Misunderstanding the Cathedral concept

Two very interesting posts have been put up by Poseidon Awoke and Brett Stevens which will help me to elaborate on a couple of points of contention I have with the alt-right and the neoreactionary discourse post Moldbug. The first is Poseidon Awoke’s claims about The Cathedral concept here.I wont bother getting into the details of the post, and my issues with the deterministic underpinnings of the reversion to genetics as an explanation. Such things stink of the liberal tradition, as well as the typical gambit of intellectuals to simplify humans so as to fit with their arbitrary constructions (think of the liberal conception of man for instance, and its shoehorning in to fit the liberal tradition’s “theories.” Instead, I merely want to draw attention to something; The Cathedral concept was not built on a substrate of genetics. It was built atop the theories and concepts of Bertrand de Jouvenel, as well as the thinking of Thomas Carlyle and others, but the central core of it is Jouvenel. Moldbug even makes the point in How Dawkins got Pwnd part 5 when outlining Universalism which is central to the Cathedral:

“The point is that this thing, whatever you care to call it, is at least two hundred years old and probably more like five. It’s basically the Reformation itself. It’s certainly the most up-to-date revision of Jouvenel’s Minotaur. And just walking up to it and denouncing it as evil is about as likely to work as suing Shub-Niggurath in small-claims court.”

The tendency post Moldbug, is to take a conclusion, then ignore how it was arrived at, and then backfill it with a chosen system – Deleuzze-Guatari, Nietzsche, Genetic determinism – take your pick. At which point the theory goes haywire and makes no sense. It is a total mess, but it serves for trying to bootload your own wishes into it.

Moldbug could have been more clear that De Jouvenel forms the basis, and pulled back on the Darwinian analogy a little, because he does say things like this about memes:

“If not, how do you think the parasite could be improved? (Of course, this sort of “intelligent design” by no means implies that any such beastie was designed by some purposive plan. We are just trying to reverse-engineer the effects of Darwinian selection.)”

But the central point is that the logical interactions of unsecure power are creating the selection processes for these ideas, which makes the Darwinian claim a metaphor, and not literal. Hence Poesidon Awoke’s conclusions are badly wrong. He hasn’t remotely understood the De Jouvenelian unpinning and sees bogeymen under every bed.

On the subject of Nietzsche, Brett Steven’s post very helpfully highlights how the alt-right is indeed Nietzschean,  meaning it is basically still liberal and still sophist. It doesn’t, and can’t offer any structure or insight which is not arbitrary. It is (if you still want to use the Moldbug cladistics metaphor) a variant of liberalism that has developed from conservatism due to a shift in communication methods (the internet) so will be subject to selection pressure as brought to bear by the unsecure power of  current political structures. It will therefore be ground down into (even more) mush.

 

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