@CathyYoung63: “Re Alt-Right…” 


CK MacLeod

WordPresser: Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001.

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110 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Ugh. Back when “alt-right” meant 5,000 word essays from Moldbug rather than memes from 4chan, it was interesting.Report

  2. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Are there really 4 million assholes under 30 years old in the western world?Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Kolohe says:

      Needs citation… Hard to know what estimates of whom defined how the author is referring to. Just placed a question on the discussion thread AAMOF.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to Kolohe says:


      How many people under 30 are there in the Western world?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to James K says:

        That was my line of thought. In the US, per the 2010 census, there’s about 40 million people between the ages of 20-29 (focusing on this age group because most teenagers, and all toddlers, are assholes anyway). The EU is a slightly larger total population than the US, but with a slightly older age profile, so it probably washes out to about to also about 40 million there (esp when just dealing with back of the envelope calcs). The total population of the rest of non-EU, non-US ‘western world’ is rounding error for these purposes (because I’m not counting Japan).

        But say 85-90 milllion 20-29 year olds in the western world. Half are guys, and about 2/3(?)(greater than half, less than three quarters) are white.

        So 4 million assholes out of 30 million? 1 in 8ish? Sounds legit to me, actually. Maybe even, unfortunately, a bit too low of an estimate.Report

    • Avatar Murali in reply to Kolohe says:

      4 million is an optimistic underestimate. Assholery is ubiquitous.Report

  3. Avatar CK MacLeod says:

    Another ugh… read elsewhere at the site… not a pretty picture.Report

  4. But it’s, you know, important to see what the alt-right has to say, because if we dismiss them out of hand we might be missing something of value.

    Are we done now, or do we have to dive into the cesspool a few more times before we’re sure it stinks?Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:

    Funny, seen similar stuff from the other side. Why is anyone surprised at the this? Look to your own community’s back yard.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Damon says:

      I’m drawing a blank? PETA? Do they even exist anymore? I mean everyone hates those guys, so yeah. PETA is roughly equivilant to white supremecists with a distinctly fascist tendency. College kids on tumblr arguing over who supports transgender rights more? Oh god, the humanity. I’d forgotten that dangerous blight on the American left.

      It’s okay guys! Both sides do it! That was a close one.

      No, seriously, examples help. Especially when you’re talking about racist neo-nazi nutcases and claiming there’s an equal “other” group. You know, just as big, just as dangerous, just as “Holy crap, people like that exist in numbers big than a few thousand” big…Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Morat20 says:

        It’s exactly like TNC favoring reparation for slavery, in the same way that wanting to raise the top marginal tax rate is exactly like the Gulag.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Morat20 says:

        Well, according to the NYP, Sanders is a full on communist, so facist/communist/whatev.

        Seriously, you want examples. Try google.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Damon says:

          If you’re going to claim that you see “similar stuff” to unapologetic white supremacy and rehashing of some of the worst racial stereotypes, you’re gonna have to give more than “try Google.”Report

          • Avatar Damon in reply to Chris says:

            Actually, I don’t have to do a damn thing I don’t want to unless i’m dealing with “the law”. But, I’ll give you one, ’cause it didn’t take more than 1 minute to find one.


            • Avatar Chris in reply to Damon says:

              Actually, I don’t have to do a damn thing I don’t want to unless i’m dealing with “the law”.

              Dude, sometimes I think you might only be 14.

              And yeah, the talk in that clip is disgusting. I wonder if, unlike repeated assertions here in this blog, including this post, that we should listen to the white supremacist on the right, you’ll find anyone on the “other side” suggesting that we should listen to the folks calling for the lynching of random white people. On any side, in fact, other than whatever side the “let’s lynch white people side” folks are on.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Chris says:

                No, that’s just my anti conformist, anti authority, personality traits being revealed. The first response I have to anyone telling me what to do is “why”

                If I don’t like the answer, I don’t listen or comply. LEOs excluded-cause you know, they have a nasty habit of shooting people that disrespect them.

                “I wonder if, unlike repeated assertions here in this blog, including this post, that we should listen to the white supremacist on the right, you’ll find anyone on the “other side” suggesting that we should listen to the folks calling for the lynching of random white people.” I can’t say. I listen to “the other side” to learn their viewpoints. Sometimes the POV is interesting, from a clinical perspective, and sometimes it’s downright nasty, but running around in ignorance is a more stupid option.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Damon says:

                Yeah, and that’s what I mean.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Chris says:

                Chris: I wonder if, unlike repeated assertions here in this blog, including this post, that we should listen to the white supremacist on the right…

                Just wanted to note that “listen to” is a dubious idiom to deploy in a political but also theoretical or philosophical context like this one. “Listen to white supremacists” seems to suggest “heed their call to white supremacism” – which I do not believe anyone at OT has advocated or even come close to advocating. “Listen to” them in the sense of paying attention to what they actually say when offering to examine what they actually say, whether on their chosen themes or in relation to one’s own, or when they happen to be speaking on an objective question in relation to which they presumably possess greater expertise than an outsider – such as “who are the people who make up the Alt-Right, how did they get there, what do they say” – is something different. Using the expression at best ambiguously tilts the playing field, not even very subtly, in favor of the taboo on “wrong” speech and on any suspicious interest in it, or the asphyxiating and supremely illiberal notion that it is impossible to “listen to” the other side without being dangerously infected by it.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                That’s fair.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Chris says:

                Progress! Thank you.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Damon says:

      What “other side” are you even talking about?Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Well, if you are wondering what it’s like to be pushed to the brink of Nazism, I’d like to suggest the following essays:

    Why I am not a Libertarian. This is the one where he talks about neocameralism.

    A Gentle Introduction. This is the one with the line “Cthulhu may swim slowly. But he only swims left. Isn’t that interesting?”

    His open letter to open minded progressives is the one that contains the line “One of the fascinating facts of American politics today is that both progressives and conservatives hate their government.”

    He also has a set of essays discussing “Universalism” as the next step in Protestantism and how it’s the religious memeplex that has infected all of us.
    Universalism: postwar progressivism as a Christian sect
    Our planet is infested with pseudo-atheists
    How Dawkins got pwned (part 1) (This is another kickoff to another series.)

    Personally, I think that “the brink of Nazism” is about as accurate as describing Marxist Thought as taking people to the brink of Leninism or Stalinism. (Though, indeed, it’s arguably true that Lenin and Stalin fell off into Leninism and Stalinism from their particular Marxist brink.)

    The big trick Yarvin tends to rely on is taking a document from around the time he’s criticizing and says “Here… read this…” and, next thing you know, you’re reading an article from a 1942 issue of Time Magazine. (It was free at the time of being linked to. I spent some time googling and found a PDF of the article here scanned in from the original magazine itself here.) Sometimes, more strangely, you’re reading an op-ed from the New York Times from just the other day.

    And if you might wonder “Why am I reading an op-ed about whether it’s tue that Robert Mugabe was a fan of T.S. Eliot?”, Yarvin gives an essay that offers an explanation as to why you would be.

    Indeed, it was Philosophy (existentialism variant) that helped nudge me over the brink off of the cliff of Christianity so those who advised me against reading such things definitely had a point. I did, indeed, stop believing in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and in the Salvation from Sin that His Death gave to me.

    I just would disagree with those people who would then describe Philosophy (existentialism variant) as “Satanic”.

    But if you’re one of those who still thrills to find forbidden tomes, those links above are pretty forbidden. Indeed, we’ve even seen arguments about how they’ll push you to the brink of Nazism. It might be better to not risk it. (Though I do think you should read the op-ed about Robert Mugabe, if nothing else, and spend some time wondering how in the heck that got written then published in April of 2008 during the HUGE economic crisis… why would someone write about Mugabe not really being an Eliot fan?)Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

      If you are an open-minded progressive, you are probably not a Catholic. (If you are, you probably don’t take the Pope too seriously.)

      Is Pope Francis Catholic? Does he take himself too seriously?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

        Now *THAT* is an interesting question.

        When the essay was written, the Pope was Ratzinger (another Nazi reference!) and given that he was the Pope at the time, it’s that Pope that I thought of the first time I read that essay. Is Bergoglio more “Catholic” than Ratzinger or Wojtyla?

        He’s certainly more *SOMETHING*. You can see this in how he’s responded to in the pop culture and how it alternates between how awesome and insightful and how much *BETTER* this Pope is and the clanks when he says something that indicates that, yes, the Pope is still Catholic. At the same time, JPII is venerated among the Southern Babtist crowd (and that whole “antichrist” thing is all water under the bridge) and F1 is seen as giving away the store.

        Does he take himself seriously? I would tend to think so. He strikes me as someone who takes his position exceptionally seriously (while being someone who is overjoyed by the parts of the job that involve working with the public which can present similarly to someone having fun which presents similarly to someone not taking something seriously).

        But the whole issue of taking the Pope seriously seems to circle around the idea of taking the Office seriously no matter who is in it because who is in it is The Pope versus the issue of taking this particular Pope seriously because he happens to be one of the good ones.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Kolohe says:

        Kolohe: If you are an open-minded progressive, you are probably not a Catholic. (If you are, you probably don’t take the Pope too seriously.)

        Wait, did someone actually say that, in seriousness?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Indeed they did.

          It’s in the open letter. (Which, again, was written when Ratzinger was Pope.)Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

            I did read that after I posted.

            I don’t know the person who wrote all that, but the writing style exhibits the weaknesses of a precocious young person, self-taught and skilled with logic, but deprived of engagement and dialogue with others.

            It isn’t that he lays out a logic but commits errors- the problem is that he writes with the surety of a fundamentalist searching for the True Faith.Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              @chip-daniels “the writing style exhibits the weaknesses of a precocious young person, self-taught and skilled with logic, but deprived of engagement and dialogue with others.”

              I think that pretty much nails it. All of the alt-right that I have seen is pretty textbook Intellectualism to my eyes.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                All of the alt-right that I have seen is pretty textbook Intellectualism to my eyes.

                In the sense that some ideas are so stupid only intellectuals believe them?

                Maybe. I’m not sure I’d describe Moldbug that way. Or I’d be careful about it if I did. I’d wanna have all my ducks in row…Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                I would describe them not so much as Intellectuals, detached from the Real World, but more as fundamentalists.

                What permeates the writing is the same thing you see in religious cults, that airless sense that the writer has received special knowledge inaccessible to everyone else.

                For instance, his reliance on logic, where he lays out his theses, supporting evidence, and sources, is entirely singular. There isn’t any sense that other perspectives or traditions or beliefs have any validity. Like religious tracts, you have to accept the opening postulates, and share the spiritual revelation, or else the thing falls apart.
                Even the MRA use of the imagery of the “Red Pill” from the Matrix relies on this spiritual tradition.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              Yeah, the Moldbuggians are an aspy bunch, that’s certainly true.

              My suggestion is to read it for the criticism it offers of any given system but the second you get to the “therefore you ought to…” part, close the tab.

              Nothing good comes from that last part.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

                But so much of the criticism is offers is trivial (really, the Allies in WW2 weren’t all a League of Extraordinary Democracies? Wow, who knew?) and oddly enough, often enough made (and better made) by various ‘far left’ critics of The SystemTMReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

                Yarvin as an evil (and significantly less skilled) Chomsky is probably something that everybody can agree on.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yet I don’t see anyone linking to Chomsky. Not evil enough?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Would you like me to suggest some essays?Report

              • I’d love to link to hard left stuff. I have a left-economics piece in the queue, and another about how the world would be better with a 90/10 female/male ratio that I may go forward with or may pass on, but it’s an area of shortage.Report

              • how the world would be better with a 90/10 female/male ratio

                There’s the obvious way, and then there’s the other obvious way, and then there’s the other other obvious way, and I still haven’t gotten my mind up out of the gutter.Report

              • Mo’ men, mo’ problems.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Will Truman says:

                Personally, I’m getting tired with the mad bad impossible dreamers from both sides of the political spectrum. Their theories aren’t made for actual humans. My theory is that a lot of people who can not or will not conform to certain social expectation but still want to fit in latch onto extremist politics in order to develop a society that will conform to them.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to LeeEsq says:

                This isn’t quite that. Libertarians and communists and people like that dream up societies that wouldn’t last a minute because, as you say, their theories aren’t made for actual humans. The alt-right wants to go back to a society that did exist and lasted a reasonable amount of time [1] where they think they’d be happier, mostly because they think they’d be on top. What they fail to see is that:

                1. Technology has changed, and that matters a lot.
                2. People’s expectations have changed, and that matters even more.
                3. Changes that took place over centuries cannot be reversed in a few years, in fact, probably not at all. (See 1 and 2.)
                4. If they got what they think they want, they wouldn’t like it anyway. Which would be small consolation to all the people they harmed [2] on the way to getting there.

                1. Though not nearly a long as they think, because they subscribe to the “The world was always like this until a few decades ago when the liberals started screwing it up” fallacy.

                2. Imprisoned, deported, tortured killed, etc.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Libertarians torturing and killing? Perhaps you can cite a reference in the numerous web pages about libertarians that indicate that would be an acceptable method to achieve their goals.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Damon says:

                How many links do you want to self-identified libertarians defending, say, waterboarding?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to pillsy says:

                To be fair, they do want to privatize it.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Damon says:

                In increasing level of seriousness:

                1, You’re not a libertarian: what’s it to you?

                2. Ayn Rand was pretty bloodthirsty. She believes in the death penalty for taking out a small business loan.

                3. You should read that comment again, more carefully this time.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Alt-right are just a different variety of mad, bad, and impossible dreamers. Their fantasies might fall apart for different reason than that of the more extreme libertarians or further left types but they will end up causing a lot of misery in the process.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                For what it’s worth, I agree 100% with all of your 1-4s.

                My suspicion is that when/if things break, they’ll break for reasons related to overreach on the part of people who actually have power rather than nutballs who read/write essays online.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Another way to think about it is that these type of movements/writings contribute to or facilitate the break. They provide a context to various already-held frustrations while engendering them at the same time.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                I think that that gives them way too much power. Too few people read them and too many have already-held frustrations. Perhaps this or that single piece of work provides a spark… but the kindling is what makes a fire. Soggy moss can handle sparks without incident.Report

              • Heh.

                When I was in college, I tried to read Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. It’s just impenetrable.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Well, I have a masters in CS, and (at the time, it may be different now) the grad student weeder course was “Theory of Computation”, which throws language theory at you almost from the get-go.

                I picked up enough to survive, and saw just how titanic he is in his natural bailiwick. Woody Allen (c.f. “The Whore of Mensa) was apparently also impressed.

                So I was quite surprised when I found out he was a nutter – kind of like when you discover Newton’s late-career incoherent ramblings on Astrology…Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to El Muneco says:

                Oh yeah. I learned some rather clever parsing tricks in that class, though….

                I found Advanced DB theory to be my make or break course, because I just can’t wrap my head around the more abstruse math.

                By comparison, I loved machine learning, advanced OS (we made our own kernals!), compiler theory…Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                His linguistics writing is notoriously bad. For his early and middle work (basically into the 80s) this was OK, because his theories were pretty well specified, so other linguists could figure it out. Later, when his theories became less well specified, particularly with the Minimalist Program, it became a real issue. I went to a talk of his in 2002, several years after he began publishing about minimalism, and most of the questions concerned basic concepts within the program, because no one really knew what he was on about.

                If you want to understand early/mid Chomsky, just read Jackendoff instead.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:


                If Moldbug’s insights are somehow valuable, why do they never lead to policy prescriptions that are, at the very least, not really obviously worthless?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                If this is true, why isn’t it useful? Good question.

                I see it as useful if only to explain why something that is about to break is going to break. How do we patch the thing that is going to break? I have no idea.

                His suggestions strike me as being fairly useless insofar as we have memeplexes already protecting us from pretty much every single suggestion he makes. (e.g., neocameralism. The exact same criticism he levels against libertarianism works just as well against the Jacobite belief system he claims to espouse.)

                I see a lot of his criticisms as a mere reframing of the problem (and he’s not alone in this at all, Kohole correctly points out that he’s doing something that has been done before and better by others on the “far left”). But that, in itself, is useful. It’s useful to question one’s core assumptions about The Good and The Useful. If you’ve reached a certain age, then you have encountered stuff that you knew in your heart to be true and then, years later, learned just wasn’t so. (Well, maybe you haven’t. Good on you, if so. I have. I was raised in a fundy Christian household and trained to be one of those Young Earth Creationist kids who argued “evolutionists” to a standstill.)

                To go back to his essay for “Why I Am Not A Libertarian”, that was honestly the first time I ever wrestled with the idea that The Colonies were not The Good Guys during the American Revolution. (Not that The British Empire weren’t also Bad Guys, of course. Everybody knows that.) My take on the American Revolution was from the perspective of “Yay! Enlightenment Thinking!” and never “Huh. How in the hell did Canada pull off this whole Responsible Government thing to bloodlessly get to the same place?”

                Moving from a take on the American Revolution about as nuanced as the Benedict Arnold episode of The Brady Bunch to actually wrestling with the arguments of the Tories was an awesome experience for me.

                How useful was it? What policies might I suggest after broadening my mind like that?

                I can’t think of a one. Maybe put a little more thought into non-interventionism next time the government suggests intervention somewhere.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

      No, there’s nothing about preferring tyranny to democracy and explaining history via scientific racism, excuse me, human neurological biodiversity that’s reminiscent of the Third Reich. Silly of me. I don’t know how the site CK linked to got so far off track.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Then, indeed, if the conclusions from the odious page CK linked to necessarily follow from Yarvin’s thoughts, then it is obviously best for all of us that his dangerous writings be verboten.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

          Is there no real estate between “all dangerous writing must be outlawed” and “there’s nothing of value here for us to spend time on, and no reason to give undue attention and page clicks to such a person?”

          Because I feel like there is totes real estate between the two.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Nothing of value? I suppose we can say that Yarvin’s writings contain nothing of value and, as such, you shouldn’t read them.

            Feel free to erase my comment with all of the links to his essays.Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

              See, there again you equated a personal decision not to read something I see no value in reading with censorship. It feels a tad knee jerk and reflexive, and worse, dodges my question:

              Why should I spend time reading anyones opinions of, say, Jews, when it seems clear that that particular person has taken almost no time to meet, converse with, understand, or have any non-solipsiscitc thoughts on the matter? (Or backs, or women, or whites, or conservatives, etc.)

              Some form of “well then I guess we should all go live in Nazi Germany and burn all the books we disagree with” is not, in fact, as clever an answer to that question as one might suppose, in the same way that “go live in Somalia” isn’t really such a clever answer to questions about the necessity of a Drug War.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Yeah, there’s a degree to which one can pretty easily reach the “I have read as much about this that I need to.” If I were to find myself in a position where this really needed to be argued against, it could be a handy reference, maybe? Hopefully this doesn’t become so important as that. (Some might argue that Trump has made it so, but I don’t think that’s quite right. Trump may have the energy of a lot of these people, but they aren’t his army.)Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman says:

                @will-truman “If I were to find myself in a position where this really needed to be argued against, it could be a handy reference, maybe?”

                Sure. Also, I might read it if I were writing about the people themselves. (Which, let’s face it, is pretty much my beat outside of this site — and it’s a good bet I will try to see if any of them will be willing to meet with me before too long.)

                But I still don’t see why I have to read every new HBD blog the comes along, in the same way I don’t understand why I need to read every new flat-earther blog. And moreover, I don’t see why giving either a seat at the serious people’s table is a good idea.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Alternatively, you can defer to the judgment of a trusted longtime colleague that there is something there of interest, and can attempt to read with an open mind, without feeling obligated to pass a blanket judgment, or re-pass the same blanket judgment with which you tend to begin. Is it really controversial to say that there were for-real card-carrying Fuehrergrussing Nazis of renowned learning and accomplishment? It shouldn’t be. Unless we are to declare all of their works streng verboten – perhaps hold public bonfires of copies of their (so-called!) greatest works – then we should consider the possibility that with all that commentthread Scheissdreck and among all those Scheissdreckige posts, there must be a pony somewhere.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                I’ll just assume that we should also read the works of Stalinist’s or Pro-ISIS works since there might be something of value there.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to greginak says:

                Absolutely. I wonder why you’d think otherwise, other than under a self-reinforcing commitment to ignorance.Report

              • And time is, after all, infinite, so there’s no reason to take the evident shit-to-pony ratio into account.Report

              • The A/R is chock full o nuts, many of them unfit for human consumption. They’re just not all the same kind of nuts, and I don’t think all of them are entirely inedible.

                The typical pattern I’ve observed at the more ready-for-the-coffee-table sites is a main post – whether by one of the bigger fish or by a blogger like the linked one, having a good day and sticking to the meta-facts – that pushes some racialist or other inflammatory buttons, signaling that “in these parts it’s OK to say that the _____s are a problem,” and a comment thread of flaming bile ejected by people seizing on the signal.

                In this discussion, our OG colleague Jaybird recommends some of the writings of “Moldbug.” I’ve seen the name before, and may even have read a post or two by Moldbug over the years, without their having left much of an impression on me. On Jaybird’s recommendation, however, I’m quite happy to familiarize myself with the works of Moldbug as he kindly assembled them for us. When I wrote the post on discussing anti-democratic and anti-modern literature, there were other probably Moldbug-level names brought up whose works I may also check out.

                To go back to your earlier comment – https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2016/01/22/cathyyoung63-re-alt-right/#comment-1110713 – “tyranny” is a word for, more or less, “undesirable government,” so nobody “prefers tyranny.” Some people believe that democracy or modern mass democracy tends toward tyranny. I think that view may be more generally characteristic across the A/R than any particular views on race, immigration, sexuality, capitalism, socialism, or any other topic or issue. It also happens to be characteristic of the beliefs of the American Founders and Framers, and, at some point, I expect, of the beliefs of everyone commenting here.

                One main difference between what the A/R’s seem generally to believe and what most of the rest of us believe is that they do not trust classical liberal values to restrain democratic excess and inconsequence, and so they seek concepts of governance or self-governance that rely on what they believe to be more stable foundations. Many of them believe that solidarity or self-organization based on ethnically and culturally defined community is more enduring and universal than self-organization based on relatively abstract aspirations for a democratically more just (or quantifiably more nearly equal) distribution of power and wealth. To say that the result must always point to Nazism or crypto-Nazism is as simplistic – not the same as false – as to say that leftism always points to Stalin.

                None of which is to say that an Alt-Right blog will be a nice place to visit, full of thoughtful and sophisticated commenters and smart posts on current topics, written in good taste. To the contrary, chock full o nuts, many unfit for human consumption – why would anyone expect anything different?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                Well i do have unlimited time and energy to spend on reading and taking in information. I could start with the first topic in the dictionary and drain it dry. Aardvarks, here i come. Or i could dabble in noxious racists, there certainly isn’t’ anything beautiful or any new science i could be reading instead. Yup thats the ticket; read some racist stuff that isn’t’ any different from racist stuff i read 30 years ago.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to greginak says:

                It would be interesting to compare and contrast these folks to the hard-core anti-imperialists, among whom you’ll find some Stalinists (or Stalinists-lite at least). There’s some overlap, even, particularly in their anti-American government conspiracy theorizing (9/11, involvement in the Middle East, involvement in Eastern Europe, etc.). Though instead of sounding like fascists, they’re likely to call everyone who disagrees with them one.Report

              • You know, I’ll bet there is one well-written sentence in the works of Dan Brown. There must be. Law of large numbers, right? Go read his collected works and report back to us on what you find. We’ll wait right here.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                If I want a pony, I can find one without grovelling through a pile of horseshit.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

                If I were to find myself in a position where this really needed to be argued against, it could be a handy reference, maybe?

                If we’re talking about the linky CK provided, then there’s not much to argue against since it strikes me as being pretty argument-free. It’s just a collection of positions. So in that sense it might be informative to read an actual argument regarding the JQ, for example, and try to tease out the logic by which various conclusions are derived. Or the argument for returning “third-world immigrants” to their “ancestral lands” for that matter, since as stated it sounds pretty dang silly.Report

              • I’m all for sending Americans of English and German ancestry back to the bit of Scandinavia their ancestors inhabited before starting to overrun the vastly more civilized Celts. It’s been clear since Roman times that Germanics can prosper only by raiding and/or infiltrating more advanced societies, and have evolved techniques for doing so as an evolutionary strategy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                A declaration of a personal decision to not read something, a declaration that there’s nothing of value here for us to spend time on, and no reason to give undue attention and page clicks to such a person (not to the arguments, but to the *PERSON*).

                Sure. We can totally do that.

                You should not read Yarvin. There’s nothing of value there for us to spend time on. No reason to give him attention to which he is not due and you should not give him clicks.Report

              • Avatar RTod in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird @ck-macleod

                Let me try another tack.

                Would either of you be up for us having a symposium where we invited various MRMs to fill our site up with posts on why women were terrible, needed to be seen and not heard, had no human value after they achieved a certai weight, etc?

                Or, alternatively, would you be able to hold the concept that they should have the freedom to say whatever the hell they wanted on their own site, but still make a personal decision that, with all of the other things we might choose to publish instead, we’d be OK with taking a pass on such a symposium?

                If you chose the latter, would that make you anti freedom? Or would it just be one choice out of many?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to RTod says:

                One would think that there is real estate between a symposium and a latest linkage post.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                And one would think there is real estate between censorship and criticism. But I guess they’re the same thing after all.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to RTod says:

                How can we know for sure that that symposium wouldn’t produce a pony?Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to RTod says:

                A discussion with people who have anti-feminist views would be fine with me – as would a discussion with people who have illiberal views on the question of discussion itself. Indeed, the fact that I’m engaging in discussion here at all shows that I am willing to engage people with illiberal views in discussion. However, no discussion worthy of the name can be conducted without a mutual commitment to respect for all discussants. All discussion that is authentically discussion will therefore be discussion under in a certain sense liberal and even progressive presumptions: We speak with each other here under the presumption that there is some point in speaking to each other, that we have some shared concept of the common good in common, that agreement is possible and desirable, and that each of us is bound, eventually, to alter his or her views upon the presentation of more reasonable ones. Anything else is not a reasonable discussion, and a discussion that is not a reasonable discussion is not authentically a discussion.

                It is likewise impossible to have an authentic discussion if discussants conduct themselves without due regard for agreed-upon conventions, beginning, necessarily, with the conventions of language. I, for example, have a working familiarity with languages other than English, but I am not capable of conducting an authentic “live” discussion of any complex topic with someone who is not also fluent in English. I also cannot have an authentic discussion with someone who is threatening and insulting me, or, on the other hand, looking to detect or invent threats and insults at every opportunity, or incapable of forgiving my imperfections, which will surely show themselves, not least because the objective of an authentic discussion includes discovering imperfections in one’s own ideas, presumptions, and approaches. If I were convinced that all of my ideas had achieved a state of perfection, I would have no interest in discussion at all.

                So, if we were to hold a symposium on feminism – and parallel concerns would hold for any other topic – it would on the one hand have to be expected that the implications of some arguments would be anti-feminist, but there would be no reason for us or anyone to exploit that expectation as a license to indulge in “say[-ing] whatever the hell they wanted.” An authentic discussion begins with the presumption of freedom of inquiry for all participants, and with the further presumption that all participants’ views may be subject to improvement, but freedom of inquiry is not the same as “freedom of expression.” Expression is a different and often contradictory aim. Rather than undermining the goal of freedom of inquiry, careful moderation of expression – preferably beforehand by each participant, if necessary by active moderators – will tend to be essential to it. If would-be participants cannot abide by such rules and conventions, reasonably – if they are not in fact consistent committed practical reasoners of good intentions – then they disqualify themselves from discussion.

                There is no good reason to expect a set of perfect objective rules for discussion to be available (such expectation is itself disqualifyingly unreasonable), but there is no reason for a reasonable (reason-capable, adult) discussant to object if certain identified expressions or modes of expression are declared off-limits (e.g., no profanity, no personal insults, etc.). Anyone seeking whatever available common good through mutually respectful discussion should easily be able to make whatever point of argument without resorting to demonstrably inflammatory terms, and, by the same token, should be able to tolerate whatever incidental errors in judgment their fellow discussants might make.

                How’s that?Report

              • @ck-macleod

                This is an aside, but in my opinion, your writing has become much clearer and easier to read than before.Report

              • I will second this observation.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

          Yes, that is exactly what I was suggesting, if without using any words that even touch on the subject of censorship. How perceptive of you to notice.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

      Huh, I had no idea samizdata.net was still around.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

      In that open letter you see Moldbug clearly. Unlike, say, the white supremacist CK links, healways comes off bright, but not grown up. He’s like precocious child, smart and aware, but incapable of more than oversimplification and specious comparison, and if he were capable of, in the end, seeing past his own nose. It’s an immaturity that world be interesting and even promising of an ability to grow past his childishness, if he weren’t an adult, and worse, one with influence; an adult with resonance among a certain bitter breed of equally immature, but less intelligent grown-ass children.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to Jaybird says:


      I read that first link. It was interesting, but not in an especially persuasive way. Maybe that’s just because I’m the wrong kind of libertarian but his argument does not hold together well.

      Still, it was interesting.Report

  7. Avatar greginak says:

    When will computers really be sophisticated? Hey wait this is on topic. When they can read german words thrown into english sentences, like in this thread, and detect the pretentious attempt to make criticizing open and proud racists into censorship. When a comp can figure out the german is insinuating that not wanting read more from racists, like any of it is new or we haven’t seen it before, is the actual harbinger of intolerance and a closed mind. Why thinking Moldbug is a cretin is practically Kristallnacht Pt. 2.Report

  8. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I do appreciate this site from time to time linking to stuff on the alt-right, etc, in the same way I appreciate the Open Source Center reading & watching and then translating various media distributions from, for instance, Al Qaeda/ISIS and the official news broadcasts of certain Big Bad Governments.Report