Response to Paleo

Fenster writes:

Paleo just wrote:

 . . . I’m left wondering how much the arrival of so many engineer-scientist types on the public-discussion scene has driven the growth of the Dark Enlightenment / HBD / Game / Reactionary part of the online world.

I was in the midst of drafting a long comment to this post, complete with links and a video, when I got booted off by Word Press and I lost all the text.  Word Press is remorseless about such goofs as I understand it.  So rather than try again and get booted off again, I am taking the liberty of drafting a new post.

Here’s what I remember writing.

I expect you are correct, Paleo, in looking for a link between the voices of scientists/engineers and the growth of a certain kind of right-leaning thinking such as DE, neoreaction and maybe even Game (but see below regarding the latter).

Certainly Moldbug is a techie.  But what to make of that?

You’ve got the blog Outside In arguing as follows:

Increasingly, there are only two basic human types populating this planet. There are autistic nerds, who alone are capable of participating effectively in the advanced technological processes that characterize the emerging economy, and there is everybody else. For everybody else, this situation is uncomfortable. The nerds are steadily finding ways to do all the things ordinary and sub-ordinary people do, more efficiently and economically, by programming machines. Only the nerds have any understanding of how this works, and — until generalized machine intelligences arrive to keep them company — only they will.

Well, that’s political philosophy, of a sort.  But it is also maybe revealing in other ways.

The right-leaning blog The Watchword is Excelsior notes that quote and makes the link between neocameralism and autism, linking in turn to yet another right-leaning blog making the argument more explicit.  A lot of good points about the inherent friction between an engineering view of life and a political one, no matter how you define the latter.

Now, autism and political philosophy . . . that is a kind of ad hominem argument that I object to on its face for the sake of propriety, but nonetheless find compelling/persuasive.

I mean, Moldbug himself plays the part pretty well, at least of the nerd, if not of the autistic individual who is damn sure that all that peskiness has been consigned to the proper box.

And that’s just his odd affect.  Then there’s the problem of content.

This is just the last few minutes of a longer presentation, one which is worth seeing in its entirety.  I have struggled like many others with Moldbug’s prose and figured hey let’s see how he does just putting his philosophy into plain English, as he attempts to do here.

He starts by staking out pragamatic terrain–what is to be done?  He acknowledges it is complicated but says he likes to “simplify” things (!), and he tries, ever so fitfully, to proceed “simply”.

Honestly, though, when he is asked to just get up and say what he means, he is a lot more Chauncey Gardiner than Vladimir Lenin or Isaiah Berlin.

Over at your post, you and Will S. got into a fun back-and-forth about surgeons and novelists.  Is it easier for a surgeon to go on to be a novelist than the other way round?  Perhaps, though novel-writing and many other non-scientific pursuits have their own need for discipline.

In this context, I would agree that it is possible for a software engineer to develop a coherent political philosophy, and I look forward to that prospect some day.  Maybe it’s even been done already. . .  but I don’t think MM is the one to have done it.

Maybe all he’s saying is that we need to be more like Singapore.  But that’s not all that controversial–big sections of the Cathedral are already in favor.

Meanwhile, Paelo, doesn’t Moldbug’s affect make you wonder about how closely DE and Game are to be linked?  Are DE types typically Alpha?  Just asking.

How well would Mencius do in a bar room?

Or Nick Land.

Or Ramzpaul?

My conclusion: not very well.

In sum, I see the connect between science/engineering and DE/neoreaction, but I don’t take the “movement” (?!) seriously.

I don’t see the connection to Game.

HBD is another matter entirely.

About Fenster

Gainfully employed for thirty years, including as one of those high paid college administrators faculty complain about. Earned Ph.D. late in life and converted to the faculty side. Those damn administrators are ruining everything.
This entry was posted in Personal reflections, Philosophy and Religion, Politics and Economics and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Response to Paleo

  1. Pingback: Father Knows Best: Mid-July Edition | Patriactionary

  2. The geeks I know, and I work in the software industry, are not leaders. The best they can be is good managers. The geeks may be remaking our world but I don’t believe they will ever run it.


  3. agnostic says:

    Geeks cannot be mentors either — leading and inspiring on a smaller scale. Nobody ever praised them for their teaching skills, for example (just the opposite).

    Contrast this reality against their flattering self-image that, since they lack the social skills needed to thrive in a local, face-to-face setting, they must therefore be equipped to thrive on a far higher plane, where human society looks like an ant colony under the scientist’s magnifying glass.

    But we know what happens when we let autistic systemizers take over large-scale organizations. Their failure shows that “running society” is not a complement to “running a seminar,” as though some people were good at large vs. small scale settings. Thriving up top depends on being able to thrive down below. You do need additional skills for commanding the attention and respect of a huge audience, without feeling overwhelmed, but you do need those basic face-to-face skills.

    That’s as true for the lead singer of a rock band performing before a stadium of 100,000 as it is for a preacher of a mega-church or an executive of a corporation.

    Geeks who start with a large-scale view (Plato, Marx, indeed most philosophers), just don’t get people at the face-to-face level. They would make good physicists, but not social “scientists.” If they took up architecture, they would design grandiose machines-for-living.

    An intuition can be expanded, built upon, and refined to grope and cope with the unfamiliar and perplexing. Human beings have never had good intuitions about massive-scale social structures, compared to our knack for interpersonal psychology. Hence we cannot begin with a zoomed-out perspective and go from there. We have to start with a knack for the face-to-face and build up.

    Thus there is no place, elite or popular, for the geek to excel at “running society,” no matter what particular brand of foolishness he’s committed himself to. The sooner we appreciate these facts, the sooner we can stop fucking society up.


  4. Slumlord says:

    The overlap between Game and Neoreaction is a concern for the Truth. Artsy types tend to be more concerned with feelings, tending to put Truth way too low on their list of priorities. The reason why this so is because techies need to have mastery of the facts in order for there to be successful project implementation whilst arty types can write well about ” castles in the air” without any reference to soil mechanics or structural engineering.

    One of the incidental by-products of a STEM eduction is a defacto habituation in classical metaphysics. Science doesn’t ” work” unless you assume as a priori that facts matter, the universe is objectively real and logic can be use to accurately describe the relationship with entities. Hence, when STEM guys approach the social sciences and arts their conclusions are at odds with the vague intuitions of the Arty types whose thoughts are really not subject to any metaphysical discipline. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is.

    The problem with Geeks though is that despite their brilliance in one field, their autism fails to acknowledge other variables from other fields which impact their insights. An Arts education is no protection from this error as well. Many arty types are just as autistic when it comes to feelings and “intuition” as nerds are to the facts. The thing is most of the proletariat live by intuition as well and hence tend to gravitate toward skilled arty types rather than the Spock-like nerds.


  5. I have to say I have a lot of issues with the advice given by the game bloggers. There advice might work well for a naive lower beta male of moderate intelligence, say an overly nice air conditioning engineer who needs to be more assertive and less trusting, but much of it is useless for uptight high IQ introverts. These guys aren’t idiots, it’s appearance and execution they have issues with.

    In many cases the biggest thing these guys can do is loosen up (mentally and physically) and forget trying to act like a super masculine alpha male. Take a dance class, visit a massage therapist, get a Brazilian, teach underemployed liberal arts graduates how to do technical stuff, listen to a wider range of films and music, read the odd women’s magazine for chat up pointers.

    Guys like Roissy drone on about playing hard ball and being aloof or charming, but don’t even mention obvious simple stuff, like not looking like an arthritic robot when you shuffle around in a dance club. Maybe this stuff won’t turn you into Cassanova but if you can grind with a girl in a club (most guys can’t) you’ve already made it into upper beta male territory.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s