@CathyYoung63: “Re Alt-Right…” 

(CK: Double Content Warning: Linked Post Contains Highly Controversial Views AND (See “Updates” Note) Misuses the Word “Compliment” (as of this writing))

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110 thoughts on “@CathyYoung63: “Re Alt-Right…” 

  1. But it’s, you know, important to see what the alt-right has to say, because if we dismiss them out of hand we might be missing something of value.

    Are we done now, or do we have to dive into the cesspool a few more times before we’re sure it stinks?

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    • I’m drawing a blank? PETA? Do they even exist anymore? I mean everyone hates those guys, so yeah. PETA is roughly equivilant to white supremecists with a distinctly fascist tendency. College kids on tumblr arguing over who supports transgender rights more? Oh god, the humanity. I’d forgotten that dangerous blight on the American left.

      It’s okay guys! Both sides do it! That was a close one.

      No, seriously, examples help. Especially when you’re talking about racist neo-nazi nutcases and claiming there’s an equal “other” group. You know, just as big, just as dangerous, just as “Holy crap, people like that exist in numbers big than a few thousand” big…

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            • Actually, I don’t have to do a damn thing I don’t want to unless i’m dealing with “the law”.

              Dude, sometimes I think you might only be 14.

              And yeah, the talk in that clip is disgusting. I wonder if, unlike repeated assertions here in this blog, including this post, that we should listen to the white supremacist on the right, you’ll find anyone on the “other side” suggesting that we should listen to the folks calling for the lynching of random white people. On any side, in fact, other than whatever side the “let’s lynch white people side” folks are on.

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              • No, that’s just my anti conformist, anti authority, personality traits being revealed. The first response I have to anyone telling me what to do is “why”

                If I don’t like the answer, I don’t listen or comply. LEOs excluded-cause you know, they have a nasty habit of shooting people that disrespect them.

                “I wonder if, unlike repeated assertions here in this blog, including this post, that we should listen to the white supremacist on the right, you’ll find anyone on the “other side” suggesting that we should listen to the folks calling for the lynching of random white people.” I can’t say. I listen to “the other side” to learn their viewpoints. Sometimes the POV is interesting, from a clinical perspective, and sometimes it’s downright nasty, but running around in ignorance is a more stupid option.

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              • Chris: I wonder if, unlike repeated assertions here in this blog, including this post, that we should listen to the white supremacist on the right…

                Just wanted to note that “listen to” is a dubious idiom to deploy in a political but also theoretical or philosophical context like this one. “Listen to white supremacists” seems to suggest “heed their call to white supremacism” – which I do not believe anyone at OT has advocated or even come close to advocating. “Listen to” them in the sense of paying attention to what they actually say when offering to examine what they actually say, whether on their chosen themes or in relation to one’s own, or when they happen to be speaking on an objective question in relation to which they presumably possess greater expertise than an outsider – such as “who are the people who make up the Alt-Right, how did they get there, what do they say” – is something different. Using the expression at best ambiguously tilts the playing field, not even very subtly, in favor of the taboo on “wrong” speech and on any suspicious interest in it, or the asphyxiating and supremely illiberal notion that it is impossible to “listen to” the other side without being dangerously infected by it.

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  2. Well, if you are wondering what it’s like to be pushed to the brink of Nazism, I’d like to suggest the following essays:

    Why I am not a Libertarian. This is the one where he talks about neocameralism.

    A Gentle Introduction. This is the one with the line “Cthulhu may swim slowly. But he only swims left. Isn’t that interesting?”

    His open letter to open minded progressives is the one that contains the line “One of the fascinating facts of American politics today is that both progressives and conservatives hate their government.”

    He also has a set of essays discussing “Universalism” as the next step in Protestantism and how it’s the religious memeplex that has infected all of us.
    Universalism: postwar progressivism as a Christian sect
    Our planet is infested with pseudo-atheists
    How Dawkins got pwned (part 1) (This is another kickoff to another series.)

    Personally, I think that “the brink of Nazism” is about as accurate as describing Marxist Thought as taking people to the brink of Leninism or Stalinism. (Though, indeed, it’s arguably true that Lenin and Stalin fell off into Leninism and Stalinism from their particular Marxist brink.)

    The big trick Yarvin tends to rely on is taking a document from around the time he’s criticizing and says “Here… read this…” and, next thing you know, you’re reading an article from a 1942 issue of Time Magazine. (It was free at the time of being linked to. I spent some time googling and found a PDF of the article here scanned in from the original magazine itself here.) Sometimes, more strangely, you’re reading an op-ed from the New York Times from just the other day.

    And if you might wonder “Why am I reading an op-ed about whether it’s tue that Robert Mugabe was a fan of T.S. Eliot?”, Yarvin gives an essay that offers an explanation as to why you would be.

    Indeed, it was Philosophy (existentialism variant) that helped nudge me over the brink off of the cliff of Christianity so those who advised me against reading such things definitely had a point. I did, indeed, stop believing in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and in the Salvation from Sin that His Death gave to me.

    I just would disagree with those people who would then describe Philosophy (existentialism variant) as “Satanic”.

    But if you’re one of those who still thrills to find forbidden tomes, those links above are pretty forbidden. Indeed, we’ve even seen arguments about how they’ll push you to the brink of Nazism. It might be better to not risk it. (Though I do think you should read the op-ed about Robert Mugabe, if nothing else, and spend some time wondering how in the heck that got written then published in April of 2008 during the HUGE economic crisis… why would someone write about Mugabe not really being an Eliot fan?)

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      • Now *THAT* is an interesting question.

        When the essay was written, the Pope was Ratzinger (another Nazi reference!) and given that he was the Pope at the time, it’s that Pope that I thought of the first time I read that essay. Is Bergoglio more “Catholic” than Ratzinger or Wojtyla?

        He’s certainly more *SOMETHING*. You can see this in how he’s responded to in the pop culture and how it alternates between how awesome and insightful and how much *BETTER* this Pope is and the clanks when he says something that indicates that, yes, the Pope is still Catholic. At the same time, JPII is venerated among the Southern Babtist crowd (and that whole “antichrist” thing is all water under the bridge) and F1 is seen as giving away the store.

        Does he take himself seriously? I would tend to think so. He strikes me as someone who takes his position exceptionally seriously (while being someone who is overjoyed by the parts of the job that involve working with the public which can present similarly to someone having fun which presents similarly to someone not taking something seriously).

        But the whole issue of taking the Pope seriously seems to circle around the idea of taking the Office seriously no matter who is in it because who is in it is The Pope versus the issue of taking this particular Pope seriously because he happens to be one of the good ones.

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          • I did read that after I posted.

            I don’t know the person who wrote all that, but the writing style exhibits the weaknesses of a precocious young person, self-taught and skilled with logic, but deprived of engagement and dialogue with others.

            It isn’t that he lays out a logic but commits errors- the problem is that he writes with the surety of a fundamentalist searching for the True Faith.

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            • “the writing style exhibits the weaknesses of a precocious young person, self-taught and skilled with logic, but deprived of engagement and dialogue with others.”

              I think that pretty much nails it. All of the alt-right that I have seen is pretty textbook Intellectualism to my eyes.

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              • All of the alt-right that I have seen is pretty textbook Intellectualism to my eyes.

                In the sense that some ideas are so stupid only intellectuals believe them?

                Maybe. I’m not sure I’d describe Moldbug that way. Or I’d be careful about it if I did. I’d wanna have all my ducks in row…

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                • I would describe them not so much as Intellectuals, detached from the Real World, but more as fundamentalists.

                  What permeates the writing is the same thing you see in religious cults, that airless sense that the writer has received special knowledge inaccessible to everyone else.

                  For instance, his reliance on logic, where he lays out his theses, supporting evidence, and sources, is entirely singular. There isn’t any sense that other perspectives or traditions or beliefs have any validity. Like religious tracts, you have to accept the opening postulates, and share the spiritual revelation, or else the thing falls apart.
                  Even the MRA use of the imagery of the “Red Pill” from the Matrix relies on this spiritual tradition.

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              • But so much of the criticism is offers is trivial (really, the Allies in WW2 weren’t all a League of Extraordinary Democracies? Wow, who knew?) and oddly enough, often enough made (and better made) by various ‘far left’ critics of The SystemTM

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                • If this is true, why isn’t it useful? Good question.

                  I see it as useful if only to explain why something that is about to break is going to break. How do we patch the thing that is going to break? I have no idea.

                  His suggestions strike me as being fairly useless insofar as we have memeplexes already protecting us from pretty much every single suggestion he makes. (e.g., neocameralism. The exact same criticism he levels against libertarianism works just as well against the Jacobite belief system he claims to espouse.)

                  I see a lot of his criticisms as a mere reframing of the problem (and he’s not alone in this at all, Kohole correctly points out that he’s doing something that has been done before and better by others on the “far left”). But that, in itself, is useful. It’s useful to question one’s core assumptions about The Good and The Useful. If you’ve reached a certain age, then you have encountered stuff that you knew in your heart to be true and then, years later, learned just wasn’t so. (Well, maybe you haven’t. Good on you, if so. I have. I was raised in a fundy Christian household and trained to be one of those Young Earth Creationist kids who argued “evolutionists” to a standstill.)

                  To go back to his essay for “Why I Am Not A Libertarian”, that was honestly the first time I ever wrestled with the idea that The Colonies were not The Good Guys during the American Revolution. (Not that The British Empire weren’t also Bad Guys, of course. Everybody knows that.) My take on the American Revolution was from the perspective of “Yay! Enlightenment Thinking!” and never “Huh. How in the hell did Canada pull off this whole Responsible Government thing to bloodlessly get to the same place?”

                  Moving from a take on the American Revolution about as nuanced as the Benedict Arnold episode of The Brady Bunch to actually wrestling with the arguments of the Tories was an awesome experience for me.

                  How useful was it? What policies might I suggest after broadening my mind like that?

                  I can’t think of a one. Maybe put a little more thought into non-interventionism next time the government suggests intervention somewhere.

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        • Is there no real estate between “all dangerous writing must be outlawed” and “there’s nothing of value here for us to spend time on, and no reason to give undue attention and page clicks to such a person?”

          Because I feel like there is totes real estate between the two.

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            • See, there again you equated a personal decision not to read something I see no value in reading with censorship. It feels a tad knee jerk and reflexive, and worse, dodges my question:

              Why should I spend time reading anyones opinions of, say, Jews, when it seems clear that that particular person has taken almost no time to meet, converse with, understand, or have any non-solipsiscitc thoughts on the matter? (Or backs, or women, or whites, or conservatives, etc.)

              Some form of “well then I guess we should all go live in Nazi Germany and burn all the books we disagree with” is not, in fact, as clever an answer to that question as one might suppose, in the same way that “go live in Somalia” isn’t really such a clever answer to questions about the necessity of a Drug War.

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              • Yeah, there’s a degree to which one can pretty easily reach the “I have read as much about this that I need to.” If I were to find myself in a position where this really needed to be argued against, it could be a handy reference, maybe? Hopefully this doesn’t become so important as that. (Some might argue that Trump has made it so, but I don’t think that’s quite right. Trump may have the energy of a lot of these people, but they aren’t his army.)

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                • “If I were to find myself in a position where this really needed to be argued against, it could be a handy reference, maybe?”

                  Sure. Also, I might read it if I were writing about the people themselves. (Which, let’s face it, is pretty much my beat outside of this site — and it’s a good bet I will try to see if any of them will be willing to meet with me before too long.)

                  But I still don’t see why I have to read every new HBD blog the comes along, in the same way I don’t understand why I need to read every new flat-earther blog. And moreover, I don’t see why giving either a seat at the serious people’s table is a good idea.

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                  • Alternatively, you can defer to the judgment of a trusted longtime colleague that there is something there of interest, and can attempt to read with an open mind, without feeling obligated to pass a blanket judgment, or re-pass the same blanket judgment with which you tend to begin. Is it really controversial to say that there were for-real card-carrying Fuehrergrussing Nazis of renowned learning and accomplishment? It shouldn’t be. Unless we are to declare all of their works streng verboten – perhaps hold public bonfires of copies of their (so-called!) greatest works – then we should consider the possibility that with all that commentthread Scheissdreck and among all those Scheissdreckige posts, there must be a pony somewhere.

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                          • The A/R is chock full o nuts, many of them unfit for human consumption. They’re just not all the same kind of nuts, and I don’t think all of them are entirely inedible.

                            The typical pattern I’ve observed at the more ready-for-the-coffee-table sites is a main post – whether by one of the bigger fish or by a blogger like the linked one, having a good day and sticking to the meta-facts – that pushes some racialist or other inflammatory buttons, signaling that “in these parts it’s OK to say that the _____s are a problem,” and a comment thread of flaming bile ejected by people seizing on the signal.

                            In this discussion, our OG colleague Jaybird recommends some of the writings of “Moldbug.” I’ve seen the name before, and may even have read a post or two by Moldbug over the years, without their having left much of an impression on me. On Jaybird’s recommendation, however, I’m quite happy to familiarize myself with the works of Moldbug as he kindly assembled them for us. When I wrote the post on discussing anti-democratic and anti-modern literature, there were other probably Moldbug-level names brought up whose works I may also check out.

                            To go back to your earlier comment – https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2016/01/22/cathyyoung63-re-alt-right/#comment-1110713 – “tyranny” is a word for, more or less, “undesirable government,” so nobody “prefers tyranny.” Some people believe that democracy or modern mass democracy tends toward tyranny. I think that view may be more generally characteristic across the A/R than any particular views on race, immigration, sexuality, capitalism, socialism, or any other topic or issue. It also happens to be characteristic of the beliefs of the American Founders and Framers, and, at some point, I expect, of the beliefs of everyone commenting here.

                            One main difference between what the A/R’s seem generally to believe and what most of the rest of us believe is that they do not trust classical liberal values to restrain democratic excess and inconsequence, and so they seek concepts of governance or self-governance that rely on what they believe to be more stable foundations. Many of them believe that solidarity or self-organization based on ethnically and culturally defined community is more enduring and universal than self-organization based on relatively abstract aspirations for a democratically more just (or quantifiably more nearly equal) distribution of power and wealth. To say that the result must always point to Nazism or crypto-Nazism is as simplistic – not the same as false – as to say that leftism always points to Stalin.

                            None of which is to say that an Alt-Right blog will be a nice place to visit, full of thoughtful and sophisticated commenters and smart posts on current topics, written in good taste. To the contrary, chock full o nuts, many unfit for human consumption – why would anyone expect anything different?

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                        • Well i do have unlimited time and energy to spend on reading and taking in information. I could start with the first topic in the dictionary and drain it dry. Aardvarks, here i come. Or i could dabble in noxious racists, there certainly isn’t’ anything beautiful or any new science i could be reading instead. Yup thats the ticket; read some racist stuff that isn’t’ any different from racist stuff i read 30 years ago.

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                      • It would be interesting to compare and contrast these folks to the hard-core anti-imperialists, among whom you’ll find some Stalinists (or Stalinists-lite at least). There’s some overlap, even, particularly in their anti-American government conspiracy theorizing (9/11, involvement in the Middle East, involvement in Eastern Europe, etc.). Though instead of sounding like fascists, they’re likely to call everyone who disagrees with them one.

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                • If I were to find myself in a position where this really needed to be argued against, it could be a handy reference, maybe?

                  If we’re talking about the linky CK provided, then there’s not much to argue against since it strikes me as being pretty argument-free. It’s just a collection of positions. So in that sense it might be informative to read an actual argument regarding the JQ, for example, and try to tease out the logic by which various conclusions are derived. Or the argument for returning “third-world immigrants” to their “ancestral lands” for that matter, since as stated it sounds pretty dang silly.

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                  • I’m all for sending Americans of English and German ancestry back to the bit of Scandinavia their ancestors inhabited before starting to overrun the vastly more civilized Celts. It’s been clear since Roman times that Germanics can prosper only by raiding and/or infiltrating more advanced societies, and have evolved techniques for doing so as an evolutionary strategy.

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              • A declaration of a personal decision to not read something, a declaration that there’s nothing of value here for us to spend time on, and no reason to give undue attention and page clicks to such a person (not to the arguments, but to the *PERSON*).

                Sure. We can totally do that.

                You should not read Yarvin. There’s nothing of value there for us to spend time on. No reason to give him attention to which he is not due and you should not give him clicks.

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                • Let me try another tack.

                  Would either of you be up for us having a symposium where we invited various MRMs to fill our site up with posts on why women were terrible, needed to be seen and not heard, had no human value after they achieved a certai weight, etc?

                  Or, alternatively, would you be able to hold the concept that they should have the freedom to say whatever the hell they wanted on their own site, but still make a personal decision that, with all of the other things we might choose to publish instead, we’d be OK with taking a pass on such a symposium?

                  If you chose the latter, would that make you anti freedom? Or would it just be one choice out of many?

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                  • A discussion with people who have anti-feminist views would be fine with me – as would a discussion with people who have illiberal views on the question of discussion itself. Indeed, the fact that I’m engaging in discussion here at all shows that I am willing to engage people with illiberal views in discussion. However, no discussion worthy of the name can be conducted without a mutual commitment to respect for all discussants. All discussion that is authentically discussion will therefore be discussion under in a certain sense liberal and even progressive presumptions: We speak with each other here under the presumption that there is some point in speaking to each other, that we have some shared concept of the common good in common, that agreement is possible and desirable, and that each of us is bound, eventually, to alter his or her views upon the presentation of more reasonable ones. Anything else is not a reasonable discussion, and a discussion that is not a reasonable discussion is not authentically a discussion.

                    It is likewise impossible to have an authentic discussion if discussants conduct themselves without due regard for agreed-upon conventions, beginning, necessarily, with the conventions of language. I, for example, have a working familiarity with languages other than English, but I am not capable of conducting an authentic “live” discussion of any complex topic with someone who is not also fluent in English. I also cannot have an authentic discussion with someone who is threatening and insulting me, or, on the other hand, looking to detect or invent threats and insults at every opportunity, or incapable of forgiving my imperfections, which will surely show themselves, not least because the objective of an authentic discussion includes discovering imperfections in one’s own ideas, presumptions, and approaches. If I were convinced that all of my ideas had achieved a state of perfection, I would have no interest in discussion at all.

                    So, if we were to hold a symposium on feminism – and parallel concerns would hold for any other topic – it would on the one hand have to be expected that the implications of some arguments would be anti-feminist, but there would be no reason for us or anyone to exploit that expectation as a license to indulge in “say[-ing] whatever the hell they wanted.” An authentic discussion begins with the presumption of freedom of inquiry for all participants, and with the further presumption that all participants’ views may be subject to improvement, but freedom of inquiry is not the same as “freedom of expression.” Expression is a different and often contradictory aim. Rather than undermining the goal of freedom of inquiry, careful moderation of expression – preferably beforehand by each participant, if necessary by active moderators – will tend to be essential to it. If would-be participants cannot abide by such rules and conventions, reasonably – if they are not in fact consistent committed practical reasoners of good intentions – then they disqualify themselves from discussion.

                    There is no good reason to expect a set of perfect objective rules for discussion to be available (such expectation is itself disqualifyingly unreasonable), but there is no reason for a reasonable (reason-capable, adult) discussant to object if certain identified expressions or modes of expression are declared off-limits (e.g., no profanity, no personal insults, etc.). Anyone seeking whatever available common good through mutually respectful discussion should easily be able to make whatever point of argument without resorting to demonstrably inflammatory terms, and, by the same token, should be able to tolerate whatever incidental errors in judgment their fellow discussants might make.

                    How’s that?

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    • In that open letter you see Moldbug clearly. Unlike, say, the white supremacist CK links, healways comes off bright, but not grown up. He’s like precocious child, smart and aware, but incapable of more than oversimplification and specious comparison, and if he were capable of, in the end, seeing past his own nose. It’s an immaturity that world be interesting and even promising of an ability to grow past his childishness, if he weren’t an adult, and worse, one with influence; an adult with resonance among a certain bitter breed of equally immature, but less intelligent grown-ass children.

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  3. When will computers really be sophisticated? Hey wait this is on topic. When they can read german words thrown into english sentences, like in this thread, and detect the pretentious attempt to make criticizing open and proud racists into censorship. When a comp can figure out the german is insinuating that not wanting read more from racists, like any of it is new or we haven’t seen it before, is the actual harbinger of intolerance and a closed mind. Why thinking Moldbug is a cretin is practically Kristallnacht Pt. 2.

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  4. I do appreciate this site from time to time linking to stuff on the alt-right, etc, in the same way I appreciate the Open Source Center reading & watching and then translating various media distributions from, for instance, Al Qaeda/ISIS and the official news broadcasts of certain Big Bad Governments.

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