Quotable (#211)

Critical traditionalism:

Today the signification of “Puritan” approximates that of “authoritarian”, but this is an abuse of language. The Puritan, while an almost psychotically punctilious and ruthless rule enforcer, is the opposite of an authority figure: a spiritual outlaw and renegade, a born leveler and enemy of all social orders of rank, an antinomian and anarchist, a sower of discord and force for social disorganization. All of this is hardly the stuff of which secure and stable authority is made. Authority represents the organized whole over the part, the universal over the particular. Puritanism, born of faction and separatism, does the exact opposite. It is, in fact, the historic germ form of the abovementioned secularizing particularism that erodes the universal authority and public truth of religion and finally dissolves its solidity into a gaseous cloud of idiosyncratic personal tastes and opinions held by isolated and disorganized private individuals. Once again, this sort of thing is powerful to tear down existing authority structures – but to build new ones, not so much.

The whole article is impressively done, even if — from an accelerationist perspective, at least — its practical (rather than diagnostic) significance is hard to make out.

Quotable (#210)

Go on, tell me this isn’t trolling:

On one occasion I even, I am ashamed to admit, very diplomatically expressed negative sentiments on Islam to my wife. Nothing “overtly racist”, just some of the “innocuous” type of things the YouTubers had presented: “Islam isn’t compatible with western civilisation.”

She was taken aback: “Isn’t that a bit … rightwing?”

I justified it: “Well, I’m more a left-leaning centrist. PC culture has gone too far, we should be able to discuss these things without shutting down the conversation by calling people racist, or bigots.”

The indoctrination was complete.

ADDED: Called it. (I’m not going to pretend it was hard.) So deep inside their OODA loop it’s simply cruel at this point.

Malthus was Right

The global wealth distribution is predictably spiky. That’s mostly because scarcely anyone owns anything:

… it does not take that much to get into the top 1% of wealth holders. Once debts have been subtracted, a person needs only $3,650 to be among the wealthiest half of the world’s citizens. However, about $77,000 is required to be a member of the top 10% of global wealth holders and $798,000 to belong to the top 1%. So if you own a home in any major city in the rich North on your own and without a mortgage, you are part of the top 1%.

This looks like what you’d expect if population — at the global level — expanded approximately to the resource limit. (There are no doubt cuddlier interpretations out there.)

‘Liberals’ Today

I’m starting to like them:

Now we have to separate and end this marriage which was arranged and forced from the beginning, and has never, except when the outside world intruded and threatened destruction, shown any real cohesion. Let’s call an end to the 50 state experiment so we can salvage the ideals upon which the original constitutional republic was based. Separation will let us do a better job at it. A roughly 50-50 state split will do it, or we can start by cutting the Confederacy loose. […] We can continue to flounder around in a miasma of pain and incomprehensibility, or we can work towards reclaiming the Declaration and Constitution from the fascists. A friend recently mentioned that the South won the Civil War, and we’re only now recognizing that fact. […] It’s time, America.

Quotable (#208)

From an engrossing discussion of AI threats by Yampolskiy and ‘Spellchecker’ (?):

An AI researcher studying Malevolent AI is like a medical doctor studying how different diseases are transmitted, how new diseases arise and how they impact the patients organism.

If the diseases concerned could read medical papers, that analogy would be perfect.

Internet Deregulation

Net neutrality is apparently in the cross-hairs of the incoming US administration. Hamilton might be back, but this looks like a clear win for classical liberalism (and the Silicon Valley sociopolitical agenda).

President-elect Donald Trump has appointed two outspoken opponents of net neutrality rules to oversee the Federal Communications Commission’s transition from Democratic to Republican control. […] The appointees announced yesterday are Jeffrey Eisenach and Mark Jamison. Eisenach is director of the Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), while Jamison is a visiting fellow at the same institution. Eisenach previously worked on behalf of Verizon and other telecoms as a consultant, and Jamison used to manage regulatory policy at Sprint. […] Eisenach and Jamison aren’t necessarily candidates for FCC chairman, but they will help set the commission’s direction and could help Trump choose FCC leadership. Their views on net neutrality match those of Trump, who opposed the net neutrality rules passed under current Chairman Tom Wheeler. …