Intellectual Solvent, Part 3

I’m sure everyone has seen the RNx map, but lesser known is Scott’s ‘rationality map‘, and as you can see there is even a spot for ‘social justice’, which for its own protection is ‘walled off’ from reactionaries. But why is social justice on the map? Why is ‘regular liberalism’ not on the map but other variants such as left-rationalism, social justice, economics, and neoliberlism are?

In Solvent Part 2, I elaborate on etiology of the alliance or camaraderie between certain forms and liberalism and NRx, arguing that intellectual bonds may be stronger than political ones, but other reasons include:

– Rejection of majoritarianism. As I explain in a post about utilitarianism, both NRx, on the right, and utilitarians, on the left, believe majoritarian systems – be it a government or even a classroom – are inefficient and or corrupt, preferring systems where like-minded smart people make decisions, not the ignorant masses. For NRx, it’s to promote ‘right wing’ causes; for the ‘left’ it’s to promote ‘liberal’ causes.

This could be why Nick Land, on his blog, frequently references Marginal Revolution, which is run by libertarian/neoliberal economist Tyler Cowen. Cowen, like Land, is is smart and is also suspicious of majoritarianism, a view also shared by neoliberal blogger and economist Bryan Caplan. They may not agree on social issues (Cowen has on occasion exhibited social justice tendencies regarding LGBT rights), but find common ground that, yes, average people are irrational, and majoritarianism does not work.

Both smart left-wing and smart right-ring bloggers can relate to be ill-served by majoritarian school systems, that neglect the talented in favor of bringing the slowpokes and troublemakers up to speed. The same also applies to work settings, of the talents of smart employees being underutilized and or unappreciated, and this frustration crosses political lines. Both sides agree that incompetent people seem to be ‘running the show’, not the best and brightest, although in achieving opposite desired goals.

Davis Aurni, who is on the ‘right’, frequently makes posts and videos about ennui, depression, and social isolation, which are issues that affect smart people of all political stripes.

– Rejection of pandering (similar to rejection of ‘low information’). There is a tendency to rject ‘low information’ pandering, preferring to be challenged and tested. Also a tendency to nitpick their own ‘team’ (play devil’s advocate, concern trolling), as well as counter-signaling, which can annoy those who wish everyone would just ‘get with the program’ and not nitpick over loose ends. A recent example of this is Steve raising the possibility of Trump being a poor debater against Hillary. Some of the commenters, who interpreted the post as ‘defection’ or ‘disloyalty’ against their ‘tribe’, had none of it. As an addendum, the commenters are right. Debates don’t matter that much, and being smart doesn’t help as we saw in 2012 when the much smarter and competent Romney still lost in the general election to Obama. And Ted Cruz, also formidably smart, still lost the primaries.