TH: First of all, we’re not talking about secession from the United States; we’re talking about secession from a state.
SS: Exactly. And when you said that, that’s typically the first thing people conflate, when the colonies seceded from Britain and when the Southern states seceded from the Union. We’re not seceding from the Union; we just want to create another Union state.
TH: I’m not sure about Maryland, but for a long time I’ve been saying… if we have two senators representing states like Vermont and Wyoming, where you’ve got 600,000 people in a state. And there’s more than 600,000 people in New York City. Really, New York City and New York state should separate, become two states, Northern California, Central California, and Southern California should become two states, Texas should become two states, Florida should separate from South Florida and Miami, and if every one of those places had two senators, we’d have a much more representative Senate.
SS: You’ve said it well, because I couldn’t agree with you more, and in fact that’s what we talk about, when we look at representative government and the consent of the governed. We don’t need a big, one-size-fits-all policy here. And after decades of what I would call oppressive and abusive treatment from Annapolis, MD, the people in the five western counties are sick and tired, and in fact we’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. We can’t…
TH: What’s the population?
SS: It would be about 653,000, so both Vermont and Wyoming would be smaller.
TH: So actually you are a region that is state-sized.
SS: That’s correct. And in fact, even geographically, Rhode Island and Delaware would be smaller. So it’s not unheard of. And I think what this boils down to is something germane to the national discussion as well. When everything gets pushed up nationally, if the Rs get into power the Ds are not happy, if the Ds get into power the Rs are not happy, so you have people doing this all the time over every issue, brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor. The way you solve that is to have more states and more choices. So if you happen to be very far left on the political spectrum, go live in a state that governs that way, and if somebody’s very far right, go live in that state, and you can have all kinds in between. So more states give you more choice, just like competition.
SS: But there’s also a group down in Tucson that would call themselves progressive that wants to leave because they think Arizona is much too conservative. And we fully support that. Consent of the governed and right to self-determination and self-governance is precisely what this country was founded upon.
TH: And if the threshold is Vermont or Wyoming, with 600,000 people, it doesn’t sound all that unreasonable to me.
SS: And I think it’s up to the people. The government ultimately, if you think about the question of what is government, government is really people coming together associating themselves to form a political society. So some groups that say, “we’d rather be governed this way,” I’m all for that, I think that’s fantastic and exactly what we should be doing.
TH: I actually don’t disagree with you. And you want to live in conservativeland, I’d want to live in liberal land.
SS: I don’t know that I would call it conservativeland, since I don’t consider myself a conservative. In fact, I think that’s a term that can mean anything, everything and nothing … it depends on who you talk to. But I think it’s up to the people to decide how they want to be governed?
TH: So what’s the response from Annapolis? What’s the response from the state of Maryland?
SS: Well, I haven’t heard a lot out of Annapolis, and I’m not looking to Annapolis yet. We will have to go there at some point, because of Article 4, Section 3 of the Constitution, there’s a legal constitutional process to do this and we will need approval from the legislature and then we also need approval from Congress.
TH: Right, so first you go to the state legislature, then go to the congress. Do you have any allies in the state legislature?
SS: Well, we probably have some allies in the five western counties. But here’s the problem in Maryland. We have 24 jurisdictions. Four jurisdictions make up 25 of the 47 state senators. It’s been so badly gerrymandered. So even through the normal election process we can’t fix this problem. Gerrymandering is a huge problem. It would make Eldridge Gerry blush, it’s so bad.
So what I’m going to talk about today is something I’m calling Silicon Valley’s ultimate exit. So as motivation here, it’s a bit topical: is the USA the Microsoft of nations? We can take this sort of thing and we can expand it: codebase is 230 years old, written in an obfuscated language; system was shut down for two weeks straight; systematic FUD on security issues; fairly ruthless treatment of key suppliers; generally favors its rich enterprise customers but we still have to buy it.
And if we think about Microsoft itself, there’s a great quote from Bill Gates in 1998: what displaced Microsoft, what did he fear, it wasn’t Oracle or anybody like that, what he feared were some guys in a garage, who happened to be ultimately Larry and Sergey back in 1998.
And the thing about what Larry and Sergey did is: there’s no way they could have reformed Microsoft from the inside. At that time, Microsoft already had 26,000 employees; joining its numbers as 26,000 and 26,001 and trying to push for 20% time or free lunches… they probably wouldn’t have gone too far. So what they had to do was start their own company: they had to exit. And with success in that alternative, then Microsoft would imitate them. And this is actually related to a fundamental concept in political science: the concept of voice versus exit. A company or a country is in decline, you can try voice, or you can try exit. Voice is basically changing the system from within, whereas exit is leaving to create a new system, a new startup, or to join a competitor sometimes. Loyalty can modulate this; sometimes that’s patriotism, which is voluntary, and sometimes it’s lock-in, which are involuntary barriers to exit.
And we can think about this in the context of various examples and start to get a feel for this. So voice in the context of open source would be a patch; exit would be a fork. Voice in the context of a customer would be a complaint form, whereas exit would be taking your business elsewhere. Voice in the context of a company, that’s a turnaround plan; exit is leaving to found a startup. And voice in the context of a country is voting, while exit is emigration. So if there are those two images on the left is the Norman Rockwell painting on voice; on the right is actually my dad in the center, and that’s a grass hut on the right-hand side, so he grew up on a dirt floor in India, and left, because India was an economic basket case and there’s no way that he could have voted to change things within his lifetime, so he left.
And it turns out that, while we talk a lot about voice in the context of the US and talk about democracy… that’s very important, but you know, we’re not just a nation of immigrants, we’re a nation of emigrants: we’re shaped by both voice and exit, starting with the Puritans, you know, they fled religious persecution; the American Revolutionaries which left England’s orbit, then we started moving west, leaving the East Coast bureaucracy to go to the Western nations; later, late 1800s, Ellis Island, people leaving pogroms, and in the 20th century fleeing Nazism and Communism. And sometimes people didn’t just come here for a better life; they came here to save their life. That’s, you know, the airlifting at the end of Saigon.
And it’s not just the US that’s shaped by exit; Silicon Valley itself is also shaped by exit. You can date it back to the founding of Fairchild Semiconductor with the Traitorous Eight, the founding of Fairchild… the fact that non-competes are not enforceable in California, and the fact that DC funds disruption, not just turnaround. The concept of forking in open source, if you think about the back button, that is, in some ways, the cheapest way to exit something. And of course the concept of the startup itself. That right there, if you guys haven’t seen, is one of Y Combinator’s first ads. Larry and Sergey won’t respect you in the morning.
So the concept here is that exit is actually an extremely important force in complement to voice, and it’s something that gives voice its strength. In particular, it protects minority rights. In the upper left corner, for example, you imagine two countries, and country 1 is following policy A, and country 2 is following policy B. Some minority is potentially interested in following policy B, but policy A is very stridently promulgated by the majority. However, there’s some other country, maybe a smaller country, maybe another country, that’s actually quite into B, and so that person leaves. And they’re not necessarily super into B, but they think it might be interesting, thus B question mark. And what happens is that all the other guys in A see that people are actually leaving. They really care about this particular policy so much that they actually left. It could be a feature where people are leaving for a competitor; it could be a bug that you haven’t fixed so people fork the project and take it somewhere else—what happens is that exit amplifies voice. So it’s a crucial additional feature for democracy is to reduce the barrier to exit, to make democratic voice more powerful, more successful. And so a voice gains much more attention when people are leaving in droves. And I would bet that exit is a reason why half of this audience is alive. Many of us have our ancestors who came from China, Vietnam, Korea, Iran, places where there’s war or famine, economic basket cases. Exit is something that I believe we need to preserve, and exit is what this talk is about.
So exit is really a meta-concept: it’s about alternatives. It’s a meta-concept that subsumes competition, forking, founding, and physical emigration. It means giving people tools to reduce influence of bad policies on their lives without getting involved in politics: the tools to peacefully opt out. And if you combine those three things: this concept of the US is the Microsoft of nations, the quote from Gates, and Hirschman’s treatise, you get this concept of Silicon Valley’s ultimate exit. Basically, I believe that the ability to reduce the importance of decisions made in DC in particular without lobbying or sloganeering is going to be extremely important over the next ten years. And you might ask, “Why? What does this have to do with anything?” So the reason why is that today it’s Silicon Valley versus what I call the Paper Belt. So there’s four cities that used to run the United States in the postwar era: Boston with higher ed; New York City with Madison Avenue, books, Wall Street, and newspapers; Los Angeles with movies, music, Hollywood; and, of course, DC with laws and regulations, formally running it. And so I call them the Paper Belt, after the Rust Belt of yore. And in the last twenty years, a new competitor to the Paper Belt arose out of nowhere: Silicon Valley. And by accident, we’re putting a horse head in all of their beds. We are becoming stronger than all of them combined.
And to get a sense of this: Silicon Valley is reinventing all of the industries in these cities. That X up there is supposed to be a screenplay, the paper of LA, and LA is going to iTunes, BitTorrent, Netflix, Spotify, Youtube… that was really the first on the hit list, starting in ’99 with Napster. New York right alongside: AdWords, Twitter, Blogger, Facebook, Kindle, Aereo. We’re going after newspapers; we’re going after Madison Avenue; we’re going after book publishing; we’re going after television. Aereo figured out how to put a solid-state antenna in a server farm so you don’t have to pay any TV fees for all of their recording. Recently Boston was next in the gunsights: Khan Academy, Coursera, Udacity. And most interestingly, DC, and by DC I’m using it as a metonym for government regulation in general, because it’s not just DC: it includes local and state governments. Uber, Airbnb, Stripe, Square, and the big one, Bitcoin… all things that threaten DC’s power. It is not necessarily clear that the US government can ban something that it wants to ban anymore.
The cause of this is something I call the Paper Jam. The backlash is beginning. More jobs predicted for machines, not people; job automation is a future unemployment crisis looming. Imprisoned by innovation as tech wealth explodes, Silicon Valley, poverty spikes… they are basically going to try to blame the economy on Silicon Valley, and say that it is iPhone and Google that done did it, not the bailouts and the bankruptcies and the bombings, and this is something which we need to identify as false and we need to actively repudiate it. So we must respond via voice: the obvious counterargument is that Valley reduces prices. The top is a little small, but that’s a famous graph: consumption spreads faster today. That shows the absolute exponential rise of technologies over the last century. Anything that is initially just the province of the one percent, whether it be computers or cell phones, quickly becomes the province of the five percent and the ten percent, that ??? that barely works that someone is willing to pay thousands and thousands of dollars for allows you to fix the bugs, to get economies of scale, to bring it to the ten percent and the twenty percent and the fifty percent and the middle class and the 99 percent. That’s how we got cell phones from a toy for Wall Street to something that’s helping the poorest of the poor all over the world. Technology is about reducing prices. The bottom curve there is Moore’s Law. And by contrast, the Paper Belt raises them. There’s the tuition bubble and the mortgage bubble and the medical care bubble and too many bubbles to name. The argument that the Valley is a problem is incoherent, but it’s not going to be sufficient to respond via voice. We can make this argument, but the ultimate counterargument is actually exit. Not necessarily physical exit, but exit in a variety of different forms. What they’re basically saying is: rule by DC means people are going back to work and the emerging meme is that rule by us is rule by Terminators. We’re going to take all the jobs. Whereas we can say, and we can argue, DC’s rule is more like an overrun building in Detroit, and down right there is a Google data center. And so we can go back and forth verbally, but ultimately this is about counterfactuals: they have aircraft carriers; we don’t. We don’t actually want to fight them. It wouldn’t be smart.
So we want to show what a society run by Silicon Valley would look like without actually affecting anyone who still believes the Paper Belt is actually good. That’s where exit comes in. So what do I mean by this? What do I mean by Silicon Valley’s ultimate exit? It basically means: build an opt-in society, ultimately outside the US, run by technology. And this is actually where the Valley is going. This is where we’re going over the next ten years. That’s where Mobile(?) is going: it’s not about a location-based app, it’s about making location completely irrelevant. So Larry Page, for example, wants to set aside a part of the world for unregulated experimentation. That’s carefully phrased: he’s not actually saying take away the laws in the US—if you like your country, you can keep it. Same with Marc Andreessen: “The world is going to see an explosion of countries in the years ahead. Doubled, tripled, quadrupled countries.” Since the end of the Cold War, we’ve just been seeing them burst up in all kinds of places. And some of the best will have lessons for all the rest. Singapore’s health care system is an example to the rest of the world. Estonia actually has digital parking meters and all kinds of things. We can copy those things without necessarily taking the risk: let them take the risk and then we can copy them. It amplifies voice.
So, importantly: you don’t have to fight a war to start a new company. You don’t have to kill the former CEO in a duel. So a very important meta-concept is to create peaceful ways to exit and start new countries. So, you know, two of the founders of Paypal: Peter Thiel is into seasteading; Elon Musk wants to build a Mars colony. And you can scale it back too: even on Hacker News, just recently, within the realm of someone on startup number 1 or startup number 2, these guys just went and bought a private island. It’s random, it’s in the middle of Canada, it’s freezing cold, there’s sticks over there, it doesn’t exactly look like Oahu… but the best part is this: the people who think this is weird, the people who sneer at the frontier, who hate technology—they won’t follow you out there. That’s the thing about exit is: you can take as much or as little of it as you want. You don’t have to actually go and get your own island; you can do the equivalent of dual-booting or telecommuting. You can opt out, exit at whatever level you prefer. Simply going onto Reddit rather than watching television is a way of opting out. There is this entire digital world up here which we can jack our brains into and we can opt out. The Paper Belt may stop us from leaving, and that’s actually what I think of as one of the most important things over the next ten years, is to use technology, especially Mobile(?), to reduce the barriers to exit. With it, we can build a world run by software: for some examples, 3D printing will turn regulation into DRM, it’ll be impossible to ban physical objects, from medical devices to drones to cars: you can 3D print all these things, and there are entire three-letter regulatory agencies are just devoted to banning goods. With Bitcoin, capital controls become packet filtering. It’s impossible to do bail-ins if everyone’s on Bitcoin, to seize money as they did in Cyprus or in Poland. With Quantified Self, medicine is going to become mobile: you’ll be able to measure yourself. Telepresence, your immigration policy is going to turn into your firewall. Double robotics is just a start: any bots, these robots that you can control remotely, moving around like a Doom video game, soon they’ll be humanoid on their side and they’re going to get pretty good, so you can be anywhere in the world with a humanoid robot walking around on your side, and without paying a plane ticket. Drones, warfare is going to become software, laws are going to become code, management via robotics is going to become automation, and property rights are going to become a network ??? Bitcoin and smart property.
These technological details, these are topics for the next MOOC, you can sign up at ???, it’ll be better the third time around… But that’s what I think… you know, if you want to think big, if you want to think about things that are next, build technologies as minimal or as maximal as you want for what the next society looks like. It could be something as simple as allowing middle-class people to make tax shelters, apps that allow people to travel and relocate better because it’s a huge pain to move from city to city. Anything you can think of that reduces the barrier to exit that produces lock-in. If we work together we might be able to build something like this.
I’ve noticed a general decline in the significance of work put out by neoreactionaries. The picture remains incomplete, and most of what’s filled in was filled in by Moldbug. Here are some of the most important gaps I’ve noticed, although the list is by no means complete and y’all should mention more in the comments.
- AIACC. The red pill as formulated by Moldbug has a clear meaning: “America is a communist country; for workers and peasants, read blacks and Hispanics” appeals to the common perception of the USSR as a country where one class (bureaucrats or whoever) ruled in the name of another (workers and peasants)—so in America, mostly-white Brahmins rule in the name of blacks and Hispanics. But Moldbug thinks there’s more to it than that: America was the senior partner in a coalition with Moscow, capital-C Communism was an outgrowth of something that happened in America, and so on. Is this accurate? If so, where’s the evidence?
- What’s the connection between the Anglosphere and Moscow? This is implied in the above question, but deserves its own entry in the list.
- Is there such a thing as demotism? If so, what is it? As Scott Alexander points out in his anti-reactionary FAQ, even monarchs have claimed to rule in the name of the people; does this constitute demotism? Is Nazism demotist? (No, not really.) Is there anything that currently-existing progressivism, Communism, and Fascism/Nazism have in common? If so, what? (My guess is that they, unlike monarchies, explicitly attempt to create a ‘new man’, drastically reshape not only the technological basis of society but also morality and culture, and so on.)
- Where does progressivism come from? How much of it is Christian? Which parts of Christianity did it come from? Are any parts of any form of it necessary adaptations to technological development, as Scott Alexander says most of [his idea of] American progressivism is?
- What happened in the ’60s? The New Left was definitely not the Old Left (see following question), but where did the New Left come from? The popular Frankfurt School explanation doesn’t cut it; for one, it confuses Gramsci with Rudi Dutschke, who wasn’t politically active until the ’60s and who lived in Germany. At the very least, there should be some resource that pulls together information on the violent takeovers of universities and how those influenced academia; but the goals of those takeovers must have come from somewhere. Where?
- How and why did the Anglo-Soviet split happen?
- Rehabilitating the ‘Red Scare’. I’ve done some work toward this end, and most of the data exists out there (same for a lot of these questions, really), but as far as I know, it hasn’t been pulled together into one coherent resource.
- Empirical political analysis. Which political entities where are better how than which other comparable political entities?
- Policy proposals. Boring, I know, but the consensus seems to be shifting from passivism to reformism, which means reform proposals are necessary. Even if you support making things get worse until they have to get better, what is ‘better’? Note that this includes developing ideographs. And if you’re a passivist, well, no one buys the crypto-guns thing; if a True Election is held and a government is replaced, what is it to be replaced with?
- Studies to cite. Everyone’s seen that Putnam study by now, but what else is there? And are there any studies that refute parts of the reactionary platform?
- How do technology and capital and so on factor into all this? Moldbug ignores capitalism completely. This is bad. Don’t leave all this to communists; they’re probably on to something here.
Most neoreactionary wizardry has been focused on black magic:
The key of black magic is the art of naming the nameless, of showing that that which appears natural—that is,ideology in the true sense—is not. A secure ideology (in the man-on-the-street sense of “political memeplex”) is one that has no name. What is the name for that on which American liberalism and American conservatism agree? What is the name for that on which Americans agree? Liberalism is an -ism; conservatism is an -ism; but talk of justice, of human rights and freedoms, is not.
The American caste system, the Anglo-Soviet split, and even this article itself—these are all works of black magic.
But practical politics relies much more on white magic: building an ideography, a set of words, or ideographs, with connotational/emotional and exosemantic/thede-signaling loads pointing in the direction desired by the ideography’s builders. This is the essence of Moldbug’s concept of ‘idealism’.
There are two operations in black magic: definition and undefinition. Moldbug defines America’s castes; graaaaaagh undefines ‘racism’. Definition consists of redrawing the semantic map of the territory of the world—in rationalist terms, cleaving reality at its joints; undefinition consists of showing that an existing piece of the semantic map does not accurately represent the territory of the world, that it folds together things that ought to be separated, and that it obscures thought by doing so, such that, for example, an attack on one thing that falls under the term can be taken to refute another thing that falls under it, to which the attack at hand does not apply.
There are four operations in white magic: invention, reinforcement, reversal, and erasure.
Invention consists of drawing up a new ideograph, a new word with connotational and/or exosemantic load. This may occasionally appear as black definition, and in fact invention is likely to require definition as a prerequisite, as with the invention of the term ‘white privilege’. Without any semblance of denotation, the word is less likely to have either meaning or direction. And when an ideograph exists without a definitive denotation, it often appeals to a pre-existing tradition, and its invention is likely to contain an attempt at definition—Plato’s and Rawls’ attempts at inventing ‘justice’ both fall under this category. It’s also possible for already existing non-ideographic words to be imbued with ideographic load, as Theden has been doing with words like ‘Brahmin’.
Reinforcement is exactly what it sounds like: restating an ideograph and its connotational and/or exosemantic load. This may seem controversial, but I will claim that, for many Universalists, ‘white’ is a negative ideograph. Observe:
The thing about the Republicans is that when they have a tantrum, they really have a tantrum. Right now, somewhere in Washington, DC, there are a bunch of rich men with white hair, white skin, and black hearts screaming and stomping around in their suits because they don’t want poor people to have affordable healthcare.
‘Black hearts’ carries an obvious negative connotational load; juxtaposing it with ‘rich men’ and ‘white hair, white skin’ reinforces the negative load of both, in both the connotational—the negative load of the ‘black-hearted’ referents of the adjective is to spread onto the adjective itself—and exosemantic—these people are to be taken as the enemy—senses.
Reversal consists of reversing the load of an ideograph, whether connotationally or exosemantically. This occurs in two forms: reclamation, switching the load from negative to positive, and declamation, switching the load from positive to negative. I use the word reclamation because it already exists: “reclamation of slurs”: “You’re going to call me a queer/nigger/redneck/faggot? Fine, I’m a queer/nigger/redneck/faggot; I’ll take that as part of my identity and use it to positively signal my thede affiliation!” This is an example of exosemantic reclamation. Connotational reclamation proceeds along the lines of, say, (and I know I’ve seen this argument somewhere) “You’re going to call me a racist? Fine, I’m a racist! Were I not a racist, I’d hate my own people! Do you hate your own people, you race-traitor bastard?” As always, the connotational and exosemantic aspects are often linked: the attempts at reclamation of ‘liberal’ seem to be both. As for declamation, see Theden on progressives.
Erasure is an extreme case of declamation: the ideograph acquires such negative load that those who previously took it as positive are forced to disassociate themselves from it. I read an interview a few days ago with a DC campaign operative who said that denotationally liberal candidates can’t associate themselves with the word ‘liberal’ anymore. (This is not a new phenomenon; it comes up in Bloom County, so it’s been around since the Reagan era.)
Political philosophy begins and ends with Plato, and with his goal of optimizing for justice, a goal passed down unmodified to everyone from Robert Nozick to Bill de Blasio. Already we see a problem: one cannot optimize for that which one cannot define. Plato thought he could define it; so did Nozick; so does de Blasio. All three disagree with each other substantially.
It is pointless to debate what justice is without some idea of what sort of thing it is. Does it manifest itself in properties of the real world? Are there any desirable qualities that correlate strongly with justice? If so, the seemingly insoluble question of defining justice is unnecessary: find those desirable qualities and optimize for it instead.
And if no such desirable qualities exist, why should we care about justice at all?
For that matter, why is the goal to optimize for an abstraction? Man lives neither in nor by abstractions. This is the essence of the prison breaks of both Marx and Moldbug: all that matters is reality.
If justice mandates turning Rhodesia into Zimbabwe, if justice mandates reversing the crime crackdown and de facto segregation that pulled New York City from the darkest pits of crime-ridden hell, if justice mandates the protection of freedoms that lead to material harm, so much the worse for justice.
But the thing ought to be dispensed with anyway. A look at the past hundred years shows that Thrasymachus was descriptively right.
‘Misogyny’ in rap music, which is aligned with Dalits (and to a lesser extent Antyajas), is not a topic of Brahmin concern.
‘Misogyny’ in the tech industry, which is aligned with Frontines, is a topic of Brahmin concern.
Therefore, Brahmins are concerned with rewriting Frontine industries, but not Dalit industries.
Therefore, Brahmins are aligned against Frontines in the caste war.
Told you so.
To conquer the stars, mankind must become a race of conquerors.
We who have for sixty years been threatened with the technological future stand at the dawn of history; more precisely, we stand at a fork, between the future of humanity and the eternal present of the human, an eternal present that leads inevitably backwards. The world-stage victory of liberalism has turned us toward the latter. The time-preference curve cuts off to zero. Historical stillbirth.
There is no longer a positive vision of the future; there is only eternal masturbation in the Garden of Eden, under the shade of the ever-static civilization tree. Measures to secure the future against the orcish hordes of the present are deemed intrinsically vile. Utilitarianism is protected against the eugenic conclusion only by the cutoff of the time-preference curve: zero care for the yet unborn. The rot has set in so deeply that antinatalism is no longer taken as a reductio ad absurdum: there are people who really believe that there are logical arguments against reproducing and that they ought to be spread, and somehow these people have not all been silenced or shot. Antinatalism without active, forceful pressure toward human extinction can never succeed, for the simple reason that some people are either too stupid to follow logical arguments or too impulsive to care; but for the same reason, if it is not completely and utterly ineffective, it is necessarily dysgenic.
The death of history is not a leftist conclusion. It is strictly a liberal one.
The reason for that east-western difference is the fact that the GDR had an “educated mother scheme” and actively tried to encourage first births among the more educated. It did so by propagandizing the opinion that every educated woman should “present at least one child to socialism” and also by financially rewarding its more educated citizen to become parents. The government especially tried to persuade students to become parents while still in college and it was quite successful in doing so. In 1986 38% of all women, who were about to graduate from college, were mothers of at least one child and additional 14% were pregnant and 43% of all men, who were about to graduate from college, were fathers of at least one child. There was a sharp decline in the birth rate and especially in the birth rate of the educated after the fall of the Berlin wall. Nowadays only 5% of those about to graduate from college are parents. …
A study done in the western German State of Nordrhein-Westfalen by the HDZ revealed that childlessness was especially widespread among scientists. It showed that 78% of the female scientists and 71% of the male scientists working in that State were childless.
Intelligence, like most things, is about 50% heritable. If education correlates to any non-negligible degree with intelligence, the GDR was completely right. To value the future, as communism apparently did and as liberalism emphatically does not, leads necessarily to the eugenic conclusion.
Intelligence forms and is amplified by the Old Law of Gnon:
The penalty for stupidity is death.
Gregory Clark is among those few to have grasped [this law] clearly. Any eugenic trend within history is expressed by continuous downward mobility. For any given level of intelligence, a steady deterioration in life-prospects lies ahead, culling the least able, and replacing them with the more able, who inherit their wretched socio-economic situation, until they too are pushed off the Malthusian cliff. Relative comfort belongs only to the sports and freaks of cognitive advance. For everyone else, history slopes downwards into impoverishment, hopelessness, and eventual genetic extinction. That is how intelligence is made. Short of Technological Singularity, it is the only way. Who wants a piece of that?
No one does, or almost no one. … Monkeys … are able to revolt, once they finesse their nasty little opposable thumbs. They don’t like the Old Law, which has crafted them through countless aeons of ruthless culling, so they make history instead. If they get everything ‘right’, they even sleaze their way into epochs of upward social mobility, and with this great innovation, semi-sustainable dysgenics gets started. In its fundamentals it is hideously simple: social progress destroys the brain.
Liberalism is thus quite literally a cancer: a memeplex that, on entering metastasis, threatens civilization itself. Civilization is taken for granted; it is believed to grow on trees; no measures for preserving it are necessary, and measures for enhancing it are reminiscent of the high modernism, the biological Nietzscheanism, that led man to believe that he could conquer first his own condition and then his living-conditions, and that was defeated in the war that ended the West.
The Second World War, in the American mythological reading, was a war between the rights of the present and the promises of the future. This reading is not entirely accurate, since, as we have seen, the Soviets opted to search for a balance between the two rather than adopt the liberal solution of utterly abandoning the latter and accelerating the former into dysgenic burnout leading inexorably to a collapse that is no longer taken to matter. But the American mythological reading is more relevant than the historical fact of the matter, since it is the founding myth of the postmodern liberal religion, and the postmodern liberal religion is preached today from San Francisco to Samarkand.
Our popular culture reflects the liberal view of history: the technological future is dystopian, evil and oppressive, reminiscent of the Nazis or the hyper-Reaganism of Snow Crash. If the future has any merit, any promise, it is fundamentally moral in nature: civilization will remain at its current technological level, not moving an inch in either direction, but its ethics will advance, advance toward the singularity of total dissolution, total atomization, every thede dissolved into its component parts, united only by the no-thede, the all-thede, the recognition of the simple and objective moral truth that has gone unrecognized by literally every other civilization on the planet only because they were on the wrong side of history. If technology is to advance at all, it must be solely for the purpose of solving the inherent immorality of the human condition.
While popular culture looks forward to a more moral future, aesthetically it can only look backward. Folk music and Whole Foods. Craft beer and organic artisanal soap. Technology must stop looking technological: it has to be friendly, it has to look like a kitchen appliance or a bar of soap, made of soft curves and pastel-colored plastic. No wires, no rectangles, no beige. IBM is right out.
Marinetti’s call to flood the cellars of the museums has been reversed. Science fiction gives way to fantasy; space programs give way to social justice. There is no longer a USSR for the liberal regime to assert itself against in the propaganda of technological achievement. Oh well, the space program was undemocratic anyway.
The single most important error of liberalism is that it either has forgotten or actively desires to avoid knowing that there are prerequisites to civilization, and that these prerequisites, like most traits, are most likely about 50% genetic.
If there is room within liberalism for the other 50% to be worked on, it must be worked on. If there is a non-negligible gap between potential and actual intelligence, due to childhood malnutrition or lead poisoning or whatever, this gap must be closed. But it is of paramount importance that the cancer be treated. It took untold hundreds of years for the West to develop civilization and the prerequisites thereof; if these things are lost, with them goes one path toward the future, one bridge between ape and overman.