Posts Tagged ‘classical liberalism’

How The Left Misunderstands Conservatism

Thursday, November 10th, 2016


The Left has never understood conservatism because the Left has never wanted to. To them, their ideology of egalitarianism leads directly to Utopia, at which point there will no longer be conflict between humans and everyone will be accepted. Any deviation from this is a moral sin punishable by death, in their view.

That explains why the Left does not want to understand conservatism: they have zero room for it in their pantheon of ideologically-tinted symbolic representations of reality. This is because while conservatism is voiced as an ideology, fundamentally it is anti-ideological because it bases its perceptions on reality.

Conservatism comes from the term “to conserve,” which means that we preserve successful means of achieving excellence. In human terms, nothing can be preserved in a static sense, but must be regenerated anew in each generation, so “conservation” means not physical things but principles, methods and ideas.

As written here before, that means that conservatism has two attributes:

  1. Consequentialism. We judge success by end results and side-effects, not by human intent, feelings, judgments, universal symbols and emotions. Reality is external to us; internal focus is solipsistic.

  2. Transcendence. There must be some goal higher than material reaction, like excellence, beauty, goodness and truth, and we discover it through intuition, which is within but not personal.

This contrasts with Leftism, which has only one attribute: egalitarianism, or the equality of people, which is presumed to lead to pacifism and universal acceptance, and from there to Utopia. Leftism works through negative actions, or things it wishes to remove; conservatism requires restructuring society around positive goals, or things we want to achieve.

For this reason, in our Leftist time, our Leftist media has trouble understanding why conservatism does not translate into Leftist terms. First they want to make it an ideology; then, they try to import egalitarianism — the core and principle of Leftism — into it, despite for conservatism, egalitarianism being at most a means to an end and not an end in itself.

As a recent article demonstrate, our society is now struggling to understand conservatism which is as distant as a foreign land to a society brainwashed in two centuries of Leftism:

Nash presented an influential portrait of conservatism as a river fed by three tributaries of thought: Christian traditionalism, anti-Communism, and libertarianism (or classical liberalism). Although each could be rendered as a popular impulse or unthinking reflex of the mass mind, Nash insisted that all three were fundamentally intellectual traditions, nourished by a cast of characters who deserved both respect and extended study, among them James Burnham, the former socialist turned anti-Communist; Friedrich Hayek, the Austrian classical economist; and Russell Kirk, America’s answer to Edmund Burke. In Nash’s telling, these were the men (and they were almost all men) who created conservatism in the postwar years.

This article is patent nonsense. Conservatism is not a material ideology, but a timeless principle. It can be found in “Christian traditionalism, anti-Communism, and libertarianism (or classical liberalism)” but they are not its constituent components. Rather, as a principle, it is found many places, and those are the ones we recognize — “observer bias” — because of their recent relevance.

A conservative is someone who likes what works. Because the question then arises “How well does it have to work?” he has to pick either bare minimums (utilitarianism) or best case scenarios, and that latter leads him to the goal of excellence. That in turn picks out the principle of nature: all works to produce a hierarchy that advances the best over the rest, and this extends to metaphysical principle.

For all that modern people know of conservatism, the above passage might as well be in ancient Greek. However, as we enter into a conservative area with Brexit rippling across the USA and Europe, we might want to understand the path out of the Leftist mental ghetto and how we can use it to save ourselves from the moribund inertia of liberalism.

Why Neoreaction Did Not Fail

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

neoreaction_a_method_of_seeing_outside_the_leftist_walled_garden is fundamentally a New Right blog, with the reservation of ideas from paleoconservatism and the Old Right: we like capitalism and we are staunch nationalists who realize that monarchism is our only viable solution for leadership. But the basis of its theory lies in the New Right and the Traditionalists who inspired them.

This builds on what I have been writing for some time, which is a raging realist (what I call “nihilist”) viewpoint on life. We are organisms; we must adapt. One of our (necessary) methods is civilization including technology. For that reason, these things must be pointed in the right direction or they become our individual downfall.

None of this is widely accepted. That is because herds run away from anything like the truth, so it must be introduced to them with subtle tools that subvert the assumptions that prohibit them from seeing reality. One might see all of art and literature as a means to that end: helping us find sanity in our minds through metaphor. But it also applies to politics.

I have written a fair amount about Neoreaction because I like its solid theoretical basis. However, our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknesses, and now, a lively debate is forming about whether Neoreaction has failed. Let us look into this claim and assess it not in yes/no, but in questions of degree, time and qualitative impact:

Neoreaction failed as a philosophical/political movement because it failed to engage the real world, or even the online political world. Even moreso than libertarians, neoreactionaries turned out to be a sheltered circle of nerds who were largely uncomfortable with interfacing with the rough and tumble of online political discourse or addressing current events; even just on the Internet! By failing to engage anyone outside of neoreactionary circles, many of the core participants lost interest and retreated to private mailing lists or went silent. The few neoreactionaries who maintained relevance were absorbed into the alt right.

Let me say that the above makes some good points which are worth considering, and then offer another viewpoint to stack onto the above.

When nature creates a species, she does not do so equally. Instead, the species is at first many varieties which compete with their environment to see which survive. Those form the base of the species, like a statistical floor. For example, an early mammal takes to the trees and becomes a squirrel, which is known by its bushy tail, well-developed arms, small size and flavor of chicken.

Then, new variants appear which are built onto the base. One squirrel develops flaps between its arms, and finds it can leap a little farther; another develops the ability to swim long distances; a third learns to chew long tunnels into trees. These now face another test: do these abilities complement the base animal, or do they lead in a new direction that requires a separate species?

If the abilities complement the base animal, they have a tendency to be re-incorporated into the group because the two types of animal can breed. If they do not, a separate species branches off and goes its own way through the twisting paths of evolution.

And so we return to Neoreaction. Neoreaction is a variant of the right, specifically a hybrid of neoconservatism (“classical liberalism”/libertarianism) and Mussolinian fascism (corporatism). In his dialogues, Mencius Moldbug like Plato before him argued through allegory by taking accepted arguments to their logical extremes. In this case, he developed libertarianism into a free-standing theory by arguing for the formalization of power.

As said around here before, this is more of a thought-experiment that one might bring up in an intellectual salon than a concrete proposal. Similarly, Plato took the dominant liberal ideas of his time and extended them to their logical conclusions through the thought-experiments in The Republic, showing his audience that in order to make a System — communism, capitalism, democracy — work, society would have to take total control and manage society in a way that was both unrealistic and stifling to the human spirit.

Therefore, he implied, we need something simpler: an organic state of few rules but with strong values and leadership by the best, instead of allowing those with the most votes, money or popularity to take control and act out their petty whims of power.

Since Moldbug, Neoreactionaries have developed his inner thoughts — that perhaps nationalism is not a bad thing, that strong leadership is needed, and that egalitarianism is mental goo that corrupts all other thought — into a complex series of positions. These ended up overlapping with Traditionalists/New Right, Alternative Right, dissident Right, Southern Agrarian and Old Right positions.

What this achieved was to take the extreme Right out of the ghetto of neo-Nazism and allow itself to expand on a theoretical level, instead of simply relying on us-versus-them and fear of The Eternal Jew™ to define the limits of its thought. This in turn upgraded its audience, driving out the true boneheads and letting the more intellectual wing shine.

As a result, I view Neoreaction as a booster engine to a larger ship; perhaps a JATO pack, if you will. Its goal is to push a set of eternal truths past the resistance caused by those who claim to agree with them but instead idolize simplified and ersatz versions of them, and to allow those ideas to then build momentum by being similar in theory but not conclusions to what thinkers worldwide recognize as a dialogue of politics.

Like libertarianism, Neoreaction does not stand on its own. You cannot create a Neoreactionary society; even Singapore exists only as a nexus point of international capital. But its economic and political theories are sound, and show us that not only are there alternatives to Leftism, but that Leftism and liberalism (neoconservatism) are entirely illogical. That opens the door to looking for where we took a wrong turn, and how to get back on the path.

The alternative Right is assimilating Neoreaction much like a squirrel species welcoming back a variety of smarter, stronger or faster squirrel. These theories are all variants of the same idea, which is how to get back to classical society and extend it into the technological world in which we find ourselves. Neoreaction’s contribution is a series of thought-experiments and in that, it has succeeded in re-intellectualizing the right, even if its final form will not be neoreaction but more like reaction itself, or the old Right that the alternative Right desires.

The anarcho-totalitarian parasite slave state

Thursday, June 4th, 2015


Francis Fukuyama may have been right not that we have reached the end of history, but that we have reached the end of government. That is: we have achieved the final stage of the State before the next cycle of history starts over, and government, bureaucracy and the managerial nation-state are at their highest power at this time right before the fall.

We might divide the State into three aeons. In its earliest days, from the Magna Carta to the peasant revolts of the 1500s and finally the French Revolution of 1789, the idea was what might be called “classical liberalism”: do away with leaders and objectives, and let each person make money as is convenient for him. This initiative was taken on by merchants who wanted to be free from social standards and the oversight of aristocrats; in other words, it was purely financially-driven, although it justified itself with a pretended altruistic concern for the lowest socioeconomic classes through egalitarianism.

The second season of liberalism came about after the Napoleonic Wars when liberals realized that egalitarianism inevitably descended into oligarchy because most people are not competent and/or not interested in productivity, profits and power. This meant that classical liberalism sure as the sun rises leads to domination of the many by a few who are more capable or more motivated, and as a result proves the idea of egalitarianism itself false. To avoid this, liberals added a subsidy state to classical liberalism. This new form, socialism, took the “do whatever you want” of liberalism 1.0 and fused it with mandatory state subsidies (through ownership of means of production) to produce liberalism 2.0.

After the second World War, which was mostly an outburst against the onset of liberalism 2.0 much as the Napoleonic Wars had been resistance to liberalism 1.0, the West faced a quandary: it wanted to distinguish itself from the right, but also not follow the path of the liberalism 2.0 societies which were turning into impoverished, corrupt, venal, filthy, and unproductive third world ruins around it. A visit to Russia would convince anyone that liberalism 2.0 had fatal flaws. The West then cooked up liberalism 3.0, which involved European-style socialism lite — a benefits state — coupled with American capitalism, which insisted that money be earned first, then taxed, and then distributed in such a way that it was spent instantly on fads to pump-prime the economy. Where Eurosocialism focused on education and medicine, liberalism 3.0 dumped money into the poor so they could become consumers, and generated wealth by creating a series of trends like the iPhone which increased the estimated value of the economy by sheer volume.

With the downfall of the Soviet Union in 1991, liberalism 3.0 took on its final form as the Baby Boomers took office. It has the “do whatever you want” of 1.0, the subsidies of 2.0, but the power of capitalism that won the second world war. It has however inherited the curse of all large states which is the bureaucratic-managerial layer, and its dense forest of regulation both creates jobs for people who are fundamentally useless otherwise and restrains others from taking action. The red tape chokes the economy. The result is that liberalism 3.0 is seeing a makers-versus-takers ratio shift:

Last month a record 93,194,000 Americans were counted as not being in the labor force. Counted might be the wrong word since this group is largely erased from any employment figures. In fact, this is a large reason why the unemployment rate has fallen so dramatically. Yet one grim financial reality remains. That reality includes the fact that 1 out of 3 Americans is carrying the country financially by working in the private sector.

In other words, the subsidy state has now entered its final form: it has perfectly separated the takers from makers, and has made the makers as efficient as possible. Like a good business, it takes as much as it can and expends the least amount of energy possible on its product. This kind of behavior only works in a closed system where outside forces, like invading Vandals or economic disturbances, do not intrude. Thus the cost of this high efficiency will be death.

This death may not come from without however. Most societies vanish at their own peaks, struck down by mysterious forces as if everyone just left in one bright instant. In my reading of history, the cause is not everyone leaving, but those who have the wit to notice and record ceasing to be there. They either left, died out, died by violence or were shamed into silence. That feeling pervades the West now, too. But even more prevalent is the tendency to force each person to be obedient so that they get vested in the current system, which prevents them from being its critics. “Vested” means having a job, getting paid a lot to do little, and thus being content with one’s personal status in life, even if the thunderclouds on the horizon create neurosis and stomach cramps.

A highly-regulated ideological society like the West has become, even if funded by consumerism + capitalism, seeks to reduce all people to the role of “worker” even if specialized. It likes its interchangeable parts. This creates a single path to rising which will reward competence only if it is first paired with obedience. This creates a division of the population as follows:

  Competent Incompetent

These four quadrants produce three categories: desired workers (competent/obedient), workers of no particular value (incompetent/obedient and disobedient/incompetent) and workers who are an active threat (competent/disobedient). From a Darwinian sense, this represents a war against those who are capable of independent thought and action, even if they mean the best for their employers and society. As people who do not toe the line, they are a threat to the one-dimensional social order maintained by ideology, which is strictly binary: you are either obedient, or not. Incompetent disobedients are seen as unfortunates whose incompetence explains their lack of obedience, and they are easily controlled because their lot in life can always be identified as the result of incompetence not disobedience. It is those disobedient competents that are feared however.

A society in earlier stages welcomes the disobedient, because if they are competent and stay focused on the goal, their disobedience takes the form of up-ending calcified methods and inspecific goals. Their transgressions cause the system to grow stronger by challenging it where it needs to be challenged. As time goes on, however, too many people become vested and as a result, turn against the disobedient who are competent enough to state a plausible cause for their lack of conformity. This creates a disciplinarian situation where the system enforces its own order first and any productivity or effectiveness second. This is the same scenario that crushed the Soviet Union, Venezuela, the French Republic, Cuba and the pre-capitalism Chicoms. It is the long walk into oblivion and paradoxically, it comes about when a society makes people wealthy, powerful and free enough to defend their interests against any who might know better in any form.