Hari Seldon, Determinism, Surfing, and Going Viral

Well, there it is.  Neoreaction is a “thing” now.  That girl from high school who couldn’t use a computer but nonetheless reads Techcrunch has now (as Moldbug would likely phrase it) had her cranium penetrated by the first instrument for the removal of the democratic parasite from her brain.  As any normal person would phrase it, she’s heard the term “neoreaction.”  Even “Cathedral,” although she certainly doesn’t understand what it means.

I feel like kind of an impostor writing this.  I am not a “neoreactionary blogger.”  I’m just a guy who reads the writing of people who are smarter than me, and generally agrees with them.

But one of the nice things about accepting hierarchy is that I don’t really have to be.  My feelings are very similar to this post at Banner of Cosmos:  I’m not a sage, I know it, and my job is to learn, not to expound.

But smart people being isolated iconoclasts (being smarter than the average bear means you live in a different world than the average bear—and it has no average bears in it), they can see much more than they can accomplish.  Hence the eternal usefulness of graduate students.

So, here are some things that a humble grad student can take care of.

Are we finally cool now?

No.  You are not cool, and you are especially not cool if you’re looking for an Internet political movement to validate you.  This is the Dark Enlightenment, remember?  It’s not shiny or cool or even new.  That is the point—it will be unpopular with the mob, because it doesn’t worship it.

What do I tell people when they ask me about it?

Who says they’re asking about it?  And why are they asking you?  Did you break the first two rules?

Neoreaction is not a religion.  There is no call to evangelize.  In fact, it sees evangelism—especially for a political philosophy—as something to be suspicious of.  It takes a relatively fatalistic view—what will be, will be, and doesn’t need to be helped along.

That’s the interesting thing.  Moldbug is a very smart man, and an engaging writer.  But neoreaction (a.k.a. “the long-awaited backlash against democracy”) was inevitable even without him.  It might have taken a few more years, or perhaps a few decades.  But it isn’t something he made up in his head, it’s something he saw.

All this may hurt the ego, but it is tremendously relaxing in some ways.  It’ll happen, or it won’t, and you can’t do much to speed it up or slow it down.  You can surf the wave, but you can’t control the ocean.

This, by the way, is a principle of Game:  be on the winning side.  How do you win?  By winning.  Reddit has given the best romantic advice ever:

1.  Be attractive

2.  Don’t be unattractive.

How do you win the political war?  By seeing tomorrow’s history today, and switching sides to the winning one.

And this acts, counterintuitively, as the best PR strategy ever.  Because it’s not a strategy.  The winning side will make its own publicity.  How do you get people to read Moldbug?  The answer is:  Are you crazy?  He gets half a million views a week while barely updating his blog.  They’ll read him, don’t worry.


And now for a brief intermission.


You know what’s scary?  Grey goo.  The idea is that if some nanotech experiment goes horribly awry, a bunch of tiny machines will eat the entire world and convert into more of them.

You know what else is scary?  Biological warfare.  There are some scary diseases out there, and you don’t even need a big sample to start an epidemic.  The stuff reproduces itself.

You know what people care a lot about?  Sex.  We are incredibly pro-reproduction, if you think about it rationally, which, of course, no one does.

What I am driving at:  There is amazing power in self-reproduction.  Despite the lone-sane-man and you-can’t-stop-or-start it mentalities of neoreactionaries, you can do some things.  You can create things that reproduce themselves.  For one, you can lead a nice, quiet family life and raise a passel of children.  Or, you might have an idea that spreads.

Be good.  Think.  Get to know your neighbors, your fellow congregants, your child’s teachers.  Have a life.

Rebellion as Deadly Threat, and How to Love Men

Over at SSM’s, they’ve been having a lively discussion about duty sex.  Commenter Lee Lee Bug’s husband has a lower sex drive than her.  Commenter feeriker mentioned that men feel extremely vulnerable talking about this (do we?  I don’t feel vulnerable talking about it all—but then, as a 26-yr-old male, it’s through the roof, so, yeah).  Feeriker advises approaching it sensitively:

(From feeriker)

I would say that the one thing (probably the only thing) that might make him willingly open up to you about this is for you as his wife to make it clear to him, in word, deed, and attitude, and in NO uncertain terms, that you love him and have his best interests and long-term well-being at heart,

So, this is probably good advice.  I can’t speak to Lee Lee Bug’s situation, but wish her well.

What I do want to talk about, though, is how approaching your husband with his best interests at heart may not be the right way to do it—especially if you don’t understand his interests.

So, what are his interests?

Here it might be worth it to take a second to talk about male biological imperatives, considering how much time we give to female ones.

For women, interestingly, social status doesn’t matter all that much—or at least not in the same way. You don’t have to be the most beautiful woman around for your children to have a good shot at survival. You just have to be basically doable. The life of a 10 is not that much different from the life of a 9, which is not that much different from the life of an 8. Just don’t be a 2.

For men, there is a world of difference between the life of a 10 and the life of a 9. While the guys themselves may be very similar, the benefits of the positions are so different as to merit different categories in Vox’s hierarchy. If you’re a 9, it may well be worth it to risk death to become a 10.  For men, in many ways, it’s better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven.

Women are born with inherent middling social status, and their main task is to not screw it up. Men are born with zero inherent social status, and their main task is to claw their way to the top. Not being at the top is genetic death.

Let me reiterate that: not being at the top means genetic death for men.

This is why men may dig in their heels against perfectly reasonable suggestions if they don’t come in the right frame. A victory for the group or family, if it topples the man from his perch, is merely the replacement of one threat with another.  And if it’s an unimportant victory for the group—say, the difference between being being lost for fifteen minutes and pulling over to ask for directions—then it is far, far preferable to maintain status and be lost for fifteen minutes.

And this is where approaching a man with his best interests at heart can go awry.  “Doing what is best for him,” if it causes a drop in status, is emphatically not what is best for him.  Not being at the top is genetic death.  What profiteth it a man if he arrives on time and dies childless?

This is where Athol Kay’s Captain-First Officer model comes in handy.  Men are all too aware that they have faults.  They even poke fun at themselves about them.  They are entirely willing to take advice or even criticism—as long as their position is not called into question as a result.  If it is, the interaction is now seen as a subversive insurrection rather than a helpful offer.

This is why “love, honor, and obey” were in the marriage vows of yore.  For men, they’re all the same.