Bloody Shovel 3

We will drown and nobody shall save us


So the news from last week were how China changed the constitution and abolished term limits in the only thing that had term limits; the presidency. This was followed by the USG propaganda apparatus (AKA the press) going into fits of panic. “We got China wrong”, they say. It took China changing its constitution without American permission for Americans to notice that they got China wrong.

What did they get wrong? China was dirt-poor in 1980. Really, really poor. It would have likely remained quite poor if USG hadn’t decided to open trade relations with China, having them join WTO and all that. The theory, now stated openly, was that economic growth would eventually lead to the formation of a middle class, and that middle class would then agitate for democracy; a democratic China would naturally be a jolly good thing, aligned with USG’s interests (also known as “Western values”).

I don’t quite see how that last line follows. Democratic politics doesn’t correlate with “Western values” well at all. Look at Turkey or Iran. What does correlate with Western values is proximity of US military bases: that correlates pretty damn close. It also happens that proximity of US military bases correlates to some degree with democratic politics. But the causality starts with US tanks, not with democratic politics.

At any rate, Scientism on Twitter had a good elaboration of what it means that “we got China wrong”. What did USG really think? Was it just the latest iteration of the Whig theory of Democratic Development, whereby democracy happened because of the rising incomes in the 19th century empowering the bourgeoisie into fighting against the royal houses of Europe for political rights? No, of course not. Nobody reads history anymore. Certainly not people in the American corridors of power. Whig history is stupid; but our ruling class today doesn’t know Whig history anymore. What they know is a degraded version of Whig history as remembered by the guys on Wall Street, who have some faint recollection of reading about it in Harvard; but that was a long time and many many hangovers ago.

So the idea is that trade with China was a good idea because it was thought that China would always be poor, so the USA could always enjoy a sort of advantageous colonial relationship with Chinese factories. I can totally imagine some Goldman Sachs guy selling that to Clinton-Bush-Blair and those guys believing it hook, line and sinker. And the State Department QUANGO apparatchiks who had actually read the Whig theory of history could, on their end, support that thinking on all the opportunities for bioleninist missionary work. 1 billion souls to save organize!

That, of course, didn’t work out. China grew richer than anybody thought it would, it didn’t quite open up politically as fast as people thought it would, since 2012 it has instead closed up quite fast, and this closing up has not affected its economic might in the slightest. Yes, guys, you got it wrong.

The interesting thing about the recent media trends pressing for hostility to China is that it’s a completely bipartisan point. The Left is extremely disappointed that China won’t let them preach the supremacy of women, Africans and homosexuals in China; and the right is just pissed at the loss of American supremacy. See Pat Buchanan in this article.

The article is pretty lame; first in how it makes an analogy to WW2 in order to peddle more of Buchanan’s book shitting on Churchill. We get it, Pat, you want us to buy your book. It is also lame in the whole tone of the article. It just states, in very strong terms, that We Got it Wrong. We Got it Wrong guys! Very wrong! Mistaken we were!

Well, ok, but why? How did this mistake happen? He of course does no attempt at explaining. Because his job, the job of Pat Buchanan is to be a conservative, and the job of conservatives is not to understand a thing. The job of conservatives is, and has been for decades, to state their confusion with a tone of strong indignation. I don’t understand this! Hmm! I am angry, yes I am, this makes no sense, and that makes me angry. Join me in my indignation, oh and buy my book. Hmph!

Well as I often say, if you don’t get something, that’s a statement about the limits of your intellect rather than about the nature of the problem. If you don’t get something, the problem is with you, not with the issue. Go try and understand it, and then come back. Your indignation solves exactly nothing.

That is of course my instinctive reaction, but I of course also do understand the meta quality of these kinds of statements. Speaking as a linguist, most instances of the string “I just don’t get it” are not meant to state a lack of understanding; they are a way of signaling a political position. The underlying argument is “I just don’t get it because I don’t think that way, and I don’t think that way because I am a proper person whose thinking only works inside certain limits, as is proper and just. I only think as people in the ingroup think”. Understanding how the outgroup thinks is evil. You’re not supposed to go and try to know what’s going on. You’re supposed to just not get it. And to loudly proclaim it.

This incidentally is a human universal. All languages I know have “I just don’t get it!” as a short-hand for ingroup allegiance signaling.

Which leads me to this article by Scott Alexander. He elaborates on an idea by one of his ingroup about their being two ways of looking at things, “mistake theory” and “conflict theory”. Mistake theory claims that political opposition comes from a different understanding of issues: if people had the same amount of knowledge and proper theories to explain it, they would necessarily agree. Conflict theory states that people disagree because their interests conflict, the conflict is zero-sum so there’s no reason to agree, the only question is how to resolve the conflict.

I was speechless. I am quite used to Mr. Alexander and his crowd missing the point on purpose, but this was just too much. Mistake theory and Conflict theory are not parallel things. “Mistake theory” is just the natural, tribalist way of thinking. It assumes an ingroup, it assumes the ingroup has a codified way of thinking about things, and it interprets all disagreement as a lack of understanding of the obviously objective and universal truths of the ingroup religion. There is a reason why liberals call “ignorant” all those who disagree with them. Christians used to be rather more charitable on this front and asked for “faith”, which they also assumed was difficult to achieve.

Conflict theory is one of the great achievements of the human intellect; it is an objective, useful and predictively powerful way of analyzing human disagreement. There is a reason why Marxist historiography revolutionized the world and is still with us: Marx made a strong point that human history was based on conflict. Which is true. It is tautologically true. If you understand evolution it stands to reason that all social life is about conflict. The fight for genetical survival is ultimately zero-sum, and even in those short periods of abundance when it is not, the fight for mating supremacy is very much zero-sum, and we are all very much aware of that today. Marx focused on class struggle for political reasons, which is wrong, but his focus on conflict was a gust of fresh air for those who enjoy objective analysis.

Incidentally the early Chinese thinkers understood conflict theory very well, which is why Chinese civilization is still around, the oldest on earth. A proper understanding of conflict does not come without its drawbacks, though. Mistakes happen for a reason. Pat Buchanan actually does understand why USG open the doors to trade with China. Yes, Whig history was part of it, but that’s just the rhetoric used to justify the idea. The actual motivation to trade with China was making money short term. Lots of money. Many in the Western elite have made huge amounts of money with the China trade. Money that conveniently was funneled to whichever political channels it had to do in order to keep the China trade going. Even without Whig history, even without the clueless idea that China would never become a political great power, the short-term profits to be made were big enough to capture the political process in the West and push for it. Countries don’t have interests: people do.

That is true, and should be obvious, but there are dangers to the realization. There’s a reason why people dislike cynics. People don’t want to know the truth. It’s hard to coordinate around the truth, especially when the truth is that humans are selfish assholes constantly in conflict. Mistakes happen because people find it convenient to hide the truth; and “mistake theory” happens because policing the ingroup patterns of thought, limiting the capability of people of knowing too much, is politically useful. The early Chinese kingdoms developed a very sophisticated way of analyzing objective reality. The early kingdoms were also full of constant warfare, rebellions and elite betrayals; all of which went on until the introduction in the 13th century of a state ideology (neoconfucianism) based on complete humbug and a massively unrealistic theory on human nature. Roman literature is refreshingly objective and to the point. Romans were also murderous bastards who assassinated each other all the time. It took the massive pile of nonsense which we call the Christian canon to get Europeans to cooperate in a semi-stable basis.

But guess what? Conflict theory also exists for a reason. And the reason is to extricate oneself from the ingroup, to see things how they actually are, and to undermine the state religion from the outside. Marxists came up with conflict theory because they knew they had little to expect from fighting from within the system. Those low-status workers who still regarded their mainstream society as being the ingroup they very sharply called "alienated", and by using conflict theory they showed what the ingroup ideology was actually made of. Pat Buchanan and his cuck friends should take the message and stop assuming that the elite is playing for the same team as they are. The global elite, of America and its vassals, is not mistaken. They are playing for themselves: to raise their status above yours, to drop their potential rivals into eternal misery and to rule forever over them. China, Syria, and everything else, is about that.


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  • On fire today! "Well as I often say, if you don’t get something, that’s a statement about the limits of your intellect rather than about the nature of the problem. If you don’t get something, the problem is with you, not with the issue. Go try and understand it, and then come back. Your indignation solves exactly nothing." Excellent. "At any rate, Scientism on Twitter had a good elaboration of what it means that “we got China wrong”. What did USG really think? Was it just the latest iteration of the Whig theory of Democratic Development, whereby democracy happened because of the rising incomes in the 19th century empowering the bourgeoisie into fighting against the royal houses of Europe for political rights? No, of course not. Nobody reads history anymore. Certainly not people in the American corridors of power. Whig history is stupid; but our ruling class today doesn’t know Whig history anymore. What they know is a degraded version of Whig history as remembered by the guys on Wall Street, who have some faint recollection of reading about it in Harvard; but that was a long time and many many hangovers ago." Is it not the case that the formal reason is consistent with the real reason? That is, the foreign policy gurus believed that trade would lead to China becoming liberal? However, part of that process would involve American media, NGOs and professors and their ideas infiltrating and undermining China from within. This is the Cathedral line right? "So the idea is that trade with China was a good idea because it was thought that China would always be poor, so the USA could always enjoy a sort of advantageous colonial relationship with Chinese factories. I can totally imagine some Goldman Sachs guy selling that to Clinton-Bush-Blair and those guys believing it hook, line and sinker. And the State Department QUANGO apparatchiks who had actually read the Whig theory of history could, on their end, support that thinking on all the opportunities for bioleninist missionary work. 1 billion souls to save organize!" Right. So the capitalists realized that with the end of the Cold War, there was no longer any reason for capital to be restrained. If Clinton did not support liberalizing trade, then the capitalists would fund the opposition. As for Clinton and consequences, well, in the long run we are all dead right? "That is true, and should be obvious, but there are dangers to the realization. There’s a reason why people dislike cynics. People don’t want to know the truth." Indeed. So now we have the 21st Century Struggle of the Systems: China: 1: Form: Top down hierarchy; one-party-state. 2: Matter: One China, one people and one paramount leader for life (Han supremacy). 3: Means: Top-down command and control; nationalism; state-capitalism; techno-Confucianism. 4: End: The Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese People and Nation and the Glorification of China - the World's only Civilizational State. America: 1: Form: Imperium in Imperio (divided power, democracy). 2: Matter: Diversity (faggots, feminists and Islamic fundamentalists). 3: Means: Propaganda, shaming and anarcho-tyranny; invade the world, invite the world; welfare and Anglo-capitalism. 4: End: Equality, Freedom and Justice (poverty, oppression and war).

  • Hindus work extremely hard at not understanding Conflict theory. I'm wondering if western conservatism is really western Hinduism by another name. The same cuck behavior. The same indignation and pride at not being able to understand things.

    • No, many people are capable of independently inventing obvious bad but useful ideas.

      • Yes, but the Hindus have not behaved properly towards the Khalsa. When the Bitch Queen was deservedly dispatched to the deepest depths of hell by her bodyguard in 1984, the Hindus' behavior was .......... Sigh! I'm getting more and more disgusted with their kissing the hand that slaps them and biting the hand that protects them. Have they even apologized? Disgusting! Sometimes I feel they deserve the Muslims slaughtering them. I feel it more and more as time passes.

  • I think another place where they go wrong is in their understanding of the word "democracy" itself. WE know that in the west, democracy is highly stage managed, it would probably be best to describe our system as really being "managerialism with a democratic veneer". However, the true believing leftist cannot accept this, it would undermine their idea of themselves as underdog revolutionaries. It is kinda funny if you step back. They think that "democracy" means rights for gays, ethnic minorities, and transsexuals without realizing that they value these groups because they are so small. But in any system that is truly democratic these groups would have no power at all.

  • There are a few earnest mistake-theorists (God bless them), the guys like J.D. Vance who really believe that, "Come on guys, we need to get together on this and think it through and we can all be, if not friends, at least tolerant neighbors." But 90% of those who adopt a mistake-theory rhetoric do so because abstracted appeals to and public displays of logic and rationality still carry social weight among a large swathe of the commentariat. You can see this at work when the left shouts "ignorant hick!" or "dumb ass Drumpf voter!" or "stupid redneck!" The real conflict-theorists, of course, do not bother backing up these accusations with a point-by-point breakdown of why the hick is a dumb ass (though it's interesting that even the conflict-theorists find value in terms casting aspersion on the other side's intelligence and rationality). But all those people using statistics, articles, and step-by-step arguments to demonstrate why the hick is a dumb ass---these people who are supposedly acting here like mistake-theorists---no, even these people are just doing the "rational argument" thing because, again, there are social points to be gained by appealing to logic and appearing to be logical. But it's still conflict-theory in action: all those statistics and syllogisms are just like peacock plumage in a society that still gets off on displays of argumentative prowess.

      • Heh heh. It's a lost art. The Greeks and Romans were realists about it (except Cicero, that idealistic bastard). They knew language, being the birthright of man, was just another way (and a damn powerful one) to gain status, make war, and steal each other's women. Better be good at wielding it.

  • I'd add that many people adopt a mistake-theory rhetoric because they know the end game of conflict theory is, well, direct physical conflict. Conflict theorists recognize that policy and grenades are both just means to a desired end, and if the former won't work, eventually a group works its way to the latter. Being coddled and weak and materially comfortable, most first-world conflict theorists recognize that mistake-theory rhetoric (which they know is bullshit) keeps the conflict (which they know to be real) in the courts and out of the battlefield for as long as possible.

    • The human mind (don't even mention females, but it also applies to every male feeling comfortable jn and trusting the good faith of power holders in a "group setting") is divided into conscious and unconscious and "there is a reason why". The 2 parts say opposite things. One what's true and reflects real nature (and it shapes behaviour), the other what the ego is better off believing (and then it'll be easier for it to appear to the others as believing. Self-deception as support for deception). Mistake theory is the conscious side of the coin, ego-serving untruths loved by every group structure and group adherent because they allow them to not know their real motivations. Conflict theory is truth-orientated, there's no way it can go mainstream, and maybe it's for the better that it doesn't. There's a chance that the tiny bits of truth societies allow into their mainstream are tye maximum amount they can bear without reverting to pre-civilization wildness.

  • They are playing for themselves: to raise their status above yours, to drop their potential rivals into eternal misery and to rule forever over them. China, Syria, and everything else, is about that.
    Forever? So their stated revulsion against GM is fake?

  • The stupidest story I have seen, in the response to Xi's ascension, is the story of "the ban on the letter N". Some sort of blip in the censorship system got amplified into an utterly nonsensical "theory" about censors stopping social scientists from using algebra to talk about Chinese presidential terms. And that was carried in the New York Times, the Guardian, and even, an outlet for Russian liberals.

    • Also these "bans" only applied to searching on Weibo (their Twitter). Nobody cares about Twitter except journos who live there all their waking hours.

  • So political opposition comes from the mistaken belief in mistake theory, and there would be less conflict if everybody believed in conflict theory. Hmm...

    • Pretty sure a side-point was that if more people believed in the innateness of conflict instead of the neo-Platonist claims about human action, there would be more conflict, not less. You're mistaken and I'll fight you for it.

  • Buchanan pulls his punches and spares the elite, yes. But he needs the elite' s good will to achieve any policy change, he cannot antagonize them by calling them out in public like that. However, is generally a very brave and a public-minded man (see support for Trump -who had viciously slandered him years ago when they were both vying for the candidacy of the Constitution party-, or his treatment of racial questions), and this article is too harsh on him. Plus his book on Churchill is pretty good.

    • Maybe but his books are tactlessly advertised and very unrealistically overpriced which I think stirred the blog owner's sarcasm.

  • OT: Spandrell, regarding your tweet about hillbilly Tibetans . . . Did you ever read Heinrich Harrer's 7 Years in Tibet? Your description fits with that book's description of Tibetans, though Harrer hides it behind a thin veneer of noble savage stuff.

    • This is the 1940s: There are no police in our sense of the word. Evildoers are publicly sentenced. The punishments are pretty drastic, but they seem to suit the mentality of the population. I was told of a man who had stolen a golden butter lamp from one of the temples in Kyirong. He was convicted of the offense. His hands were publicly cut off and he was then sewn up in a wet yak skin. After this had been allowed to dry, he was thrown over a precipice.

  • Your first paragraph is correct. In the late seventies China was isolated and without a friend, in total chaos and really poor, to the point that the world worried if it could feed itself. Nixon's political theory genius Prof. Kissinger thought that the right thing to do was to open the world markets including USA to China, so they could sell something and buy food (from America). Mao and Tsu Enlai were ecstatic. Only the British, with their long Asia experience, manifested doubts. Was it really a wise thing to create a big and rich China? It appears that experience wins. Now the USA has a powerful competitor in all industries and sciences, and also a geopolitical rival, not to say enemy. You may have noticed that China is taking possession of part of the Pacific Ocean, and disputing American ownership of that real estate, at least from Guam eastwards. Maybe Kissinger was wrong. May be not totally wrong, but he certainly did not think China's opening to the end.

        • Those who do don't seem to care about them that much. Bioleninism puts loyalty outside the family, and that cuts both ways.

          • Certainly, and that's a problem. It's not so much that elites should have children as that elites should gain status and pride themselves on having well-grounded children. Castles in the air, I know.

        • Henry Kissinger has two children, David, a TV producer, and Elizabeth, a physician.

      • I think he does care. Spirited people -and Kissinger certainly fits the type- do care about eternal glory. This is one reason, btw, why conflict theory is not *TOTALLY* accurate. The hyper-ambitious may behave quasi-altruistically.

    • Is the U.S. really poorer because China is richer? Are we poorer because Western Europe is rich? Would we be better off if we had nuked every other country out of existence back when we had exclusive use of the atom bomb?

      • Say you own a gas station, will you be happy if somebody opens another gas station on the other side of the road? Say you work in a shoe factory in the USA, will you be still employed when Viet Nam starts selling the same shoes half prices? Say the only employer in your town is an aluminium foundry. and the Chinese are dumping it at low price, would you vote for Trump? I would.

        • As Spandrell noted, countries don't have interests. People have interests. So yes, if you are a Detroit union autoworker, there might be a rational interest in nuking every Japanese car manufacturer. On the other hand, if you're a driver in need of affordable and reliable vehicles, your opinions might vary. But at the end of it all, its not like the opinions of the proles(or their government representives) matter that much: I think even China was unable to prevent offshoring of their factory jobs to SEA as wages rose. Short of being North Korea(and boy that has opportunity costs), stopping some people with interests is essentially nonpractical.

          • Of course Wendy and Daniel are right and trade benefits everybody. I could also add that competition is the most powerful force toward improvement, and it makes everybody better and more efficient. I am only sorry for the unavoidable victims of progress.

  • What does correlate with Western values is proximity of US military bases: that correlates pretty damn close. It also happens that proximity of US military bases correlates to some degree with democratic politics. But the causality starts with US tanks, not with democratic politics. That goes into my Quotes text file, very well put. You once wrote a post about Trivers's book on self-deception. "You are subservient to me" = "You are free and independent" "You are not under my yoke = "You are under awful tyranny" are cases of (national) self-deception.

    • That is true, and should be obvious, but there are dangers to the realization. There’s a reason why people dislike cynics. People don’t want to know the truth. It’s hard to coordinate around the truth, especially when the truth is that humans are selfish assholes constantly in conflict. Well, there's a blog at least where one can read something different from the "we are not selfish" "we want to.serve the Community" "Cynics are antisociap, they disbelieve human intrinsic altruism and goodness" hypocritical, intellectual sewage. Not only these folks live screwing all they can do as much as they can (included your self), but they have a compulsive need to spend the remainder of their time writing and chatting that they are the opposite of what they are (and do). No need to say females are 1 standard deviation above in this... field. I wish you wrote more posts.

  • Hm, I am not entirely with you this time. "What does correlate with Western values is proximity of US military bases: that correlates pretty damn close. It also happens that proximity of US military bases correlates to some degree with democratic politics. But the causality starts with US tanks, not with democratic politics." The problem here is what even we are calling democracy. The historical definition is popular government. The Cathedral definition is precisely Western values / liberalism - gaymarriage is a "democratic right" and so on. The Cathedral calls popular governments that are not liberal "dangerous populists" these days. Duterte, Orban, and so on. So in the Cathedral sense of democracy, it is a tautology. In the old sense of democracy, what is called populism today, the correlation with US tanks is probably reverse. "So the idea is that trade with China was a good idea because it was thought that China would always be poor, so the USA could always enjoy a sort of advantageous colonial relationship with Chinese factories." Silicon Valley investors already saw China as a promising market (hence not poor) 10-15 years ago. Remember the term "Chinese math"? It meant: "they have one billion people, if we only manage to sell our product to 1% of them that is 10M customers, we gonna be rich!" Of course it is the kind of thing that gives bullshit a bad name because the effort required to sell something to 10M people depends on the fact that they are 10M people and not on how low a percentage that is of a very large country. But they already saw China a place with consumer demand. "That is true, and should be obvious, but there are dangers to the realization. There’s a reason why people dislike cynics. People don’t want to know the truth." That is not really the big issue with Conflict theory. The big issue is that basically every proponent of it comes from the hard left. Saying "yes there is class struggle and the rich should win it" is so extremely unpopular, it does not even compute at some level, doesn't it sound like some comical level of unfairness? In a somewhat similar way, I have raised a couple of times on discussion boards to mainstream to leftist intellectuals that why does it follow for them from "X is just a social construct" that "X should be ignored or torn down"? Why it never follows: "X is a construct of MY society, to which I am loyal, and thus I accept it, and if you don't you are a fucking disloyal traitor". I can assure, it totally does not even compute for 99% of mainstream intellectuals. The 1% calls me nazi. Similarly it does not compute to the vast majority of conservatives, this is, for example, why they try to desperately defend that everything is biological. Saying crap like "men are literally unable to not stare at boobs, because biology" when in reality 25% of young men are too nervous and inhibited to stare at boobs, and any monk who wants to keep his celibacy vow also better not to stare at such temptations, so it is certainly possible if you want to. But if we'd admit that this is possible, the leftist narrative, namely that "if you can, you MUST, because you must find my kind of ethics entirely compulsory" would be overwhelming. So nobody is even trying the "yes I am capable of not staring at boobs but I fucking don't want to, piss off" angle. My point is, Conflict theory is a nearly irresistible force in the hands of the left. And every application of it is a very convincing argument why people like you and me are evil and deserve to be hated. You could, in theory, behave like a feminist man but don't want to? You are evil. You admit X is a social construct but still want to enforce it out of national loyalty? You are evil. You admit the rich are not entirely avuncular benefactors of the poor and even the free market cannot always force them to do so, yet they don't want to seem them punished, humiliated and impoverished? You are evil. Die! On the other hand, the Mistake theory of the milquetoast Alexandrian liberal at least does not want me dead or impoverished. It holds if we discuss the issue enough and maybe throw some more statistics and Bayes on it we will reach an agreement. Surely that sounds less dangerous?

    • You gotta think this through. Plenty of liberals want to send you to re-education camps based on mistakes theory and your lack of ability to understand proper progressivism. The establishment left doesn't use conflict theory very much anymore, it's all small groups of internet Marxists now.

    • >In a somewhat similar way, I have raised a couple of times on discussion boards to mainstream to leftist intellectuals that why does it follow for them from “X is just a social construct” that “X should be ignored or torn down”? Spectres of Lockean 'enlightenment' haunt the discourse; the idea that IF: you identify a 'social construct', THEN: 'it must be destroyed', is ultimately predicated on the idea of a utopian 'state of nature' that man 'fell' from when he made civilization great, that is 'concealed' by so called 'social constructs' and that the eschaton can only be imanetized when all such is torn to smithers.

  • The comments to that Alexander post suggested that most people there interpreted "Mistake Theorist" as "someone who argues carefully and honestly" and "Conflict Theorist" as "someone who's disposed to lie and distort whenever he thinks that doing so will help his group". If a Mistake Theorist is someone who thinks that the ultimate goals of all human beings are compatible and that men can therefore work to together to achieve all of those goals and merely have to figure out the most effective way to do so ... while a Conflict Theorist is someone who thinks that the ultimate goals of various human beings are incompatible ... then a Mistake Theorist could in fact argue deceptively in order to help mankind achieve its common goal-set, while a Conflict Theorist could in fact argue carefully and honestly about how various men and groups of men might most effectively achieve their incompatible ultimate goals. So, many Progressives are dishonest Mistake Theorists (but Alexander is an honest one!) while many Conflict Theorists (Spandrell, for example, but perhaps not Marx) argue carefully and honestly. One might even be a compassionately honest Conflict Theorist who feels some affection for his foes and therefore some sorrow at having to destroy them. Scott Alexander sometimes seems to cross over into this territory.

    • "The comments to that Alexander post suggested that most people there interpreted “Mistake Theorist” as “someone who argues carefully and honestly” and “Conflict Theorist” as “someone who’s disposed to lie and distort whenever he thinks that doing so will help his group”." Because both the post and the comments can't conceive of marshaling evidence and making an argument that someone else is a conflict theorist and being a conflict theorist in the sense of "money and power to my group, screw it if it works to build a workable society". I can't even imagine what they'd do with the idea that groups in society are inevitably in conflict and the most important mistake to avoid is setting up bad incentives to manage that conflict. It's the difference between Marxists being "conflict theorists" that think that "the rich are evil and stealing things" and "conflict theorists" like Adam Smith who noted that businessmen collude when they can and that the market actually resolves conflicts in mutually beneficial ways.

      • "Because both the post and the comments can’t conceive of marshaling evidence and making an argument that someone else is a conflict theorist and being a conflict theorist in the sense of “money and power to my group, screw it if it works to build a workable society”." Should be "can't conceive of a difference between"

    • So, many Progressives are dishonest Mistake Theorists (but Alexander is an honest one!)
      LOL - yer kidding, right?

  • Wait a bit, Spandrell. Pretty much every primitive or stupid guy is a natural conflict theorist. Everywhere from medieval Europe to Pacific Islanders, when some trouble happened like crops did not go right, the first assumption was that some witch put a spell on it. Or evil spirits, demons, or maybe God's just punishment, but basically SOMEONE is messing with you. Even today, the really dumb people on both sides of the political spectrum see the economy as a zero sum game where the only important thing is prevent "them" robbing you and the only main difference is that one extreme defines "them" as capitalists, the other as jews. It seems the "bad shit happens to you because someone wanted it so" is the native, natural reaction of the primitive mind. In this sense CT is not a new invention at all. To the contrary, MT seems to be a fairly modern invention. Enlightenment Liberals of the Scott Aaronson type tend to claim it was their camp who invented it, i.e. the whole idea that maybe people could talk and discuss their problems with each other and not just immediately resort to violence. It is not actually true that they invented it. It is probably true in a narrow sense that they reinvented it - Medieval Catholicism was mostly MT and fairly diplomatic and tolerant, and hell broke loose with the Protestant Reformation, that was when it went from "I see your point, but look up Aquinas's 473th proof" to "kill the damn heretic/popist". It seems to be true in that narrow sense that getting Protestants and Catholics not to want to gut each other alive probably correlates with the first steps of Enlightenment Liberalism - say, Hobbes. However, it is also true that whatever cred they gathered by fixing religious hatred, they immediately wasted it when engineering revolutions of the French type which were as hateful and CT as it gets. They tend to conveniently forget that. At any rate, MT is a modern invention in a different sense: science. Once we figured out how crops work, people got less suspicious about their neighbor casting evil spells to make their crops fall and more likely to admit it was their mistake or a natural problem. Same sort of thing with illnesses. And economics. Why would MT be tribal when it is people, not tribes who have interests? Look, if you are in a modern gang and Don Tyrone, da boss says let's go rob people in daylight and you tell him maybe it makes more sense to do it at night, he won't lecture you on your mistake, he will take it as a challenge of his authority, a dissin' that needs to be corrected with violence. Pretty sure that is also how most old timey tribes worked. Red-blooded, high-T men aren't very good at debating, they too much tend to see disagreement as a challenge. Talky culture, so MT was invented, at least in our past, in Greco-Roman times, while they were CT with their enemies outside (hostes), they tried to MT with their enemies, rivals inside (inimicos), the whole cedant arma togae thing, the toga as a symbol of discussion, debating, reasoning, the whole thing in the Senate was much like this "what is Rome's interest" and "we we we" and tried to at least pretend to not be at each others throats. They were, but there was also a strong drive to pretend to not to. I always thought a large part of Rome's success was sheer patriotism - very strong ingroupness. It was entirely normal in other Italicus kingdoms that an aristocratic family just gets fed up with the king goes and joins another polity, while Romans were probably the first ones to discover treason is actually a thing and it is a bad thing. And the whole republicanism they invented was mostly about trying to be as MT as possible with each other, at least the patrician families seeing their interests as something connected.The whole Athenian and Roman invention that maybe you could decide some things with a public debate - which assumes common interests: enemies negotiate, at best, not debate - was MT. Compared to at least brutally CT tribalism.

    • MT is about the ingroup police. When a conflict happens in the ingroup you don't want to make it obvious there is a zero sum status play. That's not a very good way to keep the ingroup cohesive, is it? So you make up something and say one guy was mistaken but don't worry he'll soon come around. Conflict theory is only allowed with the outgroup, when you wanna make sure nobody tries to argue for peace. Mistake theory happened all the time in prehistory, in pagan, catholic and all premodern cultures. Science makes it somewhat more persuasive but you can run mistake theory with total nonsense, as long as it's nonsense shared by the ingroup.

      • >When a conflict happens in the ingroup you don’t want to make it obvious there is a zero sum status play. That’s not a very good way to keep the ingroup cohesive, is it? I don't understand you. As long as you haver power, you usually want to make it obvious. Like the more oldschool parents and bosses who emphasize obedience and doing what you are told instead of explaining why. They want to ensure it is known that they rule and disobedience has consequences. This is why they take disagreement as a challenge to their authority. You must be familiar with this, as AFAIK Japanese manager are less likely to pretend to be hip cool egalitarian who are first among equals than western ones. They make it clear they are the boss. So this what you describe could only happen in a fairly egalitarian group. Like a bunch of warrior aristocrats where the king is only a slightly more powerful warrior aristocrat. Note that some authors argue this kind of social setup, less power distance between rulers and the top ruled i.e. aristocrats, relative egalitarianism on the top, was the distinctive difference that made Indo-Europeans succesful. So yes maybe the Roman Senate did MT - or even existed, instead of rule by a Persian type godking - for exactly this reason. But not in cultures with far more power distance.

        • Japanese managers are the first who argue about "common sense". You are supposed to be obey not because they are your boss and they can make you miserable. You are supposed to be obey because that's "common sense". You are supposed to drink beer out of your bosses' shoe, not because he's your boss, but because that's "ritual", "everybody has gone through that" and "it's common sense". You normally don't wanna outright humiliate your subordinates. You want to give them some amount of face. They are subordinates but they are still the ingroup.

          • I think this shows a glimmer of where we went wrong. Time was, you could gain status by being a really good subordinate, including performing acts of obvious conscious subordination. (Yes, that's a bit of a lie. It was never terribly widespread because it cuts against the grain.)

          • Interestingly, I saw lot of exactly that, outright humiliation, mostly in the suckier subsets of the postcommie / peasantish parts of Europe. I may have something to do with low levels of trust not actually making people feel all that ingroup. Japan is a high-trust society. So it may depend more on trust levels than power distance I guess. Come to think of it, I even saw it in situations where people were quite equal but not at all trusting. I think that's the explanation.

  • "If you understand evolution it stands to reason that all social life is about conflict." Thank you, Nietzsche.

  • "Serious devotees of Soviet apologetics are referred to by the derogatory epithet tankies, after the tanks that rolled into Hungary when they dared leave the Soviet Union's loving hugs. This term was coined by other communists who didn't agree with such actions and originated as a term for the Communist Party of Great Britain when they followed the Kremlin line. The term is routinely used concerning Stalin apologists. Because he was dead by the time the tanks rolled, they will often claim the word properly refers to someone other than them — though approximately nobody goes along with this. You'll also see it being used for Berlin Wall apologists, North Korea apologists, Enver Hoxha apologists, Nicolae Ceausescu apologists, Khmer Rouge apologists, Mao Zedong apologists, and those who cheered the June Fourth Incident Tiananmen Square Massacre. Other groups get called "tankies" if they take an authoritarian line. There are actually tiny Trotskyist groups that supported military "intervention" in Hungary, e.g. the Marcyites." Related to present China. Horseshoe, you know..

  • I'm highly interested in the social technologies dealing with the fact that the basic, fundamental social reality is pure conflict for resources and reproduction (maybe simplifiable further into power- someone once said "Everything is about sex, and sex is about power"). The ideal slave would be one that is not realizing, perhaps made so to not even be able to realize that he is a slave. Democracies seem to do this by installing as a pretext the "dictatorship of the majority" - "We the people" is presented as the reason why things are as they are, and because "the people" (at least the majority of them) wants it so everything is legitimized. Still, master-slave relationships, in practice, of course persist; but it seems to me that at least in Democracies the slaves enjoy a global and historic maximum of high living standards, at least partially from a more equal distribution and spread of income. Real ruling, of course, does not work by majority rule; this is obviously only the pretext. Those with superior cognitive ability can rather reliably make the great majority think and feel as they see fit, it works with political voting just as well as with currency voting (consumption) - and by using the same exact techniques from advertisement and propaganda. A great underlying principle why this Democracy simulation works for the rulers seems to be that the great majority that is being "opinion-managed" cannot ever come to realize the full extent of this manipulation, because vanity and desire for having a high self-worth seems to prevent them from conceding that they are so inferior compared with the cognitive superior rulers that they are much like marionettes for them; after all, they "decide themselves" - but that their thinking and feeling, even their knowledge, their very ideas of good and evil, are very pretty much guided, must be rejected by them, at least when they want to keep up the illusion that they are "free". Otherwise, they would be like little children (or, comparably, cognitively retarded people) that can be made into pretty much doing whatever their rulers want, and the realization of their inferiority would be so terrible that this thought is prevented by self-tabooization. Like people suffering from Down's syndrome, the realization that one would be cognitively very inferior is so unpleasurable that it is ignored, repressed, or rationalized away somehow. One could say, the reason for why Western-style democracies function rather well is the human nature of desiring the pleasurable state of overconfidence, especially cognitive one - Dunning-Kruger as basis for a whole political system! The illusion of political freedom from the illusion of cognitive freedom. Just like almost all people think advertisement will not work on them, almost all people think their ideas and feelings are their own. Religions are marvelous in making people forget, ignore or even forgo their own objective self-interest (reproduction and resources) - Nietzsche was not the first to point out that, for example, Christianity is basically a slave religion - making people into docile slaves that are not to retaliate, to do as they are told by their superiors, to even "love their enemies" and so on. The principle: Christians are guaranteed to become high social status in the eternal afterlife, for enduring to be low-status in their earthly lives. What are a few decades of being a docile slave when you are rewarded with an eternity of being high status? Limited costs vs. unlimited profit. Great deal - for the ruling class, by selling to their subjects the idea of being really good slaves for them. Islam basically sells the same idea, only updated with violence and sex: Spreading Islam by becoming a martyr will get you the highest social status in afterlife's eternity, AND you get dozens of virgins on top of that, which sure seems to be a magnificent deal, especially for the kind of young men who are to die on the battlefields in search of "martyrdom" anyway. Islam as a social technology improved on the Christian religion technology by not only making people into slaves, but also into fierce, brutal (and, if they truly are believers, fearless) slave soldiers for their rulers whenever needed. It also exploits the typical male youth surplus of tribal societies as cannon fodder for advancing the rulers' military power while removing those young surplus men as inner-societal troublemakers, as a great surplus of young men ("youth bulge") in societies leads to inner-societal unruliness because of intensified and often brutalized social status rivalries (many more young men than are good positions in the social structure available). Mormons improved on that further - if you are a good slave for the Mormon church for all your life (most importantly that means paying the tithe, that is 10% of your income, accounting wise calculated from gross income, therefore more like 20% of net income, to the Mormon Church, but also doing significant amounts of unpaid work for them) you not only get super high social status in the eternal afterlife - no, you can then even become God YOURSELF! Now, try to improve on that!

    • 'someone once said “Everything is about sex, and sex is about power"' Oscar Wilde, but you saw it on the talmudvision.

      • Is "about" supposed to mean "for the sake of" here? If so, aren't there many more cases of "power is about sex" than of "sex is about power"? ... unless "power" is understood merely as the first word of phrases such as "power to do X", "power to have X", "power to be X", "power to be in situation X". So, one might have sex with a woman in order to have the power to spend more time with her in the future (because now she'll feel committed to you), in order to have the power to have her full attention, in order to have the power to be her husband (if she's old-fashioned), in order to have the power to be in her comfortable bed all night (maybe you're homeless). It's true that one fun thing about having sex with someone, when you're on top, is that you can pretend that the person you're having sex with is "in your power." But most people know that they're just pretending that this is the case, so the appropriate saying here would be "sex is about the power to pretend you're in power" (where "being in power" = "being someone's boss"). Hmm ... I've just realized that having sex with beautiful women, and making it obvious to others that you're doing so, would be a way to convince yourself and others that you're powerful (in the sense of having high social status); I guess "sex is about power" might be plausibly interpreted as "sex is for the sake of demonstrating power", and, so interpreted, is often true. I suppose that a man who wants a girlfriend in order to demonstrate to himself and others that he's not a total loser would be similarly motivated -- sex for him would be for the sake of demonstrating some minimal degree of power.

        • Eh, this is something both sides of the debate ("moderns" vs. antifeminist Manosphereans) get wrong about sex. Yudkowsky got the framework right with saying it is the evolutionary process itself that maximizes reproductive fitness but organisms themselves do not do so, they simply execute the adaptation. So while the evolutionary reason to eat food is nutrition and energy, that is not the personal reason we eat, we eat because eating feels good and being hungry feels bad. Because evolution added this control to ensure we get fed. We just execute the adaptation to feed and of course it feels good. Why would we execute an adaptation that requires effort and does not feel good? That "design" would fail. So: 1) Manospherians get it right that the evolutionary reason why men crave status and power is to get sex through it. 2) But just like eating food feels good, having power and status simply feels good, because that is how evolution ensures we do this stuff. 3) So on the personal level we just crave power and status because it feels good even when no ass in sight. When men arm-wrestle they do not seek to impress women. They also arm-wrestle in all-male spaces. Just because it is fun. 4) Showing off a hot girlfriend is a way to gain status. 5) So it is entirely possible and even likely that a lot of men invert the original evolutionary logic: they want a girlfriend in order to gain status that way. Because status feels good. Because stauts gets you sex, and sex is good for reproductive fitness, so evolution made status feel good. 6) This is exactly the same kind of somewhat ironic full circle that people gain status points for eating highly nutritious but bland healthy food and enjoy the status but the food maybe not so much.

          • Yes, you're right that we often want power for its own sake, but on the other hand it's easy to imagine a man wanting to have a higher status job because he thinks that this will help him to acquire a girlfriend -- and that would be a case of consciously wanting power for the sake of sex.

    • Christianity makes you feel better if you already have a servile role in the social system, but I don't think that it would be easy to turn someone who doesn't already feel like a low-ranking person into someone who feels that way by convincing him that Christian statements are true. Islam might be good for policing stupidly impulsive people -- people who are inclined to jump bus-lines and play pop-music very audibly out of their electronic devices in buses and subway cars, for example. The more self-controlled and order-favoring people from that social class would be empowered to police the others in an informal way.

    • Modern society is clearly not a conflict over reproduction and not necessarily even mostly over resources. It is a conflict over relative social standing, and also proven, driven by old instincts from back when reproduction was actually difficult (while today any welfare loser can do it) and resources were distributed by social status anyway so it made sense for evolution to optimize for status-seeking. So in this sense what we have is not as much as slaves as more like Rao's Clueless. People who really believe what they hear. They do not notice the only reason the believe X is true is that everybody with high status say it is so and public disagreement would result in lower status: that calculus is done by their subconscious and consciously they are sure it is actually true. Sometimes they go half-conscious and say "You just cannot talk in polite society the way James Watson did", yet they do not realize that deep down they are motivated by fear of being found unworthy of being in that polite society. Consciously they just think polite societies are usually right. But if you think modern Western democracies function well, man, you have a lot more thinking, and observing, and reading to do. Anyhow, it is not slaves. The closest we have to that, the unskilled burger flippers are often from an ethic culture where 1) money is still status, while for educated whites it is not so 2) it is comparatively good money, compared to the third world. However it can still be true that the criminals of their ethnic culture get the big money, the big status and the girls, so in this sense the burger-flippers are Clueless too.

      • I mean. The Clueless and their illusions are entirely necessary for having a nice civilized society. Their hard work is much needed for this. So they must believe the lie that being a good cog in the machine gets you status, "getting ahead", and the girls. But it only works in the long run if the elites actually pay the Clueless off to some extent. You cannot just rely on expectations and never deliver. So they need to actually let them have some status. And let them have a woman. An arranged marriage or close, to a basic but nice and obedient woman. Hence patriarchy, in the old sense. If you just let all the girls stand in queues hoping for a fling with the top rank sociopaths, the Clueless will sooner or later go on a strike.

      • >But if you think modern Western democracies function well, man, you have a lot more thinking, >and observing, and reading to do. I intend to learn as much as I can; but I still currently think that Western democracies function damn well: Do not mistake superficially visible chaos, unruliness and the like for being a sign of a bad system: Parents who want their peace take the children out for play with other children (soccer or something like that), to distract them, to get them away from harassing their parents, and to make them tired, so that they will be just hungry and sleepy when they come home again. Democracies as well have many side shows, circuses, playgrounds for when the people are not working, to make them hungry and tired. To rule effectively without being able to change brain mechanisms on a deep level, you must give people what they want - pleasure - and rule, exploit and neutralize them through that (including the threat to take the pleasure away). Without overfeeding, overentertainment, overplaying, overindulgence - all the pleasure from the screens and food and drugs and entertainment and gossip and toys - democracies would need a much harder rule, and look much more like police state dictatorships than the colorful children's playground they resemble now. The leash works somewhat, but it is inefficient. The carrot on a stick works very well and is efficient. Both somehow applied together seem optimal. You can save a lot on evil-looking prison camps and militarization of society if you can make most people into children again. Look at the US, and look what happens to Europe. Obese peopleballs that are increasingly unfit to even walk, needing little electric carts to move themselves around, which is mostly from one place of pleasure to another. What they know and deem important they receive through entertainment, including edutainment. As obese and crippled their bodies are, so are their minds - their attention spans have been so much reduced that they could not gain insights that are not presented by blinking ad-like presentations in a maximum of 30 seconds even if they wanted to. Their insides resemble their outsides; they have been crippled, physically and psychologically, and they will think and feel and like and hate and vote according to the invisible orders from people they not even know exist. If they had been reduced into this state by external pain pressure - by breaking their bones, by starving them, by making them dumb by drugs forced on them - this would have been "evil", and most importantly, it would have felt like coercion, and would have induced defiance. But the exact same result was achieved by crippling through pleasure; ubiquitous, cheap pleasures. Who could restrict himself from seeking ever more comfort and pleasure? Very few can. In any political system you must control, subdue, cripple possible opposition. Shoot them, imprison them, torture them. All inefficient, costly, looking not nice, arousing defiance. Therefore, inherently unstable. Better give them what they want, and so much of it that it buries them, that it destroys them, removes them as possible opposition, as possible threat. It can't be bad if it feels good, can't it?

        • Look, there is a weak case that you judge every state by how well it does for its population and a strong case that you judge democracies by that. You could look at stuff like quality of living and so on. But there is obviously something far worse going on today. Because the whole model is that the population is something sort of a given. Western populations are being replaced by immigration. So in this sense the question does not even compute, "not even wrong", because we judge German democracy by how well it is doing in the long run for actual Germans, and the reality is that in the long run the vast majority of the population won't be actual Germans. But there is also a good case that native white populations are treated pretty badly - any anti-immigration racist sentiment is instantly getting cracked down upon while immigrants can commit serious crimes against them with apparent impunity. Yes, for the most part the system now is openly racist against whites - poor whites. Rich whites still have most of the positions of power - this is why libs say anti-white racism is not possible. Anti-rich-white maybe not. But poor whites are absolutely treated like a conquered second class population. And it does not even look good for the immigrants themselves in the long run. They are imported in order to vote for welfare socialists. So they are not being trained to work, even to the extent they would be capable and willing, it is not a priority to get the maximum productivity out that is potentially in them. So as tax paying whites die out there won't be enough money to pay them welfare. They are going to be hit very hard in the long run, no skills, no jobs, no welfare, and if they try selling drugs in the hood they find everybody else had the same idea so it is gang war now all the way down.

          • I think you do not understand what politics is; it is not "for the population" or "the nation" etc. - it is only for furthering the interests of the upper class, the ruling class of any country. Everything else is just a pretext. Like farmers, the ruling class cares for their subjects like farmers do for their cattle - they try to maximize their output, "meat and milk" production, that is, ideas, money, industries, innovation, work output etc. If the cattle stock gets too old, or needs to be expanded for gaining more income, a farmer will introduce new and more cattle to improve his stock to improve his income. Your ideas of "nation", "population", "Germans" etc. seem sentimental to me, nothing of that, as I understand it, is a real policy goal, but only output maximization from the "cattle", the population, to further power and income for the ruling class. Let me re-post some of what I commented in the article "leninism-and-bioleninism": "I will end this long comment with my understanding how the economy works in terms of politics: (I’ll explain what the refugee phenomenon in Europe is really about, too.) Envy – and greed – by European, especially German, upper classes, compared with what they see their US counterparts enjoy: A sizable low-IQ, mostly Negroid underclass. Why? Because, for the upper class, Negroes function as what I termed “profit pumps”, or “profit guarantees”: The only class that really produces surplus is the middle class (MC) – skilled workers, above that doctors, engineers, small businessmen etc. I repeat, for this is important: The middle class is the only class producing meaningful amounts of surplus wealth. The upper class (UC) wants that money from them, naturally. Problem: Middle class is too smart to simply being tricked to give their work’s profits to the UC; and this cannot be changed, because the MC must be kept rather smart, because the nature of their work as a profit source needs to keep them smart. How did the UC solve this problem? MC has a weakness – they lack capital,they are not really, independently rich – they fear unemployment, illness and falling down the social ladder because of that. Therefore, they agree to pay high taxes – for a social welfare system, because of their deep-seated fear that they would need it one day themselves. Their tax money, therefore, goes to the lower classes (LC) – White Trash and Negroes, in the USA. But does their money END there? Not at all – LC people immediately spend it – specifically for stuff the MC would never spend it for (as they are too smart, saving, conscientious for that), like huge-margin/profit goods like branded sports shoes (Negroes actually kill each other for those and crave them – MC parents would scold their kids for buying things like shoes for 500$ that last few months before being worn/ugly and cost 3$ to make, the difference being profits for the UC owners of industry). So how can the UC route the money flow from the MC to themselves? By growing the immediate-gratification, money-squandering LC, ideally Negroes (as those have lowest IQs and act like easily impressionable – by advertising – kids even as adults and therefore can be perfectly controlled through media and advertising, which is not so easily possible with the MC). Thanks to the welfare system, the more LC people live in a society, the more money is forced from the MC to flow to the UC (by proxy of LC). This is also the reason the UC enforces “anti-racism” rules – as any questioning of importing more LC people the welfare tax-based system would immediately endanger UC’s vast profits from the work of the MC! This is also the reason for the UC pushing “racism” ,“equality” and “social justice” and all those “leftist” concepts – the higher MC is taxed for the welfare system, the more the LC consumes of the MC’s money, and the more profits are forced to flow to the UC! Therefore, I think it appropriate to think of the welfare system not longer merely as just that – it actually has been modified into a weapon to enslave the MC by the UC. And this is what happens in Europe – the native population is too MC, too conscientious, they tend to save too much and squander not enough of their income and savings for consumer trash, therefore limiting UC’s profits. This is especially relevant in connection with the rise of China, as more and more wealth of Western societies flows out towards there because more and more products and services are made and based in China – moving profits and wealth also there; to limit the threat to themselves, Europeans UC’s now mass-import a future LC, their own versions of US Negroes so to speak, to enforce and secure future profit flows from the productive MC to the UC. This would allow the European UC to keep their wealth, or even increase it, even in a future where average European wealth would decrease due to Chinese competition and an aging population. Demography is a weapon, tool, profit and status foundation for ruling."

  • "Countries don’t have interests: people do." Corporations don't have interests either, but they have fiduciaries.

  • Sometimes I feel that China is the immovable object meeting the irresistible force that is Islam. Look at this. Spandrell, how is any self respecting reactionary not supposed to respect this? A peep out of Saudi Arabia? No! Iran? No! Pakistan? Barely Afghanistan? No! Turkey? No! The Islamophilic West? Hahaha! The Indian secularists? Hohoho! Next time I so much as mention the name of his Imperial Highness, Emperor Xi, I will mindful to take off my shoes first.

    • lol. IIRC the approved gesture when mentioning the emperor used to be to make a fist with your right hand, cover it with your left hand, and stretch your arms up and to the right.

      • Hmm? Is that correct? The gesture does not look too impressive, does it? Unless I am picturing it wrong. Do we have any pictures to show what this looks like? Google search throws up Kowtow, bowing and other such gross stuff. We are talking subtle stuff. I take this stuff seriously. I don't want to screw up. When the world used to be civilized, "mistakes" like this were followed by a summary execution. I might scratch my balls while I scornfully and contemptuously mock the democratically elected Beta Chimpanzees, but when I so much as mention His Excellency, The Emperor, He who has the mandate of Heaven, I want to do it right!

          • Obviously I am not going to meet him in person ever! But I want the form to be correct even when referring to him in conversation with others. I want to do my own brand of loyalty signaling and I want it to be authentic.

  • I had a laugh reading this, good job. Poor Buchanan. I always have the impression he would like to go much further right than he does. The transformation must have been incredible. About China being dirt poor in 1980, The Atlantic published a piece in 2015 in which it stated that the size of the Chinese economy that year was smaller than the Netherlands'. But in 2014 the increment of growth in China's GDP was equal to the Dutch economy. Did you get to read it back then? If yes, do you agree with its general outlook? Lately I tend to believe less and less what I read in mainstream publications.

      • No, Three Body Problem completely betrays its early promise and goes from forgivably clumsy to unforgivably implausible and bad. First of all, Alpha Centauri is not a 3-body problem. It is a set of nested 2-body problems. (For a hands-on example of why, go play Elite: Dangerous - or download the freeware copy of Frontier: First Encounters - and go to Alpha Centauri, and try flying from A to B to Proxima. You will understand why Three Body's presentation of the situation is arrant nonsense. E:D has a cargo mission to Proxima you can get; only newbies take it, and they all swear off ever doing it again once they understand just how badly the game is trolling them.) The entire premise of the book therefore explodes the moment you understand what the big idea is: the basic story being told literally can not happen, not even with generous suspension of disbelief. It would need to be happening in a very different universe whose Alpha Centauri equivalent would be very different and in that case it's not our Earth either, it's some alternate universe. Therefore there's no immediacy to the story; it just doesn't matter, it's all happening to somebody else, somewhere else. Second, the game. This is the propaganda method by which the aliens prepare Earth for their arrival. Problem is, it's not fun. It's passable as a primer on the basics of science and computational methods, but nothing about it is remotely believable as a form of engaging entertainment that would persuade people in some direction or other. (For better examples of computer games serving fictional purposes, see Snow Crash or the fantasy game in Ender's Game - that last one in particular absolutely nails what entertainment has become, up to and including the determined player doing things totally out of left field that the game designer never anticipated). Even the gravity-assist game in Vinge's Peace War is more believable; it's not believable as a mass market success, but at least the gameplay objectives and victory conditions are clearly defined and believable. Three Body's game has none of that, it's just scripted scenes for presenting information to the reader. Third, the characterization. I'm not against a book telling me that a large fraction of the Earth's population goes treasonably crazy and that Mao's Red Guards type thinking can make an even worse recurrence. What I am against is being told that on the basis of paper-thin justifications that make no sense and don't work and without laying the groundwork for why these people would behave this way. This is why the computer game is such a big failure: because it is, or should be, exactly that justification, and it doesn't come close to being able to pull that off with any believability. Fourth, the technology. The things the aliens are described as being capable of doing are so far beyond currently known technology that there is no contest. There should not be any conflict because Earth should not be capable of opposing them in any meaningful sense, which of course means that without any conflict there is no story. There IS a story because the author has hand-waved it into existence, but it isn't a believable one. The question of why they need to find a new planet is left very open also; with that level of technology, living on a planet as opposed to constructing deep-space habitats is hardly required. The only thing driving it - and insufficiently so - is the chaos of the titular 3-body problem, which Alpha Centauri is not. The book is badly written at every level. It was mildly entertaining, but to pick one author pratically at random from my shelf, everything Steven Baxter has written deals with similar themes and does it better. (And I have my objections to Baxter's work, too!)

        • This is literally the most autistic thing I have ever read. Counterpoints: All science fiction ever is a paper-thin excuse to explore a greater (human) narrative. If you want hard physics, read a textbook. The Three Body game, as I recall, is a series of puzzles and/or riddles. One of the “scenes” literally involved the construction of a human-computer. Its sole purpose in the story is to serve as one long, ongoing As You Know narrative device. In-story, the game appears differently to each user: we have no idea how it would have appeared to the unwashed masses. You’ll notice that basically the entire story revolves around a certain genocidal theme. The aliens’ technology is stagnant because of their star “situation” (blatant plot device), they need a new star system pronto, they have no idea where genocidal danger lurks, and they hardly have the ability to travel from their star system to ours in a reasonable timeframe, at least until they figure out the soap bubbles of the universe. Anyway, you missed every important point of the story. One of which was the clear-eyed cognition that There Can Only Be One. One one world, a superior though now-stagnant civilization beaming all-powerful photons; on the other, a rapidly ascending upstart in existential peril from the first. It probably also wasn’t an accident that the author chose Australia. Darwin, alayhi salami.

          • You must not read very much. Verisimilitude is essential to good writing. If the response to "but that's not believable" is "who cares, it's fiction" - you are announcing that you will allow anything and everything to happen in any work and that you have no standards. Rey is a Mary Sue and Disney Star Wars is bad? Who cares, it's fiction. Science and technology doesn't come from having more magical rocks than anybody else, and Wakanda can't work that way? Who cares, it's fiction. Etc. You can make that answer to absolutely any criticism - which is why the answer is invalid and disqualifying. You need to answer the substance, not throw around "who cares, it's fiction". The puzzles presented in the game are not puzzles. There are no clues, there is no problem solving, there is just problem - solution. On a few occasions we are told that a character is thinking about what the solution might be. Then they announce the solution. We don't see what their thought process is, which makes the puzzles totally empty of content or meaning as puzzles, and makes that aspect of the writing bad. More importantly, we don't see how solving the puzzles is entertaining. You try putting that sort of thing in front of a present-day MMO audience, the player reactions will be very different from what the book needs them to be. "As You Know" narrative devices are known as hallmarks of terrible writing. Thank you for confirming the book is badly written. Their technology is not stagnant. It keeps getting reset by close passes to a star. By the end of the game presentation they are space travellers and there is no reason for the stellar behavior to have any influence over them anymore - and none of that has anything to do with the motivation to invade a neighboring system. The book presents that motivation as being the 3-body problem making their home planet's existence insecure. As I have demonstrated, that motivation, by itself, is invalid. There may be other valid ones, but the one the book presents simply doesn't work. The genocidal theme is hardly new or original with this work; you're apparently blinded by the impression that any of the ideas in the book are new, probably because you haven't actually read very much. See Pellegrino's "Killing Star" or Bear's "Forge of God" / "Anvil of Stars". There's lots of others. You just have no idea what you're talking about.

            • I just wasted 4 hours reading "Forge of God". Good heavens. If "Three-Body Problem" is shittier than that, it must be shitty indeed. Bear's whole setup with fake hills and self-destructing artificial aliens is just window dressing, serving no discernible purpose except as a narrative device to have people something to do something about. And don't get me started on the destruction porn. Pfui.

                • I've read "Three-Body Problem" and about a third of the following book, "The Dark Forest", then I got disgusted and dropped it. The science is indeed preposterous, but unlike Rollory above, I don't mind unrealistic or preposterous science (UPS) as such. Most sci-fi novels feature some kind of UPS in them or they wouldn't be sci-fi. I do mind that whatever UPS is introduced into a novel should form a consistent part of the fictional world. It ought to work according to its own rules, however bizarre those rules might happen to be, and the protagonists' use of UPS also has to make some kind of overall sense. For instance, all-powerful aliens that go around destroying planets for fun and profit with irresistible force in a matter of seconds have no logical reason to draw out the process for months or to make retarded attempts to confuse humans into not resisting their irresistible forces (I have in my mind here that execrable "Forge of God" I'd read in spring on Rollory's suggestion). To be fair, "TBP" is not nearly as bad on this account as "FG", and anyway I am perfectly fine with purportedly sci-fi novels where the mechanics of UPS are never elucidated, because, I submit, UPS is not what a good sci-fi novel is about (just as a good fantasy novel isn't about the mechanics of magic). UPS is just a stage prop that helps the author create settings where the behavior of individuals and/or behavior and structure of societies can be shown that would model or extrapolate facets or features of existing individuals and societies. Many of Neal Stephenson's novels, even those that are not really well-crafted (he used to have trouble bringing them to a convincing conclusion, perhaps because he couldn't get a handle on the gushing fertility of his imagination), are excellent examples, as are many Strugacki brothers' novels. This is true even of pulp sci-fi, because their working ingredient is adventure with perhaps a bit of a coming-of-age story thrown in, however cliched, and what is that if not modeling or extrapolating the behavior of existing individuals -- namely the idealized readers? And it is principally in this regard that "TBP" doesn't work for me. Its "Dark Forest" model of the inhabited universe is certainly worth considering, even if might not be entirely original, but it's too abstract and/or too undeveloped for three whole books. Its model of Trisolarian civilization is so cartoonish it's barely a sketch, the same goes for Earth-Trisolaris Organization, and other than that, the novels provide next to nothing to chew on. (Brin's Uplift series, however opposed I might be to his politics, is light years ahead in this regard.) "TBP" resembles a grotesque soap opera, with who killed or betrayed whom replacing who slept with or betrayed whom. It doesn't help a Western reader that there are too many characters, who don't seem to develop, have no interesting "insides", and surface only to disappear forever two chapters later, though if my vague recollection of "The Romance of Three Kingdoms" is correct, this might be an old tendency of big Chinese novels.

                  • Well thank you. Think I'll skip it. Indeed Chinese novels all and hundreds of characters; and how much can you develop that.

            • Disney Star Wars is crap because the characters are bad and nobody cares about them. Their technology is stagnant in the long run. They were at approximately the same max tech threshold for a super long time, though I don’t recall the actual duration. Guess what: no backstory, no interest. Some of the best stories use flashbacks or dream sequences. I have no idea how an “MMO audience” would react to the content, because I don’t play video games. After they finally become spacefaring, and more importantly lightspeed-capable, they still go after Earth because they want to live there. It’s close and would serve as a suitable home base for further conquest, and unlike virtually anywhere else, they know it isn’t occupied or monitored by a threat. I read the whole trilogy in two days. Granted, that’s about 4x as much reading as I usually do in a 48 hour period.

  • If corporations exist to maximize profits, and political parties exist to maximize votes, then for what purpose do religions exist?

    • The reigning religion is not a religion, it is simply the foundational order of the society under its dominion. Just as the bureaucrats of USG were once apolitical, the bishops of the Catholic church were once areligious. Consider the David Foster Wallace parable:

      There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”

        • >So you are saying that we should organize our societies along the lines of the lobsters? The answer to your question depends entirely on your active definition of "religions". In your original question ("then for what purpose do religions exist?") you ask the purpose of "religions". My reply intends to make you think differently about the meaning of the word "religion", but there are other possible responses, ones geared in other directions: * What do you mean by "exist"? * What is the meaning of existence? * Why does anything exist? * What is your active definition of "purpose"? One answer, the Darwinian answer, is that since existence beats nonexistence, existence is good, and more existence is better, therefore just as the corporate entity faces a Darwinian imperative to maximize its dollar-fitness and the political party faces a Darwinian imperative to maximize its vote-fitness, the religion exists to maximize its memetic fitness. You can see that the definition of "religion" I'm using in this comment is different than the one I used in my previous one. These are slippery territories.

            • I did not say that. I said that one aspect, the Darwinian aspect, of everything that exists is that if it fails to ensure its continued existence then it stops existing in short order. But there are other aspects. In my first comment I played with the definition of religion, viz. the notion that to name a religion is to rob it of its religious essence. If you must take the most shallow interpretation of “religion exists to maximize purpose”, then roughly what is happening is that religion is purpose, indivisible and inseparable, and to call something “religion” is to divorce it of its purpose and rob it of its mystical essence. Your religion is the air you breathe; as recently as the 16th century, man did not rationally understand the nature of wind. You cannot critically analyze it because to critically analyze it is to stop acting it out and start acting out something else.

    • This is a very wrong way to look at these things. If you would say corporations evolve towards profit-maximization and parties towards vote-maximization, because they outcompete ones that don't, that would make sense. In this sense I would say religions evolve towards the maximization of the number of their believers, via 1) proselytizing 2) making kids 3) retaining believers and their kids 4) minimizing internal conflict, creating internal trust and cooperation, which helps a lot in retaining them, avoiding a big split and internal war. Of these it is 2) and especially 4) that really matter for society. But "exists to" is a non-question. What does it mean? Every corporation founder had the intent to maximize profits? How would you know? IMHO the proper way to talk about purpose or telos is to use Millikan's proper function model: and things proper function is whatever it got selected and copied for. So that is a telos, without intent, rather an objectively determined fact. So, everything is evolution. Corporations get selected and copied for profit maximization. Because they outcompete those who are not. But it does not mean it is the purpose their owners keep in their heads or whatever.

      • Religions can also have the goal to minimize external conflict. The goals to minimize external conflict and to minimize internal friction may be opposed to one another. Buddhism entered China and Japan with far more ease than Christianity because it made itself much more flexible (something that you do to reduce external conflict) and "porous". Christianity bet on orthodoxy enforcement (reduce internal friction) but this raised defence mechanisms in foreign societies and cultures it sought to enter and become part of. ** Corporation may pass "natural selection" for other reasons. Like they tie themselves with Real Government and serve a function within it. Power, not money, is the prime directive.

        • Please don't use the word "goal" as it really muddles the issue, it sounds like someone having a conscious goal in their head. If you would say religions can be selected and optimized for avoiding external conflict, so they can seem harmless and more readily accepted abroad, there is a good point in it. However, Buddhism is nearly dead, if you discount the Western hippie stuff maybe you can still find more monks in Thailand than boywhores but I am not sure at all, while Islam, the diametrical opposite is quite succesful, so I would say maximizing external conflict AND winning it gets more selected for.

          • Religion does not necessarily need a social function. It could very well be something like the flu that is useful for nothing but will always be around because it can´t really be extinguished, reason being that it is not truely possible to reconcile people to the fact that they are not immortal. Religion cannot really be defeated by reason, because reason is overrated in the first place: No matter how reasonable we are, we will still die.

    • Religion's deepest use (beyond the power-grabbing) is power-justification and reality-providing. I think Peterson's Maps of Meaning (where you find the real JP. In the face of how well he pretends to be a cuck nowadays) says it better than I can. Humans need meaning, and ... maps of meaning. So they can have orientation, purpose, sense (not by chance "sense" means both oriented direction and meaning, at least in Latin). Religion, like culture, cushions mankind against insanity (lack of meaning and a "map"). Present religion never sees, or can afford to see, itself as religion. When an edifice of beliefs is called "religion" is no longer a living, operating, functioning religion. Present religion is called Reality Common Sense, is the Obvious. It is the Matrix. The Matrix must be there, for without it every normal human would fall in the pit of emptiness beneath it. A normal person doesn't construct/find/imagine meaning and maps of meaning and worlds on his own. (And anyway, even if many did, they would be a lot of lone individualists. Society wouldn't hold. Society holds on the absolute need for its shared fiction by the many. Then without society & civilization we could not have culture. In the end, even the lone individualists would be at an enormous loss.)

      • The part of Peterson's book that hit me the deepest is where he outlines some cyclical structure in the history of societies. You have periods of doubt (which is the constant life status for the lone independent thinker, a hell he can withstand, whilst the others could never) which are also periods of anguish and clashes. Then you have periods of tyranny — tyranny of course coming witha well-defined, non-doubtable system of beliefs —, and these times are those being recorded in history as times of "happiness" and peace. While watching his graphic illustration of the concept I smiled thinking of the democracy myth — and all the offspring myths descending from it.

        • You can never wait for the day people knows what they want and need — because the first thing they likely want, and surely need, is to not have that very awareness. Same as woman psychology

  • Britain is at the cutting edge of BioLenninism Hahahahahahaha! There is no word in Sanskrit for Schadenfreude. The ancient Indians might have felt that it was a shameful emotion and decided to banish it from their vocabulary. We'll, I'm quite enjoying it, to be honest.

    • Is there a Pāli word for Schadenfreude? Perhaps the Southern ancient Indians thought differently with the Northern ones.

      • Pali is just Sanskrit spoken by people on the street trying to go about their lives. Sanskrit was just a polished version of Pali spoken by the high brow upper class twats to signal that they went to the right universities like Takshashila and Nalanda. It's not a north-south thing. I won't say it's an accent thing, but the languages are remarkably similar in many ways. They differ mainly in pronunciation, a little bit in syntax, much less in grammar. Sanskrit is precise with ultra long word combinations, like German. Pali is mellifluous and smooth flowing, like Italian or french. If you can understand one language, you can understand the other. If you speak Sanskrit with a Pali crowd, they might cuff you one for being an upper class twat. If you speak Pali with a Sanskrit crowd, they might snicker at you since they think Pali is Sanskrit with a lisp. Even now, taking pleasure in someone's misfortune, of jealousy over another's success is considered a sign of being a low life cretin. But here I am, I just can't help it. The Brits practiced BioLenninism in India by doing everything they could to promote Muslims over Hindus and while leaving they left the SJW high priests, the Biolenninists par excellence, such as Gandhi-Nehru in charge, which has pushed us to the precipice of extinction. And I don't see how we are going to turn back. So I console myself that the Brits too are going to join us. Now only if there was a way to take the Mohammedans with us. Then my cup of Joy would overflow.

        • The South spoke languages related to Elamite and Sumerian, didn't they? Is there any connection with this: ???

          • Nope, south Indian languages are derived from Sanskrit/Pali/Prakrit just as North Indian languages are. Here is a list 1. Telugu: 70% words come from Sanskrit 2. Malayalam and Kannada: 50%-60% from Sanskrit 3. Tamil: 40% from Sanskrit In Sanskrit, the word Arya, from where Aryan is derived, means a noble person. The word Dravida, from where Dravidian is derived, just means someone from the south, in this case south India. There is no such thing as an Aryan people or a Dravidian people ethnically speaking. To claim that Dravidians and Aryans are essentially ethnic is a reference to the Aryan Invasion theory, a discredited19th century theory which has the same rigor as the progressive theory that claims that there are no races but there are over a 100 Genders.

            • That's just dumb. Grammar is a thing. Dravidian languages are not Aryan. 70% of Japanese vocabulary comes from Chinese, the languages aren't even remotely related.

              • What in your opinion makes two languages related? If you can speak Classical Hindi (not the bastardized Urdu version), you can understand Classical Telugu and vice versa. That's enough for me to know that Dravida just means south (and not an ethnicity) as everyone here in India knows except for the Lefties who work very hard at not knowing it. It will tickle you pink to know that we believe that what you call white people today migrated from Punjab/Balochistan at the end of the Ice ages. That's the Out of India theory. A nice counter to the Aryan invasion theory. I love it. I believe it. Come the revolution, all those who don't will be beheaded or made into outcastes or at the very least lose their tenured positions in the Local Biolenninist University. Yeeha!

              • I'm not a linguist and I don't know about Chinese-Japanese. But I do know that once I started learning Sanskrit seriously, I was more easily able to understand the languages of other regions in India than where I come from. It did not matter whether that other region was in the north or adjacent to my own in the south. The statement is offered without proof just like yours is.

                • Languages can change due to drift (one language splits into another and then they each change differently), or they can change due to influence (people speaking one language start to pick up words of another language). It is not straightforward to disentangle these two, but it's not too hard either. Vocabulary changes quickly, grammar changes much slowly, and phonetics changes with very regular rules. Dravidian languages has massive influence from Sanskrit, no doubt, but they are not related, they did not descend from it. Look at it this way, Hindi descends from Sanskrit. Sanskrit became Hindi over 3,000 years, due to drift and influence from Persian and whatnot. You can see how Hindi changed over time. If you think Tamil descended from Sanskrit you gotta explain to me how in 3,000 years Sanskrit changed into today's Tamil, under which influence and which drift rules? It makes no sense.

                  • I think this is a question for a linguist, which I am not. Neither can I speak tamil fluently. My knowledge of Tamil is basic. Now tamil might well be an outlier. The three other "Dravidian" languages, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam have a grammar and vocabulary that is a subset of Sanskrit. I can confirm it for Telugu and Kannada for sure.

                • Knowing Japanese made my learning Chinese way easier than it would have been. And my learning Chinese has helped me understand some Korean, Vietnamese or even Thai. And none of these are related to the other. 5 different language families here.

        • Even now, taking pleasure in someone’s misfortune, of jealousy over another’s success is considered a sign of being a low life cretin. Ah, isn't humans' social fiction amusing. All what they do/desire/are the most in their unconscious/subconscious, which more starkly opposes what they pretend to be doing/desiring/being on the surface (the former is the truth; the latter what works more conveniently), they restlessly point their fingers of blame at. Projection. All what they are and don't want to know they are is seen outside of them, as a "low life cretin" — just a variation on the "This is not the real me!" theme. **** Thanks for your detailed response on various Indian idioms. I take it Sanskrit is superior to Pali when it comes to philosophical writing (such as ancient Buddhist texts) then. ****

          • Yes, schadenfreude is a human emotion. But the idea of civilization across all times and places has been to rise above/transcend the base human emotions such as envy, schadenfreude etc. If transcending is not possibly, as is usually the case, suppression will do just fine, thank you very much. You also need to suppress feminism if you want a functional civilization. Of course, all this requires a cooperate-cooperate equilibrium which increasingly is breaking down across the world and thus one longer feels embarrassed to express such emotions, yours truly being a prime example. Why the hell must I or my tribe co-operate when everyone else and his tribe around me is playing defect?

  • Btw,Spandrell! A showdown between you and this Gentleman would be fun. Not sure what it is about him, but I feel I would derive immense satisfaction from punching him in the nose

      • Hahahahaha! I guess making these videos is better than doing an Eliott Rodger or Alek Minassian, then. Do white guys have trouble getting laid in China?

        • Ugly guys have trouble getting laid anywhere, so if you go to the land of milk and pussy and still can't get any action, you must really get bitter. The guy in question looks like an uglier Hugo Weaving ( with the shoulders of a trout. Can't blame him.

  • Great insights. Just a question: Do you think that, once the BioLeninist experiment turns the West into a pile of ashes, China will taper on its milder Leninism (since leftism will be discredited) and return to a more realistic, conflict theory-based philosophy of government and legitimacy?

      • Well, I assume that by then, the world as a whole will be such a hard place to live, Gnon will not favor the ability to self-delude yourself (which requires complex societies with surplus food to feed the unproductive sycophant class), but the ability to correctly assess people's skills and psychological profile, otherwise you get killed and your goods stolen. Strong men create good times, good times create weak men, weak men create bad times, bad times create strong men. At least that's what the ancient Persians said IIRC.

        • It is all the same. The universe is dying and all will be painted in two dimension. Also spracht Liu Cixiu

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