NꙮW WITH MꙮRE MULTIꙮCULAR ꙮ

Empire/Forest Fire

So apparently the way to win a certain measure of internet celebrity is to write a seventy-five page document full of graphs and citations criticizing an extremely fringe political philosophy nearly nobody has ever heard of. Huh.

I have updated the Anti-Reactionary FAQ a very small amount, mostly by linking to people’s responses to it at the end. In the more distant future I may have time to rebut all of these responses in detail. I certainly want to examine some of what Moldbug said on Friday in more detail as I think he has an overly rosy view of democracy (did I just say that? yes I did! more when I have time to explain fully)

But today’s victims honorable debating partners are Bryce of Anarcho-Papist, with The Theory of Demotist Singularity and Jim from Jim’s Blog, with the very similar Anti-Anti Reactionary FAQ Part 4: Ever-Leftwards Movement. Both describe a purported effect called the “left singularity” – Bryce very formally with citations scattered throughout, Jim in such spectacular Insane Moonbat mode that spittle may shoot from your computer when you load the page.

What is the “left singularity”? According to Jim:

Every [past] leftwards movement has become ever more extreme, moved leftwards ever faster, eventually resulting in crisis, usually a bloody and disastrous crisis. The reason that leftists of anglosphere puritan origin rule the world is in large part because all the other left wing movements self destructed horribly, leaving Anglosphere leftists of puritan origin the last power standing.

I can confidently predict the collapse of leftism, but alas, not that the saints get to win. It sometimes happens that reactionaries take over after the crisis, and all is peace and order, but the more usual outcome is outside invaders take over, sometimes genocidally, or pirates and brigands take over, and slowly over centuries the brigands transition to being feudal lords.

A reactionary victory is possible. Strange things are apt to happen as history approaches a left singularity. White autogenocide is also possible, in which first all white heterosexual males are murdered, largely by each other, then all whites are murdered (Jews discovering to their great shock and surprise that they are white after all), all heterosexuals are murdered, and all males are murdered, then anyone insufficiently leftist is murdered, then the bar for being sufficiently leftist is raised, and raised again, until some of the remaining leftists wise up and murder everyone who is excessively leftist, thus ending the crisis.

Bryce is calmer, more lucid, and has more interesting arguments – but his theory isn’t that much different:

Democracy is not a politically neutral form of government. In the generation of its activity, it systematically favors leftist reforms to social institutions… Endless change in one direction is simply impossible to sustain… An ongoing breakdown of [social] institutions simultaneously creates the conditions ripe for political profit due to reform, creating a feedback of Leftism which erodes all hierarchies and social networks which are the literal constituents of society…“Singularity” is a point at which [these] phenomena fail to be explainable. As demotism tends inevitably to the left, and accelerates the left, it may very well destroy every last social network and hierarchy on its way down, burning up all available social capital and leaving no survivors. Worst case scenario short of complete annihilation, man is returned to the stone age.

In the past when I have talked to Reactionaries, they usually link this idea with some of the great leftist reigns of terror, like those of Mao or Robespierre (surprisingly, Jim interprets Stalin as acting correctly to prevent a leftist reign of terror, but others throw him in as well).

I would like to argue against this idea of left singularity. But first, a different question – do overgrowth of dry brush, and careless smokers discarding lit cigarettes, prevent forest fires?

It would appear that overgrowth of dry brush and careless smokers discarding lit cigarettes prevent forest fires. After all, park rangers examining national parks that are not on fire often report seeing careless smokers discarding lit cigarettes. But park rangers examining national parks that are currently on fire almost never see careless smokers discarding lit cigarettes, or for that matter any smokers at all. Likewise, park rangers examining national parks that are not on fire, and where there have been no fires for a very long time, often report overgrowth of dry brush. But park rangers examining national parks that are currently on fire, or have very recently had a fire, report seeing almost no dry brush at all. Although correlation is not always causation, it certainly looks suspicious that parks with careless smokers and dry brush are practically never on fire and have usually been fire-free for a very long time, while their smokerless and brushless counterparts are often on fire at that very moment, or have had fires in the very recent past. Until we have better information, we should conclude that brush and smoking are strong protective factors.

What might we say to a park ranger who reasoned this way? Something like “in order to tease out causes, we can’t just look at conditions during the event in question – which are likely effects rather than causes – we need to look at the conditions present before the event.” Once the National Park Service started analyzing fires at time T by observing the conditions at time T-1, they would pretty quickly discover that overgrowth of dry brush and presence of careless smokers cause forest fires, rather than preventing them.

Okay, back to left singularities. Strong oppressive monarchies prevent reigns of terror. We know this because at the exact time a reign of terror is going on, the government isn’t a oppressive monarchy. Hmmmmmm.

What nations are most lauded by the Reactionaries as examples of the system they want to emulate? Bourbon France. Czarist Russia. Imperial China. And of course Austria-Hungary.

What reigns of terror are most condemned by the Reactionaries as examples of the excesses of Progressivism? The French Revolution. The Russian Revolution. Mao’s Great Leap Forward. And coming in honorable mention is Hitler, whom they don’t talk about much because he’s hard to peg as leftist, but who counts as a reign of terror if anyone does.

You may already have noticed a certain very clear T / T-1 relationship here. But just to spell it out:

Robespierre was born and educated in Bourbon France, and began his reign of terror less than five years after the end of the Bourbon monarchy.

Stalin was born and educated in the Russian Empire, and began his reign of terror less than five years after the end of the Romanov monarchy.

Hitler was born and educated in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and began his reign of terror fifteen years after the fall of the Hapsburg monarchy.

Mao was born and educated in Imperial China, and began his reign of terror thirty two years after the end of the Qing Dynasty. A bit of a slowpoke, but in his defense China was busy being invaded by the Japanese and nearly everyone else. As soon as they were out of the way, he started reigning in terror as quickly as he could.

Let’s set Mao as an outlier and hypothesize that every one of the great reigns of terror of history will occur less than a generation (= about 20 years) after a repressive rightist monarchy, dictatorship, or colonial regime is in power.

The hypothesis does pretty well. Pol Pot took power eight years after the fall of King Sihanouk, who is difficult to pin down politically but who fits both the “monarch” and the “repressive” criteria pretty well. Cromwell followed nine years after Charles I, who dissolved Parliament and sent his opponents to the infamous Star Chamber. Castro followed immediately after repressive strongman Fulgencio Batista, who had cancelled democratic elections and seized power a couple years before. You may go through and test the hypothesis against your own favorite genocidal maniac. It appears to hold.

The Reactionary model, as I understand it, goes like this:

1) Strong repressive monarchy
2) Some idiot decides to change things to democracy
3) Democracy shifts further to the left…
4) …and further to the left…
5) …and ends in a super-leftist reign of terror where thousands or millions die
6) General Monck rides in to restore order with a strong repressive monarchy

What we’re not seeing is Step 3 or 4, the shifting leftwards. There’s just not enough time. Reigns of terror tend to occur only a couple of years after a country is a strong repressive monarchy on the very far right, sometimes immediately after. So I propose an alternate model:

1) Strong repressive monarchy, builds up pressure and anger
2) Revolution. Well-intentioned but naive revolutionaries hold onto power for a couple of years
3) People still have lots of pressure and anger and are unsatisfied with well-intentioned naive people
4) Angrier, more violent group hijacks revolution. Reign of terror.
5) Foreign, domestic, or natural intervention ends reign of terror.
6) Government mellows out and does pretty okay.

For example, Russia started with the Czarist monarchy. It was overthrown by a broad coalition of people, many of whom were non-Communists, Mensheviks, or at least Bolsheviks less crazy than Stalin. Stalin seized power, started a reign of terror. Stalin dies, is replaced by people like Khrushchev and Gorbachev who are more mellow.

There’s an important difference in the predictions made by these models.

In the Reactionary model, being moderate-left is a really bad thing. It means you are well on the path to becoming far-left and suffering a reign of terror. You should try to become far-right right away in order to get off that slippery slope.

In my model, being moderate-left is a great thing. It means you’re probably at step 6, or else you’ve skipped the process entirely and gone directly to good government, do not pass Go, do not collect 200,000 corpses. The place you don’t want to be is far-right. That means you’re overgrown with dry brush. Historically it means you’re at very very high risk for a disastrous revolution.

In the Reactionary model, a monarch who voluntarily relaxes their powers is dooming their country to inevitable violent revolution.

In my model, “those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable”. A monarch who voluntarily relaxes their power before being forced to do so by the situation – like the constitutional monarchs of Europe or the King of Thailand – is performing a controlled burn, destroying the overgrowth that would otherwise cause a fire and skipping directly from 1 to 6.

(this is to be distinguished from a monarch who grudgingly gives away of few of their powers when revolution is already in the air in order to placate the revolutionaries, which rarely works)

These countries have the same good results as democratic nations, like the US and UK, which have gone three hundred or so years with only the tiniest traces of state-sponsored violence (and those traces, like the camps for the Japanese during WWII, have not come from the Left). Or like France, where a reign of terror five years after the Bourbon monarchy is clearly contrasted with a hundred fifty terror-free years since it became democratic in 1870.

So the “left singularity” proponents have to explain how a supposed vicious cycle of leftism managed to progress from Louis XIV to Robespierre in five years when there was a monarchy involved, but hasn’t managed to progress much at all in a hundred fifty years when there was democracy involved.

The “left singularity” describes a process that has never happened in all of history. It has never been the excesses of democracy that cause a “leftist” reign of terror. It has always been the excesses of monarchy or a monarchy-like dictatorship. And anyone who disagrees, I challenge that person to show me a good example of a reign of terror in a nation that has been stably democratic (defined here as its real head of government being chosen by free and fair elections, plus well-enforced right to free speech) for at least one generation beforehand.

This brings me back to my point 2.3 from the Anti-Reactionary FAQ – classifying both insane millenarian blood-cults and stable market democracies in the same category might (surprise!) not be such a good idea. The former are primarily a short-term reaction to a repressive regime, which burn brightly then fizzle out. The latter are a stable configuration which have so far been extremely successful and which historically seem like the strongest prophylaxis against the former.

255 Responses to Empire/Forest Fire

  1. Anonymous says:

    Scott, I started reading this but you are dishonestly misrepresenting Jim in your description of his “tea party concentration camp” post. He never seriously states that he expects the government will ship the tea party off to camps, it’s an exaggerated aside and you know it.

    Since you’ve started this piece by being blatantly dishonest right off the bat I feel no need to continue reading it. Bad form, Scott. I expected better from you.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      It didn’t seem like a strawman to me. He said “In the Game of Chicken, the side that can most convincingly signal madness wins, so when the inner party call the Tea Party crazy, they are preparing to lose. Or they could be preparing to ship the Tea Party off to concentration camps, after the fashion of Golden Dawn” in the context of a clearly stated belief that he expects our current political system to end with all white males being murdered for being white males.

      I’ll take it out now just in case, but I’d like to hear from Jim on how he intended that comment.

      • The context was that I asserted that the Republican establishment was determined to snatch defeat from the Jaws of victory. That they would reluctantly accept the victory they had already won was a wishful fantasy.

        Kind of like imagining what would happen if two professional wrestlers got carried away with kayfabe and fought for real.

        Yes, if Republicans actually played to win, which I very much wish would happen, then most likely the Tea Party would be shipped off to concentration camps as the terrorists that they were denounced as being, but the point of the post, and the entire group of posts on the shutdown, was that the Republican party is not playing to win.

        Similarly, during the George Zimmerman business, they piously refrained from the opportunity to split the Democrat coalition by dividing Mestizos from blacks over self defense.

        • Would that have even worked? I have a feeling that the ambiguity of Z’s race would let them disown him pretty quick.

        • peppermint says:

          Really? Just look at a picture of the guy. The only reason anyone ever called him White is that they had decided what the narrative was prior to looking at a picture.

          Maybe Hispanic leaders could have tried to disown him by calling him a Jew. That would go over well.

  2. James says:

    It’s extremely creepy that this “Reaction” has suddenly become so public.

    It’s creepy enough that hobbyist progs want to exercise their chops on it. But I’m more worried (not for my sake) about the underhand response of serious progs to ideas that are not so far away from this kiddie ideology, now in mainstream view. Which I think I have just noticed somewhere else. Yuck. Horrible.

    • Andy says:

      Look at the end of the Anti-Reaction FAQ. I’ll quote at length, emphasis mine:

      6.1.1: What exactly do you like about Reaction?

      I like that they’re honestly utopian. Their scathing attacks on everyone else for being utopian merely punctuate the fact, like the fire-and-brimstone preacher denouncing homosexuality whom everyone knows is secretly gay. The Reactionaries wants to throw out the extremely carefully fine-tuned machinery of modern society which evolved over several hundred years, and replace it with a bizarre Frankenstein’s Monster of modern and traditional elements that they dreamed up in an armchair, which has never been tried before and which, they say, will instantly fix all social ills like crime and poverty and war.

      And this is awesome. Utopianism – trying to think up amazing political systems that lie outside the local Overton Window – is very nearly a dead art. The failure of the Communists’ utopian designs probably killed it – the Right made “utopianism” into a dirty word so they could use it to bludgeon the Left, and the Left turned against utopianism en masse to avoid getting bludgeoned. Right now the only two permissible dreams of a better future are a society much like our own but a little more libertarian, or a society much like our own but a little more progressive. Boring!

      The more utopian ideas we have the more sources we have to draw from when trying to decide which direction our own society should go in, and the broader the discourse becomes. Reactionaries are geniuses at inventing new systems that have never been tried before and some of whose components deserve serious contemplation. And if there was a science fiction book set in Moldbug’s Patchwork or Royal California, I would buy it.

      As a writer of science fiction and fantasy, I simply love people who are tinkering with society. Much better to do it in a page than to do it in society, and I suspect that most of the Reactionary bloggers are not likely to be the ones stocking up on arms and pipe bombs and plotting to claim a throne of their own.
      So yes, let’s get all the ideas out on the page and hammer match them against each other in some weird kind of idea Pokemon. Welcome to freedom!

      • I’d add that they are some of the few people who really seem to be able to seriously question modernity with descending into either fascism or a bitter cesspool of cultivated romanticized hatred.

    • nydwracu says:

      have you considered not having disgust reactions that only differ from those of reaganite socons in their excessive crocodilian smugness

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, maybe I should have just said clearly that I thoroughly revoke any (probable or automatic) association with this bloody cult and its half-baked, inflexible totalitarian nonsense.

        It should be possible to bounce a few outre and barely developed ideas around in the blogosphere (of all bleedin’ places) for the sake of feedback, fun and curiosity without becoming (by some kind of one-drop or even no-drop rule) liable to be tarred by all this horrible nonsense with its preposterously self-serious and ugly (and unimagined) manifestation as a paranoia-inducing and cringeworthy media circus that slimes its way towards a tawdry ring of poxy power. If I had known that this is how a bit of speculative and immature contrarian discourse on the Internet turns out, I wouldn’t have touched any of it with a bargepole.

        • Andy says:

          It’s a new conversation coming out of its womb. Of course it’s ugly and loud and wailing and covered in its horrible noxious substances. We all started that way.
          Births are messy, and few sane people would touch one with a bargepole. But they are also necessary. Give it time to grow and develop. In the meantime, all this criticism and defense of the Dark Enlightenment helps the great conversation that is humanity in the Information Age.

  3. Vanzetti says:

    Dude. Why oh why do you keep advertising those idiots? They thrive on attention.

    • Mitchell Porter says:

      What about you? The historical Vanzetti may have been framed, but he was also part of an anarchist terrorist movement. I would like to hear more about this choice of pseudonym. Do you think that bombing and poisoning class enemies, in order to create a stateless society of peace and justice, is a reasonable or necessary thing to do?

    • James says:

      It’s a service to progs when opponents eagerly blab their ideas. So, the prog who facilitates this with real psychological intuition and softness rises in status.

      That seemed less creepy before “Reaction” began to attract real attention.

      Still, even given the sense of warm privacy and knockabout discussion it was pretty stupid of Moldbug to have set a precedent of announcing himself as a revolutionary to all and sundry in a loud, attention-grabbing voice, as it was for all of us who copied his example.

      “America is a Communist country”. “Hey Stalin, fuck you. (Hand me a megaphone…)”. Yeah, S.A. is better at politics than us.

      • Andy says:

        If you’re going to be talking ideas on the Internet, be glad you are getting attention. So your monarchial cult gets people analyzing and critiquing your ideas who aren’t part of your echo chamber.
        This. Is. A. GOOD. Thing. You’re getting a bunch of Internet intellectuals poking at your ideas and exposing your bad arguments.
        This is crucial if you ever want to convince people who disagree with you that you’re right.
        Alternately, you can grab some gun and bombs and try to do the monarchial revolution single-handed, but that did not work well for Anders Behring Breivik (who I regard as an insane mix of reactionary and democratic ideas mixed with extreme violence.) I see it as encouraging that Reactionaries are willing to put their ideas on the Net. I figure every hour typing up manifestoes and argunig with progressives is an hour not spent fomenting/funding/planning/executing the part where lots and lots of Progressives are killed in their beds.
        I feel the same kind of relief, by the by, when I roll my eyes at extreme social justice warriors on Tumblr: “At least they’re not out making meatspace trouble.”
        So your arguments get attacked and refuted. Big flipping deal, welcome to the club, we have jackets. Make better arguments. Put yourself into the marketplace of ideas and compete. If you are truly as superior as you claim, you’ll come out on top. Eventually.

        • DB says:

          More succinctly: “Criticism Is The Only Known Antidote To Error.” — David Brin

        • Vanzetti says:

          It is not a good idea. These people are half-trolls and half-fanatics – the same kind of people discussing politics on 4chan. The only thing they understand from other people responding to them is “we are being taken seriously”. Even when they are simply mocked.

        • Konkvistador says:

          No it isn’t a good thing because beliefs like this get you harassed and most of the opponents of reaction are fighting a strange straw man zombie. How can anyone even read say the Tech Crunch characterization and take it seriously is beyond me.

        • Konkvistador says:

          That reaction being publicized has resulted in a poisoning of the discussion between neoreactionaries and their serious critics should be apparent from this comment section.

          Especially from comments like those by Vanzetti.

        • nydwracu says:

          I figure every hour typing up manifestoes and argunig with progressives is an hour not spent fomenting/funding/planning/executing the part where lots and lots of Progressives are killed in their beds.

          what ridiculous brown-scare twilight zone is this entire chunk of the comments section living in? given that i’ve heard progressives in america literally, unambiguously endorse genocide a bunch of thirty-something programmers with kids and extensive science fiction libraries are not the people to be worrying about

        • James says:

          I agree with this ideal. I also agree that Internet politics discussions are full of silliness and bad arguments.

          Nonetheless, I think people do (at least consciously) tend to overestimate the distance between their intellectual hobbies and serious politics. Marxism was a terribly silly idea that in January 1917 did not even seem like a realistic prospect to Lenin & co., until suddenly there was the revolution.

          When that gap narrows a little, it’s necessary to point out that the gap between transparent arrogant status-seeking and evil has also narrowed, emblematically and even causally. (I would say that to the reactionaries, too, but our elite is a lot nastier and more self-confident that the Russian autocracy was, so they have nothing to fear.)

        • Andy says:

          quoting nydwracu:

          given that i’ve heard progressives in america literally, unambiguously endorse genocide

          Cite your sources? Which progressives? I’m a progressive in America, and I unambiguously DO NOT support genocide.
          Let me be clear, because I was typing that after a long day and wasn’t quite clear in the head: I believe ANY political philosophy can degenerate into mindless hatred of all others. I’ve seen mad variants of Progressivisim do the same thing, including bits of socialist anarchism. And Communism, of course.
          And I see in Reaction the same potential.
          My go-to for this potential (And probably a reflection of my unconscious biases) is Anders Behring Breivik, who isn’t much of a monarchist but was capable of incredible violence in his hatred of progressives, feminists, Muslims, all the people he felt were destroying his beloved rose-tinted Old Europe of the 1950s and before. Among other things, in his manifesto 2083, he endorses Catholicism for all Europeans, freedom of speech and press only for “Culturally conservative” men, a return to traditional gender roles (It’s sickly hilarious how many times “This may seem a little gay, but it works, do it” pops up in his manifesto, whether he’s talking about cars or manicures) and dreaming about a time when Europe is a bunch of mono-ethnic cities and villages without those bothersome brown people.I’d call him a small-r reactionary, not part of the Dark Enlightenment.
          My comment was meant for both Reactionaries and Anti-Reactionaries; for Reactionaries – “At least you’re not this guy”; for Progressives – “These guys aren’t terrorists, let’s chill out and throw some ideas around.”

          • Which progressives? I’m a progressive in America, and I unambiguously DO NOT support genocide.

            The New York Times, though it did not support genocide of affluent white heterosexual males, endorsed the indiscriminate murder of white males and pogroms directed at them in its articles shortly after the Duke University rape hoax. The implication its of articorials was that it did not matter whether the Lacrosse team was guilty or not, since they deserved to hang regardless. Had the case gone to trial, the publicity would have made a fair trial very difficult, particularly as the jury would have been substantially minority.

            If the trial had been reduced to he said she said, which was the prosecutorial strategy of excluding physical evidence and evidence on the conduct of the accuser (who was a drunken whore prone to physical violence against men) the demonization would surely have secured a conviction even with an all white jury.

            The rule against attacking the accusers character in rape cases would exclude the fact that she was a lying drunken violent whore with a history of unprovoked physical violence while drunk, which would seem somewhat relevant to a rape charge based on she said, he said. Observe there is no similar rule against attacking the character of the accused, which the New York Times proceeded to do with homicidal enthusiasm, convicting them not of rape deserving death, but of class, race, sex and gender deserving death.

        • Well, that could have gone better? Did you just call the alleged rape victim a whore?

          Please. Never call an alleged rape victim a whore. The prior for someone claiming to have been raped, to have been raped by *someone* is very high.

          I do think that there is a strong tendancy for people, many of them white and/or male, to treat white or male identity as a nonentity, but that only reaches genocidal levels on Tumblr.

          • Well, that could have gone better? Did you just call the alleged rape victim a whore?

            The taxi driver reported Crystal Mangum hawking her ass to numerous different men on the way to Duke university, and the semen of five different men was found in her, none of them lacrosse team members or her boyfriend

            The prior for someone claiming to have been raped, to have been raped by *someone* is very high.

            Oh come on, the vast majority of rapes are preceded by getting drunk and hanging out with strange men, therefore the vast majority of rapes are morning after regret, or, in the case of Crystal Mangum, the accuser in this case, disgust at her own lifestyle. Every so often when drunk she suddenly discovers that she does not much like being a whore and physically attacks the nearest male. If the attack succeeds, she robs him.

            The vast majority of rape allegations are false, and the evidence that suggest that they are false (drunkeness, aggressive promiscuity, physical aggression, and a past history of criminal misconduct) is forbidden to be presented in court.

            Is it really likely that most rapists would selectively rape those women most likely to have slutty sex and then get angry and bitter about it?

          • The prior for someone claiming to have been raped, to have been raped by *someone* is very high.

            By an amazing coincidence, the great majority of rape complaints come from drunken sluts who have been hanging out with strange men. Funny thing that.

            It is extraordinarily rare for a wife living with her husband to be “raped”.

            From which I conclude that the overwhelming majority of rape complaints are fraudulent. If they were real, we would get more “naked guy jumped out of the bushes” type rapes.

        • nydwracu says:

          Cite your sources? Which progressives? I’m a progressive in America, and I unambiguously DO NOT support genocide.

          The phrase that stands out from my time going to college in Massachusetts is, “all you people should be killed, for the good of America and the world”. I’ve seen similar things many other times, but I hope you’ll understand if I don’t go looking for instances of people saying, or at least strongly implying, that they want to kill my family.

          As for its acceptability, here’s Brian Leiter approvingly reposting something calling for what sounds a hell of a lot like concentration camps. When we gonna catch ’em and lock ’em up! Catch ’em and lock ’em up! Then we can cure ourselves, America, of what has always ailed us!

        • ozymandias says:

          Fourteen percent of wives have been raped by their spouse. I would not call that “extraordinarily rare,” I would call that “distressingly common.”

          • Fourteen percent of wives have been raped by their spouse

            Everything said by feminists is a lie motivated by hatred, penis envy, madness, and desire to destroy the innocent.

            The international crime victimization survey asks people about a long list of crimes, among them sexual assault. In the ICVS Wife of head of household reports a sexual assault rate indistinguishable from zero – around a twentieth of the rate claimed by single women – which is itself a hell of a lot lower than fourteen percent.

            Why is wife of head of household so much less likely to be raped?

            The great majority of rape accusations claim rapes that happened while the woman was obviously cruising for a dicking. Wife of head of household is a lot less likely to be cruising for a dicking.

        • ozymandias says:

          Also, James, think about it from a rapist’s point of view. If you jump out from the bushes at a woman, then there is a distressingly large chance that she will go to the police and get a DNA test and there will not be reasonable doubt that she decided to have casual sex with a complete stranger with a gun who jumped out of the bushes at her. On the other hand, if you get a girl drunk at a party, take her up to your room promising her that you’ll let her sleep it off, and then rape her while she says “no,” then you can be like “Your Honor, it was consensual sex,” there’s reasonable doubt, and you get off– that is, if you get prosecuted at all. (Rape survivors are reasonable people who respond to incentives, and many of them don’t want to go through a traumatizing trial with a low chance of actually getting their rapist punished.)

          We are going to assume here that rapists are sensible human beings who respond to incentives, and are going to commit the kind of rape that they can easily get away with.

          IME as a slut who has many friends who are sluts, sluts are not particularly likely to decide that we didn’t want to have sex with someone and therefore they _must_ have raped us. Most sluts are pretty chill with the having lots of sexual partners thing. If you aren’t, it is *much* simpler to just not have a lot of sexual partners than to go about randomly accusing men of rape.

          However, if some percent of people are rapists, and you are alone in private with more people, then it is more likely that you will encounter someone who is willing to rape you. This is basic probability.

          • On the other hand, if you get a girl drunk at a party, take her up to your room promising her that you’ll let her sleep it off, and then rape her while she says “no,” then you can be like “Your Honor, it was consensual sex,” there’s reasonable doubt, and you get off

            If a girl gets drunk, and then agrees to go home with a guy to sleep it off in his room, doubtless on his bed, to spend the night in his bed, what are the chances she intends to say “no”?

            As compared the chances that in the morning they both wake up with a horrid hangover, cannot remember how they wound up in his bed, cannot remember who the other person in bed with them is, and both discover that with the beer goggles off and the throbbing hangover, their bed partner looks unattractive.

          • sluts are not particularly likely to decide that we didn’t want to have sex with someone and therefore they _must_ have raped us.

            Speaking as a male, the major way to get a girl to jump into bed with one after brief or no acquaintance is pretend to be much higher status than one actually is. See this video illustrating the effectiveness of the tactic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9Ko6Xfa84w

            After the bedding, further pretense is unnecessary.

        • Crimson Wool says:

          Fourteen percent of wives have been raped by their spouse. I would not call that “extraordinarily rare,” I would call that “distressingly common.”

          That number sounds… unlikely. If 5% of men are rapists, and most women who have been married have been married only once, then how do you get up to 14%? Or from the opposite perspective: something like 18% of women have been raped, and like a third of rapes are by intimate partners (boyfriends/husbands), which doesn’t seem to quite add up barring some very questionable assumptions.

          I just headed down to the library, and the source material (?; doesn’t actually name it, because, you know, good citations and diligent scholarship are something beyond RAINN; presumably “Rape in Marriage” by DEH Russell) uses methodology that makes it difficult to check for accuracy. There are some vague, general questions, which are followed up by in-depth interviews, then filed into “rape” or “not rape” based upon the given definitions (which are, in my view, reasonable). Given that it doesn’t pass the smell test, I’m going to operate on the assumption that it has some BS filings, or that it is not statistically representative.

        • coffeespoons says:

          Scott, is language like “lying drunken violent whore” really acceptable in your comments section?

          • Scott, is language like “lying drunken violent whore” really acceptable in your comments section?

            Crystal Mangum is currently on trial for murder, having knifed her boyfriend while drunk, after having somehow managed to piss away a remarkable amount of money in a remarkably short time. Circumstances suggest that this knifing happened in the course of attempting to steal his rent money.

            So really, I should have called her a lying drunken thieving violent whore.

            Lying in that she repeatedly changed her story about the alleged rape, and had a past history of tall stories, drunken, in that she was habitually drunk, was drunk when the alleged rape happened, and drunk when she first claimed it had happened, violent in that she had a long history of drunken violence, and a whore in that she did several customers on the way to the alleged rape.

            The point being that if you forbid such facts from trials, you are bound to get one hell of a lot of false convictions for rape.

            And if you forbid such facts from blogs, you can be in pious denial about the extent of false convictions for rape.

            Crystal Mangum’s rape accusation was not made big news by reactionaries pointing out that she was not a credible witness. It was made big news by progressives. Which means it is likely to be typical of rape accusations.

        • coffeespoons says:

          I might be wrong about this, but if a bunch of radical feminists were to show up here and use similar language about men, I expect you’d be more censorious…

        • ozymandias says:

          I don’t drink, but I’ve stayed in people’s houses and, indeed, slept in their beds without wanting to have sex with them. When I had friends who drank heavily, they often stayed at each other’s houses because they couldn’t afford a cab and driving drunk is a really bad idea.

          I feel like your plan would require a woman never be alone with a man that they do not, currently, at this very second, want to fuck. This seems silly.

          • I don’t drink, but I’ve stayed in people’s houses and, indeed, slept in their beds without wanting to have sex with them.

            If you went to a man’s house without intending to have sex with him, he was not a man who was putting the moves on you.

        • Andrew G. says:

          Walby and Allen 2004, based on British Crime Survey data, has:

          For serious sexual assault, female victims, since 16 years old (2001 data): 14% of perpetrators were the victim’s husband; 22% partner; 2% ex-husband; 8% ex-partner; 6% “date”; 6% relative; 22% colleague/friend/acquaintance/etc.; 18% stranger.

          For actual rape, excluding attempted rape, female victims, since 16 years old (1994 data): 18% husband; 27% partner; 2% ex-husband; 7% ex-partner; 4% “date”; 5% relative; 20% colleague/friend/acquaintance/etc.; 17% stranger.

        • coffeespoons says:

          It’s perfectly possible to explain that that rape accusation was probably false (and I agree, looking at wikipedia that it seems likely that it was false), without using language like “lying drunken violent whore.”

          Tactically, it would be much better for social justice warriors (who don’t represent all progressives) to focus on rape cases where the victim is credible (and there are plenty), but SJWs are really bad at tactics.

          • But she is a lying drunken violent whore. You are arguing we should not mention this disturbing fact, not arguing the accusation is false.

            The crowd that claim that false rape accusations are rare are telling us that rape accusations come from people like us, visualizing the typical accuser as a woman doing a PhD in Computer Science who does not get out much.

            This is a lie. It is a great big lie. It is a horrible evil lie that destroys the lives of an immense number of men.

            The typical rape accusation comes from someone like Crystal Mangum. The typical rape accusation comes from a lying drunken thieving whore and we have a gigantic apparatus of lies and intimidation set up to conceal this fact.

            And this apparatus of lies and intimidation is causing huge damage to a huge number of people.

            If a college student makes a rape accusation, chances are it is a college student who gets falling down drunk two nights a week, is switching her major to hating dead white males, and does foursomes with three guys at a time.

        • Douglas Knight says:

          Coffeespoons, contemporary focus on this example was not due to SJW, but due to the national media, eg, the New York Times. And the DA, up for reelection, pushed it into the media. Tom Wolfe wrote a book about how DAs are bad at tactics.

          I’m not sure why you bring up SJW, so I don’t know whether this supports or opposes your point.

        • Andy says:

          If a college student makes a rape accusation, chances are it is a college student who gets falling down drunk two nights a week, is switching her major to hating dead white males, and does foursomes with three guys at a time.

          I suspect this is more a product of your biases than actual fact. It certainly does not square with my experiences, either in community college or in university.
          Rape does happen when alcohol and young hormones are mixed, and sometimes accusations are false, but sometimes they are also true. Telling the two apart is a non-trivial task, and reducing it to “any woman who makes a rape accusation is a lying whore” is at least as wrong as “Every woman who makes a rape accusation is absolutely honest.”

          • If a college student makes a rape accusation, chances are it is a college student who gets falling down drunk two nights a week, is switching her major to hating dead white males, and does foursomes with three guys at a time.

            I suspect this is more a product of your biases than actual fact.

            You may well suspect, but you are forbidden to know the truth. If you are forbidden to know the truth about X, chances are that the reality of X is horrifying and damning.

            If people were allowed to criticize accusers, then you could know the truth.

            Why is it that we can demonize the accused, but not speak the truth about the accuser? Surely if the alleged rapist is to be treated as innocent until proven guilty, the alleged victim, who is not facing jail time, needs to be treated as guilty unless proven innocent.

            Reality is that most rapes take place under circumstances profoundly ambiguous. Burglar rapes, abducted while jogging, and such like unambiguous rapes are about a tenth or a twentieth of all alleged rapes. (Most stranger rapes seem to happen while girls are cruising for a dicking, rather than in the course of a hot burglary, so even the majority of stranger rapes smell at least a little bit funny) Seems to me that if most rape accusations were genuine, fewer alleged rapes would be ambiguous, more would be unambiguous. More abducted while jogging, fewer while half drunk.

        • asdf says:

          Scott, is language like “lying drunken violent whore” really acceptable in your comments section?

          Oh grow some balls would you.

    • Alexander Stanislaw says:

      Oh interesting. The virtue of silence might be appropriate here.

    • Honestly, I don’t think they do. Some of their horrible friends (such as Roissy) do, but they don’t. They really don’t.

      Also, Scott Alexander respects them. As do I.

    • asdf says:

      Dude. Why oh why do you keep advertising those idiots? They thrive on attention.

      Stawp posting

  4. 1) Strong repressive monarchy, builds up pressure and anger

    The proposition the Nicholas and Louis were strong repressive monarchs fails to pass the giggle test.

    For crimes that merited death, Nicholas had Lenin sentenced to a short term at a country club prison, where he engaged in hunting, fishing, and horseback riding. A strong monarch would have at least given him a stern look and a slap on the wrist, and told him to stop organizing murder and robbery.

    Under Louis, it was career suicide to notice the differences between the human races, and hordes of luminaries calling for his glorious overthrow were rewarded with fame and privilege.

    In both cases, the leftist singularity was well and truly under way long before it reached the point of murdering the monarch. Similarly, when the Brits finally get around to executing their next monarch, you will not be surprised to find them murdering each other in large numbers very shortly afterwards.

    • Damien says:

      Calling the French monarchy strong seems problematic in itself. But it was a heavily repressive aristocratic regime. Perhaps less repressing of bourgeois intellectuals than of peasants, but hey! peasants count too. The Ancient Regime is synonymous with self-destructive cruelty and waste.

      Unless reactionaries can say they only want strong monarchy, and not at all the strong aristrocracy/nobility that tends to trade places with it, it’s fair to tar them with the same brush.

      • Konkvistador says:

        “The Ancient Regime is synonymous with self-destructive cruelty and waste.”

        There are other ways to acquire such a reputation than it actually being merited. Losing a war for example.

        • Damien says:

          But it is merited. I’ve read historical descriptions of the Regime, modern and contemporary. _The Ancien Regime in Europe_ is particularly good, looking at seven different countries. Cruel, wasteful, inefficient, and of course in the end uncompetitive.

          • The Ancien Regime in Europe_ is particularly good, looking at seven different countries. Cruel, wasteful, inefficient, and of course in the end uncompetitive.

            For a long time, the world was in Malthusian equilibrium, the west not noticeably different from the rest.

            In Great Britain, the scientific and industrial revolutions happened, then spread to all of Europe. When did this start?

            It started with the Restoration, when King Charles the second regained the throne. The scientific revolution began with Charles the second. The industrial revolution is dated a little later, but we see living standards starting to soar during the reign of Charles the second, indicating that it started in restoration England.

            Science ended shortly after World War II. Most technologies stopped advancing in 1972 or shortly thereafter. Electricity consumption per head peaked a few years ago.

            Today, we elect people who hate us and wish us dead. Democracy has steadily become more and more dysfunctional, as it has been endlessly adjusted to yield results that are not too obviously inconsistent with a ruling elite that is lefter and lefter.

        • Yogonath says:

          Science ended shortly after World War II. Most technologies stopped advancing in 1972 or shortly thereafter.

          I think I indirectly just lost a bit of respect for Scott, simply due to the fact that he appears to take you seriously.

          By the way, did you send that comment by telex, or do you own a cutting-edge fax machine?

          • Your car is not a substantial improvement on your dads 1972 car and takes considerably more work hours to purchase. Your clothes washing machine is significantly and substantially worse than your 1972 clothes washing machines as measured by Choice magazine cleaning results. It is also a lot more likely to fail while trying to spin your clothes dry, give up spinning, and give you a pile of soaking wet clothes. Your television set has improved substantially, but nothing in your kitchen would surprise your 1972 mother, and much of what is in your kitchen she would deem rather crappy. Your bathroom looks unchanged, except the bath is a bit smaller, but your 1972 crapper worked without you needing to think about it, while your current crapper has problems.

        • It is true that industrial super-science completely stopped somewhere around the 1980s. However, we may have just run out of low hanging fruit and there are already signs of revitalizing effects, despite the fact that we seem heavily focused on consumer products and information tech these days. (Also, for a while the gains were hidden as intelligence became its own brute force.)

          • It is true that industrial super-science completely stopped somewhere around the 1980s. However, we may have just run out of low hanging fruit

            Last man on the moon, 1972, tallest buildings built in the US, 1972, coolest superplane, 1972.

            Did we run out of low hanging fruit in a multitude of different places all at the same time?

        • jaimeastorga2000 says:

          By the way, did you send that comment by telex, or do you own a cutting-edge fax machine?

          “Most” does not mean “all.” Computers and information technologies are definitely the salient exception. Think about other technological areas; transportation, medicine, space travel, energy, buildings, etc… can you seriously claim any of them has kept pace?

          Not that “great stagnation” theories are unique to reaction. See e.g. Tyler Cowen, Eliezer Yudkowsky.

        • ozymandias says:

          I did not know that the most important metric of scientific advancement was how cool our superplanes were. Silly me.

          • I did not know that the most important metric of scientific advancement was how cool our superplanes are

            That is technological advancement, not scientific advancement, which for most technologies, such as clothes washing machines and cool superplanes, maxed in 1972 in the west, though technology continues to advance in some non democracies, relying heavily on western expats. For example his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the proud owner of the highest building in the world, and one of the coolest, though Singapore has the coolest high building in the world, the Sands Hotel.

            Scientific advancement stalled out earlier, around 1944 or so, when we adopted a system where instead of experimenters telling the scientific community what the experimenter observes, the scientific community tells the experimenter what he observes.

        • microtherion says:

          So if a monarch is importing western engineering to have his latest phallic monument built, that’s evidence that monarchies are more conductive to technological advance than democracies? Riiiiiight.

          • So if a monarch is importing western engineering to have his latest phallic monument built, that’s evidence that monarchies are more conductive to technological advance than democracies? Riiiiiight.

            If the best American scientists and engineers are becoming expatriates ….

        • Fnord says:

          Last man on the moon, 1972,

          First rover on another planet: 1997

          tallest buildings built in the US, 1972,

          Tallest building built in the US, according to a different measure: 2013

          coolest superplane, 1972.

          Supersonic land vehicle: 1997.

        • Andy says:

          Quoting James A. Donald:

          Science ended shortly after World War II. Most technologies stopped advancing in 1972 or shortly thereafter. Electricity consumption per head peaked a few years ago.

          This does not pass the giggle test. You cite washing machines and kitchen equipment, but these are engineered by a capitalist system interested in maximizing profit, rather than maximizing product quality. Baths (and wisely-built houses and apartments) are a bit smaller because we’re finally waking up to the idea that we aren’t an infinite frontier, and we might have to live in slightly smaller, more efficient spaces.
          But on the other hand, I direct your attention to the supercomputers that can fit in a pocket and are available to much of the population. In 1972, my mother was a computer technician in a cyclotron lab in a university, and she worked with computers that were the size of a room, and had less power than the 10-year-old TI-83 graphing calculator sitting in my laptop bag, and a much, much less useful user interface. When is the last time you had to operate a computer with punch cards? On top of the TI-83 is a Kindle e-book reader that would not have had an equivalent in 1972. Sure, there were paper books, but my reader is filled with a library that would weight at minimum 40 pounds. Among the books on it is James MacPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom, a single-volume history of the Civil War that weighs 9 pounds in paperback. The electrophoretic (E-Ink) display that is key to the Kindle was patented in 1996. 24 years after you say science stops.
          Electricity consumption I would not regard as a good measurement of scientific progress, especially because a major focus in engineering is increasing energy efficiency. Compact flourescent lightbulbs, for example.
          And research continues. A graduate student in my department is researching a tiny mycorrhizae fungus that lives in plants’ root systems in a symbiotic relationship with the plant. She’s mapping these across an elevation gradient to see if the plants’ environment affects their population of mycorrhizae. What she finds might well have applications in biotech and farming.
          Another friend used to sell hydroponic equipment and supplies – mostly to California’s cottage industry of legal marijuana growers, but also to apartment and condo dwellers who want a bit of a kitchen garden in small living spaces. The technology used in hydroponic growing has been improving steadily, especially in the areas of lights and electronic controllers that measure and regulate water and nutrient flows.
          If you know anyone with diabetes, their insulin is produced by genetically-engineered bacteria, developed in 1977.
          Yes, science isn’t moving as fast as it did during and after World War 2, but we are making many small, incremental improvements in a lot of areas at once. Like root fungus, it’s not always sexy and splashy as the Apollo program, but it is making a difference.
          I can keep going, but I think I’ve made my point. If you want to argue that science stopped in 1977, you’re going to have to do much, much, much better. Outside of your little Reactionary echo-chamber, you do not get to negate the last 40 years of science with a wave of your fingers.

          • You cite washing machines and kitchen equipment, but these are engineered by a capitalist system interested in maximizing profit, rather than maximizing product quality.

            Let us compare capitalist clothes washing machines with clothes washing machines made by recently existent socialist countries. Obviously, socialist washing machines are not a marked improvement on beating the clothes on a flat rock in the creek.

            Our society is becoming increasingly socialist, as is most visible in thousand page legislative bills. The bills are incomprehensibly complex and becoming more so because they substitute state decision making for decision making by markets, prices, and private owners of property.

            As a result, unsurprisingly, our clothes washing machines are becoming increasingly similar to those of recently existent socialist countries.

            One of the striking effects of socialism was the view from ten thousand feet. One side of the border would be clean, bright, and modern, the other side dark and shabby, older, faded, and unrepaired, the people tired and frightened.

            Our cities are looking increasingly socialist.

          • A graduate student in my department is researching a tiny mycorrhizae fungus that lives in plants’ root systems in a symbiotic relationship with the plant. She’s mapping these across an elevation gradient to see if the plants’ environment affects their population of mycorrhizae.

            She is ritualistically and repetitiously doing stuff that resembles what great scientists did in the past – but when great scientists did that stuff in the past, it answered great questions. Those questions having already been answered, when she does it, does not answer great questions.

            Similarly with the supercollider. The data that comes out is a broad featureless curve, and, unsurprisingly, it is easy to produce a very good fit to a broad featureless curve, particularly as many of the calculations necessary to compare the model to reality cannot actually be done, and have to be fudged.

            For supercollisions to produce actually useful information, what you would need to do is compare, at equivalent energies, proton proton collisions with proton electron collisions, electron electron collisions, electron positron collisions, muon electron collisions, and muon proton collisions – which comparison would actually put stress on the theory, since though it is easy to fit a broad featureless curve, harder to fit several different broad featureless curves simultaneously.

            They are bureaucratically and ritualistically going through the procedures that past scientists went through to answer important questions, but are not terribly interested in whether these procedures actually answer important questions.

        • Andy says:

          She is ritualistically and repetitiously doing stuff that resembles what great scientists did in the past – but when great scientists did that stuff in the past, it answered great questions. Those questions having already been answered, when she does it, does not answer great questions.

          This I regard as equivalent to condemning the theory of evolution because it doesn’t cover how life began.

          Science does not always answer big questions. It is a combination of very big questions and lots and lots of little questions. Questions like “Hey, what’s this mold on this bread?” And “What’s this fungus doing for the plant it lives in?”

          Eventually, this tedious research and testing and experimentation will yield big results. It takes time and work, but no, you do not get to declare it meaningless without proving that it does nothing.

          As a result, unsurprisingly, our clothes washing machines are becoming increasingly similar to those of recently existent socialist countries.

          Sometimes different approaches yield similar results. An American or Chinese company trying to maximize profits by cutting manufacturing costs, or increase revenue by engineering a machine that breaks down right after its warranty expires, guaranteeing parts sales.

          You also mention the view from 10,000 feet. Are our cities actually meaningfully darker than they were in 1972? I live in Los Angeles, and while it’s more spread-out than it used to be, we’ve also been revitalizing our old urban core. We are no utopia – among other things, we have a very large homeless population because other states ship mental patients to us – but we are improving.

        • Doug S. says:

          “Your car is not a substantial improvement on your dads 1972 car and takes considerably more work hours to purchase.”

          I disagree. Today’s cars are much safer, handle better, get at least twice as many miles per gallon, last about 200,000 miles instead of less than 100,000, pollute much less, and, this last one is a really big deal, they have air conditioning!

      • Athrelon says:

        In other news, all girls I end up breaking up with are lying, backstabbing, horrible people.

        (Flippant, not true in my case, but you get the point; imagine the above line if read by a sitcom/romcom actor)

        • Andy says:

          Your point?

          • That Scott’s belief that the these regimes were terribly right wing and repressive is ill founded and based on strident propaganda.

            On the contrary, they were disturbingly left wing, particular Russia from Tzar Alexander the liberator onwards. Both the Tzars and the last French King had a tendency to crush their loyalists and reward their enemies, no friends to the right, no enemies to the left.

        • Scott Alexander says:

          1. Regimes become weaker around the end, since monarchs are forced to make concessions to ever-growing populist power.
          2. Successful revolts tend to be a feature of more modern history, as do more enlightened monarchs.
          3. Successful revolts are more likely under weak monarchs than strong ones, by the definition of “strong” (though unsuccessful ones seem common across both categories).

          But Bryce’s theory that this sort of “singularity” only happens under demotist systems is notably wrong.

          And these sorts of disasters continue to be a function of monarchies rather than democratic systems.

          • Yes, the regimes became weaker around the end, since the monarchs were forced to make concessions to ever-growing populist power.

            This ass backwards. The left was not populist, but, like Occupy Wall Street, part of the state, and a part of the state manufactured by those regimes. It was King Louis that summoned the estates.

            Tzar Alexander the Liberator had complete autocratic power. He could have the highest in the land tortured or killed at will. He decreed that the eschaton would be immanentized, that the serfs not be merely be freed to become agricultural employees, but to become new socialist man, manufacturing a leftist movement that was part of the state. This state sponsored leftism led to the Tzars steadily discarding their authority and created a land rights mess that continues to this day.

            Let us look at what recently happened in Egypt. Protestors won because the military was unwilling to shoot them, even when they raped women and burned churches. Democracy comes to power. Democracy in power acts pretty much as you would expect of a movement that came to power by raping women and burning churches.

            After a bit of this, Egyptian Military say to themselves “time to shoot a few protestors, maybe shoot a lot of protestors”. Poof, democracy goes away and every thing is fine once again. Tiananmen square and Tarir square suggest that shooting pro democracy demonstrators is wise, sound, and morally justified.

        • Crimson Wool says:

          He decreed that the eschaton would be immanentized, that the serfs not be merely be freed to become agricultural employees, but to become new socialist man, manufacturing a leftist movement that was part of the state.

          Okay, seriously, dude, the commune system is not some communist thing. It’s a medieval thing. The commune system in Russia was a continuation from previous systems which slavophiles wanted to maintain in contradistinction to, say, Britain, where the open field system was slowly removed via enclosure.

          While it is probable that the commune system helps to explain the eventual victory of socialism in Russia, the commune predates the emancipation of the serfs.

          • Okay, seriously, dude, the commune system is not some communist thing. It’s a medieval thing.

            Remove the lord from the commune system, it is a communist thing. Also a millenarian and utopian thing.

            The commons worked because the lord owned the commons and the peasants, and allowed the peasants to utilize the commons according to his permission and under his direction. The english word for such permission was “stint”.

            If you try to replace the Lord with the will of the people, all the usual problems ensue.

        • peppermint says:

          The comunes were not communist. Successful peasants could try to buy land off the commune. Under communism, kulaks go to the gulag.

          Anyway, liberating the serfs or slaves from a complicated system of reciprocal promises into sharecroppers is only considered to be a good thing by rosy-eyed progressives. Check out what Carlyle had to say about it in The Latter-day Pamphlets.

    • Yogonath says:

      I am not sure which is funnier: to call the distribution of political propaganda “crimes that merited death”, or to call a miserable peasant village in Eastern Siberia “a country club prison”.

      I was also unaware that sentencing dissidents without trial was a hallmark of liberal, permissive monarchs.

      • to call the distribution of political propaganda “crimes that merited death”

        The propaganda proposed, and sought to organize, terrorist acts.

        I was also unaware that sentencing dissidents without trial was a hallmark of liberal, permissive monarchs.

        The Tzars slapped Russian dissidents on the wrist without trial?

    • Kolya says:

      “For crimes that merited death, Nicholas had Lenin sentenced to a short term at a country club prison, where he engaged in hunting, fishing, and horseback riding. ”

      In other words, “Involved in producing a news sheet, The Workers’ Cause, he was among 40 activists arrested on the night before the first issue’s publication and charged with sedition.” He was then denied legal representation and sentenced without trial to 3 years exile in Siberia. But, yes, you’re right, Siberian exile for members of the intelligentsia was often reasonably comfortable.

      Longer comment discussing repressiveness of Nicholas II posted here: http://blog.jim.com/economics/anti-anti-anti-anti-reactionary-faq.html/comment-page-1#comment-434983

      • According to Cambridge Modern History, page 331, Lenin was preaching armed insurrection in 1896.

        Now this is OK in today’s America, but since they were actually having actual class warfare terrorism, not so innocent in Russia.

        I think, in today’s America, we should shoot all Muslim preachers that preach jihad, and in 1896 Russia, should have shot all class war activists advocating revolution.

        And Lenin did get a trial.

  5. Cyan says:

    I do wonder what neo-Reactionaries think this guy was about. If anyone was in a position to fulfil neo-Reation’s promise, it was him, and yet he chose otherwise…

  6. James says:

    I wonder what anyone could say to influence a person of this kind. I can think of one thing. They should meditate on how their behaviour, which disgusts reasonable people with at least modest culture and education, is “timelessly” causing some bad things to happen to people like them.

  7. Gunlord says:

    From Jim’s quoted post:

    If Stalin had not put a stop to it, Russia probably would have gone all the way to Pol Pot style socialism under Trotsky.

    Didn’t Pol Pot kill fewer people than Uncle Joe?

    • Damien says:

      Fewer people *to* kill. I think Pol Pot wins for percentage of own population killed.

      (Conversely, saying Stalin and Mao killed more people than Hitler overlooks that they had more time and people to kill; the Holocaust’s 11 million took place in only a few years and was cut short by enemy violence.)

      • Gunlord says:

        I wonder if the percentage of people killed might be higher by region, though. From what I understand, Stalin’s famines were particularly harsh in the Ukraine; while I know the approximate raw numbers of people who died I’m curious as to how much of the total population they represented.

        Anyways, considering that Stalin and Communism are generally the Great Satan to these people, I never thought I’d see one of them defending the embodiment of all evil himself. Granted, perhaps Trotsky really would have been even worse, but still…

        • Douglas Knight says:

          The Holodomor only killed 10% of Ukraine. No comparison.

        • Stalin and Cromwell are good examples of a leftist seizing absolute power to halt the ever leftwards slide. Of course Cromwell is more admired, because he stopped the slide a good deal earlier, and because he released General Monck from the tower and gave him the praetorian guard that still guards the palace and parliament today.

          Carlyle almost worshiped Cromwell as the man who saved Britain. (Saved Britain from even worse than Cromwell.)

          Cromwell is pretty much Mencius’s program, as Cromwell was Carlyle’s program. While a Cromwell or a Stalin seems the most realistic solution to our crisis, (Mencius’s “true election”, one man, one vote, once) I hope for something better. While a Cromwell or a Stalin can avoid, or greatly postpone, a dark age, I doubt that they could in themselves get us to the technological singularity, unless a Cromwell is followed by a Monck.

        • Gunlord says:

          While a Cromwell or a Stalin seems the most realistic solution to our crisis, (Mencius’s “true election”, one man, one vote, once) I hope for something better.

          So…Stalin was the hero we needed, but not the one we deserved?

          • POLONIUS

            My lord, I will use them according to their desert.

            HAMLET

            God’s bodykin, man, much better: use every man after his desert, and who should ‘scape whipping?

        • ozymandias says:

          Every time someone calls Moldbug “Mencius” I have this moment of “but Mencius didn’t say *anything* about elections, they didn’t even *have* elections in his time, they had an emper– oh, wrong Mencius.”

        • Also, the Holocaust was a bit unusual, have heard claims (unsubstantiated) that it might not have happened if not for WWII.

          Hitler is somewhat different, a Fascist, rather than a deconstructive revolutionary. Stalin also, he was nationalist in many ways.

          Yes, Pol Pot did seem to win the percentage of population killed, as well as the most ridiculous justifications (such as the ‘genocide of the nerds’.).

          Though the winner might be the claims of leftist singularity in ancient Sichuan, China, if they are true.

        • Andy says:

          And the conflicts between self-interested aristocrats in Germany in the Thirty Years’ War killed between 10 and 25 percent of the German population.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty_Years'_War#Casualties_and_disease
          So Reactionaries, in a hypothetical future world of Reactionary states, how exactly do we prevent another Thirty Years’ War? Or a Hundred Years’ War?

          • The thirty and hundred years wars were holy wars between state religions, as was the conflict between progressivism and communism, which narrowly avoided killing a lot higher proportion of the population than those wars.

            Neoreactionaries don’t really have a good answer to that question, but the Dark Enlightenment does:

            Dark Enlightenment answer: The official religion must, unlike progressivism, be compatible with observation, and must be latitudinarian with regard to the things of the next world. However latitudinarian does not mean allowing some people who supposedly adhere to the official religion to be much holier than others, in particular does not allow them to claim to be holier than the official leadership of the official religion and therefore more worthy of being obeyed. It is a lot more important to repress the holy on the inside than the unholy on the outside. This can be accomplished by proclaiming them saints and sending them to hermitages in the Outer Hebrides – as far away from the corridors of power as possible.

            Thus, a progressive president for life who is doing a Stalin or a Cromwell, claiming progressivism is still in effect, would arrange for all the most progressive Harvard professors to organize a utopian socialist commune in Alaska, as far from the presidential palace as one can get without treading water, and would from time to time admire how successfully they were implementing Utopian Socialism.

        • I think something like that is happening now (“institutionalized treason”). Unlike the 1960s, and VERY unlike the 1910-1930s, most radicals have defeatist and self-defeating philosophy and norms. Imagine Tumblr social justice warriors (the ones who have the most of the self-defeating aspects) trying to organize an armed revolt (as opposed to an Occupation or a big mess of lone-wolf attacks).

        • Multiheaded says:

          Agreed about defeatism.

  8. Douglas Knight says:

    A monarch who voluntarily relaxes their power before being forced to do so by the situation – like the constitutional monarchs of Europe or the King of Thailand

    Do you have any examples in mind?
    Most constitutional monarchies were established by force. In your current example of Thailand and your usual example of England, the coups may have been bloodless, but they were still coups. I suppose that Austria-Hungary of 1867 was a peaceful concession. But even there, the 1866 defeat demonstrated the military weakness of Austria and might be classified as a “situation” forcing its hand.

    • Damien says:

      Well, there’s lots of constitutional monarchies around: Spain, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Japan… allegedly Thailand, Bhutan, Bahrain, Jordan and Kuwait, though I think those monarchs have more actual power.

      • Douglas Knight says:

        Yeah, I can use wikipedia too. Do any of them support Scott’s claim?

        • Alexander Stanislaw says:

          There are two possible claims that I have in mind:

          1)A monarch voluntarily relaxing their powers will result in less eventual bloodshed than a monarch who maintains a repressive regime.

          2)There have existed monarchs who have voluntarily relaxed their powers without being forced to and because of this bloody revolutionary did not occur.

          Claim 1 is perhaps weaker than Scotts claim but its self evident and still supports the rest of the post. I think you are holding claim 2 to a ridiculous standard. If you’re asking for a monarch that has relaxed their powers for _no reason at all_ well then it probably hasn’t happened in history.

          • Claim 1 is perhaps weaker than Scotts claim but its self evident and still supports the rest of the post. I think you are holding claim 2 to a ridiculous standard. If you’re asking for a monarch that has relaxed their powers for _no reason at all_ well then it probably hasn’t happened in history.

            The Tzars relaxed their powers for no good reason, other than, perhaps, to be fashionable, and the proverbial hit the fan.

        • Douglas Knight says:

          I just asked for an example. Could you give me an example?

          Damien gave lots of examples of claim 0: constitutional monarchies exist, because he’s an idiot. I don’t know all of their histories, so I’m not rejecting them; I’m just refusing to read about them until someone picks out one and claims it is a good example. Scott did pick out an example, Thailand, and I reject it.

          Do you think I’m holding England and Thailand to ridiculous standards?

          Yeah, I equivocated on Austria-Hungary; maybe it’s too high a standard. But my standard is war not any old reason.

          I interpreted the question very narrowly, about the transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy. That has the advantage that it is almost necessarily formal, so you can look it up. But maybe Scott meant it more generally: all reductions in power. After becoming constitutional, the English monarchy has withered over three centuries of internal peace.

          As to claim 1, you should be nervous when you claim that things are self-evident. Here’s an example, though it’s not about monarchs and “eventually” hasn’t come: Moldbug says that what originally sent him down this path is seeing people say that if China didn’t liberalize, it would face revolution. But it just sent tanks into Tienanmen square and lived happily ever after. In particular, it is instructive to compare them to contemporary Russia.

        • Fnord says:

          Juan Carlos I of Spain, on point.

          But a rather key point of Scott’s post is how gradual change can work better than sudden revolutionary change. So I do think that looking for a single point where a traditional powerful monarch suddenly changes into a modern constitutional ceremonial monarch is taking the wrong approach.

          • But a rather key point of Scott’s post is how gradual change can work better than sudden revolutionary change.

            What is not gradual about Russian change? The regime was pretty far out whackydoodle left by 1890, 1900 or so. Kerensky was not much further left than the Tzar, Lenin not much further left than Kerensky, (indeed Lenin’s NEP had much in common with Stolypin’s “bet on the strong”, which the Tzar found too right wing for his tastes) Stalin not that much further left than Lenin.

            The murder of the Romanovs and the liquidation of the kulaks was a menace that should have been visible to those that could see in the original 1861 reform that set this holocaust in motion.

        • Douglas Knight says:

          OK, Juan Carlos is a good example.

          But I think it is very unfair to add the word “ceremonial” to “constitutional.” I’m looking at the transition to constitutional because (1) Scott seems to have suggested it and (2) it is pretty much binary–I can look at it and it’s cause.

        • Fnord says:

          You might say that the question of whether a monarchy is constitutional or not is strictly binary, if you interpret the question strictly. But in practical terms there is a huge gradient in royal power, and knowing simply whether there’s a constitution or not doesn’t actually say much about the nature of the government. You could say that the England has been a constitutional monarchy since 1215 (or even 1100, or you could say that it’s still not), but it would be absurd to suggest that it has effectively the same form of government then as now.

        • Douglas Knight says:

          People usually date the constitutionality of the English monarchy to 1688. Yes, it’s ambiguous, but it is pretty much the only ambiguous example in the history of the world.

        • Fnord says:

          On the contrary, it’s far from the only ambiguous example. Indeed, a great many historical monarchies were actually limited in power, at least in theory, by various charters, pacts, etc. The Magna Carta and the Charter of Liberties as I implied above for England, the Haandfæstnings of Denmark, etc. And many of the current European constitutional monarchies have gone through multiple constitutions, providing different levels of royal power, before reach the current status.

          I added the word ceremonial to constitutional because that is the usual status of modern European constitutional monarchies. A modern European constitutional monarch is hardly in the same position as one under a medieval charter, or even as a 19th century constitutional monarch with real but not absolute governmental power. That change is hardly insignificant.

        • Andy says:

          quoting Douglas Knight:

          Moldbug says that what originally sent him down this path is seeing people say that if China didn’t liberalize, it would face revolution. But it just sent tanks into Tienanmen square and lived happily ever after. In particular, it is instructive to compare them to contemporary Russia.

          One failed revolution does not eternal power make. Look at the history of civil rights in the United States: Right after the Civil War, several African-Americans were elected to Congress, and African-Americans were allowed to vote and hold public office in several states. Post 1877, those rights were severely curtailed through legislation and systematic intimidation. It took close to a hundred years for African-Americans to regain a meaningful vote.
          My point is that these things take a long, long, long time to play out. I actually bet that China will either end up liberalizing, or face the mother of all labor movements when the Chinese government can’t keep delivering economic growth to buy off all the disaffected. Raw force works over the short term, but long-term… well, things will get interesting. And Chinese revolutionaries get more clever than “wait for the tanks to go squish.” Look up the Jasmine Revolution, where some clever people managed to yank China’s chain, Here

          • One failed revolution does not eternal power make. Look at the history of civil rights in the United States: Right after the Civil War, several African-Americans were elected to Congress, and African-Americans were allowed to vote and hold public office in several states. Post 1877, those rights were severely curtailed through legislation and systematic intimidation. It took close to a hundred years for African-Americans to regain a meaningful vote.

            You miss the point, the point being that successful revolutions are apt to be disastrous, and therefore forceful repression is frequently morally justified.

            Hence democratic Russia is a huge failure, undemocratic china a huge success. Whether this lasts is irrelevant. If China becomes democratic, will be a disaster, if Putin proclaims himself Tzar, will be fine, or appoints a descendent of the Tzars Tzar, with himself, after the fashion of Monck or Bismark, a senior adviser to the Tzar, and his praetorians guarding the Tzar after the fashion of Monck, will be even better.

            Rebellions usually happen, as with the overthrow of the King in France, the Tzar in Russia, and the Shah in Iran, when the ruler lacks the will to oppose them – they tend to take out left wing progressive rulers, rather than right wing reactionary rulers.

            When the slaves were freed there was a substantial die off, as people who should not have been allowed to make their own decisions for themselves proceeded to make decisions for themselves, showing that at least some of the slaves were slaves by nature.

            Similarly, compare how healthy and successful black society was during Jim Crow, with how utterly dysfunctional it has become under affirmative action.

        • Don’t forget monarchs who reform, but don’t relax their power.

  9. Damien says:

    Seems sound.

    Why do you spend so much effort on these people? I would see if you included that question in the FAQ, but you seem to have written a 75 page organized FAQ without a table of contents.

    • Andy says:

      Look at all of Part 6, which I quoted partially above. A phrase to use Find on is “Any final thoughts?”

      • Damien says:

        On reading more of the FAQ, I realize that while “we should have a real king” is in itself a hothouse flower of kookishness, it’s the capstone to a mass of conservative and quasi-libertarian ideas which the FAQ takes on all at once. Idiocracy and “things are getting worse” and such. So it’s useful in what it covers, even if the explicit target is more of an attention-getter.

        • Andy says:

          The entire FAQ is really worth a read, as are Scott’s Consequentialism FAQ and Non-Libertarian FAQ.
          I’ve found them very useful in my hobby of writing science fiction, or “sitting around thinking about things.” Since anything to do with future society or conflict gets my writing engine going, I’ve actually found Reactionaries very useful idea-fuel.

  10. Crimson Wool says:

    Stalin was born and educated in the Russian Empire, and began his reign of terror less than five years after the end of the Romanov monarchy.

    Stalin’s reign of terror occurred in 1936. The Romanov monarchy was disbanded in 1918 at the latest (it was honestly disbanded in the February Revolution, in March 1917). If you’re referring to the Red Terror of the RCW, that took place under Lenin.

    This inaccuracy makes me question the quality of your scholarship elsewhere. Two thumbs down.

    • Alexander Stanislaw says:

      According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Stalin was the secretary general (de facto leader) from 1922 to his death. Not that this affects any of Scotts arguments.

      • Stalin found himself being outflanked on the left, leading the mass murder of the kulaks in 1932. Despite increasing repression of the left, and his own movement left to accommodate the leftists, he found himself facing increasing problems, and eventually let loose with his famous terror against the left starting 1936, after which he, and the entire Soviet Union, stopped moving leftwards.

        So, from the point of view of normal people, the worst communist terror began in 1932, and occurred when the party had full control of Russia, but Stalin did not have full control of the party, and from the point of view of progressive intellectuals, the worst terror began in 1936, when Stalin did have full control of the party.

        The party began to deviate from the left singularity when Trotsky was expelled in 1929, but the movement leftwards did not stop till 1936, for between 1929 and
        1936 Stalin found it necessary to abandon his previous policies and adopt Trotsky’s previous policies. It was only in 1936 the left singularity was clearly ended and the Soviet Union stabilized.

      • Crimson Wool says:

        According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Stalin was the secretary general (de facto leader) from 1922 to his death.

        That is a wild oversimplification of Soviet politics. Stalin was part of the ruling subsection of the Party from 1922 on (first alongside Zinoviev and Kamenev in a troika, then alongside Bukharin), yes, and his position as Secretary General definitely helped him rise to his later heights. It’s important to note that the position of Secretary General was not a clear leadership position in the Party at first: Lenin once held the position of leadership, but was never the Secretary General. Stalin only emerged as the clear leader in 1928 (with the end of NEP) and only started violently purging people in 1936.

        For example, Trotsky, Zinoviev, etc, were purged in 1927. This was not a violent purge, however: they were merely kicked out of the Party ranks.

        • Stalin only emerged as the clear leader in 1928 (with the end of NEP) and only started violently purging people in 1936.

          Only had the capability to violently purge people in 1936. Before then, part of a collective leadership, first among equals.

          Until then, was riding the tiger, which is why the drift leftwards only stopped around 1936 or so.

          Tzar Alexander the Liberator, and Stalin, bookend the Russian left singularity. Tzar Alexander was an autocrat, who could dismiss, or execute, or even torture, high members of the state apparatus, and Stalin was an autocrat, who could dismiss, or execute, or even torture, high members of the state apparatus, but each Tzar after Alexander had less and less power, until Tzar Nicholas who had almost no power at all, and in the end, not even the power to stay alive.

          Tzar Alexander the Liberator is beloved by historians for attempting to immanentize the Eschaton, and Stalin hated by historians for announcing the Eschaton had arrived, and any further attempts to immanentize it would get you shot in short order.

  11. I didn’t realize my theory was concerned with explaining reigns of terror. Nor did I realize that seems to be all it’s about.

    I was looking forward to receiving criticism of my articulation of this theory, but I suppose I shall have to wait a little longer for that. I wish I could give a better response than that you don’t seem to have read what I wrote in the first place…

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I’m sorry, I may have conflated you with Jim’s superficially similarly titled idea. I’ll give it a reread later.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Every [past] leftwards movement has become ever more extreme, moved leftwards ever faster

    Fast westward, fast forward, got it.

  13. The Theory of the Leftist Singularity (TLS) is principally one of power and mass human psychology–a sociological theory to explain political events that do not, on the surface seem, entirely (or at all) rational. Looking at the empirical data is always problematic not least because experiments are unrepeatable and lack controls. We also have no agreed upon way to quantify “social capital”, “national cohesion”, “repression”, “rightist”, “leftist”, and “holier than thou” (to name just a few).

    Fortunately the disputants in this case are really smart and may be able to agree to some definitions.

  14. The “left singularity” describes a process that has never happened in all of history. It has never been the excesses of democracy that cause a “leftist” reign of terror. It has always been the excesses of monarchy or a monarchy-like dictatorship

    So what were the excesses of Czar Nicholas or King Louis? Sending Lenin to a country club prison, and exiling Stalin to a small town in the middle of nowhere?

    In Paris you just could not be fashionable unless you called for the overthrow of King Louis. All the terribly smart and fashionable people favored revolution.

    Seems to me the main excess of King Louis was sending De Sade to prison for exactly the crime you would think he did. Being tough on perverts was, evidently, a crime against fashion. Or was it that he was insufficiently vigorous at destroying the careers of people who had racist thoughts?

    When the Russian prime minister, Pyotr Stolypin, seeing revolution coming, seeing his fifteen year old daughter murdered in front of him, proceeded to execute terrorists, all the human rights crowd were terribly upset, so the Tsar proceeded to snub Stolypin and in due course used his royal influence to get the horribly reactionary Stolypin removed from power. Terribly unfashionable to impose law and order just because your children are murdered.

    • Multiheaded says:

      When the Russian prime minister, Pyotr Stolypin, seeing revolution coming, seeing his fifteen year old daughter murdered in front of him, proceeded to execute terrorists, all the human rights crowd were terribly upset, so the Tsar proceeded to snub Stolypin and in due course used his royal influence to get the horribly reactionary Stolypin removed from power. Terribly unfashionable to impose law and order just because your children are murdered.

      Haha, oh wow. You don’t think it had something to do with the fucking LAND REFORM?

  15. Stolypin’s daughter gets murdered in front of him, Lenin goes to a country club prison. Looks mighty left wing to me.

  16. Ishmael says:

    What does “repressive” mean? Some geographical contemporaries of Batista: Trujillo in DR, Lescot in Haiti, Dundas in the Bahamas, and FDR in the US. I don’t know what you’re getting at, when you single out Batista in this crowd.

  17. Douglas Knight says:

    Here is another model of “left singularity” intended to explain why they only happen in right-wing places. It is common with ideologies that people get into holier-than-thou games, pushing the ideology in more extreme directions. But maybe this can only happen in isolation. Leftists actually running England compromise with reality, while leftists in salons in Paris have a long blacklist of ideas to try once they grab power. But this doesn’t explain why they are so bloody after they get power. Why don’t they have to compromise with reality?

    Is there anything “left” about this explanation? No, it’s just about ideologies. Are all ideologies left-wing? I’m not confident that left and right are useful concepts. There are some ideologies that are considered right-wing and they do have people denouncing each other for being insufficiently pure. But I don’t think they’ve won very many revolutions and we haven’t gotten to see this purifying dynamics play out after they got power.

    • Here is another model of “left singularity” intended to explain why they only happen in right-wing places.

      But they don’t happen in right wing places. You were not allowed to notice the differences between the races in pre revolutionary France, Russian troubles began in 1861 with half baked socialist communalism, and Chang Hsien-chong got kid gloves treatment that would make Lenin green with envy.

  18. Russian movement from moonbat left to frothing at the mouth moonbat left began not in 1917, but in 1861, with the emancipation of the serfs.

    A reasonable and appropriate reform would have been to convert the serfs into agricultural laborers, into employees of the lord, but emancipation went further, and attempted, in a crazy assed version of “forty acres and a mule”, to convert them into communal socialists. Property rights in agricultural land became a complicated and ill defined semi socialist mess, in which mess land rights remain to this day.

    Starting then, starting in 1861, every ambitious man who wanted to succeed found that the way to power and influence was to be more left than the other ambitious man who wanted to succeed, which movement ever leftwards, ever faster, continued from 1861 to 1936.

    Of course movement leftwards started long before that with Peter the great, but before 1861 that was rational and appropriate leftwards movement, society adapting to changing knowledge and changing technology. Raving moonbat leftism set in in 1861, and proceeded to self accelerate.

  19. First you should distinguish between far-right and *reactionary* far right.

    Second, I think that my own Reconstructionist theory fits this better than either. It takes the dynamics of ideology into play, and also describes cases where a revolution never really happened.

    1. Oft-repressive regime that fails to adapt.
    2. Ideology of liberation through deconstructionist revolution develops.
    3. Revolution makes initial successes, but not enough. Also, revolution often fails to provide a superior replacement regime because this was presumed trivial or ignored.
    4. In response, ideology further develops, develops self-criticism, and gets more extreme.
    5. Disasters happen in some way or another, or in less dramatic cases, ideology degenerates into a philosophy of self-defeat or one that trips over itself when trying to exercise power.

  20. PLEASE: We need to distinguish between revolution and *coerced reform*. The best examples of coerced reform I can think of are the labor movement and the civil rights movement, although both of these pretended to be revolutionary in some cases and both used nonviolent coercion.

    • Andy says:

      Parts of the civil rights movement, especially peacekeeping during the Freedom Rides (in Montgomery) and school integration (Little Rock), were accomplished only with the use of force. Nonviolence may have gotten the ball rolling, but when mob violence became a problem, only violence could end it.

  21. Konkvistador says:

    You are conflating Jim’s theory for Lailbert’s take which I think less lucid. Jim doesn’t say democracy is per se behind the Leftist Singularity but describes a Holier Than Thou spiral, where pharisees become holier and holier than the officially holy institutions (like the Church or… Jesus).

    • Indeed, that progressivism believes it needs to win elections slows the progression left. They have to manufacture an insane electorate in order to themselves go fully insane.

  22. Konkvistador says:

    Your story about Stalin being a bastard leaves out Lenin and Trotsky being bastards. This is misleading.

  23. Konkvistador says:

    “millenarian blood-cults”

    You know I have my own theory (skyrocketing time preferences) on why these tend to adopt views that are sort of leftist. What do you think of it? In case other readers aren’t familiar, read points 6 to 8 of my October link’s post http://www.moreright.net/links-for-october/

    “When a movement promises the end of the world or a new one to arrive soon and is actually believed, as in the previous example, you see ideas like opening of the granaries to feed the poor rather than the king’s soldiers, slaughtering cattle, holding property in common, free love, equality of the sexes, killing opponents ect. tend to arise and cluster together over and over again in the history of many seemingly unrelated movements. As time preferences seem to skyrocket, the movements accumulate rationalizations that justify actions that follow from these new preferences. Basically excuses to party while feeling quite morally superior. Besides half a dozen squalid little Medieval European heresies and many others, you also have a Xhosa prophetess and the Chinese brother of Jesus Christ.”

    • Konkvistador says:

      As an aside the history of the Mazdakist Leftist Singularity doesn’t match your explanation.

    • ozymandias says:

      This theory makes it really weird to me that you’re pro-Singularity. Singulatarians are, like, the ONLY atheist millennialists.

      • This theory makes it really weird to me that you’re pro-Singularity. Singulatarians are, like, the ONLY atheist millennialists.

        But, if humans are doing the heavy lifting, then to get to the singularity, society needs a time preference that is at least as long as the inverse of the rate scientific and technological progress, which is at present disturbingly slow, hence we need a mighty long society wide time preference. (Something democratic politicians notoriously lack)

        Whereas if God is doing the heavy lifting, humans can enjoy a short time preference.

      • Konkvistador says:

        “This theory makes it really weird to me that you’re pro-Singularity.”

        I’m pro singularity, I’m not pro-Singularitarian.

        “Singulatarians are, like, the ONLY atheist millennialists.”

        Nope.

    • lmm says:

      I don’t think leftist views are particularly correlated with extreme time preferences. I mean, the most immediate advantage of nationalized healthcare is that people are more likely/able to go for cheaper preventative care now rather than expensive emergency care later, but that can take decades to show up. Progressive taxation has some immediate effect, but the main benefits are the long-term social impacts of the safety net. Antidiscrimination legislation only really helps those who live with it all their lives, whereas it causes immediate short-term strife, and much social progressivism is the same.

      • Damien says:

        It’s easier (safer) to be self-employed or start a small business under universal health care than under the US system. I don’t know of direct causal studies (e.g. a self-employment boom in MA under Romneycare) but I do know the US is near the OECD bottom in those categories. Socialism leads to entrepreneurship!

        Progressive taxation + safety net also act as automatic fiscal stabilizers in recession, though I’m not sure what this has to do with time preferences.

      • Konkvistador says:

        You don’t seem to understand what I’m saying. You seem to be interested in modern relevant politics like healthcare. This bores me to death and isn’t relevant.

        Please re-read the points from the piece I cited If you haven’t already. My hypothesis says “millenarian blood-cults” would have skyrocketing time preferences and would acquire rationalizations that enable them to indulge them.

        Lets get laid! –> Free love, Women’s equality, Polygamy (European heresies only, since all other societies already at least tolerate it)
        Lets grab some stuff! –> All property should be held in common! It is ok to use violence against those holding back the new glorious world.
        Lets get drunk! –> Drinking Alcohol is suddenly ok and part of religious rituals even for religions where this is banned (see the Islamic/Zoroastrean cult I cite).
        Lets feast! –> Slaughtering all the cattle and opening the King’s granaries will help Jesus return.
        Lets get into fights! –> It is ok to use violence and torture those trying to stop the glorious new world. This is adopted even for beliefs that claim to be pacifist and abhor violence.

        These show up quite often on many historical examples of heresies promising the end of the world or a new world coming show. These rationalizations also tend to be pretty leftist sounding (with obvious exceptions like Polygamy). I am however not saying all leftism can be attributed to them, merely saying movements based on end of the world beliefs are likely to end up with quite leftist beliefs.

        • Brian says:

          I’m not an expert on the rest, but the mindset behind institutionalized violence is wildly different from that of personal and especially recreational violence. It’s extremely implausible to me that you can get the former from a desire for the latter.

          (You can have a society that formalizes personal violence and extends it into larger scales, but that gets you something like the pre-Mongol Japanese method of warfare, which tends to break down as soon as it’s confronted with a society that takes strategy seriously.)

        • lmm says:

          Modern politics is a lot more relevant to me than cult ideology. I could argue that you’ve cherry-picked your examples and other cult rationalisations come from the traditional right narrative – but if you’re really just talking about cults and not trying to infer anything about political positions then I don’t care and I’m surprised that you do.

        • Multiheaded says:

          Lets get laid! –> …Women’s equality…

          Konk, as a total aside – listen to me closely, this is how you catch the patriarchy at work in your brain. NOT by the fact of making a provocative comment on the rhetoric of gender equality, oh no. By observing that the thought of the lower classes having had historical agency and impact on their own hasn’t entered your mind in the first place. I won’t shame you for your “men liberate women to get laid”, I’m calling your attention to the framing of “men liberate women because they love freedom” vs “men liberate women to get laid”. The option of “women struggling for their collective self-interest” is absent, and “agent” implicitly = “man” that’s the patriarchal mindset.

          And it’s not shameful for you, nearly everyone’s a huge sexist that way, I still have years of recovery ahead of myself. In a very parallel way, when I was a left-authoritarian, I used to genuinely alieve that democracy is bad because the people are reactionary and need leftist intellectuals to drag them towards liberation. I’m pissed off by former-me, and much less so by you. Just note that much feminist thought operates on this level, deeper than you’ve touched. Try and read some feminist history book, or, say, Firestone for a start.

          P.S.: frankly, the object-level claim looks like ridiculously twisted confirmation bias cherry-picking too. I’m not concerned with millenarian cults in the first place, as they seem to be displaced by very different forms of terror with the arrival of modernity. Take the Great Leap Forward, shall I outline the many ways it was unlike what you describe? To say nothing of Stalin.

          • You are ignoring the question of whether the “patriarchal mindset” corresponds to reality.

            Women, having shorter time preference than men, and being more easily influenced by social pressure, do “lack agency” in causing social change.

            And whether or not they “lack agency”, that is a question that has to resolved by looking at external reality, rather than by denouncing certain views as shameful.

        • Andy says:

          Women, having shorter time preference than men, and being more easily influenced by social pressure, do “lack agency” in causing social change.

          Though there are other reasons women haven’t had a lot of overt role in causing social change.
          But “not a lot” doesn’t mean “none.” One of the more interesting tidbits to come out of my reading of US Civil War history was that women went to the front of movements in urban reform, medical reform (including the United States Sanitary Commission, a soldiers’ aid society) the temperance movement that culminated in Prohibition, and the abolition movement. What was interesting for me was that womens’ involvement in these movements grew out of their societally determined role as mothers and homemakers. Essentially, the argument went: if women are going to be teaching the next generation of citizens and ensuring private morality, shouldn’t they have a role in protecting public morality as well?

        • Multiheaded says:

          Women, having shorter time preference than men

          Bullshit generalization, do you really despise your mother that much?

          and being more easily influenced by social pressure

          No shit, it’s entirely more rational to bend rather than break when you are historically in an environment of dependence and vulnerability to coercion. Which stems from women historically being exploited primarily for their means of reproduction. Higher birth rates inevitably = women being more oppressed. Read some damn Firestone, she said it all! Take away the dependence and vulnerability and women don’t have to bend to pressure any more than men do. (This story is music to my ears, a PUA scumbag suddenly discovering he can’t prey on the afraid and vulnerable.)

      • I don’t think leftist views are particularly correlated with extreme time preferences.

        If someone is worried about the deficit, he is a right winger. If a wealthy man is trying to organize a big building to be built, he is a right winger. If it is possible to build a really tall building, the government is probably reactionary.

        But in any case, this was not Konkvistador’s claim, or point.

        Rather, he explains the left singularity by millenarianism, while I explain millenarianism by the left singularity.

        Both explanations can be true – after all, the dynamics underlying a singularity generally manifest a positive feedback loop, or many positive feedback loops.

        If the ruler comes to power and holds power on equalist doctrines, he is riding the tiger, hence short time preference and millenarianism.

        If the society abolishes private property, this creates a huge coordination problem and creates an incentive to stop working and party now. The easiest way to solve it, or to explain away one’s disastrous failure to solve it, is to announce that it does not need to be solved. Hence short time preference an millenarianism.

        • Multiheaded says:

          If a wealthy man is trying to organize a big building to be built, he is a right winger.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Palace_Of_Soviets_1.JPG

          …okay, I agree that Stalin was a crypto-rightist, but that’s not what I think you meant.

          • The palace of the Soviets is not a big building by twentieth century standards. The two towers were big buildings, and buildings of that size cannot be built under progressive regimes.

        • Andy says:

          The two towers were big buildings, and buildings of that size cannot be built under progressive regimes.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_World_Trade_Center

          So is New York not a Progressive regime anymore? In addition, we’ve got at least one 73-story skyscraper project going up here in Downtown LA. Slowly, granted, but the basin has multiple fault lines, I’d appreciate them taking their time and doing it right, please!

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilshire_Grand_Tower

          Second, I think new big buildings only happen on the upslope of a demographic transition, when population is growing rapidly, and the need for residential and office space is at its peak. Our biggest buildings were built during periods of rapid population growth and urbanization. We haven’t been building them in part because of regulation, but in part because the demand isn’t as pressing a need, especially with a societal pressure toward suburbanization.
          I’d like more of an explanation of why big buildings “cannot be built under progressive regimes,” please.

          • The two towers were big buildings, and buildings of that size cannot be built under progressive regimes.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_World_Trade_Center

            So is New York not a Progressive regime anymore?

            The One World Trade Center has 94 inhabitable floors. The Twin towers had 110 inhabited floors.

            The spire does not count. Only the inhabited floors count, since that is what is technologically difficult, valuable, and hard to achieve.

            As the trabant was a fraud, created to disguise the fact that the Soviet Union could not build consumer cars, the One World Trade Center is a fraud, created to disguise the fact that the US can no longer build buildings as large as it used to be able to build.

          • I’d like more of an explanation of why big buildings “cannot be built under progressive regimes,” please.

            Social and technological decay, rapidly increasing time preference.

            Note that the top floor in the replacement for the twin towers is labelled 104, but there are actually only 94 habitable floors. Much as the Soviet Union made the trabant out of cardboard to look like the kind of thing capitalism produced.

            Your explanation of why we don’t need to build big buildings any more is like the explanation of why we don’t need mach 3 fighters any more, and we don’t need space travel any more.

            In fact the economic case for tall buildings has gotten better and better, in that the cost of office space in the city center has risen higher and higher, but we don’t seem able or willing to respond to these incentives any more.

        • Multiheaded says:

          the One World Trade Center is a fraud, created to disguise the fact that the US can no longer build buildings as large as it used to be able to build

          Hey, David, post this one to FSTDT dude!

  24. nydwracu says:

    It is highly unorthodox historical interpretation to blame any monarchy for Hitler, given that Hitler emerged from the ashes of a dysfunctional democratic government saddled with crushing debt and strangled by France. Hitler isn’t Robespierre; he’s Mugabe.

    Also, you would do well to consider what may need to be in place in order for a moderate-left government to take hold and become stable, and whether you might have the causality the other way around. If moderate-left governments collapse into Mugabeoid dystopias absent certain factors desirable for civilization (population that hasn’t been recently crushingly humiliated, low corruption, and low intranational tribalism / high sense of national cohesion are three possibilities I can think of), of course moderate-left governments will generally be nice places to live!—since the other ones all spawned Mugabes and therefore apparently don’t count.

  25. Ben says:

    By focusing just on reigns of terror following a revolution, you’re ignoring all the many examples of well-intentioned leftist movements sliding gradually into Stalinist oppression.

    For example, in post-WWII Britain the Labour party gained power – after the shock of the war disrupted the rightful monarchist social order – and rapidly set up an expanded welfare state, including a socialist health care system, where medical treatment was free at the point of use. And ever since, British politics has moved further and further to the left – private property is illegal here, the monarchy and nobles were famously tried and executed in the 60s “Twickenham Trials”, the charismatic rightist leader Margaret Thatcher was banned from running for election and finally hanged from Big Ben…

    All vaguely left-wing countries end up like this. Europe is full of them. I can’t believe you can deny the clear evidence of history.

    • Damien says:

      Not to mention the tens of thousands of Chileans ‘disappeared’ or openly murdered by the state, until President Allende’s death in 1988.

      And who can forget the Kibbutznik Party of Israel building a co-ed gymnasium on the site of the Wailing Wall, after forcing Hasidim to bare their heads and burn Torah scrolls?

      • Not to mention the tens of thousands of Chileans ‘disappeared’ or openly murdered by the state, until President Allende’s death in 1988.

        Allende had abandoned the forms of democracy, and was proceeding with the most terrible of weapons in the communist arsenal, artificial famine. Had there not been a coup in 1973, the death rate might well have been millions. Allende foretells the future of western democracy.

        • Ben says:

          That’s a good point: just look at the terrible future record of famine among the left-leaning democracies of Europe. It’s insanely biased of Scott just to include evidence that has already happened.

          • That’s a good point: just look at the terrible future record of famine among the left-leaning democracies of Europe.

            Societies that move ever leftwards must eventually become socialist. Socialist countries have famines, intentionally and unintentionally. It has happened before. Why should this time be different?

            We have thousand page bills and ten thousand page regulations, because the government is displacing and replacing the decision making of markets, prices, and private property owners, as explained by Hayek, as depicted in “Atlas Shrugged”, the failures of socialism begetting more socialism in a slippery slope. A thousand page bill causes disaster, is deemed to be de-regulation, is replaced by a three thousand page bill.

            This is apt to unintentionally produce hunger, in extreme cases famine, and as we move ever leftwards, bound to get more extreme. The government then “prioritizes” and “rations”, meaning it confiscates the food to feed government officials and loyal population groups at the expense of disloyal population groups – artificial famine aimed at crushing the government’s enemies through starvation.

            In California, we are already seeing different welfare standards for whites and mestizos, though the welfare bureaucrats are eager to include anyone as mestizo, no matter how obviously white, into the privileged group, rather than eager to exclude George Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic”. They want everyone to identify as nonwhite Hispanic, pressure people to do so, and reward them for doing so. (You too can be nonwhite Hispanic) When the government goes broke, and the government confiscates all the food so that the only way to get a meal is from the government, they will be eager to exclude, rather than eager to include.

  26. dhill says:

    I see failure to distinguish between economically and morally oppressive regimes here. I think morally oppressive regime (or rather society) often coincides with economic freedom. It’s not easy to get an excuse there, the trust is cultivated, the lies are uncovered. That’s where I see at least some of the reactionaries point.

    I tend to dismiss all the monarchy talk, I don’t think it’s viable. Leadership takes many forms. I think many democratically elected heads of state have a problem of ignoring the monetary policy. This destroys them as leaders, but I don’t think it happens only in democracy. Maybe, considering how easy it is to die by opposing fiat money, it’s not the understanding that is missing.

  27. Damien says:

    Someone snarks: “They say that monarchs are good because they are sort of like CEOs and the country is a corporation. I wonder, what do these people think about the idea of having corporations run by hereditary rulers? “

    • I wonder, what do these people think about the idea of having corporations run by hereditary rulers?

      It is called a closely held corporation.

    • Isn’t something *like* that at least a little common?

      Reactionaries tend to be influenced by romanticism. If you were simply to institute something *now*, I would go with an aristocratic republic. http://intellectual-detox.com/ has some interesting ideas and also is probably the least hateful reactionary, although he does have odd ideas about policy w/r/t single mothers and I think some of his crime control ideas aren’t very good. He basically suggests a corporate state / aristocratic republic in which there are elections for some *policies* but no broad elections.

      With tradition and a real attempt at aristocratic training (something which I do NOT think happened in the Ancien Regime) things would be much better.

      I am doubtful about Macdonald’s claims about the French monarchy (as well as his moral character); it seems that they were still being incredibly economically exploitative during hard times, etc. However, they and the Tsar may have Gorbacheved themselves, that seems possible.

      Actually, I wonder how Gorbacheving works. Possibly it happens when a left-wing movement is in place, and then the ruling party publically seems to capitulate while not actually making things materially better, so they look ridiculous or something?

      • Damien says:

        Family businesses a common, but also usually not that big. I don’t know what the biggest and oldest family businesses would be. I’d guess Japanese… of course, they often adopt in new ‘heirs’ when their own are lacking. Nervan/PRI model strikes again.

        (Hypothesis: fully hereditary monarchy works best when the monarch has enough competence to pick a good vizier/chancellor/Hand and enough power to back them up, and otherwise stays quiet and modest.)

        Only doubtful, eh? Rather generous of you.

        The book I mentioned covered Holland, France, Spain, Prussia, Austria, Russia, and England. As anyone who knows history knows, the first and last were functional, the rest not. Well, Prussia under Fred II has a good reputation, but a detailed look made it sound rather crappy for the non-Junker Prussians. Catherine of Russia would listen to the Enlightenment philosophers, then ignore them, while ‘serfs’ were sold and moved around like chattel. Spain and France were full of noble short-sighted selfishness, with peasants starving while land stood idle; France also had a bourgeoisie that bought into noble propaganda of “freedom” until the Parlement of Paris backstabbed them regarding the structure of the Estates. Austria I recall few details of.

        Holland was interesting: tolerant oligarchs, fanatic Calvinists in the streets. Probably a case where more democracy would have made things nastier for the Jews et al., a la fears about the Arab world. But comparing that to the senselessly starving peasants, and Russian slavery, and England creaking forward, I think the utilitarian calculus favors more democracy everywhere.

        Louis’s problem was being broke, and the nobles being good at blocking any way of raising more money. Not exactly a Gorbachev. There was also food insecurity after an unprecedented famine-free generation, so people had gotten more expectations about not starving. Well, urban people.

      • Konkvistador says:

        “Actually, I wonder how Gorbacheving works.”

        Gorbachev seems to have basically decided he preferred to be a moderately well off Westerner than rule in the Soviet Union.

        • nydwracu says:

          Entryism from the top. Given the memetic power of liberalism, it will eventually be able to infect someone with power, who will then either reshape the institution along liberal lines or dismantle it entirely.

        • I mean more to the effect that Gorbachev liberalized Soviet communism, and *still* seemed to trigger his own fall.

        • Crimson Wool says:

          Gorbachev’s problem was that he assumed that by introducing western economics and politics into the complex Soviet system without any consideration as to whether or not they would work or function in the broader context, everything would work out fine. This caused all sorts of problems, among them secessionism, inflation, and unemployment, eventually culminating in an attempted coup d’etat (and remember, after the Rust Affair, he got to rearrange the military to his liking) and the collapse of the Soviet state.

  28. And anyone who disagrees, I challenge that person to show me a good example of a reign of terror in a nation that has been stably democratic (defined here as its real head of government being chosen by free and fair elections, plus well-enforced right to free speech) for at least one generation beforehand.

    The reactionary view is that democratic elections are a poison. The act of holding election polarizations and factionalizes the population, summons demagogues, and creates conflict and potentially violence. When a country subcumbs to the poison, the first thing to go are the “free and fair elections.” Soon thereafter, the country either falls into civil war, ends up with a reign of terror from some bloodthirsty faction, or ends up with a tyrant.

    The damage done by the poison of elections depends on the politics and culture of the nation. In some countries, like the Congo of 1960, Russia of 1917, or France of 1790 the country cannot survive even one election cycle. In other situations, such as Weimar Germany, the poison takes longer to kill the host. Some countries, such as the United States, have strong enough cultures they can survive the poison far longer, and end up with more of ongoing cirrosis with more acute outbreaks of terror now and then (the Civil War, the KKK’s reign of terror in the South, the Atlanta Race Riot, the race riots in the 1960’s and the ethnic cleansing of Detroit and other American cities).

    Countries that actually pull of “free and fair elections” for a generation either have very strong cultures or they have actually greatly watered down their “democracy” and diluted the poison. Modern Germany, for instance, is arguably much less democratic than it was under the Kaiser. Permanent bureaucracies control most of the policy and implementation. A state education system tells people what to think and laws keep political discourse within bounds.

    • The modern US is pretty much like modern Germany in this sense, as the elections are noisy and hotly contested, and do almost nothing to actually change the direction of the government, which is carried by bureaucratic inertia.

      A half-baked historical theorem that I’ve been mulling over is that the US only became the stable and respectable proponent of “democracy” that its proponents imagine it to be after it had started to neuter democracy. The first century of US governance is anything but stable, with both the massive Civil War and smaller rebellions, riots, and crises in near-constant succession. It was, in other words, every bit as chaotic and unstable as the neoreactionaries suggest. The rise of machine politics in the late 19th century was the first step in taming democracy, as it made actual elections irrelevant, and its work was completed by the Progressives, who eliminated most of the old political machines in order to install the Cathedral and the permanent bureaucracy as we know it today.

      • Damien says:

        The difference between “almost nothing” and “nothing” is rather large. It includes the New Deal, Medicare, the EPA, the income tax… and Reagan’s slashing of tax rates, breaking of labor unions, rise in inequality… and more recently, Obamacare. We also got direct election of Senators.

        Alternate theory: rebellions went down as the government established power and legitimacy, slavery (the cause of the biggest rebellion) got abolished, and the combination of a growing economy and egalitarian policies meant no one was desperate enough to rebel.

        Also, those who want to argue democracy isn’t stable or productive have to argue away Switzerland.

        • Konkvistador says:

          ” It includes the New Deal, Medicare, the EPA, the income tax… ”

          Wait… what? You think democracy brought the New Deal? Dear lord check out FDRs first election campaign.

        • Also, those who want to argue democracy isn’t stable or productive have to argue away Switzerland.

          Switzerland may well be stable and productive for other reasons. Perhaps it it was ruled like Dubai, would be even more stable and productive.

          To ascertain the effect of democracy, need a treatment case: a society that changed, becoming much more democratic, or much less democratic – for example Egypt. Or, for that matter, pretty much the entire middle east.

          And reactionaries argue that all democracies are fake: That what is dangerous is not so much elections, as the ideology that justifies government on the basis of elections, what is dangerous is demotism.

          If we compare more demotic with less demotic societies, and changes to more demotism or less, it is pretty obvious that demotism is disastrous.

          To which the anti reactionary answer is “But those are not real democracies. Real democracies are like Sweden”.

          But this argument suffers from survivorship bias. A democracy is supposedly real not because the people have any significant input to the government (obviously Americans do not), but because it has survived a long time.

        • nydwracu says:

          It is possible for democracy to be stable or productive if certain conditions obtain. These conditions are not yet fully understood, but they probably include recognition of the existence of multiple cultures within the country, creation of strong borders between those cultures, and decentralization of power to monocultural cantons. Relevant: http://phys.org/news/2011-10-group-boundaries-key-ethnic-violence.html

        • Doug S. says:

          The condition for democracy to be stable is simple: no group must prefer fighting a war to losing an election.

        • Andy says:

          The condition for democracy to be stable is simple: no group must prefer fighting a war to losing an election.

          Here in the US, this is accomplished by stigmatizing being the first to shoot. This goes as far back as 1861, when Abraham Lincoln used some interesting maneuvering to put the onus for starting a war on Jefferson Davis, by sending only food to the garrison at Fort Sumter.
          And now, the federal government has an effective monopoly on war-scale violence. You could, in theory, start a guerrilla group to make slow war on the government, but our political culture stigmatizes that extreme, and any group that did would lose moderate support in short order.
          You can start a war (several groups try, every couple of years, like the Hutaree) but you would not get very far.

        • Douglas Knight says:

          Andy, what do you mean about Fort Sumter? Do you have a source?

          My understanding is that Lincoln never succeeded in resupplying Sumter with anything, not even food. And that Buchanan tried and failed before him. Buchanan failed when the first shots were fired!

    • Multiheaded says:

      Modern Germany, for instance, is arguably much less democratic than it was under the Kaiser… …A state education system tells people what to think

      Prussia invented this shit.

  29. Damien says:

    TIL that tall buildings count as scientific progress, but going to the moon and sending out dozens of space probes doesn’t. Neither do the polio vaccine, abolishing smallpox and rinderpest, curbing AIDS, the birth control pill and IUDs (like them or not), DNA testing, GMOs…

    • Konkvistador says:

      You clearly didn’t bother to read Jim, because this is a straw man.

      • Damien says:

        “Scientific advancement stalled out earlier, around 1944 or so” — James A. Donald

        Okay, he also says
        “That is technological advancement, not scientific advancement, which for most technologies, such as clothes washing machines and cool superplanes, maxed in 1972 in the west, though technology continues to advance in some non democracies”

        The difference between technology and science is kind of blurry for a lot of this stuff; lasers were built in 1950, though predicted earlier. Detecting extrasolar planets is a big technological feat but also a big scientific one — and one after 1972. Polio vaccine was after 1944; do we count it as just a technological advancement on vaccines, or as a scientific one? Do we, if we’re not as crazy as Jim, really care?

        “Cool” technological advancement since 1972 includes faster trains, cheaper solar and wind power, possibly safer fission power though no one’s racing to build it, self-driving cars, drones, stealth planes and ships…

        I’d agree that our lives are being revolutionized by non-IT tech at a much slower pace, if at all, compared to 1830-1950. But low-hanging fruit is an entirely sufficient and explanation. We made discoveries, we had a Cambrian explosion of exploration of the new possibilities, things settled down.

        “the scientific community tells the experimenter what he observes.” is the statement of a madman, ignoring oh let’s say continental drift, plate tectonics, and the accelerating universe.

        • I’d agree that our lives are being revolutionized by non-IT tech at a much slower pace, if at all, compared to 1830-1950. But low-hanging fruit is an entirely sufficient and explanation.

          Low hanging fruit fails to explain that so many fields stopped in 1972, and that some of them stopped in the west while not stopping world wide.

          If low hanging fruit, you would not expect to see such a sharp, well defined date, nor that such a date would be associated with transition from innovation in areas central western civilization, to areas peripheral to western civilization.

          Recall the old pictures of the city of tomorrow. Then look at cityscape photos of real cities. This is a measure of how tech a society is as seen from ten thousand feet. The closer to the center of European civilization, the more Victorian, the further, for example Shanghai and Singapore, the more futuristic. Photos of Stockholm make you think they should be in faded sepia from a Daguerreotype. London looks sort of World War Twoish, Tokyo looks futuristic to Londoners, but not to Americans.

  30. Damien says:

    ” If 5% of men are rapists, and most women who have been married have been married only once, then how do you get up to 14%? Or from the opposite perspective: something like 18% of women have been raped, and like a third of rapes are by intimate partners (boyfriends/husbands), which doesn’t seem to quite add up barring some very questionable assumptions.”

    Speaking of citations and good scholarship, where are you numbers from and what population do they cover? You’re being as a sloppy as the original claim.

    14% of wives seems to come from Russell, as you say, which is a 1982 study. The United States is specified (there were much more recent claims of appalling levels of marital rape in Asia, IIRC). He also says 14% had been raped by a husband or ex-husband.

    Marital rape only started being criminalized in the US in the mid-1970s (those pesky feminists and progressives again); it took until 1993 for all states to have kind of criminalized it, and there commonly was still a difference in legal treatment from ‘ordinary’ rape.

    It’s been over 30 years since Russell’s study and attitudes have changed rapidly, so comparing numbers across decades seems risky.

    • Crimson Wool says:

      Speaking of citations and good scholarship, where are you numbers from and what population do they cover? You’re being as a sloppy as the original claim.

      5% and 18% are the general consensus of the current literature in my readings, which I assumed ozy was familiar with. For the former, see, e.g. Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists by Lisak and Miller (6.3%). For the latter, see, e.g., the CDC NISVS 2010 (18.3%), the NVAWS 1995-6 (17.6%) and Drug-Facilitated, Incapacitated, and Forcible Rape by Kilpatrick et al (18%).

      For the “one third of victims” point, that’s the general numbers I see floated (1/3 stranger, 1/3 intimate partner, 1/3 friend/relative/etc). For a specific citation, see, e.g., the NCVS (20%).

      It’s been over 30 years since Russell’s study and attitudes have changed rapidly, so comparing numbers across decades seems risky.

      That is a possible explanation, but I still find it unlikely – look at how closely the NVAWS and the NISVS conform, even though they’re 15 years apart. It seems likely that (at least in the United States), the rape rate represents primarily or solely an intersection of biological and social factors which are highly resistant to change.

      • ozymandias says:

        Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. It was late and I was not looking as carefully into statistics as I should have.

        In NISVS half of female rape survivors were raped by an intimate partner (for about 9% of women who have survived a rape by an intimate partner), but that might be a boyfriend or female partner and not a husband, and I believe Jim is primarily interested in husbands? Regardless, I think “not negligible” is a quite reasonable conclusion.

        • Douglas Knight says:

          Russell’s numbers are that 12% of women have been raped by their husbands(?) and 80% of never-married women have been raped. But only 1% of married women self-describe as having been raped. Does anyone have access to the original source to confirm these numbers? And to find the missing 4th number?

          What is the cause of the discrepancy between the assessment of the wife and the interviewer? This is difficult to assess without knowing whether it appears in other interviews, including those of never-married women. Three hypotheses: (1) Rape victims consistently underplay their experience; (2) People reject the category of marital rape (perhaps only in the past); (3) Russell and her staff of interviewers are redefining rape.

        • Crimson Wool says:

          Russell’s numbers are that 12% of women have been raped by their husbands(?) and 80% of never-married women have been raped. But only 1% of married women self-describe as having been raped. Does anyone have access to the original source to confirm these numbers? And to find the missing 4th number?

          I have access to it and checked on the methodology. It seems a bit dodgy, and ultimately it’s difficult to confirm one way or the other.

          The methodology is that women were asked open-ended questions, then their experiences were dissected to discover whether or not they counted as rape according to the definition used by the study authors (which is: penetration, whether vaginal, oral, or anal; whether penile or digital; which is coerced by force, threat of force, or by the woman in question being incapacitated/unaware). This methodology makes it very difficult to verify what exactly is being used as a definition in practice. If you take something like the CDC NISVS, you can go check the questionnaire and use that to decide whether or not there’s enough ambiguity for consensual sex to slip under the definition. With a methodology like this, that’s not possible: you have to trust the study authors.

          And, frankly, I stopped trusting rape study authors a long time ago.

          What is the cause of the discrepancy between the assessment of the wife and the interviewer? This is difficult to assess without knowing whether it appears in other interviews, including those of never-married women. Three hypotheses: (1) Rape victims consistently underplay their experience; (2) People reject the category of marital rape (perhaps only in the past); (3) Russell and her staff of interviewers are redefining rape.

          Based on the given examples in the parts of the text I read, it’s some combination of one and two, possibly a bit of 3. Some of the women actually said things to the effect of “it was like rape” to describe the experience. They included some ambiguous cases where it wasn’t quite clear what happened (e.g. a case where it sounds like the woman just had sex with her husband in order to calm him down, but she also mentions him “pinning” her), but I think I may be overestimating their prevalence because they make up a large part of what’s mentioned in the study.

        • Douglas Knight says:

          If you have access, what is the 4th number? How many never-married women say that they have been raped?

        • In NISVS half of female rape survivors were raped by an intimate partner (for about 9% of women who have survived a rape by an intimate partner), but that might be a boyfriend or female partner and not a husband,

          Or one of several boyfriends, the most attractive of which usually show up only on the first of the month when the welfare money comes in.

          If one observes cats mating, it is often impossible to distinguish rape from consensual sex, because they frequently just don’t like each other very much. Without bonding, the distinction between rape and consent becomes meaningless. In a leking species, the female consented to go to the lek, consented to get close to the most attractive male at the lek, and got banged.

        • ozymandias says:

          James, is it your intent to argue for lesbian separatism?

          • Check the rate of violence in lesbian households. I don’t have any statistics but on casual observation, I believe it to be horrendously high, though lower than gay households.

            I do have statistics for wife of head of household, which tell us that wife of head of household is way safer than any other female, consistent with common sense and casual observation.

        • ozymandias says:

          Seriously, if I honestly believed that every time I was alone with a man he would rape me, and that if I went to a social situation with men in it where people were hooking up some man would have sex with me whether or not I consented, my solution would not be “therefore I should be in a monogamous relationship with a man so only *one* person would rape me!” We can totally have a community without you, you know. We have vibrators and I’m sure we’ll figure out something about reproduction.

          Also it is… generally fairly easy to tell apart rape and consensual sex? In consensual sex people are actively participating and saying things like “yes! I’m enjoying this so much! *groan of pleasure*” In rape, people say things like “No! Stop! Please stop! I don’t want to!” It is approximately as difficult for the participants to distinguish rape and sex as it is for them to distinguish taking people to the movies and kidnapping them, or receiving a present from someone and mugging them.

          Also, you believe all reports of rape are false, remember? You’re supposed to say something like “women are just making up rape because they want to fuck over their beta boyfriends!” not “women get raped because of their terrible taste in men.” I’m sorry, you must have gotten your misogynistic tropes confused. <3

          Do you have a citation that men who are on welfare are more likely to rape women?

          Humans are observably not an estrous species *or* a lekking species. Therefore, generalizations about lekking species or estrous species do not apply to humans.

          • People in female headed households report a high rate of violence, victimization, and sexual assault in the international crime victimization survey.

            Which agrees with common sense and casual observation.

            easy to tell apart rape and consensual sex? In consensual sex people are actively participating and saying things like “yes! I’m enjoying this so much! *groan of pleasure*” In rape, people say things like “No! Stop! Please stop! I don’t want to!”

            Sex and courtship is non verbal, pre verbal, and pre rational. If a woman verbalizes to me that she is enjoying it, I do not believe her. If enjoying it, should not be able to give a running report.

            Consent is not that simple. If people stick together for life, they have to behave well. If people are just hooking up, they have no reason to behave well, and frequently behave very badly. So, people who hook up frequently have conflict before, after, and during sex, much as cats do, rendering consent unclear.

            Typical cat incident. Female cat approaches male cat and attempts to rip his ears off. Male fights her, subdues her, and has sex with her. As he finishes she screams loudly, and resumes attempt to rip his ears off. He flees. Not long afterwards, she approaches him again. This time he does not flee. Sounds much like Crystal Mangum’s sex life.

        • Alexander Stanislaw says:

          Ozy, what is your goal here exactly? Whatever it is I doubt you’re going to make any progress.

        • ozymandias says:

          My goal is to procrastinate on writing my final papers, at which I am succeeding admirably.

        • Andy says:

          My goal is to procrastinate on writing my final papers, at which I am succeeding admirably.

          Yes, let’s procrastinate together! Want some tea?

          BTW, excellent point on cats and humans, I wish I’d gotten to it first.

  31. FWIW, as a NR I find Jim’s theory of Leftist Singularity to be implausible, and to be different from Laliburton’s theory in important ways (as others have noted).

    But anyway, let’s accept your analogy and assert that old, unreformed monarchies are like forests with lots of dry underbrush. But in that case, who are these assholes throwing around lit cigarettes? Why are we letting them off the hook? A reasonable policy in this case is to ban smoking entirely within the borders of your park, because if anyone gets lazy then the whole thing could go up in smoke.

    (I assume that the point of this analogy is obvious.)

    If we may stretch the analogy to its breaking point, what we really need is a reasonable forest management regime that can avoid an excessive buildup of brush (maybe even with controlled burning) *and* vigorously prosecute people trying to start their own fires.

    • Damien says:

      “controlled burning”

      Like regular elections?

      • I expected someone to take that interpretation :).

        Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of classical liberal policies like a free press, free religion, and economic deregulation, which are generally compatible (and have often coexisted) with reactionary governance.

    • If we may stretch the analogy to its breaking point, what we really need is a reasonable forest management regime that can avoid an excessive buildup of brush (maybe even with controlled burning) *and* vigorously prosecute people trying to start their own fires.

      But this policy was exactly that of King Louis XVI and Tzar Alexander the liberator: Official state sponsored left wing reforms by an official state sponsored left. The official controlled fires got horribly out of control.

      Scott, and perhaps yourself, seems to think that the Kings that got overthrown by revolution ate babies, and imprisoned those that sought to murder them. On the contrary, they were leftists and progressives. They punished those that sought stability and rewarded those that sought the death of Kings, no friends to the right, no enemies to the left.

  32. Damien says:

    “I feel like your plan would require a woman never be alone with a man that they do not, currently, at this very second, want to fuck. This seems silly.”

    But traditional! Chaperones and all.

  33. Damien says:

    “Low hanging fruit fails to explain that so many fields stopped in 1972, and that some of them stopped in the west while not stopping world wide.”

    You have yet to establish your claim. Repeating a lot is not convincing. Super-tall buildings are not that important, and probably often as much about prestige as profit or practicality.

    Since 1972 we’ve seen space shuttles, space stations, more and more space probes, the discovery of extrasolar planets, personal computers, the Internet, cell phones, numerous medical advances, DNA deciphering, genetic engineering, cloning, faster and faster trains, cheap air travel, taught apes and parrots to sign or talk, discovered we were destroying the ozone layer and took measures to stop that, discovered new plagues and invented new science to stop them… We live in a science fictional future. Not the one many SF authors imagined, but one nonetheless. And most of those advances have been in the Western countries.

    That we haven’t satisfied your fetish for ever bigger and taller skyscrapers is of no significance whatsoever.

    • Low hanging fruit fails to explain that so many fields stopped in 1972, and that some of them stopped in the west while not stopping world wide.

      You have yet to establish your claim.

      Which claim – that most fields of technology stopped advancing in 1972, or that some of them continue to advance but only outside the west?

      The original claim that we were heading to a technological singularity, or one of the early claims, cited as one of its major examples, more and more capable aircraft in particular the SR-71, which promptly went away, never to be replaced. That is a field that stopped advancing and has in some important aspects regressed. We can no longer build something like the SR-71. We stopped being able to build something like the SR-71 some time around 1972.

      And the stuff that you list as still advancing, is for the most part built outside the west, and has never been built in the west, for example the kindle screen and the laser that is used to read movies on disk.

      By and large, cool technologies are built in places that look rather like the city of tomorrow, such as Shanghai. If really tall human occupied buildings are a status symbol, it is because they are hard to build, and hard to maintain conditions for human occupancy

      One of the indicators that South Africa is reverting to the jungle is that increasingly, the upper floors of tall buildings have become uninhabitable and have been abandoned.

      • Andy says:

        We can still build the SR-71, we simply choose not to, because we have craft that can mimic its capabilities from outside the atmosphere (spy satellites) and craft that can take pictures from much closer, but are inexpensive and expendable (surveillance UAVs). If you want to continue to insist that we *cannot* (ie, are not technically able to) build the SR-71, I ask you to back that up.
        Maybe these are not as sexy as the SR-71 (not to mention secret, thus it is difficult to judge capabilities) but they get the job done. Should we build things based on how effectively they get the job done, or how big they make our Science Boners? I submit that it is the function of these tools that matter more than their sexiness.
        You cite tall buildings. I cite:
        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2005231/Chinas-ghost-towns-New-satellite-pictures-massive-skyscraper-cities-STILL-completely-empty.html
        Chinese skyscrapers sitting empty. I also direct you to the history of the Empire State Building, which didn’t reach full occupancy until World War 2. Also, we do still build tall buildings, including the new One World Trade Center in New York.
        I submit that the reason we aren’t building as many tall buildings is that we actually have roughly *enough* office space in our cities. The market is somewhat saturated, thus new stock is not being created. Second, the trend of suburbanization pushed many businesses out into suburban areas and away from urban cores. If New Urbanism as a philosophy takes off, we may see the reverse – more people and businesses moving back into city centers.

        • Damien says:

          I think there is a shortage of housing and tall buildings due to government laws, but apart from NYC the shortage is less of super tall buildings more of decently tall ones. A parade of 4-5 story buildings can add up to NY level density, actually, but most US places mandate short buildings surrounded by parking places. Hard to pin that on ‘progressivism’ apart from city voters having influence over their laws, but cities have always tended to being republics and democracies, it’s hardly a modern thing. And single rulers could fuck up a city as easily as improve it, or more so.

        • Andy says:

          There’s a shortage of housing due to laws, but also markets (it’s more profitable to build high-priced condos than cheap apartments in urban cores) and a culture that prizes automobiles and stigmatizes apartment dwellers. Single-use zoning contributes to this too.
          (That’s serious, by the way: I’ve been at local planning authority meetings where entire groups of homeowners opposed building mid-priced apartments because “If they can’t own a home, we don’t want them in our neighborhood!”)
          Los Angeles has a height limit of 13 stories in its urban core, and is actually much denser in population than most people think. Taller buildings can also be achieved by putting a skyscraper next to a shorter building and buying “air rights,” which were instituted to keep too many tall buildings, too close together, from creating lightless urban canyons. A great example of this is the US Bank Tower, which bought the air rights of the adjacent 5-story LA Central Library. This also helped fund the Library’s restoration after its arson fire.
          Parking lot requirements are a pain, I agree, and can be achieved, as they are in many LA high-rises, by devoting a few floors to a parking garage. Though if more resources were devoted to a better public transit system for a regional metropolitan area, cars might not be needed so much, and could be replaced with private cars for short-term rental – companies like Zipcar are trying this on college campuses.
          Cities, I think, are a kind of social technology. It takes practice and discipline and different ideas to manage a society with a lot of people in a small space. But we are, slowly, haltingly, figuring out how to manage and run them.

          • (That’s serious, by the way: I’ve been at local planning authority meetings where entire groups of homeowners opposed building mid-priced apartments because “If they can’t own a home, we don’t want them in our neighborhood!”)

            What they mean, but are not allowed to say, is that if someone builds mid priced apartments in a homeowner neighborhood, criminals will be sectioned eighted into those apartments, and will predate upon the homeowners. I personally experienced this in Palo Alto, one of the classiest areas in the US, when a large black woman, a neighbor, demanded money with menaces from my very small wife and broke a window, while my wife was taking care of my small children, while I was away at work.

            This is, by the way, still illegal in Palo Alto, or it was back then, and something was eventually done about that woman, though in some substantial parts of America it is effectively legal.

        • We can still build the SR-71, we simply choose not to

          The core technology of the SR-71 was not taking photos. It was that the jet engines slowly, smoothly, and continuously transitioned from being conventional jet engines, to being ramjets, that the SR-71 could fly and maneuver at ramjet speeds, slightly over mach 3.

          Thus the core technology of the SR-71 was not that it could take photos, but that it could fly really fast.

          We cannot fly really fast any more.

          If we could, we would. There is always value in getting some place faster, especially in war. If you can move faster than the enemy, you can give battle when and where you want and he does not want, and avoid battle when and where he wants and you do not want.

          We do not, and cannot, use ramjets any more.

        • Andy says:

          We do not, and cannot, use ramjets any more.

          This also does not pass the giggle test. “If we could, we would” is a child’s answer, that does not take into account the factors other than pure speed that get taken into consideration in designing a fast air-breathing vehicle.
          There are a lot of strategic questions other than speed, especially for a country like the United states with globally deployed (and extraterrestrial) military assets.
          The SR-71, while a marvel, was also a very, very, expensive boner-plane. Here we return to the topic of efficiency – satellites could do what the SR-71 did, and the United States could still offer battle where we wanted without the Blackbird. Not to mention our capability to turn whatever city we want into a big ball of nuclear fire.
          Second, the Blackbird was a pain to keep in the air, with special maintenance and fuel requirements. Speed in battle does you no good if your super-fast plane is grounded for repairs, especially if you have something else that can do the same job. And we had satellites (that could avoid entirely the conventional SAMs) and drones (which are expendable.)
          So the SR-71 was a victim of a poor cost-benefit ratio. The benefits weren’t enough to justify spending increased materials. And since you’ve invoked the military virtue of speed, I’ll remind you that a military functions on a supply chain that does better with simplicity. The SR-71 couldn’t use the fuel or parts that were part of that supply chain, requiring more complication. And the Air Force never liked the thing.
          But we still have SR-71s in museums. We (probably) still have the documents that went into making and flying them. If we wanted to, if we had a job that required those ramjet engines, we could build and fly them.
          We choose not to use ramjet engines because ramjets, while extra fast, do not supply enough marginal utility to compensate for their other deficiencies. But if, in the future, some bright person decides that ramjets are worthwhile, maybe for giving rich people a thrill or lifting things into orbit, he or she will be able to build and operate them. Especially because some of the details of the SR-71’s engines are on its Wikipedia page!

          • Second, the Blackbird was a pain to keep in the air, with special maintenance and fuel requirements. Speed in battle does you no good if your super-fast plane is grounded for repairs […]

            So the SR-71 was a victim of a poor cost-benefit ratio.

            Similarly, in the last days of the Roman empire in the west, good armor for the legions was a victim of poor cost benefit ratio.

            Similarly, when the Chinese empire confronted British troops, they found that their cannon were more dangerous to those firing them, than to those that they were fired at.

            When your technological level is declining, the highest technology always becomes too expensive, too unreliable and too difficult. That is what technological decay is.

            We used to be able to routinely and regularly fly at ramjet speeds, and gave it up because it was somehow, strangely, mysteriously, becoming more and more difficult to do so.

        • Andy says:

          When your technological level is declining, the highest technology always becomes too expensive, too unreliable and too difficult. That is what technological decay is.

          We used to be able to routinely and regularly fly at ramjet speeds, and gave it up because it was somehow, strangely, mysteriously, becoming more and more difficult to do so.

          Um, no. It was always difficult and expensive to maintain the equipment that flew at ramjet speeds, and we came up with systems that didn’t have to. Because technology advanced. The optics and other payload packages on satellites were getting better.
          I think it’s telling that a ramjet combat aircraft was never deployed. For the wars we’re fighting now, what we need is long endurance, surveillance, cheapness, and expendability. But given the way high-tech companies store information and do research, I find it absolutely unbelievable that it is impossible in terms of technology to maintain an SR-71. Politically impossible, yes – that appears to be what killed the Blackbird. Satellites were just more politically popular. And there are few other tasks, even in the military, that *need* that kind of speed.
          You’re going to have to give a lot more examples to convince me that technology levels are declining, especially with evidence of the opposite all around.

          • It was always difficult and expensive to maintain the equipment that flew at ramjet speeds, and we came up with systems that didn’t have to. Because technology advanced.

            We no longer have the capability to perform close up reconnaissance against areas with air defense, something the SR-71 was primarily designed for.

            I think it’s telling that a ramjet combat aircraft was never deployed.

            What it tells me is technological decay. The original plan was the B-71 which would have three short range attack missiles – a plane that could enter areas with high air defense, kill people and break things, and then get the hell away.

            That we don’t have that is no more a technological advance than the Chinese empire giving up on cannon, or the Roman empire skimping on armor.

      • Andy says:

        And the stuff that you list as still advancing, is for the most part built outside the west, and has never been built in the west, for example the kindle screen and the laser that is used to read movies on disk.

        Way to move the goalposts.
        But A) We have a global economy where things get built in places far from where they get designed. China sends Kindles to the US, and we send movies, cotton, electronics for recycling, etc, to them. A global economy is not good evidence for Western degradation.
        B) While the E-Ink displays are not made in the United States, they were developed at MIT, and the patent is filed in the United States.

        • Damien says:

          Yeah.
          Also I’m reminded of the economist mantra that trade=technology.

          Invent a mysterious femtotech device that turns sheep into cars and you’d be hailed as a technological savior of mankind, apart from a few luddites. Export sheep and import cars from afar and you’re a dastardly destroyer of jobs. There’s some practical basis for this, based on security, but it’s still wonky.

          Conversely it’s neat to think of trade as a magic femtotech device for turning anything into anything. It also shows why trade sanctions and economic discrimination can be so damaging.

        • Andy says:

          Conversely it’s neat to think of trade as a magic femtotech device for turning anything into anything. It also shows why trade sanctions and economic discrimination can be so damaging.

          I use an argument similar to this, involving chickens, to counter over-progressive arguments that currency is an evil and we’d all be better off if we got rid of the idea of money and traded in chickens and such.

  34. Damien says:

    “Switzerland may well be stable and productive for other reasons. Perhaps it it was ruled like Dubai, would be even more stable and productive.”

    But there is no reason whatsoever to think so.

    As Scott says of Singapore, Dubai is a natural trade location, as well as being an oil state. It would take really aggressive mismanagement to be poor there, and even hereditary monarchs often manage to not strangle geese that lay golden eggs. I’ll even give them credit here for actively fostering trade and being a stopping point for airliners. OTOH, it’s also infamous for slave labor.

    Switzerland, OTOH, is a small landlocked country with no special resources, divided by language and religion, as well as being the most democratic country in the world for at least 165 years. By your lights it should have everything going against it, yet it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world — mostly not from sucking on the flows of finance, despite the reputation for banking, but from high tech, precision and medical manufacturing. Its debt is low, its currency stable, and its depression unemployment is lower than most countries’ regular unemployment. It is a sterling refutation of every reactionary claim about democracy: the people have not voted themselves the treasury, taxed the rich into oblivion, or inflated their debts away.

    Oh, and the fertility rate, while considerably lower than Sweden’s, is considerably higher than Singapore’s.

    • Switzerland, OTOH, is a small landlocked country with no special resources, divided by language and religion, as well as being the most democratic country in the world for at least 165 years.

      But it does have a special resource. If you look at where geniuses racially originate from in Europe, there are two areas of high racial IQ, fairly close together. Switzerland is in the middle of one of the two areas of high IQ europeans, though it does not stand out that much on current day IQ measurements.

      Another explanation which, given current day IQ measurements I prefer, is simply, less democracy: They did not give women the vote until 1971, thus have been flooded with low intelligence, impulsive, illogical, short time preference voters for much less time than the rest of the world.

      More generally, survivorship bias means that a democracy still being around is highly correlated with racial superiority. Inferior races destroy themselves faster if allowed to vote. The alleged benefits of democracy are, in fact, the benefits of racial superiority – which are rapidly vanishing due to the elite project of electing a new people.

      • Hep says:

        Switzerland has a major resource: It’s easy as hell to defend. Hence it never needed a strong centralized government or system of strong lords to rule it. Democracy works OK if you don’t need centralized state for the common defense and if you can avoid having one part of your nation conquer the rest as New England did with America. It also helps having such high quality people as the swiss running things.

        • Damien says:

          Athens ran an imperial-quality navy as not just a democracy but a very strong democracy without a strong central executive. Navies are complex.

          Switzerland has a centralized state. Saying “New England conquered America” is pretty funny. And the Swiss are “high quality” in large part because they’re an egalitarian society who fund public education and value it highly — both academic and practical vocations. Not much wasted potential here.

          • Athens ran an imperial-quality navy as not just a democracy but a very strong democracy without a strong central executive.

            Athens self destructed in the naval invasion of Syracuse, and for two millenia thereafter its disastrous military mismanagement, in particular and especially the invasion of Syracuse, was treated as the knockdown argument proving that democracy does not work.

            The founding fathers created the presidency largely to avoid the a re-run of the Syracuse disaster, but now we have proxy wars between the Pentagon and the State Department, foreshadowing Syracuse all over again.

            Switzerland has a centralized state.

            Switzerland is the most decentralized state in the western world. Possibly you are confusing Switzerland with Sweden.

            Saying “New England conquered America” is pretty funny.

            You guys think it is hilarious whenever anyone deviates from official history as officially authorized by Harvard, which you may not have noticed is located in New England.

        • Hep says:

          “Athens ran an imperial-quality navy as not just a democracy but a very strong democracy without a strong central executive. Navies are complex.”

          Athens was almost always ruled by one strong leader who called all the shots and got people to vote the way he wanted. It met with disaster the few times that no strong leader or group of leaders told people how to vote. For instances Pericles dying during the opening years of the Peloponnesian War led to such insanities as punishing admirals for winning a navel battle and trying to kill the general who planned the Sicilian campaign. This general then defect to Sparta with all the plans. The democratic mob of Athens then refused to call off the campaign despite the defection and suffered a massive defeat with the Sicilian Expedition. At every step Athens lack of a strong leader allowed demagogues way the people one way and then another. Successful men were punished by demagogue jealous of their success.

          True centralized democracy is such insanity that it ether collapses within 20 years in an orgy of blood or it’s co-opted by strong men who tell the people how to vote. American’s in the second category.

  35. Damien says:

    “If the best American scientists and engineers are becoming expatriates ….”

    But they aren’t.

    Or if scientists are, it’s because conservatives are slashing research budgets, and so they go to places like Brazil instead.

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  37. Alat says:

    Reigns of terror tend to occur only a couple of years after a country is a strong repressive monarchy on the very far right

    Would you really describe, say, Louis XVI’s regime as “a repressive monarchy on the very far right”? Think about it. The French Revolution began when the king called the Estates General for the first time in centuries… and he did that because he could not just simply raise taxes. Nor could he conscript his subjects into the armed forces and have them killed by the millions all throughout Europe as the revolutionary and Napoleonic regimes did. Louis XVI, of all people, “a repressive monarch on the very far right”? If so, current democratic governments, who have so much more power than the old French king and no qualms in using it, are what?

  38. peppermint says:

    Still arguing about whether or not Crystal Magnum, the drunken violent lying whore convicted of second-degree murder, was raped by a bunch of White men. Other incidences of White men being accused of raping proud successful Black scientist CEO mothers of two include the Tawana Brawley case and the Dominique Strass-Kahn case. Perhaps the day will come when one of these accusations will stick.

    Leftists say that *of course* White men rape Black women, in huge numbers consonant with their power advantage. The inability to point out cases means nothing.

    This is the problem with progressivism and democracy. Ask Carlyle if it is right to blame demotism on kings that are too effete to stop it. Yes, Mr. Alexander, I agree that the French revolution may be blamed on the ineffective rule of the last kings of France.

  39. Damien says:

    “There’s a shortage of housing due to laws, but also markets (it’s more profitable to build high-priced condos than cheap apartments in urban cores) and a culture that prizes automobiles and stigmatizes apartment dwellers. Single-use zoning contributes to this too.”

    Mostly laws, I think. As you say, explicit zoning, also height limits, setbacks, and floor area ratio limits. And perhaps worst of all, parking requirements, which also are part of why high condos are more profitable, as they add to the minimum overhead and cost. (Consider a 15 m2 apartment saddled with 30 m2 of parking). But before that, they absolutely kill density. Yeah, you can do garages, but that’s more expensive too. ($15,000 in a large garage, $30,000 for small or underground, and that’s just construction costs not land.) Then the low density from accommodating cars with parking lots means that you need a car to get anywhere and you’ve got a vicious circle. Plus being a huge subsidy of the car lifestyle (new car $20,000. One relatively cheap to build but free to space at home and work, $10,000 each so $20,000, plus parking at other places you go. Don’t drive? Your home and work probably still have the parking space anyway, which drives up costs.)

    • Andy says:

      Agreed, agreed, preach it, brother! (I think. Damien sounds vaguely male-of-center. Apologies if I have your gender wrong.) Which is why I am generally known by my fellow students and professors as a New Urbanism fanatic.
      Though many of those laws – height limits, setbacks, floor-area ratios – have good reasons, such as not turning a city into the aforementioned lightless urban canyon.
      There’s a class of Angelenos making exactly the argument that living car-free is possible, though it does depend highly on occupation and neighborhood – being a reporter specializing in the Downtown area and living in Silver Lake, for example, or being a writer or academic in Long Beach. Many do tout a very large savings, though it takes skill and acclimation. I’m thinking these are “early adopters” of the less-car-reliant social technology, which hopefully will spread to the rest of the population over time. If we put enough resources into infrastructure, and manage the transition, and figure out how to get people of different income levels to live in the same general area… Yeaaah, we’ve got a lot of work to do. Still don’t want a New Urbanist Czar to fix it for me – that’d just take all the fun out of the process.

      • Damien says:

        Yeah, it’s a male name.
        I lived in southern Pasadena without a car, as did others, though we were college students. Though then others did as well, with jobs on a nearby main street. 1.5 miles from campus to Oldtown, a small world but decent. I’ve heard LA actually has lots of walkable pods, like Westwood, you just wanted a car to go between them since the buses suck.

        I learn that Paris is one of the densest cities in the world, Manhattan level. 20-25,000 per square kilometer, vs. 27k for Manhattan. It’s generally considered beautiful and well lit. Yglesias notes differences with DC: streets are narrower, few setbacks so Parisian buildings use more of the land, and while 6 stories is “short” compared to Manhattan, it still beats 2, so Paris ends up being 5.5x denser than DC. He’d also say Paris should build up more so more people can live in Paris, but places not quite so attractive can probably get away with short density. One could add more green space and still be denser than all non-NYC US cities.

        • Andy says:

          Though Paris was also designed in its modern form as a combination jobs program and control system – the boulevards are designed exactly one cavalry squadron wide, rather than the cramped, narrow streets perfect for urban guerrillas.
          (By the way, a great read talking about competitive control systems, guerrilla warfare, and modern conflict: Down From The Mountains by David Kilcullen. Tend to hype up networks, disruption, and swarming, but otherwise an interesting model of how governments and social services work.

  40. Damien says:

    “Athens self destructed in the naval invasion of Syracuse, and for two millenia thereafter its disastrous military mismanagement, in particular and especially the invasion of Syracuse, was treated as the knockdown argument proving that democracy does not work.”

    Yes, and that was rather stupid by everyone who thought that was knockdown. Oh no, the democracy that beat the Persians made a dumb mistake! Good thing monarchs and autocrats have never self-destructed in stupid military mistakes like invading Russia in the winter!

    Athens lost its empire, but managed to recover as a populous, prosperous and economically dominant polis, cruising along until squished by the Macedonians just like everyone else between Greece and the Indus.

    • Hep says:

      You clearly don’t know of the details that lead to that disaster. Ignorance is a common failing of the left.

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  42. Doug S. says:

    The Iranian revolution also ended up following the “reign of terror” model; as is typical of these things, the extremists take over by killing the moderates who disagree with them. Was *that* a leftist revolution?

    • Andy says:

      Yep, since Reactionaries cite the Shah as an enlightened, forward-thinking ruler torn down by a blood-hungry mob. The regime continues to use the language of revolution, as do organizations inspired (and supported) by it, such as Hezbollah.
      Also, it makes a great example emotionally, because it’s so scary to white people, and especially Americans who are old enough to remember the powerlessness of the hostage crisis.

  43. Andy says:

    From my own reading on urbanization, I have one thing to add to the model.
    A monarchy does not have to be strong and repressive to build up fuel for a fire. If you look at the North African dictatorships that revolted in 2010 and 2011 (Egypt, Tunisia, Libya) one thing all of them have in common was massive, rapid, mostly unplanned urbanization. The entire North African region went from having 48% of its population in cities to 60% in 2000, according to the World Bank. By 2010, Libya’s urban population was at 77%

    Benghazi, as a city, was very much scorned by Ghadaffi, who was pretty much a Reactionary clothed in Progressive propaganda. Few of its streets outside of its main roads were paved, and sanitation infrastructure was lacking in many of its districts. The buildup of unrest was one reason Benghazi broke away from Ghadafi’s control so early in its revolution. Many Egyptian cities, including Cairo, have much the same problem. Rapid, unplanned urbanization, faster than a city’s support networks can be expanded, is a feature of many conflicted areas in the world. When people have to move from the coutryside to the city because there’s no opportunity in rural areas, and the city they move to is filthy and overcrowded and they can’t make a living wage, and local governments are repressive and incompetent (see Mohammed Bouazizi, the fruit vendor who self-immolated in protest of local government repression), or simply can’t extend infrastructure to keep up with growth, they revolt. This is especially true if the regime is living lives of opulence while urban systems are choking on their own growth.
    And – surprise, surprise – this isn’t just a factor of modern revolutions:
    From Wikipedia’s entry on the Russian Revolutions: “Change was facilitated by the physical movement of growing numbers of peasant villagers who migrated to and from industrial and urban environments, but also by the introduction of city culture into the village through material goods, the press, and word of mouth.” From the next passage, talking about the living conditions of urban workers, it sounds like Russia had some of the same problems with rapid urban growth in the decades before the Revolutions.
    Here I turn to Scott’s “We Wrestle Not With Flesh And Blood, But With Powers and Principalities.” The rapid shift of populations from rural to urban areas that followed more efficient farming techniques in the Industrial Revolution created these same urban stresses in American cities like New York and Chicago, which had spectacular growth rates through much of the 19th century. The Progressive reformers in these cities were able to mobilize large amounts of resources to improve conditions for many of the slum-dwellers – both rural-to-urban migrants and European immigrants. Many political machines signed onto the reform agenda in order to grow their own power-bases, but in the process they helped remove the stress on the urban ecosystem caused by the poor conditions. A strong monarch might do the same thing, but there is very little incentive for a strong monarch to intervene in order to fix these urban-growth stresses when he can much more simply shoot protesters who don’t want to live surrounded by their own excrement. A reform movement can more easily notice the problem early, before resentment builds to critical levels and the whole government comes crashing down.

  44. Francesco says:

    “The “left singularity” describes a process that has never happened in all of history.”

    It did happen; it’s called the decline of the Roman Empire.

  45. Francesco says:

    “It has never been the excesses of democracy that cause a “leftist” reign of terror. It has always been the excesses of monarchy or a monarchy-like dictatorship.”

    What cause Nazism then?

  46. Francesco says:

    Or North Korea?

  47. Francesco says:

    I mean, your idea that somehow Hitler’s tyranny is due to the Hapsburgs is bizarre. He reigned in Germany, which for the most part, had not been subject to the Hapsburg empire, and anyways the part of it that had been under the Hapsburgs, and the part where the dictator was from, was the “core” itself of the Hapsburg empire and not a region that had been “repressed”, and anyhow the portrait of the Hapsburgs as the epitome of repressive tyranny is questionable.

    North Korea’s reign of terror hasn’t mellowed out even though it’s been going on for decades and decades. This contradicts your model.