AN ANALYSIS OF THE STATE OF NRx AND ITS RELATION TO PROPERTARIANISM
Great post. I’ve been looking for a way to riff off of someone else’s work. This is a good opportunity. Sorry if this is a bit long. I just went through the points and captured my thoughts as I went along. But I think it gets the point across.
To what are you referring when referring to NRx? Do you mean Yarvin’s Critique? Do you mean the folks that claim to defend authority over arguments in that critique? Do you mean the body of people who participate in that set of criticisms and make use of those arguments? Do you mean the entire suite of arguments that suggest that the enlightenment experiment has failed?
2) —What would a small measure of success look like for contemporary reaction? —
Success would incrementally look like: (a) a body of language for signaling and ridicule of opponents (b) an ideological research program seeking post-democratic solutions (c) Awareness (mention) of the central criticism of the Cathedral Complex among the informed advocates of each of the three political compass points, (d) expansion of the pool of talent arguing the position of the criticism, (e) popular mention of the failure or success of democracy and the enlightenment project (f) The production of a set of solutions that were possible to implement, and therefore possible to demand, (g) proposal of policy and changes, (h) enactment of policy.
—“Neoreaction has failed to obtain any wealthy patrons or even well-known proponents. For every serious, mature Neoreactionary there are ten juvenile snark-emitting anime avatars who use the hashtag. For everyone who uses the hashtag, there are probably twenty people who see the failure of progressivism and democracy, but are unwilling to be part of a “crab cult”. …. NRx has now retreated into a hermetically sealed inner circle which brooks no discussion with those who are critical.”—
(a) Yarvin’s critique of the failure of the enlightenment experiments is an instance of ‘critique’ not an actionable or scientific theory. The fact that one cannot reduce it like evolution to a theory is why it remains a critique. The world no longer operates on criticism except in the mass market. The world operates by scientific argument and popularization by moral loading. NRx does the opposite.
(b) As such there is no means of obtaining political or economic power by a broad spectrum of the population which would include both those with money and those with time.
(c) But there remains a moral criticism and a morally loaded criticism for those who require self-signals of moral righteousness to justify their separatism. It is this use of NRx for self-signaling by outcasts from the mainstream that you are observing.
(I consider Propertarianism and Testimonialism post-NRx for these reasons.)
—” it’s worth acknowledging what NRx has gotten right. While there is no clear-cut consensus on many details, the general center-of-gravity acknowledges the irredeemable problems of Progressivism and Democracy, the unrealistic fantasy of Libertarianism, and the positive value of hierarchy and racial realism and sex/gender realism. “—-
(a) I would love to see someone other than Yarin who has added content to NRx. I am not sure who has.
(b) As I understand it, the criticisms are (i) that the enlightenment project seeking to extend the aristocratic franchise(political participation) and post-kinship-relations to all property holders, then to all men, then to all women, then to out-group members, has been a failure because the competing interests of each group cannot be satisfied by majority rule, and the result of majority rule was proletarian rule. (ii) And that the cathedral complex (state, academy, media, elites) have displaced the martial, judicial, and empirical complex, and have constructed a pseudoscientific and pseudo-rational mythology to replace the Aristocracy/Merchant/ChristianChurch+Academy and it’s division of responsibilities (jurisprudence, production, education) with a monopoly of state and academy supported by the media. Importantly: the west successfully resisted this centralization longer than all other cultures, and this is one of the many reasons for our technological, legal and military excellence.
(c) Yarvin constructed his argument using critique. (Yarvin: Jewish criticism(gossip), Hoppe: German justificationary rationalism(philosophy), Doolittle: Anglo analytic-empiricism(science).)
The criticism is largely correct. The solution (technology) is not. This is the problem with all philosophical Critique and Justifiationism. In failing to answer the why, the criticism alone provides no insight into the prior era’s success: extension of kinship trust and truth-telling to non-kin, and the extension of property rights(enfranchisement) by merit.
—“Neoreaction wants a more stable, sustainable, anti-fragile society, one that is integrated and organic, with very little political activity, since politics is disruptive to the social fabric. Reaction has those same goals. The problem is that everything else in Neoreaction attenuates that one point of strength.”—
Yes. The western tradition advocates Heroism/Truth/Honor while warning against Hubris/Vanity. And western hubris and vanity are demonstrated by our belief that our enlightenment visions have solved ancient problems rather than that we have been able to act hubristically because of the temporary wealth effect of our legal, financial, technological, and petrochemical innovations. As the world catches up to us, our advantage is no longer legal, financial, technological and petrochemical, but merely cultural: we still are the only high trust culture, and we are destroying it through that same legalistic hubris and immigration.
5) Tech Culture
—“A software system is fragile; a statesman has to be flexible. A software system is designed around a particular model of reality, and cannot “see” beyond that model.”—
This is an excellent point but fails to get to the underlying problem:discretion. Rule of law requires decidability. The debate in economics for example is between the saltwater economists who seek to find opportunities to apply discretion; the freshwater economists who seek rules so that economic governance is articulated under rule of law (without discretion), and the Austrian economists who seek to reduce the frictions of cooperation by improving institutions of cooperation.
Software requires decidable propositions. I am unclear as to whether Yarvin understands that he was trying to solve the ancient problem of rule of law. What I am clear about is that software teaches you the (low) limits of your knowledge, the requirement that you demonstrate your knowledge by creating algorithms, and that each step of which is decidable. And if you succeed then you have constructed the equivalent of well articulated law. In other words, rule of law should look very much like programming: lacking need for discretion (or in math what we call “choice” in a cases of arbitrary precision (lack of context)).
So Yarvin intuits the approximately correct problem I think, and simply fails to come up with a solution. THe solution is that when we enfrancise new groups with different interests we can no longer rely upon majority rule, but require houses for each new group, within which majority rule may be practiced, but where trades can be conducted between houses and trades invalidated if illegal, rather than requiring assent. In other words, government should consist of a market for the production of commons between classes with dissimilar interests. (Genders, Social Classes).
It is possible to develop this solution only because one does not rely on critique of failure, but reconstruction of success of the west. Criticism provides no insight. The success of the west requires we understand it.
6) Social Darwinism
I’m not going to criticize this paragraph (even though I should) but it’s not constructive or insightful. No ‘harmony’ no ‘positive assertion’ is knowable in cooperative matters, any more than it is in physical science. Western civilization has been practicing eugenics through at least three phases: (a) harsh winters (b) manorial allocation of property to capable married couples and (c) through hanging or killing .5-1% of malcontents annually. (So has China). As far as I can tell, the primary difference between the different tribal and racial groups is only in the degree of suppression of reproduction of the underclasses (how successful they were at eugenic culling), or in the case of india and south america, how successful the aristocracy was at creating a caste system. The problem is that reproductive suppression of the underclasses is least harmful, and produces superior distributions so that the pareto rule (80% of the property in the top 20% of hands) can place the means of organizing production in the hands of those most able to do it for profit rather than exploitation. (this is the problem facing india and south america.)
So whether it is appealing or not, it’s true. The question is then, given the truth, how to best go about transferring reproduction from dysgenic to eugenic ends. And as far as I know, that’s only possible by paying the underclasses not to reproduce, and paying the upper classes (or at least the middle class) to reproduce.
Right now we do precisely the opposite. Which since 1850 appears to have taken us from parity with ashkenazim to 1/2 standard deviation downward.
6) Culture of Critique
I think I’ve covered this already, but I agree wholeheartedly. This is because NRx, structured as Critique, attracts gossipers to easy criticism for the purpose of argumentative signaling, rather than serious intellectuals to the furtherance of challenging political solutions. It also explains the near absence of intellectuals in the NRx (and libertarian) movements. (Something I want to fix, by emphasis on solutions rather than criticisms.)
7) No Constituency
Correct. Gossip is used to rally, shame, and ostracize, not to organize solutions. Critique is merely advanced gossip used to rally, shame and morally outrage. Intellectuals and activists of above average ability, and those who are capable will pursue positive rather than critical ends. Leaving those who are less capable in the field. This is what has happened to libertarianism. Intellectuals have abandoned the field since the 70’s leaving only over-invested has-beens. (most of whom I know personally who I hope forgive the truth.)
8) No Sacrifice
—“There is no great spirit of sacrifice.”—
I think this criticism should be restated as that there is no heroic call to action. But again, there is no call to action there is only call to moral indignation over being *lied to* for a century at so much expense.
But your statement that individuals are seeking attention is probably not meaningful. This should be restated as the content of NRx is insufficient to advance a theory, so that individuals advance the criticism through rallying. Rallying requires leaders to rally.
This is a natural consequence of the failure of Critique. At least the marxists proposed solutions, even if they were pseudoscientific. We lack the numbers (and women) for gossip (critique) to be distributed as is progressivism and political correctness, and we lack the incentives of the government (votes) academy (female student customers) and media (female and some male consumers) necessary to conduct rallying and shaming (although the alt-right is making some impressive progress in meme-generation that is certainly working).
9) No Dialectic
Well, I would argue that a ‘dialectic’ is an admission of failure, and a research program is evidence of success. Dialectic is an exceptional means of carrying upon deceit. Research programs are not. If you mean that an ineffective minority is trying to contain the discourse because they have no theoretical definitions to constrain it, then that is correct. But this is another example of consequence of the failure of the method, not that the criticism NRx puts forward is false.
Unfortunately, moral rallying is more emotionally rewarding and easier to grasp than rational, legal, or scientific argument that by very nature eschew the subjective value of moral outrage.
And this again presents an interesting problem since political power requires moral outrage, but in the scientific era it must be proposed as an actionable theory – we are no longer in the era of the french revolution or even the marxist and postmodern. The very reason we have the science to justify Reaction is the end of those eras and the current scientific era. Our arguments must depend upon the ratio scientific – which is why I am working to unite science, philosophy, morality and law. And I think (I am not yet certain) that I have done so.
I do not matter however. I am irrelevant. What matters is whether the theory survives. And I think it will survive for many generations: truth (in the scientific sense I put forward) is enough to prevent and reverse the second levantine lie: the combination of cosmopolitan pseudoscience and anglo puritan and neo-puritan utopianism.
10) Apocalyptic Mentality
This is an ideologically necessary technique for implementing political change. See Andrew Heywood’d Political Ideologies : An Introduction. And they’re not wrong. This problem is indeed culturally and genetically apocalyptic. There is no reason to prevent yet another dark age. There have been multiple in our history. And in both the sea peoples, the classical period, and the contemporary period, they were caused by population migration by inferiors into established cultures.
11) Metaphysical Foundations
Well, that’s certainly true but I have almost as certainly corrected that, leaving the NRx criticism as ‘true’ and Testimonialism and Propertarianism as explanations and solutions. So this merely strengthens the NRX critique. I see NRx as the ideological incentive for revolution, while my work as the solution that we must demand to either reform or replace the enlightenment.
I am not sure I should try to correct this paragraph. You mean to say something but I am not quite sure what it is. I think I would restate it as people need to feel moral justification if they are to forcibly implement change, but the NRx community is not giving people that justification in actionable terms.
FROM MY PERSPECTIVE
(a) People are already associating my work with the radical right even though my solution is certainly progressive by any measure. I see this as threatening the viability of my work just as Nietzche’s works were threatened. So I am reluctantly pleased that traditionalists see the value in my work as explaining why their civilization outpaced all others everywhere at all points in time, but equally nervous about casting me as anything other than a social scientists seeking economic prosperity and non-conflict. (I hate conflict)
(b) I tend to disassociate myself with NRx because it is as you suggest, a fairly immature movement and aside from Land (who is himself an elegant practitioner of rational meaning in the continental tradition not an analytic philosopher in the scientific and critical rational traditions) it is a very lonely place to be. I don’t want to be labeled on the down side.
So: Classical Liberal->Libertarian->Ancap->NRx->Testimonialism/Propertarianism seems to be the trajectory I follow.
We have taken the classical liberal program, criticized it for its incremental failures in each generation, and now have produced a sufficient criticism that we can REFORM the classical liberal program such that we restore the ability for houses of government to represent various classes and to conduct contractual exchanges between them (legislation) but that they cannot make law. This process of pacification first uses centralized government to suppress local parasitism and decrease transaction costs producing economic velocity, at the cost of an increasingly self-serving monopoly bureaucracy. But it is our generation’s function to now eliminate the cost of self serving monopoly bureaucracy, and to return western government to the function of producing commons within the limits of the civic society that we so uniquely developed in this world.
(c) The rate of revolutionary incentive and consensus is accelerating, but a revolution without an objective that provides everyone who agrees with our moral incentives and not is much more difficult to bring into fruition. There were generations of thinkers prior to the last revolutionary era. The world moves faster now and our generation needs to complete a political solution that can be implemented in law without the need for ‘belief’ or ‘shared values’ which are code-words for monopoly of opinion, if we are to achieve the restoration of our civilization.
I hope this was helpful as a means of giving those who are sympathetic to the NRx movement some ideas about why they’re both right but insufficient, and where they might turn next, given that they’re insufficient. I find no reason to really attack the NRx movement as I have the cosmopolitan libertine (ancap) movement. However, my preferred objective is that if we recognize these movements as failures, that we can all unite behind some variation which gives each of us most of what we desire, and our opposition much of what they desire. The reason being that in game theory while no one achieves all his wants, the best wants that all can achieve are the best wants POSSIBLE to achieve.
Truth is enough. It’s the source of western exceptionalism. We just need to put truth into law. Aristocracy is an empirical means of government. We assert no positives other than that if we prevent negatives then all of mankind is free to experiment by trial and error. And that is the very definition of ‘scientific’.
Ancap was a step. NRx was a step. One foot in front of the other, we soldier onward.
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine (Tallinn, Estonia)