Bloody Shovel 3

We will drown and nobody shall save us


Last month I had the pleasure to meet in person with Nick Land in a small classy bar in Shanghai. It was quite surreal to talk about this matters in person, meeting for the first time. At first it was the two of us alone loudly discussing Moldbug this Moldbug that, but after a while the place got quite crowded. Shortly we were surrounded by rich kids with outrageous hairdos and high voices wooing teenage girls in short dresses. All while we were dead serious talking about the future of human society.

The discussion was very amiable but somewhat awkward too. We have very different backgrounds, I am basically a student of history , and Nick Land is a philosopher, with a more theoretical, aesthetically driven way of seeing the world. Or at least that is the impression that his writings give me. That difference didn't mean much in practical terms though, as we pretty much agreed in everything. We talked about the reactionary blogosphere and its connections with various anti-liberal movements (Game, MRA, traditionalists). It was funny that we happen to read almost the same blogs. We agreed that while the analysis of the sheer madness of liberalism is mostly right, all the proposed solutions are all implausible. Monarchy? Christian traditionalism? Henry VII? Come on. As a futurist, Nick Land is surely extremely bored by proposals which amount to pretty much turning back the clock.

Given that we didn't really believe in any way of fixing the mess, the discussion turned to how is the situation likely to evolve. He has this model on the elite, which he defines in a Pareto distribution as the productive 20% (against the useless 80%), would simply flee to civilised fortresses mega-cities a la Singapore where they would enjoy the benefits of a high IQ society.  With robotics and other advances the utility of low skilled labor will decrease into what amounts to nil, so the masses would left to their own devices in the hinterland. Where they'd starve to medieval densities.

I didn't really agree with this model. He argued that the elite is incredibly globalised, and doesn't give a shit about their nations or countries. Which is true. Also true about both of us. American HBDers have a certain sense of white solidarity, but that's because most dysfunction in America is caused by NAMs, so whites represent both the tribe and the good of civilisation. But in Britain it's hard to love your own people. But still the elite today is still characterised by allegiance to the post-christian creed of human equality, and while flight into civilised fortresses has been slowly happening for some time already, with cynical liberals bidding up home prices to isolate themselves,  a complete removal is in my opinion quite unlikely. I don't think it's plausible that the elite would be having fun eating fancy food in a Shanghai mall while the left half of the Bell Curve is starving. Welfare has been the highest moral principle for centuries.

Which is the most important point in my view. Welfare and it's associated political arrangements are destroying the world economy, and by any measure it won't last much longer. I know I'll see it collapse. Still I don't see how elite liberal will be able to rationalise fleeing to Shanghai to enjoy french cuisine while fellow humans are starving in the interior. We know a lot of people, especially white people, prefer to die rather than being morally inferior. So there's no moral framework that justifies letting the proles starve. Well, there is one, HBD. But HBD is scary business, and according to your temperament it might mean different things. HBD taken seriously might also mean total NAM removal. Wars for lebensraum. Mandatory eugenics. It's nasty business, and all my models of a HBD realist world involve a lot of blood. Nick Land doesn't see it that way, he says people will isolate themselves and make up stuff to rationalise it.

I guess it's the age difference. Mr. Land is 50, I'm still in my 20s. He'd rather have fun in Shanghai than try to remove the NAMs from Britain. It's understandable. If current fertility rates stand, his point of view will grow in numbers. So perhaps he's right after all.


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  • Oh I think you will find that humans can justify pretty much anything to themselves so long as their own comfort is at risk. Bear in mind that the typical liberal doesn't involve themselves in helping the disadvantaged beyond voting for redistribution and giving to charity. Anyway, Neal Stephenson's 'Diamond Age' is worth a read for a well-thought-out sci-fi world somewhat similar to what you are describing.

    • Well yes but there's always a Savonarola, a Marius, an annoying junior member of the elite who seeks status by being holier than thou. Brave New World was awesome by any measure, yet there was a Bernard Max spoiling the fun.

      Hell Singapore's PAP almost lost the last election to the socialists.

      • "Brave New World was awesome by any measure"

        You do get that it was a dystopian novel. You should read The Abolition of Man and That Hideous Strength for critiques.

  • [apologies for the flaky mask, it's the only way I can get into the system]

    "... so the masses would left to their own devices in the hinterland.Where they’d starve to medieval densities." -- OK, we were getting seriously Malthusian, but I don't recall any conclusion quite this definite. It doesn't seem very plausible to me, because before mass starvation people will trade (almost?) anything, and even accept previously unacceptable ideological revisions. At what point do people starve themselves into an approximation of common sense? (Some time before they perish, I'm guessing.) Absent a stubborn totalitarian government, and assuming the off-shoring of otherwise lootable productive resources (and thus the isolation of the left (behind) in their own debris), my assumption is that things would reach a new, sullen equilibrium some distance before gigadeath. ... but by then the novo-sapiens speciation, rogue AIs, and other wild cards are getting shuffled into the game ...

    • Leftists elite won't starve, it's the proles left behind. Their problem is cognitie ability, not lack of common sense. I don't think they'll all starve to death, but there's no way to maintain modern population densities without elite assistance. If all the 120 IQs are amusing themselves in Singapore, who is going to grow the GM food? Maintain the supply chains? Even keep basic peace.

      Medieval densities aren't that bad. Egypt would be so much nicer with them. China would be close to paradise.

      • Who was is who said, ""the poor are a goldmine?" He had a point. There's too much money to be made for all the elites to abandon the masses.

  • "there’s no way to maintain modern population densities without elite assistance" They'll always find a way to get elite assistance, through coercion if possible, begging if necessary, and if that doesn't work, trading for it on tough terms. Medieval densities aren't coming back. Human populations are simply too resilient, even at the fag end of the Pareto distribution.

    • That's not much different from the present situation. Which we all agree is unsustainable.

      I don't know how but at some point before this happens, the ghost of Mr Malthus is going to appear.

      There's not enough poppies in Afghanistan to trade food for 110m Pathans.

      • "That’s not much different from the present situation." Except that the present situation is coercive, with the productive fraction held hostage by the actual and potential violence of the mob (that's pretty much the essence of the welfare state, isn't it?). To the extent that productive capability is able to extract itself from such 'solidarity' and expose the culture of dependency for what it is, economic logic compels behavioral change. Of course, you're right that it's going to be hideously messy ... giga-scale die-off level messy just doesn't seem a credible outcome to me though. Lawful Neutral gets it (IMHO): cheap disciplined labor remains the ultimate bargaining chip. Populations without productive talent or the capacity for basic work discipline can expect things to get rather bleak, though.

        • So it's back to the 19th century where disciplinable people dominate the non disciplinable.

          I think we'll get the singularity before we rebuild a class based society, but who knows.

          • We can probably agree that economically incompetent populations / groups can either: (a) Loot (b) Learn to comply (adapt to functional norms), or (c) Perish The Left advocate (a), the capitalist Right advocates (b), and the Ethnonationalist 'Right' advocates (a) for their 'own' people, and (c) for everyone else. Whether "disciplinable people dominate the non disciplinable" hinges hugely on the sense of 'dominate' -- if there's a break from the 19th century, my guess is that it involves a decided aversion to direct governmental responsibility for chaotic grievance-mongering populations, but that doesn't imply indifference to their behavior (if only because it's uncomfortable to watch them angrily implode).

          • The singularity is God for atheists. If your plan for society is the singularity you've basically admitted you have no clue.

      • Word is, they used to grow tons of other fine stuff but their sophisticated irrigation was wrecked by the Sovs -- who had nothing else to attack once the mujahedin shot the shit out of them and then beat it for the high hills. Dope will grow dry or dryish.

        They may all get behind whoever can restore irrigation, even if it takes a terror state of sorts to do so. As we have seen in Iraq, it's easy for actors with ethnic or warlord motivations to destroy electrical and pipeline systems ; that doesn't necessarily mean people accepting 'medieval' ethical standards, such as crucifixion less coup de grace, catherine wheel sans coup de grace, cannot protect these systems. For instance, Sadaam's state seems to have been cruel but orderly, granted he had a ton of oil.

        The Taliban started when mujahedin, who were sort of ethnonational heros vs the Sovs, but sort of became warlords, and obviously were fractious in nature, choked off the country with roadblock shakedowns and other antics. This was only mildly unlivable, yet it swept the Taliban to power in an enormous wave despite their mega uptight puritanical rules. Mullah Omar via best pal Bin Laden then made the rather bold move of trying to provoke the USA to invade them, because they had the 80s/Sovs-inspired dream of a mideast not in vassalage to USA. I don't think they really accomplished this in a great degree ; USA is far richer than USSR and has probably been considerably more damaged powerwise by phenomena other than invading Afghan.

        The question is always where does it stop, the fecundity? India is at least slowing down a lot and may conceivably not go down in flames. Nigeria, Boliva(IIRC) .... parts of ME .... uhmm ....

        Given its fecundity momentum, a PRC-style fertility limitation policy seems inevitable in Afghan.

        • The again, I'm not sure all their pomegranates and melons and stuff were actually more lucrative than dope. They may just have felt less of an ethical impediment to doing that stuff. I cannot say.

            • You can put people back on subsistence farming. I'm sure that will happen to a great extent. But I'm not sure ecologies will bear it well. Also I think it really incents fecundity. Hail and I studied why fecundity slowed in France round the revolution. I forget but I think it was mainly because people moved off-farm -- to complex economic roles where it was not effortless to integrate their kids into economic activity. It didn't have to do with advancements in contraception. A seven-year-old girl can sweep the floor and gather hens' eggs in a basket, pull a few weeds, all while following her mother around. You aren't yet "in the black" on having borne her but she's costing you all of 200 kcal a day, big deal. An eleven-year-old boy is probably making you 300 kcal a day doin it up with dad, spreading manure, though you haven't yet paid down the expenses of having created him. Ten years later, 10% more dads are off making wagon wheels in some shop and eleven-year-olds are kind of sitting around doing some less supervised and less tutelaged household production that's less efficient. Next thing you know half the boys aren't even on farms and aren't even half-productive til age fourteen or so. Even then his productivity may be modest indeed during a couple years apprenticing in some less-than-instinctive activity that demands some level of precision. The 14yo on the farm can do highly productive stuff all day long blindfolded, though his dad is probably still way better at sharpening the scythes, fixing tools, optimizing planting and harvest.

              Someone smart can invent crudely mechanized, not-so-crudely transgenic versions of subsistence farming, which are probably a big step up. But again: fecundity. Will fecundity stop just because you've invented a hip Steve Jobs upgrade to subsistence farming with some mass-produced plastic tools? I'm gonna guess no, you will need state intervention, the humane version of which is 'one child'.

              The works of Borlaug and other (White) people may have 'landed' India safely, or semi safely, without much need for coercion on fecundity (though I would guess there may be a small amount in India at the bottom in future). 'Land' is my technical term for getting a society back to non-downspiral state. Without Borlaug's dwarf-stemmed grains, it's possible India could have 'ehrliched' (gone down in flames). But dwarf grains alone probably cannot land Afg.

              • Not that it's even clear primitive farming will make a comeback, anyway. But it could, due to price of oil, and Asian meat cravings, pushing up the price of vegetal food.

                If vegetal food stays fairly cheap, the resulting policy could just be 'lounge around, read Proust, eat free gruel, maintain your scrap shanty -- one child'.

      • "the ghost of Mr Malthus is going to appear" Malthus was going to be the second of my classic Dark Enlightenment thinkers (after Hobbes), but I got side-tracked by the Derbyshire purge. Darwinism is just Malthusianism plus half a step (selected variation within Malthusian culling), and the whole tradition of political economy goes Malthusian through Ricardo (the 'Iron Law of Wages'), which also does all the work for Marx (who is Ricardian on equilibrium wage rates). Because the dynamism of capital development has tended to outstrip demographic expansion, the economically-grounded Right has generally been dismissive of Malthus. That's shallow, and a mistake.

  • The PAP for all their general enlightenment have been big on immigration. While Singapore's no hell, I can obviously understand these mixed feelings on PAP. Western papers have been strangely frank about this being the main cause of their popularity problems.

  • Why do we blame Marius instead of latifundae? Or not share the blame? If we believe wik, there weren't enough small freeholders left, so that's why Marius wound up creating client armies. He had places to go and wogs to kill, and could scarce be expected to go kill them all by himself.

    Wouldn't wisdom have been to skim from latifundae and redistribute, not to random or feckless or even middling persons, but to meritorious ones -- who could then be freeholders, and bear arms loyal to SPQR exactly as per tradition, and not as Marian clients trusting in Marius to get them spoils and colonial homesteads?

    Latifundae maybe just too powerful to be forced to do that?

    • I'm just saying that main focus of instability in all historical polities is elite infighting. Latifundia owners (which is a plural neuter btw) vs Marius is the classical example.

      Landowners had the power, and Marius contested it. It's not about blame, of course landowners had it coming. But in this case Marius was the agitator against the status quo. An agitation which eventually killed the Republic and begat panem et circenses dysgenic Roman Empire. Which also had plenty of latifundia anyway.

      “Wouldn’t wisdom have been to skim from latifundae and redistribute, not to random or feckless or even middling persons, but to meritorious ones "

      I tend to stop reading when I read "virtue" or "merit“. You couldn't find enough meritorious Italians to give land to. There's never enough of those.

      • So you grant that the aristo-republic was already ailing, the moment she lacked enough armed, propertied citizens revering SPQR. We agree that the latifundia and Marius both suck and their conflict is destructive -- and prototypical for history.

        The only possible constructive solution is to create more high-quality armed, propertied men who revere SPQR -- a sort of 'distributism'. Not sure how light-hearted or serious you are being about whether that be feasible... just how virtuous or meritorious will they be? Well, take the best ones you can get. The point is, you engender and bolster an upper-middle class, however perfect or imperfect a one -- rather than arming assorted rabble and subject peoples.

        So why didn't Sulla do what I'm saying, instead of whatever ultimately-ineffectual stuff he did. --Or did he try to do what I'm saying?

        • You make it sound easy. Good people are few. Finding them is costly. And changing things in a way that doesn't please already existing interest groups is close to impossible.

          Policy isn't hard at all, we all (well, some) know what should be done to fix things and create a harmonious and prosperous society. The problem is getting from here to there.

  • This is the Hail thread:

    Some excerpts:

    try page 55 at the ref from my second post.

    It tends to agree that the [French] revolution was involved. Largely through separating people from the moral urgings of religious authorities. It says fertility dropped fastest in the most secularized areas.

    So, Cold Equation is right.

    It also cites the decline in the use of the family as an economic unit (for farming, cottage industry, very small family business I reckon). Men, and increasingly women as well, would be hired by someone not necessarily interested in integrating any kids of theirs into the business.

    In contrast, if you have your own farm or business, your kids can start doing useful work at a young age — and soon reach a high level of productivity, long before age 18. Because of genetic affinity you can cooperate effectively with your kids, which tends to compensate for their low intelligence and conscientiousness compared to adults. All this makes the net cost of having kids is very low.

    pp 53-4 are hidden on google, but I got into them on amazon.

    It said that birth control in France was primarily effected by coitus interruptus, though there was also a level of (illegal, and sometimes primitive) abortion since time immemorial. The condom and diaphragm were later and so had more effect on Britain-Scandinavia.

    It also said that interrupted coition had been the special preserve of prostitutes and was ‘rehabilitated’ partly by the influence of malthusian and ‘neo-malthusian’ schools of thought/policy. But I’m not sure the French religious authorities accepted those methods. I’m guessing they didn’t.

    [Hail:]Was 1789 particularly “anti-religion”? I suppose that was a part of it, even if not the main part.

    Fertility always drops fastest in the most secularized areas, so that alone is not necessarily evidence of primarily religious causation.

    [some] Abstract [that somebody posted] It has been long established that the demographic transition began in 18th century France, yet there is no consensus on exactly why fertility declined. This analysis links fertility life histories to wealth at death data for four villages in transition-era France, 1750-1850. For the first time, the individual-level economic correlates of the French fertility decline can be reported. Where fertility is declining, wealth is a powerful predictor of smaller family size. This paper argues that fertility decline in France was a result of changing levels of economic inequality, associated with the 1789 Revolution. In cross-section, the data support this hypothesis: Where fertility is declining, economic inequality is lower than were fertility is high.

    • "Because of genetic affinity you can cooperate effectively with your kids, which tends to compensate for their low intelligence and conscientiousness compared to adults."

      tried to underline that but it didn't take

    • Thanks, very interesting. I wonder why England didn't suffer the same, they industrialised even earlier. And AFAIK the urban workers were effectively quite secular too. Family was strong though.

  • "As a futurist, Nick Land is surely extremely bored by proposals which amount to pretty much turning back the clock."

    What the fuck is a futurist?

    "He’d rather have fun"

    I think that's a pretty good summation of what Nick thinks he believes. The fact that you guys spend so much time thinking about morality says you don't believe your own garbage.

    • Dude when did you convert? You sound like Simon lately, and you didn't use to talk like that.

      BTW give your real email address please. It's not like I'm going to send you spam or something.

      • "Dude when did you convert?"

        Gradually over the last year or so.

        I can describe the material world without endorsing it. One should not suppose that because I find little hope in material things that I think there is nothing but the material.

        If you understand how the material world operates, but still find it unsatisfactory, then it stands to reason there is more then the material world. Otherwise you could just turn off the bad feelings by thinking through them.

        That doesn't mean that the material world will change. Only that the material world isn't an end in of itself.

        "BTW give your real email address please."

        If your not going to send me anything, what is really the point of the extra typing.

        I often clear my browser history/cookies. I don't want to retype the longer e-mail each time.

    • "“He’d rather have fun” I think that’s a pretty good summation of what Nick thinks he believes." -- Not even close.

    • Maurice is obviously more receptive, but for the remnant within the remnant, who think the Occident went to s**t in the 3rd century AD, all the throne-and-altar talk about Xtianity vs PC simply evokes scenes like this: (via Whiskey)

      • vauung,

        If you think the purpose of Christianity or any religion is to save this or that material thing (even "The West") then you're really missing the point of religion.

        Religion is about saving your own soul. If you save your own soul is makes it easier for others to save their own souls, but it's out of your control. You have to leave others souls in God's hands, you can only do your part. Sacrificing your own soul because you think you know better then God how to save people is folly.

        • asdf -- My concerns are my children, their unborn descendants, and the cosmic escape of intelligence from the prison of idiocy. 'My eternal soul' can rot in hell for all I care -- I'm quite sure it would prefer the company.

              • Actually, your programmed to seek more happy chemicals in your brain. Sex releases those happy chemicals. Kids are an accidental byproduct, not something your programmed for.

              • Do you really believe that? It probably applies to cockroaches, but definitely not for mammals (who, you know, take care of their young and are thus predisposed to enjoy it).

              • ... that should have been 'cockroaches, PUAs, and other organisms exhibiting low K-selection'

              • vauung,

                I've read all the alturism studies and they are much much weaker then people make them out to be. Selfishness rules the day even among kin as an evolutionary strategy.

                Even if that assertion is wrong, you are a person capable of rational thought. If you know that your instinct is just tricking you into helping people and you are better off rationally overcoming it, why not do so? The world we live in is vastly different then the past, throw away all those old morals and embrace nihilistic hedonism, easily the best strategy for maximizing your own happiness over your own lifetime.

              • asdf This discussion is probably defunct, and Maurice has answered your last point extremely ably (down below), but this last sally is so confused I think it merits a rejoinder. You can surely see that the egoistic hedonism you presuppose as natural is not natural at all, but is rather a very peculiar cultural product of senescent Occidental traditions. It's Sade essentially -- the 'eternal soul' seen from the other side. It presupposes a radically self-interested private subject divorced from all deep (bio-historical) purposes, free to scornfully mock all concerns other than its own frivolous thrills, and well on its way to 'wire-head' self-stimulation (either through a direct implant into its pleasure centers, or an arbitrarily embraced religious alternative). Can you really not see how absurdly this mode of argumentation has gone off the rails?

        • So, it is fine by you if Christianity goes progressive. Fine by Bruce Charleton also.

          Christianity commands a christian community. If you are just saving your own soul, and don't mind Christianity turning progressive, you don't have a Christian community.

          Progressive Christianity goes holier than Jesus, then unitarian, then militant atheist, and, since most people find atheism uncomfortable, then engages in a fair bit of demon worship.

          If you are holy, and you don't mind Christianity heading off to become militant atheism with a fair bit of demon worship, then pretty soon you will have no friends to the right, and no enemies to the left, and all your friends will be your enemies and all your enemies will be your friends.

  • BTW, Bruce Charlton already answers most of your questions. There is no earthly reason to fight. You can expect no earthly results. The only thing you can do is save your soul.

    Why don’t you convert to political correctness?

    Since you can't do anything about political correctness, why not just make the best of it? Why not exploit the situation instead of moaning about it? Do what is expedient - why not? * Why not make a successful career out of PC - like so many others? Why not surrender your private mind to PC, in the same way as you have already surrendered your public behaviour? By having any reservations at all, you are making yourself miserable - why not simply cast-aside those reservations? Just say an inner yes to what you will, anyway, be forced to do... * Since you necessarily inhabit the thought prison that is political correctness – then why not, at least, become one of the ‘trustys’ among the inmates – to assist with the smooth running of the gaol, and get yourself a few privileges. Why not, indeed, strive to become one of the guards? Somebody has to do the job? Maybe you could temper the severity of the regime? And herein lies the particular temptation for the intellectual elite – a temptation few resist. That (literally) soul-destroying pragmatism by which (for eminently sensible reasons) we quietly, by gradual degrees, change sides in the spiritual battle of the world: that unseen warfare between The Good and that which opposes The Good. * Well why not? There is no earthly reason why not. In a world of pervasive and powerful PC, there is really only one compelling reason for holding back and resisting in any way, shape or form - which is that embracing political correctness will shrink your soul. * If you do not believe in the soul, this reason will carry no force at all: so by your own calculations you are stupid to resist PC. Or, if you believe the soul is inviolable, and that nothing you think or do can affect the soul: then also, by your own calculations, you are stupid to resist PC. If you do not believe in Natural Law (innate knowledge of The Good), and that breaking Natural Law harms the soul: then logically you should learn to love PC. * If you do not believe in the reality of transcendental good - then you might as well go with the flow, allow yourself to be re-programmed: to learn, by regular practice, to re-label lies as truth, ugliness as beauty, evil as virtue; until PC has entered into your heart and soul, as well as pouring into your ears and out-from your mouth.

    * But political correctness is nihilism; therefore it is not merely political: it is also existential. To fight against political correctness is therefore ultimately an existential act: a battle to preserve the eternal soul. * But if you do not believe that political correctness will harm your eternal soul: then you would be well-advised to suck it up. Why not?...

    • "Bruce Charlton already answers most of your questions" No he doesn't.

      Anyway I've nothing against Charlton and his minions. I don't know how to many times I have to say that I'm no atheist. I'm cool with the eternal soul, I just try not to factor it into my thinking. It's cheating, it's giving up. You don't "understand how the material world operates". Nobody does. Not by a long shot.

      But hey, it's your call. Given what I know of your background it was somewhat to be expected. Agnosticism is psychologically tasking, and evil does abound.

      But see? That's the kind of conversation I wanted to have through email. If you don't want to type it in just send me something, my address is up there in the about page.

      • Spandrell,

        "I’m cool with the eternal soul, I just try not to factor it into my thinking."

        Have you found an answer to your question about how to fix society without the soul? I pose it doesn't exist.

        "Given what I know of your background"

        This is definitely the first time someone ever said this to me over the internet. I'm curious to see what of my background you've pieced together here. I used a new e-mail in the sign in.

        • It's hard to start any sort of critique of Spandrell's views, because no one knows what he thinks. He's like James Donald. They take pot-shots at this and that, but have no coherent idea of their own. It makes any sort of dialogue impossible.

  • When contemplating the vast superiority of Chinese religious traditions over those dominant in the West, it's shocking to me that they're only reflecting an IQ difference of about 5 points. Clearly, raw intelligence isn't everything.

    • I'm no Christian but we'll have to disagree here. Taoism quickly declined into a folk superstition mess, and I find Buddhist theology to be quite obscure.

      What's cool about Chinese is that they don't take dogma seriously.

      • Disagreement is cool. The Daoist classics are the most intellectually exquisite texts in the entire global canon of religious writing, and Buddhist psychology reaches a level of sophistication so far beyond the 'eternal soul' crudities of the Abrahamic faiths that the mind reels.

        • Yeah but what then? Nobody understands Laozi and Zhuangzi anymore. Folk Daoism is as stupid as Islam. And my personal experience with Pure Land Buddhism, Amidism and all that crap isn't much better. I think things should be judged for its consequences, not its intentions.

          At least Christianity gave us scholastics, Aquinas and Occam. Eventually Descartes and Kant. But anyway I've been reading Julian Jaynes lately and it makes it really hard to take religion in its own terms anymore.

          • "Folk Daoism is as stupid as Islam" -- even were that true, you'd have to accept that it's much less toxic.

          • "things should be judged for its consequences, not its intentions" -- yes, and interesting, but when do we decide that we've seen the consequences? Isn't the Cathedral (PC abasement and mind control) the consequence of the Western tradition, at least as much as Aquinas, Occam, Descartes, and Kant? Polemically, I'd propose that the gardens of Suzhou, the calligraphy room of the Shanghai Museum, and not getting raped or mugged in the streets of Chinese cities, were consequences of the san jiao, although I'd concede that we still have to wait for the larger picture ... but for how long?

      • ... more specifically on your points: -- Folk superstition always dominates (quantitatively), as long as there are folk. That's a human universal. -- Buddhist theology, to its enormous credit, doesn't exist. The obscurity of the ultimate Buddhist doctrines is perfectly consonant with the opacity of cosmic reality. Buddhist sages are wise enough to tolerate that, rather than replacing it with anthropomorphic fancies of the kind that make higher primates comfortable. -- Chinese don't in general do dogma that well (a testament to those precious extra IQ points), and the worst recent examples to the contrary (Taipings, Maoists) are based upon implanted Abrahamic heresies. -- Confucianism (which we've left out so far) is mystically 'impoverished', but of peerless value as a reservoir of sane social norms. -- The sheer heterogeneity of these traditions, sheafed together as the 'three teachings', testifies to something extraordinary (and IMHO invaluable). It underscores your point about the essential anti-dogmatism of Chinese culture, and gives it greater concreteness. Eventually, a profound, experimental, and sovereign pluralism will be based upon it.

      • "What’s cool about Chinese is that they don’t take dogma seriously."

        Are we talking about the same people that had Mao's revolutions?

        • Did you miss the Mao point? (Hint: Marxist eschatology is not a native Chinese tradition)

        • And it didn't last long. Personality cults aren't about dogma. Mao had to unleash the students, peasants and half the army to destroy the party which was supposed to uphold the dogma.

  • >asdf "The world we live in is vastly different then the past, throw away all those old morals and embrace nihilistic hedonism, easily the best strategy for maximizing your own happiness over your own lifetime."

    There's a difference between happiness and a short term dopamine high. And anyway you don't have a family. To put it in your own terms, isn't it likely that having children and growing old changes the dopamine reception system, so that you get more satisfaction than by taking soma and screwing young vaginas?

    You might as well answer my email btw

  • The next step in the anakyklosis is dictatorship, as we are functionally in an oligarchical phase right now. The greeks knew how this circle plays out, Hayek knew it too, and we've seen it happen again and again, even in recent history. A strong man or men will emerge to seize the reigns in the west, and I won't be surprised by how quickly the espoused moral views of the elites change to match those of the new leader. Those who don't fall in line will be jailed or killed.

  • no saving the west.

    "If God meant to interfere in the degeneracy of mankind would he not have done so by now? Wolves cull themselves, man. What other creature could? And is the race of man not more predacious yet? The way of the world is to bloom and to flower and die but in the affairs of men there is no waning and the noon of his expression signals the onset of night. His spirit is exhausted at the peak of its achievement. His meridian is at once his darkening and the evening of his day. He loves games? Let him play for stakes. This you see here, these ruins wondered at by tribes of savages, do you not think that this will be again? Aye. And again. With other people, with other sons."

  • "But still the elite today is still characterised by allegiance to the post-christian creed of human equality..."

    Superficial. Those who enforce the mandates of the elite, those who give a glowing mask to the face of the elite, these, perhaps are characterised in this way. But the elite of the West - those who control the currency and the discourse and set the limits of thought - have not considered themselves equal to anyone for thousands of years.

  • I've just started reading Land's earlier writings. He seemed to be critical of the left because it wasn't radical enough, not because he himself wasn't a leftist. It's quite possible to pull quotes that make him sound like a run-of-the-mill academic progressive. Did something change in him? Or am I misreading his old texts?

    • Please do pull some quotes, that's very interesting. He told me he still holds Deleuze and Gattari as the best philosophers of the century. So there it goes.

      • “Humanism (capitalist patriarchy) is the same thing as our imprisonment.”

        "What we have to tried to show apropos of capitalism is how it inherited much from a transcendent death-carrying agency, the despotic signifier, but also how it brought about this agency's effusion in the full immanence of its own system."

        "For the purpose of understanding the complex network of race, gender, and class oppressions that constitute our global modernity it is very rewarding to attend to the evolution of the apartheid policies of the South African regime, since apartheid is directed towards the construction of a microcosm of the neo-colonial order."

        "Critique belongs to capital because it is the first inherently progressive theoretical procedure to emerge upon the earth;avoiding both the formal conservatism of inductive natural science and the material conservatism of dogmatic metaphysics. In the case both of the mode of production and the mode of reason what is evident is a self-perpetuating movement of deregulation, whose tendency is towards an increasingly radical prioritization of the interrogative impulse. Of course. as Deleuze and Guattari themselves indicate so graphically in their work, this process of immanent liberation is constrained by active reconstitution of archaic control mechanisms; faiths. state machinery, parochia laffinities, neo-tribalisms, an increasing ludicrous farce of authority,morals, marriages, and mortgages."

        As you can tell from the last quote, Land's old writing is High Postmodernism at its--err--finest. It's difficult to read, and you can never be sure if he's being ironic or not, if he's building up a theory only to show how absurd it is. Certainly, some of his writings on death and nihilism show hints of a rightward turn. But it's almost impossible to believe that the Nick Land of the 1980s and 90s is the same Nick Land blogging at Urban Futures. In fact, if you do a search for his name, you'll find some left-leaning academic philosophers blogging about his Urban Futures stuff, seemingly trying to read it as a critique of the very "reacto-sphere" he culls from to write his essays.

        I don't know what to make of it, which is why I'd be interested in hearing your take, since you met him. I suppose he might be like a Camile Paglia, someone who, if taken out of context, can be made to sound like a typical leftist, but who, in the context of his whole writing, is anything but a leftist. As I said, it's difficult to get through his texts because I'm not trained in continental philosophy.

        Deleuze and Gattari seem hard to pin down; at least, the former does. Gattari was, I believe, a firm believer in leftist values. Deleuze, perhaps less so, but only in the sense that his work doesn't necessarily require a left reading. I know many people who are enamored by them, and every single one of them would be horrified at Land's Urban Futures blog, and would find it hard to believe that a D/G fan would write such things.

        • As I re-read the fourth quote above, I can see how Land is more or less embracing capitalism--but only because it somehow 'liberates.' This fits with what I've read about his old work at the U of Warwick. Apparently, his colleagues there formed some sort of group that advocated an acceleration of capitalism so that we could hurry up and get to the impending, Marxist collapse of it. Kind of like Christians who support Israel because the Bible tells them Jesus won't return until Israel has lots of Jews in it again.

          Anyway, there's certainly nothing in Land's old work that suggests he would ever link to Moldbug or Gene Expression in a future blogpost.

          • Well he's a futurist, right? Soviet-funded agit-prop was fashionable back in '68, but on further examination it must have been pretty obvious that the USSR was the furthest thing from futurism you can think about. On the other hand present China is very much about creative destruction.

            I asked him why he left England, he only said he wished he'd left earlier. Something happened that made him 1.exile 2. accept HBD. Your guess is as good as mine.

            On his prose, he does like Moldbug a lot, so Moldbug's clear and concise writing might have something to do with it.

            • Did a bit of digging. I found some of Mr. Land's earlier non-academic writing. It must have had something to do with Islamic/Arabic immigration to Britain. It seems he recognized that Islam is/was a real threat and that the British academic Left was perfectly willing to ignore it and in fact invite it onto its shores. In fact, one of Land's old colleagues apparently started to post these non-PC essays as a way to call him out and shame him in front of his old academic audience (

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