of the comsymp Henry Wallace.

December 2, 2013 at 8:03 PM  
Anonymous Crawfurdmuir said...

"Moldbug's analysis of post-FDR WASPs is spot on; they all became either Rockefeller Republicans a la John Lindsay, the Bushes, Welds, and the Chaffees. Or they went hardcore lib: David Souter, John Paul Stevens, Howard Dean III, Senator Angus King of Maine."

I'm not sure this categorical statement is founded on much experience with the type. Have you polled a representative sample from the Social Register, the rosters of the Society of the Cincinnati or the Union Club of New York?

Based on my experience of them, more members of families of old American upper-class stock are rather farther to the right than you imagine. You just don't hear much of them, because they have receded from the social preeminence they once enjoyed. "Jampridem Syrus in Tiberim defluxit Orontes," etc.

December 2, 2013 at 8:29 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Based on my experience of them, more members of families of old American upper-class stock are rather farther to the right than you imagine.

Based on my experience of them they're conservative in their personal lives and RINO-ish to liberal in politics. Both data and anecdote back me up.

According to the GSS the major WASP Protestant branches, Episcopalian, Unitarian and Presbyterian, are the most liberal Protestants. They still lean Republican but they're conservatism is about as robust as Nelson Rockefeller. They're also the most intelligent branches of American Christianity.

Post WWII there's a surfeit of conservative WASPs. Gerald Ford, the post-FDR Supreme Court WASPs, Senator Jay Rockefeller, not a Coolidge among them.

Murray Rothbard was shocked at how few WASPs were involved in the early National Review movement.

December 2, 2013 at 8:57 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

the problem with this take is that Koreans, both N and S, have an almost Jewish notion of racial supremacy.

I'm afraid the ethnocentric strategy theory of Jewish behavior is a complete failure. But you're used to that.

The intermarriage rate for non-Orthodox Jews is now 71%. There is no ethnic strategy behind Jewish liberalism, unless your small, paranoid mind can come up with a much better explanation than your low intelligence can likely provide.

Rootless cosmopolitanism? Certainly.

Tribalism? Give up.

Entertain us: how does an out-marriage rate of 71% fit an "ethnic outsider" stratagem? Especially when the most ethnocentric Jews are more politically conservative than white goyim?

http://www.jta.org/2013/10/01/news-opinion/united-states/pew-survey-u-s-jewish-intermarriage-rate-rises-to-58-percent

Overall, the intermarriage rate is at 58 percent, up from 43 percent in 1990 and 17 percent in 1970. Among non-Orthodox Jews, the intermarriage rate is 71 percent.

December 2, 2013 at 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Crawfurdmuir said...

"Episcopalian, Unitarian and Presbyterian, are the most liberal Protestants."

I cannot speak for Unitarians and Presbyterians, but as a cradle Episcopalian, would like to know how you define "liberal" in the context of that church.

Have you ever been to the Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in New York? It is a haven of old WASP society, with many members active in the Venerable Order of St. John and the various lineage societies. It observes a liturgical and sacramental standard more conservative than just about every Roman Catholic Church in the U.S., with sung high masses, vestments, incense, and bells. Were Charles I and Archbishop Laud to be brought back from the dead, they would feel at home there.

The ECUSA is undoubtedly a mixed bag, but its WASPiest precincts can hardly be accused of liberalism in any properly ecclesiastical sense.

December 2, 2013 at 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WASPs have been in decline for generations now:

http://racehist.blogspot.com/2009/01/white-anglo-saxon-protestant.html

"A Quiet Retreat

Sometimes Wasps are treated like a species under examination before it becomes extinct. At the convocation of intellectuals in Princeton last month, Edward Shils, professor of social thought at the University of Chicago, announced: "The Wasp has abdicated, and his place has been taken by ants and fleas. The Wasp is less rough and far more permissive. He lacks self-confidence and feels lost." Other observers feel that the growing dissension in American life is a clear sign that the Wasp has lost his sting, that his culture no longer binds. The new radicals and protesters are not in rebellion against Wasp rule as such, but they deride the Wasp's traditional values, including devotion to duty and hard work.

Although it is possible to exaggerate the decline of the Wasp, who has never really left the center of U.S. power, he is indisputably in an historical retreat. The big change came with the waves of migration from Europe in the 19th century, when many of his citadels—the big cities—were wrested from his political control. In a quiet fallback, the Wasps founded gilded ghettos—schools and suburbs, country clubs and summer colonies.

Lately, the non-Wasps have pursued them even there. A few years ago, Grosse Pointe, a Wasp suburb of Detroit, was notorious for rating prospective homeowners by a point system based on personal characteristics; Jews, Italians and "swarthy" persons almost invariably got so few points that they could not buy houses. Now all that has been abandoned, and Grosse Pointe has many Roman Catholic and Jewish residents. Downtown private clubs remain bastions of Wasp exclusiveness, but doors are opening. One recent example: Jews gained admission to the Kansas City Club in Kansas City, Mo., after an uproar over exclusionary policies; a rumor got out that the Atomic Energy Commission refused to locate a plant in the city because of private-club discrimination.

Non-Wasp groups are far better represented in Ivy League schools than they used to be: Jews, for instance, constitute about 25% of the student bodies. So traditional an Episcopal prep school as Groton now includes some 25 Roman Catholics, a dozen Negroes and three Jews. Jews stand out sharply in the nation's intellectual life, and Jewish novelists are beginning to overtake the fertile Wasp talent. Scarcely a single Wasp is a culture hero to today's youth; more likely he is the bad guy on the TV program, where names like Jones and Brown have replaced the Giovannis and O'Shaughnessys. The banker who made Skull and Bones is no model for undergraduates, writes Sociologist Nathan Glazer in FORTUNE. "Indeed, often the snobberies run the other way—the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, generally from a small town or an older and duller suburb, is likely to envy the big-city and culturally sophisticated Jewish students."

Proper Wasps still rule in tight little enclaves of high society that are rarely cracked by newcomers. Yet anyone with a will—and money—can find a way to outflank Wasp society, which is often haunted by a sense of anachronism. Such is the hostility to the Veiled Prophet parade, an annual Wasp event in St. Louis, that the queen and her maids of honor last year had to be covered with a plastic sheet to protect them from missiles tossed from the crowd.

[ARE THE WASPS COMING BACK? HAVE THEY EVER BEEN AWAY? Time Friday, Jan. 17, 1969]"

December 2, 2013 at 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Where the WASPs Aren’t"

https://web.archive.org/web/20081209134429/http://www.takimag.com/blogs/article/where_the_wasps_are/

"In Gossip Girl, rich kids all have names like Waldorf, Archibald, Bass and van der Woodsen. (In keeping with media’s loathing of the Texas Bass family, the villain is named “Chuck Bass.") In reality, however, the families of the old Protestant Establishment make up only a minority of New York’s wealthy elite. They haven’t entirely disappeared; they still host their debutantes balls, the Forbes family still keeps the Social Register afloat, and a handful of institutions (mostly hidden from public view) are still controlled by WASPs. Some WASPs even have substantial fortunes. (Those fortunes, however, are rarely very old; no Knickerbocker family like “van der Woodsen” can afford New York’s social whirl.) But WASPs as a whole just don’t have the numbers, much less the will, to dominate New York society. As Louis Auchincloss gently puts it, they have “lost their monopoly.”

Instead, perhaps a plurality of the rich private school kids in Manhattan—even at historically Protestant schools—are Jewish. The Jewish Daily Forward goes so far as to report that Trinity and Dalton, two of the top private schools in New York, are “largely Jewish.” An entire media industry follows the lavish bar mitzvahs of Manhattan private school kids. The closest real-world model for the high school in Gossip Girl, The Dalton School, has historically been the most recherché school for Jewish New Yorkers. (Most WASPs prefer to send their children to the old single-sex grammar schools.) Tellingly, the media now treat Dalton as the most posh school in Manhattan.

In Gossip Girl, however, Jewish kids don’t even exist, much less predominate. Everything about Gossip Girl is modern, from the drugs to the iphones, except for the sociological background, which the writers may as well have lifted out of the Gilded Age.

• It almost goes without saying that Gossip Girls gets nothing right about WASPs. WASPs don’t flaunt their wealth; on the contrary, they cultivate their shabbiness, the better to signal to the world that they don’t need money (which they probably don’t have anyway) in order to rank socially. To demonstrate your WASP bona fides, you drive a 1980s Buick station wagon, not a Rolls Royce.

In fairness, in mischaracterizing America’s upper class, Gossip Girl is merely following pop culture convention. Virtually every Hollywood movie and TV show, from Scent of a Woman to Family Guy, assumes that a WASP episcopacy that collapsed two generations ago still controls this country’s wealth and power."

December 2, 2013 at 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ann Coulter tweets:

https://twitter.com/AnnCoulter/status/407582198787624960

"Can someone please tell Hollywood there hasn't been a WASP on Wall St for 30 years?"

December 2, 2013 at 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That Bright, Dying Star, the American WASP"

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704414504575244622954114574

"In the long downward spiral of what used to be known as America's Protestant Establishment, there have been several momentous milestones: Harvard's opening up its admissions policies after World War II. Corporate America's rush in the 1980s to bring more diversity to the corner office. Barack Obama's inauguration as the first African-American president. "

""The fact that we're going to zero Protestants in the court may not be as significant as the fact that her appointment perfectly reflects the decline of the Establishment, or the WASP Establishment, in America," said David Campbell, associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame.

Seen from the distance of time, the changes are stunning. In the 1960s, the vast majority of corporate managers were Protestant, according to E. Digby Baltzell's famous 1964 tome, "The Protestant Establishment."

The percentage of Protestants in Congress has dropped to 55% from 74% in 1961, according to Pew Forum. The corner offices of the top banks, once ruled by Rockefellers and Bakers, now include an Indian-American and the grandson of a Greek immigrant.

In old-money enclaves like Palm Beach, Fla., Nantucket, Mass., and Greenwich, Conn., WASPs are being priced out of their waterfront estates and displaced on their nonprofit boards by Jewish, Catholic and other non-Protestant entrepreneurs.

A survey by Pew Research found only 21% of mainline U.S. Protestants had income of $100,000 or more, compared with 46% of Jews and 42% of Hindus."

December 2, 2013 at 10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ipsos-Reuters 2012 presidential polling data"

http://racehist.blogspot.com/2013/09/ipsos-reuters-2012-presidential-polling.html#more

"New England Protestants favored Romney (43-35). Catholics and Jews favored Obama (43-37 and 59-29)."

December 2, 2013 at 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moldbug is a true genius, 3 or 4 standard deviations out on the bell curve. However, the world is run by IQ 135 types - David Brin is the rule, Sergey Brin is a rare exception. If he ever wants this blog to have any influence beyond the Dark Enlightenment circle jerk, he needs to seriously engage people like Scott Alexander.

December 3, 2013 at 12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anthony Walsh said...

What's with the Anglophobes posting recently?

A.W.

December 3, 2013 at 2:07 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

"Then envision yourself speaking up to criticize the duke's son who just raped your daughter."

Yeah that would be awful.

http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/09/a-teenage-black-mob-gang-rape-and-the-media-is-silent/

December 3, 2013 at 5:35 AM  
Blogger shlomo maistre said...

David Brin,

Moreover, the only way truth can prevail is to remove the power of ANY individual or group to domineer and proclaim their vision to be gospel, forcing others to nod, instead of poking at your flaws.

The spectacle of false assumptions piled layer upon layer! The mind boggles.

Profane not the gospel that forces others to nod – that is the stuff around which society congeals. In fact, that men struggle for power is no less indisputable than that a society exists by the grace of the gospel to which its men nod. This is why, David, to the extent that a Progressive strives to deliver a people from the tyranny of blind faith, that people suffers the social disorder that is the intrinsic effect of spiritual disorder.

Truth in a sense guides human affairs - as, for instance, every people has the government it deserves - but it does not, cannot prevail, which would contradict its nature in relation to mankind. Highest, purest, most essential truth does not prevail, but transcends. Mortal, inferior truth is fleeting and is not true by nature (in essence) but imitates truth by degree (in existence). To be specific, to the extent man acts in an orderly manner, he imitates the essence of truth more closely.

In other words, David, it is wise to nod to gospel willingly.

December 3, 2013 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger shlomo maistre said...

David Brin,

Not one of you dealt with the flat out fact that the worst oppressors of freedom and market competition in 99% of human societies were your beloved lords. Close your eyes now and envision yourself popping into such a time and place… and DROP the masturbatory fantasies that you'll teach them textile weaving or gunpowder and become an instant lord. Picture your average life in those eras. Then envision yourself speaking up to criticize the duke's son who just raped your daughter.

Picture an average life in those times? I can hardly picture myself without a computer.

But lets charitably overlook your apples and oranges comparison that fails to account for so many facts of technological innovation. I mean, honestly, facts are quite boring, especially as compared to revelation.

Oppression is a characteristic of society. This is inevitable, David, and whether you consider this the result of original sin or the spaghetti monster is quite irrelevant for our purposes at the moment. Instead let us consider a neat trick. The trick to minimize the harmful effects of oppression is to formalize its distribution by centralizing its sources and stabilizing its instruments.

The sources of oppression are centralized to the extent that those vested with the recognized right to rule are determined not by their own actions. The less human is sovereignty, the more divine are the rulers; the more divine the rulers the less perceived power do they shed in exercising sovereignty.

Birthright is sovereignty most (perfectly?) divine.

The instruments of oppression are stabilized to the degree that those vested with the recognized right to rule are few in proportion to the population. The less divided is sovereignty, the more unified are the rulers; the more unified the rulers the less opposing powers do they face in exercising sovereignty.

Monarchy is sovereignty most unified.

The only perfectly unified and divine sovereignty is a King - by right of birth.

Rule by faith is the right to power; rule by force is the will to power. The less manifested power (action ipsum action) was perceived required to achieve recognized right of rule, the more likely there is belief in the right of succession. The case of minimal manifested power is the case where belief is inevitably immanent. This is also the only case wherein authority, responsibility, and incentive all stem from the same source - that which created it. Indeed, the act of creation is participation in that which distinguishes Him - sovereignty itself. If rule by faith is orderly, rule by recognized birth right is order itself. The right of heredity is inevitable.

December 3, 2013 at 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Ryan said...

Random question I've always wondered about, prompted by Brin's ridiculous mischaracterization of the cathedral:

Has Mencius never read any Foucault? His study of knowledge works perfectly for MM's philosophy. The Cathedral is a collection of dominant discourses of power/knowledge. The means MM describes by which it influences public thought, polices itself and maintains legitimacy is pretty much exactly the same as Foucault's Archeology of Knowledge.

December 3, 2013 at 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ann Coulter tweets:

https://twitter.com/AnnCoulter/status/407582198787624960

"Can someone please tell Hollywood there hasn't been a WASP on Wall St for 30 years?"


Does that mean that Ann Coulter is a anti-Semite?

December 3, 2013 at 11:57 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

I cannot speak for Unitarians and Presbyterians, but as a cradle Episcopalian, would like to know how you define "liberal" in the context of that church.

I'm speaking of Episcopalian politics, not liturgy.

And post-1945 one has to look far and wide to find a conservative WASP who wasn't already prominent before the war.

What precisely did WASPs DO in the modern era that was conservative?

There was the Warren Court the constant undermining of Goldwater and Reagan by liberal WASP Republican grandees, the George HW Bush presidency which raised legal immigration from 600,000 to 1 million a year.

They did bring down the Soviet Union but only because the Bear wouldn't agree to divide the world the way FDR dreamed they would.

December 3, 2013 at 4:08 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

I see Crawfurdmuir, who generally agrees with me, is going to be my only quality debating opponent for the remainder of this thread.

WASPs have been in decline for generations now:

WASPs undercounted. Lists of elite WASPs neglect the fact Episcopalian membership has been on the decline for years.

They also neglect the impact of intra-white marriage on WASP demographics.

WASPs frequently marry Jews and produce elite WASPanazis. Pinch Sulzberger, Secretary of Defense John Forbes Kerry, Sen. Michael Bennett of Colorado are all WASP-Jew hybrids. Lauren Bush married Ralph "Lifshitz" Lauren's son.

Even Moldbug's Britannic half is Scottish.

Non-Wasp groups are far better represented in Ivy League schools than they used to be: Jews, for instance, constitute about 25% of the student bodies.

Today, full blooded Jews are 12% of the Ivy League. The rest are mischlings, often WASP mischlings.

December 3, 2013 at 4:26 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

https://twitter.com/AnnCoulter/status/407582198787624960

"Can someone please tell Hollywood there hasn't been a WASP on Wall St for 30 years?"

Does that mean that Ann Coulter is a anti-Semite?


If Ann is reading this, I'll have her know we HBD Jews are foursquare behind a conservative WASP restoration.

Restoring WASPs means they'll bring an army of WASPanazi mischling bloggers along for the coup, which will definitely not be in the interests of the anti-semites.

Unless they find a way to turn the large and growing number of young mischlings into anti-semites against the full Jews.

But I doubt the counter-Zionists have 1% of the skill needed to pull that trick off.

December 3, 2013 at 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WASPs aren't undercounted.

Intermarriage is consistent with demographic decline. The product of a WASP and a Jew, or a WASP and an Italian, or a WASP with a black, etc., is not a WASP.

As it happens, Jews tend to marry Catholics:

http://www.interfaithfamily.com/news_and_opinion/synagogues_and_the_jewish_community/The_Jewish-Catholic_Connection.shtml

The Jewish-Catholic Connection

by Julie Wiener
Special To The Jewish Week
A few months ago, Pope Benedict XVI, decked out in trademark white robes and white skullcap, became the first pontiff to enter an American synagogue.

The visit to Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue — where the pontiff apparently opened his speech with a “shalom” — was an indicator of how, despite some stumbling blocks, Catholic-Jewish relations have never been better.

The same might be said for Catholic-Jewish relationships.
Since my husband, Joe, is a lapsed Catholic, my radar is always up for Jewish-Catholic marriages. However, in two years of writing this column, I have not had to look far for examples of such couplings: whether the topic is gentiles at the seder table or women who convert to Judaism after many years of marriage, virtually every interfaith family I encounter is Jewish-Catholic. And the same is true in my social circle and extended family, despite the occasional Jewish-Protestant or Jewish-Hindu pairing.

I’m not the only one who’s noticed this Catholic-Jewish attraction. Suzette Cohen, a longtime facilitator in Atlanta of the Mothers Circle, a program for non-Jewish women raising Jewish children, estimates that at least 60 percent of her participants are Catholic or formerly Catholic even though she’s “in Georgia, a Baptist part of the world.”

In his recent book, “The New American Judaism: The Way Forward on Challenging Issues From Intermarriage to Jewish Identity” (Palgrave Macmillan), Rabbi Arthur Blecher notes that in the approximately 1,000 Washington, D.C.-area interfaith couples he has interviewed in the past two decades, slightly more than half of the gentile spouses were Catholic. “It made no difference whether a man or woman was the Jewish partner,” he writes, adding later that Jews and Catholics share a “social affinity.”

The U.S. Religion Landscape Survey released this spring by the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life also confirmed the trend, finding that 12 percent of married Jews have Catholic spouses, while only 7 percent have Protestant spouses (the rest are married to Jews, atheists or people of other faiths). That’s in spite of the fact that American Protestants outnumber American Catholics nearly 2 to 1.

December 3, 2013 at 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A genuine WASP restoration would not involve mischlings, since mischlings aren't WASPs. A genuine WASP restoration would conflict with the interests of Jews and mischlings regardless of their views on "HBD" since it would involve removing and excluding Jews and mischlings.

December 3, 2013 at 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Crawfurdmuir said...

TUJ wrote:

"I'm speaking of Episcopalian politics, not liturgy.

"And post-1945 one has to look far and wide to find a conservative WASP who wasn't already prominent before the war.

"What precisely did WASPs DO in the modern era that was conservative?"

I think you and I are talking about different people.

Certainly there were a handful of prominent WASP liberal Republicans in public life - and I have to acknowledge that the Episcopal hierarchy is quite liberal and has included some truly egregious bishops.

However, the high Anglicans and WASPs I have in mind are the sorts of people one might meet after high mass at St. Thomas, or sit at table with at the Union Club for a dinner of the St, Nicholas Society of New York, or meet at a reception of the New York Society of Colonial Wars.

December 3, 2013 at 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Crawfurdmuir said...

"Secretary of Defense John Forbes Kerry"

The current Secretary of Defense is Chuck Hagel, nat. 4 Oct., 1946, at North Platte, Neb., to a father of German ancestry, and a mother of Polish and Irish ancestry. He attended St. Bonaventure High School in Columbus, Neb., the Brown Institute for Radio and Television, and was graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1971. He is in no sense a WASP.

John Kerry is Secretary of State. He did not discover until he was well into adulthood that his paternal grandfather had changed his name from Fritz Kohn to Frederick Kerry and had converted to Roman Catholicism. His sole claim to WASP status comes through his Episcopalian mother Rosemary, née Forbes.

December 3, 2013 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

It has come to my attention that the link I used for Yvain's old essay on social justice bingo no longer works. I now host it at my own blog.

December 3, 2013 at 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today I have stood, where once Jefferson Davis stood, and took an oath to my people. It is very appropriate then that from this Cradle of the Confederacy, this very Heart of the Great Anglo-Saxon Southland, that today we sound the drum for freedom as have our generations of forebears before us done, time and time again through history. Let us rise to the call of freedom-loving blood that is in us and send our answer to the tyranny that clanks its chains upon the South. In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny . . . and I say . . . segregation today . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever.

Was there any other conservatism in the US post-1945? Writing essays for National Review doesn't count. The McCarthy phenomenon was too brief to amount to anything. Reagan was just another liberal.

December 4, 2013 at 2:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems they have a rather pernicious mind virus on this site. I recommend further observation with a standing open option for termination on short notice.

December 4, 2013 at 3:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn why was this posted here? Control...?

December 4, 2013 at 3:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: No WASPs?
it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.

Albeit my field experience in IL, MA, and GA is that cracker is still strong, and well looked after USG.

TPS

December 4, 2013 at 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spent a few hours here and there reading this, Alexander's FAQ, and following the other neo-reactionary links therein.
I have to say, the best of neo-reactionary rhetoric is... vaguely coherent. And I don't mean convincing, just not quite as horrible as watching a child thrash about in fever-dreams.
Good luck with the monarchy. You'll most likely end up as sheet compost, but at least there won't be a tedious vote.

December 4, 2013 at 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Satoshi Nakamoto is (probably) Nick Szabo:

https://likeinamirror.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/satoshi-nakamoto-is-probably-nick-szabo/

http://www.businessinsider.com/nick-szabo-is-satoshi-evidence-2013-12

December 4, 2013 at 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

neoreactionaries are just a weird strand of left-liberal.

December 4, 2013 at 6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spent a few hours here and there reading this, Alexander's FAQ, and following the other neo-reactionary links therein.
I have to say, the best of neo-reactionary rhetoric is... vaguely coherent.


If that's all you've read then you haven't read the best of the neoreactionaries.

December 4, 2013 at 10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

neoreactionaries are just a weird strand of left-liberal.

Everything is. We live in a left-liberal world.

December 4, 2013 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger RM Odom said...

I love the smell of vague strawman in the morning. Née reactionaries aren't tied together by the idea of monarchy. It's anti-progressive values and anti-democracy.

I do agree with Guillame Faye that the alt right needs to be defined my positive value statements instead of just contrarian positions.

December 5, 2013 at 12:58 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

WASPs aren't undercounted.

Intermarriage is consistent with demographic decline. The product of a WASP and a Jew, or a WASP and an Italian, or a WASP with a black, etc., is not a WASP.


1) There's also the sizable amount of defections from traditionally WASP Protestant denominations, unless you think WASPs stop being WASPs if they no longer are Episcopalian.

2) Aren't Jews, with their 71% non-Orthodox out-marriage rate, also demographically declining if "intermarriage is consistent with demographic decline."

The product of a WASP and a Jew, or a WASP and an Italian, or a WASP with a black, etc., is not a WASP.

Are the products of French-WASP unions also not WASPs?

A genuine WASP restoration would conflict with the interests of Jews and mischlings regardless of their views on "HBD" since it would involve removing and excluding Jews and mischlings.

The interests of WASP-Jew mischlings overlap with WASPs and whites generally. A presidente Maduro isn't going to cut half-Jews in Scarsdale slack because they have an ancestor who was deported to Dachau.

12 percent of married Jews have Catholic spouses, while only 7 percent have Protestant spouses (the rest are married to Jews, atheists or people of other faiths).

There might be more Jew-Catholic marriages, but there are also many WASP-Jewish marriages in the Northeast. Howard Dean is married to a Jewish woman, for example.

December 5, 2013 at 4:08 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Both Soviet Communism and Chinese Communism turned out in practice to be ruled by unelected bureaucratic oligarchies ("aristocracies" is not an appropriate description - they were in no sense ´οι άριστοι).

Still not applicable to the Cathedral. The Soviet Civil Service was controlled by one oligarchical council, the Politburo. Or a single dictator.

Cathedral civil service agencies have no central command and control; the New York Times for example can't give orders to the FDA (I refuse to use DC insider lingo) as the Politburo could issue orders to whatever the Soviet health agency was.

December 5, 2013 at 4:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: WASP mischlinging
So the ethnobiological character of USG's cracker base drifted over time - like it did for 200 years.

Big fucking deal

TPS

December 5, 2013 at 5:39 AM  
Anonymous Crawfurdmuir said...

"Still not applicable to the Cathedral. The Soviet Civil Service was controlled by one oligarchical council, the Politburo. Or a single dictator.

"Cathedral civil service agencies have no central command and control; the New York Times for example can't give orders to the FDA (I refuse to use DC insider lingo) as the Politburo could issue orders to whatever the Soviet health agency was."

You're splitting hairs here, and that not even too accurately. The Soviet Union had duplicative bureaucracies just like the U.S., and often they did not coordinate their activities - for example, the KGB and the GRU.

Of course a large difference between the Soviet and the U.S. system was that in the Soviet Union, everyone worked in some capacity for the state, except for black marketeers and the peasants who were begrudgingly permitted to operate their own vegetable gardens.

December 5, 2013 at 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried to take Alexander seriously, I really did! It was the point at which he found it convenient to define "violent dispute", so as to exclude the American Civil War, at which I found myself no longer able to maintain the attempt.

December 5, 2013 at 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

left-liberals are anti-democracy. neoreaction is strictly about a better fig leaf for power-seizing by mandarins and the illusion of power-seizing (aka punditry) by would-be mandarins. we know the neoreaction worships at the altar of left-liberal beliefs by their complete refusal to drop the cathedral terminology to describe the mandarin class and its emperors.

December 5, 2013 at 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) There's also the sizable amount of defections from traditionally WASP Protestant denominations, unless you think WASPs stop being WASPs if they no longer are Episcopalian.

2) Aren't Jews, with their 71% non-Orthodox out-marriage rate, also demographically declining if "intermarriage is consistent with demographic decline."


WASPs are an ethnic group, not simply a religious group.

Jews say they're declining due to outmarriage.

Are the products of French-WASP unions also not WASPs?

What exactly don't you understand about hybridization?

The interests of WASP-Jew mischlings overlap with WASPs and whites generally. A presidente Maduro isn't going to cut half-Jews in Scarsdale slack because they have an ancestor who was deported to Dachau.

A genuine WASP restoration would not involve Jews and mischlings, since Jews and mischlings aren't WASPs. A genuine WASP restoration would involve removing and excluding Jews and mischlings, and to the extent that it is not in the interests of Jews and mischlings to be removed and excluded, a genuine WASP restoration would conflict with the interests of Jews and mischlings.

There might be more Jew-Catholic marriages, but there are also many WASP-Jewish marriages in the Northeast. Howard Dean is married to a Jewish woman, for example.

Howard Dean would not be an example of "many".

December 5, 2013 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I don't read Scott Alexander as redefining "violent dispute" to exclude the Civil War (though reading one sentence in isolation may give that impression). He explicitly says that secession (rather than dynastic dispute) has been the source of the only major rebellion in U.S history (two if you count the original war of independence). The "violent dispute" line comes up when he refers to the "Line of Washington" and its "forty-three dynastic successions". None of those successions was the result of a "violent dispute" in the dynastic sense (Garfield the mugwump to Arthur the stalwart arguably was, but Guiteau was crazy enough to ignore that).

December 5, 2013 at 6:02 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

He is however wrong in saying "The closest we’ve ever come to any kind of squabble over who should be President was Bush vs. Gore". The Constitution was amended due to experience squabbling, and the Corrupt Bargain was another classic example. The Civil War (which I agree was a war of secession rather than genuine "civil war") was also a direct result of the election of Lincoln.

December 5, 2013 at 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Crawfurdmuir said...

TUJ wrote:

"1) There's also the sizable amount of defections from traditionally WASP Protestant denominations, unless you think WASPs stop being WASPs if they no longer are Episcopalian."

Apropos of this point, I observed something interesting today. I visited a friend in hospital in a city where I don't live, and noticed a plaque in the building's lobby indicating that the hospital had been founded in 1875 by the Episcopal Church.

Very near the hospital stood what may have been the founding congregation's home - a red brick, Richardsonian Romanesque structure bearing all the hallmarks of the Anglo-Catholic revival of the nineteenth century. However, it no longer housed an ECUSA congregation, but rather was styled a part of the "Anglican Province" of the state. This indicated that the congregation had split from the ECUSA.

Whenever we hear of the decline of "mainline Protestantism," it is helpful to bear in mind that the members who have left the denominations in question have not just disappeared. Often, they have hived off into little denominations like that represented by the church I saw today. There are several "continuing Anglican" splinter bodies, and there are similar ones in other Protestant traditions, such as the Conservative Congregational Conference, formed by Congregational churches that did not accept merger into the United Church of Christ.

In just about all of these bodies, the splinter groups are disaffected conservatives (theologically and politically) whose departure has left the remaining "mainstream" body more liberal. The splinter groups also almost always tend to be WASPier than the denomination from which they have split.

December 5, 2013 at 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Lucius said...

David Brin wrote "The Postman" about a mailman who heals a dystopian future by reminding them of the wonders of USG rule.

He is working on a sequel: "The Obamacare Navigator"

December 6, 2013 at 9:09 AM  
Anonymous The Cathedral Strikes Back said...

"I really ought to give this thing [the Anti-Reactionary FAQ] the thorough reaming it deserves. But in general, it's not bad enough to be funny and not good enough to be interesting. I'm a busy guy and my motivation does flag."

You are such a bitch.

December 6, 2013 at 4:19 PM  
Anonymous The Cathedral Strikes Back said...

And you talk like a fag.

December 6, 2013 at 4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are such a bitch.

Cry more faggot. Go back to Yvain's where the latest post is a bunch of humorless aspies nitpicking a joke, and complaining that it doesn't meet the standard of Tumblrthink.

December 6, 2013 at 4:57 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

You're splitting hairs here, and that not even too accurately. The Soviet Union had duplicative bureaucracies just like the U.S., and often they did not coordinate their activities - for example, the KGB and the GRU.

I'm afraid you're making the CCCP agencies look more independent than they were.

Soviet bureaucracies were all controlled by a single leader or collection of Soviet leaders. If policies weren't coordinated on some matters it was because the Soviet high command gave the pencil pushers some leeway to go on autopilot. But the ability to revoke their read/write privileges always was at the discretion of the leadership.

The Cathedral has no central leadership because the Cathedral's sub processes don't receive orders from a single root command. Harvard can't give orders to the New York Times or Foggy Bottom as Chairman Mao - a sovereign root command if there ever was one - could issue orders to the Chinese state papers and foreign ministry.

Cathedral sub-processes coordinate their activities through a shared incentive structure to create more unaccountable bureaucracies, which by pure coincidence employ them.

They are spectacular at growing government in spite of constant failure. But when it comes time to navigate the ship of state on even the most mundane activities they suck.

For you Hamiltonians out there, the corrective is not to eliminate government departments (e.g., the Dept of Education) but to restore the spoils system: Give the POTUS the power to fire FedGov workers at will and their independence as a 4th branch of government ends.

December 6, 2013 at 5:50 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

"Are the products of French-WASP unions also not WASPs?

What exactly don't you understand about hybridization?"

I understand hybridization. What I'm testing is how much you know about WASPs.

Back to my question: Are WASP-French offspring still WASPs?

Yes or No.

December 6, 2013 at 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Crawfurdmuir said...

"Soviet bureaucracies were all controlled by a single leader or collection of Soviet leaders. "

Maybe true under Stalin, but the post-Stalin nomenklatura intrigued against each other like the Roman Curia in the Renaissance. Khrushchev came out on top briefly after besting Malenkov and Molotov, but then fell victim to similar intrigues that put Brezhnev and Kosygin in charge, and after their demises, one superannuated functionary after another until the whole structure collapsed under its own weight under Gorbachev.

December 6, 2013 at 11:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first part of the timeline here: http://thinkprogress.org/home/2013/12/06/3029871/wing-timeline-mandela/

is fucking hilarious.

It is a thinkprogress link, but as far as I can see the very first timeline prediction came true, but progressives are so fucking deluded that they see it as evidence that the right tried to bad talk Trayvon Mandela.

December 7, 2013 at 4:23 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Maybe true under Stalin, but the post-Stalin nomenklatura intrigued against each other like the Roman Curia in the Renaissance.

Whichever post-Stalin clique was in power enjoyed power over every agency in Moscow.

Not so for USG. Comte's aristocracy of the new bureaucratic man has led to our unprecedented situation where the civil service can act independently to expand its own power without permission from other civil service silo or an executive.

Democrat presidents are not immune. Bill Clinton, a sane Democrat, had to endure pressure campaigns from USG subunits to pour more resources into this Cathedral agency or that.

This would have been unimaginable for any Communist regime.

Even under the Gorbachev wind down it would be tempting the gods for some nobody in the Soviet education ministry to leak to a state paper that his officials want a bigger budget.

December 7, 2013 at 6:23 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Was there any other conservatism in the US post-1945?

Writing essays for National Review doesn't count.


Early National Review was good. Aside from NR, Jacksonianism was all that was left since WASPs gave up Hamiltonian/Lincolnist conservatism to worship the Wilsonian Baal.

Reagan was just another liberal.

In my view you're being unfair. Reagan did what was possible within the constraints of his period.

December 7, 2013 at 6:45 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

I want an answer to my question from Anonymous:

Are WASP-French offspring WASPs?

December 7, 2013 at 6:49 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

So we come to the question of why WASP politicians were conservative from 1865-1932 and almost all liberal after FDR.

They turned their back on Lincolnism because FDR liberated the civil service from the will of outside stakeholders.

Gilded Age WASPs ruled the three branches of government through Hamiltonian representative sponsorship: POTUS, as well as Congressmen and Senators, served as regents on behalf of Northern WASP business interests.

The president, obeying parameters laid down by his Yankee masters, then made appointments to the judicial branch, giving WASP businessmen control of all three after the WASPs deep sixed the Jacksonian-Jeffersonian South.

Thanks to the Spoils System, the civil service acted as an extension of the White House. Whenever a new president was elected, he could by fiat replace the civil servants of the previous administration with his own agents.

Acting on Comte's faith that society is best ruled by perfected technocrats, Wilsonians ended executive control over government agencies.

Because the executive, even democratic executives, can't hold Cathedral agencies to account, the Cathedral now serves as a rogue 4th branch of government.

The post-FDR WASPs, being a natural ruling aristocracy, defected to technocratic leftism because the control of the other 3 branches of government depended on this weird, newly powerful 4th branch of government that none of the other branches could now reign in.

The Cathedral is the most powerful branch of government because it is the most unaccountable of the four. Since control of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches now depends on the whims of the technocratic branch, ruling WASPs had no choice but to defect to FDR's branch by becoming technocrats themselves.

December 7, 2013 at 7:25 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Often, they have hived off into little denominations like that represented by the church I saw today.

The most liberal WASPs will sometimes stop attending any church functions except holidays, weddings, and funerals.

Didn't Ned Lamont, a great-grandon of JP Morgan, say he's an atheist during his primary campaign against Joe Lieberman?

The three major reasons WASPs are being undercounted are:

1) Intermarriage with Great Wave descended ethnic whites in the Northeast.

2) Migrating from Northeast urban centers to the suburbs.

3) Abandoning their ancestor's faith for some other religion or to atheism/secularism.

December 7, 2013 at 7:39 PM  
OpenID mukatsuku said...

TUJ: "Moldbug is a prick because i've proved progressivism..."

You've proved nothing of interest. Progressivism is the Quaker creed of an extraordinarily powerful tribe and sovereign government. The Cathedral-USG deserves more respect and awe than TUJ gives it.

December 7, 2013 at 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Crawfurdmuir said...

"Didn't Ned Lamont, a great-grandon of JP Morgan, say he's an atheist during his primary campaign against Joe Lieberman?"

I don't know what Ned Lamont may have said, but he is not a great-grandson of J.P. Morgan. He is a great-grandson of Thomas W. Lamont, who became a Morgan partner in 1911, only two years before the death of J.P. Morgan, Sr. Thomas Lamont became chairman of J.P. Morgan & Co. in 1943.

There is no family connection between the Morgan family and the Lamont's. T. W. Lamont was born the son of a Methodist minister in Claverack, N.Y., and can at best be described as bring of middle-class low Protestant origins. His son Corliss, great-uncle of Ned, was a prominent socialist and apologist for the Soviet Union. Breeding runs true! This is better understood as the product of a sort of striving Nonconformist lower-middle class origin, such as Orwell so ably depicts in the second part of "The Road to Wigan Pier," than as one of the old New York upper-class society which produced (say) Madison Grant.

December 7, 2013 at 10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Unz proved in that long TAC article that Jews make up about 41% of Harvard students. Non-Jewish whites made up less than 1 fifth of the student body.

Unz calculated that white non-Jewish students would be over 300% higher without discrimination and Asians would be 30% higher.

Of course, when the New York times discussed this in their "Room for Debate" section, they were interested only in the discrimination against Asians, a much smaller issue. Discrimination against white non-Jewish students was not even mentioned.

December 8, 2013 at 4:14 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Actually, Unz proved in that long TAC article that Jews make up about 41% of Harvard students.

Unz's calculations, based off of how Jewish sounding the last names of Ivy League students were, are worthless because he ignores the fact probably a majority* of Ivy League Jews are half-Jewish.

Any measure of Jewish over-representation must factor in partial Jewish ancestry of the overall white population if partial Jews are to be grouped with other Jews.

In that case, over 5% of white Americans have enough Jewish ancestry to qualify for Israeli citizenship and perhaps another 1-2% have some lesser amount of Ashkenazi ancestry.

*

http://www.hillel.org/about/news/2004/jan/20040121_involved.htm

The NJPS data reveal that the college-age Jewish population is almost evenly split between those who have two Jewish parents (48 percent) and those who have only one Jewish parent (45 percent). Students with two Jewish parents tend to be more religiously observant and Jewishly connected than those with only one Jewish parent. For example, 80 percent of those with two Jewish parents felt very positive about being Jewish compared to 65 percent among those with one Jewish parent. Both groups demonstrated an interest in Jewish studies, with 43 percent of those with two Jewish parents and 24 percent of those with one Jewish parent taking at least one Jewish studies course during their time in college.

December 8, 2013 at 9:52 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

There is no family connection between the Morgan family and the Lamont's. T. W. Lamont was born the son of a Methodist minister in Claverack, N.Y., and can at best be described as bring of middle-class low Protestant origins. His son Corliss, great-uncle of Ned, was a prominent socialist and apologist for the Soviet Union.

But didn't the WASPs absorb many lower born Anglos into their social circles?

Carnegie started out as a poor immigrant from Scotland. John D. Rockefeller's father was a traveling salesman.

December 8, 2013 at 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That's seriously lame. You can actually implement your worthless Urbit programming ideas & even get venture capital, but you can't respond to the longest, most thorough criticism your ideas have ever gotten?"

Quoted for truth. You have someone who will argue with you in good faith rather than treat it like a "you got served" dance off against EVUL BIGOTS! You should take advantage of it if you care at all about propagating your ideas (and I know you do).

December 8, 2013 at 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Crawfurdmuir said...

"But didn't the WASPs absorb many lower born Anglos into their social circles?

"Carnegie started out as a poor immigrant from Scotland. John D. Rockefeller's father was a traveling salesman."

I suppose it depends on which social circles one has in mind.

Carnegie wouldn't have qualified for the Society of the Cincinnati, the Society of Colonial Wars, or the Society of St. Nicholas. John D. Rockefeller, Sr., was regarded as a cad and high-binder by the older families of New York society in his day, and even had he qualified would probably have been blackballed.

Let us recall that in its day the Union Club was so exclusive that several of the other prominent clubs in New York were organized by and for those who had been blackballed by it. The Metropolitan Club, founded by J. P. Morgan, Sr., inter alia, because one of his associates had been so rejected.

December 8, 2013 at 11:47 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

You've proved nothing of interest. Progressivism is the Quaker creed of an extraordinarily

powerful tribe and sovereign government.


The problem with Moldbug's take is its narrowness and America-centrism.

Progressivism/technocratic aristocracy has a broader geography than Quakerism. It is the ruling

strand of leftism in all Northern European Protestant states, although the founders of the EU, Jean

Monnet and Robert Schuman, were Roman Catholics.

As seen by the writings of Saint-Simon and Comte and Monnet's interwar dreams for a united Europe,

technocracy existed before American hegemony over Europe.

And it is debatable whether technocracy is really Communist as MM asserts.

There's still much ground to cover.

December 8, 2013 at 12:11 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Let us recall that in its day the Union Club was so exclusive that several of the other prominent clubs in New York were organized by and for those who had been blackballed by it.

That there were clubs out of bounds even for Rockefeller, Carnegie and angered associates of JP Morgan is fascinating.

But there was still room for nouveau riche to climb high up the WASP status ladder.

How frequently did up and comers join the Episcopalian Church as a way to get a foot in the door to high society?

December 8, 2013 at 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Crawurdmuir said...

"The problem with Moldbug's take is its narrowness and America-centrism.

"Progressivism/technocratic aristocracy has a broader geography than Quakerism. It is the ruling strand of leftism in all Northern European Protestant states, although the founders of the EU, Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman, were Roman Catholics."

Call it "elitism" or "nomenklaturism" but please do not suppose it is an aristocracy. It is more like kakistocracy. The members of this elite do not exemplify the aristocratic virtues of arête and philotimia, but rather scorn them.

I again urge you to read the second half of Orwell's "The Road to Wigan Pier" for an analysis of the social origins of this group, and a critique of its manners and mores that still resounds. Orwell was of course a man of the left, and worried that the attitudes of the self-anointed left wing elite would put the common man off of socialism, as indeed has been the case.

Excerpts:

"One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.”

"The ordinary man may not flinch from a dictatorship of the proletariat, if you offer it tactfully; offer him a dictatorship of the prigs, and he gets ready to fight."

The fact is that socialism as it exists in the EU and as it is coming to exist in the United States IS a dictatorship of the prigs, one which dictates such minutiae as the amount of water that a toilet can use in one flush, or what is an acceptable degree of curvature for a banana to have. And the prigs that are doing the dictation are the intellectual and spiritual descendants, not of old WASP society, but rather of the types that Orwell describes - in some cases, their lineal descendants. The "BoBos" portrayed by David Brooks could have lived happily in Letchworth Garden City. However, they would never have been invited to Mrs. Astor's ballroom.

December 8, 2013 at 12:35 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Call it "elitism" or "nomenklaturism" but please do not suppose it is an aristocracy. It is more like kakistocracy. The members of this elite do not exemplify the aristocratic virtues of arête and philotimia, but rather scorn them.

I assure you I use aristocracy loosely.

But over a century and a half ago, Comte and Saint-Simon did fancied their new men a worthy aristocracy. It's only fair now to judge the results of their blueprints with what their terminology promised they would yield: a Utopia of scientific administrators.

That these administrators had already devolved into nudists, quacks, Fabians, early Euro-Federalists, feminists and pacifists as early as 1937 just reinforces the irony of calling them aristos.

I will, however, make use of kakistocracy going forward.

December 8, 2013 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger Brutus Jones said...

I ape the sentiments of the second Anonymous comment. Now that Mr Moldbug has attracted my attention I do wish he'd do us the favor of not being so damnably cute. I'll know how much when I see it.

Apparently, this class of thinking is similar to mine and left the mainstream about the same time. Because independent discovery.

December 9, 2013 at 3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have someone who will argue with you in good faith

Hardly.

December 9, 2013 at 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can actually implement your worthless Urbit programming ideas

Accusations of worthlessness from a person who has a website devoted to analysing cartoons? Kill yourself you waste of space.

December 9, 2013 at 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or are we witnessing the greatest sock-puppet performance of all time on this thread? The Earl of Crawford ('Punch') against the undiscovered 'Judy'? Have these two ever been photographed together - or with our host?

They seem to be agreeing furiously.

Gilbert P.

December 10, 2013 at 2:55 AM  
Anonymous Scott W. said...

Like another said, "The Postman was Brin?" Mind blown. I remember seeing that movie long before encountering reactionary thought and thinking even then it was over-the-top democracy propaganda. Ok, yes, yes. Perhaps the book is not as silly is the movie, but that he would deign to come here makes me wonder.

Like my friend said when told not to be so militant: "Militant is carrying a bomb in your underwear. I'm just arguing ideas". And where an earlier commenter said:


@ David Brin

If your position were so secure you wouldn't resort to the sort of invective you did.


that's the insanity isn't it? As MM put it, liberalism has swallowed the world and civilization lives in its belly. Lies need enemies to prop them up, but these are becoming harder to find. So much so that our democridolators sometimes have to make up enemies out of whole cloth.

December 10, 2013 at 6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if the aim of Moldbug isn't to engage people like Scott?

If you dig into Moldbug's background, you find out that he was a former member of the Hacker group the Cult of the Dead Cow (google for Yarvin + CDC). These guys have their fingers in everything, especially manipulation of the media. The CDC socially engineered the idea of the Hong Kong Blondes hacker group. They were rumored to be behind the initial Anonymous attacks (they've been at war with Scientology since the 80s, there are rumors that they instigated the worldwide Anon protests against Scientology).

What if Moldbug is the same? What if the Dark Enlightenment is a master stroke by members of the CDC to flush out fascists and racists from hiding?

December 12, 2013 at 3:42 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Will TGGP weigh in on the "Is Progressivism Communism" debate?

For now he's been content remaining a smugly neutral Switzerland, no doubt covertly reaping a tidy profit off of the great conflict.

But will he ever emerge as a belligerent?

December 12, 2013 at 3:44 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I have weighed in before at Foseti's. I don't feel the need to re-argue it here. If you can't tell the difference between a carpet and a toilet, don't come to my house. If you can't tel the difference between contemporary western welfare states (as screwed up as they may be) and communism, why bother talking at you?

December 12, 2013 at 4:10 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

You've made the right decision. Keep up the fine work and I'll soon be comparing you to Adolf Hitler.

December 12, 2013 at 4:35 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

What of the execution of Kim Jong Un's uncle?

December 12, 2013 at 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Lawful Neutral said...

@anon 3:42
A while back Moldbug cited Defoe's Shortest Way, and I was half-convinced he was subtly saying the whole blog was a satire. At this point, if UR really is a black propaganda operation aimed at exposing or ridiculing badthinkers, the reveal had better be utterly spectacular or else it's backfired badly. I can't imagine what MM could possibly do to make UR a net gain for the Cathedral.

December 12, 2013 at 11:40 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Juche said...

When you strike at a Kim, you must kill him.

December 13, 2013 at 7:05 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

And given as he missed, the sovereign's response was worthy of Moldberg himself.

December 14, 2013 at 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Heh said...

I have weighed in before at Foseti's. I don't feel the need to re-argue it here. If you can't tell the difference between a carpet and a toilet, don't come to my house. If you can't tel the difference between contemporary western welfare states (as screwed up as they may be) and communism, why bother talking at you?

Don't let Moldbug into your house. He's the one who said, in his "Patchwork 3" post,

"At present, the primary distinction between the EU and the late Soviet Union is that the latter was much more Russian, thus exhibiting a mixture of incompetence and brutality that is hard to duplicate west of the Elbe. But give it a few years."

December 15, 2013 at 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Crawfurdmuir said...

TGGP wrote: " If you can't tell the difference between a carpet and a toilet, don't come to my house. If you can't tel the difference between contemporary western welfare states (as screwed up as they may be) and communism, why bother talking at you."

There is a difference, but it is one of degree and not of function - it is not that between "a carpet and a toilet," but rather between a modern flushing toilet and a pit latrine. The contemporary western welfare state ruled under a regime of political correctness is perhaps a bit less crude and smelly, but it serves the same function as the old Soviet system, and the designers of both were animated by common ideals and purposes.

Common ideals and purposes explain why Western progressives like Harry Dexter White and Henry Wallace, and their successors in every generation since, right up through Barack Obama and Bill de Blasio, have had nothing but the warmest sympathy for the Soviet state and its surviving offshoots, right up through Castro and the Sandinistas.

December 15, 2013 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger DR said...

"There is a difference, but it is one of degree and not of function"

I think there is indeed a qualitative character difference between Eastern Sovietism and Western multi-cultural capitalism. Pretty much everything in the USSR was crappy without exception. The West has pockets of exceptional human achievement, e.g. Silicon Valley, mixed with depraved pits of human garbage, e.g. Detroit. Often well within a half hour drive of each other.

Soviet communism produces much more homogenous outcomes across its society. This is likely a function of its much more highly centralized nature. The essentially distributed nature of the Western Cathedral assures that it almost schizophrenically focuses its wrath at seemingly random targets, while leaving other areas unscathed.

Fundamentally this goes back to the fact that progressive societies are ruled by their educational institutions, whereas communist societies are ruled by their security organs. The core of the American Cathedral is the New York Times. The core of the Soviet Cathedral is the KGB. Needless to say NYT men do not act the same way as KGB men.

To personify, Vladimir Putin and Paul Krugman really are characteristically different. I don't think there will ever be a NYT reporter with one half of the manliness and vigor that Vladimir Putin has. Ergo it would be wrong to assume that simply cranking up the power of the progressive Cathedral to 11 will turn us into the USSR, it won't. Which isn't to say it might not be just as bad if not worse, it will just be worse in different ways.

December 16, 2013 at 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Crawfurdmuir said...

DR wrote: "Pretty much everything in the USSR was crappy without exception. The West has pockets of exceptional human achievement, e.g. Silicon Valley, mixed with depraved pits of human garbage, e.g. Detroit. Often well within a half hour drive of each other."

What you observe is not a result of "Western multi-cultural capitalism." There is no such thing. What we have is a "mixed economy" that is not very well mixed. Its heterogeneity accounts for the circumstances you describe.

Whatever else may be said about Silicon Valley, it has so far resisted the rot that has set in elsewhere because it is relatively capitalistic and meritocratic. Competence carries a high premium, and there's a lot of turn-over in employment because of this. The ineffective are weeded out relatively quickly. A Silicon Valley firm that allowed itself to become a Mau-Maued flak-catcher insofar as its hiring, marketing, and investment practices would quickly be overtaken by competitors that continued to place primary emphasis on competence. Economically, they exemplify one of the purest types of capitalism left in the U.S., despite their general liberalism on social issues.

Now compare that to locales where the primary sources of employment are government and sclerotic unionized older private sector firms like the "Big Three" automobile manufacturers. These places have fallen prey to the diversity racket and to rent-seeking like that of AFSCME and the UAW. Of course they are pustules of necrosis on the body politic. How could they not be? They are sinkholes of a socialism that is only slightly less bad than the old Soviet Union's, or perhaps more aptly, Britain's in the heyday of Arthur Scargill.

Wherever you find a prosperous local economy populated with bright and productive workers, there you'll find relatively pure capitalism; wherever the local economy is depressed, and the population resembles Nietzsche's "bungled and botched," there you will find some sort of socialism or welfare-statism. In our mixed economy, the two are mixed together rather like the two types of dough in a marble-cake.

December 16, 2013 at 6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there is indeed a qualitative character difference between Eastern Sovietism and Western multi-cultural capitalism.

No, it’s multicult fascism: Take from the producers to give to the centers of multicult wealth and political power. It’s worse than mere “socialism”.

Here’s how it “works”:

1) Confuse people about the distinction between “wealth” and “income”—probably the worst single political economic crime possible to commit in public discourse and one of which the wealthiest man in the US, Warren Buffett, is guilty.

2) Progressively tax income while claiming you are taxing the “wealthy”.

3) Respond to all of the pathologies you create in this confusion by a proliferation of public sector “fixes” that eventually result in the public sector overtaking economic activities by “virtue” of its taxation of all economic activities.

4) Allow the truly wealthy, whose property rights would disappear in an instant in the absence of government protections, to continue to accumulate net assets without limit and without paying the costs of protection of those property rights—shifting them onto the heavily taxed producers.

5) Continue to increase the overall taxation of producers until the goose that laid the golden egg, the middle class, is dead.

6) Decry the profligacy of the middle class as it ceases to have children hence family values, and goes into the abyss of usurious debt, the economy collapses due to a failure of consumer demand and the government centralizes even more power by handing over even more wealth to the creditors in exchange for equity stake.

December 16, 2013 at 10:16 PM  
Blogger DR said...

@Crawfurdmir

"In our mixed economy, the two are mixed together rather like the two types of dough in a marble-cake."

I think your diagnosis is exactly right. But I would still say that it's not just about having a mixed economy, but that the way the economy is mixed is even quite heterogenous. Some industries and locations are allowed to run almost pure capitalism, while others are basically communist.

If you look at other mixed economies, with different political systems, you don't see the same degree of difference. Take fascist Germany or modern-day Russia. The sense I get is that pretty much all economic activity was/is quite under the control of the Nazi party or United Russia. Most times they let the market determine economic activity, but the ruling party can easily and without opposition override the market in almost any sphere.

For example it would be quite hard for me to imagine Steve Jobs telling off Hitler or Putin the way he did Obama, without paying severe consequences. On the flip side though the Nazis didn't need to make up for their lack of control in certain areas by re-appropriating Daimler AG to the labor unions.

December 17, 2013 at 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Crawfurdmuir said...

"The sense I get is that pretty much all economic activity was/is quite under the control of the Nazi party or United Russia."

I would disagree with the above at least as far as the Third Reich was concerned. Germany has always had a large and relatively successful Mittelstand (small and medium-sized, privately held corporations, typically denoted by the suffix GmbH). The Nazis did not control these companies by any other means than the current German government does, viz., regulation and taxation. The situation was different with large enterprises like Krupp, IG Farben, and others of that class, which worked in concert with the government, both acting in its interests and profiting thereby.

A comparable circumstance exists here in the U.S. with major defense contractors, and increasingly with large banks. EBT cards, for example, require banking services to process their transactions. This is a line of business that didn't exist twenty or thirty years ago, when welfare clientele received paper checks and actual food stamps; now it is a major profit center for JP Morgan Chase. And of course there are numerous firms that exist solely because of the opportunities government them offers to engage in "crony capitalism."

December 17, 2013 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger DR said...

@Crawfudmir

Thanks for the enlightening post. Like I said, I'm certainly no expert in Third Reich economic policy, it was just the sense I got.

December 17, 2013 at 3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck it! I'm not going to pass up the chance to be the 200th commentator on this post even(especially) if I have nothing to say on this occasion.

December 17, 2013 at 4:36 PM  

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