Slate Star Codex Polite & Productive Pilot Project

Not a normal post, most of you can just ignore this:

Scott Alexander, over at SlateStarCodex, mentioned that there is a whole subreddit for polite, productive debates between feminists and men’s rights advocates.  Huh; who knew?  Upon investigation I found that the discourse there certainly exceeded my expectations for internet dialogue by such people on such a subject, which I admit was a pretty low bar.

Still, it tempered my cynicism slightly and put me in a whimsical mood, and I mused that it it would be great if such a thing were possible in our own little corners of the internet.

Well, Scott posted my suggestion at a part of his latest Open Thread, and several people (e.g. Oligopsony, eeuuah) seemed to express interest in the idea and also a willingness to abide by high standards of grace and decorum.  So, I have a strong spider sense that I’m making a mistake that will in all likelihood degenerate into ugly childishness, but the SSC-sphere is mostly full of mostly reasonable characters who care about polite norms of interactions, and I’m feeling reckless, so let’s take that chance.

This is not a post for that discussion.  This is a post where people who have an interest in participating in that discussions, and/or have suggestion on the best way for it to proceed and topics to cover, may leave comments to that effect.

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70 Responses to Slate Star Codex Polite & Productive Pilot Project

  1. peppermint7889 says:

    topic ideas?

    Gay rights: a meaning it must have, or it would not be here.

    Alienation of wage labor, unemployment: if not chartism, what?

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  3. Matthias says:

    As noted earlier, I think most of the major novel ideas of NRx – the Cathedral, cladistics, caste analysis, exit – are wrong but in an interesting and potentially productive way, so I would be happy to debate something along those lines (though the critiques I have to offer of “the Cathedral” and NRx interpretations of Hirschmannian exit and its significance are more substantive, so perhaps those in particular.) I am less interested in object-level debates about feminism, race, economics, &c., which are of course important in their own way, but comparatively well-explored.

    I have greater trust in my ability to remain polite than remain at all – I am a notorious flake in most areas of my life, so fair warning, although it is typically more likely that an awful internet debate tears me away from a real responsibility than the reverse, so.

  4. Foseti says:

    Bad idea. Alexander is the one who tried to pin North Korea on Moldbug.

    The only time MM mentioned North Korea was in a discussion comparing NK to South Africa. If a guy is willing to own South Africa and you turn around and try to also to pin NK on him, you’ve lost any claim to intellectual decency. The project is over before it begins.

    • Max says:

      I feel fairly confident that the attempt to pin NK on Moldbug was at least as much a product of ignorance as malice. Regardless of motive, I believe public debate and discussion can be productive even in the absence of good faith on the part of one side or the other; in that case, intelligent witnesses to the exchange are provided with evidence that allows them to update their evaluations of the quality of people on both sides (so long as the best of both are represented). It is only when both sides are engaged in poo-flinging that nothing of value can be expected.

      In other words, a debate ‘twixt Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart is unlikely to be worth much, but one between Richard Epstein and Cass Sunstein is likely to be quite valuable. Our job is to be the best representatives of our thede that we can be and engage with the best representatives of other thedes in an attempt to win converts, or at least sympathy, from both participants and the audience. This seems like a decent opportunity to do that.

    • Handle says:

      Alexander won’t be participating

    • slatestarcodex says:

      I don’t think I was “trying to pin North Korea on Moldbug” so much as saying that if you’re pushing absolute rulers and enforced nationalism, the existence of places with absolute rulers and enforced nationalism that are nevertheless terrible is something your side needs to explain.

      Moldbug’s response still confuses me. At first he seemed to have given the response I would have expected, where he says no they’re Communist and therefore progressivism’s problem to explain. But then he seemed to get a lot more sympathetic and wrote:

      It’s small wonder that a regime that dares to fight against the universal revolution, and actually has preserved itself, would be a bit Spartan and more than a bit insane. Revolution created North Korea, but the North Korean state has an obvious desire to evolve into something much more like the Chosen Dynasty – the general process of recovering from revolution.

      In a world in which Americans actually cared about North Koreans, rather than just using them as rhetorical pawns, or salivating about their chances of causing yet another revolution or civil war, Americans would see that the easiest way to let North Korea heal is to acknowledge the Kim dynasty as what it is: a monarchy.

      If rather than exporting revolution 24/7, US foreign policy was actually capable of respecting, supporting and securing its sovereign peers the way, you know, classical international law of the Enlightenment era suggests, the Kims would have no need for their concentration camps.

      I don’t see how to interpret this except as him accepting North Korea as a genuinely reactionary state but then saying it’s America’s fault it’s not a shining city on a hill – which was kind of what the communists said about the Soviet Union, and with about as much believability.

      • peppermint7889 says:

        what is a reactionary state? Is it the default for anything that isn’t communist? If so, North Korea is reactionary, and we need a new word for the kind of lawful government we want to reestablish.

      • Erik says:

        The way I see of interpreting North Korea is that it might become a reactionary state, not that it is one – “an obvious desire to evolve into something much more like the Chosen Dynasty”.

        Right now the ruler of North Korea bases his rulership on being a revolutionary juche-communist figure representing the working class by being the First Secretary at the head of the hammer-and-sickle-icon Korean Workers’ Party, the biggest party in the People’s Assembly. He holds celebrations for Comrade President Kim Il Sung and runs a Democratic Front. In other words, the legitimizing principle (or political formula, which I think is Moldbug’s term for basically the same thing) of the government is still revolutionary, not reactionary.

        However, there are a few promising signs that it might recover, such as when North Korea dropped the word “Communist” from the mission statement four or five years ago. Eventually it might get to the point where they can explicitly “acknowledge the Kim dynasty as what it is: a monarchy.”

      • nydwracu says:

        There are two separate points there.
        First, North Korea is Communist.
        Second, North Korea’s totalitarianism exists to protect the regime from being overthrown. Where does pressure toward overthrowing it come from? Where does pressure toward overthrowing regimes not aligned with USG come from in general? Some of it is endogenous, yes — much more of it is in North Korea than in, say, Russia — but some of it is put there by USG. (Remember that NGO law Russia passed?) If USG stopped trying to overthrow regimes not aligned with it, there would be less pressure, and less pressure to overthrow means less pressure from the regime to counter the pressure to overthrow.
        It probably wouldn’t make all that much difference in North Korea, but in general…

        • djf says:

          How has the US been trying to overthrow the NK regime, and when did that occur? Other than some purely rhetorical noises from the GW Bush administration, I don’t think we’ve threatened them in any way. On the other hand, we’ve been doing somersaults for the last 20 years trying to get them not to make trouble for us. Our threats have been about terminating aid, and the Norks, accurately seeing through the veneer of toughness, have not taken those pathetic bleets seriously. We and our allies give NK billions in aid to make up for the regime’s massive internal failures, and what do we get in return? Presumably, readers of this site already know.

          In the case of Iran, the other major rogue regime, apologists can at least point to our assistance to Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war (a generation ago) and pre-Obama assistance to the regime’s internal opposition (a lot of good that has done). I don’t think any such excuse is available to apologists for the Norks.

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  6. Max says:

    I would be delighted to participate in a conversation of this sort. The best way for it to proceed, I think, is fairly simple – anyone who wants to ask a question directed at the “other” side of the divide should do so, and anyone from that side who cares to answer may. Quality control should be extremely strict, with unproductive or counterproductive posters being banned from further participation in the thread.

  7. Jefferson says:

    To what end? The NRx types most open to civilized discourse are almost all ex-progressives, and the civilized progressives at SSC seem incapable of or unwilling to understand NRx. What has been the benefit of engagement with Alexander thus far?

    • peppermint7889 says:

      Alexander thinks he’s taking the good ideas from NRx and adding them to progressivism. He is. He is also entryizing progressivism with NRx ideas.

      Progressives entryized Christians, we entryize progressives and Christians. Christians like Zippy get annoyed when Christians like Nick get too comfortable with us; progressives like the SPLC are quite likely annoyed by how comfortable with us Scott Alexander is, but no one has denounced him quite yet.

    • Handle says:

      You don’t have to follow along if you don’t want to.

      • Jefferson says:

        Winning hearts and minds is Democracy!, isn’t it? Unless Alexander is a bigger deal in the progressive community than he seems to me (what does he teach at Harvard?), this seems not worth the time and energy. Or is this a practice run for developing arguments that would be useful to fire at Harvard, et al.?

        • Handle says:

          The objective is not to win hearts and minds, and the time and energy is my own, so what do you care? Is there a particular reason you’re opposed that impacts you?

          • Jefferson says:

            Honestly, I’m just being selfish right now. Dark Enlightenment ideas are amazing and, well, enlightening, but the NRx community that has sprung up around them seems lost right now. Of the three great teachers, Moldbug is retired, Foseti is stalled, and your posts are becoming less frequent. I’ve had plenty of civil discussions with progressive friends and family members regarding DE ideas, but the only time they ever amount to much is when I use them as a tool to convince people to send their kids to my NRx inspired educational co-op I’m trying to get off the ground. Otherwise they seem about as fruitful as the holier than thou BS that’s kicking around between the various clowns vying for Moldbug’s throne nowadays.

          • peppermint7889 says:

            pretty sure Jim has the throne and Nick has the altar

  8. eeuuah says:

    I’ve been thinking about family values a lot lately, so that’s something I’d be very interested in talking about. But I’m open to almost anything.

    I’m not sure of the best way to keep discourse civil, besides limiting it to only people you know and trust to do so. Do you have any initial thoughts on the matter? It is going to be your show, after all.

  9. jamesd127 says:

    Let us compare the best of slavery with the worst of abolitionism.

    In the West Indies, free blacks were apt to be re-enslaved: If found with no visible means of support, would be sent to the workhouse, on the assumption that otherwise they would be stealing or starving or very likely both.

    The workhouse would then attempt to find owners for them, but often these were blacks with problems. The workhouse would find if they had a former owner, and twist his arm to take them back. If no one suitable wanted them, the workhouse would support them indefinitely on public and private charity.

    So the workhouses in the West Indies, or at least some of them, were operating like a no kill pet shelter. Obviously the people operating these believed they were doing good, and had plausible reason to believe they were doing good. The benefactors could see their beneficiaries and look them in the eye. They might well wind up owning a couple of their beneficiaries, as someone operating a no kill pet shelter often winds up with more than his fair share of problem pets.

    Let us compare with the holier than thou abolitionists who caused a civil war that killed a large part of the white male population, burned cities to the ground, and created artificial famine.

    After the slaves were freed, a significant proportion died, being generally incompetent to look after themselves. The abolitionists, having denied that blacks needed a paternalistic welfare state, were disinclined to provide one, even as the death rate among their supposed beneficiaries rose to quite alarming levels.

    After the civil war and abolition, black productivity as freemen was markedly lower than black productivity as slaves, leading to markedly lower material living standards. In part this must have been because of “slave driving” – that slaves were forced to work considerably harder than they would have otherwise been inclined to work, but in part it was because the employer could not trust a black employee to behave well, whereas he could make sure a slave behaved well.

    If progs are interested in debating slavery, next issue is female emancipation.

    • Andy says:

      If you want to be intellectually honest, you’d have to compare best with best and worst with worst. Compare the appalling death toll in contraband camps and abuse of freed slaves by Union troops to the practice of selling children away from their parents and breaking up families, or sealing slaves into cotton gins until they die of starvation and heat. Compare blacks’ best possible position as slaves field hands or body servants to black generals, businessmen, and astrophysicists.

      • bemused-leftist says:

        Compare the appalling death toll in contraband camps and abuse of freed slaves by Union troops to the practice of selling children away from their parents and breaking up families, or sealing slaves into cotton gins until they die of starvation and heat. Compare blacks’ best possible position as slaves field hands or body servants to black generals, businessmen, and astrophysicists.

        With a valuable horse, you don’t seal him somewhere until he dies – or do anything else that would make him less productive.

        Assuming I’m parsing your last sentence right:
        Slave astrophysicists ante-bellum n/a, but there were some slaves educated for research tasks, and there were quite a few businessmen while still slaves or after buying their own freedom.

        Otherwise, here and elsewhere in your blog, good points!

  10. asdf says:

    Aren’t MRA’s and feminists all the same. That is, they share the same basic assumptions but devolve into team based turf wars and poo flinging over details. AVFM is literally called “humanist counter theory”.

    • Candide III says:

      Indeed. I agree. I browsed that FeMRA subreddit some, and it looks exactly like a piece of the low-key movement to curtail the worst abuses Dalrock predicted a while ago.

    • jamesd127 says:

      MRAs believe in equality, and feminists believe in equality, and trannies believe in equality – but they all disagree on what constitutes equality.

      Which is natural because unequal people cannot be equal.

      • asdf says:

        Yes. All believe in the modern project of blank slate autonomous atomized individuals trying to pursue their personal will within the confines of the liberal managerial state. The conflict is just over who can use rhetoric to secure the best terms under that managerial state for their group. Nobody challenges the basic rules of the game. Which is why I would expect no change (who cares if MRAs are more right about some statistics, they are still whiny beta males nobody gives a fuck about).

  11. asdf says:

    Alexander lied a great deal in most of his statistics on family, sex, divorce, crime, etc. Then dodged questions about them in his comments.

    • peppermint7889 says:

      progressives always lie, they have to. Getting them thinking about the truth is enough. Whisper it in their ear while screaming at them not to listen to it, and let it gnaw at them.

      It’s never been a better time, either, because the Persons of Color have decided that Whites shouldn’t expect gratitude for their anti-White efforts, and there is open schism between the Blacks and the Jews about whether the six million was worse than the slavery.

    • slatestarcodex says:

      I think you have a problem distinguishing between “lied” and “disagreed about”.

      I still stand by about two-thirds of those statistics. I feel like the cases where I was asked to defend them, like on Free Northerner’s blog, I gave it a pretty good showing. I talked to Anissimov a lot on Facebook as well, which you may not have seen if you are not Facebook friends with either of us. There are still many comments I didn’t respond to by people of lesser stature than Northerner or Anissimov or Scharlach, not because I am a bad person but for the same reason Northerner never responded to my last comment on his blog – because eventually one’s attention flags. There are 843 comments on that post, I’ve gotten many more through email, and responding to all of them is beyond my abilities.

      Several months ago I put a big notice on top of the Anti-Reactionary FAQ stating that I have been corrected on some of the statistics and cannot stand behind the entire document anymore and will edit it at some point. I put carefully sorted links to seventeen of the best rebuttals at the end of it and encouraged readers to read as many of them as they could and make up their own minds.

      I think you are being unpleasant and unfair.

    • asdf says:


      I don’t have a ton of intention to look through all of that stuff going back a few months, I’ll take it though from your comment and the replies linked that you’ve backed off your statements in many of these areas.

      What I didn’t see at Free Northerner was a discussion of one of progressivisms fundamental problems in those areas amongst the upper classes. Namely, upper class progressives don’t get divorced because they don’t get married and don’t have acute crack ups because they don’t have kids or make any binding commitments. That is to say they avoid “bad social science outcomes” by not doing anything important in their lives and then dying without a legacy (as we would expect morally subjective rootless cosmopolitans to do).

      One of the easiest ways to look at philosophical success is whether someone gives a damn enough to have children in an era where they have a choice (before birth control or if you have low enough IQ kids “just happen” then its not a choice). We’ll call this the nihilism test.

      Are you can see from the link below, TFR is about the same for dumbs, but among smarts it is strongly correlated with conservatives (similar or even stronger result for religious, traditionalist, etc). High IQ libs clock in at TFR 0.63 and high IQ conservative 1.8. 1SD conservatives clock in at an above replacement 2.12. Simply put, being smart and progressive is an evolutionary (and I think spiritual) dead end. And for all the progressive groaning about progressivism being for “smart people”, it won’t be many generations of this before conservatives are the only smart people left.

      The ultimate meaningless and lack of legacy of progressivism is summed up pretty well in this post from Oz Conservative:

      Ch.7 Trivial Pursuits

      Note to readers: this is a chapter of the e-booklet that I am gradually writing (see the sidebar for earlier chapters) which is why it’s a little longer than a normal blog post.

      Liberalism is supposed to liberate the individual, but the liberal approach to freedom doesn’t work. It ends up imposing worse limitations on the individual than the ones it removes.

      A major mistake made by liberalism is to define freedom as individual autonomy. We are held to be free if we live self-determining or self-creating lives.

      But if the aim is to be self-determining, then whatever is predetermined will be looked on negatively as an impediment to be overcome.

      As we saw in previous chapters, this means that liberals have set out to make sex distinctions not matter; it has led to attacks on the traditional family, including the roles of fatherhood and motherhood; and it has undermined traditional national identities.

      And yet these are amongst the most significant aspects of life when it comes to choosing what to be or to do. It is important to us that we are able to fulfil our masculine or feminine identities; to become husbands and wives, fathers and mothers; and to belong to long-standing communal traditions.

      What kind of freedom is it when basic forms of identity and relationships are denied to us?

      The kind of freedom we do get in a liberal society is a freedom to pursue relatively trivial aims. For a liberal system to work, we have to limit our choices to those things that we can self-determine as individuals; which don’t impact on the choices of others; and which can be supervised and regulated by the liberal managerial state.

      What kind of choices does that leave us with? We can choose for ourselves a career, entertainments, travel destinations, restaurants and dining, and various lifestyle and consumer options. Of these, career is the weightiest and so a creative, professional career is often thought of by liberals to be the ultimate aim of life.

      To work and to consume make up much of the permissible way of life in a liberal society.

      The American writer Jim Kalb has described this feature of liberalism. He writes that the liberal principle of social organisation,

      claims to maximize effective freedom, but it narrowly limits what is permissible lest we interfere with the equal freedom of others or the efficient operation of the system. Private hobbies and indulgences are acceptable, since they leave other people alone. So are career, consumption, and expressions of support for the liberal order. What is not acceptable is any ideal of how people should understand their lives together that is at odds with the liberal one…The result is that the contemporary liberal state cannot allow people to take seriously the things they have always taken most seriously.

      Similarly, Kalb writes that the purpose of government and of morality in a liberal system is to regulate individuals so that,

      career, consumption, and the free choice of hobbies, lifestyles, and indulgences are secured for everyone.

      … The goal is to give people what they want, and it can only be achieved if what people want fits into the liberal scheme: that is, if it respects the needs of the system and the equal validity of the desires of other individuals.

      That means that what people want has to be controlled. Left-liberalism requires us all to become virtuous, where virtue consists in pursuing only legitimate desires — in other words, supporting the system and otherwise minding our own business by concerning ourselves only with tolerant and private goals. Hence PC, and hence the constant re-education initiatives to which we are now subjected.

      All history, all nature, all culture, and all religion threaten the basis and functioning of a liberal social order. They tell us that human beings cannot be reduced to orderly productive consumers who do what they’re told and only want a life of measured private self-indulgence.

      Another American writer, Lawrence Auster, puts the issue tersely as follows:

      What is liberalism? The reduction of all values to the radically autonomous self and the equality of all such selves, and thus the emptying from life of every substantive good that is larger than or outside of the autonomous self. But the problem is, once all larger substantive goods have been gotten rid of, and the only thing left is the autonomous self and its free choices, what goods are left for the freely choosing autonomous self to choose?

      What does this mean in practice for those living in liberal societies? Virginia Haussegger is an Australian journalist who pursued the aims allowed her in a liberal society more successfully than most. Even so, she couldn’t help feeling that it wasn’t enough to anchor her life:

      here we are, supposedly “having it all” as we edge 40; excellent education; good qualifications; great jobs; fast-moving careers; good incomes … It’s a nice caffe-latte kind of life, really.

      But the truth is – for me at least – the career is no longer a challenge, the lifestyle trappings are joyless … and the point of it all seems, well, pointless.

      It’s interesting as well to listen to the testimony of Rev. Alan Taylor, a minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church. The Unitarians describe themselves as “a living example of, and a powerful voice for, liberal religion in America.”

      After reading a book called Bobos in Paradise by David Brooks about an elite group in America called “bourgeois bohemians” or more simply “Bobos,” Rev. Taylor recognised that he and his flock were being described by this term:

      Rarely do I read a book like Bobos in Paradise and say, they’re talking about me, about so many religious liberals, and about most of the folks with whom I graduated from college in 1990.

      According to Rev.Taylor, Bobos like himself try to have endless choices, but this does not maximise their freedom but instead draws them into a superficial way of life:

      Here in Oak Park it is challenging. We live in a community that caters to the upper middle-class. The value of maximizing freedom reigns supreme, but there are forces that undermine sustained connections…

      I have lived a quintessentially Bobo life … If these trends continue … my life will be a series of light, ultimately inconsequential and therefore meaningless connections. But I will have a lot of them! And that’s just it, when we Bobos maximize our freedom, depth and meaning elude us.

      And so what we get in Bobo life, Brooks says, is “a world of many options, but not a life of solid commitments, and maybe not a life that ever offers access to the profoundest truths, deepest emotions, or highest aspirations. Maybe in the end the problem with this attempt to reconcile freedom with commitment, virtue with affluence, autonomy with community is not that it leads to some catastrophic crack-up or some picturesque slide into immorality and decadence, but rather that it leads to too many compromises and spiritual fudges.

      Maybe people who try to have endless choices end up with semi-commitments and semi-freedoms. Maybe we will end up leading a life that is moderate but flat, our souls being colored with shades of gray, as we find nothing heroic, nothing inspiring, nothing that brings our lives to a point. Some days I look around and I think we have been able to achieve these reconciliations only by making ourselves more superficial, by simply ignoring the deeper thoughts and highest ideals that would torture us if we actually stopped to measure ourselves according to them.

      …Bobos pay lip-service to the virtues of tradition, roots, community. However, when push comes to shove, they tend to choose personal choice over other commitments…And this is self-defeating, because at the end of all this movement and freedom and self-exploration, they find that they have nothing deep and lasting to hold on to.


      If the logic of liberalism is to dissolve the traditions we belong to and to rule out some of the most significant aspects of life then we need to break with it decisively. But what does this require? What changes would we need to make to successfully leave liberalism behind us?

      First, the role of the state would change. Liberals aim at “equal preference satisfaction” and so they look to the state to create a centralised system in which social life is managed along formal principles.

      But this makes the more informal patterns of social life – those which predate the state, which connect people to each other, and which give people important social functions – suspect, as they do not fit within a formal and centralised regulation of society.

      A liberal society gradually gives increasing weight to the relationship between the state and the stand-alone individual. One challenge for a post-liberal society would be to unwind this process, so that there is less formal regulation of social life by the state, and a greater role for the connections that grow between people within families and communities.

      A post-liberal society would also have a different view of the nature of man. It is typical of liberals to see people as abstract and atomised individuals. This fits in well with liberalism, because if you start with this idea of the individual as a blank slate, then it really is up to the individual to subjectively self-define who they are and what their own good is.

      The American philosopher James Schall has put the issue clearly in these terms:

      The initial choice that each of us has to make in life is whether we think the world and ourselves already exist with some intelligible content to define what we are or whether there is nothing there but what we put there.

      Schall concedes that the liberal position – that there is nothing there – sounds freer:

      The former position, it would seem, is rather demanding on us. It suggests that we are not our own self-creators, that what we are is something for us to discover, not make out of our own imaginary resources. But we are seemingly freer if there is nothing there in the first place, if we are solely responsible for our world and our own being.

      Nonetheless, he rejects the liberal view as failing to connect the self to anything significant:

      the trouble with being so absolutely free that nothing is presupposed, however, is that what is finally put there is also only ourselves … on this premise, no reason can be found not to be something else tomorrow.

      To decisively reject liberalism means accepting that, as Schall puts it, “the world and ourselves already exist with some intelligible content to define what we are.” We are not to be thought of as mere blanks to be filled in arbitrarily by our own selves.

      If we really were to fill in our own selves in any direction this would not be an impressive creative act. There is little challenge in making things up randomly. It is more creative to discern what is most significant within the given nature of things and to orient ourselves to it. This sets before us a challenge of character, of intelligence and of feeling and intuition.

      There is one last thing we need to do to break decisively with liberalism. Liberalism is reductionist in the sense that it makes autonomy a single, overriding good. The good of autonomy is thought to trump other goods. That makes politics in a liberal society peculiarly ideological.

      It isn’t necessary, in rejecting liberalism, to dismiss the value of autonomy. It is important, though, to avoid the reductionism which makes autonomy the starting point from which all else is supposed to follow and which then leads to the loss of other significant goods.

      Politics is supposed to be an art by which a variety of goods are balanced together or ordered into a framework in which the various parts fit together. This is the concept of politics to which a post-liberal society should aim to return.

  12. spandrell says:

    Agreed that Alexander might be polite, but he isn’t honest. Just see how he weaseled out of having to argue with you.

    Then again there’s a small portion of the LW crowd that are more open to our ideas, and some have even moved on.

    Didn’t Yudkowsky have a post on how weird alien worship cults become even more fanatic after the aliens fail to appear? Well LW itself is increasingly become more fanatic in their leftism, as the saner members move away from transexual polyamory.

    • Candide III says:

      Well LW itself is increasingly become more fanatic in their leftism, as the saner members move away from transexual polyamory.

      Wait, is Yudkowsky actually advocating that sort of shit? (I don’t read LW.)

      • spandrell says:

        Probably not, which is why it’s ironic how a cult which cautions about becoming a cult and actually taboos the word “cult”, and has dozens of discussions about how cults function and how evolve, is becoming a cult and following every single step of cult formation they very intelligently described.

        • Candide III says:

          Might be a resource to learn about cults, then, even if they’re not self-aware enough to apply their findings to themselves. I googled a bit and came up with an old comment by Alrenous

          The main problem with LW in particular is that Yudkowsky doesn’t realize he’s kooky. That’s an unfalsifiable hypothesis for him, because he won’t consider it a possibility. His hypocrisy circuits do all the cult-work for him.

          BTW I didn’t know LW/SI’s core members live in one house. That’s kooky!

        • Candide III says:

          Might be a useful resource to learn about cults, then, even if they’re not self-aware enough to apply their findings to themselves. I googled a bit and came up with an old comment by Alrenous

          The main problem with LW in particular is that Yudkowsky doesn’t realize he’s kooky. That’s an unfalsifiable hypothesis for him, because he won’t consider it a possibility. His hypocrisy circuits do all the cult-work for him.

          • spandrell says:

            Yep, and they do “polyamory”, free love and all that. You get the picture.

          • asdf says:

            Beta dudes love polyamory because they think it increases their chances of not being incel. Too bad all these cults tend to end up with the leader and maybe his top lieutenants getting all the poon. Free love is never free unless your at the top.

          • peppermint7889 says:

            …and since the leaders set the agenda, that means some groups are used by their leaders to gather pussy for them. Which may or may not preclude accomplishing their mission.

      • jaimeastorga2000 says:

        He is.

        Before anyone asks, yes, we’re polyamorous – I am in long-term relationships with three women, all of whom are involved with more than one guy. (Why yes, I do lead the same sort of life as fanfiction characters, thank you for noticing.) Apologies in advance to any 19th-century old fogies who are offended by our more advanced culture. Also before anyone asks: One of those is my primary who I’ve been with for 7+ years, and the other two did know my real-life identity before reading HPMOR, but HPMOR played a role in their deciding that I was interesting enough to date. So for all of you lonely people out there – the legends are true! If you write sufficiently good fanfiction, you can realize your romantic dreams!
        (Results not guaranteed. Results may vary. Results may be partially due to non-replicable luck. Writing quality required may be unreachably high. Speaker may have left his house and acquired small amounts of social skills in the course of filming this advertisement.)

    • Daniel Speyer says:

      I’m not following your analogy. In what sense have transexuality and polyamory “failed to appear”?

  13. peppermint7889 says:

    All these insults to Alexander. Then this happens:

  14. The Z Blog says:

    I’v never had much luck having debates with people on the Left. I have a low tolerance for cant so I blame myself. Plus, it is fun to see heads explode. That said, I think trying to win over people from the Left is a fools errand. Drawing in people from the conventional right would be more fruitful and the debates would be more interesting. That’s something I’d find interesting.

    • peppermint7889 says:

      rightists are either neoreactionary or confused and wrong in many subtle ways, their “ideas” keep getting pushed because they really do have some institutional power, and the always lose because they are actually leftist themselves.

      Scott Alexander just came up with a new word for illegal immigration: “malicious inter-community transfer”. This directly blames the originating society for the problem, which both dehumanizes it, and suggests some form of technical assistance to the originating countries instead of allowing the illegals in.

      • The Z Blog says:

        I’m not entirely sure what this is supposed to mean.

        Burkean Conservatives are persuadable. If that’s your goal, to win over some people to your side, then targeting the persuadable seems like the smart move. Rousseauists are unthinkingly devoted to their faith. Plus, Burkean Conservatives tend to have a richer and fuller understanding of their intellectual history, thus making them interesting debaters.

        • peppermint7889 says:

          I have yet to see a mainstream conservative come up with as brilliant a phrasing as “malicious inter-community transfers”. They are worthless and they lose by design.

          Winning people over to Team Conservative, presumably so they can do some kind of activism thing, is a retarded goal that inevitably loses and deserves to lose.

    • Handle says:

      Then go ahead and do that

  15. FWIW this is why I’ve got two former Occupy participants and a neoreactionary over at

  16. Dan says:

    I think a big reason we wound up here (in Dark Enlightenment / Reaction) is that in left-controlled forums, you lose the debate before you begin because you don’t control the frame.

    People trying to argue a conservative side of a debate wind up steamrolled when a debate framed by leftists takes as axiomatic one or more falsehoods, thereby spotting the left a huge lead.


    * Debating multiculturalism within the false frame that all religious beliefs are equally valid/meritorious.

    * Debating racial economic equality within the false frame that economic ability of different races is equal.

    * Debating equal pay for men and women within the false frame that sex differences don’t exist.

    * Debating immigration within the false frame that people of different races are interchangeable.

    * Debating how to close great Test Gap within the false frame of human biological uniformity.

    * Debating gay issues within the false frame that homosexuality is strictly innate.

    * Debating gay ‘marriage’ within the false frame of ‘equality’ when there is a categorical difference in the realm of biology.

    * Debating trans- ‘rights’ within the false frame that it is actually possuble change gender/sex.

    This is why debating within a leftist frame is a fool’s errand. If you do so, you have probably already conceded what may be the most central point on your topic.

    An honest debate is possible only if there is no moderation and this has to do again with leftist framing. A supposedly free debate with moderation in reality means that all comments outside the leftist frame can be removed and labeled as hate or racism or sexism or something-o-phobia. An honest debate can also take place without the threat of witch hunts for politically incorrect views. This means that Universities can have little substantive debate on most topics of interest.

  17. Dan says:

    I am all for polite and productive debate. The challenge is to get leftists to show up at a debate where their opponents are truly allowed to speak freely, without the backing of a mob to shout down their opponents. They won’t do it, I think. But then again, I am a pessimist.

    I would gladly take on a Goliath of leftist intellectuals, provided hard reality is allowed to flow without censorship, and I am just one commenter.

    I’d love a written debate forum following classic rules: equal written space, taking turns, one on one. Alas I fear intellectual discourse is solely the domain of the right, a relic of the past as the arc of history bends toward … something.

    • Dan says:

      Perhaps I am wrong. Slatestarcodex is a place where Alexander allows impure thoughts into the comment stream. In addition, it already has a community of leftists. Therefore it is a good place to find proper debate, even though you might be outnumbered.

  18. Pingback: Malicious Inter-Community Transfer | peppermintfrosted

  19. Daniel Speyer says:

    I will champion gender anarchy, cultural diversity as a default, and skepticism of capitalism. I’m not sure if these are 100% “progressive” ideas, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t reactionary. Handle: are they topics of interest to you?

    This should go without saying, but I will not defend all the people who have attached to these ideas.

    I will also offer /r/dspeyer as a location for this if that’s useful. Furthermore, if I am not debating, I offer to assist others in bridging inferrential gaps and figuring out what it is they actually disagree on.

    • Handle says:

      What’s the URL to get to that location?

      • Daniel Speyer says:

        I reserved it a while back just in case.

      • Vicki says:

        I had to chime in, this reminds me of a friend (I live in Miami, so this works here) whose daughter insisted on wearing a bathing suit, everywhere, all the time, for a month. And she indulged her. That would be tough for me just on sheer potty issues alone but my friend definitely took the “this battle isn’t worth fig21ing&#82ht; approach. Her daughter is back to normal clothes .

  20. Andy says:

    I would suggest the competitive advantage of democracies and monarchies – a monarchy disconnected from the will of the people is more likely to be corrupt, abusive, and fail, opening up a competition for state control. In contrast, Maoist insurgents often formed shadow governments that worked better for the peasants than the official governments. Another example: the Taliban set up an underground court system that’s more honest and fair, and therefore more trusted, than the official court system.
    This comes from David Kilcullen’s “Out of the Mountains,” which I recommend as one of the best books on state failure and insurgency around, and I think can be read in either a Progressive or Reactionary direction. The question would be: which system of government can produce a predictable, orderly environment for its subjects to survive and thrive? Reaction or Progressivism? I suspect evidence would mostly be on the Prog side, but I look forward to a debate about concrete reality other ontology and the whichness of what and monarchial mysticism.
    I’d be willing to provide an introduction of the topic and Kilcullen’s theory of competitive control.

    • Handle says:

      That’s not a bad suggestion, I’ll think about it.

      I’m not a Kilcullen fan myself, and I thought his ‘Counterinsurgency’ was really overrated. Very establishment.

      But, take it from someone who knows, he’s completely bonkers about the so-called fairness and trustworthiness of Taliban courts. Let me put it this way, you would never want to argue your case before one if they didn’t essentially threaten you with death for using the government system instead. That’s not exactly a fair fight when determining which system people ‘prefer’. And they are as corrupt as anything else in that part of the world, though they come at cheaper rates, which is preferable. However, what Afghans really want from their courts is for ruthless, brutal vengeance, or else they will mete out badlands justice on their own. The government courts are a bit more civilized, and thus unsatisfying, but if the Taliban ruling is on your side, you can get all the torture and capital punishment you want that fits the transgression. Also, if the GIROA courts issue a fine, then all you have is a piece of paper with the order on it, and good luck getting it enforced by the local provincial chief of police. But the Taliban will go out and murder a liable defendant if they don’t pay up, so you’re sure to get your afghanis right away.

      So, it’s not like a straightforward comparison between government courts and some private alternative dispute resolution company that does mediation or arbitration. Because there’s not a monopoly of violence, and the Taliban have what you might call ‘Terror Superiority’.

      • Andy says:

        Of course, and Kilcullen hit all those points – though he also portrayed the government courts as corrupt. And any state has to have the ability to resolve disputes and back up its decisions. My problem with Reaction is that it seems to ignore whether common people feel like they can go about their lives in a predictable, orderly way. This includes the underclass, and if the underclass can’t live their lives and feed their kids, you’re asking for a violent revolution. And that’s what I see from Reactionaries like the one who recommended I read some Evola – the corrupt real world doesn’t matter, only transcending that world.
        But my argument is that a representative republic would have the administrative and persuasive resources to bring more people into its normative control system. Evola’s response seems to be more “ignore the evidence of your senses because only the immortal, platonic Tradition matters!” And contrasting stability in reactionary vs. democratic governments of equivalent prosperity could be really interesting.

        • Candide III says:

          I don’t know about Reaction. Some respected people over here at NRx intensely dislike Evola. As for the problem of common people being able to go about their lives in a predictable, orderly way, that’s a very rightist sentiment, and the main objective of Moldbug’s formalism as originally formulated. As for whether a representative republic is better, beside Pope’s short-termist point — for forms of government let fools contest, // what’s best administered is best — there are the standard arguments about the instability and corrupting influence of democracy. Those persuasive resources you mention, which essentially boil down to Lenin’s every scullery maid is qualified to govern the country and expropriate and divide, are quite poisonous, and they affect orders of magnitude more people in a democracy than in more hierarchical societies.

  21. Pingback: Outside in - Involvements with reality » Blog Archive » Chaos Patch (#14)

  22. Nemester says:

    I created this: , but considering the main sub is only ~1600 people I think it would be hard to populate.

  23. Pingback: Cosmo et al | Free Northerner

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