Randoms of the past week

– You should really really read this (this was already in the comments, but it’s worth putting up here in case anyone missed it there). I haven’t read the other parts, but they are many more here.

Fred Reed on democracy is also really good. I could excerpt basically the whole thing.

– At Those Who Can See, there’s "a brief survey of some of the more surprising Afro honesty the internet has delivered us of late." Interestingly, black people seem to tell each other the same things that John Derbyshire tells his kids.

The creative class is fake. The creative class argument always struck me as backwards. Once your city is successful, the creative types show up (not the other way around).

Charlton on Mormons.


9 Responses to Randoms of the past week

  1. James_G says:

    >For the hardcore neo-reactionaries, democracy is not merely doomed, it is doom itself. Fleeing it approaches an ultimate imperative.

    Sounds like a good reason not to be a “hardcore neo-reactionary”. Idealism – a rancid concoction of spurious agency attributed to projected moral imperatives and anti-imperatives – is a pervasive scourge, but I didn’t expect it to appear in this guise!

    • asdf says:

      What do you do if you aren’t an idealist?

      I’ll give you a preview, as someone that has worked in politics, civil service, private service, etc with some moral compass. You spend a lot of effort and make a lot of sacrifices chasing one or another “win” only to find out all that compromising has made your win useless and twisted.

      If your not going to fix the problem for real, it’s best not to address it at all. All of your efforts will be a waste if you can’t do it right. I went down the “it’s better then nothing” route of reasoning and came out on the other side wishing for nothing.

      • James_G says:

        You choose a utility function – a suitable one is “hedonic utilitarianism”, the maximisation of (pleasure – pain) experienced by beings in general in the Universe – and as far as possible, all of your political actions (and instrumental goals, such as the replacement of universal suffrage democracy with a better form of government) flow from this terminal goal.

        (NB: I use “Idealism” with a capital “I” to refer to the specific rationality failure mode described here by Moldbug).

  2. Candide III says:

    Those Shanghai pieces are really rather uneven, being half a summary of moldbuggery (which resists condensation) and half an intro into the reactionary scene for English-speaking non-Westerners, to whom the issues at stake and the ideas under discussion are essentially foreign. Some of the better parts:

    There is no part of Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, or very many other East Asian cities where it is impossible to wander, safely, late at night. Women, whether young or old, on their own or with small children, can be comfortably oblivious to the details of space and time, at least insofar as the threat of assault is concerned. Whilst this might not be quite sufficient to define a civilized society, it comes extremely close. It is certainly necessary to any such definition. The contrary case is barbarism. (4a)

    To call the belief in substantial human equality a superstition is to insult superstition. It might be unwarranted to believe in leprechauns, but at least the person who holds to such a belief isn’t watching them not exist, for every waking hour of the day.(4a)

    I also liked very much the description of official conservatism as the “court jester”, and the discussion of “obnoxious people” (4b). It is certainly difficult for naturally obnoxious people to coexist peacably without the insulation of formalized, ritualized politeness, such as existed in Victorian England or exists in East Asia today.

  3. James_G says:

    The problem with Nick Land is this:

    “The trick with public communication is to move down the IQ ladder very cautiously and steadily. It’s important that distorted versions of the Antiversity’s vision not circulate among morons, as of course they will. However, the effect must be minimized. When propagandizing on behalf of the truth, always try to bring the audience up to your level; never descend to its.

    As this slowly descending inverse waterline creeps down to the meat of the bell curve, that population – accustomed to seeing USG, including of course its local arms, through authorized eyes, will suddenly have the chance to see it through unauthorized eyes. Unauthorized and very critical eyes, with no interest whatsoever in illusions. The reality of USG needs no exaggeration.

    which ought to be common sense, but apparently needs drilling into some people’s skulls.

    Excerpts from Land’s piece:

    For the hardcore neo-reactionaries, democracy is not merely doomed, it is doom itself. Fleeing it approaches an ultimate imperative.

    A purer expression of Idealism one could not find.

    The democratic politician and the electorate are bound together by a circuit of reciprocal incitement, in which each side drives the other to ever more shameless extremities of hooting, prancing cannibalism, until the only alternative to shouting is being eaten.

    In order to earn the right to use this hyperbole, Land should first have provided an article full of careful reasoning and evidence.

    Political agents invested with transient authority by multi-party democratic systems have an overwhelming (and demonstrably irresistible) incentive to plunder society with the greatest possible rapidity and comprehensiveness.

    Bollox, of course. This kind of lazy exaggeration (rightly) won’t persuade “open-minded progressives”, and it has a coarsening influence on the choir.

    The state isn’t going anywhere because — to those who run it — it’s worth far too much to give up, and as the concentrated instantiation of sovereignty in society, nobody can make it do anything. If the state cannot be eliminated, Moldbug argues, at least it can be cured of democracy (or systematic and degenerative bad government), and the way to do that is to formalize it.

    No. The whole idea of “eliminating the state” is not only impracticable but also undesirable even if it were remotely possible. Contracts do not magically enforce themselves.

    I’m not sure what Land is hoping to achieve. If his audience is supposed to be progressives, then his mixture of quotes and hyperbole is scarcely compelling; if his audience is existing contrarians and reactionaries, he is adding no useful ideas whilst simultaneously pumping in lots of entropy.

    If Land wants to be a journalist, he should emulate Steve Sailer and write much lighter, news-based pieces. Like everyone with an IQ below 160, he isn’t smart enough to pull off highly abstract, erudite pieces of iconoclastic political theory without garbling everything. I believe there is room for less smart people to make a genuine contribution to the reaction by writing on political and other relevant subjects, otherwise I wouldn’t try, but then it is important to decrease the scope and be methodical.

    • Alrenous says:

      I’m sure I’ve made these exact mistakes, and want to learn to stop.

      Some contracts do magically enforce themselves, though. Utilities are a good example. Don’t pay, gets cut off. No army necessary. Don’t get service, stop paying. Army only gets involved if they’re already in bed with the utility.

      The point of articles like Land’s is to summarize the conversation. I read it with interest, to see if what he was reading into it is the same as what I’m reading. Verdict: close enough. I’d even like to see this supercharged, with someone straight-up re-writing e.g. Moldbug posts in their own words, to see if they and I would both choose the same sorts of substitutions. Only once we agree on what it says does it matter whether what it says is true.

      • spandrell says:

        Gypsies famously just run a cable to their neighbours power line and leech it to no end. You can’t cut them out, because there is no contract. They are just leeching.

        What do you do without an army?

  4. Handle says:

    Completely Unrelated Random Comment:

    Earlier, Foseti said that Libertarians believe companies should exist and their owners should make their own rules, but that nations / communities don’t exist and shouldn’t be able to make their own rules. Of course, Caplan thinks that Universities should be able to choose who gets in, and set the terms for entry and expulsion.

    Now at Chalupa’s place, there is some response to a typically Leftist post at Crooked Timber about how the state exists and can make rules (even ones the workers wouldn’t want), but that private companies with discretion and authority over labor should not exist. And the response is the same, “Bet you’re not like that with the University you work for.”

    The abstract problem is picking and choosing which institutions one allows to have legitimately private characters. Independence for me, but not got thee – unprincipled exceptions to the general antagonism towards even soft “coercion”. It’s just a matter of which entity you favor and disfavor.

    Personally, I prefer them all to have it, consistent with what Kuyper called, Sphere Sovereignty.

    • vishmehr24 says:

      In pre-modern times, different communities that lived in a same city but could had different laws. Thus Jews lived under Jewish family law, Christians under Christian laws and separate laws for unruly tribes such as Gypsies.

      This is still possible and even desirable. Family law in particular should not be universal.

      British applied a notion of ‘criminal tribe’ in their Indian Empire. These tribes lived in settled areas but under restrictions such as having to report to police regarding their movements. This notion is important in re-civilizing the states that liberalism has damaged.

      However, sphere sovereignty more general is problematic.
      The political association aka Polis is essentially different from voluntary associations. It is sovereign in that it makes laws and metes out justice and this aspect can not be shared.

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