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User ID: 1226

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Why? As I said, the normie libs continues to exist and, indeed, to dominate. (Though tbh I'd be hard pressed to describe early 2010s gaming communities as socially liberal as opposed to merely disdainful of religious conservatives for being critical of gaming)

a few core concepts to liberalism that are very old and very consistent and the disconnect here is that most modern progressives don't realize that they have almost totally abandoned the ideological framework that they were raised in

I don't think this right. It is true that progressivism contains illiberal beliefs and values, but that is generally true - virtually every political movement in the US synthesizes liberal and illiberal beliefs. Very few people can be said to have abandoned liberalism, but everyone accepts compromises on liberal values. Sometimes this is directly ideological (something which applies to progressives, populists, religious conservatives, leftists, etc...) and sometimes it is the consequence of disagreements about what liberal values mean in practice or an attempt to reconcile internal ambiguities within liberalism. (Or ideology making contact with reality).

The suggestion that all the principled liberals are on the right is belied by the reality that the modern American right is a coalition of religious conservatives and right-wing populists. These people are not totally illiberal, but their policy preferences center on illiberal goals. The center right, which one would expect to be the standard bearer for conservative liberalism, is functionally dead.

Tellingly, while there is a lot of policy conflict between left and right on culture war issues, the intellectual side of the culture war is almost entirely center left vs far left. The right doesn't have much intellectual firepower to bring to bear, and what it does have tends to be either too spicy for public consumption or too lacking in clout due to misalignment with the broader conservative movement. The latter functionally operate at the right tail of the center left (e.g. people like Lyman Stone or Tanner Greer, who are smart and interesting and also totally untethered from operational conservatism). This is a major reason why conservative illiberalism doesn't get much discussion.

It seems sort of amusingly illiberal, to rewrite history so that liberal is just the word that the left uses to describe itself and so liberals who are no longer in-line with the modern left, despite being totally in-line with liberalism, must be conservatives.

This linguistic shift is decades old (older than me, certainly) and conservatives were enthusiastic participants. The modern progressive movement didn't even exist at the time.

Beyond that, I stand by my initial point: self-described classical liberals are very likely to be people with right-wing views who do not want to describe themselves as conservatives. Not always, certainly (sometimes they are embarassed liberals instead), but someone with conventionally center-left views will probably describe themself as a liberal without adjectives (or maybe a neoliberal if they're terminally online) rather than a classical liberal. The consequence is that professing seemingly anodyne, cross-spectrum beliefs becomes right coded (and 'professing' is the key word here).

You claimed you do take them on their word

No, I said I don't:

"I do [see a reason not to take them at their word]. The issues of the late 18th century..."

Why does it matter?

Because you seem to think it does and are making inferences based off that. Otherwise why bring up the idea that I'm a progressive?

Perhaps it would help if you could clarify what you mean when you say "progressive".

So that means what Amadan, and people like him, are saying is correct

Could be. Could be a story they tell themselves to feel better about swinging right. Could be they were always kind of right-wing but didn't like to think of themselves that way and the low salience of their views meant that self-perception never got challenged. Contra Moldbug, political currents move in all directions.

And how do you decide those specific beliefs are conservative?

Context and judgment.

Well, in that case progressives need to stop pretending they have any principles other than change itself.

I'm not sure how you get from here to there.

you can't honestly guarantee that at some point everything that was old won't become new again, and the divine right of kings won't be declared progressive.

This is true but has nothing to do with the contemporary progressive movement as opposed to just human nature. Look no further than the libertarian -> nrx pipeline if you need an example of old ideas being revived. There is no magic wand that will perpetually banish an idea to the dustbin of history.

It's a lot more useful than pretending that things that are moving are standing still, and vice-versa.

On the contrary. Understanding that motion is relative is extremely useful, whereas collapsing the distinction between hundreds of years of political philosophy is obfuscatory.


I've already stated my reasons. If you don't find them compelling you're free to ignore me.

And I don't suppose it crossed your mind that you see it this way because you, and the progressive movement generally, has changed it's views

What do you think my views are?

And is this based on anything other than "trust me, bro"?

Nope. But that's the normal standard of evidence on this forum.

Is there any way we can determine whether someone like Amadan is an actual liberal (classical or otherwise) or full shit?

Sure. Rigorously interviewing them about the specifics of their beliefs.

"My friends jumped on a bus and drove away" is not just another way of saying "I jumped on a bus and drove away".

The Overton Window is not a bus. Politics is not oriented around a set of immovable poles. People may fix their own beliefs, but the context for those beliefs is always changing.

Once upon a time, thinking that the electorate should be all men, regardless of property, made you a liberal who wanted to massively expand the franchise. Now it would make you a radical reactionary who wants to massively reduce it.

personally I don't think that not keeping up with the eternal revolution makes you conservative.

As near as I can tell, that is exactly what makes you conservative. What should? Are we all liberals because we all reject divine right of kings? That hardly seems useful.

I don't know what to tell you, man. If your political beliefs really crystallized in the 90s, you're going to find the valence of many of your beliefs sliding right (or being reduced to rhetoric rather than policy, or just losing salience). It doesn't necessarily make you right wing relative to the general population, but it probably makes you more right wing than you used to be. That's not some semantic sleight of hand on the part of the modern progressive movement; that's a normal aspect of how politics change. I'm more left-wing/less conservative than I used to be, partly because my views changed, but in large part because things I still believe became less conservative.

And that is apart from how certain phrases can serve as political euphemisms that convey a meaning quite distinct from their literal one.

people who feel forced out of their own movement.

People who feel forced out of their own movement are struggling with the dissonance between their self identification, their beliefs, and the direction of the movement they used to be a part of. This is as true of ex-conservatives who stayed put or moved left while the party moved right as it is for ex-liberals who did the converse.

Me making up my own definition for a particular label has no bearing on that.

Ok, so even going by that definition I see no grounds to say classical liberals shouldn't be taken seriously on their word

I do. The issues of the late 18th century are overwhelmingly different and the label itself was largely dead until it was functionally revived by people who wanted to avoid associating their ideas with conservatism.

But the bigger factor is just that the vast majority of self-ID'd classical liberals I know have garden variety soccon views + weed while exhibiting very little interest in (or outright hostility to) the personal freedoms or civil liberties aspect of their claimed ideology. (There is also the occasional embarassed liberal and even a few sincere libertarians, but they are less common).

It's not that I think they are lying. It's that I think they're full of shit.

the claim that everyone around them moved left is plausible

It is plausible. It's also another way of saying "I got more conservative". The views that would make you socially liberal in 1954 would make you pretty reactionary in 2024, and having your views crystallize while the world continues to change is pretty much the standard form conversion story.

I apologize; I misinterpreted the question.

I don't think it's a very useful question (or at least not one I have a useful answer for), because I don't use the term except in reference to people who self-describe as such. You can look back to late 18th/early 19th century liberals, but that's a political context that's almost unrecognizable to today. I guess if you want my short answer: classical liberalism properly refers to a historical political tradition which has been succeeded by various offspring.

Except that's manifestly untrue. The center left and far left squabble incessantly without the former being forced out. Some gamers have a meltdown because some gaming journalists called them sexist isn't being thrown in a pit, but it is sort of telling.

  • -10

That would depend on the actual content of their beliefs, since someone calling themselves that could be almost anything from a center left neoliberal to a blue tribe conservative to white supremacist who isn't quite ready to take off the mask.

Statistically, my money is still on conservative in denial.

People usually call themselves "classical liberals" because they pointedly want to distinguish themselves from social conservatives. What I am saying is that many/most (though not all) such people are just garden variety conservatives who are embarassed by their own socially conservative views and/or the association with other conservatives, so they come up with stories to tell themselves (and others) how the party left them behind or the SJWs forced their hand or something similar, the point of which is say "I am not really a conservative."

You are wrong if you are accusing me of actually being an "embarrassed conservative

I am not trying to accuse you of anything. I am telling you why this political narrative is not taken seriously.

the white nationalists or white nationalist-adjacent don't claim liberalism

The people I am describing are not white nationalists (they are frequently racist, but not ideologically so). They are embarassed conservatives. I use that turn of phrase for a reason - they are people who like to think of themselves as liberal even though their political priorities and sensibilities are overwhelmingly right-wing. I know no shortage of people like this in real life by dint of the fact that I used to be one, and the almost universal pattern was that when push came to shove they'd come down on the conservative side of an issue. Sometimes this was just lack of perspective - they couldn't conceive of how a gay man or a black woman might have a different experience with - but often it was just disregard.

But really, it just enrages me, when I can still muster such feelings, that believing in colorblind meritocracy, free speech, presumption of innocence, biological reality, "my rules, applied fairly," etc., is now coded as "right-wing."

Because no one believes you. Whatever you, personally, believe, it all stinks of embarassed conservatism. People make fun of self-identified "classical liberals" because the label has been spoiled by bigots hiding behind a mask of libertarianism (libertarianism that for some reason only seems to extend as far as their own preferences). I like meritocracy too, but I've met too many people for whom 'meritocracy' means never having to think about how society allocates opportunities.

I could go on, but I'm on my phone and that makes composition awkward, so I'll leave it at this: I find this comment darkly hilarious because the kind of people who populate the Motte are exactly the reason you are treated to a presumption of bad faith.

  • -14

where the liberals at? Or alternatively, why has the proportion of racists increased dramatically since moving off Reddit?

Lack of external pressure + Evaporative cooling + community sentiment

On Reddit, there was some degree of pressure on both the mods and the users to avoid the attention of the admins. Leaving Reddit meant that they were no longer bound by those restraints and the least motivated posters were left behind. That in turn drives more people away who don't want to spend all their time debating HBD, etc...

Community sentiment has an effect of its own. To quote someone from the post-mortem on the SSC sub:

When the topic comes round very often to "Shall the Foo-men be castrated, drawn and quartered? I think maybe yes," it eventually dawns upon the Foo-men that they are in fact not welcome.

Of course, it goes beyond the general sense of hostility that drives people off and into the problem of moderation. Even if they're not biased by nature, internet moderators are unpaid humans and they're going to tend to look at users generating a lot of reports and angry responses as troublemakers, even if the quality of their posting is well within acceptable parameters.

I do think that Allen gets some extra flack compared to Tyson because Allen is white whereas Tyson is black.

An obvious possibility here (and IMO the biggest reason) is that people who care about cinema think sexual violence is a really big deal and people who care about boxing don't. Like, both will say rape is bad if you ask them "is rape bad?", but the former are much more likely believe an allegation even if the evidence is weak and act on that belief, whereas the latter are more likely to dismiss allegations (or just not care) even if the evidence is strong.

The difficulty with this question, taken more broadly, is that there's a very long list of celebrities with at least semi-credible accusations against them who beat the rap, and looking at their race is not likely to be very enlightening.

I think the most relevant factors here are a) do you give a shit b) does your audience give a shit? If the answer to both of those is no, you can get away with pretty much anything that doesn't actually land you in jail.

Voting Republican gives some people the "ick".

That, or they don't trust Republicans.

Or polling doesn't capture their priorities (or the polls are just bad).

Or they are tribal and they intuit that Republicans won't accept them.

I've had the opposite experience - Nazis are an entirely online phenomenon for me, but I've encountered multiple right-wing Putin apologists in meatspace.

What will be the retaliation for this

The US is already engaged by proxy in the hottest interstate war in decades with Russia. Even if true (X), this is totally eclipsed by the Russo-Ukrainian War - Russian allies in the US still think Putin is the based defender of Christian civilization against the homosexual globalists, people worried about escalation are probably more afraid of Russia exercising the ultimate veto than espionage bullshit, and anti-Russians still want to bomb Russia.

His Excellency Joe Biden

I believe you mean Generalissimo Biden.


I'm not a theologist, but I'm pretty sure this means that until next Easter only trans people get into heaven.

No, seriously. You yourself note that this is a coincidence. I do find it to be a humorous example of how Republicans will complain about grievance politics while being its most prominent practitioners.

I won't address the argument about whether or not the USA is about to become the HRE because I tapped out before I got to the part about how the Pritzker Khaganate is going to protect me from the unbearable tyranny of Joe Biden. Mostly because I immediately find the historical argument dubious and somewhat hard to follow. I have attempted to summarize the proposed theory of history as follows:

  1. There are centralizing eras, characterized by state formation and the centralization of power, and decentralizing eras, characterized by state collapse and decentralization of power.
  2. Centralizing eras occur because "technological and social gaps" (unclear what this means, as you don't elaborate) and "finicky, barely technological, advances that A) are not evenly distributed and allow the powers which have them to dominate the powers that don’t, and B) require vast numbers of hierarchically organized people working together in sophisticated coordination to make it work at all". Though you also say you don't really know why centralizing eras happen.
  3. Decentralizing eras occur because of "sophisticated capital and skill intensive weapons that can be utilized by relatively few people, and which are widely distributed", such as knights and castles.
  4. Centralizing eras are extremely rare (in fact, there are only two), decentralizing eras are very common.

I don't think this is a particular compelling model of history. The core concept relies on two gerrymandered categories and the basis for these categories is doubtful (being, essentially, technological determinism). If you want to argue that there are times and places in which centralization is happening and vice versa, that’s fairly trivial. This argument goes beyond that and makes the case for a sweeping theory of technologically-driven centralization/decentralization.

The understanding of centralizing eras listed above is borderline tautological: centralization happens when a particular polity musters enough state capacity to subjugate competing power centers. True, but not a remarkable observation. That is what centralization means. You point to transportation and communication technologies, and this is a fair point, but, in what is part of a wider pattern, you put the cart before the horse. The Roman Empire doesn't collapse because they forgot how to build roads; the Roman road network falls apart because the Empire responsible for maintaining it collapses. These empires generally collapse for institutional and political reasons, not because of disruptive technological changes. Alexander's short-lived empire fractured upon his death because it didn't have the political infrastructure for a stable succession. Likewise, the British Empire fell apart after WW2 because Britain no longer had the will or means to keep ahold of its overseas territories (i.e. it was broke, exhausted, and had America breathing down its neck), not because technological diffusion made it no longer viable.

The argument that decentralizing eras occur because of the aforementioned capital/skill intensive weapons doesn't seem to hold much water either. The militaries of the Greek city-states, which you cite as an example of a decentralized era, were defined by citizen-militias. The hoplite was not an elite warrior-aristocrat; in most cases he wasn't even particular well-trained. The same is often true in other times and places as well - Anglo-Saxon armies, for example, had better equipped warrior elites, but the body of the army was comprised of militia. This pattern holds to a lesser degree even after the Norman conquest and into the early modern period - English armies are generally less aristocratic than their continental counterparts (this is painting with a very broad brush – there were comparably plebian continental armies). So, I don’t think you can say that decentralized eras are particularly defined by capital and skill intensive weapons. Sometimes they have them, sometimes they don’t.

Conversely, centralized states have forms of warfare that are almost unfathomably more capital intensive than their decentralized counterparts. No medieval polity is going to field a Romanesque army, not because they don't want to but because they can't. They can't afford to pay (or feed) hundreds of thousands of lavishly equipped professional soldiers and they couldn’t organize it even if they had the money. And as we move towards the modern era the preeminence of the knight starts to fall away - not merely because of gunpowder (though it doesn’t help), but because the re-emergence of disciplined heavy infantry and political structures capable of supporting increasingly large and increasingly professional armies. Those capital and skill intensive weapons are more likely to be found in the hands of centralized states who can afford to maintain specialized soldiers (e.g. gunners) and their equipment than decentralized entities, who are often stuck buying sophisticated weaponry if they can field it at all.

Lastly, as I said, I don't think you can sensibly talk about broad eras of centralization or decentralization without engaging in categorical gerrymandering. You cite only two examples of centralizing eras: the Alexander to Caesar era (no dates specified, so I'll just say about 334 BC to 116 AD, though I am unconvinced this marks a coherent 'era') and the modern era (1700-1945 AD). But this is what I mean when I say categorical gerrymandering – you’re arbitrarily excluding all manner of counter-examples for unclear reasons. Why only these? We've had the same two polities in the Iberian peninsula for the past 500 years after a centuries-long Reconquista, the Qin/Han Dynasties lasting for about 400 years (in fact China, despite no lack of turbulence, usually managed to pull itself back together fairly quickly), Turkish expansion, multiple Persian Empires, etc... In many cases you have periods of rapid centralization followed by rapid fragmentation (e.g. Alexander’s conquests, the Carolingian Empire). Should we count these as decentralizing or centralizing?

You acknowledge a few of these but then casually dismiss them: 'But the fact I’m giving individual dynasties or empires as “the era” kinda tells you how much these were one offs' despite the fact that many of these lasted longer than the Alexandrian-Roman era or the modern era. It’s hard not to see that as a handwave to a gaping hole in the theory. It seems like a big deal that you have centralization and decentralization in temporal and technological proximity, and it seems like eras of centralization are a lot more common than you say.

To loosely summarize: while you can point to technologies having an impact on state capacity, this theory has a tendency to reverse cause and effect. Many are as much a product of centralization (or decentralization) as a driver. Technology can allow you to exert more central control over a large territory, but centralization makes it far more viable to engage in mass infrastructure creation. Likewise, the division of history into (rare) periods of centralization and (common) periods of decentralization doesn’t match real history (a ubiquitous problem with grand theories of history), where centralizing and decentralizing trends coexist and where rapid swings between one and the other are common.


I also find many of the historical anecdotes suspect. There are too many to address systematically (and I lack the knowledge in many cases), but I wanted to pick on one I do know something about:

Fighter Jets, nuclear submarines, and Aircraft Carriers are actually far more analogous to a knights horse and armour or castle… capital intensive expensive assets that can be operated by what are historically very small groups of people. The thing currently stopping someone like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk or El Chapo from owning a Aircraft Carrier or two + airfleet, or a few Nuclear Submarines + cruise missiles, and carving out a network of private enclaves isn’t capital cost or expense (on paper any of the 3 could afford the 10-20 Billion expense + 2-5b annual cost)… It is just that the US is currently maintaining its monopoly.

This analogy doesn't make sense. (Also, you later contradict it, citing an aircraft carrier as an example of a centralizing technology)

The knight is a product of decentralization, not a driver. Heavily armored cavalry was not some post-Roman revolution in military affairs. What made the knight was the breakdown of centralized government. As I mentioned above, a weak polity with a limited state apparatus doesn't have the ability to train thousands of men or source the necessary horses and armor in order to provide for a professional corps of heavy cavalry. What they do have is a nominal claim to land, which they can parcel out to loyal followers in exchange for military service. Rather than being the sharp end of a very large centralized military, knights are mostly responsible for their own training and equipment. (Variations on this pattern of military organization are pervasive in Medieval Europe, not just for knights - it's easy on organizational overhead, but you make tradeoffs in terms of efficiency, quality, and scalability).

Jets, submarines, and aircraft carriers, on the other hand, are products of an integrated economy operating under centralized states. It is not a coincidence that only a couple of countries are capable of building these, and it’s not just about money – the Gulf States have plenty of money, but they’re still buying all of their stuff (and the specialists needed to maintain them) from the people who can actually put these systems together.

This is a textbook example of someone failing the intellectual Turing Test.

Jobs are shit and no sane person would ever want one (at least, absent The Man's omnipresent conditioning that you must work for his profit)

But we live in a world where the Man and/or thermodynamics requires you to work in order to avoid death. Where jobs confer economic benefits (getting paid) and social status (not being an unemployed loser). Certain jobs confer not only money and status but a non-trivial amount of societal level power. Maybe we shouldn't value jobs but we absolutely do. And thus it makes perfect sense for someone to be concerned with access to jobs*. As an individual, you want your peers and broader society to stop humiliating you. As an advocate, you're trying to break generational poverty and what you see as inequities in the distribution of wealth/power in society.

In short, it doesn't require you to think that competence or effort are fake. It requires you to believe that discrimination is real.

If you really believe in the bullshit jobs thesis, and you really believe that everyone else is in on the open secret too, then when someone makes the "muh objective competence qualifications" against you, it is perfectly reasonable to believe it's an argument that could only ever be made in bad faith.

They seem to be confused about both what the bullshit jobs thesis is and how popular it is. As near as I can tell, SerenaButler subscribes to the theory more closely than their imagined blue triber.

In general, I don't think this post is insightful. It makes a number of assumptions about the beliefs and motives of the people it is attempting to describe that just do not track. Or it hits on surface level beliefs but fails understand the underlying content, e.g. it is probably correct to say that a lot of blue tribers don't think much of arguments from meritocracy, but it isn't because they think qualifications are fake. It's because they think we don't have a functioning meritocracy.

*there certainly seem to be no shortage of red tribers concerned with protecting their jobs.

Absence of evidence is evidence of absence. If your theory predicts a phenomenon and the phenomenon is not observed, that strongly suggests the theory is wrong. In this case, there's a lot of incentive for election security enthusiasts to find voter fraud and they've made considerable effort to do so. The fact that have failed to do strongly suggests their theory doesn't hold water*. In this case, concealing the shenanigans requires counting on the discretion of numerous homeless drug addicts.

By contrast, there are tons and tons of instances of politicians being caught in awkward financial arrangements or grifting off their supporters. In many cases they don't have to bother hiding them because it isn't even illegal.

Other nations have far more recent and far worse histories of this sorts of behavior, and yet manage to pass reform just fine.

Can you give examples?

because there are absolutely shennanigans going on

You'll forgive me if I don't take this seriously - "shenanigans are happening, I just know it" is not credible. Not only is this sort of belief more often an expression of fatuous cynicism than actual knowledge, it's also just a frequent loser's cope. "Those establishment politicians with their organizations and social networks and actual funding are doing something shifty, I'm certain of it." (To be fair, they often are, but it's far more likely to be in the category of ethically dubious transactional politics with interests groups than buying ballots from bums).

Most Americans really don't see what's so hard about giving everyone an ID and tell them to bring it to the polls.

This is the sticking point. Republican political leaders have not been particularly enthusiastic about the universal ID part of voter ID laws. Only about half of states with photo ID laws provide free IDs, and the ones that do often make you jump through hoops to get it (e.g. Texas).

The simplest thing to do would be to have a Federal voter database and an associated ID, but that seems to be considered generally unattractive.

The proposals consistently poll very well across both parties and independents.

A lot of things poll very well across both parties and independents until you start talking specifics.

How is that winning the issue?

Any Federal voter ID law actually able to make it through Congress is likely to also impose restrictions on election administration that red states don't want. Avoiding Federal standards for voter qualification and election administration gives more leeway to put their thumb on the scale.

The electoral reality in the US is that many states have a history of very overtly disenfranchising certain kinds of voter. This colors basically everything about electoral reform in the US.

voter ID is a ridiculously low bar that the GOP should be able to hammer home, but the fact that they cant speaks volumes to their weakness/idiocy.

Anyone who deeply cares about mandatory voter ID and is really worried about vote fraud is already a die-hard conservative.