Moldbug is, at least, relatively consistent. Having decided that cooperation is bad and defection is good, he argues the government's problem is not being defective enough.
"As Bastiat would put it, the government goes around breaking windows."
Vandals are civilization, right?
I must then propose civilization is a low bar. We must do much better than civilization to achieve the thing known as being civilized.
Incidentally vandals=civilization has an amusing steelman.
There's an Envy angle here too. Humans, being largely envy-based, consider themselves civilized if they are more civilized than their neighbours. I'm supposed to be impressed as long as they don't live like the Pygmies do.
Most of the problems Moldbug raises are hardly even problems, except that the solutions are illegal or heretical. E.g. America doesn't have a car culture. It has car laws which privilege machines over people. The people then play to win. If you're not playing a loser game it just isn't a problem.
Moldbug is still a secular humanist. Unfortunately secularism is a false religion, and causes severe economic problems, ref: read a newspaper. Humanism is not nihilism, it is pop-nihilism. It plays nihilism at parties, because it says nothing is sacred. In other words, 'Don't care about anything.' More precisely, the sacred ritual is defiling everything except the sacred defilement ritual itself. I think perhaps you can explain to me how such a philosophy leads to deaths of despair.
When a secular humanist starts rejecting their unprincipled exceptions, to my tremendous shock, they come to the conclusion that defection is good and cooperation is bad. How did that happen.
"Capitalists and communists agree that the production of utility must be maximized; they differ only on its subsequent distribution."
Inhabiting the stereotypes of your enemies is bad because it's reversed stupidity. Instead of sticking your hand in a fire, you stick it in a vat of liquid nitrogen. See also: the Fascist projection trick. Moldbug is still a utilitarian - it's unavoidable for secular humanists - so it's important for him to run around accusing everyone else of being utilitarian.
"If there are still more than twelve people in Venezuela—now no one needs the rest of them. Good times!"
As any good economist knows, temporary price shocks are permanent.
I rather doubt Moldbug genuinely believes this. It's an arguments-are-soldiers moment. Adopt all arguments, no matter how ridiculous, as long as they support your pre-established conclusion.
In this case, this I think:
"Mercantilist economies exist in the world today—and seem to do better at passing our success metrics."
We don't need to give up our secular humanist Fascism. "Our success metrics" lol. We can simply Fasces better. 'Quit Totalitarianisming wrong! Do it right!' Defence against change, aka cope. He wants you to be a better utilitarian by going one step into counterintuitive strategies. That said I'm not 100% sure this fully describes his aim. I just know it can't possibly be what he said it is.
Conservatives never conserve anything because they don't want to. They don't learn because Reality doesn't punish them, and Reality isn't punishing them because they aren't failing. They like being on the left, but need some excuse to stay away from the exciting edge.
Moldbug, likewise, is pointed left, but from farther away. Human rights break windows. Trannies getting human rights consumes and destroys a whole lot of this "excess" capacity. It should perhaps be a little more difficult to reconcile Progressivism with an alleged reactionary. 'But trannies don't maximize their human potential.' Yeah? How do you know? Who gets to decide?
Moldbug is merely searching for an excuse to cause less harm. Admirable in its petty way, but doomed. 'How can we deviate without being deviant.' Yeah, good luck with that one.
Another reason secular humanism is false religion: you can't. It's biologically impossible to hold nothing sacred. There used to be many maids and butlers and the like. A groundskeeper is effectively someone who mows the lawn full time. Did economics happen? Religion happened. Can't worship a lawnmower, and thus humans aren't allowed to be groundskeepers anymore. It doesn't help that a nice century-old lawn is unmistakably a sacred place, which humanists are obligated to defile.
"public well-being is the supreme law"
The core of all leftism is irresponsibility. Pretending to care about strangers is irresponsible. Any leadership locus must discard this principle or it will become profoundly left-wing.
Do you know of a corporation that treats its front line with basic decency? I don't. As should be expected: beyond a very minimum size, it is biologically impossible to see them as subjects which can be treated well or poorly. They are objects on a good day. On an average day, they are one inert object.
Necessarily, a deviant government cannot be on the side of the people. All political formulae (except Exit) are paeans to Satan, asking the Father of Lies to conceal the basic antagonism of the parasite relationship. If you genuinely believed defective government was superior to cooperative government, you would not feel the need to say this prayer.
Imagine: 'The peasants have too much blood and some of it needs to be leeched out, for their own good.' This statement at least does not attack itself. I shouldn't need to mention this but probably do: lies are irresponsible. All political formulae (except Exit) are sublimely left-wing.
"Once we add human capital back into the formula, we easily see the need for artificial difficulty."
Moldbug strikes me as anti-glory. Being glorious is inherently difficult. With the demands of survival reduced, there is more available for attempts at not merely surviving, but attempting luxurious glory.
I wonder if this, too, is inherent to secular humanism. If we worship the human, the human cannot be fallible, now can it? Unfortunately, the human is fallible. This means a lot of sweeping failures under the rug. Or blaming them on the Eternal Enemy: Jews, Kulaks, Whites, Liberal Economists. (Anything to avoid seeing the Adversary as the Eternal Enemy. Naturally if God is Humanity, Satan must also be Humanity, in one way or another.) To keep the pressure down, nobody can be allowed error-prone ventures. Nothing difficult can be tried. Except artificially, it would seem.
Perhaps I should say: the conservative in fact does succeed at conserving. He succeeds at conserving Fascism. America has been Fascist for 100% of its history. It's Traditional. That is what the conservative conserves.
Moldbug calls himself a reactionary. A radical conservative. His message: to save Fascism from itself, drastic measures are necessary. Maybe even some counter-intuitive concessions.
The term prince is supposed to invoke monarchy. God tells a monarch what to do, not a Moldbug or an Alrenous.
Moldbug wants his friends to stop sucking by being so Fascist, without having to stop being Fascist. Certainly we can understand the impulse, but I do condemn taking such an impulse seriously.
Moldbug can see that taking the Fascism out of Fascists would require tremendous military force. He cannot see that having granted tremendous military force to someone, it is not going to be used as Moldbug intends, because this fact means his goal is impossible.
Having seen this I can now articulate why unequal treatment under the law is a bad idea. Inevitably, one class will have privileges the other classes don't. This results in endless spurious applications to be part of the favoured or advantageous class. If there are serfs and freemen, the serfs will constantly apply to be freemen, even (especially) if they can't handle the responsibility.
Race makes a wonderful class divider, since it's functionally impossible to apply to be a different colour.
Points of order addendum.
"To liberal economics, a government is a service provider."
Nonsense. You cannot sue the government for failure to provide. Liberal economics is a pack of lies and little else needs be said on the topic.
"It is impossible to reconcile these equally compelling perspectives abstractly."
Reconciling perspectives is the purpose of physics. You may see the rod is 1.5 feet long while I see it as 3 feet long, but this difference is exactly what allows physics to show us the same sequence of events. E.g. to reconcile lies with truth, note the liar is just lying. When my calculation shows you should see a rod of 1.9 feet, it means my calculation is wrong and I need to find the error, because it's likely that isn't the only place I've made such an error.
"You have to hold both in your head simultaneously"
If it turns out Moldbug is reporting a false speed to me, then I can fix many anomalies by throwing out all of Moldbug's speed reports. I don't fix anything by continuing to hold them.
"Art is very important; art is the principal talent of enormous numbers of people; and art is very hard to fund and support."
Alternatively, Patreon already exists.
Plus the only reason you need a peasant Patreon instead of chad Patrons is because secular humanism bans the rich from flaunting via funding the arts.
Do you know what Dwarf Fortress is? No? Neither does anyone else. It makes over $80,000 a year on Patreon. Don't you realize one of the most successful business types is the FREE-to-play video game?