Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Moldbug as Secular Humanist

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?


parisian said...

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.

He certainly strikes me that way too. That reminds me of my first take on what seems like a jumble of exploded cells--just like in certain parts of high modernist music (the composers say so and then you can see how it must be--more so than the preceding): That while I have often disagreed with some who've said "Style is character", I don't usually think it's too far off. I was aware that I kept thinking "I'm sure this is good in ways I won't know how to pick up or even sometimes do comprehend, I cannot bear his writing style". You know me well enough now to know that I wouldn't necessarily make a total judgment on that alone, but that I would certainly notice it. What a fucking chore it was, even when it became perfectly natural to just start skimming. It was the only way I could get through it, all these amigers and yeomen and deracinateds, etc. It sounds forced all the way through, though slightly less so toward the end.

I also just simply loathe the use of "Just Kidding", as if literally anything might offend somebody no matter how obvious it was.

I had read a big tome many years ago about Richard Burton's travels through the U.S., I mainly remember his meeting with Brigham Young. A century or so after Gibbon, the fear of saying something even slightly interpretable as anti-Semitism has still not set in in the way it has continued to accelerate. I've been reading Ron Unz's pieces on Mossad, where he also he also mentions that he's put up Final Judgment by Michael Collins Piper. All this extraordinary stuff about Mossad's "assassination technology". Otherwise, I've become addicted to Greek and Roman history, and will finally read Herodotus soon, and some thing about Minoan Civilization--none of the fantastic style of Gibbon's incredible sentences and paragraphs, but I now mainly need the information--had no idea about the brief moment of *Glory* the Athenians were allowed in the 1st century B.C. by the Romans, who's already destroyed Corinth and plundered Pergamon. But even this simpler prose by Tom Holland doesn't sound so petulant the way Moldbug does (as well as sounding resentful and a fucking scold.) I've mentioned McEwan, whose prose is extraordinarily novelistic in a traditional sense, and amazingly so, since he seems to be able to write straight through the iPhones, and subsume them--with no loss of character. I saw your 'about me' somewhere, and now cannot find it. I know you mentioned you read lots of fiction, so it may mostly be sci-fi, and you wouldn't therefore be interested in McEwan. I thought his Saturday was a marvel, better than anything by Delillo.

Anyway, looked up Burton's wiki. Never had seen a photo--was he ever blessed with grace and class. Wouldn't have thought someone so rugged would be so elegant as well. But the other name he mentioned that I can't let pass was Daniel Day-Lewis, considered this *GREAT ACTOR!!!*, and all of his researches for roles are indeed as highly publicized as Moldbug suggests--then you see his Oscar-winning There Will Be Blood and are horrified at how bad it is--it's as if his 'research' had led him only to 'channel' John Huston (so marvelous in Chinatown , as were all the others, especially Faye Dunaway), which I noticed immediately, and then read dozens of accounts of other people being completely unable to miss it.

Moldbug has no humour either. Not ever. I think he writes as if he thinks he has it, but it comes across as strictly parvenu. By the way, Nick's fans on some of his threads are getting funnier and funnier, which I imagine you've seen.

parisian said...

I'm about halfway through Holland's book, and he starts using the word 'glory' very often, and it's always about crowd-pleasing slaughters which make heroes. I didn't pick up any of this from Gibbon, and anyway I'm past Sulla, who makes such as Commodus, Caligula, and Nero seem veritably benign. And Holland does point out that the democratic Republic was 'always at war', there was never anything in it like the Pax Romana. Someone like Marcus Aurelius seems unimaginable. I had read of this sort of 'bloodletting pleasure' first in Plutarch, although I can't remember whose 'lives' I read except Alexander's. I think Alexander tried to poison Aristotle, but failed. Correct me if I remember that incorrectly. I know I didn't read his Sulla, but whatever I read about this kind of almost official slaughter (some of it practised not exactly inside 'war', but for show--and it did impress a gladiator-saturated populace, it seems), but that's why it wasn't so hard not to 'look away' from the Villa Publica massacre of Samnians in the Villa Publica, while Sulla tried to make his audience listen to his oratory. The screams, etc., didn't phase him at all.

Anyway, Crassus has to keep 'doing glory' repeatedly because at this point Pompey is the charmer of the populace. Both know what impresses these *big crowds*. This first doesn't use the word 'glory', but it's one of Crassus's adept executions of 'glory' even before he had to compete with Pompey's slaughters later: Having won the chance to establish himself as the savior of the Republic, he did not intend to waste it. When two of his legions, in direct contradiction of his orders, engaged with Spartacus and suffered yet another defeat, Crassus's response was to resurrect the ancient and terrible punishment of decimation. Every tenth man was beatn to death, tghe obedient along with the disobedient, the brave along with the cowardly, while their fellows were forced to watch. ... Ruthless as crassus was, he never did anyhthing without a fine calculation of its effect. At a single brutal stroke the property-grubbing millionaire had transformed this image into that of the stern upholder of old-fashioned values. As Crassus would have been perfectly aware, the traditions of Roman discipline always played well with the voters.

I'll put the other one in another box, but I recall that sensation when I read of another Roman filling the streets literally with blood, and somewhere some of this stopped meaning 'glory'. Did it happen gradually? Not that the Emperors were wimps, but these are well aware that their glory is shown in these spectacles of slaughter. Maybe the Romans just had very low thresholds of boredom and it's clear they loved all of it.

parisian said...

So what would 'glory' be now for a warrior, having been so gradually domesticated that even a Holocaust that isn't 6 million, the number Jews continue to use so effectively, wouldn't seem shocking? After Sulla's and Crassus's and Pompey's achievements in massacre, how can Hitler even compete? There isn't that kind of specific 'warrior muscle-glory' anymore, that's for sure. So a comparable glory must have to be found someplace else. Where is it?

Anyway, here's the better one: Then the slaves advanced into battle. Spartacus himself led a desperate charge against Crassus's headquarters, but he was killed before he could reach it. The vast bulk of the rebels' army perished alongside their general. The great slave uprising was over. Crassus had saved the Republic.

Except that, at the very last minute, his glory was snatched from him. As Pompey headed south with his legions toward Rome he met with five thousand of the rebels, fugitives from Spartacus's final defeat. With brisk efficiency he slaughtered every last one, then wrote to the Senate, boasting of his achievement in finishing off the revolt. Crassus's feelings can only be imagined. In an attempt to counteract Pompey's glory-hogging he ordered all the prisoners he had captured to be crucified along the Appian Way. For more than a hundred miles, along Italy's busiest road, a cross with the body of a slave nailed to it stood every forty yards, gruesome billboards advertising Crassus's victory. [Even after Plutarch and Sulla, that's a bit breath-taking, almost like Early Surrealism and Conceptual Art, even better than Stockhausen's assessment of 9/11.]

To most Romans, however, the war against Spartacus had been an embarassment. Compared to Pompey's achievement in slaughtering thousands of tribesmen in a far-off provincial war, Crassus's rescue act in Rome's backyard was something to forget. This is why, even though both men were voted laurel wreaths, Crassus had to be satisfied with a second-class parade. Touring the streets of Rome not in a chariot but on foot. No pavement-pounding for Pompey, of course. Nothing but the best for the people's hero. While Pompey, preening like a young Alexander, rode in a chariot pulled by four white horses, his trains of loot and prisoners snaking ahead of him through the streets, his adoring fans going wild, Crassus could only watch, and fume.

I suppose it was natural enough for Christians to want to stop some of this (I still don't know why he's called the 'King of the Jews' if they don't see him that way, although it may just have been shaped into new configurations and lives on--but without that kind of 'hero glory' (I can't think, however more assassinations Mossad has done than CIA (or even Pompey or Crassus), it is ever exactly exciting even for those with the cruelest bent--maybe the unglamorous horror is even worse, though, just ugly and colourless. It's not going to be for everybody no matter what form it takes, especially if you're one of the "Chosen Ones", meaning the slaughtered or crucified--but those never get a choice. Still, I don't think we all knew how common crucifixion was, so why is Jesus's such a big deal? I don't know what the Jews of the time thought of any of this, but Gibbon just calls them 'sullen and insular', with the Romans mostly putting up with them, sometimes persecuting them. Unz Review is definitely good for leading toward a cannier assessment, perception of *Holocaustics*, as Joseph Heller used to parody it, as "the most important 'bad thing' that ever happened". It does seem the ultimate in all propaganda in use right now and for many decades, and part of its effectiveness is possibly in some kinds of techniques Jews know about, and nobody else does? I don't think so.

parisian said...

But anyone should want glory if he's worth anything, has any self-respect, shouldn't he? It's now at least something of a different matter as to how to get it with so much made smaller and smaller, insectivorous and more controlled to the point of 'digital existentialism'. Maybe some of the African and Oceanic cannibal types do various kinds of joyful bloodletting, but it somehow doesn't matter much, since they don't have any prestige. It's never going to get as 'good' as it did in Rome. And these warrior-heroes were mostly extremely lascivious and indulgent, dying of liver failure because it was so La Dolce Vita.

The prestige of the Claudii was such that it could transform even an aristocrat of Lucullus's pedigree into a frantic social climber . So eager had he been to make a Claudian match that he had even agreed to forgo a dowry. His wife, in the best tradition of Lucullan brides, had soon proved herself fabulously unfaithful, but Lucullus must have calculated...

There's a lot about Cicero, I finally know about him. Reminds me of someone. Thought about that? Of course you have.

parisian said...

Moldbug's proposal is to overthrow the government by electing Biden.

So, by the time you wrote this, the election was already over, so did Moldbug ever talk about 'STOP THE STEAL!' He couldn't have, even if he despises Biden, could he? He needs Biden to 'overthrow the government', and might have opposed the Texas case That's all that matters, so he couldn't even bleat for the rest (I had assumed all NRx were Trump loyalists.) At any rate, he's still the boss of NRx, if there is one; or isn't he? or is it a much looser, much more amorphos 'confederation' or whatever than I had realized for some time now. With so many favouring Trump, it's hard to see how anybody pro-Biden would still be the head--that there isn't one anymore. Ambitions were being revived, which I researched because some seemed to have suffered a setback with ensuing fury after the election. You sounded as though you were not especially ambitious in this domain, and were living simply insofar as politics went and what depended on politics for a living.

Moldbug is, at least, relatively consistent.

You say he may have convinced you that Trump is the accelerationist candidate. I don't see how that makes him a 'great American patriot', but just that it's obvious that some would see the 'accelerationist candidate' as the desirable one. I don't know whether that accelerationist candidate would be best for overthrowing the government or not. It Trump is the 'great Patriot', it wouldn't seem he'd want to overthrow the government; or is that what he's been trying to do? Or did he already, and is now finding that his loyalists are also lining up to divorce themselves from the government, while remaining in it.

It does seem strange still to me that non-Americans talk almost exclusively about the U.S., and know all the minutiae of all of it, Liz Warren, Corey Booker, the rest, when we often don't know the names of their presidents. But there are also ambitions that can increase due to Trump which won't under Biden. Confusing, but it does seem that Moldbug's, at least, will. You obviously don't agree with him about Trump.

As for consistency, it seems like the 'gross' one you say is a leftist is exactly that, whether he is or not. I finally opened it up after 6 months, and there was everything exactly as predicted.

I see you didn't mean any of those normie things regarding 'anti-glory'. Maybe you didn't mean Moldbug's glory, but anyone's. I couldn't, at the time, get past those vain, but unattractive, 'glory-poses' in the biker's jacket. I'm sure Julius Caesar's 'loosened toga-belt' was more a sign of glory even before he was more than just the most fashionable. But you aren't interested in appearances of that sort. Some other kinds of glory, higher than anything worldly.

I do wonder if there were other NRxers who at least thought *STOP THE STEAL*, though. If Moldbug wanted Biden, he can't have been too enthusiastic. And of the red Trump states were in doubt.

parisian said...

You probably saw this, but since I found it at Nick's and then read all of it immediately--then came back to his Tweets, I realize I only now know who Nick is, and one of your heroes is, I suppose, God knows he's always depended on the kindness of acolytes. Nick. He was the only thing you and I could talk about, because I still had some superficial respect left, and I have liked your writing and natural wit. Somehow, even now I didn't expect him to champion this godawful stink which Dreher managed to get through and excavate into such a dung heap. Yet I should have, since once he said "jim is always right" and "jim is soothing at times like this", that was already BOLDFACE, but I have always prided my innocence and naivete, which make my behaviour all the more keenly satisfying (forgive him, father, for he knows exactly what he does, i.e., to hell with Jesus. Unlike Julius Caesar, he didn't "fuck anything that moves", as his men affectionately described him, and his assassination was even longer and sadder than Caesar's.)

I know you can't publish this, so it is like a tribute to my fairly longterm hope for you to be better than these people--only because you seemed to be. You're obviously not just smarter than most of these, but much smarter than Nick too. Maybe not, though--even throwing in 'kek' when we talked about nusic--so you found your place of belonging, I guess, so who am I to say you were worthy of better. Anyway, I know more about some of the obscure ones that I do about you, and that was always going to seem absurd, but that's what you required. This literally fundamentalistdemand for Ever-Trump is thoroughly ignorant. Unlike Dreher, I don't care whether such human trash is deciphered and disseminated to enlighten the public, so it's no skin off my nose.

parisian said...

But not till now did I see that Nick's true colours are these, and that I pointed out the last vividly sharp-ironic Tweets to you. They do not appear any more, and haven't for some weeks by now--and they will never appear again.. He has now lost all his extraordinary talent for brilliant wit in joining these rubes. But where is the investment? At least Moldbug has his things to do and preen. He was the non-American deeply invested in Trump, and it has to be a matter of his second-wind of ambition. I'd had trouble with him before, but I suppose I find it altogether impossible to sympathize with the smelly and uncouth, and he has at last made his way there, hugging Jim almost like a Mammy and then championing Alex Jones and Vigano. It's insane, I'm sorry to break it to you.

So that is Mr. Land's last stand. He obviously thinks there's profit in it--and there certainly is not, no matter what you said about Gnon and profitability. I had heretofore tried to keep it light about him, because you single him out as an idol of your own--it was clear that once was enough, but twice meant you really meant it. And now that those ambitions I was referring to are burgeoning, it might be an opportunity for you. Or you may think it will.

As for myself, this little 'tragedy' is simply that I am horrified that someone I loathe as much as Hillary Clinton would be so spot on with 'Deplorables', and that the very ones she was referring to would adopt her nomenclature proudly. Well, there's not a lot of imagination in those parts, but it does make me think that the point of all this "white privilege" is not that higher-born whites are even white any more, but rather that only "deplorables" aka 'white trash'--which Jim unquestionably is...I didn't know Nick would de-sophisticate to such a degree as he has today, but a second time (after praising Jim) is a good proof for this kind of non-scientific and purely emotional malodorousness. It solves a lot of problems for me, since I hate the "left woke" and the "right deplorables" about equally. I don't know which stinks worse.

I hope you have good fortune. I may continue to read you, I don't know. Some of your things I'm allergic to seem set in bedrock. And vice-versa, of course, but I've made a point of never mentioning them, although I probably allude to them as a sort of reflex. So what.