He’s Right

From Yahoo finance Martin Shkreli is actually a great guy

He’s right:

A ‘kakistocracy’ is defined as a government run by the incompetent, the opposite of a meritocracy or technocracy, which is the situation we have not only in the US government but also all around the world, especially in Northern Europe. On one hand, awhile back I argued that a government that does too little instead of too much may be optimal, but doesn’t mean we cannot do better.

If I had to summarize NRx as succinctly as possible, it would be: Replace and Rule. Replace the existing dysfunctional regime and then rule. The Silicon Valley techno-libertarian ‘culture’ is an example of a system that seems to be working as evidenced by how prosperous and economically impervious that region is compared to, say, Michigan. There are other options.

Millennials leading the alt-right

The Current Chapter

There are some positive things to be said for sure about a young, energetic, tech-savvy identitarian movement:

Ability to hijack online culture and force the mainstream to pay some attention to long suppressed racialist ideas.

Young people are more willing to embrace the radicalism that this age demands.

Anonymous culture, beyond protecting one’s job and family, also enables total ideological freedom.

Race is important. We must get over delusions of total color-blindness.

The satire and counter-cultural nature of this young movement also makes it appealing to other young people.

All of this agrees with my observations about millennials, who are more open minded to discussing potentially incendiary topics such as race and how it pertains to economics and achievement, whereas older generations tend to default to ‘safe’, ‘color blind’ responses like ‘race is unimportant/doesn’t matter’ (for the left) and ‘we need stronger families’ (for the right). In either instance, no mention of biology.

But ultimately, the fact millions of millennials are waking up to the fact they have been lied to and duped by the both the left & right establishment bodes well for the ‘alt right’.

But this is why Reddit gives me hope for the future. Yes, I know Reddit has a lot of liberals and idiots, as do all large communities, but critical thinking (versus demagoguery) is also highly valued on Reddit, and social news sites like Reddit and 4chan spearheaded the post-2013 SJW backlash, which continues to this day. Same for the rise of Gamergate, Nrx/Dark Enlightenment, HBD, Red Pill, and many more ideologies and movements that originated or were abetted by sites such as Reddit and 4chan (such as /pol/) that threaten the leftist order.

It’s like a barbell – on one extreme are the SJW millennials and on the other are the ‘alt right’. And then there is also the rise of the ‘rational right’ and ‘rational left’, the latter in refutation to welfare liberalism and the former as a version of neoconservatism/Reaganism with elements of HBD but also some elements of anarcho-capitalism. Online, we’re also seeing a return to centrism as part of the post-2013 SJW backlash, of liberals who once voted for Obama realizing the error of their ways.

But what’s also interesting is how much everyone on Reddit and 4chan knows about finance, history, and economics, especially considering how little of it taught in school, and in contrast to reports about how education has become dumbed-down (which, based on the preponderance of the empirical evidence, I don’t really believe). It’s as if they acquired it through osmosis or something. It’s not so amazing to me, as I’ve written numerous time before about how savvy millennials are about all sorts of brainy or esoteric subjects – ideologies, computer science, finance, math, physics, and so on. It’s also part of the personal finance revolution that has been underway since 2008, with millions of millennials planning for their financial independence instead of depending on a handout from government, and this is commendable and gives me optimism not only about millennials but about the future. The millennials don’t seem as spendthrift as the boomers.

There’s reason for optimism.

NRx and Positivism

Good essay on positivism and how NRx differs from other branches of the ‘alt right’:

As mentioned in my previous post the Dissident Right can be broadly divided into the “feeling Right” which is typified by the Alt-Right and the “thinking” Right which, I feel, is typified by Neoreaction.

NRx is more about ideas than the person behind them. This is in contrast to WNs, who tend to hold Nordicism as exemplar. Thinking vs. Feeling is the demarcation between the emotive ‘alt right’ and NRx, which is more cerebral.

On a related note, from Jim’s blog: In support of Roosh

Apparently some on the ‘right’ think Roosh is a traitor because of his ‘lifestyle’ or being Iranian.

If every feminist & SJW is after Roosh, he is doing something right. Online, WNs had a 20+ year head start (since the launch of Storefront in 1995 or so) to get their movement off the ground, and they have largely failed. They, the WNs, don’t want others on their turf.

What distinguishes NRx from the Alt-Right is concern for the facts. The Alt-Right has no need for facts, it wants to embrace the myths, to be on the side of the God’s and, in that way, resembles some of the worst aspects of the Left (who were on the side of the Angels in Vietnam, for instance.) For Neoreaction, empirical observations matter and NRx forms its opinions and insights from the due consideration of the them.The critique of universal democracy, for instance, is not grounded in a “preference” or bias for for other systems of government, or the myth of aristocracy, rather it comes from a considered understanding, based upon the empirical observations of the “average voter”. If Neoreaction had a motto, it would be Solzhenitsyn’s, “Live not by lies”.

This seems similar to my earlier post on centrism and how empirical evidence should be our guiding principle, not irrational hopes, dreams, and aspirations. We want to believe in change, but first we must understand.


-NRx takes the principal of the primacy of empirical data over theory and incorporates it into a wider data set. -NRx is a sort of fusion between traditional concepts of the scope of empirical data with the positivist insistence on the primacy of data. It’s a fusion product. This, however, puts -NRx explicitly against traditionalism, insofar as traditionalists elevate custom above the truth. This, itself is not a bad thing, given traditionalism’s utter failure to combat the Left. New approaches need to be tried.

I’m already there. On the bottom of this site, I list a bunch of ideologies and philosophies that are directly or tangentially related to NRx, and ‘positivism’ is one of them.

He also notes the ideological friction or between the traditionalists and the rationalists of the right, the latter (which this blog belongs to) elevating the empiricism above orthodoxy. It could be a cognitive dissonance to hold both as equally valid.

However, ‘theory’ need not be categorically rejected just because we embrace empiricism. Kant was able to reconcile the two through the synthetic a priori, which I discuss in detail here.

The Internet Stands Behind Richard Dawkins

As some may already know, Richard Dawkins got booted from a science panel for re-tweeting a funny and accurate video “Feminists Love Islamists” that portrays feminists negative light. The video is correct that feminists give cover to Islam, a religion that is inherently oppressive and misogynistic, while attacking harmless Christians. In their distorted worldview, truth and reality are racist, according to the left.

Dawkins was scheduled to speak at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism which will take place in New York City in May, but on Thursday organisers issued a statement concerning his participation.

“The NECSS has withdrawn its invitation to Richard Dawkins to participate at NECSS 2016. We have taken this action in response to Dr. Dawkins’ approving re-tweet of a highly offensive video.

This is just the latest in a long line of harmless scientists being persecuted by the SJ-left for expressing or merely being associated with views that run afoul of the PC establihsmnet, earlier examples bieng Larry Summers (observing and reporting biological reality), Brendan Eich (campaign donation opposing gay marriage), Matt Taylor (Shirtgate…wearing a shirt that feminists didn’t like), Jason Richwine (politically incorrect PDH thesis about immigration), and Tim Hunt (resigned after making a harmless joke about women in science).

With the exception of the usual libs on Huffingtonpost, NYTimes, and Salon, the rest of the internet (Reddit, 4chan, most blogs, 90+% of Twitter and YouTube, etc) stands behind Richard Dawkins. Go to any Reddit discussion..and you’ll find universal agreement defending Dawkin’s right to free speech and freedom of association. Dawkin’s intellectual brand is much bigger than this conference, anyway. They need him, not the other way around.

The funny thing is this came just days after I made a post defending Dawkins and Pinker against bully and shitlib Taleb. I’m sure Taleb would love to take a strike at Dawkins while he’s down, but that would expose his SJ leanings to all his followers, so he can’t.

As for the primaries, it’s still early, and Trump has plenty of time to secure the necessary number of deletes to be the nominee. Even if he loses, he will have left an indelible mark on GOP politics, shifting the debate towards neglected topics such as immigration.

But back to the original point, Richard Dawkins will rise from this controversy in a stronger position than before. There are many people who support him, support intellectual freedom, and freedom of association, and although their voices are silent or drowned out by the leftist cacophony, they will eventually prevail. The left is so desperate now…all they can do is revoke ‘memberships’ as a way consolidating their dwindling ideological fiefdoms, pearl clutching. But the rest of the internet, anyone and everyone who supports free speech, is behind Dawkins.

‘Peak Everything’ and the ‘winner-take-all’ market

If I had an enemy and I wished to inflict as much financial damage on him as possible, I would recommend he buy individuals stocks. I would tell him that Warren Buffett got rich buying individual stocks and he could could do the same. I would tell him to buy stocks that had gone up a lot, stocks that were trendy, but it doesn’t matter. I would inquire as to which stocks my foe purchased so I could track their progress. And then I would watch as said stock fall..day after day…after day, as I laugh menacingly. It wouldn’t matter if the market rises or falls – those stocks are going down. Or they may go up a little, only to be crushed when sentiment shifts, when the earnings report misses by a penny, or the products said companies produce become ‘fads’ and no one wants them anymore…I can go on. And so is Sisyphean hell of the stock picker, one fraught by frustration and failure.

With few exceptions, that’s why I never recommend individuals stocks. It doesn’t work. Multi-billionaires, who can control the media and the boards of directors, can’t beat the market. Hedge funds, who have the most sophisticated tools at their disposal, can’t do it either.

From pragmatic capitalism:

Indexing strategies have been the fastest growing segment of the asset management world in the last 15 years due to low fees, tax efficiency, diviersification and the failure of higher fee active managers to justify their higher fees. As this trend plays out we’re hearing more and more stories about how this trend is bad for investors and how we need these old high fee active managers to better manage the asset space.

Indeed, who can blame people for indexing? Active management is awful, specially as of late:

Why Active Management Fell Off a Cliff – Perhaps Permanently

Whack-a-mole fund managers can’t beat index funds

‘Scale and Skill’: Why It’s Hard for Managed Funds to Beat the Indexers

Poor performance catching up with active stock fund managers

Investment: Loser’s game

86% of investment managers stunk in 2014

To say active management is bad is an understatement – it’s downright awful.

The rise of indexing parallels the cutthroat, winner-take-all nature of the post-2008 stock market and economy where winners like Google, Amazon, Visa, and Facebook, for example, are bid higher and higher to no end and companies that show slightest weakness are culled quickly. Even ‘blue chips’ are not immune to this. Walmart stock crashed 30% in 2015 in an otherwise flat market due to some minor weakness in store sales.

In the 80′s and the 90′s, large funds were more willing to put money in sub-par stocks & sectors, investing indiscriminately, but post-2008 capitalism has gotten much smarter and discriminating. That means lots of losing stocks and few winners, leaving investors with one of three choices: be lucky or skilled enough choose the handful of winning stocks (studies show this is nearly impossible), index funds, or active management, the latter which tries to beat the second but almost always fails and has really high fees. Hence, the second choice is the most viable.

To wit, although the S&P 500 is only 10% off the all-time highs made in 2015, half of S&P 500 stocks are in bear market territory, which is why successful stock picking is a fool’s errand for most people. The odds, right there, are that you will lag the index.

See a pattern? SEO, small business, etc… all too expensive or saturated, too efficient. With the possible exception of web 2.0, physics, and apps, and some complicated stuff like that, we’re possibly reached ‘peak everything’, where everything converges to its asymptotic limit of efficiency. But capitalism is still thriving, and I’m still bullish about the US economy. This is because while there are many, many losers and the market is more efficient and saturated than ever, the winners (the handful of them) are big enough (winner take all) to compensate for the losers. The result is a positive expected value, as well as new technologies that improve efficiently, lower costs, and raise living standards. It’s like a ‘powerball economy’ where the parlor has a positive expected value but the average participant doesn’t, yet a handful of people do get rich. When the left complains about capital gains taxes being too low, they fail to take into account the inherent risks of entrepreneurship or investing versus a steady paycheck. Shouldn’t people who take more risks be compensated by keeping more of the money they earn?

I call this the Hobbesian-Locke dichotomy. For a lot of the country, things are Hobbesian (bad, gloom) – but for the enlightened and wealthy, things are ‘Lockean’ (good, optimistic, prosperous). My money is on ‘Locke’ prevailing, even if for the average American things are kinda glum.

The Writing Boom

First, the grim statics of writing for publication, which I’m sure every author is aware of:

The 10 Awful Truths About Book Publishing

Thinking of Self-Publishing Your Book in 2013? Here’s What You Need to Know

This passage stood out:

1. The number of books being published every year has exploded. Bowker reports that over three million books were published in the U.S. in 2010. The number of new print titles issued by U.S. publishers has grown from 215,777 in 2002 to 316,480 in 2010. And in 2010 more than 2.7 million “non-traditional” titles were also published, including self-published books, reprints of public domain works, and other print-on-demand books. In addition, hundreds of thousands of English-language books are published each year outside the U.S.

In an era of instant messaging, selfies, and on-demand entertainment, it’s understandable how one could believe that the fiction market is dead – for both writers and readers – but it’s not, at least not for writers. In spite of our culture of instant gratification, more people than ever are taking to the tedious craft, the result being a writing boom – particularity in fiction, but also non-fiction – of the likes never before seen, which means that writers today have to fight tooth and nail to rise above the publishing quicksand of obscurity.

In spite of the complaints about traditional publishing, such as authors not earning much money on royalties or poor sales, publishing houses and agents are inundated with manuscripts – a tsunami – from aspiring writers, with no end in sight, which is surprising given that digital media has also become so pervasive. Who wants to write books, anyway, when there is Netflix and Facebook? Why are so many people writing despite the long odds and the pervasiveness of cheap digital entertainment as distractions? I pondered this for a little while, and finally found some reasons:

1. Baby boomers are retiring, which means they have a lot of free time for writing books.

2. Younger people, faced with a perpetually anemic labor market, also have a lot of spare time to write, with genres of choice being fantasy, youth fiction, and introspection and existentialism.

3. Due to mass education, related to number 2, there are a lot of people who are educated enough to write books with intelligible prose, versus a generation ago when the labor market was better and people weren’t as overeducated.

4. Writing is an inexpensive hobby for lean economic times, compared to, say, golf or art collecting.

5. Related to number 4, the barriers to entry in writing are low, but mastery or success is almost impossible unless you are either very lucky or talented. Self-publishing makes writing very inexpensive, with thousands of writers competing for scraps of attention and sales, and successful self-publishers few and far between.

6. Writing taps into a narcissistic, vainglorious desire to leave a mark, to defy mortality. If millennials are more narcissistic than earlier generations, it could partially explain the writing boom.

7. The rise of writing gurus, particularity online. They’re probably hundreds of writing blogs catering to legions of wannabee writers. It’s mostly a blind leading the blind situation of the gurus only being marginally better writers than their followers, only famous because of promotion and hype, not because they are great writers.

8. The rise of the debut celebrity. Despite the doom and gloom about publishing, six and even seven-figure contracts and film deals for debut authors are not at all uncommon, recent examples being Andy Weir and Pierce Brown. Unfortunately, this gold rush fuels the bottom line for gurus who sell overpriced writing services to novice writers who have dreams, however far-fetched, of being the next Weir or Brown. And although there are more big debuts, there are also many, many more authors, too.

9. Writing is ‘cool’ and transcendent, more than ever. In a news cycle dominated by misbehaving celebrities and various petty insubstantial matters, writing taps into a certain authenticity that many long for, as a way of transcending the chaos and minutia of everyday life to answer a higher calling. You’re not just putting words to paper, you’re changing the world, changing minds (or at least you hope so).


Stulti Philosophiam

Interesting article. A couple thoughts:

I think some of us are being too choosy in rejecting too many people when our ‘movement/ideology/whatever’ is already pretty small to begin with. Bloggers who create YouTube videos and posts denouncing SJWs, are our ideological allies and like NRx many oppose leftist of ideals of egalitarianism and social justice. Some of these bloggers are of the British ‘neo liberal’ tradition (think Bertrand Russell, Dawkins, Pinker, etc), so I guess I could understand the possible ideological fictions between them and, say, paleocons who tend to reject moderation.

Of course, there are indeed Marxists and theorists who are aware of this fact, but that doesn’t apply to the layperson sucked into the university machine: the useful idiots Yuri Bezmenov described at various points. The Marxists at the helm of these institutions know exactly what they’re doing.

From link to the Wikipedia page:

In Marxist philosophy, the social-class function of the intellectuals (the intelligentsia) is to be the source of progressive ideas for the transformation of society; to provide advice and counsel to the political leaders; to interpret the country’s politics to the mass of the population (urban workers and peasants); and, as required, to provide leaders.

But intellectualism is not restricted to the left. Right-wing intellectuals include Rand, Rothbard, Milton Friedman, Sowell, Burke, Kirk, Evola, and Hoppe – to name a handful. If Marxists can use intellectuals to influence their citizens, why can’t we? Milton Friedman, for example, through his numerous college speaking engagements, helped spark the youth Reagan revolution of the 80′s, turning a generation against liberalism.

The fact is that most “individualists” in our midst today confuse totally the person and the individual. The latter can only be established in relation to what it is a part of, id est the collective of which it is a component part. I hope it is clear now how individualism and atomisation in the capitalist marketplace go hand in hand: hence it is not the main answer to our problems at all.

Hmmm…The Evola quote alludes to individualism resulting in a breakdown of the larger organic structure; a tree broken into its components is not a tree, but a bunch of dead twigs and bark. But I think some individualism is needed for society to advance technologically. But the vast majority of people by virtue of the Bell Curve will conform, so too much individualism should not be a problem.

NRx Ideology & Endgame, part 2

The recent dust-up over the ‘alt right’ has provoked some soul searching among the NRx community as to what, precisely, NRx means and or how a hypothetical NRx government should operate and ascend to power.

Why I am not Neoreactionary

more debate…

First, the basics: we have the ‘alt right’, an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of non-mainstream (hence the prefix ‘alt’) schools of right-wing thought and ideologies. It casts a very wide net, from skinheads on one extreme to rationalists on the other.

Or as a hierarchy:

Primary: ‘alt right’

Secondary: ‘NRx & dark enlightenment’ and others…

Tertiary (of NRx): ‘techno commercialism, neocameralist, traditionalists, rationalists, formalists, anarcho-capitalists, etc’

Among the NRx community, there is mutual agreement in rejection of democracy, egalitarianism, feminism, SJWs, and political correctness. But trying to ascribe ideological labels (conservatism, libertarianism, etc) or even combinations of labels (anarcho-capitalism, etc) to NRx has proven more daunting and discordant.

In 2010, scholar Arnold Kling described ‘neo-reaction’ as having elements of neoconservatism, and while ‘neoconservatism’ nowadays has pejorative connotations, to some degree it seems accurate.

Neoconservatives believe the state has a role in enforcing private property, as well as national defense, a judicial system, various public services, and police. Furthermore, they believe in traditional values, such as opposing the legalization of drugs and gay marriage as well as opposing the separation of ‘church and state’.

For the techno-commercialism faction, NRx could be viewed as neoconservatism meets HBD. I think the term ‘reactionary realism’ is fitting. Maybe it could be described as ‘partial libertarianism‘ or ‘minarchism‘ – mixing capitalism with some soft of state or governing body to oversee it, with an emphasis on resource optimization for ‘public goods’. Or Reactionary Modernism, a term I have thrown out a couple times here. This would be similar to the system we have today, but with many or all democratic institutions phased out. The transition would be slow enough to avoid major economic disruption, which is the approach I endorse.

Or, for the traditionalists and nationalists, NRx mirrors paleoconservatism and the Christian Right, but with more HBD and a possible monarchy. Although the monarchy concept has fallen out of favor as few seem to discuss it anymore. Paleocons, like traditionalist reactionaries, tend to oppose interventionism and globalization. This is described in more detail here.

Moldbug has mentioned several times about the US govt. or ‘state’ being analogous to a giant corporation. The next step is to ‘formalize’ it, almost contractually , especially regarding to property rights and rule of law. .Seems similar to Rothbard or Hans-Hermann Hoppe:

In Democracy Hoppe describes a fully libertarian society of “covenant communities” made up of residents who have signed an agreement defining the nature of that community. Hoppe writes “There would be little or no ‘tolerance’ and ‘openmindedness’ so dear to left-libertarians. Instead, one would be on the right path toward restoring the freedom of association and exclusion implied in the institution of private property”. Hoppe writes that towns and villages could have warning signs saying “no beggars, bums, or homeless, but also no homosexuals, drug users, Jews, Moslems, Germans, or Zulus”.[23][24]

As I discuss in NRx endgame, trying to ‘buyout’ everything doesn’t seem feasible and could have deleterious economic consequences in the unlikely event it were ever pulled off. And given how corporations and politics are already intertwined, and that private property is already enforced, maybe we’re closer to Moldbug’s vision than many realize, although with an unacceptably high amount of moral decay. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia could be considered a modern prototypical reactionary government, combining private property, the rule of law, and traditionalism.

To quote N. Land:

Fifth: although the full neocameralist approach has never been tried, its closest historical equivalents to this approach are the 18th-century tradition of enlightened absolutism as represented by Frederick the Great, and the 21st-century nondemocratic tradition as seen in lost fragments of the British Empire such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. These states appear to provide a very high quality of service to their citizens, with no meaningful democracy at all. They have minimal crime and high levels of personal and economic freedom. They tend to be quite prosperous. They are weak only in political freedom, and political freedom is unimportant by definition when government is stable and effective.

Although I’m not sure sure about the freedom part. Sharia law is pretty strict.

As may only major criticism, are paleocons who believe nationalism, border control, and religion will fix everything, and then that problems like entitlement spending, runaway healthcare costs, and crime will just ‘go away’ once those three things are implemented. However, Tthe data suggests that crime and poverty are linked to IQ, and that IQ is to large degree heritable, so therefore that lends itself to a solution that is more biological in nature, not environmental, although turning away ‘low IQ’ immigrants would be effective. Nationalism is important, but it won’t change the fact there are a lot of people – legal American citizens – who are a ‘net negative’ on the economy and societ, consuming more than they produce.



Centrists and milquetoasts, your era is over. Your question is, do you want a society of honest labor, god, and traditional European/American values? Or do you want a society of transsexual Africans forcing you to pay a white privilege tax? Embrace one of those two, or embrace actual, brutal nihilism, and all that entails. This soft core apathetic mild embrace of nothing is not long for this world.

He says that the centrists’ time is over, yet the empirical evidence suggests it’s not. A someone who reads many articles a day and is ‘plugged’ into the digital ‘Zeitgeist’, centrism is thriving as measured by social media shares and page views. The author’s understandable opposition to centrism may make him more inclined into believing centrism is dying, but it’s not.. The author may be conflating the positive/descriptive (the world as it is based on facts and empiricism) with the normative/prescriptive (how the world ought to be), assuming that the latter implies the former. ‘Centrism is bad, therefore it’s dying’.

It was really easy to be very cynical, “radically centrist” and practice a sort of softcore comfortable nihilism ten or fifteen years ago. Go to the mall, buy a house on a mortgage, and complain about how the mainstream left or the mainstream right are essentially mismanaging the end of history, because there is no point, but the beauty of this arrangement is, there didn’t have to be a point, as long as there is a suburb to run away to, and good living conditions to come home to.

I think he may be confusing nihilism with indifference, apathy, or the belief in predestination. A nihilist has no values, but someone who resigns to the fact change is impossible, may still have his own values and preferences, but doesn’t seek to impose them on others, and he may not believe that his values are superior unless otherwise suggested by the preponderance of empirical evidence to be so. A centrist who is intellectually honest may change his values, preferences, and opinions when the facts and empirical evidence changes. Inaction and or a positive/descriptive approach to understanding is not the same as being a nihilist. Centrism may be simply the path of least resistance. Why get all worked up about things if the status quo tends to prevail, but second, the status quo may be right in certain instances. Take the national debt and bank bailouts, for instance, which many predicted in 2008 & 2009 – some of these prediction motivated by emotive partisanship – that it would cause hyperinflation and a debt crisis. Instead, the opposite happened: treasury bonds yields keep falling and the dollar is stronger than ever. The ‘status quo’ not only prevailed, it was correct in terms of being the best descriptor and predictor of reality. In other instances, such as the post-2013 SJW backlash, the status quo failed, and I was correct in early 2014 in seeing that trend, and is an example of where I depart from the status quo in supporting the backlash but, furthermore, one can argue that the backlash is merely the pendulum swinging back to the middle, or a return to centrism. Also, being a centrist and or adhering to an empirical-based approach doesn’t necessarily make one a welfare liberal. Based on the empirical evidence, we have an entitlement spending problem that needs to be addressed, a view many conservatives agree with. Then I transition from the ‘positive’ in which I describe the spending problem to the ‘normative’ in which I offer solutions. In confronting reality, there is room for both the prescriptive and descriptive, and one need not summarily reject centrism.

Trump skipping the debates: a smart move

The mainstream liberal and conservative media cannot fathom why Trump would want to skip the Iowa debate, but if Trump is smart he will continue to abstain from GOP debates. There is no ‘rule’ that says candidates must debate. But the main reason why candidates debate is not to pitch policy but merely for exposure. However, Trump has more than enough goodwill and exposure, making further debate unnecessary.

By not debating, everyone will be talking about him. ‘Where’s Trump?’ ‘Why is not not debating?’ Hence, he steals the spotlight, which is really what matters in the end.

By not debating, Trump controls the message and the platform. He can leverage the media attention from his refusal to debate to explain why he’s not going to debate, arguing correctly that he would not have gotten a fair shake.

A debate without Trump is otherwise forgettable. As Mike argues, Trump is so effulgent and charismatic, he lifts his competition, too. Without Trump, no one is going to remember what Rubio, Jeb, or Cruz has to say. Some have likened Trump to a rodeo clown, but he’s much smarter than that.

The final debate is probably unavoidable. Debating Sanders should be a cakewalk. All Trump has to do is point to the Soviet Union and Venezuela as examples of why socialism doesn’t work. Sanders will try to explain why higher taxes and more regulation is good for the economy, and Trump using his extensive business experience will articulate otherwise. Trump unlike Sanders, has experience in the private sector, lending credibility to his side. It will be like the October 2012 debate when Romney obliterated Obama.

A debate against Hillary will be harder, owing to Hillary’s superior intellect and policy experience. Hillary has waited decades for this moment, and she’s not going down without a fight. Trump will have to emphasize his charisma and private sector experience and avoid the semantic traps Hillary will likely lay.