Tag Archives: altright

The power of the alt-right is not to directly influence policy but rather to influence sentiment

There is a belief held by some that the alt-right, in making certain gestures and comments, is losing ‘respectability’ and therefore risks being excluded from having influence on Trump’s policies. This notion that Trump actually cares what the alt-right thinks is of course nonsense and is just more ‘concerning’ by people who don’t understand the alt-right or want the alt-right to become ‘alt-lite’. Trump already chose his cabinet and advisers, and will do his own thing. Even before the NPI Roman salute dust-up, Trump expressed zero interest in deferring to alt-right leaders on anything. Soon after, Trump repudiated the alt-right. The alt-right helped Trump get elected, but Trump is listening to his appointees, not Spencer, Baked Alaska or anyone else involved with the alt-right. Personally, I wish Trump cared more about the alt-right, but that’s wishful thinking. But the alt-right should not dilute its message in the faint hope of opening a dialogue with Trump: not gonna happen. Media respectability is not important: a message that resonates with people is, and by linking or associating Trump with the alt-right (even though Trump himself doesn’t care for the alt-right), helped get Trump elected because voters saw Trump as being a conveyor of alt-right principles. The power of the alt-right is not to directly influence policy but rather to influence sentiment. It’s the choice of policy makers to choose whether to heed the sentiment or not.

Identity, IQ, and Incoherence of the Alt-Right

‘Identity’, which not limited to just politics but also includes ‘BLM’ and the ‘big is beautiful’ movement, gives its members a stake in something, as being a part of a bigger ‘system’ or ‘process’, yet at the same time individualism and autonomy are retained. Identity is a way of signalling unity, with varying degrees obviousness. When taken too far, it can appear narcissistic, vulgar, and self-absorbed, as identity gives cover and justification for anti-social behavior. This is what 3-4th wave feminism has become, especially online.

There is also a distinction between individual identity (example: individualism; identifying as belonging to a specific gender, ethnicity, and race) and collective identity (examples: nationalism; gender, ethnicity, and race as group identities and as part of political and social movements).

Neoconservatives and neoliberals tend to eschew collective identity, in favor of pragmatism and ‘concern’ (in contrast to tribalism, where consensus and loyalty, and ‘collective identity’ are more important). When taken too far, this can seem paternalist, meddlesome, and overbearing, but also emotionally detached, amoral, and disloyal. Like, why do neocons and neoliberals alike care so much about third world poverty when there is poverty in America?

1st and 2nd wave feminism has a strong element of ‘collective identity’. It’s very collectivist and activist-minded, with lots of protests, political involvement, and marches. 3-4th wave feminism is much more individualistic in the spirit of Ayn Rand, who advocated self-determination over collectivism. This includes women prostituting themselves on Instagram. Although 3-4th wave is more vulgar, 1-2nd wave is worse because of the deleterious political and social consequences of suffrage.

Jonathan Haidt, Jonathan Chait, Scott Sumner, Nicholas Kristof, Josh Barro, and Matthew Yglesias come to mind as examples of left-wing or neoliberal pundits who use reductionist narratives, but I don’t mean reductionist in the ‘low-information’ sense but rather in trying to reduce ‘social theory’ to something that is science-like, and who often advocate democracies and committees by elites (elitism) to solve problems. Unlike the far-let, it’s often anti-populist, and like neoconservatism, it’s pragmatic and consequentialist.

Among rationalists and pragmatists, these is also a tendency to scorn those in their ‘tribe’ who are ‘too extreme’ and also to argue on behalf of one’s ideological opponents by ascribing the strongest arguments to them (also known as ‘steel-manning’, in contrast to straw-manning). Playing devil’s advocate signals intellect and open-mindedness to other members of the tribe, who also value those traits, and thus the status one who exhibits those traits is boosted among like members of the tribe. There is a tendency among some in the alt-right and especially rationalists to do this – but this is common in most high-IQ communities, where accuracy and correctness is more important than unanimity. It’s almost a ‘game’ of sorts where whoever finds an inaccuracy, counterexample, omission, or logical fallacy in the article first, ‘wins’ and is awarded with status (this seems common in pro-gamergate sub-Reddits, where there is a lot of ‘concerning’ (to show concern, often excessive or unnecessary, used as a verb), but it’s hard to tell if it’s genuine concern or concern trolling). Less intelligent tribes value unanimity, and status is through seniority and strength, not intellect, correctness, or open-mindedness. In less intelligent tribes, there is a definite hierarchy, and the ‘elders’ tell the initiates what to think, and there isn’t much room for interpretation, and dissenters, no matter how correct or smart they are, are ejected, not awarded status.

Related: I Can Tolerate Anything Except Factual Inaccuracies

Steel-manning is both good and bad: it’s good because by anticipating our opponent’s best possible counter-arguments, we can formulate stronger arguments for our own positions; it’s also annoying at times because sometimes enough is enough..there is only so much charity one can ascribe to one’s opponent without turning coat. It can also come across as virtue signaling. Unless the inaccuracy or omission is really egregious, maybe it’s just best to leave it alone, for the sake expediency instead of getting bogged by minutia and hair splitting, which sometimes results in incoherence and division of the tribe. But debate is generally healthy and should be encouraged.

This dicuss comment thread is an example. Back in 2009-2010 when I used to troll Huffington Post, I recall there was a lot of cohesion (everyone was on the same ‘page’ (cons bad, libs good)), which you don’t see as much in the far-right, even before the whole NPI-debacle.

Speaking of division, a month after the whole NPI Roman salute thing, now this: Alt-Right in Civil War After Prominent Leader Disinvited From Pro-Trump ‘DeploraBall’

And from the discuss comments:

Check the comments out. People should be fucking embarrassed of themselves. Barely edgy news site commentators have the correct instincts and actually understand the basis of politics in distinguishing friend from foe. Meanwhile so many people who tout themselves as hardcore right-wingers throw a bitchfit because they were always just liberals.

This is because people who post on mainstream news sites are, in general, less intelligent those who read and post on alt-right websites and blogs, so in the former there is more unity, as I noticed on Huffington Post for the far-left. When Trump was running, the alt-right could cast aside their differences and unify behind him, but with Trump elected, now what?

This incoherence is due to three factors: the ‘right’ generally being smarter and less conformist than the ‘left’ (more willing to challenge authority, more open-minded, better-educated about history, political science, and philosophy); second, the ‘right’ being more diverse, ideologically, than the ‘left’ (Liberalism is analogous to those 8-color Crayola crayon boxes kindergartners use. Conservatism is like the 100-color deluxe box.); and third, ego, which has less to with ideology and more to do with status-seeking.

The ‘right’ is split between the age-old individualism vs. traditionalism schism, whereas the ‘left’ seem to all agree on things like ‘maximizing individual liberty’ (positive liberties) and ‘promoting equality, fairness, and opportunity’(example: John Rawls Theory of Justice, although there is a small schism between classical liberals vs. welfare and socialist liberals. The former seek equal opportunity, and the latter seek equal outcomes). The ‘right’ promotes ‘negative liberties’ and individualism (example: Anarchy, State, and Utopia, by Robert Nozick), but traditionalism says that man is part of a ‘collective’ – state, family, creed, lineage, nation, religion, etc., so it gets messy in choosing the optimal balance between the two (just compare neoconservatism with paloeconservatism with right-nationalism with libertarianism). ‘Mainstream conservatism’ balances the two, as described by Russell Kirk’s six “canons” of conservatism (which heavily influenced post-WW2 American conservatism):

A belief in a transcendent order, which Kirk described variously as based in tradition, divine revelation, or natural law;

An affection for the “variety and mystery” of human existence;

A conviction that society requires orders and classes that emphasize “natural” distinctions;

A belief that property and freedom are closely linked;

A faith in custom, convention, and prescription, and

A recognition that innovation must be tied to existing traditions and customs, which entails a respect for the political value of prudence.

Krik also opposed the separation of church and state…”that Christianity and Western Civilization are “unimaginable apart from one another”[13] and that “all culture arises out of religion. When religious faith decays, culture must decline, though often seeming to flourish for a space after the religion which has nourished it has sunk into disbelief.”[14]”

Kirk was inspired by Edmund Burke, considered to be the forefather of conservatism. Burke’s views are kinda scattershot, opposing the ‘social contract’ theory but also opposing the ‘divine right of kings’. He opposed democracy, natural law, and the French Revolution but also supported the America Revolution and believed private property as being essential to maintaining ‘social order’.

Liberalism is inherently materialistic (although it does embrace some idealism in its rejection of certain aspects of HBD), but conservatism can be both materialistic and idealistic. Part of the reason why NRx departs from Kirk is because conservatism tends to embrace natural law and puts too much emphasis on individual rights. Conservatism doesn’t hold the monarchy supreme, although Burke was sympathetic to it despite being a Whig and not a Jacobite. Materialistic-variants of conservatism put too much emphasis on economics over the divine. For the ‘right’, man should maximize his economic share through self-determination; for the far-left, the state should assume that role; in either case, it’s still through the lens of economics (Economic determinism).

Both liberalism and conservatism seeks to find a balance between individualism (and individual identity) and collectivism (and collectivist identity), which is what the study of political science and political philosophy is about. The cohesion of the alt-right before Trump’s victory and the small splintering of the alt-right afterward, is evidence political movements and ideologies need a specific ‘thing’ to rally behind (such as a person or specific tasks assigned to members), for cohesion to be possible. Just rallying ‘against liberalism’ or ‘for conservatism’ is not specific enough, because, as shown above, these terms are so broad and hard to define that cohesion is impossible for ‘smart’ ideologies like the alt-right (although it works for mainstream political parties, that have mostly average-IQ voters and supporters).

Alt Right: Consumerism, Crony Capitalism, and Immigration

I’m sure everyone has seen the alt-right ‘mural‘ of the various things that the alt-right supports and supposes.

A few observations: I’m kinda surprised by how it ‘strongly opposes’ SJWs but only ‘moderately opposes’ SJW-media. Also surprised that it only has ‘minor opposition’ to crony capitalism and excess consumerism, which I actually agree. Consumerism, although it can be a vector for moral decay, is necessary for an economy to grow. Without people buying stuff, ultimately, there is no economy, and the best an the brightest will have a reduced standard of living or have their talents misappropriated. To some extent, low and medium-IQ consumers are the ‘bedrock’ that the creative and cognitive class are built upon; however, the wealthy do consume more than the poor. Abstract research (physics, mathematics, etc.) would stagnate if not for consumerism to keep the economy going. Economic collapse would probably cause research & development budget cuts (at both the private and public level) causing research to stagnate.

Crony capitalism, as I have discussed a couple times here, is merely the government allocating resources to sectors and industries, and is not the ‘unalloyed evil’ that some make it out to be. One could make the argument that crony capitalism, if used to promote pro-growth policy, represents a near-optimal transfer of capital that otherwise wouldn’t occur. An example is to fund a war effort – if the US need to mobilize quickly, it may pay manufactures to produce war equipment.

Notice under ‘strongly oppose’, there is a huge qualifier, ‘mass’, appended to immigration. That leaves the possibility for just ‘normal’ immigration, which the mural neither supports nor opposes. This suggests some ambiguity on the issue – how much immigration should be allowed, and for whom? Very few politicians support ‘mass immigration’, as it would probably be political suicide, even in the pre-Trump era. Usually they either support ‘more reform’ (the right) or ‘less reform’ (the left).

Mike, an important figure of the alt-right despite he himself rejecting the label, believes everyone, regardless of national origin, should be allowed to immigrate provided his or her IQ is high enough.

To some extent this is a good idea, as smart immigrants tend to create jobs, innovation, and investment. As explained in an earlier post, the evidence that H1-B visas depress wages and displace labor is somewhat lacking.

However, the concerns of ‘natives’ are still valid, and the perception of job displacement and wage suppression cannot be ignored. Smart immigrants in the tech sector may drive-up real estate prices in certain areas (as we’ve seen in Silicon Valley), forcing others to commute longer or making home ownership unobtainable. The other issue is that all immigrants, regardless of IQ, bring their families (daisy chain immigration), and over many generations the ethic makeup of the region may be changed. A third issue is ‘reversion to the mean’, in which the decedents of smart immigrants become less intelligent due to admixing and other factors. Some solutions include: only allowing immigrants of European ethnic lineage or replacing naturalization with guest worker programs (this way, visitors can never become citizens, nor be eligible for the same benefits as citizens).

I discuss the matter in more detail in The Hivemind, Immigration, and IQ:

…This lends support to high-IQ immigration. Having a larger pool of labor helps if we consider a situation where a foreigner is qualified and there are no qualified Americans applying, or the foreigner is more qualified, or the foreigner is qualified and can do the work for less. But tech companies in America are still paying top dollar for top US talent. Also, smarter immigrants tend to create jobs.

However, a counterargument is that foreign workers depress wages and take job opportunities that would otherwise go to native tech workers. As I show here, what’s more likely happening is that tech companies are not substituting US workers with foreign workers to save money, as is commonly believed. The report finds that STEM jobs are also hard to fill.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a consensus on the matter, with arguments showing that immigrants may or may not depress wages. A Google search indicates the debate is far from settled.

The issue is far from settled.

Alt Right & NRx: End Game and Action Plans

A common criticism of NRx (and for this post I’m assuming NRx is distinct from the ‘alt right’) is that it pontificates too much and has no ‘action plan’, unlike the ‘alt right’, which is ‘action-orientated’. This criticism reflects a misunderstanding of NRx, because NRx actually does have plans, but rather they tend to be more subversive, esoteric, or obscure and don’t fall within the usual ‘left-right’ dichotomy..

Here are some the most common ‘action plans’:

1. Activism, which includes protests, rallies, speeches, and politics. NRx, unlike the ‘alt right’, tends to reject this approach because NRx believes that the political system itself (democracy) is inherently and irredeemably flawed, and cannot be fixed within the same framework that created the problem in the first place. NRx, unlike the alt-right, tends to reject rejects populism, because the populism and democracy tend to be intertwined. NRx believes that the ‘general masses’ should not have influence in important decision-making processes.

2. Subversion. Unlike activism, which is noisy and visible, subversion is discrete, over much longer time frames. This is the approach favored by NRx, because of instead of engaging in the political process, which is often futile, subversion can change the course of policy much more effectively and stealthy. In this respect, NRx acts a ‘think tank’, influencing policy makers without having to engage in actual politics. The ‘Frankfurt School’, which gave birth to Cultural Marxism, was successfully able to subvert American culture and politics even though hardly anyone knows what the ‘Frankfurt School’ is, but its propaganda infiltrated and permeated virtually all facets of post-WW2 American culture and society, for the worse. Optimistically, NRx could act a right-wing version of this, to counteract the forces of decay from left.

3. Exit. The concept of secession gained momentum in Silicon Valley in 2013-2014, during the beginnings of the NRx movement, but has since fallen out of favor. The idea involves the most productive forming a sovereign entity, with its own laws and customs and possibly led by tech leaders such as Peter Thiel, divorced from the regulation and decay of America. This is similar to ‘Galt’s Gulch’ in Atlas Shrugged.

4. Absolutist monarchy. Ideologically, NRx rejects ‘natural law’, in favor of ‘divine law’. If the constitutional republic system collapses, monarchy may be restored. Dubai and Singapore are examples of thriving monarchies which a restorative government could model itself after.

5. Accelerationism. Presently America is in something of an economic tug-of-war between the forces of decay and parasitism vs. the productive. IMHO the latter are winning – maybe only slightly – but accelerationism entails ‘accelerating’ the forces of decay so that the system collapses and can be rebuilt (see #4). The problem with this approach is that it hurts the most productive, who stand to lose the most should the system fail, even though the system is broken in many ways.

6. Neocameralism. Proposed by Moldbug, neocameralism involves a ‘corporate state’, with a ‘board of directors’ and a ‘national CEO’. Discussion about neocameralism has flatlined in recent years, and no one seems to talk about it much anymore.

7. Do nothing/pacifism. This may involve ‘becoming worthy’ in the event that should Restoration occur, loyal disciples are ‘chosen’ under the new power structure. This is similar to the concept of the ‘black pill‘ and nihilism, because since the system is immovable, resistance is futile, making self-improvement (becoming worthy) a more feasible and productive approach than activism. By learning to adapt, well-being is improved, and one can even profit from the process (such as by buying and holding stocks).

These items need not be mutually exclusive. For example, #7 and #2 can work together.