Tag Archives: ideology

The NRx Review

An up-and-coming reactionary blogger who goes by the handle ‘Dark Reformation’ released an 8-part manifesto.

In part 8, in my opinion the most important section, he discusses the philosophical underpinnings of his ideology, specifically utilitarianism and determinism.

There is no free will. The Dark Reformation acknowledges that humans have no free will, that they are fully caused beings. Free will is a Christian invention designed to get around the problem of evil;

Firstly, it will transform our understanding crime and punishment; secondly, economics. If free will does not exist, then moral responsibility (moral blame and retribution) must be either justified anew or abandoned. This means that concepts like guilt and retribution are, philosophically speaking, meaningless. Economically speaking, determinism puts paid to self-made man myths, and charges of laziness and indolence in people, or the preferability of fully eliminating welfare. This does not require giving up law, order, free-enterprise and a good society. Not at all. But it requires putting these things on a truer and more stable foundation. That foundation is utilitarianism.

Agree with the part about determinism. But that still does not absolve them of the consequences of their actions. One can argue that America’s justice system is based on utilitarianism by putting away a lot of people for a long time, for the ‘greater good’ of society. The problem is crime has a biological component…even if you eliminate democracy, cathedral, etc., you will still have bad apples that society will have to deal with, although one can make the argument that democracy makes the genetically predisposed more likely to ‘act out’.

As far as welfare and crime is concerned, since people don’t have free will, and poverty and crime has a hereditary component, the solution is an HBD-based one. Maybe mandatory birth control for welfare recipients. Offer financial incentives for less intelligent people to go on birth control, and pay individuals of the top 5% of intelligence to breed. Right now we have an entitlement spending problem and prison crowding problem, and eugenics possibly provides the best long-term approach for dealing with those problems. Although America seems to be good at importing talent, mean reversion is problematic and inevitable. Heathcare spending is another problem.

The foundation of the Dark Reformation is empiricism. Empiricism is the epistemology that attempts to understand the political and social world as it is, and not how we would like it to be. This is a different kind of empiricism to the one commonly presented in philosophy textbooks.

Also agree, and we need policy based on reality, not wishful thinking and appealing narratives, as I allude to in my own introduction, Why Grey Enlightenment. But this works both ways, for the ‘left’ and the right’. For the left’ it’s the narrative that man is a ‘blank slate’ that is ‘perfectible’ if enough tax payer dollars are spent, instead of allocating resources to those who stand to benefit the most. Like, why are hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on special ed programs when more spending for gifted education, which receives far less, would have a greater ROI. This ties into ‘reverse Darwinism’, of how the left siphons money from the most productive of society to sustain the least. For the ‘right’ it’s Austrian economics and eschatology, which I find unhelpful in dealing with economic reality today, although the ‘left’ is further off the mark than the ‘right’. You can’t say that QE is money printing, when it isn’t. Or that the US economy is dying, when it isn’t.

In part 2 he criticizes democracy, following part 1, where he lists the myriad of problems facing society and men.

The problem, perhaps, with the manifesto is the first part, in which there is too much idealism and wishful thinking. He’s using anti-democracy a conduit or panacea bring about some right-wing version of utopia that is not possible.

I oppose democracy not to bring fulfillment to peoples lives, which is a different problem altogether, but because democracy gives too much power to those who contribute the least, who then vote for policy that hurts the most productive. This an economic problem, and it’s a leap of faith to try to apply it to a psychological one (happiness and fulfillment), as the author tries to do. The problems in part 1 are real, but they are not necessarily solved with parts 2-8. Or maybe they are…although I’m skeptical that this ocean liner that is analogous to American society can be turned around.

Men are failing and falling behind due to difficulty of adapting, both due to economic and cultural factors. Although the US male suicide rate has ticked up in recent years, it’s back to where it was in 1981:

Dealing with feminism, misandry and indoctrination in schools, etc., will help. There is a problem of boys, who cannot sit still as long as girls, being over-medicated. The economy perhaps places too much of a premium on those who are obedient and inclined to do paperwork, not those who want to get their hands dirty.

But after leaving school and the leftist indoctrination, the depression should go away to some degree, but it doesn’t. Perhaps the problem is then with society and the economy, which rewards individualism, credentials, and merit too much, while ‘collectivist’ things like family and religion are pushed to the periphery. Maybe the ‘expectation gap’ is another problem: men leave college with high expectations of job security, only to be disillusioned when reality falls short. Also, people are failing because they are not smart enough, don’t have the skills, or the economy is too competitive.

Ultimately, the problem is both cultural and economic, alluding to a post on Slavoj Zizek – a mix between Economic and Dialectic materialism.

Related to to the far-left, there are elements of Marxism, such as the passage from part 3:

In a modern democracy, power is not exercised by the people but by those who control the means of production, replication, and dissemination of ideas, narratives, arguments, explanations, data-points, “science” etc.

This is similar to a passage by the Christian anarchist and philosopher Jacques Ellul, who argued that modern technology was a threat to human freedom and religion:

…man himself is exalted, and paradoxical though it may seem to be, this means the crushing of man. Man’s enslavement is the reverse side of the glory, value, and importance that are ascribed to him. The more a society magnifies human greatness, the more one will see men alienated, enslaved, imprisoned, and tortured, in it. Humanism prepares the ground for the anti-human. We do not say that this is an intellectual paradox. All one need do is read history. Men have never been so oppressed as in societies which set man at the pinnacle of values and exalt his greatness or make him the measure of all things. For in such societies freedom is detached from its purpose, which is, we affirm, the glory of God.[62]

Science (such as Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution), reason (liberalism), and the worship of technology (Saint of Steve Jobs) – all products of The Enlightenment – had replaced god, a view that is shared by many reactionaries:

But since then, scientism (through Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution) and reason (higher criticism and liberal theology) have desacralized the scriptures, and the sciences, particularly those applied sciences that are amenable to the aims of collective economic production (be it capitalist, socialist, or communist), have been elevated to the position of sacred in Western culture.

Even if this is true, I have a more optimistic outlook, because technology improves living standards. Surveys also show a positive correlation between GDP and happiness:

But also, another problem is many on the far-left also oppose technology, on the grounds that technology eliminates jobs, creates pollution, causes wealth inequality, or separates workers from the ‘means of production’. The problem is there is a potential contradiction: If NRx, in contrast to welfare-liberalism, opposes redistributionism and egalitarianism, then attacking technology and capitalism plays into the hands of the left. Technology and capitalism accentuates and magnifies individual differences, with the smartest and most productive moving ahead of the pack, the opposite of egalitarianism. NRx should be celebrating this, as do I.

But then the issue of technological unemployment arises, and programs like the UBI have been floated as solutions. It’s possible ‘post scarcity‘ may be obtained in the economic sense, but individuals may still notice inequity between them, even if all basic needs are met.

Although Ted Kaczynski, another Luddite, argues that technology and depression (although Dysthymia seems more accurate; depression is too strong of a word) are correlated:

Imagine a society that subjects people to conditions that make them terribly unhappy, then gives them the drugs to take away their unhappiness. Science fiction? It is already happening to some extent in our own society. It is well known that the rate of clinical depression had been greatly increasing in recent decades. We believe that this is due to disruption of the power process…[66]

Another possibility is that doctors have gotten better at diagnosing depression, and that more depressed people are seeking treatment, not that rate of depression has increased.

Marxism and its related anarchist and socialist ideologies are all too alluring, which could explain their popularity among intellectuals both on the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ – ‘if only we can cleanse the world this worship of technology and money, everything will be wonderful’.

Rather than trying to fix society and undo progressivism, which is a near-impossible undertaking, I advocate self-improvement, which is considerably easier. For example, if it’s a foregone conclusion that techno-commercialism will win (which I think it will), then buy index funds like the S&P 500 and companies like Google and Amazon, to take advantage of this. This is something almost anyone can do, and while it won’t change society, it will improve your own financial well-being, especially given that social security may not exist in a couple decades if the welfare state collapses under its own weight.

Even after all these posts, it’s still hard to make sense of it all, at times.

Liberal Smugness, or Something Else

The smug style in American liberalism

Beginning in the middle of the 20th century, the working class, once the core of the coalition, began abandoning the Democratic Party. In 1948, in the immediate wake of Franklin Roosevelt, 66 percent of manual laborers voted for Democrats, along with 60 percent of farmers. In 1964, it was 55 percent of working-class voters. By 1980, it was 35 percent.

This mirrors the decline of union membership, more so than Americans becoming less liberal. As industrial and unionized labor falls, now it’s middle/lower-income service sector workers filling the ranks of the ‘left’.

But is liberalism really that ‘smug’. If smug is synonymous with elitist, one can argue Sander’s campaign is the antithesis of elitism and is in fact very inclusive and populist, provided you’re not a banker. Despite supposed ties to Wall St., even Hillary’s campaign is pretty inclusive in her pandering to various minority groups and significant minority support (a common criticism of Sanders is that he failed to ‘win over’ minorities).

So what type of liberalism is smug? Or does smugness cross political lines? Is it liberalism, or something else?

It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence — not really — but by the failure of half the country to know what’s good for them.

Hmmm… but as an example of elitism on the ‘right’, neoconservatives are also anti-populist and prescriptivist – people should summit to TSA screenings, for the good of national security; people should support tax cuts for high-income earners, for the good of the economy. And for the ‘left’ – people should signup for Obamacare, for or the ‘good’ of public healthcare; people should stop buying guns, for the ‘good’ of public safety.

So perhaps smugness is just another world for ‘prescriptivism’, and is related to anti-democracy – the notion that the masses are incapable rational judgment and decision making and should acquiesce to ‘experts’.

Maybe there is a hybrid ideology that combines neoconservative and neoliberal prescriptivism (people should support free trade, for the good of the economy) with the ethos personal responsibility and individualism (‘culture of self’) that is found in the ‘right’ and various libertarian ideologies (if people fail, it’s because they are either dumb and or lazy), that could be considered smug and elitist.

Entering the ‘Grey Zone’

How to Be Grumpy: Aaron Clarey’s The Curse of the High IQ

This passage stood out:

Look, kid. (I was born in the first week of ’75, so there’s no way he’s older than I am.) Are you aware that Voltaire was repeatedly deported and imprisoned in the goddamn Bastille for bringing about the very Enlightenment that allows you to have a free market to analyze? You root for the Stefan Molyneux podcast on your show. How can you not be aware of the fact that Socrates was freaking killed by the mob for his efforts to bring reason and evidence to Western civilization?

We upbraid SJW-types for their ingratitude, bitching about European culture while enjoying the comforts that the dreaded white males have invented for us. Well, maybe you could say a little thanks to Voltaire for going through all that crap so you can have the freedom to make a grand a day consulting.

It was philosophy and literature that built the ideological framework for the liberties we enjoy. Stefan Molyneux doesn’t spread free market ideas by writing code, he does it with philosophy. The Marquis de Sade suffered in the Bastille too, just so you could have Internet porn. The fact that green-haired idiots whose written English is no better than Clarey’s have taken over literature departments doesn’t mean freaking John Locke was an idle playboy. That’s like saying the entire gaming industry is worthless because Anita Sarkeesian thinks she’s part of it.

Here we see Ann Sterzinger entering the ‘grey zone’, supporting some ‘enlightenment’, particularly as it pertains to intellectual output, but rejecting SJW-liberalism and egalitarianism. But then you invoke the slippery slope argument, which is that a little liberalism will eventually lead to full-blown liberalism.

I also agree with this passage:

As if I weren’t already enough of a freak, my elementary school decided to deal with it by making me skip a grade, which guaranteed I would get the crap beat out of me on the regular by the bigger, older farm girls. Not that there was anything else to do with me. “Gifted and talented” programs were limited to a one-year experiment when I was in fifth or sixth grade; all of the extra money in the tiny budget was already eaten up by the special education programs. Because morons are “special.” (And then they were shocked when I took up with Ayn Rand in high school.)

Reforming education, to stop throwing money at the ‘bad’ (the far-left side of the Bell Curve), is a good start, and is an example of a ‘grey zone’ policy.

To codify this as ideology, reactionary realism is about understanding reality as it is and then acting accordingly, eschewing wishful thinking and sensationalism (like Peter Schiff, Zerohedge, and other doom and other ‘doom and gloom’ prophets and gold peddlers). Related, the ‘rationalist right’ combines elements of rationalism and empiricism, with right-wing perspectives on economics, defense and homeland security, HBD, and sociology, as well as a being pro-technology and pro-civilization. Sorta like HBD meets neoconservatism, with some anarcho capitalism and classical liberalism spliced in, and rejecting most if not all democratic institutions, to be replaced by a fundamentally different ‘system’, as Mark Yurray writes:

The alt-right is a racialist populist movement that views mass immigration as a problem to be solved with right-wing populist politics…

….The neoreactionary solution to this problem is not right-wing populism, but a reboot of the government: retire the millions of public workers and put one CEO/King in absolute power with the authority to steer the country along the best path he can see.

Although he leans centrist, Josh Brown of The Reformed Broker could be a recent example of someone who is both pro-capitalism and technology, is empirically minded, and rejects populism, hype, and sensationalism. Further on the right, George Gilder may be another example, who despite being pro-technology (I mention this because some on the ‘right’ mistakenly lump technology with liberalism, when technology and NRx can be compatible.) and supporting free markets, is a vocal critic of feminism and the breakdown of the family structure. Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel are possibly others.

Good policy‘ should advance civilization, even if such policy is unpopular with a constituent, deviates from conventional thinking (heterodoxy), an or is temporarily inconvenient and or requires short-term sacrifice (consequentialism, categorical imperative). The 2008 bank bailouts, for example, could be seen as being ‘pro-civilization’ by stemming the bleeding (which policy could have prevented, but assuming that such preventative measured were impossible, necessitating intervention) at the cost of the ‘free market’ being temporarily suspended in the process. Despite the bailouts being hated by everyone, however, in the long run, it was a ‘success’ by enabling free market capitalism to thrive afterward (success like Tesla, Facebook, Uber, etc), by stemming the bleeding from the weakest sectors (housing, banking) so the healthier sectors could thrive (retail, payment processing, internet, etc) instead of being weighed-down. In evolutionary theory, species die because they cannot adapt, due to a lack of variation. Mutations (deviations) allow some to survive changing environments. Likewise, policy should be flexible enough to adapt to changing environments.

Related: WHY GREY ENLIGHTENMENT?, Brief Into

I Can Tolerate Anything Except Factual Inaccuracies

This story is going hugely viral: Economist Removed from Plane for Algebra

The outpouring of sympathy and firestorm of righteous indignation, similar to that observed after the Ahmed Mohamed clock story, is more evidence we’re in an era of the ‘STEM celebrity‘, of which economics is part of. Had an obese snoring passenger been removed from the plane for being an annoyance, no one would have cared. Nor would anyone have cared had a lawyer been removed from the plane for being suspicious. A major reason why STEM is so respected compared to other professions is because it’s seen as a last bastion of intellectual purity and rigor in a world of materialism, fluff degrees, sensationalism, partisanship, and hype. In effect, STEM and its practitioners have become our new ‘priesthood’, who people turn to for answers and respect.

The title “I Can Tolerate Anything Except Factual Inaccuracies” is a play on the Scott’s famous article “I Can Tolerate Anything But the Outgroup” which went hugely viral, getting over 10,000 Facebook shares. What I mean by this is when reading the comments in response to the plane story (or almost any news story where there is ostensibly a victim and an oppressor), there is a difference in reaction depending on the intelligence of the commenters. For commenters of average intelligence (group A), the tendency is to reduce things to black and white ‘good vs evil’ dichotomy. Prima facie, the passenger was victimized; the airline is evil/wrong. End of story.

For more intelligent commenters (group B), there is a need to ‘understand’ the motive for why the passenger was ejected (maybe the airline had a perfectly good reason to so, or the woman was justified in some way to complain), beyond just ‘good vs. evil’, playing devil’s advocate, as well as dispelling any factual inaccuracies in reporting. They are sorta like antibodies of the internet and online journalism, latching on to inaccuracies and omissions wherever they may infiltrate. In other words, for smart people, accuracy and the ‘truth’ tends to be more important than ‘tribal’ loyalty or whether something is ‘bad or good’ or ‘right or wrong’.

Here’s a contrived example comparing these two different styles of discourse (group A):

Group B:

This is related to intellectualism signalling, contrarian signaling, and counter signaling. For smart people, not being being too wed to a ‘tribe’ or a fixed ideology is a way of signalling intelligence, worldliness, and critical thinking to other smart people, thus boosting status. Trying to find inaccuracies and counterarguments is some sort of bizarre ‘game’ played by public participants. It’s like….we agree on ‘X’, but I will defend ‘Y’ if it somehow boosts my status among other members of ‘X’.

In addition to playing devil’s advocate and contrarian signaling, another type of signaling is virtue or holiness signaling, whereby a commenter will tacitly agree with the article…but then raise a big issue about the absence of ‘X’, about how the article or author doesn’t take it ‘far enough’, or how the author’s personal credentials may compromise his thesis. In nitpicking, posturing, and pestering, the commenter may be trying to to gain status by one-upping the author.

This probably is why NRx and ‘rationalists’, as much as they may disagree on certain issues, keep commingling…because they both seem to reject simplistic, prosaic, or reductionist views of the world and humanity, seeking or gravitating to more complicated, nuanced explanations and solutions.

On one hand this is good: inquisitiveness and Socratic questioning helps debunk SJW-hoaxes and is keeping the media in check. However, always putting ‘correctness’ above group affinity or loyalty may impede the ability to formalize anything, because too much effort is expended arguing over loose ends. For writers, it means constantly having to use ‘hedging language‘ in anticipation of the inevitable counterexamples that will arise and may be pointed out in forums and discussions. I think it can get out of hand. It you read something and find a counterexample even though you otherwise agree with the rest of the essay, maybe just keep that observation to yourself. We all want to be right, but that means someone else has to be wrong.

Order – Right vs. Left

From Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution: What are the core differences between Republicans and Democrats?

First, the meta-narrative…look at the impressive share stats on the bottom. Why was this article so popular. This seems to tie into the post-2013 centrism boom; instead of taking sides, presenting everything from the perspective omnipotent, somewhat impartial observer who pokes holes into the arguments of both sides.

Scott Adams’ blog has also seen an explosion in popularity since 2015, with Scott casting himself as a hyper-rational pro-Trump centrist and expert on human behavioral psychology, in a sea of ‘moist robots‘.

Another distinction but not mentioned by Tyler, is that Republicans ‘the right’, as well as rationalists, tend to believe in a ‘natural order’ [2] or hierarchy of society and people [1] ; for welfare liberals, such order may not exist or the state should ‘force’ order through wealth redistribution and entitlement spending to create a more equal outcome. Libertarian-leaning ideologies believe that ‘order’ tends to be inevitable (as a consequence of intrinsic individual differences), and should be forced by a state or organization.

[1] For traditionalist republicans, such an order may be parochial, familial, or patriarchal. For HBD, neoconservatives, rationalist right, and some classical liberals, the ‘order’ may be economic and or biological (Darwinian Conservatism and Social Darwinism, rejection of ‘blank slate’)

[2] To clarify, I delineate between two types of ‘order’ – natural (such ans HBD, Social Darwinism), and constructed (societal, families, patriarchal/matriarchal, government). Economic ‘order’ may be a mixture of both, in that smarter people tend to rise to the top in free market economies.

Or as below:

HBD conservative /rationalist right – biological (HBD and biological determinism) and economic ‘order’ , free market capitalism (Social Darwinism)

Traditionalist conservative – religious, nationalist, and family ‘order’, less HBD, less free market capitalism

Neoconservative – same as above but more free market capitalism (market ‘order’)

Welfare liberal, communist – reject biological and economic order; support re-distributive state ‘order’

Socialist Libertarian, anarchist syndicalist, post-structuralism, Frankfurt School – tend to reject biological, nationalist, and economic order

Classical liberal, neoliberal, rationalist left – ‘order’ may be biological and or economic , as well as ‘order’ through institutions like police and military (similar to conservatives).

The left and right share many similarities in supporting ‘order’, with only the far-left as a major outlier, which is probably why many on the extreme ends of the political spectrum perceive both the mainstream ‘left’ and ‘right’ as being the same. An article by Fredrik deBoer Democrats always prove the commies right is an example of far-left’s dissatisfaction with the mainstream ‘left’. However, many academics on the ‘left’ tend to wary of authoritarian Marxism, preferring libertarian Marxism/Socialism, knowing that under authoritarian far-left regimes the intelligentsia tend to be persecuted.

Related:

Classification of Ideologies
Neo Masculinity and Christianity, Darwinian Conservatism, Free Will, Biological Reality

Individualism Vs. Thede

There is a schism on ‘alt right’ (as well as the ‘mainstream right’) about individualism vs. ‘thede’ or state, and how to strike a balance between the two.

First, an article about the radioactivity of individualism

…which is contrasted by an article about the ‘borg’, denouncing the ills of too much collectivism.

There is the same penchant for heavy-handed “for your own good” tyranny (which the left inevitably puts on display as soon as they feel secure in their power); the same forced collectivism and sense of an entitlement to impose their ways on others by any means necessary

This is similar to the divide on the ‘right’ over libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, and neocons, who tend to favor free markets, defense spending, individualism, and autonomy, versus the religious/traditional right, who are more skeptical of free markets and too much individualism, supporting close-knit communities united by tradition, fraternity, and ethnicity. Paleocons and traditionalists argue that unbridled capitalism – especially free markets – subverts tradition and borders, promotes amorality, and hurts native workers.

Ross Douthat expounds on this divide, in which the paleocons/traditionalists represent the ‘base’ and the neocons the ‘establishment’. Up until 2008 or so with the ignominious end of the Bush administration, the GOP was united, but it has since splintered into these two dissenting factions, and this is especially evident in the 2016 campaign, with Trump representing the ‘base’ and Rubio, Cruz, and Jeb the ‘establishment’. Ross Argues that the divide dates back earlier than 2008, although Reagan also enjoyed a near-plurality of support by the right during much of his presidency, and Bush, while in ‘exile’ now, had very high approval ratings after 911 and much of two terms office.

We need to make up our minds. The mixed economy we have presently seem to blend individuality (free markets, individual autonomy, etc) with some sort of government to hold it together. This is similar to the ‘partial libertarian’ or ‘watchman state’ approach advocated by Rothbard and Nozick – some ‘state’ to hold everything together and enforce laws, defense, and the border, but otherwise low regulation, low taxes, free markets and personal autonomy.

I prefer individualism over collectivism, even if the former tends to be a bit radioactive. Perhaps an ideal ‘state’ would be akin to United Arab Emirates and Qatar, which have capitalism and some degree of personal autonomy but also religious and cultural homogeneity. But even those countries, as culturally conservative as they are, have a lot of foreign laborers, which racialists on the ‘alt right’ would not condone. But it’s probably too late for the United States to reverse its course, being that it’s already too diverse, too entrenched in the ‘status quo’, and too populous. However, it’s still better than many of the alternatives. Brazil, for example, which is in recession and has high inflation. Or Russia , which is also sluggish and has a lot of problems. Europe, particularly Northern Europe, is even more politically correct than America, is flooded by refugees, and has a worse economy.

Related: Alt Right Part 2, and the NRx Endgame

Scott, Utilitarians, The Rational Middle, Scientism, and Liberals

But he has no enemies to the left, and no friends to the right, which means that all his friends are his enemies, and all his enemies are his friends.

It would seem like there’s a mutual respect and camaraderie between Scott Alexander (and also Scott Adams), who represents the ‘rational middle’ or ‘rational left‘, and those on the ‘rational right’, which includes elements of NRx an the ‘alt right’. The ‘mainstream right’, on the other hand, probably doesn’t know who he is.

Scott does an adequate job entertaining opposing views, or at least more so than most or all ‘mainstream’ leftists. He at least discusses topics that we (HBD-enthusiasts,alt-righters, etc) may find interesting, and even though we may disagree with the conclusions he arrives at, many leftists wont even consider these topics, pretending they don’t exist and completely shutting-out debate.

In Solvent, the rise of centrism and the likes of Scott is about a ‘return’ of the pendulum to the middle after swinging too far to the left in 2012, now with the post-2013 SWJ backlash and gamergate, moving to the middle again, online at least. The ‘rational left’, unlike the welfare left, is generally opposed to Communism, collectivism and other elements of the ‘welfare left‘.

As an example of how the ‘rational middle’ differs from the ‘welfare left’ , consider the recent leftist, pro-Sanders outrage over Hillary not tipping at a visit to Chipotle. To the Sanders’ supporter, what immediately comes to mind (just by the headline, without actually reading the story) is, ‘what a stingy, mean person!’ The rationalist, however, considers the possibility that maybe Hillary paid with a credit card, making it impossible to leave a tip in a jar, or that Hillary didn’t have any spare change, or that she was in a hurry and tipping didn’t come to mind, or that Hillary doesn’t carry pocket change with her, or that someone else paid for it. The point is, there are other, more plausible explanations for why she didn’t tip besides being her being a bad person. As it turns out, Hillary paid $21 for a $20 meal and didn’t dip. So what. It’s not a big deal, but the radical left is looking for any excuse to portray Hillary in a negative light, understandably. Rationalism isn’t about excusing reprobate behavior, but rather considering the most plausible or likely explanation for something.

Also, the post-2013 SJW backlash has to do with a disillusionment among millennial Obama voters over the failure of liberalism. From 2008 to 2012, there was much optimism by the left over Obama, which soon faded. OWS, for example, went nowhere. And student loan debt is still higher than ever, and the job market still sucks for many millennials despite record high profits & earnings. Millennials realize that leftism isn’t working – it hasn’t lived up to its expectations.

As part of the post-2013 wealth and intellectualism synthesis, millennials want to be rich instead of being poor, and that means not attacking the rich, as leftists do, but going with the ‘flow’ and trying understand how wealth is created, learning financial independence and literacy, being rational, and understanding economics, finance, and the link between socioeconomic outcomes and biology. In light of the failure of OWS and the disappointment of Obama, many millennials realize that it’s more productive to emulate the rich and successful than waging class warfare and holding class envy. High-IQ people are also getting rich in web 2.0, while other smart people are making headlines with physics discoveries, and many millennials aspire to be like these tech and science luminaries, not poor, disgruntled, low-IQ losers who pound sand. People get rich and successful by creating value and producing merit, and despite the social and economic problems that still persist, the meritocracy is largely intact. With the left losing the economics war, now millennials realize, as part of the post-2013 centrism ‘boom’, that maybe the system, for it’s flaws, isn’t so bad, and that making money and being self-sufficient is better than fighting a futile war against the tide of civilization and progress.

‘Theory’, whether it’s economics theory or a theory in math or physics, have become the new ‘sacraments’ of post-2008 America. Empiricism is also important, too. The idea is that math and physics (theory) can fill the gaps of knowledge and explain the world. This is like Scientism 2.0, but I don’t mean this pejoratively. Science is preferable to low-information social justice and pandering. People aren’t falling behind because of institutional racism or greed, but rather because some people aren’t smart enough to be competitive in our hyper-competitive ‘results-orientated’ economy.

Pragmatism and utilitarianism need not be the exclusive domain of the left. Right-wing versions of pragmatism and utilitarianism can also exist – programs like eugenics, more funding for gifted education, high-tech funding, lower taxes, the occasional financial bailout, high-IQ basic income, etc. Euthanasia and rationed healthcare (by IQ, for example) are ways to maximize resources and reduce entitlement spending, in the spirit of utilitarianism but with a right-wing bias.

But I don’t think Scott is your typical SJW-leftist.

Exactly so. Scott will furtively acknowledge differences in IQ, but refuses to even conceive of differences in agency.

That’s better than being oblivious. Scott has a lot at stake. His blog is very popular and he’s trying to branch into fiction. Being too closely associated with the ‘alt right’ may detrimental to the ‘good will’ he has built over the years as a liberal. The ‘rational middle’ seems to be the ‘sweetspot’. It’s a formula that seems to have worked very well for him as well as Scott Adams and other bloggers. The ‘rational middle’ will criticize both sides, whereas mainstream liberals will only criticize the ‘right’. Criticizing both sides and not being beholden to either the red or blue ‘tribe’ helps build your intellectual credibility, even it makes some of people mad, as Scott showed in his ‘hate mail’ post. Detractors tend to be very visible and vocal in their feedback, which belies the popularity of centrism and the ‘rational middle’, or at least as shown by traffic figures. Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are other examples of ‘rational’ leftists who have have received more criticism from the left for going against the grain in criticizing feminism and Islam than they have ever received from the right, yet Dawkins’ star keeps rising as his credibility grows by criticizing the the more irrational elements of his ‘tribe’.

Scott takes centrism seriously, to a fault. I remember posting on his blog awhile ago and he got annoyed that I used labels like ‘left’ and liberals’ on one of my comments, and I had rack my mind to find a way to re-word the comment without those terms. As a part of the ‘rational right’, I believe in realism and rationalism should be a guiding principle, but I don’t hesitate to use labels.

Trying to ‘convert’ Scott, or having him see the error of his ways, is futile, nor should we want to. He will do his thing; we will do ours. Through his anti-reactionary FAQ and other posts, he has brought more attention to NRx than most bloggers, as his blog is immensely popular.

Intellect: The Universal Solvent

In late December 2015, Scott Alexander’s How Bad Are Things article went massivly viral, with accolades from both right-wing and left-wing communities and forums, which got me (and others) thinking about how Scott is consistently able to transcend the left/right bulwark. Normally, people write articles for a specific audience or clique in mind, and spillovers [1] are uncommon. For the right, it’s National Review and Brietbart articles, for example, which are read and written by conservatives. For the left, it’s Mother Jones and Salon, both read and written predominately by liberals. But Scott’s articles seem to appeal to everyone, with audiences as diverse as NRx on the far-right, to socialist and Marxist communities on the far-left. It’s especially impressive, however, how Scott was ingratiated into the NRx community/movement [2], almost becoming an ‘honorary reactionary’, despite being somewhat critical of NRx and holding political and social views that could be antithetical to NRx.

So how did he do it. It boils down to four reasons, which I will expound on:

1. He’s competent and authentic, which helps him forge bonds with other smart people irrespective of ideology.
2. As well as a good writer, he’s a good ‘listener’, entertaining both sides of an argument instead of bludgeoning readers with only his beliefs.
3. The post-2013 centrism ‘boom’ and the rise of the ‘rational middle‘ and the ‘contrarian mainstream’, in rejecting ‘low information’ partisanship, demagoguery, sentimentalism, and sensationalism from both the left and the right.
4. Related to number 3, a recent demand for more evolved, in-depth discourse.

Consider the L. Ron Hubbard quote above, but replace ‘communication’ with ‘intellect’ or ‘competence’, which are almost interchangeable. NRX, unlike the ‘mainstream/Fox News’ right, is more intellectual, with themes of theology, philosophy, epistemology, existentialism, sociology, futurism, economics, and history imbued in NRx writings, rather than just petulant ‘libs bad/cons good’ screeds. But NRx is obviously right-wing, yet Scott and the ‘rational left?’ are able to forge some middle ground with NRx and the ‘alt right’, with intellectualism as the solvent allows these two groups that are otherwise in many ways ideologically dissimilar to commingle. Ideologically and intellectually, Scott is neither a phony nor a poseur, and he exudes authenticity. Being a mental health worker, Scott bears witness to the ‘human condition’ on a daily basis, lending his firsthand account to issues that are otherwise obfuscated by academia or trivialized, editorialized, or sensationalized by the pageview-powered digital media. It doesn’t get anymore authentic than that. In writing about mental disorders or ingroup/outgroup dynamics, many people – both on the left and the right – can relate, having either experienced ostracization or mental illness themselves or knowing someone who has. Scott is knowledgeable (specifically, in his domain of human psychology and internet subcultures), and that’s how you reach across the aisle – through competence, and being forthright and open-minded, which I discuss in more detail in Why Dale Carnegie is Wrong. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, in our post-2013 centrism boom, arrogant, low-information [3] zealotry is generally frowned upon, especially by other smart people and online. For example, Scott, being a psychologist, has the intellectual credentials to support his opinions, while also being charitable towards his intellectual opponents, and that makes him respected by all sides. [4] It’s virtually impossible to create an argument that is so strong as to be impervious to criticism from the other side, and trying will only make you seem arrogant and unintelligent, not worldly and persuasive.

Scott’s success is also symptomatic or emblematic of a tectonic shift in online media and journalism from sensationalism and partisanship that was characteristic the pre-2013 era, to post-2013 era of centrism, ‘long form’ journalism, and rationalism, filling an insatiable demand by millions of smart, young people, especially since 2013, for the unvarnished, unmolested truth instead of pleasantries wrapped in a pretty bow of political correctness. But at the same time, millennials have also become impervious to sales pitches, hype, and demagoguery. The smartest generation not only detests phoniness and insincerity, but are masters at detecting it. In an era of fact checking and defensive writing, skepticism is the new earnestness. If you think you are going to impress the smartest, most empirically minded generation ever with your bold proclamations, over-generalizations, and partisanship, you will be put in your place (as Malcom Gladwell learned the hard way in an AMA where astute Redditors poked holes in his pseudoscience flim-flam). The purist of truth – the good, the bad and the ugly – is paramount, and this is evidenced by how taboos are being smashed, with the rise of the ‘contrarian mainstream’ – stories and websites such as Slate, Thought Catalog, Wait But Why, Vice, Daily Elite, Quillette, and Scott’s blog, Slate Star Codex, that introduce potentially controversial ideas (such as that parenting may be ineffective, why IQ matters, etc) that may have been samizdat just as recently as a decade ago, but are disseminated to a much larger audience and with much approval instead of offence. Smart people on both the left and the right choose Truth, even if feelings aren’t spared, over being spoon-fed pablum. Taking offence too easily and holding ideological grudges (even if it’s against Hitler) impedes the free flow of knowledge, is un-intellectual (too provincial), and is seen as inauthentic.

Centrism neither new nor original; it’s a device Bill Maher has used for comedic effect, for years, poking fun at demagogues on both sides, but it seems to have taken the internet by storm since 2013 or so, probably as part of the post-2013 SJW backlash, and with the rise of ‘rationalist culture’ which rejects emotive demagoguery. In the years following the election of Obama, the pendulum swung too far to the left and now it’s returning to the middle (or at least online it is). This reversion to the middle is not only observed on popular social news site like 4chan, HackerNews, and Reddit, but in even academia; for example, the liberal bias in the social sciences, which for years went undetected or ignored, is finally getting much needed coverage. This ‘reversion to the middle’ could explain is why there is a backlash by ‘normal’ liberals against SJW-liberals. People see that the ‘rational middle’ is about empiricism and facts rather than being wed to a flimsy ideology. That’s why in recent years ‘social news’ sites like Reddit, 4chan, and HackerNews have become so popular – going so far as threatening the turf of the dumbed-down mainstream media – and even though these sites have different subcultures (some of them possibly quite offensive to the uninitiated), they all converge in rejecting partisanship, sentimentalism, and sensationalism in favor of nuance and intellectualism – specifically, truth and understanding.

Between 2008-2012, both the right and the left were duking it out over Obama, Obamacare, and OWS, but with Obamacare not going anywhere, OWS a failure, and with the economy and nation in autopilot mode, perhaps a pervasive, almost cynical, centrism has dawned, almost a resignation that change is impossible. From 2008-2012, both the right and the left had high hopes, but now empty handed, with gridlock, the status quo, and ‘politics as usual’ winning. As a result, ‘Preaching to the choir’ seems to be going out of fashion, whereas in the pre-2008 era people were more inclined to obediently rally behind causes. With the back-to-back disappointments of Obama and Bush, the choirs have disbanded, and people are disaffected and tired of the shallowness and pandering that constitutes much of modern American politics. Instead of dumbing it down, you have to smarten things up. There is a budding demand for more evolved political discourage, and people, particularly smart, well-informed people online on either side of the political spectrum, are tired of the stale, insincere platitudes, factual inaccuracies, and pandering from politicians. [5] But, interestingly, they are tired of low-information pundits distorting or oversimplifying the views of politicians, which is why some on the ‘left’ are defending Donald Trump, arguing that Trump is more than just a hairpiece, but rather a brilliant tactician who is playing the media rather than the media playing him. Scott Adams, another major figure of the ‘contrarian mainstream’, also argues this point.

From The Archdruid Report, Donald Trump and the Politics of Resentment:

The centerpiece of most of these insults, when they’re not simply petulant schoolboy taunts aimed at Trump’s physical appearance, is the claim that he’s stupid. This is hardly surprising, as a lot of people on the leftward end of American culture love to use the kind of demeaning language that attributes idiocy to those who disagree with them.

This agrees with how smart people, on both the left and right, are tired of puerile, immature discourse in the media’s coverage of politics and politicians, even if such language is directed at politicians they [these smart people] don’t personally endorse. In the post-2013 era of centrism and intellectualism, ‘truth’ and ‘understanding’ transcends political ties. Being childish is the antithesis of being smart.

Despite the empty rhetoric about hope and change that surrounded his 2008 campaign, after all, Obama continued the policies of his predecessor George W. Bush so unswervingly that we may as well call those policies—the conventional wisdom or, rather, the conventional folly of early 21st-century American politics—the Dubyobama consensus.

And this second passage shows the failure of both the left and right, paving the way for centrism.

This bipartisan dissatisfaction is echoed in a column America the Unfair, by Nicholas Kristoff, and in a Forbes article Why ‘The System’ Is Rigged And The US Electorate Is Angry:

“A common thread,” writes columnist Nicholas Kristoff, “is that this country is no longer working for many ordinary citizens.” The anger is bipartisan, although the lists of suspected villains differ.

This rise of centrism is exemplified in a blog post on Medium, The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb, which went viral, about how understanding your opponent is as important, if not more, than understanding your own views, and how merely understanding is perhaps better than trying to change minds.

As any debate club veteran knows, if you can’t make your opponent’s point for them, you don’t truly grasp the issue. We can bemoan political gridlock and a divisive media all we want. But we won’t truly progress as individuals until we make an honest effort to understand those that are not like us. And you won’t convince anyone to feel the way you do if you don’t respect their position and opinions.

A dare for the next time you’re in discussion with someone you disagree with: Don’t try to “win.” Don’t try to “convince” anyone of your viewpoint. Don’t score points by mocking them to your peers. Instead try to “lose.” Hear them out. Ask them to convince you and mean it. No one is going to tell your environmentalist friends that you merely asked follow up questions after your brother made his pro-fracking case.

For example, Scott doesn’t pigeonhole either side, instead considering the merits and faults of both, with perhaps a small bias of his own, but otherwise letting the reader decide and not making his bias so obvious that it draws too much attention to itself. In a 2015 article LOOKING A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH, one of Scott’s most popular articles ever, he weighs both the merit and the faults of anti-SJW moment, and how the anti-SJW movement may have overplayed its hand by crossing the line into extremism at the cost of credibility.

First, he considers the merits of the anti-SJW argument – how the SJWs are behaving like bullies by going after innocent administrators and teachers:

Or to be even more cynical: social justice was supposed to be Yale’s weapon against Caltech and Podunk. But now Yale students are using it against Yale professors and administrators, and now it’s a problem. It’s like the police beating up city council members with the truncheons they usually reserve for poor ghetto-dwellers; you can bet there will be a newfound concern about police brutality at city council meetings.

But then he criticizes anti-SJW extremism, arguing how extremism backfires by becoming the medium instead of the message:

I think that is the problem. When creepy white supremacists criticize social justice, they’re at no risk of taking over the wider SJ-critical movement. As the old saying goes, white supremacists are the best argument against white supremacy, and most of them couldn’t take over a blanket fort with a flamethrower. But rhetorically-gifted Yale professors who get thinkpieces published in The Atlantic are exactly the sort of people who would take over the wider SJ-critical movement, become its most important voice, and define what it means both to the rest of the world and to its own members.

He doesn’t even call it anti-SJW, but rather ‘SJ-critical’ which, perhaps, is less politically polarizing. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Scott’s articles are thoroughly researched and well-written – pretty much on par with professional journalists, whose job is it to write articles that have broad enough appeal to sustain a large readership, but still edgy or contrarian enough to keep people curious and coming back, and yet not so partisan or judgmental as to alienate too many potential readers. Professional writers have a knack for creating content that appeals to a lot of people – almost by anticipating the reader, tapping into the reader’s thoughts, fears and desires, while composing the message in such a way as to cross political and economic barriers, almost like walking an ideological tightrope. With subtlety and tact, playing the ‘middle ground’ or ‘splitting the difference’, can help spur discussion on issues or perspectives that are overlooked, or to introduce new, potentially controversial ideas to an audience that is not yet inculcated. Using this incrementalist approach, Scott has been effective at nudging the Overton window on certain issues, particularity in raising valid criticisms of SJWs.

But also, Scott and his blog can be likened to the hub of a giant bicycle wheel with each spoke representing a viewpoint or ideology that he links out to, similar to Marc Andreessen on Twitter:

….Mr. Andreessen is like the hub of a wheel with each spoke representing a differing view/perspective that links back to him, creating a symbiosis of sorts between the hub (Andreessen) and all the people (spokes) he interacts with. But also, Mr. Andreessen cannot be pigeonholed as either being resolutely ‘left’ or ‘right’, as his views encompass the full-range of the political spectrum…

Instead of being insular, by constantly linking out, you become the source or the hub. People come the the ‘hub’ to see whats trendy, what’s important. Another example of a successful hub is Peter Woit’s immensely popular physics blog, Not Even Wrong, which everyday is visited by leading physicists and mathematicians, as well as thousands of science enthusiasts the world over, because Mr. Woit has positioned himself as a ‘go-to’ source for the latest happenings in physics, by constantly linking out, even to things he doesn’t agree with. Personally, he’s skeptical of string theory, but he links to eminent string theorists all the time, demonstrating not only open-mindedness on his part, but how intellectual bonds are stronger than ideological ones. Two physicists who disagree about the structure of the universe can find common ground in their high intelligence, their appreciation of science, and their quest for truth and understanding.

[1] There is perhaps a bigger spillover for left-leaning content than right-wing content. Conservatives like iSteve, for example, share Salon, Slate, and New York Times articles a lot, but liberals seldom share National Review, Breitbart, or iSteve articles. Conservatives may be more likely to entertain opposing views than liberals.

[2] Some argue NRx is not a movement, because a ‘movement’ implies revolution, and NRx is supposed to be counterrevolutionary.

[3] Although one could consider the likes of Vox Day and Moldbug to be zealots, they are very well-informed of the issues and competent, which make them authentic and intelligent, and not ‘low information’. As I explain below, people, especially online, are tired of low-information zealotry. Also, many on the ‘alt right’, as opposed to the ‘mainstream right’, do a pretty good job entertaining opposing viewpoints. The ‘rationalist left’ also does a good job in this regard, too, compared to the ‘mainstream left’.

Take, for example, the Frankfurt School, which many on the right dismiss as simply ‘Cultural Marxism’, and this is largely correct, but there is a small upwelling among the ‘alt right’ to re-examine it, as Frankfurt School, despite being ‘leftist’, is critical of both mainstream liberal and conservative critiques. Low-information, mainstream liberals just blindly assume democracy and freedom will fix everything, and the Frankfurt School is critical of this reductionist view.

[4] How about Paul Krugman? Isn’t he competent and an expert? He’s not a hub, only entertaining views he agrees with, with a tendency of turning his ideological opponents into straw men. Also, he’s too liberal, too indoctrinated to a preexisting orthodoxy to appeal to rationalists.

[5]That’s why Hillary’s recent ‘Hispandering‘ was met with so much derision, even from the left, whereas if this occurred in 1996 there probably would not have been much of a backlash. Nowadays, people see right through it.

Moderates

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.