Through LessWrong, I've discovered the no-reactionary movement. Servery says that there are some of you here.

I'm curious, what lead you to accept the basic premises of the movement?  What is the story of your personal "conversion"? Was there some particular insight or information that was important in convincing you? Was it something that just "clicked" for you or that you had always felt in a vague way? Were any of you "raised in it"?

Feel free to forward my questions to others or direct me towards a better forum for asking this.

I hope that this is in no way demeaning or insulting. I'm genuinely curious and my questioning is value free. If you point me towards compelling evidence of the neo-reactionary premise, I'll update on it.

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C. S. Lewis describes the protagonist in The Man Who Was Thursday's relationship with the antag roughly like this. "He was coward enough to be frightened of force, but not coward enough to worship it." That's basically my relationship with the left.

I grew up in Massachusetts, so I became conservative initially through disgust at the excesses of the dems. I'm not proud of this, I'm sure if I grew up in RepublicTown USA I'd have started out a dem, basic smartypants contrianism. Like so many who fancied ourselves prodigies (I got a 1600 on my SAT, I read Calvin and Hobbes, Encyclopedia Brown, etc.)I regarded myself basically as a defender of a bastion of truth from a sea of fools.

Moving to college, however, I started seeing over the walls a different class of liberal, the Uruk Hai, if you will. I could never join them, but I deeply wanted to understand them. Why are the worst filled with passionate intensity? What was this movement that could only speak in irony? Why were the John Stewarts the real leaders, not the politicians? What's up with the left?

The reverse question was also demanding my attention. Why were my Right buddies so dreadful? Shouldn't these rac... (read more)

There are lot of legitimate criticisms to single the left out for. But this is not one of them.
Calvin and Hobbes is part of the official smarty pants syllabus? I associate it more with introverted ADHD. And love it.
The main character is a precocious, day-dreaming, socially inept child - is it really surprising that he appeals to precocious, day-dreaming, socially inept children?

Previously: the comments to "Why is Mencius Moldbug so popular on Less Wrong? [Answer: He's not.]".

This is important, connotationally. For example, I have upvoted WalterL's explanation, because I value the clarity of thought and answering the question. But that doesn't mean I agree with him politically. In a different thread, if someone would give a similarly clear answer to question "why are you a social justice warrior?", I would upvote that, too. On the meta level, I appreciate this quality of political debate. On the object level, I may disagree. I guess this way of debating is unusual on most parts of internet, so it make create a wrong impression that many people support an idea, while they can merely appreciate the way the idea was explained.

Years before I read any Moldbug, I became fascinated with the way that sacredness affects social life and cognition even in ostensibly non-religious groups. Since my work challenged the sacredness of life, I was able to notice how that particular sacredness was (non-rationally) socially supported against challenges, and this helped me to see the same patterns in other areas of thought. Human cognition and behavior only make sense when analyzed religiously, and the neoreactionary idea of "The Cathedral" is one of several fruitful analyses along those lines, along with, say, the ideas of Emile Durkheim, Jonathan Haidt, and Roy Baumeister. Human institutions and behavior must be analyzed religiously and folklorically. I'm more interested in human flourishing, ritual, and cultural evolution than regular politics, but the neoreactosphere has been extremely friendly to these kinds of discussions.

My family and most of my friends are extremely liberal and I was a good liberal for most of my life.

If you don't mind my asking, when you ask "what led you to accept the basic premises of the movement," what do you see as its basic premises, and what causes you to describe it as a "movement"?

So what's the problem with the Cathedral...that it's not dealing with sacredness enough? Too much? It's making the wrong things sacred?
Basically the third one, and also that it has a religious/sacredness based approach to what it values but extends its sphere to all human behavior.

It's curious to see the frequency of posts that start with "I am not a neoreactionary, but...". (This includes my own). If I'm not mistaken, they seem to outnumber the actual neoreactionary posts by a fair margin.

I think a call for patriarchal racially-stratified monarchy is catnip around here. Independently of its native virtues, I mean. It's a debate that couldn't even happen in most communities, so it's reinforcing our sense of LW's peculiar set of community mores. It's a radical but also unexpected vision of a technological future, so it has new ideas to wrestle with, and enough in the way of historical roots to reward study and give all participants the chance to learn. And it is political without being ossified in to tired and nationally televised debates, with new insights available to a clever thinker and plenty of room to pull sideways.

For that reason, I'm a little worried that it will receive disproportionate attention. I know my System 1 loves to read the stuff. But System 2... Enthusiastic engagement with political monarchy- pro or con- is not something I would like to see become a major feature of Less Wrong, so I think I'm going to publicly commit to posting no more than one NRx comment per month, pending major changes in community dynamics.

I agree with Toggle that this might not have been the best place for this question.

The Circle of Life goes like this. Somebody associates Less Wrong with neoreactionaries, even though there are like ten of them here total. They start discussing neoreaction here, or asking their questions for neoreactionaries here. The discussion is high profile and leads more people to associate Less Wrong with neoreactionaries. That causes more people to discuss it and ask questions here, which causes more people to associate us, and it ends with everybody certain that we're full of neoreactionaries, and that ends with bad people who want to hurt us putting "LESS WRONG IS A RACIST NEOREACTIONARY WEBSITE" in big bold letters over everything.

If you really want to discuss neoreaction, I'd suggest you do it in an Slate Star Codex open thread, since apparently I'm way too tarnished by association with them to ever escape. Or you can go to a Xenosystems open thread and get it straight from the horse's mouth.

I believe that the parent and grandparent should be the first two comments someone reads when visiting this article on the "Best" setting. Here is the current open thread on Slate Star Codex if you want to vote with your feet to move NRx comments over there. I link so that Yvain doesn't have to :-) Please do not upvote my comment here or comment in response if you agree. Instead, please vote on other comments to express agreement, so as to bring about the suggested outcome.

For that reason, I'm a little worried that it will receive disproportionate attention.

Worried? This is the only place I've even heard of it. This place gives the very false impression that it's something that matters to people out in the real world.

Edit: the only exposure elsewhere ive had is when a friend who is a conisseur of bizarre stories about silicon valley shenanigans he can laugh at linked me to some article called 'geeks for monarchy'. He was 100% sure the writer had been trolled and found it hilarious.

No, this was the troll post:
Hadn't seen that one (as previously stated). That is indeed a funny troll. However, my friend found the reporting in the geeks for monarchy article so outlandish that he was sure someone was putting a credulous writer on.
Straightforwardly equating NRx with monarchy is a very surface-level (mis)understanding.
Personal opinion follows. Contest it if you like, but your chance of swaying me by arguments without giving very hard evidence is low. The fact that this is "catnip" for LW-ers is a bad thing. We ought to be giving neoreaction about as much credence as we give Creationism: it's founded on bad ethics, false facts, and bad reasoning, and should be dismissed, not discussed to death.

Creationism was discussed to death long before Lesswrong existed, which is why people downvote attempts to rehash it as a waste of everyone's time. To the extent that Neoreaction is something different than plain old Reaction, a) it's a relatively new memeplex, so if it's bad, someone has to do the work of swatting it down, and b) when the Neoreactionaries aren't busy reviving obscure archaic words for their own jargon, they're using Lesswrong-style jargon. You run the risk of outsiders pattern-matching LW and Neoreaction together either way. I'd prefer the association be "Lesswrong is a place where neoreactionary ideas are discussed and sometimes criticized" than "Lesswrong is that place that sounds very similar to Neoreaction minus the explicit politics".

That being said, there's ample discussion already on Slate Star Codex, and I wouldn't want to see it crowding out other topics here.

when the Neoreactionaries aren't busy reviving obscure archaic words for their own jargon, they're using Lesswrong-style jargon

I believe the fact that neoreactionaries make frequent use of LW jargon is down to more than a founder effect.

There are multiple aspects to the LW memeplex that perform significant legwork in laying an epistemological foundation to mug intelligent social liberals with reality, which is close to the defining trait of neoreaction. To wit,

  • Physicalism, determinism, a universe Beyond the Reach of God; the universe is capable of arbitrarily deviating from wishful standards of fairness and equality, there are no cosmic attractors towards justice, humans can be effectively damned beyond redemption by biological variables outside the loci of moral agency.
  • Generalised optimisation systems; once you understand these, the leap to criticism of democracy as a massive cybernetic failure mode is almost trivial.
  • Game theory, for the public choice extension to the above.
  • A deep epistemology of taboos, which form the Dark Matter of democracy, around which our governing narratives swirl otherwise inexplicably.
  • Beliefs as constraints on expectations, versus belief as attir
... (read more)

That being said, there's ample discussion already on Slate Star Codex, and I wouldn't want to see it crowding out other topics here.

I keep hearing people say this. This is a rationalist site; why hasn't anyone gone out and generated some statistics?

I don't understand which half of that sentence you are objecting to, or what statistic in particular you would be looking for.
"crowding out"
Ok, but I didn't say this had already happened. I said it is something I would not want to see happen in future. Possibly you were just using my comment as a convenient anchor for a point you were already prepping for someone else, but it doesn't really make sense to address it to me.
Really? Because most ideas are bad, and that by default includes most new ideas, so I don't see why a new "memeplex" shouldn't justify itself rather than having a right to be taken seriously. Out in the world, LessWrong is more closely associated with Peter Thiel's brand of libertarianism, and gets all the flak and critiquing usually given to techno-libertarianism.
That horse has already left. Neoreaction is a thing now.
Among a self-selected group of nerds on the internet, yes. Whenever it gets noticed by larger society, said society reacts (ahaha) with revulsion. This is both as it should be, and as the neoreactionaries predict, but the point is that I don't think it's going to grow beyond the usual demographics of nerd-focused extremist movements.
Are "nerd-focused extremist movements" a thing? I can't think of any other examples.
As a matter of fact, extremist movements often seem to target or arise-from the educated sections of the middle-class...
So... 'nerd' means 'educated middle class'? And by this definition, haven't some movements grown beyond this demographic?
People have posted about creationism on LessWrong?
That's only an observation that could be made by someone who knows what neoreaction sounds like. On the other hand by having LW posts about neoreactionary ideas anybody reading LW comes into contact with them.
Would you prefer that I had not posted for that reason? In general, t seems...backwards to restrain the things the community talks about out of concern for how others will view the community as a result. Sort of like declaring a police state to protect the nominal freedoms of a Constitution. Shouldn't we talk about whatever interests us? That said, in this particular instance, the OP is very contentious, with a significant of votes and just barely over 50% positive. It is something that at least many members of this community don't want to hear about.
Yes, but not very strongly. Given that your post is overall it positive karma it's however alright. Karma votes show you whether a majority thinks your post has a place or hasn't. Votes decide what threads have a place in discussion and which haven't. Online communities are not states with guaranteed freedom of speech. It's not only about the perception of outsiders. It's also about what the people in this community think.
Yes. I was making a poor analogy. Isn't the value of lesswrong that we are able to explore ideas things that are not admissible elsewhere for lack of interest, lack of training, or direct aversion? (This is obviously contestable. I invite you to contest it.) If the fundamental value of the community is compromised out of concern for its reputation, then the reputation is of increasingly less value.
If you read the about page, that's not how LW statement of purpose is phrased.
To quote the About page
In this case "automatically" rejection would be a poor description even in the case where NRx is more discouraged.
For a long time, LW was the only place you would read this stuff outside the tiny NRx blogosphere.

it's founded on bad ethics, false facts, and bad reasoning

Well I've been looking around NRx for a while and have seen a lot fewer false facts then in the "mainstream" sources. Do you have any examples of NRx false facts.

As for "bad ethics", If you define "bad ethics" as ethics that go against the current Progressive possition then yes NRx has "bad ethics". Of course by that definition any one who had 1994!"good ethics" has 2014!"bad ethics" and conversely, similarly someone who has 2014!"good ethics" like will turn out to have 2034!"bad ethics" and conversely, [Edit: and someone pointing out certain true facts has "doubleplusungood ethics"].

Right and wrong are not defined by factional allegiance. Dear God, I hope so! 2014 is barbaric! Have you even seen how many people are hungry, thirsty, sick, ignorant, enslaved, or debt-peons? Have you even bothered checking how much raw misery there is?
Um, that's not what 2034!"bad ethics" means. That is in fact precisely the attitude that makes you 2014!"good". Obviously I don't know which of your attitudes will make your current self 2034!evil but some possibilities. (Note these are all from different event branches.) 1) Do you believe people's job should have a relation to their skills? That makes you a 2034(branch A)!evil abelist. 2) Do you believe your job should have any relation to your preferences? That makes you 2034(branch B)!selfish. 3) Do you believe people should be free to say "Allah doesn't exist"? That makes you a 2034(branch C)!evil Islamaphobe. 4) Do you believe parents have any responsibility towards the upbringing of their children? That makes you a 2034(branch D)!patriarchal oppressor. I could invent more scenarios, but you get the idea.
That there are many things that are considered good in 2014 but will no longer be considered good in 2034 is a standard progressive position.
Yes, but progressives always imagine that their views that will be vindicated in 2034. and their opponents' cast out. They never seem to consider the possibility that their current views will be regarded as wrong/outdated/evil, and those of their opponents (or possibly some as yet unknown view) triumphant. This pathology is not unique to progressives, but seems to be worse among them, because of their self-image as being "on the right side of history."
Except that, once again, I am not defining right and wrong by political faction. You are.
In that case how are you defining "right" and "wrong" are you using when you make the claim the neoreaction is based on "bad ethics"? If the answer is "whatever feels wrong to eli_sennesh", you might want to look into how you came to have those feelings.
I posted an explicit statement of a moral system I'm willing to call my current view waaaaay up in the thread. Go use that algorithm, and then explain to me how neoreaction isn't bad ethics. It appears to me that neoreaction has a severe problem talking to ethical naturalists in general, as it founds itself on a strong ethical antirealism that doesn't allow for ordinary-realist nor constructivist ethics, instead considering all available concepts of right and wrong to be mere cultural and material contingencies, thus yielding a fundamental imperative to preserve one's existing cultural "values" at all costs. Add the (frankly bizarre, given the circumstances: if nothing is true and everything is permitted, what's so bad about Cthulhu?) view of "progressivism" as corrupting, and then add the normal human impulse to consider Purity-Poison as a moral axis, and you've got the basics of neoreaction. The problem being, it all only hangs together if you assume both the normative relevance of the Purity-Poison axis to attack "progressivism" (scare-quotes because today's conservatives get tarred as "progressives"), and the view of all morals and values as culturally relative. Of course, I think I might be mixing Caroline Glick with neoreaction here, but she's practically a neoreactionary who evolved outside the San Francisco futurist community anyway. So before you can really make this point you want to make, you have to conclusively prove not merely that some political party or another fails to represent "real" ethics (for the record, I'm a pragmatist-socialist politically, and thus consider myself at home in none of the mainstream parties in any country where I can vote), but that realist ethics are in the general case impossible.

This is a bizarre and uncharitable misreading, and it ought to be clear that this is so from not only the contradiction you point out, but also the number of Christians in neoreaction.

First of all, ought-statements can't be grounded completely in is-statements, but they also can't be grounded completely in other ought-statements. Many disagreements that will appear to the progressive as normative in character are actually descriptive. (I wonder if this is related to progressivism's retreat into deontological rights-talk, which does make it a moral argument -- but deontology, while useful for some things, is hopelessly absurd as an actual grounding for ethics.) Is Roissy a deontologist, a utilitarian, or what? Who knows? -- his disagreements are generally descriptive ones, and, since the ethical systems that humans in similar cultures and circumstances(1) actually use generally give similar outputs to the same inputs(2) (except for unrealistic edge cases like the trolley problem), it doesn't really matter.

Second, go look at the Hestia Society's motto. The groundwork for one of the neoreactionary positions (though there isn't only one, and this particular one isn't limited to neoreac... (read more)

... What are you talking about? Who's Roissy? You appear to have responded to the wrong comment, written an irrelevant rant, and dragged in your voting brigade to receive +6 points.
What? It's a perfectly valid response to your claim that neoreaction is filled with moral anti-realists who are obsessed with arbitrary value preservation. Also, Roissy is Heartiste.
It doesn't seem a valid response to me, since it doesn't explain why neoreactionaries actually think, why they think it, and how they justify realism about their own views (that is, why they think neoreaction is true for all rational humans and not just plausible to a small clique). It mostly just attacks "progressives".
I have upvoted for asking good questions :-) If it helps, I think maybe you are thinking of "neo-reactionaries" and "progressives" as being a local modern phenomena, perhaps even just happening in the comments of this article. If you post a PDF in the thread with your own idiosyncratic ideals, that serves for you to describe what you mean and stand for and think is good, and functions as the "ground" of a debate that you're willing to defend. On the other hand, nydrwacu is coming at this from the perspective of a deeply-read aspiring expert in the practicalities of political semiotics. I think, for example, that his reference to a capitalized "World Spirit" is a reference to Hegel's concept of a Weltgeist which was widely known in the past, and explicitly used as a concept under which to organize actual historically existing political factions. If you were "against the Weltgeist" it had a simultaneously factional and practical meaning that was necessarily related both to meta-ethical doctrines and to propaganda processes that bound factions into social machines with many real world consequences that can themselves be judged. When you said "neoreaction has a severe problem talking to ethical naturalists in general" (presuming pointing with the word "neoreaction" to speakers in this thread as "neoreaction") nydrwacu responded by pointing to actual "neoreactionaries" (not "I'm not a neoreactionary but I read them sometimes" but full fledged ones) who are not LWers and not in this thread (like Roissy and the Hestia Society) who appear to have some grounding in "naturalistic ethics". However their naturalistic ethics are grounded in things other than something with historical continuity with the faction that used the Weltgeist in their rallying cries... (Or at least that's what they claim... For myself, I think neoreactionaries are in some sense just "super-ultra-progressives" if their own theories are applied to them in ways they might object to.) A deeper issue h
That's nice, but it seems to support the preconception I held, not refute it: neoreaction is all one elaborate game of "kill that faction/clade we don't like!" and, when called to offer positive evidence in favor of their own particular set of truth-claims... they don't even seem to make particular truth-claims, let alone offer positive evidence to justify those claims. I don't particularly give a damn about the factional games. Just offer a set of truth claims and their justification, and then we can talk.
If this were as obvious to the rest of LW as it is to you, I think neoreaction would already have been dismissed by us. Something like 95% of LWers self-classify as social liberals. Why would such a phenomenally non-socially-conservative group fixate on neoreaction unless it had some surface plausibility? (Prismattic observes that neoreaction is relatively new, and uses our jargon. I think the former fact doesn't actually explain much, because new a-priori-unappealing-to-LW ideas are surely being born all the time, yet we don't hear about them. That neoreaction uses bits of LW argot is probably more relevant, but it's hard for me to imagine it being the whole explanation. Would a serious creationist last long here just because they larded their comments with our jargon?)
Regrettable! I'd hope more would have the good sense to be Communists ;-). Because people are often attracted to things which offend them, like Republican Senators and homosexual prostitution ;-). This is pretty obvious if you model LWers as human beings rather than Bayesian utility maximizers. That depends. Was he once a spokesman for the Singularity Institute?
At least you can console yourself with communism's infinite growth rate since our first survey! It may be "pretty obvious", but does it work as an explanation? Other socially conservative ideologies (like the mainstream US conservatism represented by "Republican Senators"; Nazism; and old-school, pre-Internet reaction) haven't captured LW's attention as neoreaction has, despite landing in the same category of "things which offend" social liberals. (And I'm not even considering left-wing ideologies fitting that criterion. I've yet to see any Holodomor-denying Stalinists here, for instance.) Ba-dum-tssh!
I was media director and also came up for the idea for Singularity Summit, yes.

I read about HBD first and then NRx second. I couldn't have a sensible conversation about it with anybody I knew due to the prevailing progressive memeplex - for example, my History teacher once claimed that war was nonexistent in pre-agriculture societies due to it being economically unsustainable (I just about managed to avoid giving myself a concussion from slamming my head on the table). I knew cracks were appearing in the Narrative after I read the Blank Slate, and I knew I had to jettison it entirely once I finished The Bell Curve.

But what to replace it with? Mainstream conservatism was as clueless as progressivism, and while individual libertarians might have had the right mindset to discuss the issue if you framed it the right way, their answers were unsatisfying. Then one day, someone on LW linked to Moldbug - and here suddenly was a whole other narrative that made a lot more sense. It wasn't about HBD as such, but an account of the Progressive idea machine that explained why it was so taboo. I toyed with some of the weirder aspects for a while (Patchwork and Corporate Governance) but eventually gave them up for similar reasons to libertarianism (in a word: too spergy).

I w... (read more)

That depends a bit on how you define war. Simply ambushing the neighboring tribe and killing all males isn't war in the traditional sense. It doesn't drag on.
Well there are lots of longrunning feuds and conflicts in hunter gatherer societies, where both tribes are about evenly matched for each other.
Indeed. Archaeological study of the grounds surrounding Stonehenge shows evidence of what appears to be a prolonged conflict between two neighbouring settlements, which lasted several hundred years- during which time there were no new religious monuments made in the area (suggesting that most energies were devoted to this conflict). There's evidence of several major battles. (Source:
Stonehenge almost certainly wasn't erected by a hunter-gatherer society. Its main monuments date to about 2500 BC, which in a British context is late Neolithic or early Bronze Age (i.e. post-agricultural), and are generally attributed to the Grooved ware culture. Forager economics may have existed at the edge of agricultural civilization well after the transition, of course, but from associated artifacts, among other things, we can be pretty sure that the European megaliths were put up by sedentary agriculturalists.
An attack at night can allow an evenly matched tribe to kill the other one. That puts some pressure on a tribe that fears getting ambushed to ambush first.
Libertarianism is insufficient as most people will be led easily. They will not take freedom. Freedom is hard work, freedom is frightening. Neoreaction follows from libertarianism with a more secure possible future. Technology provides wealth and being with your group provides security in society.
Freedom is something regularly demanded by those who don't have it. Division into mutually suspicious groups is anything but a guarantees of security...its the major source of conflict.

IANANR,IFIDSIWAPLATMDTTTOMC (I am not a neoreactionary, in fact I don't strongly identify with any political labels at the moment due to the threat of motivated cognition)


I think I have grasped the link between LW and NRx. Its a mixture of having something to protect and extrapolating trends. Whereas singulatarians looks at exponential trends in computing, extrapolate and see a future where some form of superintelligence will surely come to dominate, worrying that human values could be destroyed, the NRx look at the trends of memes and genes, extrapolate the exponential growth, and see a future where their ingroup and values are massively outnumbered, which can be a death sentence in democracy.

If your terminal values are running against the tide of change, then progressivism is an existential risk. Imagine you believe in God if you do not, and then imagine Christianity going the same way as Norse paganism. Imagine everything you believe gives meaning to life being discarded to the dustbin of history. Or imagine that the positive correlation between religion and fertility reverses the secularisation of society in the long run, and we end up in a totalitarian theocracy. If some... (read more)

I think I have grasped the link between LW and NRx. Its a mixture of having something to protect and extrapolating trends.

And meta-contrarianism too.


I don't consider myself a reactionary, but I found Moldbug's "Open Letter to Progressives" to be a very convincing teardown of modern western society. For me, it made a lot of things 'click', and really drove home just how arbitrary and historically motivated present day beliefs are. I wouldn't say it shattered my world view, but it certainly gave me an outside view and I highly recommend reading it all.

He then follows up this teardown with a buildup of a reactionary perspective. I think he does an awful job of showing this perspective as any less arbitrary than the one he just broke down, and has very little real justification. But to someone who was just left with a despairing sense of uncertainty about how the world should work, I suppose that it would be very tempting to latch onto the first thing that could fill that hole.

That's standard preacher approach. Incendiary accusations to destroy everything you take for granted, then, when you're in tears and directionless, a promise of salvation if you follow their way.

Come to think of it, that's a pattern EY has used extensively as well... "Here's proof that religion is insane and most people are predictably and systematically stupid, including yourself. Now believe in the Singularity, general self-improving artificial intelligence, cryogeny, space expansionism, and libertarianism!"

Eliezer doesn't really push libertarianism.


Come to think of it, that's a pattern EY has used extensively as well... "Here's proof that religion is insane and most people are predictably and systematically stupid, including yourself. Now believe in the Singularity, general self-improving artificial intelligence, cryogeny, space expansionism, and libertarianism!"

The hilarious thing about this is that Eliezer isn't even very hardcore about libertarianism, and most LWers on the surveys assign very low probability to cryonics actually working, including those who've actually signed up. The Preacher's Way works, whether or not you actually intend it to do so!

(Which is why it's epistemically polite simply not to speak that way at all.)

(And besides which, the human condition is an entirely valid concern that we ought to be moving from the realms of myth and religion to the realm of rationality. It is to my great and lifelong dismay that one signals intelligence, education, enlightenment, and general rationality by loudly dismissing all questions of value, feeling, or the human condition.)

Are you joking, or do you really think that total open borders doesn't count as hardcore libertarianism?
Not joking at all. Total open borders, by the usual tribal-allegiance measure of political positioning, is a hardcore liberal (in the Democrats-and-blue-tribe sense) position. Most actually-existing libertarians are xenophobes. Of course, if the Libertarian Party has actually put open borders in its election platforms, then tell me and I'll update. But no, he's not hardcore libertarian, in the sense of anarcho-capitalist or deontological proprietarian. All utilitarian libertarians are non-hardcore. Also, I do recall him once self-labeling as "small-l libertarian", which very much implies non-hardcoreism.
Thank you, and now I know.
I do not think this is true. I think it just implies non-affiliation with the Libertarian Party. Many hardcore libertarians reject the Libertarian Party.
Weird, I thought that link would lead to Straw Nihilist.
Good point. Straw Vulcan is rationality-signaling for STEM majors, and Straw Nihilist is the same for humanities majors.
This doesn't seem too implausible. I have no trouble believing that religion is false ("insane" is an incendiary term that I do not believe should be invoked in a non-clinical context due to triggering most people's "mind-killed" modes), as well as believing that people are predictably and systematically irrational (same deal with "stupid"). Are you arguing against this? I have not seen Eliezer ever advocate for his personal views on these topics outside of posts dedicated specifically to said topics. Most posts in the Sequences just talk about basic techniques for rationality, without ever mentioning any of the stuff you've listed. Indeed, the two major prongs of his worldview--rationality and transhumanism--seem to be largely (almost entirely) detached from each other. I'm having a hard time seeing this "preacher approach" you're talking about in Eliezer's writings.
Most emphatically not. I'm very glad to have discovered that, and I'm grateful for EY's impassioned preaching, that made it seem immediately, crucially, urgently relevant. By comparison, when I read books like Think Fast and Slow, or watch shows like Crash Course Psychology or Earthlings 101. I feel like I'm just collecting a bunch of interesting, quaint. and curious trivia that aren't much of a factor in how I think of myself, the world, and my place in it. (And don't get me started on new Cosmos. NDG doesn't preach, he lectures. Carl Sagan at least used to wonder )
You should care about people in alternate universes. (Am I getting this right?) Also, it's at least somewhat plausible that you're living in a simulation.
Well, we've never caught Nature glitching or bugging or even simplifying its calculations, and absence of evidence is evidence of absence. That we're living in a simulation is about as plausible as the Abrahamic narrative, about as falsifiable, and about as proven.
Um, how would you tell? Wouldn't glitches or simplified calculations appear as just additional laws of nature.
I think of glitches as being small breaks in the laws of nature.
How would we recognize "simplified" calculations? If the "next level up" laws of physics differ from ours, their idea of what is cheap or expensive to compute might also differ. Even if the upper physics was sufficiently similar to ours to share some characteristics (e.g. the need for large computations to be parallelized and the expense of parallel communication), and our laws of physics were simplified in a way to accommodate those characteristics (e.g. with a limit to the speed of information propagation), would we recognize that simplification as such, or would we just call it another law of physics and insist that we've never seen it simplified?
I'm inclined to think that people (especially modern skeptical people) would find ways to paper over small glitches.
While I can't assign a reliable probability to the hypothesis "you're living in a simulation", I attach roughly zero decision-theoretic significance to the possibility. Meaning: since there's nothing I can do to affect this, I can safely go on with my life without giving it much thought beyond the usual philosophical ponderings I do whenever I'm in a contemplative mood.

He then follows up this teardown with a buildup of a reactionary perspective. I think he does an awful job of showing this perspective as any less arbitrary than the one he just broke down, and has very little real justification.

Moldbug as political philosopher is far too libertarian to be useful. Moldbug as historian is capable of at least presenting a broad outline.

I'm disappointed that neoreaction hasn't done very much to fill in the details beyond the 20th century (and it was Moldbug and Foseti who did most of that), but philosophy is always more attractive than history.

Moldbug's political philosophy is useful to Nick Land, who avoids the defects of it by supporting them entirely: he seems to see capitalism as the only institutional intelligence capable of doing anything. I'm not sure how he squares that with HBD (especially given the role of the Catholic Church in their historical narrative) and cyclical history -- it seems to me that the economic consequences of the decline of the West should propagate outward. (There might be room for historical studies here -- what happened to trade after the fall of Rome? -- but there are obvious differences there. Transportation distance, interlinking of systems, and so on.)

That the throne-and-altar types have accepted Moldbug seems strange, since the Jacobite stuff is mostly trolling.

If you care about culture, (traditional) values and intact families, then democracy is empirically very bad (far from being "the worst form of gov­ern­ment, except for all the oth­ers" it would place among the very worst). The question is then how you come to care about these things. For me it proceeded negatively: from a critical reading of political philosophy, I came to believe that the foundations of liberalism are incoherent; that what liberalism sees as constraints on individual freedom are nothing of the sort. That many of the norms, values and practices that make up a traditional society are non-voluntary - in the sense that it doesn't make sense to speak of people assenting or not assenting to them - and therefore cannot be seen as constraints on human freedom at all; we're born into them, they form part of our identity and they provide the context (even possibility) of our choices.

So I came to believe that the Enlightenment was the result of this kind of philosophical error and that it is no different from the kinds of philosophical error that bring people to, say, question whether an objective reality exists. The heady feeling one gets from an argument that lea... (read more)

It's not just society. It's more like he looked at Marx's (flawed, yes) model, thought "that's cool and all, but I want to feed the Tsar his yarbles now", and hit it with a wrench until it gave him some half-assed philosophical justification for starting a revolution (and later for running a totalitarian state, though not as totalitarian as Stalin would make it). See, orthodox Marxism isn't really a blueprint for revolution. Insofar as it's even a call to revolution, it's saying -- to the industrial workers of the entire world, and that's important -- that revolution is inevitable, it's going to happen anyway, the only thing holding it back from happening is self-delusion. Instead, it's better understood as a future history: it purports to lay out the historical forces that drive large-scale social changes and to predict what the next one's going to look like. Now, there are a number of ways you could challenge that in light of the real history that's happened in the century and a half since Marx wrote. But Lenin had bigger problems than that. By Marx's lights, Russia in 1917 wasn't ready for a communist revolution: it was at the time the least industrialized major European country (relative to its population), with most of the economy still running on a semi-feudal agrarian system. Its serfs had been emancipated less than a century before. Worse, the rest of the world looked like it wasn't going to be getting on the revolution train anytime soon. This ran completely counter to Marx's future history, but Lenin, in essence, said "fuck it, we'll do it anyway".

Right, but it's that sort of transition from the descriptive and the prescriptive that I'm highlighting. In liberal philosophy the issue is much more subtle, but there has been a constant interchange between the descriptive and the prescriptive. So if you look at society as sovereign individuals engaged in contractual relationships with one another, that's essentially descriptive. It was intended to be descriptive. But then your model for why individuals give up some of their rights to have a state doesn't look right and the answer to that isn't to change the model but to make a prescriptive assertion: the state should be more representative of our interests. So you've gone from descriptive to prescriptive.

Likewise, with feminism: under a model that emphasises individuals in voluntary relationships, women look oppressed, so you derive the prescriptive conclusion that we should alter family law, etc. Under the traditional family-oriented model of society, it's not even clear why anyone but the head of a household should vote, since people aren't 'sovereign' individuals, they're members of an institution - the family - and they play different roles within it, and the head of the hous... (read more)

Can I leave society If I don't like it? Can I free myself from it's constraints and take advantage of it as an outsider? If not, why not?
IMHO the issue is that this kind of individualism in Western society, for wealthy white males, was created really long ago. Roughly late 18th century. So anyone without an explicit interest in history, esp. from the angle of questioning the whole modern epoch, will see this individualism already as an old, established, traditional stuff, i.e. pretty much conservative stuff. In the West, pretty much every step of progressivism, leftism or liberalism since that was largely about expanding it to other people, poor white males, non whites, women etc. So you have the problem here that once one group of individuals got it, it is hard to defend why others should not. The issue is with having the first group have it, but that is a really old story, and so old that it looks downright conservative.
You are not being entirely fair to Lenin, he wrote a fair amount. They call it "Marxism/Leninism" for a reason. Lenin was a lot of things, but he was not a stupid man.
You forget the Marxist idea of morality where there's a moral imperative to do things that make history progress. Starting an inevitable revolution is such a thing.
This is all fine, but let's move one level higher. What is the reason that almost everybody who reasoned like this was religious? Why does it seem like this kind of thinking is fairly impossible to defend without some reference to religion e.g. ? (I am assuming we all agree here that ideas that cannot be defended on a secular ground are not worth defending) Basically it sounds a lot like the conflict between human volition vs. actual happiness or good lives. A lot of modern liberalism reduces to "if you get what you personally want, you will be happy / OK". So it is all about moving people from inborn roles to roles they want and choose. And a lot of religious thought is all about trying to convince people to reduce or give up their self-centered volition, desires, viewpoints, whatevers, basically to convince them to find happiness through other means than following their own wills. I am aware of this because I practiced a lot of Buddhism which uniquely focuses on it, on how the ego, the will, volition, vanity, is the source of suffering itself. Much of Christianity sounds like a half-assed version of a Buddhist ego reduction therapy - when people get down on their knees and pray "your will be done" it essentially means "NOT my will be done, I will train by brain to accept that the world does not revolve around me". The core idea in Buddhism, Christianity etc. is that there is true happiness to be found in surrendering your will. THIS is the psychological basis from which we can understand the difference between traditional and modern societies. This is why reactionaries are religious, mostly. The question is, just why cannot we justify this non-egocentric psychology on a scientific basis? Why do we need religion for this? Why cannot we figure it out naturalistically? And if we cannot figure it out naturalistically, scientifically, isn't it likely this is at some level wrong?
......even by the individuals affected? If they tell y8u that they hate being forced into a particular role, you're going to tell them that their feelings don't matter, because you can prove logically that it is non voluntary, and that you can't rebel against your identity? It's worth noting both that the oppressed were often denied a voice, in the sense of leaving a written record, as part of their oppression....and that there is plenty of evidence of dissent , in the form of popular revolt. It's also worth noting the difference between far left and classically liberal versions of this argument. (A perennial problem with Moldbug is the way he conflates progressivism qua the leftmost 10% of the spectrum with progressivism qua the leftmost 90%). The classical liberal does not regard traditional societies as morally wrong so much as instrumentally wrong, unsuited to economic and technological progress. Where you have a traditional, hierarchical society, the rulers of that society are under a set of incentives to defend their relative position, which is to say they are not incentivised to promote innovation. On the contrary, even technological developments can sunset them, as the English aristocracy was disrupted by the Industrial revolution. Liberal democracies, by contrast, are so good at reaping the benefits of progress that, they are able attract queues of would be immigrants from more traditional societies.
Suppose someone hates being short. Being short is mostly involuntary; the primary thing that is voluntary is how they react to being short. Historically, philosophical advice has been of the variety "deal with it; it's better to be short and untroubled than short and troubled." Being short and identifying as being tall, insisting on being tall, or resenting not being tall, are all opposed to reality. The best liberal response, I think, is to note that "being short" has both a physical reality (how long your body is) and a social reality (how others react to the length of your body), and that the social reality is mutable. In a modern, industralized society, the economic use of height is very narrow, and we could adjust the social reality to match the current physical reality. The worst liberal response, I think, is to claim that "being short" is just a social reality, that the social reality is completely mutable, and that short people have been oppressed by tall people, and we need to work against that oppression. I am under the impression that, proportional to the relevant populations, there are more American expats in Singapore than Singaporean expats in America. (There might actually be more in absolute numbers, but I'm having difficulty getting that number.)
The compromise approach, the best liberal morality, is a nice theoretical solution, but that him does it work in practice? In practice, people have a right, or they don't. The important point would be whether they are there for so many years, or whether they have torn up their passports.
Wow. This makes a lot of sense. I had previously thought of the term neoreactionary as just an insult, as similar to any view as "asshole" is to any anatomy. Now I think it is at least in the top half of similar ideologies. Thank you for the answer and thanks to the original poster for the question.

Neoreaction confuses me so much.

On one hand, interesting, and seemingly true and useful ideas about the nature of memetic drift and the role of the university, the pitfalls of attempting subversion of the dominance heirarchy, the virtues of handing certain things over to an elite, the flaws of democracy, the virtues of homogeneous communities, the virtues of particularism, and so on.

On the other hand, I'm unable to understand the logical steps from that to "and therefore white is the best race, patriarchy is a better system, the Enlightenment was misguided, we need a single dictator, let's bring back the Victorians and King Leopold"

I think I could call myself a neoreactionary if the meta-principles were applied without the object-level principles. I'd say the "elites" I support are the maligned "liberal elites" of the university, the "particularism" I support is my particular mostly egalitarian Enlightenment values.

If I let myself give in to the psychogical feelings that NRx, particularist, anti-egaltarian arguments stir within my heart, I get "Ra ra let's patriotically beat the tribal drums of the Nerdy Liberal Elite's superiority ov... (read more)


I think I could call myself a neoreactionary if the meta-principles were applied without the object-level principles.

The meta-principles apply to the object-level principles, but I don't think it's possible to figure that out from Moldbug alone. I'll try to provide the details if anyone wants them, but the general idea is that your tribe's values have been shaped by institutional constraints -- your predecessors had the goal of capturing power and the spoils thereof, and made whatever arguments were useful toward that goal, and now you actually believe all of those things.

I don't think this is a complete picture. I haven't had the time to investigate this as much as I would like, but I suspect that there's also some ideological inheritance from the self-justifications of the later stages of the British Empire. (Macaulay. Idea of Progress.) It's possible to come up with an explanation of your tribe's imperialistic tendencies without drawing on this, but I doubt that omission can be genealogically justified.

our homogenized monoculture

...and yes, your tribe does have imperialistic tendencies. What homogenized monoculture? There are many reasons I don't and can't call myself a n... (read more)

In that specific sentence, I was actually referring to Lesswrong as it was before neoreactionaries became a Big Thing. Pretty much everyone agreed on everything back, and all disagreements were highly productive disagreements in which people changed their mind. After the NRx came in we've had useless arguments, downvote stalkers, and so on really hurting the signal to noise ratio. (By the way, that sentence is not an attack on NRx, but a proof of one of its principles - that homogeneity is useful. I'm also harking back to a golden age. My entire attitude right now feels a lot like the Shield of Conservatism, only it's not protecting the conservatives.)
Well, yes, I've been saying this from the beginning -- the word "neoreaction" fucked everything up. If you don't have a word for the whole cluster, each point can be argued; if you do, pro- and anti- become two factions, and you get the usual factional conflicts. In particular, the strategy I suspect Nick Land was playing by was a mistake. Trying to create a faction and make it as loud as possible works in academia; not so much anywhere else.
It's the SOP for politics. "When bad men combine, the good must associate." (Edmund Burke, 1770)
How many successful political factions have gone out and given themselves names, and how many were only named by their enemies? What, for example, do the 'cultural Marxists' call themselves?
As it was foretold of old. Perhaps LW is vulnerable to getting sidetracked into futile discussions of NRx in particular because a lot of the LW memeset is shared with a lot of the NRxrz. Indeed, the NRxrz pride themselves on their clear-sighted rationality. From within, the participants think they're having a rational discussion, while from without it resembles no such thing, it's just politics as usual.
Yup. Foretold many times, actually. We even talked about Walled Gardens and such. I'd place a fairly high probability that many of the founding members would view LW as a lot less interesting now - not because of Reaction, but because of the net total politics. LW doesn't downvote to indicate disagreement. They upvote whenever an argument is phrased in an interesting way even if they disagree entirely. NRx is interesting. In short, LW are the "open minded progressives" to NRx's Open Letter. All of which would have been fine, actually, if it didn't increase the total amount of time in useless arguments. The main thing of value that was lost was Total Amount of Homogeneity (and well, I suppose the acquisition of a bunch of people who really like talking about politics doesn't help).
I suppose liking to talk about politics is the core of the problem here. Merely giving a name to a political faction is a package fallacy already. For example, why are we debating "neoreaction", instead of tabooing the world, replacing the symbol with a set of specific statements, and debating each statement separately? By debating "neoreaction" we have already failed as rationalists, and what we do then is just digging the hole deeper.
Or you could call it a win in diversity.
You are actually wrong on the timeline, the genderwars and the Social Justice movement, came here and produced these symptoms first. One can plausibly credit the formation of Neoreaction as a direct result of a feeling of persecution and tightening of the acceptable domain of rational investigation on this site, it caused many to leave and seed a whole new blogosphere where once there was just Moldbug.
I suppose it could be so. It doesn't matter really, since the end result is the same. Still, I doubt it because Lesswrong is overwhelmingly left wing (and continues to be according to the polls - the right wing and NRx voices belong to just a few very prolific accounts.) And pretty much all the founding members of Lesswrong and, going back further, transhumanism in general, were of a certain sort which I hesitate to call "left" or "liberal" but... - socialists, libertarians, anarchists, all those were represented, and certainly many early users were hostile to social justice's extremeties, which is to be expected among smart people who are exposed to leftie stupidity much more often than other kinds of stupidity... but those were differences in implementation. We all essentially agreed on the core principles of egalitarianism and not hurting people, and agreed that prejudice against race and gender expression is bad (which was an entirely separate topic from whether they're equal in aptitude), and that conservatives, nationalists, and those sort of people were fundamentally wrongheaded in some way. It wasn't controversial, just taken for granted that anyone who had penetrated this far into the dialogue believed that these things to be true.... in the same sense that we continue to take for granted that no one here believes in a literal theist God. (And right now, I know many former users have retreated into other more obscure spin off forums, and everything I said here pretty much remains true in those forums and blogs.) But I'm less interested in who broke the walled garden / started eternal september / whatever you want to call it (after all, I'm not mad that they came here, I got to learn about an interesting philosophy) and more interested in the meta-level principle: per my understanding of Neoreactionary philosophy, when one finds oneself in the powerful majority, one aught to just go ahead and exert that power and not worry about the underdog (which I still
That's not exactly right. Moldbug did comment on OvercomingBias in the days before there was LW. This community came into contact with neoreactionary thought before LW existed. Michael Anissimov who funded MoreRight was MIRI's media director.
Huh. Oh right. I knew about the Moldbug thing, and I still said that. I'm wrong. Mind changed. Good catch.
I have actually strongly argued for the benefits of ideological diversity in a rationalist site several times.
I mean, I still value diversity by default. Valuing homogeneity is something I've kind of come around to slowly and suspiciously (whereas before I just assumed it was bad by default.)
The early OB/LW community didn't have a leftwing vibe, it had a strong Libertarian vibe. Also at the end of the day leftie radicals like to point out that liberal =/= leftist. Yudkowsky has written articles for Cato, a site considered unbearably right wing libertarian by some. On questions like Feminism there were quite protracted comment wars long before Neoreaction, for a while early in its history there were more people sympathetic to PUA than Feminism. Even now the consensus seems to have settled on feminist ok-ed PUA not being bad, which is not the mainstream consensus. See gentle silent rape for an early example of rational dating advice for a late example. I recommend you also check out my early commenting history. I interacted with many core, very right wing, rationalist like Vladimir_M and so on who left later in the history of the site.
Those examples of departing from left-canon (libertarian, "feminism-isn't-perfect", and "pua is often questionable in practice but not fundamentally bad from first principles") are okay by me. I depart from the left-canon on those points myself and find the leftie moral outrage tactics on some of those fronts pretty annoying. All those things are still fundamentally egalitarian in values, just different in implementation. The homogeneity I was referring to was in egalitarianism and a certain type of emotional stance, a certain agreement concerning which first principles are valid and which goals are worthy, despite diversity in implementation. (But, as ChristainKI pointed out, Moldbug himself was a commentator, and that predates me, so it's true that the seed has always been there.)
Wait, what is your tribe?
1) People who think a lot and generally care about logical consistency, trending towards high IQ 2) who also have sufficiently understanding of parsimony that God, etc, is just totally out of the question 3) and who generally adapt well to technological advance, often being the people whose intellects are drive it forward 4) who don't base moral judgements off of strong emotional response to things that are "weird", like odd sexualities or profanity, or "threatening", like enemy combatants or opposing ideologies. 5) who have a degree of detachment from their particular situations, and wouldn't vastly put the importance of themselves, their family, or their nation above others. It's okay if they do so in small ways in personal life, but they should be cognizant of the whole universal brotherhood of mankind thing and generally see morality and kindness as something that should be applied to people relatively equally. So a NRx-Lefty of this tribe believes these things, but also thinks an authoritarian, heirarchical society is the best way to achieve these values. So, people who fall into the tribe and are members of the cognitive elite will sort of rule over everyone else, using military force and propaganda and all that other stuff to achieve these values. They still care about outsiders, but they care in a very paternalistic sense and won't hesitate to override people's stated preferences in favor of what the NRx-Lefty extrapolates their preferences to actually be, since savages don't really know what they want or understand anything. The bulk of the actual NRx movement would be considered enemies, savages, or subversives within this empire, because they tend to fail steps 4 and 5. Within the empire, it's "okay" to be a human-biodiversity-advocate in the same sense that it's okay to think that people with myopia are smarter and consider that a largely irrelevant fact because we have actual IQ tests that we can use to separate people with with much greater accur
Sounds like the mid-late stage British Empire to me.
more on that further down the thread
Oh, that was directed at nydwracu, I misread the comment nesting loops. The plurality of American blood comes from Germany, and the descendents of that immigrant wave tend to be Evangelicals, Lutherans, Catholics...I don't know whether this bloodline is actually more likely to follow Guns and God style conservatism, but that seems to be the notion here. I think if I was going to label nydwracu's comment in one word I'd call it Völkisch.
Who counts as 'Evangelical'? Colin Woodard's 'Midlands' nation is generally plurality-Methodist. I lived out in Western Maryland for a while, where you can see some Constitution Party signs when election years roll around, and they're Methodists out there, not Southern Baptists. I'm not sure how trustworthy the census ethnicity data is, since I don't think the Anglos were genocided; I'd trust Woodard before the census data, with the caveat that everything out past Michigan (and possibly including Michigan) had enough non-Anglo Germanic immigrants that it's not really Yankeedom anymore. (Woodard's map is in general not a good guide to current cultural distinctions, but it's not trying to be. The Tidewater region doesn't really exist anymore; in its place, there's the Eastern Corridor, which runs up from northern Virginia (maybe even Richmond) through DC, Baltimore, and Philadelpha to NYC and Boston. Some people call this general region the Mid-Atlantic, but that obscures the difference between the DC/Baltimore area and everywhere else in Maryland.) And in case I wasn't clear, I do think the "NRx-lefty" attitude is common among progressives.
I don't know who counts as what - it's pretty confusing, and that's why I just went with Völkisch, since I'm guessing your defining criteria is not really religion or genetics but some mix of culture, ideology, and physical appearance and you know it when you see it and it's loosely German-American. The thing is, I don't think believe members of the populations you outline actually consider themselves as a tribe, at least not in the ethno-nationalist light that you're using (If they did, there would exist a simple word to describe them). Would you agree that their is a certain artificiality inherent in constructing an ethno-national identity around this group?
It's totally artificial and metapolitically hopeless, just like everything else available to white people in this country, unless they're Episcopalian or something. And the Episcopalians have bigger problems. As far as I can tell, there is no possible way to solve the problems of identity in this country. Most of the white population is deeply psychologically damaged in a way that is rarely even noticed, and there's nothing anyone can do about it other than maybe join a frat.
Would you care to expand on that?
See here. Our civilization contains an absence of a nigh-universal trait that has historically proven itself to be compatible with civilization (and perhaps even beneficial to civilization; certainly the Roman emperors thought it was); that's at least a sign that something else is going on. There are obvious historical reasons for this that don't involve any abstract, instrumental-rationality-seeking processes: the quest to create a totalizing Christianity purified of any 'pagan' influences. (How many of our current rites are German or Irish in origin? Christmas is mostly German -- trees, stockings, etc. -- and... hm, apparently jack-o'-lanterns may actually be English.) The Pledge of Allegiance was a Progressive Era reform; I wonder if this was part of a general program to try to introduce a civil religion similar to Roman emperor-worship. Mount Rushmore was carved at around this same time, and its main supporter was Peter Norbeck, a Progressive. (And what of the folk musicians?) But I don't think there's very much to work with there; the Roman emperor-cult failed in the end. Anyway... I don't want to phrase it in the Alain de Botton-style language of pure instrumental rationality; while perhaps the best way to communicate the general points (especially around here), it's likely to backfire. Doing something for the conscious purpose of acquiring whatever instrumental gains are believed to follow from it may undermine the instrumental value of the thing. So perhaps it will be impossible for me to change anyone's mind on this without employing the Mencius-style strategy of reasoning by bringing up shared intuitions/experiences, and that requires a degree of targeting that is difficult to pull off on the internet. But consider subcultures: why do people join them? What is it about raves, or Dan Deacon's concerts (I've never been to one, but I've heard about them, and read about what he's trying to do with them), or any of that -- and what is it about subcultural i
Wouldn't go that far. I mean, they could just look at what they actually are, and construct an identity around that. What they actually are has little to do with Germanic heritage, and race is only one of many possible ways to create a tribal affiliation anyhow. I'm pretty culturally removed from most members of both racial group in my family tree, but I don't feel psychologically adrift or anything. (Granted, I might just not know what I'm missing - I do feel pretty good when I meet people who are similar to me in real life.) Obviously, i's hard for ethno-nationalists, since they are basically contrarians in this society and can only reach "tribe" level numbers via the internet. But it's not hard for most white people. White Americans are a lot more culturally homogeneous than say, Hindus. (Or any large non-Western grouping. Technology homogenizes.)
What are we actually, then, that we can construct an identity out of? ---------------------------------------- The feeling of missing something only kicks in, I suspect, after the thing that is missed is experienced. A good example is dance: it doesn't really exist in our society outside subcultures, but I thought that didn't matter until I took up contra. (Which I really ought to get back into now that I'm in NYC -- do they even have it up here? It's been something like five years, too...) Similarly, I first noticed the importance of thedish identity, ritual, and traditions when I went to a very interesting summer camp that had a strong local identity backed up by its own rituals and traditions. Most of what I understand about these things now comes from there. It had several sites; I attended four. One site was shut down for lack of attendance shortly after the rituals and traditions failed to be passed down, and the strongest site was the one with the strongest traditions. I talked to some other people who, like me, jumped ship from a site with weakening traditions to the site with the strongest traditions, and I got the very strong impression that it was causal: weakened traditions made the site worse at the de facto functions it performed for its attendees. (One unique sociological factor that existed at the site with the strongest traditions was a semiformal aristocracy dedicated to preserving and teaching the traditions.) Then again, from what I've heard of Alain de Benoist, he only understands what he writes about on an intellectual level.
In my mind, the tribe aught to be constructed out of people who 1) care about you, which is accomplished through shared experience 2) who understand you - that is, they are similar enough that when you say something, they hear what you meant. There's no vast gulf of un-shared ideas and thoughts and notions that separates you, and inferential distance is short. I definitely see the importance of having one, but in my experience race is a pretty poor proxy for what I talk about above. Shared culture is better, shared experience is best, and optimally those co-occur. (Genetic) family is a decent method, since you're likely to match in personality as well as culture, but even that is a proxy. I suspect you are somewhat overestimating the degree to which people in other racial groups identify with each other. Two random Indians in India don't care about each other more than two random whites in America. That's because the "white" category (or the "Indian" category) is too large for tribal affiliations to build up. Granted, they'll understand each other better than they will, say, a Japanese person, but baseline friendliness levels are pretty much set at "stranger". Minority cultures tend to have a different situation, since there is a very limited number of people who belong to their group, so it becomes an easy schelling point for a community to cluster. Essentially, your tribe should be a group of <200 people, in close proximity, who share a large number of things in common with you in terms of psychology and knowledge. To the extent that people within Western culture are "damaged" by modern life creating a situation where very few people consistently come into contact with more than 1-3 other people (the same people each time), I agree, but I don't see a racial identity as a workable solution at all. Humans really don't form tribes that large in nature, although you can get sort of a hollow illusion of identification by aligning yourself with some sort of abstract
You're right -- race is a poor proxy. The "white race" stuff is regarded by many European ethnats as a bizarre Americanism and a total misunderstanding of the situation in Europe -- and they're right, though some other ethnats try to play it up in order to forge Europe-wide alliances against threats from outside. That last sentence should make it clear that there are (at least) two different things going on within the concept of thedish identity: shared context/low inferential distance and fostering internal cohesion to avoid the negative effects of failure to coordinate. As I say in my linked post, the negative effects can be significant -- up to and including total collapse. Here's Glubb: One mentioned-but-unnoticed point of the intellectually-serious Right is that some of the political pathologies of the States are caused by similar civil wars. Brecht's Die Lösung applied to democracy: the Blue Tribe fights the Red Tribe by bringing in immigrants who will vote (i.e. participate in a civil war at a remove) for the Blue side. (This probably goes unnoticed because of their support of secession, but that's just not politically realistic in this country, and a return to federalism is unlikely.) The evopsych ideal is a group of <200 people in close proximity who share a common context, sure. But one can notice that social technologies for super-Dunbar coordination keep getting developed and keep winning -- from subcultures and religions that can provide social capital in a new area (I've heard that this is particularly strong with the Mormons) to nationalism in the New World and the Old to the unification of the Mongols around Genghis Khan. (If you want a particularly shock-value-optimizing example, consider that it took a combination of immense military stupidity on their part (especially from one country that went and made a journalist into their supreme leader) and the USSR cannon-foddering an entire generation of their population to stop a few incredibly coord
Hey now, I'm not actually condoning that attitude. I'm saying that's the attitude I would have, with the NRx-Lefty hat on. In real life I am still Enlightenment-Leftie, half my friends are religious patriotic folk and I've been quite open to interacting with them and hearing their ideas and even dating them. Enlightenment-Leftie and Enlightenment-Rightie co-exist just fine, because of the tolerance thing... the critique of NRx here is that the Enlightenment framework always favors Leftie, which does seem true but I find it hard to complain about that. But NRx-Rightie is not the solution that finally balances things back in the Right's favor, because.... here comes NRx-Leftie, they can use all Cthulhu's leftward pull tricks and they're not nearly as tolerant of Rightie, in any format, and they're not tolerant of those Red, Purple, or Yellow tribes either. (In theory. In practice I'm not sure NRx wouldn't just collapse in all cases.) Tolerance was an Enlightenment value. I'm not saying regular lefties never advocate these ideas - ultimately, liberals have amygdalas and love in-groups and hate out-groups just like everyone else. But my idealized Rational Humanist Egalitarian who I'm calling Enlightenment-Lefty for the purpose of this conversation doesn't agree with those lefties. Within this conversational framework, those are just Rx-lefties, lacking the self-aware component of NRx. Even within the NRx-Lefty empire, those sorts of people are kind of the proles of the world, understanding the Cathedral doctrine but not really getting the spirit of it all. The NRx-Lefty empire doesn't go so far as to want genocide (eugenics, maybe)... but yeah, they will go ahead and be paternalistic and superior and intolerant.

Founder effect, same reason MWI/Bayes-Bayes-Bayes! is a thing here.

That's because you're mistaking the other hand as logically following from the first one. A political platform is about a preferred set of rules and institutions - you can logically get there in more than one way, and illogically get there too.
There is a legitimate fear that Enlightenment-progressive-libertarian-feminist-liberal-universalism is self-undermining in the face of people who would build tribalist-reactionary-patriarchal-tyranny in its midst. That conflict is not being worked out in the forums of the Internet, though. It is being worked out in actual real-world polities faced with that specific problem. Distant academic comment on it offers fog and ideological confusion, not clarity. Theorists are better off learning about the actual facts on the ground, in places where the conflict between Enlightenment and Reaction is waged with ballots and with bullets, than in spinning castles-in-the-air of theory attempting to link this struggle to everything from DNA to video games. "Mercy, mercy! We can talk about it, can't we?" — Last words of Theo van Gogh "I don’t feel your pain. I don’t have any sympathy for you. I can’t feel for you because I think you’re a non-believer." — the words of Mohammed Bouyeri, van Gogh's murderer, spoken to van Gogh's mother
Nationalist Reactionary Rightie has that fear because they just don't like immigrants coming in and messing things up. Enlightenment Rightie has that fear and sees themselves as the dogs that protect Enlightenment Leftie sheep from the evil wolves. NRx-rightie disagrees with both of them, and thinks there is no way anyone is gonna ever topple the Lovecraftian horror that is Enlightenment Leftie, and we're all doomed to experience constant violent revolutions and ever more ridiculous post-modernist nonsense if we don't do something. (I'm still not clear on what exactly Doom looks like, but I'm pretty sure civilization collapses at some point and we start over) Primitive Rx Leftie definitely thinks that there's absolutely no way the Muslims can realistically take over the government by force, and the only biggest threat they pose to Enlightenment society is petty violence and the risk of inflaming the nationalist sentiment, who can take over the government, without force. Crush the shitlords before they get out of hand so we can get back to the Enlightenment. Enlightenment Leftie says that when people are happy and healthy in life, they don't do bad stuff or turn to extremism in large numbers. We just need to stick to our values of openness and honesty. Trust the Cathedral and technological advance to help people along the path of moral progress, and don't crush anyone. Free speech and tolerance for all, Left, Right, and even those extremest terrorist types. NRx Leftie agrees mostly with Rx lefty, partly with Enlightenment Righty, and thinks Enlightenment Leftie is naive, but it's not going to be a problem because if things go as planned NRx Leftie has become dictator so now the schools are extremely well funded machines teaching the fundamentals of critical thinking, and they've also had a team of social scientists actively research the most effective religious deconversion techniques and implement them. Hopefully this involves an open and honest dialogue involvin
I don't mean this as critisism, but 'NRx Left' sounds like an excellent opportunity for meta-meta-meta-contrarianism.
what have i done
What, like the British Empire? How did that work out?
That's actually precisely Enlightenment Leftie's qualm. NRx Leftie says it's different this time, because the British Empire were fairly savage themselves, because they actually didn't value the people who they considered savages as human beings. NRx Leftie said that the British Empire actually worked out fairly well, by some standards. and the bad bits were because the Brits themselves had a savage culture. Enlightenment Leftie calls bullshit why should it be different this time, and that's pretty much why I don't really buy NRx. (My inner Conservative-Churchill thinks the British empire was actually a net good and my inner NRx-Right adds that the independence movements triggered by liberalism are what really fucked us over.)
The British Empire may have been materially a net good, but (as Benedict Anderson points out) it was doomed the day it embraced Macaulay's plan of cultural exterminationism through education. "Independence movements triggered by liberalism" is a better way to put it than "independence movements", but it's not as accurate as "independence movements triggered by the combination of something involving the creation of an elite class educated in European things, often actually in Europe (or America), and later the Cold War scramble for puppet states between the two superpowers, hence their agreement on the issue of decolonization and probably Washington's shafting of Britain in Suez." Where do you think Pol Pot got his Marxism from? Certainly not Cambodia, and not even the USSR (the Khmer Rouge was a Western ally for a while) -- he got it in Paris, the center of the relevant empire. (To take the Benedict Anderson hypothesis further, onto very speculative and shaky ground: could it be that decolonization arose out of the same impulse as Italy's misadventures in colonialism? In Italy's time, any serious nation had an empire; after WW2, any serious nation had its own state, except 'nation-states' couldn't exist because of pre-existing attachment to administrative boundaries among the elite, those boundaries having shaped their life far more in practical terms than native culture or ethnic identification. Also legibility reasons that Anderson doesn't mention AFAIK: precisely named and delineated boundaries that aren't accurate will be preferred over accurate boundaries that have yet to be drawn, because 1) the former is much more practically knowable and able to be acted upon by an organization than the latter, 2) the former are available and the latter aren't. Compare the use of states in America.)
I don't see the current (=last one-two decades) geopolitics as fitting this narrative. I think they fit much better the narrative of a late-stage empire falling into decadence and so unable to enforce Pax Americana well any more. The idea of bringing civilization, that is "Enlightenment-progressive-libertarian-feminist-liberal-universalism", into the midst of savages, that is "tribalist-reactionary-patriarchal-tyranny", on M-1A Abrams main battle tanks is called neoconservatism, funnily enough, and it didn't fare too well in reality.
Despite being American myself, I don't see the frontier between the Enlightenment and reaction as being an American military front. The situation in Europe — including the resurgence of fascism in Greece, the emergence of Putin-Stalinism, and the various national conflicts over Muslim immigration and the status of immigrant communities with violent anti-woman, anti-dissident, or anti-free-speech practices — looks much more like a "clash of civilizations" to me than the current generation of American overseas adventurism does. What is delivered by tank is not civilization; it is resource extraction.
You linked that to "legitimate fear that Enlightenment-... is self-undermining" (emphasis mine). The Greek fascism is a reaction to the excesses and failure of a semi-socialist crony-capitalist corrupt state. Putin is partly a reaction to the same and partly just business-as-usual for Russia. The conflicts in e.g. France, etc. over Muslim immigrants are pretty clearly tribal conflicts on the basis of "these weird people don't even look like us, have strange customs, and, most galling of all, are unwilling to recognize their cultural inferiority". So I am not sure where this Enlightenment meme complex (which you clearly think is a positive thing, not leading to failures of corrupt states) is undermining itself.
In all fairness, what neo-cons brought to "tribalist-reactionary-tyrannies" was nothing more than a cargo-cult imitation of democracy. No effort at all was made to introduce even the classical-liberal institutions that modern Western polities are fundamentally based on, let alone anything close to libertarianism or Enlightenment values.
That's because a cargo-cult imitation is all that you deliver on an M-1A tank.
Don't forget straight up denying the existence and/or legitimacy of gender identity issues. It's quite simple. It's not logic. It's just that it's mostly written by white straight men who are convinced they would naturally make the best masters.

I have to admit that I greatly enjoyed this topic because it introduced me to new concepts. When I clicked on this discussion I hadn't a clue what Neo-Reactionaries were. I knew what a political reactionary is but I hadn't a clue about this particular movement.

The thing that I have found fascinating is the fundamental concept of the movement (and please correct me if I am wrong) is that they want a way out. That the current system is horribly flawed, eventually doomed and that they want to strike a new deal that would fix things once and for all. The recognition is that even if abolished governments will again form. As such they hope to devise a government that is no longer a sham, and structurally will have finally the best interest of the people at its heart instead of selfishness.

What fascinates me about this is some of the discussions about AGI here. Plenty of people apparently feel that eventually agi will rule over us. They essentially are interested in building "a better tyrant." I don't know, give me a thumbs down on this comment if you want but I found the parallel interesting. Of course many ideologies are more alike then people care to admit. For example communism is supposed to be economic and social power sharing and to ensure at the very least everyone's material needs are met. Capitalism and the corporate structure actually aim for the same thing.

I tend to consider Exit and We Want a King as different theories.

Exit starts to get close to libertarian/anarchic schools of thought (e.g. seasteading is generally thought of as ancap), which is almost diametrically opposed to We Want a King.

Hmm. Well, the monarchists think they are going to get some Vetinari style ruler who lets business faire, although that hasn't been common historically.

It looks like I further need to distinguish between We Want Exit, and Everyone has a Right to Exit. The latter fads up to World Government, the former falls apart over biological sustainability.

I don't understand, surely "Everyone has a Right to Exit" is the opposite to world government? And why is "We Want Exit" unsustainable?
Who guarantees the right? A bunch of mostly male geeks in a boat doesn't look very sustainable to me.
Well, seasteading is certainly not particularly scalable. But while its mostly male geeks now, who knows what the demographics would look like when it gets going? As for who guarantees the right, well, most countries allow their citizens to emigrate if they want.
Exactly. Which is why exit is actually about entry.
Except that they somehow believe no democracy can ever accomplish this goal.
Yes, because there are fundamentally high time preference incentives in democracy.

Since you LinkedIn stalked me and we do look to be associated with common organizations now and in the future, I'm going to restrain my emotions and try to discuss this issue. Instead of, you know, just strangling you through my monitor.

"For the next election!" is obviously a problem with current forms of democratic government. But I do think that if you were honestly trying to address that issue for the good of all, you would at least mention such proposals as commons trusts, if only to argue against them -- but they would be in your hypothesis space in the first place. Instead, "we have a problem in current-day democracy, especially American democracy" is taken as justification for, "It's time for a radical leap back to 1788 France" and other such neoreactionary positions.

To me, this stinks of motivated cognition. What you want is the absolute monarchy, or the seasteading, or the corporatized city-states, or Lord of the Rings, or something; the flaws in democracy are but a justification, not a reason. If you want to have honest discussions about these sorts of things, you can ask that the usual "Holy crap that guy is evil!" reactions b... (read more)

Following your link, the description is high on left-wing buzzwords and light on actual details. I fail to see why either Michael or my self should waste our time with every crackpot proposal. Ok, attempting the steelman their proposal it seems to amount to setting up a trust to be managed by a group omni-benevolet trustees. Problems like where these trustees are supposed to come from, how their omni-benevolence is to be maintained, or even the practical details of how the trust will operate are glossed over or given vague hand-wavy answers. Depending on how those questions are answered this trust might even resemble a neo-reactionary state with the aristocrats called "trustees" although there are hints that's not the direction they're going. Lol, have you read the site you linked to? That's a good example of motivated cognition. All the statements are of the form "in the trust [buzzword heavy good thing will happen]" with no explanation of what the causal mechanism leading to the thing happening will be. One gets the feeling that their thought process is "[good think] is good therefore in must happen".
Which is exactly the same thing I normally say to your crackpot proposals, but this time I decided to be nice and actually try talking to you. I won't be so bothered again, since your entire post is basically "lol lefties" instead of actually answering the question as to why you lot seem to jump from "current-day American government is flawed" to "hurrah 18th-century monarchy!" with no distribution over possible solutions, or evidence, or search process in between. Which rather confirms my hypothesis that it's a case of motivated cognition, and you're not worth engaging. Not omnibenevolent: stop strawmanning. Accountable through the court system. When beneficiaries believe trustees are acting against their trust, they file suit, and an expert judge makes the actual decision based on the trust's charter. Just like in all established trusts under current law, some of which are actually-existing commons trusts. Duh. I had actually wanted to link a Wikipedia page for the subject, but Google yielded none. Alas.
Eli, I found Scott Alexander's steelmanning of the NRx critique to be an interesting, even persuassive critique of modern progressivism, having not been exposed to this movement prior to today. However I am also equally confused at the jump from "modern liberal democracies are flawed" to "restore the devine-right-of-kings!" I've always hated the quip "democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others" (we've yet tried), but I think it applies here. Do you have a link you can provide which explains your own political philosophy, or something close to it? Since your comments here address exactly the concerns I had in reading NRx material, I'm curious to see where you are coming from.

Do you have a link you can provide which explains your own political philosophy, or something close to it?

Unfortunately, no, as my own views are by now a cocktail mixed from so many different original drinks that no one bottle or written recipe will yield the complete product.

I've always hated the quip "democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others" (we've yet tried), but I think it applies here.

What I would say in reply to this is:

A) Dissolve "democracy", and not just in the philosophical sense, but in the sense that there have been many different kinds of actually existing democracies. Even within the deontological, arbitrary restriction, "ONLY DEMOCRACY EVER", one can easily debate whether a mixed-member proportional Parliament performs better than a district-based bicameral Congress, or whether a pure Westminster system beats them both, or whether a Presidential system works better, or whatever. Particular institutional designs yield particular institutional behaviors, and generalizing across large categories of institutional designs requires large amounts of evidence.

B) Dissolve "democracy" in the philosop... (read more)

Isn't Israel an ethnonationalist state with a strong implicit hierarchy?
Ethnonationalist democratic state with a weak implicit hierarchy, actually. Did I ever claim present-day Israel is morally optimal?
No, but I find the juxtaposition of Marxist universalist ideas being fervently communicated by those who enjoy the economic and social benefits of an ethnostate to be amusing.
Fair enough! And I would say we've got several social transformations to go through (ie: a general increase in the level of education and an improvement in methods of government) before we can actually abolish ethnostates. (It should be stated: I'm a consequentialist, and an objective consequentialist. This means that when things accomplish net good (up to my understanding of "good"), I endorse them, even if they "smell bad".) So yeah. For here and now with actually-existing people in actually-existing societies, ethnostates seem to be our best heuristic for making democratic, egalitarian societies actually work, instead of degrading into a civil war between tribal clusters (which, I think, is precisely what you're so afraid of). That doesn't make them terminally valuable, but it does leave them instrumentally useful.
No one said ethnostates were terminally valuable, necessarily, but yeah. I wonder what the Tumblr contingent's reaction to your last paragraph would be. You're basically saying ethnos is so important that multicultural states fall apart, and that ethnostates are the best pragmatic form of government.
That's not a historically or spatially universal "best"; it's not optimal. It's "the best we can do given the historical and geopolitical contingencies as they actually are right now." I don't think you even need transhumans or something to have non-ethnic states actually work, you just need to break out of the "Jihad vs McWorld" paradigm of geopolitics. (Speaking of silly leftists, the man who wrote Jihad vs McWorld concentrated most of his ire on McWorld, since he was writing in the '90s and did not think jihad would become a severe problem. I think we can both say, on this one: what an idiot! But the bigger question is: if he implicitly supported racial and religious chauvinist movements against capitalist globalization, does that make him, and by implication the entire left-wing "antiglobalization" movement of the '90s and 2000s, reactionary, or some other form of right-wing? I would say, yes, at least in effect, in the same sense that "pacifism is objectively pro-fascist". You?)
What historical and geopolitical contingencies would allow for the development of a better pragmatic form of government than ethnostates?
Singapore is not an ethnostate.
Singapore is a step up from most countries, but I still wouldn't want to live there -- sure, it's safe and not communist, but as far as I've heard, those are its only redeeming values. Since there are safe ethnostates that aren't communist, that still looks like a superior model.
Me neither, but I think in general NRx likes Singapore -- does it not? In general, ethnostates look like a Europe-specific phenomenon to me.
Because they're libertarian and from American cities. Libertarianism leads them to fail to look beyond "safe and not communist"; being from American cities leads them to think that's a high bar. Which it is for America, but America's political situation is insane. In addition to Japan and China, both Koreas and Mongolia. (North Korea and Mongolia aren't counterexamples; they were Communist puppet states.)
I am not sure what you are getting at, can you expand..? Both are states now, but historically their statehood varied. In any case, I can see the advantages of a single ethnicity, I'm just not sure that they override everything else.
@sarahdoingthing would be able to explain this better than I can, but Moldbug consistently ignores questions of social life, identity, and the rites. Safe is preferable to unsafe, and not communist is preferable to communist -- and the possibility of a social life is preferable to atomization, and a stable identity is preferable to anomie and lack of context, and so on.
Japan. Also China for a looser notion of "ethnostate".
True. China, actually, is a stronger example since Japan is nicely isolated geographically. And speaking of pragmatic forms of government, Japan, um, has problems. China, too, of course.
Until western contact, China had no other state of comparable power to define itself against.
Not only that, they also are a relatively recent phenomenon. The Austro-Hungarian Empire wasn't an ethnostate either. AFAICT ethnic nationalism mostly dates back to Romanticism.
It can be argued that the U.S. is not an ethnostate either.
No "it can be argued" about it -- it isn't. And its resulting failures should be obvious.
"The U.S. has numerous failures" is beyond dispute. "The failures of the U.S. are caused by its unique multicultural, multiracial, and multinational characteristics" is a lot harder to defend.
How about "some failures of the US are caused by some characteristics of races and cultures in the US"?
Then it becomes a trivial statement, the scope of "some" being adjusted to the preconceptions of every individual reader.
Yes, as it should, because unless you want to go into specifics there is no statement both true and general that you can make. Note, though, that the "standard" view says "no failures of the US are caused by any characteristics of races and cultures" (with the possible exception of white men being just evil) :-/
No, I think that's a disingenuous usage. I also don't understand how pacifism is "objectively pro-fascist". In the book, he uses Jihad as a stand-in for traditional values everywhere, not just Islamic Jihad.
Google the phrase. Orwell wrote an essay on the matter. No, as a matter of fact, he uses it as a word for a new style of increasingly irrational chauvinist movements, not for "traditional values" in any sense that an ordinary conservative would recognize. Of course, if you're willing to include Islamism in your term for neoreactionary traditional values... I'm willing to take this as further evidence that neoreaction is a terrible idea.
Islam is certainly not neoreactionary, because neoreactionary refers to the descendants of a certain circumscribed intellectual group that developed from Moldbug in the Bay Area.
So is merely not in theory...never mind about the practice.
There are real word examples, including such delights as the BBC and NHS.
A common, but shallow point. Thefallacy is equating democratic government with elected officials. Most democracies have second chambers , civil services and other added to lengthen time preference. Yes Minister is all about an elected pol being unable to budge the long term plans of his ministry.
"God" is a more appropriate name.
Why do ancaps and ancaps even argue? The only way I can see anarcho communism being realised is via reform from contemporary society to increasingly libertarian then anarcho capitalist society. Then, potentially, but unlikely, a voluntarist society, then unlikely, but also potentially, an anarchocommunist society.

Naturally, Moldbug has something to say on this, at least for those with libertarian sympathies:

Perhaps the best and most succinct statement of the reactionary philosophy of government - especially considering the context - was this one:

Truly I desire their liberty and freedom as much as anybody whomsoever; but I must tell you their liberty and freedom consists of having of government, those laws by which their life and their goods may be most their own. It is not for having a share in government, sir, that is nothing pertaining to them.

Where the context he was referring to was:


Made upon the
At Whitehall-Gate,

Immediately before his Execution,
On Tuesday the 30 of Ian. 1648

This points to the fundamental conundrum that libertarians are just now starting to grapple with. In a polity where it is a given that "to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men", you can have some expectation that democratic, representative government is a decent means to secure your freedoms. It is a means, and not an end in itself.

Libertarians largely have the motivations of Thomas Paine with... (read more)

The issue is, I don't see NRx providing a clear difference between monarchy and modern demotic dictatorship, and clear ways of preventing the first from sliding into the second. I've read Hoppe years ago, so far I remember I have not seen a solution to that. The only thing I remember is that a king si really really sure his heirs will inherit so he has a vested interest in not screwing up a country. But such sureness of inheritance means the people really consent to monarchy that is in practice a democracy. Furthermore I don't understand the whole idea of starting on top, i.e. designing a form of government, instead of starting in the bottom, like the morals and culture of the age. I mean, for example, if monarchy is so much more desirable then it is obvious why we don't have it: because we as a people became more depraved and not worthy for it e.g. having too much envy. Another thing I don't understand in these designs is that they are about drawing rules when in reality it is possible to act outside the rules, this is called revolution or coups. Thus a realistic political philosophy cannot simply say if everybody accepts these rules all will be right. The very first political philosopher, Aristotle, wanted to figure out which rules are simply the more likely to obeyed, as in, the least likely to lead to coups and revolutions, the least likely to cause behavior outside the rules. It seems NRx like everybody else is simply trying to find good rules today. This is a really short-sighted. BTW aristotle's solution was a kind of democracy where the rich have more votes. We have this, in practice (the rich buy votes).
First, I haven't read much of NR literature beyond Moldbug, and my post was mainly aimed at the tie in between him and libertarianism. When you don't expect to have the numbers to win by voting, what then? I don't see Moldbug as interested in demotic dictatorship. The lack of support in the "demos" is the problem. I think the premise is that they don't have the numbers, and are unlikely to get them. Envy and lust for power. The Master Slave impulse is a problem on both sides.
I don't think so... I think it is more like the ego-driven feeling of "why is he better than me?" the issue not directly being power, but rather giving someone power being a strong signal they are "better". The problem of the ego is something I have been trying to figure out for about 15-17 years now. This can mean two things, either I am knowledgeable about it, or I developed a strong bias seeing the problem of the ego everywhere, even where it does not apply. So it is a topic I can be very right or very wrong about but little in-between. By the problem of the ego I mean I had some exposure in the Buddhist approaches of how the human psyche works, and quickly realized that the problem of modern people is not as much desire or anger, but more like vanity/pride. For example, a huge reason why we are atheists is not simply because it is irrational, but because theism demands a sense of knee-bending humility and submission that goes right against todays culture and mores. Take this example. Scratch the gay-marriage debates and what you find is that the primary motivation is not securing pragmatic advantages for gays but rather not making them feel like second-class citizens. A grand social approval / validation. So there is this huge motive today that people absolutely loath feeling second-class or less worthy than others. This is some sort of a pride and I think this lurks behind a lot of political stuff today. One is that elected politicians are servants (ministers) of the public hence cannot feel superior to it. The idea being being uncomfortable with having rulers who could be said in some sense superior or more worthy. This is not so much envy as hurt pride. This is difficult to discuss on LW because the whole process of Rationalism means setting aside this kind of pride, and probably most of you did it unconsciously long ago. Because with this kind of pride self-improvement through the outside view would not be possibble. Is it clear what I am driving at? Thi
Realise it isn't increasing subjection, outside your imagination.
Denial? Yeah, that's an option. A number of libertarian outlets are stressing withdrawal. Just let politics go and focus more on evading state power and exercising the freedom you have left than on trying to affect the political process. Moldbug is in some ways the extreme version of that - stop pretenses of freedom and consent and formally recognize your subjection, so that the rulers have less interest in doing idiotic and destructive things to maintain their power. No voting, just obedience. I don't think that works, but that seems to be his logic.
You are just repeating the same evidence free point.
If I had, you'd still be in the lead for evidence free points. Your replies to me have been two evidence free meta assertions about me. Why do you find me such a fascinating topic of discussion? But in actual fact, I took the opportunity of your information free comment to elaborate on my original theme, sharing my observations about libertarian outlets and my analysis of Moldbug's position.

I thought up a second way to explain this.

I discovered outright lying, not just incompetence, in several areas of the social sciences. This lead me to try and figure out the drivers of corruption of the social sciences. Eventually I hit upon "scientism" being used to manufacture consent in democratic societies. I also discovered how scientific governance as exists in the form of modern technocracy was a sham used by the powerful to eliminate possible rivals, under the pretense of empowering the weak. The key thinker explaining this dynamic is Bertrand de Jouvenel.

I eventually came to the opinion that this same drive for deception, one could call it the "ingsoc" drive, isn't a strange feature just of Communism and Nazism but was present in FDR's regime as well. It metastized universally in the 20th century. Epistemically liberal democracies were no healthier than the other two major forms of mass opinion derived legitimacy.

This lead me to the conclusion that my priors on political theory, economics, culture and ethics had been spiked in a nasty and systematic way. Then I went through a long process of taking the priors of peoples living before the age of mass c... (read more)

I agree that the political beliefs of citizens living in democratic societies come about via a process that we have no reason to believe is truth-tracking, but why should past thinkers such as Carlyle be much better? By what measure has he been shown to be a reliable guide on political/sociological questions?

I am an Aristocratic Egalitarian/'neoreactionary' because of Curt Doolittle. He has by far the most well developed piece of work in the Dark Enlightenment. I had developed a good amount of the Burkean sentinments myself and from Taleb, but I wasn't quite sure. Moldbug tipped me over, and then I found Aristocratic Egalitarianism. I'm probably somewhere between Thiel, John Gray,Taleb, Curt. + Influences from Machiavelli and Isaiah Berlin. With Elizier and Robin as well of course.

If you want a coherent framing point that is articulate, well stated, and non-obscurant Aristocratic Egalitarianism is it. You don't have to have hate in your heart to be NRx. It can be forward and positive, and it is mostly. However, before that it is.... 'sober'. There is no eliteness without appreciation and paternalism. It's not people's fault for how nature rolled the dice for them and it wasn't say high intelligence or executive functioning; no matter what the kids say. Being blessed with a lot of ability comes with the responsibility and that also means that people who are very intelligent but do not have responsibility are strictly looked down on in my point of view.

If it helps, I used to be an ultra-... (read more)

Any chance of translating those from the original Moldbuggese?
None of the books in was written by Moldbug.
I was looking for a summary of the summary, not the opposite.
I'm not sure what you're asking for. At first glance, seems like a poseur insult.

Moldbug is notorious for a jargon-heavy and hard-to-read writing style, which your comment is being compared to in a request for a clarified version.

Glossary: NRx - Outer Right/New Right/Vague, fluid, and shifting community of associates, including people who do not like the term 'neoreaction'. Alternate Name: Antiquarian Modernism via Nick Land @ xenosystems. Everything else:
Not really. Burkean sentinments isn't in that list. From the outside it's not clear what "I chose to reframe around" means. I can guess at "forward looking person" but I'm not quite sure.
Those aren't the same person.
I'm well aware they aren't. Just missed the s there.
Is that Black Swan/Fooled by Randomness Taleb?
Yes. Also see People have a lot of distorted opinions about him, so make sure to check the appendix recommended readings etc just to get an accurate idea of him.

IANANR, but from what I heard they tend to start by reading Moldbug, who does make a few interesting points not usually found elsewhere, then proceed to listen to Michael Anissimov, who apparently makes similar points, but more accessibly. And once you are infected with the memes like The Cathedral and Demotism, starts making a lot of sense. Nyan_Sandwich does not post here anymore, but he used to particiapte a fair bit, including a few highly upvoted articles in Main... until NRxia got the best of him.

That IANANR is an acronym and that I figured out what it means immediately, makes me laugh.

I went from straight Libertarianism to Georgism to my current position of advocacy of competitive government. I believe in the right to exit and hope to work towards a world where exit gets easier and easier for larger numbers. My current anti-democratic position is informed by the amateur study of public choice theory and incentives. My formalist position is probably due to an engineering background and liking things to be clear.

When the fundamental question arises - what keeps a genuine decision maker, a judge or a bureaucrat in government (of a polity ... (read more)

I'm not a neoreactionary as such (eg I'm pretty skeptical of monarchy), more of an anti-leftist. I see NRx as the best relatively coherent movement against the left due to it critiquing the flaws of the left in what I see as a more intelligent and perceptive way than typical conservatives do.

I think I found it via Moldbug at first.

Have you read Steve Sailer or Nick Land? Anissimov isn't the whole of NRx, and most of the others have there own ideas about their preferred form of government.
Steve Sailer is one of my favourite bloggers but I dunno if he'd consider himself a reactionary exactly. Nick Land I've mostly heard rumours about him having crazy ideas.
My impression is that Land decided a long time ago to side with 'intelligence' in the abstract, in a sense that inevitably led him to antihumanism, and that he supports neoreaction insofar as he sees potential in its proposals to unchain institutional intelligences that he thinks are more worthy of support than anything human. (I think he should look into the Italian Futurists, try to grok the aesthetic of them and the things around them and see what sorts of things they'd come up with. It's not that far from capitalism to war, for one. But I don't think it's too likely that he will; even if Moldbug hadn't reinforced the belief that nothing interesting ever came out of anything that had anything to do with the losing side of that particular war, the taboo there is still strong.)

Here is an excellent rant about things that make NRx look attractive.

Quite a rant, but why do you think NRx would be any better?

NRx at the moment is mostly about the critique of the existing political order. That's the part that resonates, while the prescriptive parts are both more contentious and more, I don't know, "abstract".
Second thought-- that rant is from a Left point of view. It's "people are being hurt for no reason, this is intolerable", not civilization is falling apart from lack of virtue."
Consequentialism is not a "Left" point of view. Also, many leftists hold some "virtues" sacred; consider recycling. It doesn't matter that all the tediously "recycled" garbage ends up in the same landfill, the point is to uphold the virtue of caring for the environment.
Really? I would expect that most pro-recycling people either don't know that the garbage ends up in the same place, or have an expectation that the separated landfills will come in the near future.
That's true, of course a large part of it is that they don't want to know.
I am pretty sure the author would disagree. I think you're misreading it. One of the major points in this rant is: As to "civilization is falling apart from lack of virtue", that looks strawmannish to me and doesn't resemble NRx positions.
"The system is not fixable because it is not broken." This is an argument I've seen from leftists. I may have seen some version of it from the right. Oh my, but the universe is generous!

In these discussions, I often find myself writing a long text describing my beliefs and why I am not interested in defending or spreading them. At that point, I usually stop writing and start over, like I did now.

I'm willing to label myself as neoreactionary because neoreaction better describes our current society than leftism. In a future world I might look at neoreaction as the most accurate description of a certain time period. Neoreactionary beliefs could be easily rendered irrelevant with transhumanist advances.

The reason I value neoreaction is becaus... (read more)

The reason I value neoreaction is because it gives me – in my personal life – an edge. This is also the reason why I am not interested in defending or spreading many neoreactionary beliefs.

Unless you want an edge over other LWers, would you mind elaborating which beliefs have benefited you and in what way?


What is a "neo-reactionary"?

I am no expert. I hope there are others here who can explain better than me, since I'm just going to link you to wiki.

What are the downvotes for? If I don't have great understanding, should I say nothing?

[Not a rhetorical question.]

I didn't downvote, but linking to a rationalwiki attack post about neoreactionaries isn't a good way to inform people.

Well, I suppose that should be obvious. I had read the page some months ago and didn't bother to reread before linking. Sloppy mistake. Thank you.

I think people downvoting you may not have realized that you were the original poster, and thus may have thought you should not reply at all if you didn't know more. (Since you are the OP I think your reply is justified in answering "as best you know, what exactly is it you're asking us about?")

Well, maybe there's a lesson about posting on topics that I don't know much about (even if the post are questioning). Are there mores regarding that?
Posting questions is totally reasonable. There is the option to post to Open Thread instead of Discussion, which would give your post less prominence; but there's been a push towards posting more things in Discussion recently because it wasn't getting that much traffic. It's good to do a certain amount of background research, but you've clearly done some, and I think it would be bad for us to discourage people from posting questions without doing "enough" research, where "enough" is some hazily-defined large amount. The fact that this is a political topic might weigh a bit more in favor of doing more research before posting about it, since political topics are more likely to cause conflict. It's also worth noting that, despite the name, RationalWiki is not closely aligned with LessWrong, and in fact the two are often at odds and do not always have a lot of respect for each other. It's an understandable mistake.
Well I have read RW page on LW and on Eliezer, which aren't very nice, but I was under the impression that they are generally a, you know, rational resource. I'll do better vetting before linking.

They're rational on subjects that Progressives are rational about.

Yes. I once went to the RW article about human biodiversity hoping to find a non-ridiculous rebuttal of some HBD ideas, and it sounded like “These people say that Asians are smart but have small dicks, Africans have big dicks but are dumb, and Europeans are just right! How silly is that? LOL”.
My muse is inspired: The clowns of RationalWiki Are ever so clever and witty They say "LOL!" and "Hur!" And sometimes "Fer shurr!" And their acme of wit's "tiny dicky!"
My personal judgement: they're a bunch of clowns.

Technically speaking, they are politically mindkilled undiscriminating skeptics. They make a list of things they don't believe (sometimes for good reasons, sometimes merely for associating them with a different political tribe), and make fun of them. They use "rationality" as an applause light, but not as modus operandi. They are usually correct in situations where being correct is trivial for a generally educated person. That is already better than a great part of internet, but people can also do much better.

Unfortunately they managed to overcome nominative determinism.
This was spur of the moment, but I thought others might be interested in what responders might have to say.
Linking to a rationalwiki attack post on a subject isn't really a good way to give people an understanding of that subject.
I'd guess that the OP is too vaguely formulated and additionally loosely political. It is not trolling but standards are high here you know.
Ok. Is there a way that I could have made it better, or is the topic better left alone?
You could have put it in the discussion thread.
I defer to FiftyTwo, but this article give a good intro in a few sentences.

because it's in my interests. I can see resentment and animosity towards white people becoming more and more widespread, more brazen and more publicly accepted. This will lead to all of my people's traditions and institutions and culture being destroyed and will lead to white people being marginalised and losing control of their homelands. When a people lose control of their homeland, that hasn't ever worked out well for them. So of course it is in my interests and in the interests of my descendents, my group to reject mainstream so-called "progressivism" ... (read more)


The intro to the rationalist neoreactionary blog the Future Primaeval sort of captures this:

It has not been apparent until now, but this is actually a group blog, composed of a small group of people with similar ideas which are very different from everyone else's. For various reasons, we've decided to leave our previous projects and start a new blog dedicated to theoretical and practical inquiry into lifestyle, politics, philosophy, and social science. Welcome.

As thinkers, most of us got our start in a community dedicated to the art of human rationality.

... (read more)

I was always intrigued in the racial policy of NRx, how do NRxaries define race for their purposes, and how that factors in to their overall ideology? Also appreciated if any NRxaries can recommend me some good reading on the above topic to update my priors?

Here is a simple argument for NRx: 1) democracy automatically produces communism and 2) communism is very evil. Proposition 2 is not very controversial. Proposition 1 just comes from extrapolating the trend line of government control over the economy out another couple of decades.

1) democracy automatically produces communism and 2) communism is very evil.

The paradigmatic cases of the evils of communism are Russia and China. Neither country was ever a democracy. The third paradigmatic monster of the 20th Century, Naziism, did arise from a democracy, but was not communism.

What is the X you are referring to, that democracy produces, and that produces evil, and what are the examples?

1) democracy automatically produces communism

That's historically funny given that Marx argued that democracy can never produce communism.

Is that extrapolation justified?
I wouldn't say it's obvious, but here a graph of US government spending over time. It seems basically monotonic.
Monotonic as a percentage of GDP? Meaning the government will be 100% of GDP in finite time?
I wouldn't even go that far. I think it's reasonable to set aside the oscillations in the 1950-1980 period and call that bit basically monotonic, but WWI & WWII still wreck any underlying monotonicity (and arguably the Great Depression and Great Recession do too). Moreover, since 1975, the overall trend looks basically flat to me except for the Great Recession bump at the end. Moving to my own country, I find an even stronger negative result: over the last 60 years the overall trend in public spending's share of GDP has been flat. (That, I must admit, surprised me a bit; I would've expected the government's share of spending to swell a bit over time because of aging populations and state provision of education & healthcare, which suffer from Baumol's cost disease. But apparently not.)

Does being aligned much closer to neoRx count? If so, I confess that my long journey (decades) has gone from its most recent position of being a mindless drone of the "establishment" right wing, steeped early in RC and finshed off in episcopal trimmings. Then after some hayek, regernery(?) And such I followed up with moldbug and the like I had the same epiphany Charlie Brown did on the Christmas special at Dr. Lucy's kiosk:

THAT'S IT !!!!!

It seemed to all make a lot of sense. Unfortunately it all seems so unattainable. Meh.

If you think seriously about what living a lot longer than current norms would have to mean, then you'll realize that everything familiar to you now will eventually vanish, and new things will take their place. Then those things will vanish as well, and other things will take their place. Just keep iterating.

Consider how much of the currently familiar things in our social world originated in an intellectual experiment in the 18th Century called the Enlightenment: democracy, egalitarianism, cosmopolitanism, feminism, secularism, individualism and so forth.... (read more)

If you think seriously about what living a lot longer than current norms would have to mean, then you'll realize that everything familiar to you now will eventually vanish, and new things will take their place.

Older readers of LessWrong will know that it doesn't take that long.

In my 40's I was damn near grabbing people and shaking them and saying "Things change!"

After a while, I got bored with saying that, and also came to the conclusion that if you haven't lived through things that you thought were basic going away, you don't know what it's like.

Some of us are finding that things are only beginning to get close to what we always wanted.

originated in an intellectual experiment in the 18th Century called the Enlightenment: democracy, egalitarianism, cosmopolitanism, feminism, secularism, individualism and so forth

... Actually all of those ideas are considerably older than the Enlightenment, and can be traced to Antiquity and beyond.

Egalitarianism in particular jumps out as an odd entry in that list, since anatomically modern humans probably spent most of their evolutionary history in hunter-gatherer bands appreciably more egalitarian than sedentary civilizations.

Prediction is hard, especially about the future.

It's possible that feminists and MRAs will wake up to find a matriarchal future.

Or gender (if any) will come to mean something very different from what we're used to. Once humanity starts bioengineering itself, the range of possibility opens up tremendously.

My bet is that if cryonics works, the future will divide into home era cohorts, and the vast majority of people from earlier times may be living in reasonable comfort but will have very little power. A few highly adaptable people may be able to get up to speed to join the current culture.

You mean there are people who don't just shape-shift their apparent sex depending on the precise situational combination of their current mood and what they want to signal? Goddamn you lot are weirdos ;-). Although the conservation-of-mass issue gets awkward: you can either be a scrawny male but a healthy-looking female or a healthy-looking male and a rather overweight female, or be kinda awkwardly lithe in either form. Or you can go to the bathroom and store the extra unwanted mass when female, but really, there's only so much biological nanotechnology can do against basic physics. (EDIT: Yes, I did make this up on the bus one day when thinking of things future people might consider good ideas that we'd consider unutterably bizarre, and was indeed waiting for an opportunity to post it ;-).)
Um, if you have the ability to arbitrary rearrange your cells, they're likely more loosely attached to each other than those in animals. In any case you should be able to process raw environmental material to grow. I have thought about possible future societies that aren't based on biological reproduction. Most of the examples in scifi fall apart after a little MoR-style pocking (their main flaw is keeping certain aspects of the setting the same as ours even if those aspects no longer make sense). The two that seem stable are the following: 1) Sentients become pure infomorphs (or ems as Hanson calls them). This abolishes the distinction between memetic and genetic inheritance. Thus "sex" in the sense of recombining "genetic" material is separate from reproduction and resembles having conversations. Reproduction consists of creating a copy of your mind/source code. This resembles the life cycle of bacteria, who exchange information via conjugation but reproduce via binary fission. 2) Sentients are produced in centralized factories, e.g., most children are grown in artificial wombs, or robots produced in more conventional factories. This effectively makes them eusocial with all that implies about their sense of individuality, or rather lack thereof. The other possibility is old-fashioned sexual reproduction. I have no idea which of those possibilities will come to dominate.
One possibility is that body composition becomes less important because it's so easily changed. At that tech level, it probably doesn't have any health implications. Height might be less significant. Instead of more mass to be a larger male, how about less density?
Height and density. I'm a moron. brb, retuning bodily nanomachines.
What do I have to do to be highly adaptable enough to join the culture that is still experiencing growth? What could I be doing now in order to prepare for that?

Tentatively-- try living in a bunch of different cultures.


That sounds like premature optimization to me.

Unquestionably, but it's still fun to ask.

I feel sorry for the feminist women in cryonics who don't see this as a distinct possibility of the kind of Future World which would revive them. They might find themselves in a conservative, patriarchal society which won't have much tolerance for their assumptions about women's freedoms.

And this is worse than death?

Depends on how patriarchal the society is. Few women would like to live in, say, Gor. "Please freeze me again while I wait this out."
Few women say they would like to live in Gor. But some would. Some live in Gor-inspired relationships now. And maybe people would adapt.
I am aware that some people live in Gor-inspired relationships, that some people are masochistic, that some women want to be dominated, and that more people would like to live that way than those who would care to admit it, or even that those who know for a fact that they would. I still assume these numbers to be small. Of course people would adapt. That's what people do. That doesn't make it right.
In the past, almost everyone thought that one should wait until marriage for sex. Now, almost everyone (in my part of the world) believes in serial monogamy. In both these cases people think that their social norms are in the right. I see no reason not to suppose that if Gor lifestyle became the norm then most people (inc. women) would think it right (not just publically saying that its right). I see no objective way to say that any of these lifestyles are right or wrong, unless it can be shown to be damaging the children.
What they believe in, or rather, endorse, and what they end up actually doing or wanting to do have usually been at odds. The ideal solution is different for every combination of individual and circumstance: the ideal universal solution is therefore an superstructural (ideological, legal, cultural, etc.) framework capable of running and accommodating any specific arrangement between interested parties. Objectively speaking, I think the only hard and fast rule is "Safe, Sane and Consensual".
Except the meaning of all three of those terms is culture dependent.
"Sane" is certainly culture dependent, but consent seem relatively objective.

consent seem relatively objective.


  • Suppose a 16-year-old agrees to have sex. Is that consent?
  • If a contract is made under "undue influence," did I consent to it? Is that objective?
  • If my agreement is made under coercion, did I consent? What counts (morally) as coercion seems very fraught. Leftists and feminists frequently argue that many seemingly voluntary activities are actually deeply coercive, and use terms like "wage slavery."
  • Suppose I agree to an act, then change my mind later. If the other person carries out the act anyway, did I consent to it? In law, and in most people's intuition, the answer is "it depends."

All in all, it looks very much like "communicated agreement" is the objective fact, and whether that gets upgraded to "consent" depends on a whole host of ethical judgments that are often contentious.

Consent is more objective than sanity, although there are edge cases: Where I live 16-year-olds can legally have sex! Anyway, assuming things are different where you live, then yes, they can give consent, but their consent does not legally authorise sex. Well, yes you did consent. This doen't necessary make everything ok, and it might be better if there was less coersion, but you still consented. You consented, and then withdrew your consent. If the other person carries out the act before you withdraw consent, then they can't be blamed. I'd say "communicated agreement" is consent by definition. Its possibly a word getting a little overloaded : the word consent can be used as in "Russia consented to hand over 1/4 of her territory to Germany" or as in "Let's have sex!" while these are rather different in most important respects.
That looks doubtful as you need to be sane to give consent, don't you?
I think this entire conversation is just getting bogged down as to how do define 'consent' and 'sanity'.
Is so called "marital rape" consensual since they consented to marry? (Most societies say yes, but lately in has become fashionable in Western countries to pass laws saying no). What if someone says yes but feels pressured to? If two drunk students had sex, has a rape occurred? (Yes, according to California's new "Affirmative Consent" law).
A contract where one party permanently gives away all rights (love, honour and obey) seems deeply worrying, but OTOH, I don't think people should take serious vows so lightly. Maybe a middle ground would be that a spouse can refuse sex, but this is grounds for divorce and they have no claim for alimony because they broke their half of the agreement? Either that, or don't use the traditional vows. What if someone only robs a bank because of peer pressure? Still guilty. It depends exactly what 'drunk' means. If someone is paralytic and can't actually articulate the word 'no' then its rape. But drunk sex is perfectly normal, and if you consent to getting drunk then you are responsible for your actions while drunk.
... Why students specifically?
Because it is ridiculous with respect to adults and California politicians think they can get away with infantilizing students and treating them like legal minors.
Actually, I suspect they're hoping to keep getting away with infantilizing that generation even after they leave college.
Oh, I am sure they're dreaming of it, but I don't think it will quite work. Not yet, at least.
"So called?" Do you seriously think a wife surrenders her autonomy permanently before the altar?
I would agree that the desirability of the Gor future largely depends on whether its consensual.
If you are planning your glorious transhuman future on the premise that people will adapt, you're doing it wrong.
I think the glorious transhuman future will involve some sort of radical change, probably far more radical than Gor. People will have to adapt - even if they live in groups preserving 2014s norms, completely isolated from outsiders, they will have to adapt to the fact that they can't influence the outside world and that baseline humans will be overtaken in all fields of endevour.
Furthermore, it will likely lead to many outcomes that people today would complain about and disapprove of.
No, that just means that these women haven't thought very hard about what living a really long time could mean. Those science fiction writers in the last century who postulated the return of traditional social structures in high-tech societies might have come closer to the reality of life in "the future" than they imagined, and some Neoreactionaries have pointed this out. Refer to this podcast by Richard Spencer, for example:

I'm puzzled by your focus on women. Many men probably don't want to live in a patriarchal society either. I certainly don't.

That's aside from the fact that this really has very little to do with the subject at hand. There's a distinct question of what you expect will happen and what one should try to make happen.

Thirded. My disquiet comes primarily from the idea of benefiting in status and power from a system that would systematically deny freedom and independent agency and security to half the people I know, and the notion that I would be denied the freedom to take on roles usually assigned to other groups should the situation warrant it.
Seconded. Dear Lord patriarchy is unappealing: you "get to" basically enslave a few women and children at the cost of having to spend your entire life on utterly unappealing status and machismo competitions.
What do you mean by "status and machismo competitions"? Narrowly defined, in many patriarchal societies this is false. Seriously, read some history. Take a look at say 18th-19th century England. Some men could do many different things from becoming ascetic monks, to becoming gentlemen scientists, to sponsoring works of art, to yes even status and machismo competitions if that suites your fancy. If you define "status and machismo competitions" broadly then we're mostly doing the same thing today.

I still don't get why you'd prefer to live in a world where women cannot do all those awesome things as well.

Your mistake here was thinking I enjoy what we have today.
Ok, then you won't be any more disappointed up on waking up in a patriarchy.
Of course there were plenty of options...they were post enlightenment societies.

I wouldn't be too surprised by the possibility of a future society returning to traditional social structures. I would be somewhat surprised by every future society returning to traditional social structures. Either way, I don't see why this means feminists shouldn't sign up for cryonics.

Just like it's wrong to reject old ideas merely because they're old, it's wrong to reject recent ideas merely because they're recent. just happen to work better than everything humans have tried before. Recency has nothing to do with their success.
"Work better" in what sense? Nassim Nicholas Taleb argues that the longevity and "anti-fragile" nature of practices like religion and patriarchy indicate that they work quite well indeed, despite recent efforts to make them go away.
Where does Taleb argue that patriarchy is anti-fragile?
We have more people living better than ever before in history, and this is because of the Enlightenment.
The traditional neoreactionary counter is that increased quality of life is due to technological advancement, and that social "progress" has been neutral at best and detrimental at worst.
Yes, but if it's not visible in quality of life, and it's not visible in technological advancement ... what quantity is it detrimental to?
Quality of life. The idea is that without the ravages of modernity, technological advancement would have created an even higher quality of life. By way of example, consider the 1950s. Their technology was obviously inferior to ours. And yet they had intact families (marriage rates were higher, divorce and bastardy rates lower) and well-paying jobs (a husband's salary alone sufficed to support his entire family, his wife was free to cook and clean and raise the children). Is our quality of life higher than theirs? It's not obvious to me. Even if it is, why is this trade-off necessary? Why can't we have the superior scientific technology of the 2010s and the superior social technology of the 1950s?

marriage rates were higher, divorce and bastardy rates lower

That's only desirable if there's strong social pressure in favor of some family models over others. Tolerance of diverse family structures has made marriage less relevant for economic well-being.

wife was free to cook and clean and raise the children

Your idea of freedom is... curious.

No, that may also be desirable if some family models are more conducive to human happiness and flourishing than others.
That's a valid argument only if this is so biologically. If it's so merely culturally, cultures change.
A 2010s husband's salary alone would also suffice to support his entire family if they were willing to live according to 1950s standards. See e.g. Mr. Money Moustache.
I do read MMM, and ERE, and other frugality blogsphere titles. I disagree with your characterization that the difficulty in achieving a decent life today merely reflects an inflation of what is considered decent. First, because it's much harder to get the same kind of job in 2010s that would have been available in the 1950s; a solid, respectable job you easily can get out of high school is not the same as a solid, respectable job you might not even get after wasting a minimum of four years and going thousands or tens of thousands of dollars into debt. That this latter condition holds in modern times can be attributed to academic inflation and increased job competition from immigration and from women entering the workforce, which are all progressive policies. Second, because zero-sum competition for safe housing away from city centers has increased their prices to reflect what a two-income household can barely cover (and, indeed, the increased prices is part of what keeps them safe), not to mention the horrors of commuting (distance from city centers being the other thing that keeps them safe).
Just to be clear, when you say that it's much harder to get such a job, and that this is due in part to increased competition from immigration and women, what you mean to say is that it's much harder for non-women and non-immigrants to get such a job, because it's correspondingly easier for immigrants and women to get them. Yes? You seem to additionally be implying that how hard it is for women and immigrants to get jobs isn't a relevant factor in determining the difficulty in achieving a decent life. Yes? I have no intention of arguing against either of those points here, I just want to make sure I've understood you correctly.
Yes. I am aware of the lump of labor fallacy, and that in theory an increasing number of workers might have economic effects creating more jobs even as said workers take existing ones, ending up with a similar or perhaps even a better job market than existed before the new workers came into the picture. But in practice it seems like workers have increased faster than jobs, and the oversupply of labor has led lower wages, lower non-monetary compensation, and/or lack of jobs. Let's start with women. If you think of the family as the basic block of society instead of the atomized individual, then yes. Under the old model, it was understood that women would marry early (men slightly less early), and that their husbands would be financially responsible for the resulting household and children. If there is a strong job market for men under this model, then most women do not need to work; only the very poor, the widows, the spinsters, and other extreme cases. Instead of slaving away 40 hours per week at work like their husbands did, wives were free to slave away cooking and cleaning and raising the children, which is still slavery, but is a much kinder form of slavery, with a more caring master. Under the new model and circumstances, both men and women perform the wage kind of slavery, and either they perform the household kind of slavery on top of that, or they outsource it, with negative consequences all around. Immigrants are a different matter. Utilitarians can make a good case that immigration increased total utility, improving the immigrants' quality of life more than it lowered existing citizens'. If you're one of those guys who thinks we should all be sending all of our spare income to Africa, or whatever percentage of our income is realistically psychologically sustainable, I guess this is pretty great, and it's also great if you are one of the immigrants waiting to get in, but it's not so great for existing citizens whose quality of life is being brought to equ
Home appliances cut down quite a bit on "household slavery". And while you might argue that home-based work is preferable to market work due to having a "kinder, more caring master", the swift demise of cottage industry once early factories became feasible suggests that folks care more about how productive they are than whether they can work from home.
I think that was just Moloch.
The folks who were actually around at the time seemed to disagree about that. Plenty of people devised plans for utopian communities where Moloch wouldn't be a factor, but they cared little for household-based work. (Indeed, some of them assumed that you could get rid of households altogether, and just live in large, factory-like collective arrangements under the supervision of some 'uncaring' leader. Of course, modern evo-psych and social anthropology argue against that view.)
OK; thanks for clarifying. Like I said, I have no intention of arguing those points (though I probably ought to say explicitly I don't find your arguments convincing), I just wanted to confirm that I was interpreting you correctly.
Which is generally illegal.
Those marriage rates masked quite a lot of marital misery, and... well, frankly, neoreactionaries just have no right to use the economic structure of the '50s Western long boom as evidence for their ideas. Those jobs were based on the strong-labor, employment-state, and financial repression policies of the post-war governments -- everything reactionaries hate.
Moldbug has actually talked positively about protectionist, make-work government policies.
Their persistence only indicates that those systems are tough and capable of self-maintenance, not that they're what human society needs.

Star Slate Codex has a great perspective on this. The institutions that are beneficial depend on the context. Are we playing for survival and can't afford risk or are we playing for flourishing and the risk is worth it because the gains outweigh the losses and we can afford to be nice?

Note that 'religion' need not imply theism here. Confucianism is older than both Christianity and Islam, and it's not based on a theistic worldview - instead its focus is on community organizing through rituals and an ethic of care and loyalty. It's worth stating this, because many people here at LW find theism especially objectionable, as opposed to religion persay.
They should, yes. They're correct, or at least, they're better approximations than we can otherwise create right now.
Can you say more about how you get from "things won't always be the way they are now" to "the possibility is worth paying attention to that things will return to something meaningfully similar to the particular kinds of pre-Enlightenment society that Moldbug, et al, endorse"? (As opposed to, well, basically anything else?)
I think the basic argument is that our society has existed for maybe 1 or 2 hundred years, whereas kings and patriarchy have been around for 5000+, which implies that they have some selective advantage.

That's like saying horseshoe crabs and coelacanths have a selective advantage when compared to bipedal apes.

That's like saying horseshoe crabs and coelacanths have a selective advantage when compared to bipedal apes.

TBD, ask me again in a million years or so :-/

Imagine you're choosing which species to try and be 450 million years ago. You could try and be a mammal, or you could try and be a horseshoe crab. If you become a mammal, maybe one day you'll go to the stars! Or maybe you'll wind up like most kinds of mammals, and go extinct. But if you're a horseshoe crab, you'll still be around, pretty much the same, 450 million years later! I personally would rather be a bipedal ape. But I don't think it's totally unreasonable to want to be the crab.
As an aside, can someone please explain what the deal with reactionaries and crabs is? I feel like there's some context here that I'm missing.
Gnon likes crabs.
Each species is best suited to its own environment. It makes perfect sense to be the horseshoe crab if you don't expect to ever want to walk, breathe air, or pilot a spaceship.
They had some selective advantage. The world changes.
And tribes/bands of foragers have been around for far longer than that. As Robin Hanson likes to point out, recent technological changes have made a "forager" lifestyle and ethic a lot more viable than it used to be - possibly more so nowadays than the "farmer" prototype that was previously favored.
Right, this is the kind of thing I have in mind. Yes, a century from now we may have discarded the Enlightenment as we've discarded so many other things. We may replace it with feudal monarchies, or (as you say) foraging tribes, or tyrranical empires, or rule by philosopher-kings, or obedience to futures markets, or entirely unregulated capitalism, or a thousand other things. There are lots of "non-Enlightenment" styles of life; to pay particular attention to one such way of life may be justified, but if so it seems like it has to be justified on some grounds other than "the Enlightenment isn't uniquely stable."
I think that NRx can be disaggregated into two relatively independent parts -- the critique of the current Western political arrangements and the normative this-should-be-so part. It may make sense to discuss them separately.
The problem with that is doing so implicitly encourages those who espouse the this-should-be-so parts every time they are reinforced by seeing the other bits discussed. I REALLY wish there were a way around this, because criticism of democracy and trying to figure out ways around its bad points is a very interesting subject.
First, I don't see implicit encouragement as a problem. You're thinking in supply-the-enemy-tribe-with-attention terms which aren't particularly useful. Second, the critical part of NRx doesn't like much more than just democracy. Cathedral is vast and its filaments burrow deep...
Also democracy has existed before and democracies tend to have short half-lives.
This implies that they represent a stable equilibrium. Stable does not imply optimal (though depending on your time-prefernces and degree of risk-aversion, optimal may imply stable).
Good point. But how does this "is" statement become an "ought"?
You know, there are actual investigations into these things.
Seeking the specific case, not the general case.
Well, as I said in this same thread, things like egalitarianism, female rights, minority rights, etc. have been found to be normatively binding due to the falsification of the normativity of certain social structures, usually patriarchy, royalty, and religious rule. Upon finding that those things are unjustified, we revert to the default that everyone is equal simply because there needs to be a reason to ascribe difference!
On what grey planet are you living on that "everyone is simply equal" is the "default"?
Ethically equal does not mean materially the same. For God's sakes, this is so simple and obvious there are children's books that know it.
God probably being the central word in that sentence.
Pop quiz: explain to me why I should program my FAI to consider materially-different humans to have different ethical weight, to have their values and cognitive-algorithms compose differently-weighted portions of the AI's utility function.
It's not something easy to answer. I think it might be even on MIRI's open problems list.
Then why restrict to humans? Or animals or that matter?
Well, frankly, because I happen to be human, and because once you get out of animals you cease to see any mental functioning that I could even call subjective valuation. Even if I'm choosing to be omnicompassionate you need to at least restrict to consciously aware creatures.
Not doing so might leave your AI to be vulnerable to a slower/milder version of this. Basically, if you enter a strictly egalitarian weighting, you are providing vindication to those who thoughtlessly brought out children into the world and disincentivizing, in a timeless , acausal sense, those who're acting sensibly today and restricting reproduction to children they can bring up properly. I'm not very certain of this answer, but it is my best attempt at the qn.
Good grief. You know, we already have nation-states for this sort of thing. If people form coherent separate "groups", such that mixing the groups results in a zero-sum conflict over resources (including "utility function voting space"), then you just keep the groups separate in the first place. EDIT: Ah, the correct word here is clusters.
So, is my understanding correct that your FAI is going to consider only your group/cluster's values?
Of course not.
Not to mention those who prosecuted and genocided ideological opponents.
Yes, that too. Poland had used a version of that when arguing with the European union about the share in some commision, I'm not remembering what. It mentioned how much Poland's population might have been had they not been under attack from 2 fronts, the nazis and the communists.
This is one of the funnier things I've read this year.
The point is that it deflates the implicit argument that current norms are "ought"s.
I haven't really seen much discussion on the intersection of neoreaction and transhumanism. Neoreactionary theories of long-range probable societal trends, like dysgenics or a return to generally pre-Enlightenment social order also tend to assume that humans stay mostly as they are and only get selected by natural evolution. Meanwhile, getting to the point of being able to revive cryonically stored people successfully would probably include a bunch of human condition gamechanger technologies, like an ability to make the whole notion of fixed gender optional on any level (genetics, cognitive architecture, body plan) you'd care to name.
Is there much other than Michael Anissimov's essay?
Why couldn't post-democratic outcomes exist even if human nature is deliberately reengineered?
They could, and there's the are scenarios in the premise where they likely will, but neoreaction isn't just a program of political philosophy for post-democracy. There seems to be much rhetoric and general memetic clustering in NRX around the idea that progressivism will fail because it has outstretched itself trying to re-engineer human nature with cultural conditioning, and that social orders which comply more with fundamentally unchanging elements of human nature are a good political attack against progressivism. The reactionary commenters at SSC seem to like narratives about long-term human decline which tend to rely on nothing interesting happening with human reproduction in many generations from now on. With technology that can re-engineer human nature, you could have brand new chances to go at the progressive wouldn't-it-be-nice-if-people-were-more-like-this stuff. Then you'd have to start thinking which bits of traditional values are actually good for a general population of agents, and which are just time-evolved kludges around previously unfixable human systematic suckiness. I see a divide opening up here between people who value the idea of a reactionary society of baseline humans in itself, and people who just go for whatever gets things done effectively. Though I guess NRX already has formed subcultural divides.
In the case of human enhancement, we depend even more greatly on (some subset of) traditional values to maintain societal stability, since the possible dimensions of failure are so much larger. There's no divide, since for the time being, baseline humans is all we have. "Whatever gets things done effectively" is presently defined as "whatever gets things done effectively for baseline humans".
The first priority is the here and now, but people also like to talk about what they expect to see in the next 30 or 100 years. A part of what makes an ideological movement run is a vision of the future, and people seem quite capable of getting into arguments and schisms about the principles of those.
Why would they resemble the pre-democratic outcomes that advancedatheist says "wouldn't surprise me"? What should even draw "premodern, pre-Enlightenment societies" to anyone's attention, out of the vast and unknown possibilities of a transhuman estate that removes the reasons that those societies evolved in those ways?
Because some of those, like hierarchy, are game theoretic equilibria that are likely to emerge across a wide range of possible configurations, especially where there are great asymmetries between agents. Are you saying that you think that a vast majority of the possible transhuman futures rest entirely on Enlightenment principles?
No. Are you saying that pre-Enlightenment and Enlightenment principles are the only possibilities? Why should either of these be part of a transhuman future?
Exhaustively speaking, societal organizational principles in the abstract tend to be Enlightenment-oriented or not. So, yes, any given transhuman future will have principles of some kind, which will be inspired by the Enlightenment or not. Non-Enlightenment principles (used here to describe every possible set of societal principles besides those based around the Enlightenment) are a rather huge space of possibilities, which cover not only many societies which have already existed, but many millions which may have yet to come to pass. Many "pre-Enlightenment" situations were organic hierarchies, similar to the way nature itself has operated for literally billions of years. "Pre-Enlightenment" does not refer to a specific thing, but a huge space of configurations which do not closely adhere to Enlightenment principles.
By "pre-Enlightenment" I understand the social arrangements in Europe of the centuries immediately preceding the Enlightenment, which neo-reactionaries see the Enlightenment as a catastrophic falling away from, and which they desire to return to. This is unambiguously what advancedatheist is talking about upthread, and what, for example, Moldbug unfavourably contrasts our present arrangements with. This is a very specific thing, not the huge space that you interchangeably referred to as "non-Enlightenment". "Pre-Enlightenment" bears the same relationship to "non-Enlightenment" as kangaroos do to non-elephants.
Viewing reactionaries as wishing to return to a time in the linear past, which evolved organically based on local conditions, and which may not be appropriate to present technological conditions, is mistaken. The goal is not to simply revive a past arrangement but to apply certain traditional principles and spirit to a newer expression of organic principles that is suited to its context. So, when you say "go back to", it's not that simple. Which is why "pre-Enlightenment" seems like an oversimplifying label, to me. In fact, you could call it post-Enlightenment, since it would be the emergence of structure from an Enlightenment society that may retain some Enlightenment principles while discarding others. Calling any system based on principles aside from Enlightenment ones "pre-Enlightenment" seems like assuming a kind of a priori obsolescence, in effect dismissing it before it's even considered. In any case, "pre-Enlightenment" does not refer to any specific structure (like kangaroos), but a wide variety of arrangements. Therefore, I see it as more similar to "non-elephant" than "kangaroo".
... The first quote makes it clear that you do mean something specific by "pre-Enlightenment". Not as specific as, say, "ancien régime France", but nevertheless defined as the positive possession of "certain traditional principles". I am doing the opposite of that, as indeed your first paragraph interpreted me as doing. It appeared to me that you were using "pre-Enlightenment" and "non-Enlightenment" interchangeably, both referring to whatever is not the Enlightenment. And at the end you do claim that "pre-Enlightenment" is a non-elephant, not a kangaroo. If you like, I can analogize it to the class of marsupials, but it still isn't a non-elephant. You, and Moldbug, and advancedatheist, and every other neoreactionary are putting forward specific views of how society should be structured, specific views which is not merely "something other than the present arrangements". There may be a range of views in the nrsphere, but their doctrines are characterised by what they want, not by what they hate. They do a lot of the hating, to be sure, but they have a positive base of reasons for that. For example, monarchy and libertarian anarchy are incompatible with each other, and neither of them are Enlightenment structures (as "Enlightenment" is used by neoreactionaries). Are either or both of them compatible with or implied by neoreactionary principles? My reading of neoreactionaries suggests to me that monarchy is, and libertarian anarchy is not.
Read this. Their doctrines are actually more characterized by what they dislike. As I said, NRx is a criticism first and foremost. Some of the most prominent neoreactionaries are libertarian anarchists.
Certainly there are far more neoreactionaries than those I have read, but those I have read, including the ones I just mentioned, are arguing for certain arrangements. Their animus towards the present is explicitly based on that. NRx, as I have seen it, is a criticism that explicitly bases itself, as you have done in this thread, on "certain traditional principles" which, to quote your Evola quote, "enjoy a perennial actuality". That is the core of neoreaction. As for the specifics of which cultures are held up as examples to emulate and which as examples to avoid, Moldbug primarily goes to recent centuries to show how things were done better in those days. Perhaps they are, but they have so far not come to my attention.
Yes, but being a wholly negative doctrine is still the "Dissent" in Dissenter. I think it is a mistake to be wholly negative, but that is a community discussion I suppose.
Beware of non-apples
As long as it's clear that the term isn't doing any semantic heavy-lifting here, it's safe in this context. No flattering claims are being made about non-Enlightenment principles in general, just that they correspond to a vast space.
That makes sense, but now that I think about it I don’t find this claim particularly neoreactionary: Enlightenment memes induce a sort of agnosia that prevents the rational design of non-enlightenment social structures. Treating this agnosia will increase the amount of possible social structures we are able to consider and the chances that we will be able to design something better. What I see proposed are specific forms of monarchy or corporate-like governmental structures. More exotic proposals like futarchy and liquid democracy are dismissed, at least by Moldbug. So pre-enlightenment (or maybe anti-enlightenment) does feel like a better label to my non-expert ears.
First and foremost, neoreaction is about a critique. Positive proposals are less frequently discussed and there is great disagreement about them within neoreaction. So, many people involved in neoreaction are involved primarily for the negative critique, and make no commitment to any specific positive proposals.
So the claim isn’t so much traditionalism is great, only enlightenment is worse than traditionalism after controlling for technology? I was thinking of neoreactionaries as deformed utopians, but the tone is more like, “let’s reset social ‘progress’ and then very carefully consider positive proposals.’
Sort of. Traditionalism is great, though. You have the tone right. When people see the headline "monarchy!" they're missing the 2-3 years of thinking and 2,000+ pages of reading that go between step 1 (let's reset social progress and then very carefully consider positive proposals) and step 2 (maybe, in some specific contexts, something like a certain class of monarchies would be useful for certain small-to-medium states). Monarchy is just a tentative positive proposal (with limited potential application) I came to after several years of searching after the Cathedral mind virus had been dispelled. Moldbug seems to have come to something closer to anarchocapitalist seasteading-type city state proposals. Land leans even more anarchocapitalist than Moldbug. So, the positive recommendations vary widely. We are definitely not utopians, and admit our proposals are flawed just like any other.
Hmm. You have a point. People often think that an overturning the current order is basically inconceivable. History suggests otherwise. However, we live in a technological society unlike any that has ever existed on earth before, and remains to be seen how predicative historical trends are on a post-industrial revolution post-computer revolution world. All we can safely say is that all bets are off. However, I think we can assume that at least some of the technology will stick around (people still use computers, even if we run out of oil). The question is, How much of our social change is the direct result of the technological change. Does feminism exist because of birth control? How likely is birth control to disappear? Is patriarchy predicated on physical strength? Does that matter in an economy that's not dominated by agriculture?
Given that birth control existed in Ancient Egypt, I find this unlikely. You'd probably be on firmer ground asking whether feminism exists because of washing machines. In any case given the effect of feminism on fertility (especially fertility of those with high IQ) it's likely to go away one way or another.

Actually, the situation of women in Ancient Egypt was quite progressive by Bronze Age standards.

Also, are you saying feminists are headed toward breeding themselves out of existence? Human history is well past the age where ideas were only transmitted within the same family. Feminism isn't genetic; it's memetic.

And was birth control forgotten after Egypt declined? So what your saying is that feminism is a memetic quasi-sterelization virus. Populations eventually evolve resistance to those kinds of viruses.

Women were socially important in Egypt as far as the Ptolemaic dynasty, at least. It didn't fully adopt Byzantine culture until the 5th and 6th centuries CE, and this change was largely fostered by the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. So no, there was no "decline" due to their social system, only a largely unrelated cultural/memetic replacement. (It did fall to the Persians and then to the Arabs shortly thereafter, but by that time the ancient Pharaonic customs had been forgotten.)

Again, what on Earth does feminism have to do with sterilization? What definition of feminism are you using?
The reactosphere theorizes that feminism is behind the drop in fertility, which has now collapsed to sub-replacement rates.
I've heard several conservatives teasing liberals for “still living in 1968” or similar.