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Posts Tagged ‘right’

What Is Conservatism?

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

Much confusion follows the terms conservative and conservatism. This misunderstanding arises from the fact that we live in a time of ideology, but conservatism is not an ideology; more like customs or folkways, it is a philosophy of life based on direct experience, and does not summarize into handy bullet points like the much simpler Leftist doctrine.

Leftism has one idea: it believes in human equality, which is another way of saying that any given individual can never be wrong, barring a crime against another individual. Equality means that sensible decisions are on par with nonsensical ones because in each case, the person making the decision is equal and therefore accepted and given a minimum basic social status regardless of outcome.

Notions like egalitarianism — that all individuals are equal, and therefore beyond criticism with any impact on their social standing — fit within the form of ideology, or prescriptive belief systems which tell us what we should or ought to do. These assume the presence of civilization as a constant independent of our actions.

Conservatism centers itself around the idea of adaptation, or instead of thinking in prescriptive terms, to conserve the best of what has been done in the past. This contains two notions: first, that we look toward cause-effect relationships over time to determine what is functional, and second that we look at a qualitative assessment of its results.

Prescriptive belief systems measure entirely by human standards, as in what we think should be true or should be made true, where conservatism applies a results-based standard known as consequentialism which measures effects in reality over both short-term and long-term.

We can see glimpses of this in how others have described conservatism. Jonathan Haidt introduces conservative thought as a balancing between multiple factors that measure goodness:

Haidt (pronounced like “height”) made his name arguing that intuition, not reason, drives moral judgments. People are more like lawyers building a case for their gut feelings than judges reasoning toward truth. He later theorized a series of innate moral foundations that evolution etched into our brains like the taste buds on our tongues—psychological bases that underlie both the individual-protecting qualities that liberals value, like care and fairness, as well as the group-binding virtues favored by conservatives, like loyalty and authority.

…Researchers have found that conservatives tend to be more sensitive to threats and liberals more open to new experiences.

…”People do indeed reason, but that reasoning is done primarily to prepare for social interaction, not to search for truth.”

…Building on ideas from the anthropologist Richard Shweder, Haidt and his colleagues synthesize anthropology, evolutionary theory, and psychology to propose six innate moral foundations:

  • care/harm,
  • fairness/cheating,
  • liberty/oppression,
  • loyalty/betrayal,
  • authority/subversion, and
  • sanctity/degradation.

…Liberals jack up care, followed by fairness and liberty. They rarely value loyalty and authority. Conservatives dial up all six.

Because Leftism is based in a human-oriented instead of results-oriented framework, it perpetually seeks to control, or impose a uniform standard on all as a way to use them as a means toward its goals which are outside of the civilization itself. The goals of Leftism exist independent of any civilization, and are intended as ideological achievements, not practical or realistic ones.

Control consists of removing any variation and directly imposing the will of some central entity or idea, rejecting individual assessments of how to apply it or how it should be adapted in different contexts. Control, like universalism, exists without context, and imposes a world of human symbols upon the more complex contexture of reality.

For control to succeed, it must address the individual outside of civilization. This is why liberals jack up care/harm, fairness/cheating and liberty/oppression. Conservatives favor social order instead, and so for them, while fairness and non-tyranny are important, so are loyalty, hierarchy/authority and having something sacred at the core of what we do. This is geared toward perpetuating civilization.

In this way, we can summarize the two belief systems as follows:

  • Right = order
  • Left = individualism

Order occurs outside of the human individual, but requires the individual to have an inner motivation toward achieving it, because it is not the kind of thing that can be measured as in a meritocracy or allegiance to an ideology. The symbol and reality are separate, where with ideology, the symbol intends to become the reality.

We find this hard to understand, because all of our modern thinking is strictly ideological:

Note the difference between concept and ideology. An ideology has a tight, well defined set of rules, while a concept is amorphous and changing.

Once you go outside of ideology-land, you find yourself in a nebulous space where you have principles and knowledge of the past, but have to apply these as best you know how. There is no right answer; there are some wrong answers, and then others which are varying degrees of quality in terms of results, and whoever gets the best one relative to the others wins the race, with everyone else getting second, third, or fourth place (and so on).

Ideology guides control, which tries to force everything to fit a human ideal, which is an artificial construct because it is our simpler minds imposing what we think is order on a more complex world, created by something smarter than us. For those who are agnostic or atheist, this greater intelligence can be as simple as millions of years of iterations, each time testing what existed against its environment, and selecting the improvements. If you have ever watched a computer program loop through successive calculations, maybe graphing the result on a screen, you know how many thousands or millions of iterations can make a huge difference in precision.

Human thinking tends toward squares. We like blocks, evenly spaced, in rows on a grid. We like absolute balance such as opposites. We have things we desire, and things we fear. We like to believe we are unique and important in a cosmic or universalist sense, and that the proof of this is that we have many different goals for many different individuals. This simplistic vision contrasts the organic essence of nature, where every action is indirect and seemingly spontaneous, objects are unequal and scattered in dense patterns, and there is no factory-style process repeated identically for every object or person, only many different paths which hope to reach the same goal and do so in varying degrees.

Even more, our thinking tends toward centralization. We have trouble separating our individual perspective, as beings occupying a single part of a complex system, from what it would be like to be in charge of that system. If something bad happens to us, we want to ban all methods by which this bad thing could happen to anyone, because only by doing that will we have banished it, and therefore made ourselves safe.

Along those lines, we also do not handle cause-effect reasoning well. When we see an effect, such as poverty, we want to operate directly on it, by having an all-powerful force send out money and police to force everyone to be in conditions where they are not facing the evils we fear. It is not so much that our minds tend toward the totalitarian, but we favor one-step solutions, because to us problems appear out of nowhere in a single step, so there should be some simple and all-powerful counteraction that we apply like swatting a fly, ripping out a weed, or hammering a board over a broken shutter.

Unfortunately, reality does not reward centralization:

The contrast with national solutions to problems rather than federal (i.e., state government) solutions to problems is the difference between monopoly and markets. When states exercise power over education or labor relations or abortion or civil liberties, then the wise exercise of that power will attract to well-governed states people, commerce, brains, and talent.

This marketplace of governments works in practice and it also allows the sort of diversity which leftists pretend to pine for so deeply. The greater the nationalization of government, the fewer areas in which states can be truly independent, and the less those independent policies matter.

N.B. the above source uses the term “national” to refer to central control at a nation-state level, not nationalism.

There are a number of “2D political compass” type tests floating around that try to add another axis to the Right-Left divide, which they erroneously categorize as individual-versus-collective. This new axis might be called method in that it covers the spectrum from anarchy through totalitarianism, but its essential goal is to blur the difference between Right and Left.

Either side can adopt any methods, including centralization, and so this distinction is not sufficient to differentiate them. The Rightist method, however, is to eschew human control and instead to see what actually succeeds, and pay attention to that, instead of what we think should succeed.

In Right-Left hybrids, such as neoconservatism or National Socialist, this distinction becomes confused because, by pursuing a Leftist idea of equality, they commit themselves to the model of the universal human, which in turn requires an assembly-line style of applying equal pressure to all people. This causes them to fail through an informational counterpart to thermodynamics:

But what specifically established de facto socialism in Nazi Germany was the introduction of price and wage controls in 1936. These were imposed in response to the inflation of the money supply carried out by the regime from the time of its coming to power in early 1933. The Nazi regime inflated the money supply as the means of financing the vast increase in government spending required by its programs of public works, subsidies, and rearmament. The price and wage controls were imposed in response to the rise in prices that began to result from the inflation.

The effect of the combination of inflation and price and wage controls is shortages, that is, a situation in which the quantities of goods people attempt to buy exceed the quantities available for sale.

Shortages, in turn, result in economic chaos. It’s not only that consumers who show up in stores early in the day are in a position to buy up all the stocks of goods and leave customers who arrive later, with nothing — a situation to which governments typically respond by imposing rationing. Shortages result in chaos throughout the economic system. They introduce randomness in the distribution of supplies between geographical areas, in the allocation of a factor of production among its different products, in the allocation of labor and capital among the different branches of the economic system.

The rigid nature of control, which creates identical objects or events regardless of context, naturally leads to chaos because these are imposed on an uneven topography and by their centralized nature, are oblivious to different local conditions, where a cascading authority — king, duke, baron, lord — would have someone recalculating at every level, especially the lowest.

This shows us the two models we can use in our approach toward life.

The first, which is high entropy, relies on us treating the world as an extension of ourselves. We find what we want, and then apply that rigidly everywhere, which leads to a gradual introduction of greater amounts of variation, leading to chaos. Identical responses to different starting points lead to radically different outcomes over time.

The second, which is low entropy, involves us treating ourselves as an extension of the world. We establish a general goal, purpose and set of principles, and then apply it on a case-by-case basis as has been the wont of conservatives since the dawn of humanity. This looks more chaotic, but because all results adapt to the same end-point, it involves many different paths leading to similar results.

In Leftism, the paths/methods are standardized; in conservatism, the purposes/endpoints are the same, and so parallel paths eventually reach similar goals. There is no pretense of making objects, people or ideas identical, because identical objects are only fit in the flat, grid-like topography favored by human minds.

This distinction between individualism and orientation toward order shows us why all political systems ultimately break down into Left and Right or something like them. We either favor the self, or we favor order, which requires the sacrifice of the self, which is necessary for any self-actualization, self-discipline, mindfulness or virtue:

The big difference between these two schemes is that The Four Kinds of Happiness moves from the self-transcendence individual to the relational and finally to the transcendent and collective. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, on the other hand, moves from the collective to the relational and, at its peak, to the individual. In one the pinnacle of human existence is in quieting and transcending the self; in the other it is liberating and actualizing the self.

Most religions and moral systems have aimed for self-quieting and, figuring that the great human problem is selfishness. But around the middle of the 20th century, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and others aimed to liberate and enlarge the self. They brought us the self-esteem movement, humanistic psychology, and their thinking is still very influential today.

…Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has always pointed toward a chilly, unsatisfying version of self-fulfillment. Most people experience their deepest sense of meaning not when they have placidly met their other needs, but when they come together in crisis.

Through this distinction, we can see what conservatism is not: it is not any order based in the individual, all of which depend on egalitarianism or meritocracy as a means of reducing individuals to a uniform standard and then elevating the most obedient, which is a hallmark of control. Tyranny, totalitarianism, the managerial state, bureaucracy, administration and external discipline are all forms and methods of control.

We can see now why “classical liberals,” sometimes called neoconservatives or Libertarians, are not conservatives. They refuse to consider anything at a level above that of the individual.

They are correct when they defend capitalism, because unlike socialism this is not centrally controlled and so is low entropy, but incorrect to make it out to be more than it is. Capitalism is an economic system, and it requires inputs from culture and leadership to function; if we remove those, it becomes self-serving like anything else and consumes all in its path.

Conservatives are not strictly capitalist, but see capitalism as a means to an end, which is that of implementing a flexible economic system in which results are more important than human intentions or desires.

In fact, the only civilizations which we can plausibly call “conservative” belong to the category of designs which are oriented toward a singular goal through flexible, independent methods, and these cannot be classically liberal, because in those the goal is determined by individuals, and thus the system becomes self-serving like anything else and consumes all in its path.

For these reasons, people who discuss individualism and capitalism as the cornerstone of conservatism have missed the boat; conservatives are those who aspire to being as great as ancient Greece and Rome, who defend the monarchy, and who believe strongly in the genetic roots of populations. Our unstated and informal goals are to restore Western Civilization and make it great.

“American conservatives,” who are essentially classical liberals who like a strong defense budget and Christian-ish morality, are not conservatives; they are a hybrid with Leftists, like the National Socialists, who do not realize that their methods will lead to social breakdown just as any other Leftist approach will.

The Alt Right came about from a fertile brew of influences — libertarian, anarcho-capitalist, neoreactionary, human biodiversity, Old Right, radical traditionalism, anarcho-monarchism — which ultimately synthesized into a Right-wing movement which favors hierarchy and social order over individualism. This was not random.

The analysis above shows that there are only two options, Right (order) and Left (individualism). We cannot escape the duality of approaches inherent to being human. Neither should we try, since to avoid one is to embrace the other, which means that any “third way” will ultimately distill to one or the other, as the evolution of the Alt Right in recent history shows us.

What Do “Right” and “Left” Mean?

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

The salient fact of modernity is that without a natural hierarchy in society, all actions must be accomplished through mass popularity. In order to gain approval of the herd, called consensus, leaders or commercial actors must mobilize a large army of warm bodies who claim to be excited about the idea.

Understanding hierarchy requires understanding the concept of order, or the idea that many unequal parts can work together in balance toward a purpose, guided by principles which ensure the evolution of that work. The opposite of this is mass culture, in which all are equal and are controlled by a force which manipulates them through images, bribes, terrors and guilt.

Mass culture therefore removes all meaning to terms by using them flexibly to argue for whatever is needed or desired. Any term like “Left” or “Right” will be abused, but that does not change the underlying meaning any more than an apple becomes a banana when referred to by the wrong term.

As written about before on this site, the nature of the Right is twofold and emerges from its primary goal, which is to conserve. This outlook recognizes that entropy and selfishness are the eternal enemies of humankind and also the pitfalls that are with us constantly in everything we do or fail to do, and so our goal becomes conservation of what works best.

While this is positive, it is also too backward-looking, and so we dig further into the historical and linguistic roots of conservatism, and find that it is conservation of order, arising from Plato’s “good to the good, and bad to the bad” statement, along the same lines as morality and Darwinism. It sorts people into a hierarchy from good to bad, and promotes the good while beating back the bad.

In this sense, conservatism is a folkway, or a time-honored tradition of choosing not just what works, but what produces the best possible results so that life is inspiring to our fellow citizens. It is the opposite of an ideology, which is a commandment about what “should” be true according human mass desires, instead of a revelation of what is true and how to maximize it.

When it manifests in politics, this way of life becomes the Right:

Historically, however, the famous terms “left” and “right” are around 300 years old. They have their roots in the “Assemblée des États”, the assemblies of the estates. Because of the belief of Jesus sitting at the right hand of God (the hand in which a man usually holds his sword in), the places right to the ruler were considered to be the more honorable seats. Therefore, aristocracy and clergy were sitting to the right hand of the king, the “lower” representatives of the free cities, the citizens, to his left.

This polarity carried on after the king was overthrown because those on the Right fundamentally wanted to restore the ancient order because they knew that aristocracy provided for greater stability than mob rule, and that while mob rule will always be popular with humans, so are many destructive things.

Naturally this created tension. It is impossible to work within a system you oppose without either compromising your principles, or being outright hostile to it and therefore unable to get anything done. The system selected for people who were willing to compromise, which explains why the West has steadily shifted Leftward since 1789 no matter what the Right seems to do.

Even worse, the fundamental conservative idea does not emphasize a change in direction because of its backward-looking desire to “conserve.” In this sense, backward-looking is not looking backward in time, but as a sense of retreat, where the conservatives try to defend a few vital institutions and ideals against a constant onslaught of Leftism. This strategy has not worked well either.

Most conservatives seem to accept society as a lost cause. To them, a society is born in a new state, rises to power, then becomes bloated with fools and parasites like every other human endeavor, and then lapses into a fallen state where conservatives just have to grin and bear it, keep paying taxes and supporting the military, and hope to silently pass into history, one presumes.

They rationalize their behavior with “work hard, pray hard” or The Benedict Option, but both are postures more than attempts to achieve anything. The modern conservative accepts defeat and, with his head held down low, trudges on through life, becoming bitter and passing that on to his family.

Launching a forward-looking conservative movement proves difficult because conservatives generally rationalize their way out of radical change. They also have no way to explain to people who are living the easy life why they should sacrifice and work hard in order to achieve a new system that looks like something from centuries before.

Any conservative party thus becomes a target for opportunists who are willing to cast aside the actual values of conservatism and replace them with pragmatic ones. They realize they can be the opposition party and still have power without having to do much of anything because they know and expect. To them, it is just another job, and they focus on the financial side of it.

Having given up on actually maintaining society, conservatives then treat politics as a business and try to compete, which dooms them because they are up against people who specialize in bribing voters with promises of free stuff. This is how conservatism ends up doing the work of the Left for them; by competing, it adopts Leftist methods, and soon becomes effectively Leftist:

The Progressive era of the West arrived by way of Bismarck and Germany. Otto, being a conservative, was, by that characteristic alone, a natural born progressive. He sought to stay the power and the rise of the Socialists in Germany. He did so thinking like a socialist, calculating as a socialist, and preempting socialist aims by providing what Socialists had not yet the wherewithal/power to dole out.

In the above, we see the classic pattern of conservatives “competing” by achieving socialism before the socialists. This way, the conservatives stay in power, but they also defeat themselves, much as American conservatives have by defending Leftist ideals and programs despite recognizing that these are anathema to their actual values.

This makes it clear as to why people are confused on “Right” and “Left.” When the Right acts like the Left, and the Left depends on the Right to keep the financial side of government operational, the dual parties seem like two heads of the same Hydra. In truth, the Hydra is the Left, and it maintains a public party as a means of forcing others to act out its agenda.

When considering this Hydra, it is worth realizing that it can take on many forms. The fundamental and only idea of the Left is egalitarianism, which means that bad and good alike can participate in society. This is their means of overthrowing any natural hierarchy and replacing it with a popularity contest so that the bad can seize power and profit from it.

In this way, the Left is an instance of both entropy and Crowdism, which is how all human endeavors fail by allowing everyone to participate, thus erasing hierarchy, at which point the Crowd demands the endeavor be made to fit its new audience, which inverts its meaning and adulterates its potency. That is what happened to conservatism as well: assimilation from within by people dedicated to nothing greater than themselves.

Humanity stands at a crossroads. We either find a way to beat this form of simian entropy, or we give on having advanced civilizations that can produce great art, literature and space travel. At that point, we will be assimilated from within by genetics, slowly introducing enough trace admixture to effect a soft genocide of our people, without whom civilization cannot be reborn.

The Alt Right shows promise by being willing to affirm the need to restore Western Civilization, which requires seizing power and driving out the parasites. In this way, it takes the ideals of the Right and the methods of the Left, uniting them toward a temporary force which can put civilization back on track, at which point it can develop naturally to its full potential.

Few will find it surprising that therefore the most intense appeal of the Alt Right comes from those who are existentially stranded in a boring modern existence and dreaming of exploring the stars.

What Are “Right” And “Left”?

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Amazingly, most people have no idea what political “Right” and “Left” are, even professionals writing in the field.

To understand this division, we should go back to the origins of the terms. This is a technique sometimes used to trace the meaning of a word over time, and to figure out why it was originally used, because that generally indicates what was so different from the norm that it required a new term.

In the case of “Right” and “Left,” these terms arose after the French Revolution when parties in the national assembly sat on one side of the aisle or the other. Those who liked the new order sat on the left; those who favored the old way and wanted to resist the new as much as possible sat on the right.

From that we get these simple terms which correspond to our cultural conception of handedness: the right hand is the one where action and signaled intent are the same, where the left is the hand that does the opposite of what signaled intent suggests. Historically, this is because the right hand can be used to shake while the left hand draws a blade.

And so we must ask what the “new order” actually stood for, which requires looking at what it wanted. This one is easy; it wanted to overthrow the kings, and in order to do so, it proclaimed equality (as an opposite of hierarchy) so that all people were equal. This meant that none had the right to rule over the rest, and the mob would choose its own path via voting.

Take a moment to get over your laughter. Yes, once upon a time, people were so gullible that they thought that mass voting was a way to make decisions! It is comedic in retrospect that people somehow convinced themselves that groups, most known for panics and stampedes and ignoring crimes, would be better leaders than someone specialized. But humans are prone to denial, projection and fantasy…

The Left stands for one thing and one thing only: egalitarianism, or the idea of equality. This allows them to escape social consequences for being less accurate in their thinking than others. From this, all of Leftism flows naturally. It is not a very complex philosophy, which is why it is disguised in endless play-acting “theory” by its adherents.

On the other hand, the Right stands for what came before egalitarianism: time-honored ways of being, which means they are based in consequentialism or results instead of appearance, and in order to have direction, are also “transcendental” or geared toward qualitative improvement on the former. The Right is complex, nuanced, and has many layers.

The division is this simple: the Left believes egalitarianism will solve our problems and give us direction, where the Right thinks that egalitarianism is a distraction from the real task, which is to discover how our world works and what are the best results we can achieve through known working methods of adaptation to it.

Now where this gets interesting is that the Left has incentive to hide their actual meaning. Like the left hand move, their goal is to separate their public intent from their private actions. Altruism is a great cover story, like politicians kissing babies. It lets you give a few percent of your wealth or time for public image, then do whatever you want with the rest.

The Right, on the other hand, have no way of summarizing their intent. Rightism is inherently complex because it is based not on a human theory, but on many and dissimilar methods for making human civilization improve in quality. As a result, it is a philosophy that requires an esoteric or unequal and cumulative approach to understand.

Humans naturally prefer the Left because we are self-deluding creatures. We know what we want more than what we are. As a result, our desires reflect illusions based on what we want to be, and reflect very little who we are, or in other words, our actual needs. As a result, the Left is perpetually popular, just like circuses, bread, television and pretense.

Whenever the Left appears, it uses egalitarianism as its method of forcing acceptance and shaming those who resist it. Who can, socially speaking, oppose the idea that everyone is accepted? Using this passive-aggressive method, Leftism bullies its way in, and sets up an alternate power structure which then rules with tyranny.

We know this and can speak out against it without having to swing to symbolic opposite extremes like “freedom”, “liberty,” and “meritocracy,” which are Leftist proxies for the idea of reducing everyone to a minimum and then selecting those with the (politically) correct ideas to rise. We can instead point again to history.

When the French Revolution was won, the new government set about doing things differently than the old leadership. After a period of murdering whole families on nothing more than the word of someone on the street, the new regime set up its People Power and promptly drove the nation into worse famine and poverty than ever seen before.

As that settled in to the public consciousness, the regime distracted by declaring what was essentially the first world war and attempting to conquer Europe, an attempt that first brought victory and then great defeat. The result was that the war in the name of the people ended up making life worse for them.

After that, things settled down to the Right versus Left view we have now. Naturally, the Rightists who gave in and adopted the Leftist idea of equality found themselves more popular, and so the mainstream Right gradually eroded until it became a variety of Leftism as today. But that does not change the idea itself.

If we are to make sense of this political question, it first makes sense to go back to our roots and see what Right and Left mean. The Left means egalitarianism; the Right means time-honored solutions producing the best results. Obviously, these are incompatible, which is why the West is currently fragmenting along these lines.

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