Moldbug Again

The Humbug from The Phantom Tollbooth. Included in this post for no particular reason.

I might as well appoint myself the official Moldbug contrarian. I think you people (NRxers) are all on drugs to find this guy so interesting/important and it’s driving me dotty.

Can you name one proposition asserted by Moldbug that has all three of the following features?

1) True
2) Important
3) Original

On that last one, originality: I can’t bash anyone for belaboring the obvious, since my blog’s current tagline is basically “Belaboring the obvious.” But I can blame y’all for treating obviousities as if they’re mystic eldritch insights of supernatural wisdom.

Like, Democracy doesn’t work in practice the way it works in theory. NO SHIT! Everyone already knows this! GAAAAAAH!

Don’t piss on my foot and tell me it’s raining, and when someone says “Two plus two is four” don’t tell me this is some superadvanced Jedi shit straight from the mind of Yoda.

Jesus, people. All the man does is (a) say things that are nonsense, and (b) say things that are obviously true, but in 1,000 words where 10 words would do, and with reference to ancient Zoroastrian history where a reference to familiar 20th century history would do.

Moldbug is worthless. Yeah, fight me.

9 thoughts on “Moldbug Again”

  1. Moldbug’s identification of Progressivism as a direct descendant of English Dissenter Christianity is true, important, and original. Can’t teach religion in schools or use the government to spread it? A religion mutates away the god element, and enjoys massive reproductive success through government schools and other official propaganda while crushing its competitors with the no-religion rule.

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  2. I agree that if true, this is likely to be important. It’s not original. People have been comparing leftism to religion, including various flavors of Christianity, since before I was born.

    (I had a similar exchange with the commenter “Birdman” in my last post on Moldbug.)

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  3. You sound like those first year English lit students that are puzzled as to why this Shakespeare guy is so famous. He was the first to resource and rebrand a host of extremely important ideas in a way that was understandable to a new emerging elite of nerdy computer programmers, this made him very important. Timing matters. Style matters. The audience and their preferences matter. You sound as if it was easier questioning leftism in 2008 than it is in 2022. This is false because even though the price tag on criticizing leftism using 2022 has gone up, it has become obvious to everyone and their mothers that leftism is an ideology. Back then it was considered the latest refinement on the objective truth. So he took on our reality itself. He made manifest paradigms that were completely invisible to all segments of society including the community of high IQ spergs. In the 2000s. The election of Obama was the final voluntary concession made by hwuite people to the beast, when that proved to be not yet enough, with the death of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent riots, a rather small number of disaffected hwuites started looking for the root causes of the issue. Moldbug provided the most reasonable explanation, and to this day, that holds true. Of course it doesn’t matter what we think or say about him today. Things have changed so dramatically in the last decade that no respectable person thinks models created a decade ago can still provide context and meaning to much of what’s happening right now. We are in uncharted waters, and anybody pretending otherwise is delusional, or a psychopath trying to delude plebs. Your own sire Jim has been wrong on every single one of his predictions to date, and he still makes bold claims and predictions as if nothing has happened. Jimmy boy has a cult of braindead followers, moldbug does not, we liked what he did for us back in the day, which nobody else was doing, and as a result, we cut him some slack, that’s it.

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  4. Opioidus wrote, “[Modlbug] was the first to resource and rebrand a host of extremely important ideas in a way that was understandable to a new emerging elite of nerdy computer programmers, this made him very important… Style matters.”
    This is actually the best defense of Moldbug I’ve read. Instead of saying he’s a galaxy brain who came up with Isaac Newton-level new insights, you simply point out that saying important things in a particular way can be a very valuable thing. And that is true. I’m not a fan of his style but de gustibus non est disputandum and all that. If it works for you then good.

    “You sound as if it was easier questioning leftism in 2008 than it is in 2022. This is false because even though the price tag on criticizing leftism using 2022 has gone up, it has become obvious to everyone and their mothers that leftism is an ideology. Back then it was considered the latest refinement on the objective truth. So he took on our reality itself. He made manifest paradigms that were completely invisible to all segments of society including the community of high IQ spergs.”

    Now here I must alas differ with you. I’m old enough to remember the politics of 2008. There was a lot of opposition to the left’s insane ideas in 2008, as there always has been. Every person with a clue who has ever engaged with the left knows they’re a crock of lunatics and liars. Thus has it ever been.

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  5. “Style matters” as best defence.
    I agree, but I also agree with you that Moldbug fundamentally has said nothing new.
    But then, no one has. They were arguing about this stuff in ancient Greece.

    Theres only one real political formula, which is the prisoners dilemma. A very large amount of politics is people saying they shouldn’t have to co-operate, so they get the extra resources of defect/cooperate, and another part of it is people trying to frame those who have more natural capacity or desire to cooperate are actually defectors (so they can then defect on them and get the resources).

    So we have
    “I’m oppressed so I don’t have to work as hard” and “That person doesn’t work hard, he stole what he has”. We also have other related things, like, “I am an expert, so you should do what I say”, so on.

    Among other things, I’m being brief of course.

    There are many political arguments that can become pathological, and allow people to actively defect, while others cooperate with them.

    Example – a society should care for the people who are unable to work.

    But then, how do you distinguish between “unable to” and “unwilling”?

    Someone has to judge. Then, there are errors – false positives and false negatives.

    And the statement “it’s cruel to judge someone as unwilling when they’re really unable” really holds quite a lot of weight in our society.

    We have many social and cultural mores that make it very difficult for the average person to rally against these types of argument – they just end up being abused.

    Moldbugs reframing is useful as it helps people understand and, ultimately, accept that they’re being abused (or that other people are NOT the same as them. Alrenous – it’s narcissism, it’s ruining everything as always).

    Hmm. And rather than think “He’s saying obvious things and is pointless”, consider, there are many who are so trapped in these types of arguments that they need a lot of help to escape them.

    Eg, I have a friend who absolutely believes that UBI will work because people take pride in their work. I cannot make him see that a large proportion of people will happily let others provide for them while they do nothing, because he takes a great deal of pride in his work.

    “Who would willingly work in a factory?” “We’ll automate everything”, “Who will build the automation?” “The proud to work!” So on, it goes. Sometimes people need 1000 words when 10 will do, and need ancient history to see the scale and scope of a problem.

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  6. “…the prisoners dilemma. A very large amount of politics is people saying they shouldn’t have to co-operate, so they get the extra resources of defect/cooperate, and another part of it is people trying to frame those who have more natural capacity or desire to cooperate are actually defectors (so they can then defect on them and get the resources).”

    Yeah. Leftists are basically biomachines programmed to get things – power, resources, whatever – through cheating. In a more recent post I described them as people who seek/demand the unearned.

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  7. So I’ve been thinking about Moldy as my two posts on him have been drawing more hits and comments and realized I’ve never gotten around to the one thing that he said that I actually like. In one of his canonical posts/essays/whatever he says something like this:

    Consider the word “democracy.” Doesn’t that give you a warm, glowy feeling? Democracy is good, right?
    Now consider the word “politics.” I’ll bet your associations with that word are not warm and glowy at all. Politics is dirty, politics is corrupt, etc.
    So “democracy” is a warm fuzzy and “politics” is a cold prickly, and yet…

    I like this because I can see it pulling a normie up short and making them go “Wait a minute…”

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  8. “I like this because I can see it pulling a normie up short and making them go “Wait a minute…””

    But, what percentage of normies will that work on? Will they even notice? CAN they notice?

    Ah.. but theres the key.

    Ultimately all of this political speech is simply us trying to work out a one-size fits all approach to governance.

    The one thing that I think Moldbug – and many others – misses entirely is the sheer amount of individual variance in people. JBP notices this and asks, (I paraphrase) “If 15% of the population already has an IQ too low for the military to find something useful for them to do, and we make our society even more IQ dependent for basic function, what’s going to happen?”

    A LOT of political commentators I note are fundamentally complaining about how the way the government work doesn’t work *for them personally*.

    Thinking about this, to Moldbugs credit, he basically says monarchy works best, but he doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who would believe in the divine right of Kings.

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  9. “But, what percentage of normies will that work on? Will they even notice? CAN they notice?”

    Opioidus and Moldy’s other admirers say it worked on them, though it sems to have knocked them away from leftism at the cost of convincing them of some other silly things.

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