Tag Archives: nihilism

Nihilism and the Black Pill

Brett and Malcolm discuss nihilism and the metaphor of the ‘black pill’ as an alternative to the usual ‘blue/red’ pill dichotomy.

The ‘blue pill’ advances liberalism, embraces it.

The ‘red pill’ actively resists liberalism.

The fist two colors involve some sort of activism, to bring about change either to the ‘left’ or to the ‘right’.

The ‘black pill’ acknowledges the dysfunction, but realizes change may be impossible or counterproductive. This approach spurns activism.

But ‘nihilism’ may be the wrong word, as I discuss here, with the ‘correct’ word being fatalism or determinism. A moral nihilist believes there is no concept of a moral superiority. An existential nihilist believes that life or existence has no purpose. A fatalist may have his own core set of values, but acknowledges that change may be impossible, whereas a nihilist may not have such values. This blog discuses biological determinism’ at length, the idea that free will and or economic advancement or mobility is curtailed by biology. Reactionaries (according to the slogan of the Hestia Society) however believe that ‘the only morality is civilization’, which is anti-nihilistic. NRx also seems to embrace Christianity, which according to Nietzsche cannot be nihilistic because Christianity assigns an intrinsic ‘value’ to people:

Nietzsche discusses Christianity, one of the major topics in his work, at length in the context of the problem of nihilism in his notebooks, in a chapter entitled “European Nihilism”.[30] Here he states that the Christian moral doctrine provides people with intrinsic value, belief in God (which justifies the evil in the world) and a basis for objective knowledge. In this sense, in constructing a world where objective knowledge is possible, Christianity is an antidote against a primal form of nihilism, against the despair of meaninglessness. However, it is exactly the element of truthfulness in Christian doctrine that is its undoing: in its drive towards truth, Christianity eventually finds itself to be a construct, which leads to its own dissolution. It is therefore that Nietzsche states that we have outgrown Christianity “not because we lived too far from it, rather because we lived too close”.[31] As such, the self-dissolution of Christianity constitutes yet another form of nihilism. Because Christianity was an interpretation that posited itself as the interpretation, Nietzsche states that this dissolution leads beyond skepticism to a distrust of all meaning.[32][33]

Although I’m not a nihilist, I reject that idea that humans have a high intrinsic value [1], that everyone is born ‘equal’ in the ‘eyes of god’, or that religion is effective for providing meaning to life (it may work for some, but probably not for many). I also disagree with Christianity (as well as most religions) in regard to salvation, in that religion has a ‘low’ barrier to salvation, as I have discussed a couple times, whereas salvation through intellect is harder and more selective, requiring quantifiable individual results, but is more satisfying and relevant as far the economy and society is concerned. Affirmations about being ‘a child of god’ or being ‘saved through Jesus’ won’t create a paycheck or make you an important, economically-productive person. Human value is through accomplishments and merit – not by merely existing.

Maybe nihilism is more about understanding the world, with a detached indifference, than actively trying to change it or having to fit in with a ‘tribe’.

[1] Maybe by virtue of of IQ, some are born ‘better’ than others, with smarter people having more intrinsic value due to the potential to create more economic value and advance society more so than less intelligent people.

The Daily View: In a Loop, MGTOW, and The Elite

From Amerika.org Which way, dissident Right?

Currently the dissident Right is caught in a loop of rehashing its criticisms of the Left but it is unable to make the step toward the difficult stage of demanding actual change because this conflicts with Crowdist elements in its audience. We have lots of blogs rehashing ideas that myself and others covered 20 years ago, and while that is great, it has become preaching to the choir. We either take the next step or vanish in irrelevance.

It would seem like certain aspects of the alt right are in a loop, going in circles. Malcolm Pollock expresses similar sentiments, in which he tires of repeating the same stuff over an over. The problem is with any organization, be it a corporation, non-profit, or a movement, promotion is by espousing an opinion that closest aligns with everyone else (sorta like a linear regression model), but then others also do this, too, and it becomes self-reinforcing as the outward plots move towards the line, and then the line is re-drawn again, ad infinitum. From a game-theory standpoint, this is the optimal strategy (if promotion is what one seeks), but it tends to result in repetition due to others copying the strategy.

The American Elite Hates America

They shouldn’t wish to associate with us (ordinary Americans). We’re good for consumer spending and little else. The elite are only acting in their best interests, and secondly, NRx should not be populist. I would much prefer right-wing elitists over left-wing ones, but neither are egalitarian. An NRx monarchy, or any monarchy, by definition, would be ‘elite’. Due to the recent rise of populism and general cynicism over American government, the word ‘elite’ has negative connotations, it doesn’t have to be that way. The ‘elite’ should be those who are the most competent to rule, as under a technocracy or meritocracy. Right now we have situation where, by in large, the unqualified are the in change and are the ‘elite’.

Most of academia hates America. If you told them that in fifty years America will possess a world culture and that those with European ancestry will be an oppressed minority, a huge celebration would take place in universities throughout the country

With the exception of STEM, this is true.

Most feminists, social justice warriors, liberals, and even conservatives hate America. The entire range of the political spectrum have been infiltrated and corrupted by those who want to give an unholy death to traditional American values. Consumerism, nihilism, and Islamic and Mexican interests will take over instead.

But these are not the elite; they are lackeys. The elite, interestingly, are not the most radicalized. The elite tend to be centrist (think Bill & Hillary Clinton), neoliberal, or pragmatic. Upending the status quo would cause them (the elite) to lose money and influence, and while they may seek reform, their approach is incrementalist. SJWs, on the other hand, are low-information and seek crisis so the economy fails and Marxism can be phased in. The elite have the most to lose should there be crisis and upheaval, and hence seek self-preservation.

Nihilism, like Postmodernism, is a word that is thrown around a lot (sorta as a catch-all for all that is bad in the world) but not really understood that well. As I discuss, instead of nihilism, it’s more like fatalism or predestination. The latter are compatible with some of the more HBD-variants of the ‘alt right’ who believe that genes, which are predetermined, affect socioeconomic outcomes.

Most Silicon Valley technologists hate America. They create apps and devices that are tearing apart the social fabric of family and tribe while hurting the middle class. Then they use their newfound billions in wealth to agitate for gay marriage, transsexual rights, and open borders.

Hmm..seems like Roosh is parroting the anti-technology left, albeit from the ‘right’ instead of the ‘left’. How does Uber ‘tear apart’ families? Thousands of people are making a living with gig jobs on Task Rabbit or Fiverr, and although these jobs may not pay well, they provide income opportunities for people who may otherwise be destitute. The middle class and the “American dream’, for better or worse, is being redefined. It means traditional jobs are being replaced by temporary work, where people are paid for the economic value they produce – not for merely ‘showing up’ – and are personally accountable for whether they succeed or fail, instead of a big, nameless company being accountable.

If a corporatocracy involving, say, the biggest Silicon Valley companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon ran the country, it would probably be very efficient but possibly dehumanizing. It would be like Dubai but instead of oil, the economy would be run by apps, websites, and intellectual property. There would probably be a lot of social justice – or less, with discrimination suits no longer an issue now that the companies control the courts and the rest of the government.

For example, have you noticed that men’s rights activists are constantly attacked while the men going their own way group (MGTOW) is not, and even discussed sympathetically? It’s because the latter group promotes social isolation and reproductive sterility, which matches the establishment’s depopulation agenda. On the other hand, white nationalists are being roundly attacked through the proxy of Donald Trump. Therefore the latter group must have at least some ideas which strengthen America.

The rise of MGTOW is in response to recent social changes and to a more cut-throat, expensive economy where rent vast exceeds inflation, where jobs are increasingly scarce, and stable relationship are not only nearly impossible, but too expensive. It’s easier for men to live alone, embracing minimalism, than to trying to emulate their baby boomer parents’ expensive lifestyles. Millennials are more interested in intellectual wealth (math, coding, physics, philosophy, etc), not ostentatious materialism (big house, flashy car, Rolex, etc).

There are seven billion people in the world, so I don’t think the natalists have to worry about losing to the anti-natalists anytime soon. Instead of more humans, we need higher-quality ones.

Centrism

From WEST COAST REACTIONARIES: Consequence Time

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.

Classical Liberalism, Democracy, Libtertarianism, Nihilism, and NRx

From Peter A. Taylor The Resurrection of Classical Liberalism

Here’s what I think happened. The US began as an expression of classical liberalism. The founders were steeped in John Locke’s ideas about natural rights, as modified and popularized by writers like James Otis, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. What actually made it into the American political canon was a mixture of beliefs about natural rights and democracy. For example, the Declaration of Independence talks of unalienable rights and states “…That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….” I see two problems here. First, the clause about securing rights sounds good to libertarians and Objectivists, but what does “consent” mean? And second, the basis for the government’s legitimacy is overspecified. Do “just powers” stem from the necessity to secure rights or from consent?

To some extent (with the exception of SJW radicalism and other elements of post-ww2 liberalism) America still is that way.

Thus Progressives and Libertarians both engage in “cocktail party sophistry”, but their styles are different. Progressives feel good about cogency and political cohesion where Libertarians feel good about elegance and internal consistency. Progressives are having fun running in a potato sack race. Libertarians are having fun daydreaming about the perfect destination for a potato sack race. “Perfect” here more or less means “most elegant”. “Elegance” here more or less means “providing false moral clarity”. Elegance is the curse of the libertarian movement. The tendency to value elegance, combined with a tendency to grade your own work, are what give the libertarian movement the feel of being a “head game”. I believe this emphasis on elegance is closely related to the false diagnosis that a slippery slope problem (i.e. lack of moral clarity) was what did in the classical liberal tradition. Which came first, the craving for moral clarity, or the diagnosis that lack of moral clarity killed classical liberalism? I suspect the craving came first, but I’m not sure.

America is a partial libertarian country – free market capitalism, private property, but also a state, which is similar to a mixed economy. Through trial and error, feast and famine, this seems to be the most successful or stable configuration, with notable examples being China and Russia, as well as other modernized countries that have evolved to this state. That’s why it’s kinda pointless when you have libertarians and conservatives arguing about which is better – America has both (conservatives get military, police, and free markets; libertarians get free markets, and personal autonomy due to the 1st amendment, but with some regulation. Less business regulation and lower taxes would be better.)

There was little ‘democratic’ about early American government, and I’m not sure why so many people, even those as smart as Peter A. Taylor, get this wrong. Nor is classical liberalism the same as a ‘liberal democracy’. A ‘natural right’ does not necessarily include the ‘right to vote’.

Here is John Adams on democracy:

“I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. … Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never.”

Thomas Jefferson:

This is relevant to the tyranny of the proletariat, in which the underclass using ‘democracy’ tries to overthrow the smaller productive class.

From Wikipedia:

Classical liberalism is a political ideology that values the freedom of individuals — including the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and markets — as well as limited government. It developed in 18th-century Europe and drew on the economic writings of Adam Smith and the growing notion of social progress.

18th century America and Europe would be considered tyrannical -hardly democratic – by today’s left.

Democracy may be a means of constraining a government to tend to its legitimate business, but it cannot be the source of the government’s moral legitimacy. The distinction between a republic and a democracy sounds promising, but this distinction is only meaningful so long as the voters choose to honor it. Scratch the surface of a republic, and underneath you find a democracy.

The solution is to roll back voting rights to how they were hundreds of years ago, in accordance with the founding fathers, who saw voting as a privilege rather than a right.

The system we have, although certain aspects of it suck, is the best of the alternatives, and it’s what we’re stuck with.

But we can reform it, which is what this blog is about. We don’t need a monarchy. Just turning the dial back 100 years would be immense progress.

One of the questions libertarians sometimes argue about is whether there are moral-practical dichotomies. That is, are there ever situations where doing “the right thing” from a moral standpoint conflicts with doing “the right thing” from a practical standpoint? To someone like me, in the “moral sympathy” school of thought, it’s a silly question. The relationships under consideration are “loose, vague, and indeterminate”. It’s complicated. We probably don’t even have the same people’s interests in mind when we ask the question. Who exactly are my tribe? Is “morality” something I personally choose to benefit myself, or is it a set of social norms my peers impose on me as the (possibly exorbitant and possibly evadable) price of associating with them? Jonathan Haidt’s definition (from The Righteous Mind) mostly supports the latter view:

America is also consequentialist, as are many nations. Examples of consequentialist policy being the 2008 bank bailouts, fed policy, war on terrorism, and others – policies that may not be popular with large segments of the population, but are deemed necessary to stave off a worse problem.

Of course, there are gradations: some countries and government are more socially liberal (European Union); others less so (China, Russia). America seems to have struck a balance that for for the past 240 or so years has worked, although the wave of post-ww2 liberalism may threaten this harmony.

America is an amalgamation or patchwork of many ideologies, and maybe this dynamism is why it has succeed for so long when other nations have failed.

From Bruce Charlton, The salvation of Mencius Moldbug:

But (and you were waiting for that ‘but’, weren’t you?) his system is based upon arbitrary axioms and is pragmatic and ‘utilitarian’ – in the sense that MM argues that his plans for government and society would in practice lead to the greatest happiness and/or the minimum misery for the greatest number of people.

But, to some degree, utilitarianism and policy are inseparable. In order to optimize the ROI of ‘Public Goods’, optimization in the mathematical and socioeconomic sense is desirable. Right now, due to liberalism and other scourges, we have a problem of poor optimization – for example, excessive welfare for those who contribute little, if any, to society.


In other words, Mencius Moldbug is an advocate of pure nihilism: a total denial of reality (since bottom line ‘reality’ – i.e. human emotions and what triggers them – is by this analysis wholly reversible, hence wholly relativistic).

So according to Charlton, Moldbug is not a moral realist.

Charlton’s definition of ‘nihilism’ is frustratingly reductive and doesn’t apply to Moldbug. Anyone who believes in the rule of law, which is what Formalism is about, cannot be a nihilist, by definition.

The essay Why Nihilism is Not Anarchy is relevant to NRx thought, and why Christianity may be incompatible with NRx, bold added for emphasis:

Nietzsche saw the above as parallel to Christianity, an assertion of inherent order based on shared humanity. Science and Nietzsche agree that humans vary so widely that to construct a universal “human nature” or “human morality” is a pointless endeavor toward false inherency. No such thing exists; some humans rise above others.

Anarchy, liberalism and other false social notions of equality and the inherent importance of man are entirely anti-nihilistic. In fact, they’re descendants of Christianity: they are falsely inherent orders based on human desires for the universe to be centered around humans. It is not. We are thinking monkeys, and it’s great we have come so far, but it’s not really that far. We’re not that great. And most of us are morons, perverts, lazybones, selfish people, criminals, or people who smoke in bed.

Maybe also fatalistic, in understanding that economic and biological reality means we’re subject to autonomous forces outside of our control, with the result being humans who are more endowed for success will tend to rise above others. The rule of law is still applicable, even if such views may seem fatalistic, amoral, and nihilistic.