I don't want to focus on the anti-neoreactionary FAQ, because I don't want to get this dragged into a debate about neoreaction. In particular I simply don't know how Viliam_Bur parsed the document, what additional information one of us is privy to that the other is not. My point is that this is a general issue in politics, where one group of people finds a piece compelling, and another group finds a piece terrible.

And note too that this isn't experienced as something emotional or personal, but rather as a general argument for the truth. In this case, VB thinks neo-reactionaries should be "deeply shocked and start questioning their own sanity." In other words, he thinks this is basically a settled argument, and implies that people who persist in their neoreaction are basically irrational, crazy or something along those lines. Again, this is a general issue in politics. People generally believe (or at least, talk like they believe) that people who disagree with them politically are clinging to refuted beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence. I don't just think this is due to epistemic closure, although that is part of it. I think it's partly an emotional and cultural thing, where we are moved for pre-rational reasons but our minds represent this to us as truth.

I am certainly not saying I am immune from this, but I don't have the third-party view on myself. I am not saying I am right and Viliam_Bur is wrong on the case in point. But I do wonder how many neoreactionaries have been deconverted by that FAQ. I suspect the number is very low...

But I do wonder how many neoreactionaries have been deconverted by that FAQ. I suspect the number is very low...

This is an interesting question that seems empirically testable -- we could ask those people and make a poll. Although there is a difference between "believing that NRs are probably right about most things" and "self-identifying as NR". I would guess there were many people impressed (but not yet completely convinced) by NR without accepting the label (yet?), who were less impressed after reading the FAQ. So the losses among potential NRs were probably much higher than among already fully convinced NRs.

1TheOtherDave6yTo the extent that you're making a general point -- which, if I've understood you correctly, is that human intuitions of truth are significantly influenced by emotional and cultural factors, including political (and more broadly tribal) affiliations -- I agree with your general point. And if I've understood you correctly, despite the fact that most of your specific claims in this thread are about a specific ideology and a specific document, you don't actually want to discuss those things. So I won't.
1Lumifer6yThat's kinda a general issue in humans and usually goes by the name of Confirmation Bias. For example, debates about religion or, say, global warming work in exactly the same way.

Open thread, Nov. 17 - Nov. 23, 2014

by MrMind 1 min read17th Nov 2014329 comments


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