Read a Moldbug post from any part of his blogging career, then read anything produced by neoreaction and you will have to conclude that neoreaction is a concerted effort to propagate concepts and ideas that either have zero connection to anything he wrote, or are in utter total opposition to him. It’s not hard to find once you notice.
The key figure in this process is Land and his Xenosystems blog, the connection of the likes of Curt Doolitle are just as insane as Land’s but others have gone down this route seemingly unaware of what they are doing.
One of the best ways to see this is to start with four posts by Moldbug which make certain points very clear. Two posts are from 2007, the third is from 2009, and the fourth is from 2010.
Beginning in chronological order, we have the post A reservationist epistemology, which as advertised by the title, outlines his epistemological thinking which is pretty important with regard to the political theory he espouses. Of central importance to this position is this quote on reason. Reason, he declares is:
“irreducible and untranscendable. Reason is no more and no less than common sense. It is not possible to construct a useful definition of common sense, nor is it possible to construct a system of thought that improves on common sense. Any system that purports to do so is either (a) bogus, or (b) justifiable via common sense, and thus a special case of it.”
This epistemological underpinning is pretty much key for the whole of UR, and its connection with the realisation that someone with reason needs to be in charge should not need spelling out. This is followed by a decrying of “algorithmists, who believe they have some universal algorithm which is a drop-in replacement for any and all cogitation.”
This is an area I have covered in some depth before in this post, so will not go into further analysis here, but I will just repeat my astonishment that materialist liberals blockhain as governance, hyper liberal empiricism anarchists and other such rejecters of human reason led governance in favour of force or system X, Y and Z have latched onto a school of thought purportedly inspired from UR. The mind boggles. To rub this in even further, take this post from 2010 with the following quote
“Why, then, is this fallacy so conventional? In the fallacy of “rule by law,” and the fallacy of “rule by science,” we see a common thread: the fallacy of “rule by formula,” in which it is pretended that an government can be conducted by some mechanical process, in which the human character of the governors is irrelevant.”
Or this from here:
“The democrat, who is typically also an aristocrat, thinks or allows himself to think that, by dethroning the king and transferring the king’s powers to an assembly, he isdestroying the sovereign imperium. But he is not; he is only dispersing it.
If some alliance of democrats so much as renders the king subject to the rule of law, they are transferring the king’s judicial powers not to no one, but to a concrete human body – a judiciary. They have fragmented the imperium and produced the constitutional solecism of imperium in imperio. Their monarchy is certainly doomed, at least in any substantive sense. And thus men laid, centuries ago, the foundation for all our feral subway yoofs. Imperium fragments irreversibly and entropically – monarchy descending to oligarchy, oligarchy to aristocracy, aristocracy to democracy, democracy to mere anarchy”
And to really drive this home, how about this from a post about patchwork, the supposed influence for exit based hyper capitalism:
“In reality, no sovereign can be subject to law. This is a political perpetual motion machine. Law is not law unless it is judged and enforced. And by whom? For example, if you think a supreme court with judicial review can make government subject to law, you are obviously unfamiliar with the sordid history of American constitutional jurisprudence. All your design has achieved is to make your supreme court sovereign. Indeed if the court had only one justice, a proper title for that justice would be “King.” Sorry, kid, you haven’t violated the conservation of anything.”
Just google “imperium in imperio” and “Unqualified Reservations” to keep digging for yourself.
The next post that supplies a window into how utterly feral neoreaction has become is this post from 2007 titled UR’s advice for President Musharraf which can be compared to the A Letter To France published at Social Matter. Both posts are very much in line with each other, the reasoning, the political theory and the concepts are in lockstep – there is no disconnect between them. Then look at the response the “Letter to France” generated in the comments sections which was furthered in the comments here. We in effect go from neoreaction claiming to be derived from someone who wrote this:
“Here is how to abolish politics: involuntarily retire all Pakistani judges, journalists and editors, teachers and professors, NGO employees, and politicians. Pardon them fully and unconditionally for any crimes they may have committed. In fact, award them half-pay pensions for their service to Pakistan, which was counterproductive but often sincere.
Seize and permanently confiscate all media and publishing firms in Pakistan, all party buildings and funds, all private schools and universities, and all nongovernmental organizations. Abolish the parties permanently. Reorganize and rename the schools and universities, confining their mission to science and engineering. Import Western or Western-trained scientists and engineers, at competitive salaries, to bootstrap university departments. Put army officers in charge of the NGOs, and handle them case by case.”
To then claiming that someone who wrote the following sounds like “Moldbug following major head trauma.”:
“France is closed for reconstruction. Her borders are sealed and will remain sealed indefinitely. All foreigners, including diplomats, are either deported or interned. Frenchmen stranded abroad, including diplomats, are either repatriated or expatriated. These measures will not be reversed until France is once again a nation, not a province of Globomerica.”
“All civil servants of the Sixth Republic are deemed communist until proven patriotic, and retired with full benefits. Initially, the new government is staffed entirely by former military officers. Where hiring is necessary, any experience in the official or para-official sector, security forces excepted, is an unconditional disqualification.”
The ridiculousness of neoreaction only gets worse when you get to the 2009 post titled “Seasteading, without that warm glow” in which Moldbug lays out quite forcefully his theoretical objections to seasteading and the idea of exit. In short, Moldbug states “IMHO, seasteading is a brilliant example, in at least three regards, of What Not To Do” and then goes on to provide Carlyean (remember him? We will get to him and his eviction from neoreaction later on in this post) objections to the entire concept of exit.
To start with, the first problem is laid out clearly as:
“The misconception appears in your use of the word “governments,” plural. Your picture of political reality on Planet Three appears to be: the planet’s land area is divided into 200-odd sovereign states, whose interactions are governed by international law….Now, you know this is not a perfectly correct picture.”
And why is it not a perfectly correct picture?
“in the ghost world, the world I described earlier, the world of 200 countries and international oceans – the world that everyone thinks they live in, those dupes or inverse cheats – seasteading is, or at least might be, a viable plan. In the real world, which exists, it ain’t.
In the real Planet Three, as we’ve seen, the government is much larger than in the ghost Planet Three. For instance, in the ghost Planet Three, Paul Romer is a private citizen. In the real Planet Three, he is a government official. He is not the only one.
And in the ghost Planet Three, USG governs America, on behalf of Americans. In the real Planet Three, an entity that includes USG plus its immense penumbra – call it EUSG – governs the world, on behalf of – God knows who. Itself, basically.
In the real Planet Three, USG is incredibly powerful. There is no reason to think that any ship or structure, anywhere at sea, will be able to sustain any nontrivial infringement of US law – especially if any part of its organizational structure includes US persons or US entities.
But EUSG is even more powerful. Because EUSG includes those nebulous and distributed forces that comprise “international public opinion.” Ie, the organs which dictate international public opinion – since people, generally, are not philosophers and believe what they are told to believe. While these organs are not monolithic or hierarchically organized, they somehow magically seem to always agree with each other. The Washington Post never gets into an organizational catfight with the New York Times, or Harvard with Stanford. This, of course, is because all are ticks on the same horse – Washington – and must gallop together.
Imagine a stateless seastead city that could defy US law. You are probably fantasizing. But you might get away with it, if your seastead city had “international public opinion” on its side. Now, imagine a stateless city that could defy “international public opinion.” You are really fantasizing – that is, under today’s world order. You seek to change that order; you cannot assume what you are trying to achieve.
Thus the appeal of seasteading depends existentially on the very illusions it seeks to destroy. “Not a true thing, but a false thing.” In the ghost universe, the oceans of Planet Three are a free space for new experiments in government. In the real universe, they are a space administered by a single government – and have been for over 200 years. Until 1914, that government was HMG. Since 1945, it has been USG. When you go to sea, you are swimming in USG’s pond. Frankly, you might as well do your seasteading on Lake Superior.
Does international law assure you of this right, or that right, or the other right, at sea? No doubt Martian law also assures you of many fine privileges. Carlyle tells us: there is no right that is not also a might. Should your rights be violated, to whom will you appeal? If the judge of appeal is also the violator, or there is no judge, there is no law and no rights. More phantoms.”
Of course, now neoreaction is pretty much marinated in exit and systematic weaponisation against governance in the liberal mould. Examples are easy to find which are on the side of Patri Friedman contra Moldbug , see here, here, here and here for examples, so many examples in fact that when anyone unfamiliar with Moldbug comes upon neoreaction they see only “EXIT” stamped in big writing, along with delusional “global arbitrage” AKA “snake oil”. Either the Cathedral exists and the whole world is de facto USG, or it is not. There has to be a breaking point in which your utterances fail to connect to Moldbug, and I must surely have demonstrated that neoreaction has gone way past that point long ago, but I am not even close to finishing at this point.
Now let us move on to the fourth important post, this time it is from 2010 and is titled From Mises to Carlyle: my sick journey to the dark side of the force. This is as clear a statement of the centrality of the Carlyean philosophical and political cannon to Moldbug’s thinking and political philosophy. Something which is reinforced on numerous other posts such as here, here, and here. Carlye is quite challenging, but there are a few points which can be picked out without too much effort which clearly have an influence on Moldbug. The first is the character of the leader upon society – this is key. The second is the understanding that modern governance is merely chaos occasioned by a rejection of order, and not a march into enlightenment. I’m sure Carlyle would smile grimly at the blockchain, exit stuff that neoreaction pumps out – fraud upon fraud. As Moldbug notes in ‘Why Carlyle matters’:
“What we see instead, from both the Carlylean and Alinskyist perspectives, is a monotonic slope. This is the slope of order. Order slopes up to the right: true right, which is reactionary, is always the direction of increasing order, and true left the direction of increasing disorder. It is especially valuable to have a clear definition of this polarization, which seems to have evolved independently so many times in history. David Axelrod would surely get along with the Gracchi, and Pinochet with Sulla.”
The influence goes deeper, and is more rich than I can express in this post, but suffice to say, if you cut out Carlye, you cut out Moldbug – and surprise – neoreaction has cut out Carlyle from the beginning really. Well, to be more precise, 99.9% of neoreaction couldn’t care one bit for Carlyle, whilst Land was happy to oblige and formally eject him here (rejection of the Carlyle/ Moldbug left –right spectrum), as well as here (rejection of road to order and opening of potential exploration of “An ultimate (or basic) fanged freedom” AKA “imperium in imperio”) and again here in very clear expression as opposed to the more measured and tentative expression of subversion at the start of Xenosystems (such as here):
“The Dark Enlightenment (essay) was clearly catalyzed by the work of Mencius Moldbug, but it was to have had two Anglo-Thomistic or Doubting Thomas intellectual-historical pillars (and neither were Thomas Carlyle). The first was Thomas Hobbes, who was at least touched upon. The second was to have been Thomas Malthus, but the series was diverted into the foaming current of the Derbyshire affair and the outrages of Leftist race politics.”
At this point, there is nothing left of anything related to Moldbug, and any claims to the contrary are superficial at best. The entire thing has been quite successfully subverted and hijacked by Land and his brand of Liberalism that he has not even bothered to continue covering up. That he has succeeded is in large part due to neoreaction being devoid of anything connecting it together but a “feeling” or an “élan.”
Neoreaction is pretty much Land’s now, because no one else in neoreaction seems to have a clue despite occasional grandstanding, which is a pyrrhic victory really. The thing has failed,and will now only serve as a skin to disguise and propagate liberalism.