site banner

Culture War Roundup for the week of December 12, 2022

This weekly roundup thread is intended for all culture war posts. 'Culture war' is vaguely defined, but it basically means controversial issues that fall along set tribal lines. Arguments over culture war issues generate a lot of heat and little light, and few deeply entrenched people ever change their minds. This thread is for voicing opinions and analyzing the state of the discussion while trying to optimize for light over heat.

Optimistically, we think that engaging with people you disagree with is worth your time, and so is being nice! Pessimistically, there are many dynamics that can lead discussions on Culture War topics to become unproductive. There's a human tendency to divide along tribal lines, praising your ingroup and vilifying your outgroup - and if you think you find it easy to criticize your ingroup, then it may be that your outgroup is not who you think it is. Extremists with opposing positions can feed off each other, highlighting each other's worst points to justify their own angry rhetoric, which becomes in turn a new example of bad behavior for the other side to highlight.

We would like to avoid these negative dynamics. Accordingly, we ask that you do not use this thread for waging the Culture War. Examples of waging the Culture War:

  • Shaming.

  • Attempting to 'build consensus' or enforce ideological conformity.

  • Making sweeping generalizations to vilify a group you dislike.

  • Recruiting for a cause.

  • Posting links that could be summarized as 'Boo outgroup!' Basically, if your content is 'Can you believe what Those People did this week?' then you should either refrain from posting, or do some very patient work to contextualize and/or steel-man the relevant viewpoint.

In general, you should argue to understand, not to win. This thread is not territory to be claimed by one group or another; indeed, the aim is to have many different viewpoints represented here. Thus, we also ask that you follow some guidelines:

  • Speak plainly. Avoid sarcasm and mockery. When disagreeing with someone, state your objections explicitly.

  • Be as precise and charitable as you can. Don't paraphrase unflatteringly.

  • Don't imply that someone said something they did not say, even if you think it follows from what they said.

  • Write like everyone is reading and you want them to be included in the discussion.

On an ad hoc basis, the mods will try to compile a list of the best posts/comments from the previous week, posted in Quality Contribution threads and archived at /r/TheThread. You may nominate a comment for this list by clicking on 'report' at the bottom of the post and typing 'Actually a quality contribution' as the report reason.

15
Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

Just as an FYI, we just deployed a major performance improvement for this site. It also might be buggy. Please report any issues you run into, especially those involving the display of the front page or comment threads (like this one).

(At the same time we're currently working with a significant performance degradation because of a library bug. Hopefully we'll get that one solved soon too.)

Edit: So far there are 414 janitor submissions, y'all are great, I was expecting to have to wait a week or two to get a good chunk of useful data but nope this is going fast.

(one post is considered one submission, not one set of posts)

The janny volunteer popup dialog seems to be in light theme even if you're using dark theme.

Sigh, I admit the themes are an annoying amount of work. I'll fix this one though.

I didn't actually realize there was a 'dark' theme until this comment. White text on dark background is my preferred look, so I switched over. However, I'm pretty sure there's a bug with the dark themes ('dark', 'midnight', and 'tron' all share this issue), where the interface doesn't register if you've clicked the upvote or downvote button, it stays the same color regardless. Any chance this could be fixed as well?

The problem is that I've been making serious changes to the base theme but not wanting to invest the time on fixing up the other themes. I think I might:

  • Change TheMotte to light

  • Fix up dark a bit

  • Rename the other themes to include (unsupported)

  • Remap users to light or dark as appropriate

  • Send a message to everyone who was using an unsupported theme saying "your old theme is kind of deprecated and may look crummy, we've changed you to a supported theme, you're welcome to change back if you really want or volunteer to fix up the theme"

I should also do a check to see which themes are most popular.

actually lemme just do that now, I need to get into the DB anyway

TheMotte: 1477 (obviously a lot of these are "I just left it as the default")

reddit: 98

dark: 96

midnight: 74

dramblr: 27

coffee: 23

4chan: 19

win98: 15

tron: 7

light: 4

transparent: 1

I am one of the people using "reddit". It actually doesn't resemble Reddit very much; it's just a nice theme: dark, but not too dark like the actual "dark" theme. (The background on "dark" is apparently literally #000000, which no one ever does!) It seems "midnight" is basically just "reddit" but worse (the contrast is terrible), so if you combine the two, "reddit" is the de facto dark theme and therefore it should, in my totally unbiased opinion, become the official dark theme.

The "transparent" theme has something to do with custom backgrounds, which are non-functional, so I think you can just remove it completely. I can't even get it to work, no idea how that one person did it.

The background on "dark" is apparently literally #000000, which no one ever does!

OLED display users (mostly mobile, but not all) do.

>phoneposting

Edit: Oops, just noticed you said there are non-mobile OLED displays. My bad. Anyway, would it be too much to have a "dark", renamed from "reddit", and "OLED" or "superdark" or something, renamed from "dark"? Or perhaps rename "reddit" to "light dark"? Again, I am very biased, but "reddit" is the most popular non-default theme.

My suggestion would be for default theme to use the prefers-color-scheme @media query to switch the base colors to bright-on-dark-gray if you have your browser/OS set for dark mode. "Dark" would be moved to "OLED black".

Personally, I use "coffee".

Per Transtellung's comment I just switched to the 'reddit' theme, and already I can tell it is much better. It does leave the big 'The Motte' site name in the upper left black (unreadable against the background), but now all links are clearly highlighted in blue, and upvotes and downvotes are clearly visible as orange and light blue respectively. Very much support his recommendation to turn 'reddit' into the official dark theme.

EDIT: it appears that the 'reddit' theme does not highlight unread comments in the same way as the 'themotte' theme does. So if I had one other suggestion, it'd be to incorporate that change into this theme. Thanks!

Hmm, can you give me screenshot examples of those? I think this is the first I've heard of either, for the record.

Today I learned there are lines indicating how replies are nested in the light theme on mobile! I have been using dark theme since launch and while I thought I remembered lines at one point, collapsing threads without using the minus next to a user name has always seemed like a random crapshoot when I tapped to the left of a comment. As another Johnny Bench I think double tapping would be light years better (and an option to remove the collapsing function of the lines if possible (oh and make the lines visible in dark theme please.))

Huh, I like the "double-tap to collapse" idea. I don't actually use mobile so I'm sorta in the dark on what people want there :V

Task added!

Could we also see how many child comments a particular comment gets when collapsed?

I think this may actually be difficult, we don't track that info anywhere. But I'll add a task for it.

I have almost two hundred new notifications over the last 17 hours. It looks like I'm getting a notification every time someone comments on this thread.

Did you hit the "subscribe" button with the eye next to it?

I didn't think I did. But I just unsubscribed. Thanks.

I got a popup asking to rate a post.

My too. Just some random comment. I rated it.

I also accidentally fat finger upvoted it. That should probably be disabled when rating comments.

Excellent! It appears to be working.

The volunteer/janitor page has a link for the rules which should https://www.themotte.org/rules instead of localhost/rules.

Oops, not my finest moment. Should be fixed now, thanks!

Works fine so far. Thank you for your efforts.

You might be jannies, but you're our jannies. <3

Elon Musk has suspended a slew of liberal journalists and pundits from Twitter. It is, as Benjamin Braddoc puts it, a red wedding for the liberal establishment. I initially believed that he was just the "controlled" opposition of the deep state, obviously he's stepped on way too many toes for that. This imo underscores an important truth to the ultra principled who believe in free speech absolutism and neutral institutions, the overton window won't shift the other way just to punish the "heretics" who've assailed this sacred virtue. Social media, our Frankenstein, has made it insanely easier for mob rule to influence culture (not that it wasn't already).

I still don't believe we're witnessing complete course reversal, but this could just be the first legitimate W for the right.

EDIT: It looks like he's lifting the suspension.

I still don't believe we're witnessing complete course reversal, but this could just be the first legitimate W for the right.

It's not, though, and the people crowing about it don't understand how the game is played. And I'm not saying that because I'm butthurt that some journo I've never heard of that's supposedly 'on my side' is the unlucky ox du jour.

When the left deplatforms someone, they genuinely believe (rightly or wrongly) that they're righteously fighting racism/inequality/injustice. They're saving lives from COVID. They're supporting the downtrodden in society and giving them a chance to improve their lives. Contrary to the conflict theorists, it's neither arbitrary nor intended to make 'disfavored groups' suffer.

When Elon (or some figure on the right) deplatforms someone, 1) best case, he's having to grapple with the realities that many people said he would (thus the smugness) or 2) worst case, he's being driven by petty personal or 'own the libs' revanchism. The small fraction of principled libertarians are slinking off, having lost again, while the conservatives pretending to be principled libertarians are cheering the fact that the libs are getting owned.

They miss the fact that really winning, and not just eking out a transitory term in the white house, requires articulating a vision for the future that wins the hearts and minds of the people. And it needs to be more inspiring than 'we're going to keep things the way they are/turn back the clock to the 1970s/1950s/1776!' People need to believe that tomorrow can be better than today. It needs to be more than 'I'm really angry after the last 5 years and after forfeiting all my morals I just want to hurt my outgroup,' which, I don't mean to pick on that commenter personally, but that's the vibe I get from most of the conservatives here.

And you know what? There's plenty of room to articulate a vision for the future that is better than what democrats have to offer. I wish someone would try, and we could see two visions of utopia competing for popular support rather than the depressing political morass we've been languishing in for the last decade. Something has to change; I'd welcome any thoughts people might have on what that might be.

They miss the fact that really winning, and not just eking out a transitory term in the white house, requires articulating a vision for the future that wins the hearts and minds of the people.

I've read this thread yesterday. It asserts that Musk stands for a compelling and coherent vision:

As Tara Isabella Burton explains in her excellent book Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World, traditional organized religion is in freefall [...]

Taking religion's place as a source of meaning, purpose, community, and ritual are various ideologies:

Mindfulness/yoga, tarot/astrology, social progressivism, LGBTQ+, wellness/self-care, online communities like Reddit & the Rationalist community, new age spirituality [...]

Burton identifies two as the leading contenders for the title of official civic religion:

Social Justice Culture and Silicon Valley Utopianism

Social Justice Culture (SJC): The belief that racism, sexism, & other forms of bigotry & injustice must be struck down at all costs in order to achieve a better, fairer world on which all our fates depend. The think tank More in Common estimates 8% of Americans agree

Silicon Valley Utopianism (SVU): Holds a deep faith in our ability to optimize human performance, ultimately leading to a utopian future in which humanity transcends its limitations using technology. Includes subgroups like Rationalists, Transhumanists, & Effective Altruists

While they might seem to be at odds, they are really two versions of the same underlying belief: That the orthodoxy of the past must be abolished in order to usher in a bright new future for humanity, one that treats personal experience as the ultimate source of meaning

[...] With all this in mind, Elon's purchase of Twitter isn't just a business transaction. It represents a hostile takeover by the SVU of one of SJC's most sacred sites – as if the Palestinians occupied the Temple Mount and began using it as a base of operations

Not defending the Temple Mount frame or California-centric analysis, I have to admit that the Civic Religion angle is apt. As @2rafa observed, my support of most tenets of Muskianism is essentially irrational and quasi-religious, following from my basic Cosmism (that Musk, as a deathist, unfortunately disagrees with) and qualified belief in technological solutions to problems that, while social in nature, partially follow from scarcity and technological limits.

Compared to SVU or SJC, what do libertarians offer in the marketplace of ideas? If they know what's good for them, I think they should position themselves as a minor sect allied with the former church.

Likewise for many others. The vision of SJC is totalizing and unforgiving to competitors, being rooted in absolute zero-sum philosophy.

I think your persistent schtick of grilling leaders over being poor role models doesn't make for good critique. We may live in a fatherless age, but that doesn't mean it's healthy to seek a Daddy in Musk, Peterson, Trump or any other vaguely authoritative and charismatic male; thus, irrelevant if they are underwhelming in that capacity, as most remarkable figures throughout history have been, in any case. We need some way other than celebrity worship to impart values to laymen. There was a certain institution called Church that worked on that, if memory serves.

it’s the specific variant of that stuff that emerged in mid-20th century America. America has been liberal from the start, but this is a sub-variant of a sub-variant of liberalism

From a stratospheric (say Duginist in Noomakhia) point of view where Pharaohs and Plato and actual Nazis and Haredim stand on the same ideological game board as early 20th century progressivists, SJWs and Musk, it may look like «SVU» is a tiny elaboration on a basic Enlightenment take, an unremarkable niche within a niche. But that a priori search space only exists in the abstract; most of those regions either cannot be upscaled for purposes of industrial civilization, or accessed without a catastrophic transition event. Progress may not reveal the Hegelian truth of social organization; it certainly prunes branches away, and all the diversity that practically matters is the diversity we have left on the table. In this sense, Muskianism – or Thielism, or a more broad techno-optimistic «SVU» coalition – is very meaningfully different from «SJC». Space colonization as opposed to penny-pinching footprint optimization, the doctrine of growth as opposed to degrowth, supply side thinking as opposed to grievance-driven spoils system – all that is consequential, more so than speculative details of communal living and sexual mores in eventual Mars colonies. Even if it doesn't have enough verbal novelty to entertain you.

One can read the Quran and Hadiths and come up with a relatively firm picture of the ideal Islamic society in practice.

Are you bullish on Islamists inheriting California? What would you suggest to invest in?

I agree having more explicit and legible work in the ideological direction would be nice. These rich dudes should employ someone talented for that purpose, like their opponents do.

Neal Stephenson, maybe.

There was a certain institution called Church that worked on that, if memory serves.

Lazy counter: isn't God simply the ultimate surrogate father figure, the Biggest Daddy, if you will?

That's not a lazy counter, that's the fucking point.

I recently re-watched the old George C Scott adaptation of the Christmas Carol and the thesis of that film could be summed up as "what's the point of being rich if you 'aint going to get a bitch pregnant". Less flippantly it's about legacy, it's about what's going to out-live you and who racking up a high score on your bank balance doesn't mean shit if it all just goes back to the bank when you croak. Accordingly, reject nihilism and all that liberal nonsense about your life belonging to you. Embrace parenthood. Raise children, train protege's, and build institutions. Choose life.

In terms of leaving a legacy, spreading your memes is better than spreading your genes. Is Andrew Carnegie remembered for his children or for the various universities, charities and other organizations he founded?

But if the goal is to spread your genes, a billionaire today could easily have hundreds of children using IVF. Though I imagine he wouldn't be a very good parent.

The play would be to offer couples with infertile men/lesbians access to your (presumably pretty high quality to begin with) banked sperm in exchange for an annuity valued at several thousand per year in perpetual income and all the expenses of IVF paid. Then your child has two parents, and instead of the parents paying out thousands to get pregnant someone pays them. Sperm banks exist, make your product negative cost there will be pretty good demand.

That's not the point of what I was responding to, though? Dase was pointing out the celebrity-as-father-figure thing, and I was raising the point that replacing the fake-but-physical father figures with one that is completely intangible and invisible probably isn't much of an improvement, even accounting for the "reject false idols" and "the concept of God is less impermanent than a mortal human" aspects.

Well, I alluded to «what would Jesus do» prompt, and Jesus Christ is not just God and ultimate role example for Christians but a Superstar, of course. Still, he has the advantage of not being an erratic American CEO.

And even Church doesn't recommend following Jahweh's example.

They do add some confusion with the whole Trinity thing.

They do add some confusion with the whole Trinity thing.

I was always under the impression that BPD is part of the traditional Middle Eastern conception of fatherhood.

I think the point is essentially that Musk stands for a very slightly different form of progressivism. This is fundamentally still not only Hegelian grand narrative, humanity’s destiny, march of history type stuff, it’s the specific variant of that stuff that emerged in mid-20th century America. America has been liberal from the start, but this is a sub-variant of a sub-variant of liberalism that seeks to bring about the same thing as sought by the social justice advocates, just slightly differently.

What? Progressivism? Is this just nonstandard terminology, like when libertarians call themselves Classical Liberals, as though libertarianism bears any resemblance to liberalism in the modern taxonomy? Or do you see Musk as actually caring about anything that Nancy Pelosi fights for? In the modern world, "progressive" means "the liberal wing of the liberal party." It's the Squad, John Oliver, pronoun-ism and anti-racism.

Best I can see he is purebred John Galt: low taxes, OSHA can get off his property, openly ridicules pronoun people, doesn't give a shit about worker protections, busts unions as hard as he can, acts like every pointless midwit diversicrat who draws a salary from his companies is effectively stealing from him, and has the absolute audacity to think that people who achieve things deserve more credit and power than people who don't.

No it's not nonstandard terminology, it's standard terminology. What is "progressivism" if not a belief in capital-P Progress? That there is a "right" side and a "wrong" side to history and that being on the "right side" is the same thing as being on the "winning side".

Any fight between Elon Musk and Nancy Pelosi is an intra-tribal squabble between two wealthy secular bay-area liberals.

What is "progressivism" if not a belief in capital-P Progress?

I already defined it in the post you're responding to. It's somewhere between tedious and dishonest to insist that words should be used to mean the opposite of what people actually use them to mean because of their etymology.

Here's the dictionary:

pro·gres·sive

/prəˈɡresiv/

noun

1.

a person advocating or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas.

"people tend to present themselves either as progressives or traditionalists on this issue"

2.

GRAMMAR

a progressive tense or aspect.

"the present progressive"

Can you describe the mainstream definition of "social reform" or "new, liberal ideas" without invoking "progress"? I'm not sure you can.

That is a completely different kind of "progress" than the progress that Elon Musk believes in. What are we even disagreeing about at this point? You think Elon Musk is a progressive in the mainstream sense of the word?

How will the Martian cities function? Will they be full of men who, like Musk, leave behind a dozen children raised by three single mothers, one of whom was likely never even romantically involved with the father of her children? Will they contain men who run several vastly important businesses (in addition to the above family) but who spend hours every day engaging in banal reciprocal bitching with irrelevant minor press figures on twitter dot com? What is the structure of this society? How is it to be governed? What will its social systems consist of? What will provide its spiritual, religious core? These questions remain unanswered

All these things are details. The main question that is unanswered - aside of question whether Earthly life can survive and prosper long term in Martian gravity - is:

Why? What exactly would the settlers on Mars do, how would they make money, where exactly would come the promised super profits that would justify the super expenses?

Old time colonialism was not done for "destiny", if was done for very concrete benefits (gold, silver, slaves, spices, sugar, tobacco etc...). What Musk promises is, at best, 19th century flag planting in most remote shitholes of the world for "national honor", only several magnitudes more expensive.

The only reason technoutopians justify Martian bases seems to be “in case Earth is destroyed”.

Some libertarian types see space colonies as "land of freedom", as place to hide and escape from "the gubmint". This is even more delusionary take.

If/when Elon delivers what he promised, Mars will be as remote and hard to get to as Antarctica and Arctic are right now. Are people fleeing to Antarctic bases or Arctic oil platforms for freedom or for place to hide?

Some libertarian types see space colonies as "land of freedom", as place to hide and escape from "the gubmint". This is even more delusionary take.

Indeed, Heinlein's Lunar Authority as it existed before the unlikely events of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is probably a better model. Whoever controls the air is the totalitarian leader of society, and if you don't like it you can breathe vacuum.

working in a tech hub and knowing a lot of this type of person their response would largely be that those problems are trivial. First off in a post-scarcity society the amount of problem would be greatly reduced. Hundredfold the economic base of humanity and most problems will be cheap to deal with. With boundless resources, a huge number of jobs performed by AI and a massive economy most problems can be solved by spending small sums of money.

The second assumption is that tech runs the world and everything else is a sideshow. Going from primitive agricuture to the nuclear age is a much larger step than deciding who does the dishes or writes meeting notes. The idea is that tech leads and the rest is mainly commentary to it. The big issue is having a trillion people living in rotating space habitats with a GDP per capita 20 times that of a current western nation, not figuring out how many members the local school boards will have on each rotating habitat.

These types of technoutopians tend to favour descentralization and not really want a specific system for the whole solarsystem. The idea is 3D printing and AI can allow for relatively small groups of people to achieve autonomy and with tens of billions or more people spread out in the solarsystem many different systems will exist in parallel.

Prosperity and the huge gain in productivity created by the internet and the computing revolution has hardly made culture war less salient than it was a few decades ago

Salience is a subjective metric. Plebs are more placated than ever. Folks here have been losing their minds about excesses of BLM, but compare it either to the '92 race riot or the terror wave in the 70's.

There's a great deal of simulacra running wild; most are ephemeral. With actual virtual reality we may wage entire world wars that'll amount to moving bytes around.

I suppose techno-utopians wouldn't count the current condition as a win. But it is largely a product of tech, and economy built on top of technological improvements.

In any case, not caring a lot about the culture war is a legitimate position to hold, and one expected of people who are more interested in objects than in other people – as in, most STEM nerds.

First off in a post-scarcity society the amount of problem would be greatly reduced. Hundredfold the economic base of humanity and most problems will be cheap to deal with. With boundless resources, a huge number of jobs performed by AI and a massive economy most problems can be solved by spending small sums of money.

This assumes that the relevant problems are, in fact, material. What if they are instead zero-sum games of pure status? That's what the last 20 years increasingly looks dominated by.

"My ingroup does the bad things for understandable and laudable reasons, while my outgroup does the same bad things for horrible evil reasons."

Come on man, as an argument, this is "Nuh-UH" and "No U". If the left manages to lose whatever cosmic thing you think they're winning, it will be because they followed policies informed by arguments as shallow and pathetic as this.

The last time we all played this game, it went a little something like this:

https://youtube.com/shorts/-4udwY4nvBE

Come on man, as an argument, this is "Nuh-UH" and "No U". If the left manages to lose whatever cosmic thing you think they're winning, it will be because they followed policies informed by arguments as shallow and pathetic as this.

I'm skeptical I could make any argument along these lines that would impress you. I'm doubtful that my comments that are critical of the left or wokeness are any more incisive or insightful, but they never draw the same accusations, so /shrug. Most top level posts are naked culture warring cutting the other way that again, never draw this objection. To some extent accusations of being a shallow culture warrior is just table stakes for participating in this community regardless of how careful I am. If I truly took all Your (not you personally, the royal You) criticism to heart I would never say anything, and indeed, I delete half my abortive comments without them seeing the light of day. Maybe you'd like that better. I suppose if I got enough replies like yours I'd stop writing long before I became Darwin 2.0, but at least some people seem to find the discussion useful.

Anyways - many of you are taking this as some value judgment. That I'm trying to say 'This is why I'm a blue blooded Democrat damnit, because those dumb-dumb Republicans can't come up with a vision beyond robbing the poor and cutting taxes on the 1%.' Rather, I'm trying to make an argument along these lines although no doubt much less skillfully. I'm also trying to leave an opening for people to tell me I'm misunderstanding the problem, that this is the vision being articulated by so-and-so and I've just never encountered it, or that I'm typical-minding half the country who don't respond to the same incentives I do. I've gotten precious little of the former, maybe half the replies are the latter, and half the comments make me think I'm right and reinforce my belief.

All I can offer is to do my utmost to give your perspective a fair shake.

I'm also trying to leave an opening for people to tell me I'm misunderstanding the problem, that this is the vision being articulated by so-and-so and I've just never encountered it, or that I'm typical-minding half the country who don't respond to the same incentives I do.

Would you take any such argument seriously? Because it's kinda hard to treat 'we're going to keep things the way they are/turn back the clock to the 1970s/1950s/1776!' from the guy who's gone whole-hog on "Do you want to drive over to my apartment and put a bullet in my head, or set off a bomb at my workplace?" as someone who would.

((Even for this specific case. It's not like libertarians and the Gray Tribe haven't had long arguments over the scope of 'dangerous' or dangerous public information!))

It's not like it's hard to find! There's a (not unreasonable!) reputation for libertarians specifically being seen as the exact class of people being skewered by the "world if X got their way" meme, where small or inconsequential policy changes are supposed to lead to tremendous unrelated benefits, but it's not like this is a thing limited to Reason. Even on the specific matter of the gender culture wars, it's not like the positive vision from social conservatives is something that requires a microscope to find, as much as I disagree with it.

Rather, I'm trying to make an argument along these lines although no doubt much less skillfully.

I'll note that this, likewise, doesn't look like an unusually Positive Vision -- indeed, even if Scott hides it, I'd argue it's more 'turn back the clock' than a lot of mainstream conservative ones! -- so much as a vision you don't disagree with. Which is part of why stamping out whether you actually want what you're asking for, rather than Policies You'd Like, is important as a first step.

((And, uh, your tendency to ghost.))

Would you take any such argument seriously?

Of course not, I'm just a mindless Pelosi-bot regurgitating whatever normie talking-points the NYT and George Soros tell me to.

Because it's kinda hard to treat 'we're going to keep things the way they are/turn back the clock to the 1970s/1950s/1776!' from the guy who's gone whole-hog on "Do you want to drive over to my apartment and put a bullet in my head, or set off a bomb at my workplace?" as someone who would.

I don't see why those two are incongruent. The spirit of '76 is practically synonymous with civil war/violent revolution/boogie boys in some parts.

As for the actual violent rhetoric, it seems to have quieted down a bit. Particularly here, but I also think in the broader political arena.

((Even for this specific case. It's not like libertarians and the Gray Tribe haven't had long arguments over the scope of 'dangerous' or dangerous public information!))

So, if I'm understanding correctly, you're upset at the drive-by about 'libertarians slinking away' from Musk when 90% of the post was about conservatives? Okay. For all my very limited criticism of libertarians, I think they do have a fairly grand vision for the future. A Randian utopia where personal freedoms allow the ubermensch to throw off their shackles and accomplish wonders. I don't see this much on the right these days; they seem to want just as much government regulation and interference as the left does.

I'll note that this, likewise, doesn't look like an unusually Positive Vision -- indeed, even if Scott hides it, I'd argue it's more 'turn back the clock' than a lot of mainstream conservative ones!

Hardly. I used that as an example of Scott giving commentary or advice to Republicans, not necessarily the object level arguments themselves. I'm trying to express that my intention wasn't to put down conservatives but rather to point out a real deficit in their platform, and that I think filling it in would benefit the entire country regardless of political affiliation. Perhaps my position in this community just precludes me from making that argument, or I just don't have the chops. Who knows.

((And, uh, your tendency to ghost.))

I'm sure you have some lovingly nursed examples ready-at-hand, but regardless, this one misses the mark. I've written a novella-sized series of replies to your previous objections, 2-3 novellas to FC, another few for professorgerm, others that I can't remember at the moment. When I get 10 replies to something I write I just physically can't give all 10 an effortpost, and if I did anything less, you'd be sitting there smugly accusing me of low-effort posting.

Other times, I find people offensive or off-putting enough that I leave the conversation rather than say something that would get me banned. As you already know, I'm not particularly intelligent; you should add thin-skinned and poor impulse control to your list, and laud me for knowing when to leave the conversation rather than writing something that would get me banned.

Of course not, I'm just a mindless Pelosi-bot regurgitating whatever normie talking-points the NYT and George Soros tell me to.

I get that this is intended as a self-deprecating joke, but it's the sort of joking-not-joking that reads like it's also yes.jpg.

The spirit of '76 is practically synonymous with civil war/violent revolution/boogie boys in some parts.

That's a bit of a weird contrast with the other examples, but ok.

So, if I'm understanding correctly, you're upset at the drive-by about 'libertarians slinking away' from Musk when 90% of the post was about conservatives? Okay. For all my very limited criticism of libertarians, I think they do have a fairly grand vision for the future.

No. My objections are that:

  • There are a number of Grand Positive Visions on the general 'right', with the libertarian ones being the most-generally-known and most-generally-critiqued. (And the Big Head Press comics are particularly goofy about it: the setting features sapient dolphins and apes partly for the gonzo effect, and partly because of course libertarians would recognize sapience, right?)

  • There's a lot of Grand Positive Visions from specifically social- or Trumpist conservatives, for better ( some of the saner socons even if I disagree with their policy goals, some of the economic conservatives) or worse (MAGA isn't just an acronym, David French, the obnoxious Common Good Conservativism). As I point out in one of the lines just after that aside, that "Even on the specific matter of the gender culture wars, it's not like the positive vision from social conservatives is something that requires a microscope to find, as much as I disagree with it."

  • If your critique is that these Grand Positive Visions aren't presented often in the Culture War Thread, it's probably worth considering if that's a result of the limitations of the medium.

  • Even within those limits of the medium, I don't think extrapolating from posters responding to a top-level comment clearly trying to evoke sympathy for their political enemies under norms they've never avowed is going to be a particularly good place to go hunting for examples of grand positive vision...

  • And I think that an emphasis you've selected -- "vibe you get" from "conservatives here", selected from the posts you read -- leaves far too many degrees of freedom. Not because I think WhiningCoil specifically spends a lot of wordcount on positive vision (even if you could steelman one), but because "They're supporting the downtrodden in society and giving them a chance to improve their lives. Contrary to the conflict theorists, it's neither arbitrary nor intended to make 'disfavored groups' suffer." becomes so wide you could drive a truck through it, in the same way that someone here on the right trying to turn the various 'waiting/hoping for cis white guys to die off' memes into some utter damnation of the progressive movement is missing a lot of what's happening.

I get that this is intended as a self-deprecating joke, but it's the sort of joking-not-joking that reads like it's also yes.jpg.

It's neither. This is either getting lost in the gaps between our cultures, or the speech-to-text nature of the internet so I'll be blunt. It's me saying you're being a jerk, and Go Away.

Remarkably, when I complain about SJWs my writing drastically improves, my arguments are unassailable and we're all great friends. If I'm writing about immigration, guns or other touchy subjects, you pop up with a list of standards that the majority of top-level posts, let alone replies, come nowhere near meeting. Yet you never seem particularly upset with much more inflammatory and low-effort right-wing takes.

I've tried to keep an open mind and I appreciate the breadth of your knowledge, but frankly, the criticism isn't constructive anymore (if it ever was) and I don't enjoy the back and forth at this point. Gonna have to do what I do and ghost after this.

There are a number of Grand Positive Visions on the general 'right', with the libertarian ones being the most-generally-known and most-generally-critiqued.

I'd argue that there were, but that times they have a'changed over the last 6 years. Trump was as profligate as the democrats and aligned more with them on i.e. covid relief welfare than his party to great acclaim from his base. The Tea Party is a joke, mostly revealed as a means to stymie Obama's legislative agenda rather than any real desire amongst conservatives to reduce spending. Libertarian and evangelical Christian ideals don't hold the same pull they once did, the Republican party is in flux, and a new vision has yet to emerge. Like...David French having a vision widespread among modern conservatives? The guy who writes in support of prosecuting Trump and how Trumpism has been a disaster for the American evangelical? When's the last time Breitbart or Fox News were meaningfully influenced by any of the ideologies you mentioned? I'm sure there are many Christians on the right, but to suggest that Christian morals is the animus of the modern conservative just isn't true anymore.

Even within those limits of the medium, I don't think extrapolating from posters responding to a top-level comment clearly trying to evoke sympathy for their political enemies under norms they've never avowed is going to be a particularly good place to go hunting for examples of grand positive vision...

Ah, yes, because my entire argument was based on that one comment thread. Speaking of limitations of that medium.

And I think that an emphasis you've selected -- "vibe you get" from "conservatives here", selected from the posts you read -- leaves far too many degrees of freedom.

I do that to 1) try and be less inflammatory because clearly it's a touchy subject and 2) because if I didn't couch my argument in 'I thinks' and 'vibes' you'd be ranting about how ridiculous it is that I have so much confidence in such a stupid argument with no citations. You'll be critical whichever choice I make short of just not writing anything, so why should I engage?

Not because I think WhiningCoil specifically spends a lot of wordcount on positive vision (even if you could steelman one)

He got 40 upvotes for saying that he has no morals anymore. I think we can drop the ridiculous charade that anyone is upvoting based on post quality rather than what they agree with, so it's frankly hilarious and pathetic that so many of you agree with that. And it's not even like that's the only example I could dig up! You're trying to avoid confronting that fact by prevaricating about the medium, or I'm looking in the wrong place, or scare quotes around 'vibes' and 'conservatives around here.'

More comments

... you're complaining about 'scare quotes' when I was literally pointing to your own words, in this very thread. Is the problem that I should have ignored the grammar problems and just taken the full "that's the vibe I get from most of the conservatives here" directly?

So be it.

It's me saying you're being a jerk, and Go Away.

As you wish.

Okay. For all my very limited criticism of libertarians, I think they do have a fairly grand vision for the future. A Randian utopia where personal freedoms allow the ubermensch to throw off their shackles and accomplish wonders.

There are two kinds of libertarian utopias.

One promises world of peace, freedom, prosperity and progress beyond our imagination, the other promises ... other things.

"Of course there will be no poverty and homelessness in libertarian society! All these problems are caused by socialism, true free market economy will create such universal abundance that even for few hours of lowest paid work you can afford to live like multi millionaires of today!"

"Of course there will be no poverty and homelessness in libertarian society, because all poor and homeless will be, hahaha, PHYSICALLY REMOVED! Where? Do not ask, if you do not want to join the ride!"

edit: link to web archive fixed

One promises world of peace, freedom, prosperity and progress beyond our imagination, the other promises ... other things.

Thanks! I'd never seen that comic before, I'll take a look.

"Of course there will be no poverty and homelessness in libertarian society, because all poor and homeless will be, hahaha, PHYSICALLY REMOVED! Where? Do not ask, if you do not want to join the ride!"

Interesting, I'm not sure I've ever come across this one.

The "physical removal" theme is unfortunately common among the Hans-Hermann Hoppe set.

((And, uh, your tendency to ghost.))

People should be able to leave conversations for any reason at all, including no reason. Posting is not a job. I don't think giving people flak for "ghosting" helps foster a healthy community.

I don't think people owe responses in the general case. I think situations like the post, where there is charitably only one response that pretends to minimally engage with the serious criticisms of a controversial top-level post, out of many that instead try to incorrectly nitpick or simply joke, however, are far more unhealthy.

(I'm assuming you're saying "ChrisPrattAlphaRaptr made a crappy post, people called ChrisPrattAlphaRaptr on it, and ChrisPrattAlphaRaptr didn't engage with them".) I think the sin there is making the crappy post, not failing to engage.

No, I don't think that post (or even this thread!) are crappy. I think they're controversial. Which isn't a sin: the last thing we need is a forum full of 'so controversial yet so brave' that's specifically not.

It's very specifically not supporting them, or bringing false support and then neither changing your mind nor finding better facts, that risk turning into unintentional self-weakman.

More comments

For the record, I wrote 30,000 some odd words about that post and related topics with gattsuru already, hence my frustration at being told I'm guilty of ghosting. I was banned for a day and then took a month or two off from writing anything on the sub after that.

I've since also written 30,000 odd words in multiple conversations with FCfromSSC that you could dig up if you're so inclined. I don't think the other two people I specifically called out would be particularly interested in doing the same, but if they really want to rehash it, I'm willing.

I often leave some replies un-replied-to because I can't think of anything good to say--which is technically within the theme of this forum, so.

((And, uh, your tendency to ghost.))

I've never known CPAR to ghost. Pretty sure I owe him a whole bunch of replies, and he owes me none.

I'm skeptical

I could make

I'm doubtful that

my comments

how careful I am.

If I truly

I would never

I delete

Maybe you'd like that

I suppose

if I got

replies like yours

I'd stop

I became

Think the flak is on target, personally.

Alright, thanks for the feedback.

More effort than this, please.

You're modeling the entire right here as a completely cynical enterprise with no goals beyond hurting their outgroup. I think perhaps you could make some sort of case for an individual, such as Elon himself, but to model the entire right that way is missing the point. And worse, it is inaccurate.

I think you're underestimating the sincerity of the believe that the right has, that ruin and destruction will come from the left gaining unchecked power. Be it the economic conservatives who think a command economy will result in famines and shortages, or the religious factions that tend to believe in literal divine retribution, the beliefs held are sincere.

Now, are there cynical and petty people on the right? Absolutely. There are. But, taking the most cynical interpretation of the right, and comparing it to the left's most noble intentions is not a fair starting point.

You're modeling the entire right here as a completely cynical enterprise with no goals beyond hurting their outgroup. I think perhaps you could make some sort of case for an individual, such as Elon himself, but to model the entire right that way is missing the point. And worse, it is inaccurate.

That's not it at all, although I can see how I communicated my point poorly. I don't think either side has any reasonable claim to moral superiority.

However, regardless of whether it's a better model of reality, the story the left tells itself for why it does what it does is much more compelling than what the right does. Particularly in these cases of 'tit for tat' where we're measuring winning or losing in who gets banned from a platform. Leftists wanted to deplatform people to avoid COVID misinformation to save lives. Elon wanted to stand for free speech until his ideals made contact with reality, and now he wants to deplatform people who fucked with his family. Maybe things will balance out, and it will turn into 'your rules but applied fairly' and all doxxers will get banned regardless of affiliation. But 'your rules applied fairly' is still not a particularly proactive or compelling vision for the future.

You could argue, with some merit I'm sure, that the greatest harm comes from the best intentions, and self-righteousness or believing too strongly in your cause is a great way for the left to coast down some slippery slopes towards making the world a worse place. But I'm not even convinced that the right cares about solving the same problems anymore. Is there a competing vision for dealing with homelessness, besides putting them on buses to San Francisco and New York? For drug use, besides being angry at PMCs/neoliberals/deep state traitors who sold out the country to China (maybe the law and order messaging? It's conspicuously absent in discussions about the opioid epidemic though). For social alienation, for assimilating immigrants, for spreading democracy in the world, for poverty? Please, if I'm ignorant fill me in, but to varying degrees I get the impression that these issues just aren't very salient to the right anymore. Nor can I discern any kind of cohesive messaging or worldview the way I can with Reagan or Obama.

Does the left care about solving these problems?

That's distinct from ideology, but I would hope so. Also a question that's impossible to answer without further defining 'solving' or 'trying to solve.'

The most progressive cities in the country have no solution to homelessness (maybe you'd say "at least they're trying," but SF's efforts do not look like they're trying to solve it so much as a bureaucracy trying to make sure everyone is able to skim a few dollars from the effort, in perpetuity

There are a large number of programs, which, as you've pointed out, don't seem particularly effective. And as you expected: at least they're trying.

The stories, though: Ruthless Shkreli wannabes jacking up meds prices, leading to mental breakdown and eviction! White supremacist patriarchy refuses to employ trans women of color, of course they have to work the streets! These people just need a helping hand to be productive members of society #latestagecapitalism

I don't profess to be an expert on homelessness, but I assume it won't be that easy.

The answer to drug use appears to be legalization and "freedom."

Legalization of less addictive substances. Probably methadone clinics, heavy investment in therapy/support groups for addicts, nationalized healthcare, etc for the heavy drugs. The ideology feels a bit lighter on this issue, but I'm not sure what people would say if you asked them.

The answer for social alienation? Crickets.

Probably true. I'm curious what people would answer if I asked them.

Assimilation is racism. Speaking of racism, is the left trying to fix that one or reinvent it?

Fix, by their definitions.

Spreading democracy is colonialism.

Depends. A righteous crusade to rescue trans, gay, women and people of color from the privileged classes probably wouldn't register as colonialism.

Frankly, yeah, "the right" sucks right now.

I'm not even trying to make a value judgment. I'm trying to make an argument that they need to think bigger, stop being reactionary and provide ideological explanations/solutions to problems in society.

When I think visions of the future, I think people like Dryden Brown and Justin Murphy. They have visions for the future; they are also, basically, nobodies.

Thanks for the recommendations!

"Believe in the righteousness of your cause, regardless of actual effects" is not exactly a glowing endorsement.

Well, of course they should do better at trying to actually trying to track down the effects of their policies. In their defense, a lot of these problems are fairly complex and intractable even for people who study it full-time.

What is their vision of the future? Does it make any sense? I have no clue what their vision for the future is. Maybe the Democrats have a vision for the next five minutes, they have a vision for the resistance or the revolution, but that's not comes to my mind when I think of a vision for the future.

Perhaps 'the future' is the wrong concept to use. It's fairly rooted in and focused on the problems of the present, more so than the utopians dreaming of metropolises on Mars.

(Maybe had a boring Friday?)

Occam's razor would suggest that I'm a loser eating cheetos in my mom's basement, arguing on the internet in between World of Warcraft raids.

Maybe sanity (like your clinics and therapy) can win out in other places, but the way ever progressive move slides towards Berkeleyism doesn’t give me hope for that.

Oh, uh, I definitely wouldn't call it my approach or particularly effective. The block hosting the methadone clinic at my alma mater had the worst reputation on campus and was always a mess. Then again, who knows what the counterfactual would be like?

I've only driven through San Francisco once so you would know better than me.

I’m going to keep picking at this, because I think asked a good question but your defenses of the left are so “damning with faint praise” that I’m still not sure exactly what you’re expecting to find.

“Tell a compelling story, regardless of reality” and “fix, by their definitions” is surprisingly effective for modern progressives, completely horrifying, and a cheer for nonsensical propaganda. I don’t think that’s actually what you want from the right or from a competing utopian vision.

You likely won't find much of substance after scratching the surface, I'm afraid. I identify with the left because they speak to the problems I care about; if someone had a realistic alternative that was more effective without committing atrocities (i.e. gassing the homeless to clean up the streets) I'd be on board. If rationalism could actually proselytize to the masses to focus more on data and results, we might get somewhere. Like, you say you care about black homeownership? How do you not know that it's largely unchanged in 50 years despite all the policies we've tried? Maybe we shouldn't hold such strong opinions about things we haven't seriously researched in any meaningful capacity...

“Tell a compelling story, regardless of reality” and “fix, by their definitions” is surprisingly effective for modern progressives, completely horrifying, and a cheer for nonsensical propaganda. I don’t think that’s actually what you want from the right or from a competing utopian vision.

Good, bad, it seems like reality, no? Many people are rabidly woke. People want to do the right thing, people want to feel good about themselves and many need ideology as a part of that identity. I'd like us to all have a nice dispassionate discussion about how to run society led by the relevant technocrats who haven't been captured by one interest or another, but that isn't the world we live in - and many problems are big and complex enough that even the people who study them 24/7 don't know the answer.

That being said, I don't think the liberal project has been a failure on every count. Poverty is down. Global poverty and death/disability from many preventable diseases is way down. 20 million fewer uninsured Americans from 15 years ago. Broad social acceptance of interracial and same-sex marriage. Sometimes you tell a compelling story and the world is a better place. Sometimes, you tell a compelling story that diverges from reality and you bonk your head against the wall for a decade or two before society finally lumbers back to the drawing board.

Really elaborating on my views would take a longer post than this.

then I’ll assume you’re an accelerationist.

Quite the opposite, I'm afraid. Although Kendi doesn't get my goat the way it does many people here - I'm not sure I agree with his worldview, but it's certainly an interesting one that makes me question how far I'd be willing to go for equality. I strongly support affirmative action and even quotas for some positions (largely political), but I'm not interested in Harrison Bergeroning society into homogeneity. Many of the quotes that do circulate (I mostly remember the 'white people are literally aliens' one) are cherry-picked to generate ridicule and outrage.

Don't think I've read the other authors.

Redefining evil as good, and telling a good story about it, should not be our goal.

Agreed.

Progressives have been able to tell themselves what is apparently a convincing story on racism, that it can only be answered by EVEN MORE RACISM- this has, to date, spawned a bunch of grifters, an increased murder rate, and more misery for everyone, making the world worse for everyone that’s not profiting from the grift. You can call it “at least they’re trying” if you want, but that just sounds like an action bias; their “trying” is actively counterproductive.

The failures are what gets highlighted, because we're American and our failure mode is to bitch about every single thing the government and opposition do endlessly (as opposed to China whose failure mode is the global times assuring me everything is fantastic until the day there's no food on the shelves and the condo I paid for is never going to be built). As I've said, I don't think it's all been negative. As for the actual, undeniable failures like the mess of a crime rate or vaccines ending the pandemic, I think they'll collapse under their own weight - as they should! Just always more slowly than I'd predict, the way I thought everyone would give up on mask mandates and lockdowns after widespread vaccination in summer of 2021.

And of course, some failures whose causes aren't so tightly connected to their consequences will slip through the cracks to plague us for decades to come. Such is life.

More comments

As for the actual, undeniable failures like the mess of a crime rate or vaccines ending the pandemic, I think they'll collapse under their own weight - as they should! Just always more slowly than I'd predict

Hi! Can you please stop radicalizing me in the direction of violent extremism? Thanks!

More comments

The stories, though: Ruthless Shkreli wannabes jacking up meds prices, leading to mental breakdown and eviction! White supremacist patriarchy refuses to employ trans women of color, of course they have to work the streets! These people just need a helping hand to be productive members of society #latestagecapitalism

You're correct to call them "stories," and right now the left seems to care a lot more about allegiance to its stories about the world than whether or not acting on the basis of those stories actually brings about the results they profess to care about.

The answer to drug use appears to be legalization and "freedom."

The war on drugs has been an unmitigated disaster, the amount of money spent chasing weed farmers and purveyors of psychedelics as if they were the same as heroin producers is insane. Legalizing and regulating the production and sale of illegal drugs would solve a whole lot of problems. Junkies do suck though, and some drugs are legitimately dangerous, so i can't get on board with universal drug legalization, but we have a long way to go before being too permissive becomes remotely concerning.

The answer for social alienation

this isn't the government's job, and as far as i can tell the right's prescription to the problem is to go to church. this doesn't work well for a country with a very large and growing atheist population.

Assimilation is racism

don't confuse the progressive avant garde for the platform dem position. 20 bucks says if you ask joe biden if assimilation is racism he will say no.

Spreading democracy is colonialism

same here, but i'm actually a bit more sympathetic to this one. Democracy is great, but if some other country wants to be a monarchy or whatever, how would you describe strong arming them to do otherwise?

my mental model of "the left"

"the left" is not a political party, but a diaspora of actual politicians and activists and twitter users etc. By and large the more zealous progressives have very little actual political cache, and garner far more twitter likes than votes.

As for wether the left wants things solved, i'm sure that having every dem-proposed initiative that makes it to congress get tanked on arrival might have something to do with the image of dems not getting shit done.

However, regardless of whether it's a better model of reality, the story the left tells itself for why it does what it does is much more compelling than what the right does. Particularly in these cases of 'tit for tat' where we're measuring winning or losing in who gets banned from a platform. Leftists wanted to deplatform people to avoid COVID misinformation to save lives. Elon wanted to stand for free speech until his ideals made contact with reality, and now he wants to deplatform people who fucked with his family.

This just shows the tribal differences in viewpoint. The way I see it, retribution against people who threatened your family is a much worthier goal than any anti-misinformation or generally stochastic, society-wide aim. I'd wager at least a third of the nation feels the same way.

You're modeling the entire right here as a completely cynical enterprise with no goals beyond hurting their outgroup.

With two word changes, I think he'd be correct, though: "no unified goals beyond stopping their outgroup."

I'll give you that one, the right does not seem to be a single cohesive group at the moment.

Except on the point of stopping the left, where it is extremely unified.

I'd welcome any thoughts people might have on what that might be.

Something along the lines of Trump's "Make America Great Again" but more concrete and effective.

1: Small businesses. Make it way easier to start and run a small business. Slash regulations, maybe taxes too. Take like half the forms and policies and regulations that businesses have to do and either remove them or make them only apply to businesses over a certain size. Make harsher anti-monopoly anti-corruption laws or just enforce existing ones more harshly on large businesses. The American dream isn't that one day you might be a wageslave to a megacorp, it's that you can make it big by your own hard work. Freedom and perseverance and all that. This also will help the balance of power between labor and corporations, more small businesses means more competition for megacorps trying to convince employees to work for them, and a more credible threat that an underpaid employee can just quit as start their own business.

2: Infrastructure. Build fancy buildings and cities and parks and bridges and highways. A modern first world train system would be nice. Cut the cost disease, be less wasteful, and do great things. Create employment for working class people who build stuff, and probably bring some manufacturing jobs back.

Elon Musk seems remarkably well-suited towards being a figurehead or inspiration or actually in charge of parts of the above points. He's good at taking things that everyone has been doing poorly, like space travel or electric cars or internet, things which everyone knows could be better but for some reason aren't, and actually doing it better. And, importantly, these can be part of inspiring utopian visions about the future, not the past. The internet allows for new decentralized employment like Uber or Airbnb, maybe self-employed tradesmen could use similar things to be plumbers or electricians or something, and maybe weird crypto stuff could allow workers and customers to coordinate without some large corporation pulling the strings and leeching the profits. And fancy new technology makes building fancy new infrastructure possible.

3: Family/Community. This one is largely a return to the past, but part of the point of the right is that you don't destroy things just because they're old, you keep the good stuff. The leftist future is one in which you are either an individual who can do whatever you want and cut people's throats to get ahead, or you are a member of a collective group determined by your sex/race/orientation determined by your birth. The rightist future is one in which family and neighbors are bond together by shared traditions, cultures, and mutual duties to each other. You don't just pack up and move to another city abandoning your friends and family every four years even if it would maximize your career trajectory. You are loyal and act with honor even when it goes against your self-interest, because you actually care about the people around you, and they care about you. Also, I think there is potential for this to go in future directions, as telecommunications, and the easier work-from-home meta caused by Covid allows for increased career opportunities for people who stay in their small hometowns with their extended families.

Republicans are too busy playing defense against the Democrats to build such a utopian vision, and too afraid of being cancelled to shrug off accusations of "-isms" and stick to their own vision of moral goodness. And most of the voters are too uneducated and unambitious to demand such a utopian vision, or to demand honor and loyalty from their own politicians. And the Democrats have been crying wolf against Republicans for so long that all such accusations are now ignored by Republican voters, allowing some actual wolves to mingle among them unnoticed. It's a mess, and I'm almost as upset at the Republicans as I am at the Democrats for ruining the country. But at least theoretically a utopian right wing vision of the future is possible and would be inspiring to people to vote for and genuinely good if accomplished.

Take like half the forms and policies and regulations that businesses have to do and either remove them or make them only apply to businesses over a certain size.

This is already true. There's a huge cliff at 50 employees, and a few lesser ones lower down.

Infrastructure. Build fancy buildings and cities and parks and bridges and highways. A modern first world train system would be nice. Cut the cost disease, be less wasteful, and do great things. Create employment for working class people who build stuff, and probably bring some manufacturing jobs back.

Passenger trains are for leftists; the American right drives. As for the rest of it, the reason for that cost disease is largely public-sector unions and their cozy relationship with politicians, and you can't break them without losing the working class.

The rightist future is one in which family and neighbors are bond together by shared traditions, cultures, and mutual duties to each other.

And nobody wants that except the old people who want to be able to set those traditions and duties. This is why conservatism can never really attract the young. You can make it sound appealing in campaign literature but it's really totalitarian gerontocracy of the worst kind.

And nobody wants that except the old people who want to be able to set those traditions and duties. This is why conservatism can never really attract the young.

I don’t think this is the case. In my experience the trad right is mostly young, pushing back against older conservatives who are economically right-wing but socially liberal. The traditions in question are also more likely to be those of dead ancestors than current elders, and in practice there’s nothing preventing the young from interpreting those as they please.

In short, I think conservatism in the sense of keep-doing-what-we’re-doing-now skews elderly but RETVRN style rightism is inherently riskier and relies on youthful zealotry.

The online trad-right is just play-acting at conservatism. They like the aesthetic (or the aesthetic they've invented for it, anyway), but they're not actually practicing the substance.

As I understand it, we’re talking about whether such ideas can appeal to groups other than old people. I would say the existence of the online trad-right is proof that they can.

Moving on to the substance, you’re largely correct. To get personal, I’m currently working far from home, I’m not married, I don’t manage to go to church very often, etc. This bothers me.

I would say that the core insight of the trad right is that modern society inherently conspires against living a good life.

  • You can’t keep a sense of community if everyone half-intelligent has to choose between leaving home or committing career suicide.

  • It’s hard to marry when many jobs are effectively gender-segregated and most romance takes place on the Tinder meat market.

  • If you do, you have to choose between being childless, working long hours to afford childcare, and career suicide for at least one parent.

  • Et cetera.

Now, you may feel that this is all whining but the reality is that even if driven individuals can push back against this stuff, it’s too hard for most of us to swim against the current. I think the stars re: loneliness, celibacy bear this out.

In short, I predict that if we do see a return to trad conservatism (which frankly I doubt) there will be a generational gap where trad ideas are popular but the necessary reforms and innovations aren’t yet there for the majority to live according to those ideals.

This is mostly shooting in the dark, though. I would be interested in discussing previous successful traditionalist movements - I have a hunch that the Meiji Restoration is one, and the Great Awakening in America might be another.

I have to point out that the Meijj Restoration wasn't at all a conservative movement, but the exact opposite, where the Imperial government was embracing Western and modern influences and destroying much of the traditional social structure of Japan. The fact it "restored" power to the Emperor instead of the Shogun and Daimyos really doesn't make it conservative.

As I understand it, we’re talking about whether such ideas can appeal to groups other than old people. I would say the existence of the online trad-right is proof that they can.

My claim is the ideas as fully fleshed-out do not actually appeal to the online trad-right; rather, the online trad-right likes the aesthetic associated with them and has not really considered the consequences.

You can’t keep a sense of community if everyone half-intelligent has to choose between leaving home or committing career suicide.

Traditional conservativism does not solve this problem; it simply makes the choice of "career suicide"

It’s hard to marry when many jobs are effectively gender-segregated and most romance takes place on the Tinder meat market.

Traditional conservatism keeps the jobs gender-segregated; you (assuming you're male) marry a girl from your community (school, church, etc). This does solve the problem, though not for the online right: it only works if you actually grew up in a traditional community and married a girl there.

If you do, you have to choose between being childless, working long hours to afford childcare, and career suicide for at least one parent.

Traditional conservatism also does not solve this problem; it simply chooses "career suicide for the woman".

And nobody wants that except the old people who want to be able to set those traditions and duties. This is why conservatism can never really attract the young.

You make good points, but I actually think we're seeing a (small) shift here, that could be expanded upon by the right leaders and messaging.

All the hip young professionals I know fled the cities during COVID, started having families, and took up gardening and canning peppers and shit. And they all secretly love living in red/purple suburbs where they dont have to deal with homeless encampments. And they're all secretly terrified of what the public schools are going to do to their kids. They're practically Republicans already, they just don't want to admit it because they think the brand's so toxic.

All those hip young professionals will vote for politicians who make those places worse. They may like suburban living (which is not the same as traditional conservatism; it's the liberalism of the post-WWII generation, and almost as atomized as cities. What holds suburbs together is families with children, but actually forming families there is difficult), but they know in their lefty-educated bones that it's immoral and terrible and they'll work to destroy it.

More accurately, everyone wants the ends - the society that would exist that way but almost every erosion that progressives put through was individually popular.

"Cut cost disease" is exactly the same as "get rid of public sector feather bedding" AND "get rid of 'reasonable environment protections'" AND "get rid of simple rules to ensure justice in hiring", etc.

Ultimately it's a case that the framework of rules that progressives push for that is somewhat popular simply because it permeates all society is "everything must be approved of by a committee using lots of words to ensure fairness". None of it changes without a cultural change and it takes something pretty extreme to change a culture that way.

The leftist future is one in which you are either an individual who can do whatever you want and cut people's throats to get ahead, or you are a member of a collective group determined by your sex/race/orientation determined by your birth. The rightist future is one in which family and neighbors are bond together by shared traditions, cultures, and mutual duties to each other.

Since when is there no such thing as a libright?

When the left deplatforms someone, they genuinely believe (rightly or wrongly) that they're righteously fighting racism/inequality/injustice. They're saving lives from COVID. They're supporting the downtrodden in society and giving them a chance to improve their lives.

Oh ditch the fucking halo, it doesn't fit.

Most of the time the facts behind racism claims don't bear out, like when asked to estimate the amount of unarmed black men they will wildly overestimate. They defend career criminals and violent recidivists purely on tribal allegiance to skin colour. Lab leak? Hunter laptop? Vaccine efficacy? The "misinformation" turned out to be closer to the truth all along in every case. And with masks the Powers That Be initially claimed they didn't work and nobody needed them before harsh-reversing course and mandating them! Were any of these errors ever acknowledged and apologised for? Were they fuck.

When Elon (or some figure on the right) deplatforms someone, 1) best case, he's having to grapple with the realities that many people said he would (thus the smugness) or 2) worst case, he's being driven by petty personal or 'own the libs' revanchism.

What if owning the libs is, in itself, a moral good? What if you see these people leading us down the path of speech authoritarianism, transing of children, diversity quotas, quality of life selfdestruction in the name of the climate gods, cultural suicide, race to the bottom globalist economics and paedophilia apologia, and simply think that stopping or impeding them is the single greatest good you can do in the world right now? We have to stop things getting worse before they get better. If someone is destroying your sandcastles, you need to stop him before you can rebuild. This much seems incredibly obvious.

Most of the time the facts behind racism claims don't bear out, like when asked to estimate the amount of unarmed black men they will wildly overestimate.

You're missing the point because you're too focused on waging the culture war and winning object level arguments about how bad the outgroup is. All of those things could be true and still orthogonal to the point I'm making.

What if owning the libs is, in itself, a moral good? What if you see these people leading us down the path of speech authoritarianism, transing of children, diversity quotas, quality of life selfdestruction in the name of the climate gods, cultural suicide, race to the bottom globalist economics and paedophilia apologia, and simply think that stopping or impeding them is the single greatest good you can do in the world right now?

Yes! Much closer.

You're missing the point because you're too focused on waging the culture war and winning object level arguments about how bad the outgroup is. All of those things could be true and still orthogonal to the point I'm making.

I don't think they're orthogonal at all. If your animating principles are derived from lies and misinformation, they're not worthy of respect. If verifiable reality contradicts your beliefs, your beliefs are simply wrong. If you don't even know the underlying statistical reality beneath your own beliefs, I have trouble calling your beliefs sincere. If you felt that strongly about it, wouldn't you know the truth? But it seems not.

I really, really don't care if the crazy guy in the street genuinely, truly, sincerely believes that the Blue Men who live in the TV will murder his daughter if he doesn't provide them a blood sacrifice, if the fact is that he's waving a knife at passers-by. However real it is to him doesn't matter at all.

People here tend to be overly literal, so you get arguments of "well, they're not lying".

There's some equivalent of "reckless disregard for the truth" that should apply. Someone who doesn't check facts, doesn't understand when purported facts look suspicious, and engages in motivated reasoning such that he doesn't look closely at facts that seem to support him, is sincere. He's not lying. But morally, willful blindness is pretty close to lying.

If your animating principles are derived from lies and misinformation, they're not worthy of respect. If verifiable reality contradicts your beliefs, your beliefs are simply wrong. If you don't even know the underlying statistical reality beneath your own beliefs, I have trouble calling your beliefs sincere. If you felt that strongly about it, wouldn't you know the truth?

This line of reasoning can be found on any number of /r/politics posts about the conservative talking points you gave in your earlier post in this thread. "My ideological opponents are lying / tricked by misinformation" isn't exactly an uncommon belief in the Culture War. And we frequently have discussions in this thread arguing over the object level truths of most, if not all, of the claims you list.

But there's still a difference between claiming the moral high ground and being wrong and just straight-up claiming the moral low ground, which, uh, isn't a phrase because it's not something that people usually (ever?) do. I think @Chrisprattalpharaptr is observing the Elon Musk appears to be doing the latter and wants to know what is going on (or what he's missing?) and how this fits into the stories the right tells itself about free speech and their ideology in general.

You appear to have proposed the principle that the left's ideas are harmful and reducing their spread as much as possible is good to reduce the harm they can cause. Which seems like a coherent principle to me even if we disagree on the object level facts.

Oh ditch the fucking halo, it doesn't fit.

There are a lot of people here arguing "My side is sincere, your side is all unprincipled conflict theorists," but this post stands out for its naked belligerence and culture warring.

If you're saying things about your outgroup that you would consider inflammatory and unjustified if they said it about you, then you are not making rational arguments, you are booing.

Hello,

Have you perchance read the post I am replying to?

Thanks.

Yes, I did. Now read and take heed of my warning.

You know, I think you're usually more even-handed than most (or at least seem to make an effort)

Thanks.

but that is an utterly preposterous claim completely unsupported by evidence.

It's a claim about the story they tell themselves, not an actual evaluation of their character.

You're correct that there are people on the fringe who are irredeemably toxic people who just want Republicans to suffer. I think there's a much larger cohort in the middle who can be toxic at times, but justify it to themselves with the rationale I laid out above. And some smaller cohort of idealists who actually try and live up to their principles. I think this dynamic is probably also reflected on the right.

But what I also see is the near hegemony of 'woke thought' or left-leaning answers to social problems. The right would say this is due to censorship, biased media, the deep state, etc and there's certainly some grain of truth to that. But I think it goes deeper than that - I don't think the right currently has a cohesive ideological framework (at least that I can articulate or grasp) for dealing with society's ills in the same way that Reagan did (cut taxes/regulation, business does great and the lower strata of society will prosper along with everyone else) or that woke people do (patriarchal white supremacist ableist society needs to be checked for the lower strata to prosper).

Do you think that's fairer, or still off the mark?

I don't think the right currently has a cohesive ideological framework (at least that I can articulate or grasp) for dealing with society's ills

There absolutely is one: "Stop the left from transing your kids, burning down city centers in the name of low-life criminals, pretending it's still 1965 for blacks and using it as an excuse to discriminate against whites, outlawing the internal combustion engine, and generally screwing everything up for everyone."

Whether or not that's TRUE is a separate question. But that is absolutely a cohesive (if minimalist) ideological framework.

Is it cohesive? It strikes me as an ad hoc, reactive stance against perceived Democratic policies. To illustrate, let me invert it:

Stop the right from torturing trans kinds, covering for police brutality, ignoring and perpetuating racism against black people, ignoring the looming climate crisis, and generally trashing the country out of reactionary spite.

Whether or not it's a fair assessment is beside the point - it is very much not a cohesive framework. It might descend from one, but as articulated it's just "we're against things our opponents are for". The only unifying theme is that whatever the right does is bad.

I see your point, but I disagree. The idea that "things would be fine if only [outgroup] would stop messing everything up" is cohesive; it provides an explanation for why things are not good. It's not maximally cohesive, because it does not go on to define what "good" is. However, leaving "good" undefined actually leaves room for anyone who is not with or akin to [outgroup] to have their own view of the good, which is both politically advantageous (allows for a big tent with a lot of policy variation), and moral (it maximizes liberty and freedom for [ingroup]). So it's not surprising that it's a schelling point for political organization.

But I think it goes deeper than that - I don't think the right currently has a cohesive ideological framework (at least that I can articulate or grasp) for dealing with society's ills in the same way that Reagan did (cut taxes/regulation, business does great and the lower strata of society will prosper along with everyone else) or that woke people do (patriarchal white supremacist ableist society needs to be checked for the lower strata to prosper).

Do you think that's fairer, or still off the mark?

That's fair from my perspective but it's also necessary due to the asymmetry between the left and right.

The left is the side of "do something [that just so happens to make the problem it's claimed to solve worse and enriches my team and hurts my enemies] then never look at the results of that something but use the failure as evidence that the problem was not enough progressivism".

It can and does work piecemeal (even if you think my above description is "uncharitable") - you can support "more money for better teacher pay" and "more enforcement of diversity quotas in employment" and "more money for addict services" and etc. because each of those is ultimately a parasitic drain on private society - parasites are only in competition if the host is terminal.

On the other hand, the right has to come up a positive vision of what society should be and how it should be ordered - can't have a monarchy and some kind of restored republic so the only thing the right can agree on is that the left has to be stopped from doing more things.

When Elon (or some figure on the right) deplatforms someone, 1) best case, he's having to grapple with the realities that many people said he would (thus the smugness) or 2) worst case, he's being driven by petty personal or 'own the libs' revanchism.

Or (3) righteously toppling a would-be tin-pot tyrant who had a (metaphorical) boot on their necks. Jussayin' there's far more than two ways to characterize this, and I recommend being cautious when speaking to someone else's internal state and motivation.

They miss the fact that really winning, and not just eking out a transitory term in the white house, requires articulating a vision for the future that wins the hearts and minds of the people.

Many (initially) successful revolutions started with no unified positive vision except "the status quo is intolerable." And few groups manage to implement their vision in the event anyway.

Or (3) righteously toppling a would-be tin-pot tyrant who had a (metaphorical) boot on their necks.

I think it's more likely to be a Straussian conjugation of (2).

I recommend being cautious when speaking to someone else's internal state and motivation.

True, I try to be mindful that I'm typical-minding conservatives.

Many (initially) successful revolutions started with no unified positive vision except "the status quo is intolerable." And few groups manage to implement their vision in the event anyway.

When the boog boys are kicking my door down I'll die yelling about how their reactionary vision is inadequate to win popular support.

There's plenty of room to articulate a vision for the future that is better than what democrats have to offer. I wish someone would try, and we could see two visions of utopia competing for popular support rather than the depressing political morass we've been languishing in for the last decade.

I think maybe left type people misunderstand right type people's vision for the future. The idea isn't that things shouldn't get better, it's that things are already getting better on their own, capitalism and investment are making all of society more wealthy and we need to avoid killing the golden goose responsible. Tomorrow will be better than today just implicitly so long as we don't do some foolish nonsense like destroy the whole system in a frenzied desire to make sure wealth is equally distributed among the different hair colors or dismantling our industrial base because it offends people that those who invested critical dollars early get the biggest return.

To conservatives progress is sound investment and carefully maintained stability for that investment to grow. Like a carefully planted garden. And to conservatives much of the progressive proposals are of the "Brondo has what plants crave" variety. Conservatives see themselves are pleading with angry short sighted people to leave the plants alone, it's better to eat the fruits than the seeds.

Just so you know it's Brawndo*. Good reference though.

Definitely the biggest W for the right since Trump. If Elon can succeed in bringing "the press are regime shills, institutions are all controlled by progressives, progressives only care about who/whom" to the mainstream, then a lot of the hard work is done. All these institutions have going for them is credibility. Once it's gone, it doesn't come back.

How is this a W? What part of banning liberal journalists is a W? Was their credibility somehow based on not getting banned from Twitter?

When someone high-status like Elon Musk tweets "That is because The New York Times has become, for all intents and purposes, an unregistered lobbying firm for far left politicians," it hurts their credibility.

No, it hurts Musk's credibility. The NYTs credibility is unassailable.

To echo what I said to @pointsandcorsi, I an amused by the implication that the NYT has credibility to assail.

I think it illustrates how different our worlds are, you're always here acting like "Epstien didn't kill himself" and "the NYT are a bunch of partisan hacks" are whacky, out-there, Alex Jones-tier takes when in my experience they are the popular consensus. I know you live in Manhattan but every time you make one of these comments I find myself biting back the urge to ask if you've actually met anyone who isn't a registered democrat or under the age of 70?

The NYT has credibility because they are among the definers of credibility. The truth doesn't matter; if you go against the NYT you're automatically wrong, among anyone who counts. Think of it like the BATF and machine guns. Sure, you know that a shoelace isn't a machine gun and I know a shoelace isn't a machine gun, but if the BATF says a shoelace is a machine gun it is, and anyone with a shoelace is liable for prosecution. And the prosecutors will prosecute and the judge will go along and so will the higher courts and no amount of pointing out that it's a shoelace will save you from jail time. And to add insult to injury, if and when all this commences, all those law-n-order conservatives who agreed that indeed a shoelace was not a machine gun will say "Well, what did you expect? You knew a shoelace was a machine gun, BATF said so." They don't actually believe a shoelace is a machine gun, but they believe in institutions and the institutions said it was.

Same with the NYT. What they say is truth will be taken as truth, by anyone who matters. Even if it's patently ridiculous.

And the prosecutors will prosecute and the judge will go along and so will the higher courts and no amount of pointing out that it's a shoelace will save you from jail time. And to add insult to injury, if and when all this commences, all those law-n-order conservatives who agreed that indeed a shoelace was not a machine gun will say "Well, what did you expect? You knew a shoelace was a machine gun, BATF said so."

Somehow I suspect that it is hyperbole and not what you actually believe, but I am not really sure.

Why? He doesn't seem to be saying anything unreasonable.

More comments
More comments

If that were actually true, then nobody would doubt the credibility of the NYT. But there are plenty who used to find them credible and no longer do. Whether Musk will cause more people to lose credence in the NYT remains to be seen, of course, but their credibility most certainly is not unassailable.

There are people who will tell you on a survey they doubt the credibility of the NYT. The next day they'll be credulously repeating whatever it is they read in the NYT and sneering at "Faux News".

Are you seriously asserting that nobody doubts the credibility of the NYT, or that they have not caused at least some people to lose trust in them?

Nobody who is anyone doubts the credibility of the NYT (obviously "deplorables" or "MAGA republicans" do), and the NYT (and mainstream media in general) has gained trust over the past few years even as they've gone more off the rails. For some reason COVID got everyone who was wavering back in the fold and then some.

More comments

The problem is the right has been completely unable to actually create a right-wing alternate to the NYT because there is no audience for that among the Right - it's all DailyWire/Brietbart pushing out the sensational stuff or the day or it's money-losing magazines being propped up by rich donors. There is the WSJ, but it seems unwilling to move beyond its place focusing on business news.

The actual problem is 90% of what the NYT is reliably truthful, even to an ardent right-winger.

I suspect actually that the right has been unable to create a right-wing equivalent of the NYT because that sort of centralized top-down narrative setting is a holdover from an earlier era. The natural means of narrative formation and spread today is social media. Traditionally structured media outlets can't hope to produce narratives as memetically fit as those honed on Twitter, so largely just write sensationalist stories built on top of those. It's not just the right; this describes younger media outlets on the left as well. Even the NYT itself is not immune to this. One now regularly sees echos of Twitter discourse in is coverage.

(All of this is why establishment journalists were so eager to place themselves or their ideological allies in positions that allowed them to influence what ideas could spread on social media, via "trust & safety" councils, official labeling of "misinformation," etc. and why many seem to be practically unraveling in response to Musk getting rid of these things.)