Recently, I pointed out the fatal contradiction at the heart of the “Dark Enlightenment”: that it is based on a fundamentally liberal idea of overthrowing elites and replacing them with people power.
This upset a few people who felt I misinterpreted the Cathedral/bazaar dichotomy, which derives from Eric S. Raymond’s quasi-libertarian essay on software development. Whether DEs like it or not, that’s the origin and referent of Cathedral/bazaar dichotomies in our society.
One particular criticism ends this way:
What Moldbug is criticising here is not the Cathedralâ€™s centralizing of power, but its centralizing of truth.
In a democracy, mass opinion creates power. Power diverts funds to the manufacturers of opinion, who manufacture more, etc. Not a terribly complicated cycle. This feedback loop generates a playing field on which the most competitive ideas are not those which best correspond to reality, but those which produce the strongest feedback.
What he is asking for is not â€œpeople powerâ€ but power divorced from opinion, so that there can be a diversity of opinion without a division of power (which, even more than most other DE/NRx writers, he is consistently and forcefully against).
Can I mention first that I really detest the modern internet style of “debate”? They started by accusing me of “not understanding” their point of view, and now they’re offering an alternative which we’re supposed to accept as truth without analysis. If they stepped back, they’d realize how they sound as condescending as the liberal talking head on TV: “It’s not that you’re wrong, you just didn’t understand our point. Here we repeat it in a slightly different form. See, we’re right.”
What they would understand — if they took ten minutes to ramble around Amerika.org — is that people power equals mass opinion because people in crowds standardize to the same opinion. This is the fatal flaw of democracy, and why democracy always becomes liberalism, or the regime based on what people want to believe is true, not what is true.
The DE types are the latest version of 4chan’s anons, themselves a version of the Meowers from alt.fan.karl-malden.nose, themselves probably a variant on some of the people back from the uunet days. All internet movements are the same. This is because all popular movements are the same. All recapitulate the French revolution, because their idea is the same. Throw out the leaders, replace them with people power. Except the problem is that people power turns out to be a flakeout every flippin’ time.
How is that possible, we might ask? Because people power is leadership by non-leadership. It’s the principle of the non-principle. The DE types side-step this fundamental question by claiming they want a diversity of opinion, but that’s an obvious fallacy since no belief system that claims it is true wants any diversity. “Power divorced from opinion,” they say, which means the ability to rise in society without becoming PC. And yet PC came about when the last overthrow happened, because all people power movements turn into PC or something like it. It is because in the absence of leadership, they base their authority on socializing.
Remember the anons of 4chan. Originally promising, very anti-PC, seemed like they’d take on the world. Then in a heartbeat they turned into people chanting and spewing the same kind of rhetoric we heard from Occupy Wall Street. Remember that? They don’t want you to. The ugly truth is that all “people power” movements converge on a mean, and when you start talking about the bazaar (the opposite of Cathedral) in preference to the Cathedral, you’ve launched yourself down that path.