nydwracu niþgrim, nihtbealwa mæst

signals, signals everywhere / and not a thought to think

What feeds the Cathedral?

with 18 comments

The elites must be won. But how?

Nick B. Steves prepends a step to my strategy:

Step 0: Build the Antiversity—a single, high SNR, and articulate voice that takes all observable reality into its capable hands and weaves The More Plausible Narrative out of it, i.e., more plausible than every other mainstream source. It should be squeaky clean, a-vitriolic, non-hyperbolic, non-snarky, non-profit, and completely a-political. This will give any would-be dissenting elites (as well as everybody else) a place to go.

While I agree that the Antiversity is necessary, I am not optimistic enough to believe that it is all that is necessary. Does Universalism remain in power by plausibility alone? How many of the attendees of the average mandatory diversity seminar actually believe it?

I spent my first semester of college in a school of about 500 people in New England. Back then, I got my politics from The American Conservative and sometimes National Review. The general political outlook of the freshman class, both before college started (there was, of all things, an IRC channel) and a few weeks into the first semester, was vaguely liberal, but at the level one would expect from freshmen in college. Politics didn’t concern them. Their one shared position was that drugs should be legalized; that, welfare, and the optimal tax rate were their political universe, with a few exceptions: besides the religious students, who never fell in line and consequently ended up with the lowest social status of anyone there, there were the American blacks (there was one guy from Ghana, and he didn’t pattern with them), who kept to themselves except for Facebook but who seemed to already have become some sort of progressive (they were all Brahmins, as far as I could tell), one crocodile from a rich Jewish family somewhere outside NYC who desperately wanted to be black, and one very obviously elite Brahmin who got into ‘disability activism’, railing against the absence of ramps at the school, because she walked with a bit of a limp.

By the end of the first semester, things had changed. There were a lot of true believers—but there were equally many people who went through the motions. Some girl blamed me for burning her radical feminist magazine; in reality, the magazine had been left in the dorm’s study room one night, and I, her boyfriend (using a very loose definition of the term), and a few other people had showed up there to pull all-nighters. Someone picked it up, it got passed around, and I found an article in it written by a gay man (again, using a very loose definition of the term) complaining about how he was at a gay bar and some guys came in and started having a drinking contest and they must have been straight because gays never do that, and therefore total, mandatory separation of straights and gays is desirable. We all had a good laugh, I passed the thing to the girl’s boyfriend (who, it must be noted, wasn’t straight—for that matter, I don’t think anyone in the room was), and he decided to burn it.

Later, I got involved in some political debates against some Universalists on Facebook. Their preferred method of debate was naked crocodilism, shouted at the same time by as many people as possible. I got death threats. The only time anyone publicly backed me up was when an upperclassman said he’d gone to a Diversity Day seminar where a professor said all men were rapists. But I gained status. I was The Controversial One. People laughed about the absurdity of the whole mess, when they thought the Universalists wouldn’t hear them. And people, in person or in private messages, thanked me for standing up against them.

Right before finals week began, I was placed on involuntary medical leave on manufactured charges (they accused me of plotting a school shooting), forced back home, and ordered to get a psych eval saying I was mentally fit to attend college. The Dean of Students called me at home and told me that, if I didn’t leave the school, he’d do everything in his power to make my life hell and render me unemployable. So I left.

My guess would be that about a third of the students actively supported Universalism, about half passively supported it, believing it in the sense that one believes in Christianity on Sundays, and the rest disagreed, but kept their heads down. The former two numbers increase with time served there

Part of it is plausibility. People exposed to one coherent narrative from sources they take as authoritative will begin to believe that narrative, especially if they don’t have the resources to notice its flaws. But part of it is that many parts of America are theocracies. It is made very clear by the structures of power what is to be believed. Universalist theocracy has no problem with its subjects taking Universalism as Sunday religion. Ruling Universalism is not Ingsoc; it requires its subjects to go through the motions of conforming, but doesn’t care whether or not they truly believe, or even whether they act according to the ruling belief system.

When Sunday-believing a memeplex confers status, that memeplex will appear much more powerful than it is.

A good tactical goal would be to break the association of Universalism and high status. The Cathedral relies on its soft totalitarianism. The less negative incentivization dissent carries, the more dissent will be observable. Crocodilism plays a key role in the maintenance of the appearance of consensus: dissent is associated with both inherent low status and with low-status groups. If you aren’t a Universalist, you must be a fedora-wearing MRA, or a bitcoin libertarian, or an inbred neo-Nazi!

Written by nydwracu

June 6, 2013 at 19:19

Posted in politics

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18 Responses

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  1. Increasingly in my work and personal life, (perhaps in proportion to my distance from the University), I find I am surrounded mostly by people who call BS on an increasingly wide swatch of the Blue Orthodoxy, and tell me they are so relieved when they don’t have to pretend otherwise. “Keeping their heads down because that’s just the way it is, they’ll get you, it’s unfair, there’s no justice, but there’s nothing anyone can do about it anymore” is a perfectly fair way to describe it. Ex-Soviets I’ve known describe their worlds as similarly fills with ubiqui-cynicism.

    We’re not there yet – far too many true believers and those whose interests align with them. But the pre-reactionary numbers are swelling beyond almost anyone’s awareness. It is important that what the DEC has on offer at the time of the preference cascade is worthy of their conversion.


    June 6, 2013 at 20:30

    • I’ve always found that HBD is a very hard sell. People don’t like hearing about their kids IQ and regression to the mean in the same sentence.

      What’s your experience?


      June 7, 2013 at 12:48

      • I’ve found that HBD is an easier sell the further away from the sellee it’s applied. I once had a professor say that the only reason certain ethnicities do better in Olympic running events is that their countries emphasize the events the most and have the best trainers — but IIRC he at least wasn’t allergic to hbdchick’s thesis about northern vs. southern Italy.


        June 7, 2013 at 14:23

      • I think it depends greatly on your social context. I recently went to a conference where the subject matter was highly complex both in the bureaucratic sense (law, policy, authorities, coordination constructs, planning and requirements, budgeting, etc.) and the technical sense. Everyone there was there because they were a subject matter expert in at least one area, and reasonably fluent (or at least trusted by their superiors to be capable of so becoming) in most of the rest.

        Also, they had to be the kind of people who were seen as being extremely trustworthy and reliable and had never been caught doing anything seriously wrong in their entire lives. Maybe some mild past recreational drug use (or present on the part of the private contractors and academic types), but never remotely close to the “seriously negative impact on one’s life” level. In other words, if these drugs were quasi-legal or “license-able” to those who could actually dependably self-regulate and enjoy them responsibly – these people would have those licenses. (NB: The fear of this kind of mistake-irreversibility is why SWPL white women favor the legality of abortion – getting knocked up without “recourse” is the equivalent of getting arrested and having ‘felon’ on your permanent record. Or, these days, being outed at a racist – i.e. not all-in on publically supporting Diversity-ism).

        These people aren’t “top 1%” elites by any metric, certainly not monetary, but they are solidly 2-sigma and above. “Aspirational Middle Class” advertising demographic profile. They’re all “good neighbors”. You’d be quite content to live in a world populated exclusively by these folks. In fact, come to think of it, restricting myself to my colleagues and neighborhood – where I spend most of my waking hours – I sort of do. We all try to pick our Zions if we can. Some people who live in that world long enough have a kind of “reality apartheid” and easily are led, or come all by themselves – to the self-deceptive conclusion that the whole rest of the world works, or could work that way too. If it doesn’t work that way, it’s the fault of evil – some ism or phobia or something. Anyway, two interesting things to say about this group.

        1. 98% of the members in the attendance are what are supposed to be hard-core full or quasi-government employee Cathedral insiders. 2. The demographic composition of the audience was about 90% White and Asian males. The rest were Black males and White females, and I know people are thinking “Affirmative Action!” but that’s not true, there was an inescapable “merit firewall” that had to be met, and so both sets were at or above the 3-sigma level for their class for at least one of the relevant and requisite personal characteristics. The kind of blacks who look down on the other blacks, and the kind of women who tend to get along better, and prefer to socialize, with other men than with other men than with other women.

        Now, as always, there is a mandatory Diversity poster prominently displayed in an public area. The group in the picture was, naturally, very different from the group in reality. A kind of Marxist “Heightening of the contradictions” provocation of the public-persona cognitive dissonance we all have to live with. Well, it was too much for everyone to hold their tongues, so, inevitably, the least socially-aware (or most socially insouciant) Asian guy (with accent) in the group points at the picture with a subtle “check it out” and then casts his eyes about the room with a bit of snickering. To my pleasant surprise, no one did the “ooh, party foul dude”, “someone just committed a faux-pas” awkward distancing. Instead, there was a lot of joviality and – I can’t think of any other way to describe it – visible “relief” at learning, “Oh, Thank God, we can quit the BS and let our guard down a bit and speak honestly with each other”.

        For the rest of the event, there was a lot of similar pointing and snickering, (something I admit I avoided), and including the Blacks and women, to the point where I was wondering when the HBD dance was going to break out. There was also a lot more trust and friendliness after that. Are these people pre-reactionaries? Convertible Vaisyas? I don’t know.

        Here’s the part that’s interesting to me. He didn’t intend for it – but the act of the socially oblivious Asian guy actually was the nucleation point for the crystallization of a much better reset of the social equilibrium. Just like that MIA Sasquatch guy. Someone’s got to not care about being the potential fall-guy to do thing that’s embarrassing and costly if you’re left isolated, but awesome if everyone else is doing it too because, secretly, everyone else wanted to do it, to enable this kind of social re-coordination. Is there something we can learn from that?


        June 8, 2013 at 11:22

        • Does he really not care? Or is he just to clueless to pick up on what’s going on? If someone walks up to him and says “take that back or your career is over” what do you think he would do?

          Dissent from ignorance isn’t going to change much. Only genuine dissent can actually change anything. All of those people probably went back to their homes and jobs and acted exactly the way they acted before.


          June 10, 2013 at 14:02

        • I’ve noticed that asians have a slight immunity to charges of X-ism.

          cimon alexander

          June 10, 2013 at 22:23

  2. “The less negative incentivization dissent carries, the more dissent will be observable.”

    And the more dissent is observable, the weaker and shallower and less ordered it becomes.

    I am all for making life hard on the Cathedral, and Universities are the first, best place to start. I think the radical left is particularly well-suited for this purpose. Even isolated, status competitions for lefter than thou are very unsettling, bureaucratically expensive, and embarrassing to university provosts. Radical leftists should be our useful idiots: Femen? They’re worth at least 100,000 words from Moldbug in arguing for reaction. Animal rights, tree rights, freegans, anti-cisnormativists, OWS, let them have their cake… the more concessions the Cathedral has to make to its spoiled bratty and very expensive children, the less it will worry about us.

    I am not advocating the Antiversity as a one stop solution, but merely as the thing one must have first. Then the convertible elites, and they are increasingly legion, would at least have a place to turn, a place that makes sense from top to bottom. As Universities lose their legitimacy, by doubling-down on lies and half-baked truths, the Antiversity will gain its own. And if legitimacy is the mass illusion Jim Donald suggests and makes a strong case for, then it could happen rather more suddenly than any of us can imagine. But something, someone, somewhere has to be there (in one place, stoically waiting) to soak up all the aspirations of would-be dissidents.

    Nick B. Steves

    June 7, 2013 at 10:52

  3. […] to Nydwracu’s excellent discussion here and continuing here, and given the fact that I spent the more than an hour crafting a response to SMH’s excellent […]

  4. […] This must be manifest in its people, its members, its students and teachers. The followers of the “More Plausible Narrative”  must have sincere thoughts, hearts of the stoutest rectitude, cultivated characters and […]

  5. […] St. Pol on the antiversity, Michael Animissov on natural order, Nick B. Steves on slavery, Nydwracu on the elites, and Alfredwclark on identitarian […]

    Randoms | Foseti

    June 10, 2013 at 12:59

  6. The “Antiversity”, as defined, is stupid and impossible. It is impossible because it is not human. Moldbug’s engineering-based solutions always entail removing the humans from human community, and this one is no different. Since this is impossible, the Antiversity is impossible. To this and other technology-based solutions (cryptographic weapons, etc) I am reminded of the response by the character (played in the movie by Jack Goldblum) in Jurassic Park: Life will find a way. If you try to engineer a system in which human error is impossible, human beings will find a way to screw it up.

    The Antiversity is stupid because the University already exists, it used to be reactionary or at least conservative, and it could be again. The defeatist attitude that we need to cede the battlefield and re-engineer some make-believe utopian reactionary alternative is, well, stupid.

    Furthermore, human beings are material entities. An online wiki provides the opportunity for self-education, but is not true cultural power. Getting people to sit on a bench and listen to you once a week is true power. Even if they don’t really believe in what you are saying. Getting children to sit at a desk 5 times a week and listen to what you are saying is power of previously unimaginable proportion, and almost all of them will believe in what you are teaching (which may not be what you say).

    Moldbug was/is at his most powerful and most reactionary when writing poetry.

    Chevalier de Johnstone

    June 11, 2013 at 01:54

    • BTW I am not saying that a wiki called the Antiversity (or anything else) is a stupid idea – just that as “the answer” it is stupid and impossible. It could still be a useful tool.

      Chevalier de Johnstone

      June 11, 2013 at 01:57

  7. Actually I take Moldbug at his most powerful when he’s revising History thru a Machiavellian lens.


    June 11, 2013 at 21:55

  8. […] Make dissent respectable. Many already disagree; let them voice it. Handle notes that “the pre-reactionary numbers are swelling beyond almost anyone’s […]

  9. […] dissident knowledge. The most energetic example (orchestrated by Nydwracu) can be followed here, here, and here. Francis St. Pol’s substantial contribution is […]

  10. […] dissent respectable. Many already disagree; let them voice it. Handle notes that “the pre-reactionary numbers are swelling beyond almost anyone’s […]

  11. Antiversity?

    Like the National Association of Scholars?


    April 22, 2015 at 05:19

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