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“Neo-Reactionaries” drop all pretense: End democracy and bring back lords!
David Brin   Nov 30, 2013   CONTRARY BRIN  

Following up on my previous posting, about the rationalizations of the new aristocracy, this time I plan to reveal to you a pernicious trend among some of society's best and brightest.  But first, will you indulge me with a riff of background? In Existence,  I portray a grand conference, held in the Alps around the year 2045.  The secret meeting has been called by a consortium of "trillies," or trillionaire families, with the objective of commencing a new, world-wide era of Aristocratic Rule.  But their goal is not just to re-institute the ancient pyramid of privileged domination, but this time to start off on the correct foot. To get it right.

Social-pyramidPainfully aware of how gruesomely awful such pyramid-shaped societies were at governance, across the last many-thousands of years -- how fraught with violence, delusion, waste and error -- the trillie families are nevertheless unable to step back from the approaching time of takeover that their parents had conspired for, all the way back even to the Twentieth Century.  Giving in to human nature, they nurse rationalizations about the failure of democratic systems, and their hired boffins supply them with plenty of incantations to support the coming putsch.  And yet --

Yet, I also describe this particular lordly cartel as smarter than average. They know that the vast, educated middle class has access to powerful technologies that, should they become enraged, could make the guillotine look like louffa. Hence, they take their coming transition to rulership seriously, much as the Medici dukes of Florence did, during the Renaissance. Amid that alpine conclave, I show them calling on their hired intellectuals and house savants to take up the role of Machiavelli. To study and report what went wrong with past eras of oligarchy and feudalism, innovating ways to do it better, this time.
 
These are deeply cynical scenes!  But still, they also contain my patented brand of optimistic faith in reason: in this case positing that a cabal of trillionaires would have enough honesty and self-awareness to know how badly their favored system worked, in 99% of past human cultures. That they would hire the brightest people they could find (among those who could be trusted to help them end democracy) and ask those boffins to develop modified approaches to aristocracy,  based on lessons from both history and science.
 
For example, how to avoid catastrophic in-breeding and instead use meritocratic systems to invite the very best commoners upward to join their elite families via marriage and other alliances, at the top. Solving the illusion of superiority by making it -- gradually -- completely real.
 
== Fictional wishful-thinking? ==
 
Do I expect such calm and measured sobriety from the New Lords who are -- even now -- making their moves to restore the ancient social order?  Replacing the middle class, enlightenment, diamond-shaped social order with a traditional pyramid of owner-lord privilege?
 
Of course not.
 
For every Lorenzo de Medici or Heny Plantagenet there were hundreds, thousands of fools who let flatterers talk them into believing ego-stroking stories -- that they were lords because of their own genius, or inherent superiority, or God-given right.
As I have said many times, this is human nature.  We are all descended from the harems of guys who pulled off this trick. Voluptuous delusions run through our veins, so strongly that it's amazing the Enlightenment Miracle was ever tried at all, let alone that it lasted as long as it has.
 
== The rise of the Neo-Reactionaries ==
 
Till now, the Enlightenment had several things going for it: like the fact that it works.
 
For three hundred years, in realms as diverse as science, wealth-creation, error-avoidance, innovation, justice and happiness, it has outperformed all previous societies combined. But that is not the secret sauce. Its key trick, above all, was a very strong mythology of egalitarianism, individualism, pragmatism and liberality --
 
Four-Arenas-Competition-- the ideal of a level and fair playing field, in which good ideas should win out over bad ones, without interference by stodgy or biased authorities. Adam Smith taught us -- and the American Founders instituted -- ways to benefit from arenas of competition in which no single person's (or narrow cabal's) delusions may reign -- but instead products, policies, theories and justice are wrangled, tested and refined in four great arenas -- markets, democracy, science and courts -- where avoidance of criticism or error-discovery is difficult, even impossible over the long run.
They never worked perfectly and were always under attack by cheaters.  Still, these accountability arenas are the only systems that ever penetrated our species's penchant for delusion in any systematic way.  

Leftists who despise competition in principle are fools who ignore both human nature and a cornucopia of positive-sum outcomes from the four competitive arenas.
CourtsRightists who believe competition works well without careful tuning, regulation, research, opportunity-enhancement, shared investment in infrastructure, and (above all) relentless prevention-of-cheating are even worse fools who ignore all our past.
 
Even that most-solipsistic of clades, the libertarians, used to declare fealty to Adam Smith's process, albeit grudgingly. But you had only to look at their favorite books and stories to detect an undercurrent and foretell that it would emerge openly, someday, into betrayal of Smith. Idolatry of the Nietzschean ubermensch or superman -- the figure every geek supposes himself to be -- oppressed and kept from his natural place on-top by jealous mobs of bullies, like those who oppressed him on the playground.  Where every young nerd (myself included) muttered: "just you wait till I come into my powers!"

From Ayn Rand to Harry Potter to Star Wars to Orson Scott Card, how many mythologies have catered to that fantasy, in all its voluptuous, masturbatory solipsism?  In contrast, can you count any mythic systems -- other than Star Trek -- that encouraged a different view? Recognition that "I am a member of a civilization"? One that made million miracles possible? Not by unleashing a few demigods, but by stimulating the collaborative and competitive efforts of whole scads of bright folks who are merely way-above-average?

Well, the pretense may be over, fellas and gals.  Welcome to Nietzsche World.
Welcome to the Rapture of the Ingrates.
 
It is called the "Neo-Reactionary Movement -- a quasi-new cult that yearns for the ancien régime of monarchy and feudal rule. One that rejects Adam Smith and Franklin and the entire Enlightenment.  And above all -- democracy.
 
== Yearning for the "Return of the King." ==
 
Rise-Neo-ReactionariesI'll let Klint Finley describe this movement for you, in a few paragraphs clipped from his excellent article on the subject: Geeks for Monarchy: The Rise of the Neo-Reactionaries:
"Neoreactionaries believe that while technology and capitalism have advanced humanity over the past couple centuries, democracy has actually done more harm than good. They propose a return to old-fashioned gender roles, social order and monarchy."
Finley continues:  "Perhaps the one thing uniting all neoreactionaries is a critique of modernity that centers on opposition to democracy in all its forms. Many are former libertarians who decided that freedom and democracy were incompatible."
 
Neo-Reactionary-Glossary“Demotist systems, that is, systems ruled by the ‘People,’ such as Democracy and Communism, are predictably less financially stable than aristocratic systems,” a leading light of this movement, Michael Anissimov writes. (And note how he slips in the Trojan Horse axiom that communism is a categorical cousin to democracy - the sly rogue!) “On average, they undergo more recessions and hold more debt. They are more susceptible to market crashes. They waste more resources. Each dollar goes further towards improving standard of living for the average person in an aristocratic system than in a Democratic one.”
 
There it is, the assertion that autarchies "get more done" than flighty, self-indulgent, bourgeoise polities. Is this just a fluke? No, the movement has been long-simmering. It reminds me of a statement made by Star Wars impresario George Lucas in an infamous 1999 New York Times interview

"Not that we need a king, but there's a reason why kings built large palaces, sat on thrones and wore rubies all over. There's a whole social need for that, not to oppress the masses, but to impress the masses and make them proud and allow them to feel good about their culture, their government and their ruler so that they are left feeling that a ruler has the right to rule over them, so that they feel good rather than disgusted about being ruled. In the past, the media basically worked for the state and was there to build the culture. Now, obviously, in some cases it got used in a wrong way and you ended up with the whole balance of power out of whack. But there's probably no better form of government than a good despot."  
 
Every time I read that, it leaves me breathless. Stunned. I appraised that perspective - and its toxic lesson - in Star Wars on Trial.  Indeed, I have elsewhere explored the emotional underpinnings of all this:
 
"Wouldn’t life seem richer, finer if we still had kings? If the guardians of wisdom kept their wonders locked up in high wizard towers, instead of rushing onto PBS the way our unseemly “scientists” do today? Weren’t miracles more exciting when they were doled out by a precious few, instead of being commercialized, bottled and marketed to the masses for $1.95? Didn’t we stop going to the moon because it had become boring?"
 
The temptation to wallow in romance -- in fiction -- is understandable.  To prescribe feudalism for real life, though?
Oh, where to begin on this grotesque -- and  poisonously romantic -- wrongheadedness?   Shall we start with the way that these fellows erect edifices of assertions that, when examined, prove to be not only untrue, but spectacularly and diametrically opposite to true?

Like maintaining that Hitler and Stalin were epiphenomena of democracy, and not absolutist-oligarchist reactions to democracy -- attempts to throttle it to death, erecting new elites, complete with harems, along ancient patterns? Or that despotic Spartans ever held a candle to the Athenian polis, even in martial accomplishments? Or the way no ancient autarchy ever "got done" even a scintilla's percentage of the accomplishments of any modern democracy.
 
The list of staggering rationalizations is too long for me to even ponder addressing, from ignoring Adam Smith's denunciations of aristocracy as the core enemy of enterprise, to the bizarre belief that you can have economic freedom without any of the political kind, or that the clearly nasty and stupid rulership pattern of 6000 years should ever, ever again be trusted with anything more than a burnt match. Or that Communism was somehow a version of democracy, instead of a quasi-feudal theocratic cult that relentlessly spewed hatred at "bourgeoise democracy." Or the way they rail against the Hayekian sin of "too few allocators and deciders" when it is committed by civil servants, yet justify narrow cliques of conniving group-think lords who do the same thing, just because they are "private."
 
Above all, the hoary and utterly disproved nostrum that bourgeois citizens are fiscally less prudent than kings and lords, a slander that is as counterfactual as claiming day is night.
Fortunately, I do not have to refute this nonsense in detail, myself. Finley links to Anissimov's manifestos -- and many others' -- against modernity, democracy and enlightenment… so go ahead and give their own words a fair shake. Read the incantations! I have faith in you.
 
Anti-Reactionary-FAQThen head over to a marvelous, point-by-point refutation provided by Scott Alexander showing, among other things, how neo-reactionaries overestimate by many orders of magnitude the stability or governing aptitude of monarchies.  Alexander recently published an Anti-Reactionary FAQ, a massive document examining and refuting the claims of neoreactionaries.
Seriously, it is huge but painstakingly detailed, accurate and devastating. You need to give it a look. Alexander writes very well, entertainingly, and this vote of confidence in YOU needs to circulate as widely as possible.
 
== Disproof by example ==
 
Let me clip just one short part of Mr. Alexander's devastating refutation of those who contend that absolute monarchy, following ancient principles, will outperform democracy, equal rights and all that decadent western crap. He starts by suggesting the simplest and most fair experimental test of rhe neo-reactionary assertion.  That we take a very homogeneous country and split it in half.
"One side gets a hereditary absolute monarch, whose rule is law and who is succeeded by his son and by his son's son. The population is inculcated with neo-Confucian values of respect for authority, respect for the family, strict gender roles and cultural solidarity, but these values are supplemented by a religious ideal honoring the monarch as a near-god and the country as a specially chosen holy land. American cultural influence is banned on penalty of death; all media must be produced in-country, and missionaries are shot on site. The country’s policies are put in the hands of a group of technocratic nobles hand-picked by the king.
"The other side gets flooded with American missionaries preaching weird sects of Protestantism, and at the point of American guns is transformed into a parliamentary democracy. Its economy – again at the behest of American influence – becomes market capitalism, regulated by democracy and bureaucracy. It institutes a hundred billion dollar project to protect the environment, passes the strictest gun control laws in the world, develops a thriving gay culture, and elects a woman as President.
 
"Turns out this perfect controlled experiment actually happened. Let’s see how it turned out!"
 
zrx_image19Alexander then provides an image that speaks ten thousand words.
 
Some of you know the experiment to which he refers.  North and South Korea.
 
Oh, but read this section.  Read the rest.  And marvel that bright males (almost no women, of course) are able to talk themselves into believing factually-opposite, example-free, history-ignoring, human nature-ignoring and cosmically stupid incantations, just because it flatters their playground-traumatized imaginations to imagine that -- in a world of far more limited opportunities and justice -- they would somehow get to be the ones with harems.
 
== We generate our own, home-grown enemies ==
 
It is said that every generation is invaded by a fresh spate of invaders -- their children. In our case, western civilization has raised many generations steeped in memes of suspicion of authority and questioning the home-and-familiar, one of the most unusual things that any culture ever preached to its own offspring!  I appraise this reflex favorably in my essay and book Otherness.  These memes are what led to so many successive self-improvement campaigns, from constitutionalism to elimination of slavery. They led us hippies - for example - to march against horrid assumptions that all other generations took for granted -- wasteful and inherently impractical superstitions like racism, sexism and environmental blindness.  They also guarantee that new immunal rejection reflexes will be applied against the Boomers' assumption sets by even-newer generations!  So be it.
 
To an extent, this is a core element of the Enlightenment's healthy process of advancement and renewal. Heaven forbid that the young stop getting in their elders' faces, confronting their mistakes.  But T-cells that go screeching through the body looking for mistakes are not always right! And many a sanctimonious twit of both right and left conveys more heat than light.  More noise than value.
 
better-angels-of-our-natureIn this case of the neo-reactionaries, you have a cult of ingratitude that should incur at least a burden of scholarly proof. Certainly not being allowed to get away with blithe assertions and bald-faced lies. For example, I have again and again pointed out recent evidence -- such as Steven Pinker's book on declining world violence -- that we have good news to build upon.  Open and reciprocal criticism helped to make the violence decline happen!  Along with steep plummets in world (per capita) poverty and so on.  That's a lot of accomplishment to overcome, in claiming that kings could do better.
 
In fact, I know -- and rather enjoy -- some of the fellows in this general community, such as Anissimov and Peter Thiel, whose other accomplishments are respect-worthy and whose lively, vivid minds make up for abstract disagreements. There are areas of common ground! Like the long range goal of a world that overflows with empowered and sovereign individuals, needing little in the way of regulation or constraint, a shared dream, even if we part company over how to get there.
 
Let me emphasize that there is diversity in this melange, and lumping can give unfair impressions. Not all of them ascribe - for example - to the vaguely racist insinuations of the Human Bio-Diversity (HBD) sub-grouping. There is some overlap with the Singularity-Transhumanist movement -- warranting wariness and care, when you attend those gatherings. Indeed, this general horizon of nerd-dom is an eclectic scattering… and I like that!

 Indeed, some of the brightest - like Thiel - have legitimate complaints -- in the nitty gritty of the details of running a complex, democratic civilization. Fine.  Want to propose alternatives? Experiments? Deregulations? Criticism is a feature, not a flaw of demotic life, part of the completely unique ferment that generally keeps us moving forward. (For example, I have no objections -- only questions - regarding Thiel's endeavor to create new sovereignties out at sea.) You want to offer innovations and solutions and evidence, along with those wild-eyed assertions? Well, you know...
...we'd all love to see your plan.
 
== We are still the revolution ==
 
Alas though, they tend not to view things that way. Here I am speculating: but I believe that some of these fellows have swung in this bizarre direction because they are too smart to be fooled any longer by the undead thing that has hijacked American conservatism, sending poor Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley spinning so fast that Arizona and New York draw electricity from their graves.  Having driven off all the nation's scientists, teachers, doctors and every other clade of "smartypants" professionals, the New GOP could hardly hold on to brainiac Silicon Valley libertarians, who can see the unalloyed record of catastrophic governance and universally bad outcomes from the Bush years.
But what's the alternative? Smarmy, compromising-consensualist and preachy-progressivist liberalism?  Never.
 
Let's give them points for imagination, then, finding a new -- or rather, ancient -- direction to call their own.  Even though Neo-Reaction winds up as delusional as any dogma issued by the House of Ailes.
Rather than picturing themselves as part of Adam Smith's flat and open competitive churn,  Neo-Reactionaries prefer to envision a kind of uprising or counter-reformation. An up-ending and reversal of what they see as a decadent experiment in mob rule, gone wrong, demanding that we return to the beastly way of life that oppressed and limited and cauterized all of our ancestors (including the lords!) -- only getting it right, this time. 

 A way of life that (I admit) is the natural human attractor state! One that caters to every romantic impulse behind the popularity of fantasy tales of Martin, Lucas or Tolkien. One that is darwinistically so compelling and natural that it probably snared most intelligent races in our galaxy -- a top potential explanation for the Fermi Paradox. An attractor state called feudalism.
An attractor that is yanking hard on us now, as would-be lords deliberately instigate a fresh phase of Civil War to cripple American pragmatism and institutions, throwing into imbalance all four of those great, positive-sum accountability arenas upon which our Great Experiment relies.  

But it won't work.
 
OligarchistsThey do not get to call themselves rebels!  We and our Enlightenment are the revolutionaries, still, beating down the repeated, clawing assaults of oligarchists from all sides, some of whom called themselves "communists," but always prescribing the same, boring pyramid of power.
 
These guys face a steep burden of proof that we should reject the social contract that brought them to their high status, and all of us the comfort and means to debate this in a world-spanning agora. A civilization that may -- in just two generations -- embark upon interstellar adventures, bringing light, at last, to the galaxy.
 
Amid the Rapture of the Ingrates, they are welcome to contend (it's a free country) that we'd all be far better off if the west had not followed the advice of Locke and Montesquieu and Franklin and Smith and all the other heroes -- the greatest our species ever produced -- who rebelled against oligarchic rule, giving us one chance -- perhaps only this one -- to try something else.
They are free to offer that assertion. But I am (nodding thanks to all those heroes) equally empowered to say bullshit.
 
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ADDENDA:
1.  Long time member of this community Larry Hart suggested a term "endarkenment" to apply to those who have chosen to oppose the Enlightenment Experiment.  I find it quite tasty.  

2. Personally, I do not feel anger toward the oligarchs who are conniving and bribing and undermining in order to sabotage the experiment, as much as toward the intellectual "boffins" who take the money and concoct rationalizations like "neo-reaction."  The former are only acting out of quasi-animal reflex. Puppets of Darwin, they are only doing what harem-builders have done ever since humans developed metal implements and agricultural division of labor -- steal other men's women and wheat and then hire priests to tell everyone this is a good thing.  They must be thwarted in achieving this traditional and deeply human goal, or our destiny as a species will be spoiled -- and there are "good billionaires" who know this.  Indeed, those rich dudes who are tempted by the old reflexes, yet choose to stay on our side -- the Gates/Buffett types -- are our greatest hope.  Recalling the wisdom of Andrew Carnegie, they know their kids will never starve… and will do better if they have to work, a little, alongside us.

No, it is the smart aleck boffins who provide the priestly rationalizations who should know better.  They are the ones who… if their plan truly succeeds… should be remembered and held to account by the inevitable Resistance.  So let it be written.  So let it be done.

3. Throw this into their faces relentlessly.  They decry the fallacy of limited decision-making castes in commerce and science… and use that concept to attack "big government" for allocating based upon limited knowledge sets, removed from the critical feedback loops of markets.  Then they turn around and praise rulership by tiny, insular clades of aristocrats or kings, allocating almost entirely on the basis of whim. ("Okay everybody, we're gonna spend 50% of the national GDP on a pyramid!  Or Versailles. Or conquering everyone in sight.") It is beyond hypocrisy.  It is incantation.  

4. The fundamental flaw, though, is succession.  Find for me one example (other than Plantagenets) in which three direct generations of kingship did not include at least one maniac or complete fool, whose whims brought devastation down upon the house and the nation.

5. Down below in comments, one fellow claimed that the success stories of Hong Kong, Singapore and China show that political freedom is unnecessary in order to improve the lives of the people through economic advancement.  This is by far the strongest counter-attack by the neo-reactionaries and at first sight it does seem to advance their position on one small sector (though no others.) It caused me to make a bold - supportable - counter assertion that these mercantilist-predatory trading nations… along with the more democratic Japan and South Korea… in fact deserve far less credit for their development "miracles" than they claim.   Consider How little of their success was based upon internal inventiveness and how much depended on maintaining a huge balance of payments trade surplus with the United States.  

This system of uplift-development through trade ("foreign aid through WalMart") has been the greatest force raising standards of living around the globe… and it was permitted, indulgently, by trade systems imposed by Pax Americana after 1945.  No other pax imperium ever did such a thing.  Indeed, Gandhi's #2 complaint about Pax Brittanica was its home-favoring, mercantilist trade rules.  But under Marshall, Acheson and Truman and Ike, we did the exact opposite, and never turned back.

Dig this well, it was a great democracy's CHOICE of a purely optional policy, allowing factory jobs to follow cheap labor and allowing predatory mercantilist behavior to go unpunished while jobs flowed around the world, that led to development in all of those countries.  Yes, they had decent leadership and hard-working people! But the core process was entirely a western innovation originating in a democracy that was so creative and inventive that it could afford 60 years of uplifting trade deficits that dsaved the world. And democracies that even now choose to continue that far-sighted plan.  

In other words, again, the NR boys are blathering nonsense that is diametrically opposite to any sense at all. …and anon...
David Brin Ph.D. is a scientist and best-selling author whose future-oriented novels include Earth, The Postman, and Hugo Award winners Startide Rising and The Uplift War. David's newest novel - Existence - is now available, published by Tor Books."



COMMENTS

Whistling past the soccer stadium, David? The Neoreactionaries have started to get some traction in the world of ideas because a lot of people can see that democracy’s long-term costs have become increasingly hard to ignore. The Neoreactionary critiques of democracy remind me of the paleonutritionists’ critiques of current dietary assumptions, only natural selection has had even less time to work on making humans adapted to democracy than it has to making humans adapted to agricultural diets.

I think evolution rather than philosophy will settle this debate in the long run in favor of aristocracy, as democratic countries implode demographically while populations subjected to aristocratic selection pressures breed more successfully. The Enlightenment’s current “business plan,” based on feminism, contraception, abortion and homosexuality, doesn’t seem like such a sustainable model after a few generations.

Wow, Michael Anissimov has gone in a direction I wasn’t really expecting. Ey used to describe emself as in favor of the neoliberal status quo like Tony Blair or Bill Clinton. (Eir new position isn’t necessarily any worse from my perspective, but definitely different.)

Also, as a self-professed fan of Thomas Hobbes, Steven Pinker stands closer to neoreaction than you suggest. And the claims in The Better Angels of Our Nature fall apart under the slightest scrutiny.

The Geometry of Global Wealth

Mike Treder, (and others), proposed a more pragmatic geometry than the diamond.

If our present distribution of global wealth vs global population is structured and represented by a triangle, then by redistribution of wealth from the apex, (Pharoahs & Oligarchy), we can represent the same cross section wealth/population using the Trapezium, using a more creative and sustainable tax system?

Thus the redistribution of wealth will be incremental, progressive, non-disruptive, building a future legacy of prosperity, as viewed, accepted and embraced by all. (Even Pharoahs will come to realise that prosperity for all is prosperity and security for themselves)?

To clarify, (you may wish to draw this to contemplate). Draw the present equalateral triangle that signifies our present hierarchical economics system - now construct a Trapezium of the same cross-sectional area as superimposed over the centre of the triangle, raising both the largest base line area, (all boats from poverty), whilst also increasing the top line/number constituting the most wealthy in society.

You may notice that the “flatter” the shape of the Trapezium, the more egalitarian and wealthy the society - how flat? You decide?

This sounds like Science-Fiction, yet is really just incremental but swift innovative redistribution of global wealth/monies using income tax and consumer tax levies, (not forgetting Corporate tax, without stifling real innovation).

Hint: Presently, if an Oligarch can afford a yacht, he can afford to pay more than 20% consumer tax/VAT? He can also afford more than the highest rate 35/40% Income tax?

This then eases the burden of tax on the consumer/income tax of the masses, providing market sustainability, and by way of redistribution of wealth?

Not convinced? Then contemplate the US income tax rate instituted for growth before and after the Great Crash of the Roaring Twenties.

US Federal Individual Income Tax rates History

taxfoundation.org/article/us-federal-individual-income-tax-rates-history-1913-2013-nominal-and-inflation-adjusted-brackets

Am presently reading “Existence” btw - it’s certainly a different, circumvent and spiraling story.

and btw

A more egalitarian global society is conducive with increased democracy and participation also, (if that is not already obvious)?

ps - still can’t get the edit function to work

“ps - still can’t get the edit function to work”

When I press ‘Complete entry’, editing is always doable.
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“Every time I read that, it leaves me breathless”

Lucas may have had himself in mind as despot, which would at least explain something of it.

Japan, btw, was revamped by the West after WWII, so Japan’s enlightened despotism was of course—if it needs to be reiterated—partly the result of liberal democracy.

Americans are too disingenuous for their own good. Fact is, we have not had *small* govt since the ‘20s, and did not pursue limited govt since the ‘50s. IMO educated Rightists know America grew too large, complex and complicated for small govt after the ‘50s.
But what can they say?:

“limited govt. is an outdated notion yet we have to pretend we agree with the Framers of the Constitution. We simply do not know what to do.”

Such doesn’t look good in Rightist magazines.

“And the claims in The Better Angels of Our Nature fall apart under the slightest scrutiny.”

Think of Pinker as being a SF writer.
Come on, lighten up; you’ve got to put somewhat of a positive spin on things. Do anarchists systematically deconstruct everything? Not usually their own people and institutions.
For example at Xmas a few weeks from now, v. few (albeit there may be a number) radicals are going to rear up at the Holiday dinner table to announce how Christmas is a childish, wasteful bourgeois escapism. Xmas is just that:
yet complaining would make us boors saying “Humbug!”
With few exceptions we are too cowardly to be direct enough so as to actually act on our convictions and change things. It isn’t as if we would have to risk our lives doing so- merely our popularity. And what is popularity?: public relations.
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More and more I see out of one side of our mouths we say we want change; out of the other side we say we do not.
The same old “look before you leap” versus “he who hesitates is lost.”

There most certainly is a preoccupation with whining and whinging at IEET, with solutions seeking relegated to low to zero. Just the same old, same old rhetoric till death or immortality, whichever comes first.

Small-mindedness still wins the day here.

David’s article is yet another excellent “wake up” call and highlights yet more Self obsessed delusion and grandeur from Neo-Liberalism > which has absolutely nothing in common with liberty nor freedoms nor equality.

Again . . . bromides from Mr. Brin . . .

Were it only true that the astonishing brevity, hubris and misinformation encapsulated in Brin’s early triple play of reductio ad absurdum stopped as he “explains” that all leftists despise competition, all rightists idealize competition, and the date of the colonization of the Moon has been pushed into the 25th Century because the concept was boring.

I guess Brin believes that no Leftist has ever played on a competitive sports team, aspired to attain high grades in any academic setting, or spent their lives in pursuit of individual excellence?

. . . And that no “Rightist” has ever conspired to rig and gerrymander a congressional race, take advantage of a nepotistic appointment, or send troops into foreign soil when it appeared that a legitimate democracy might be taking a toehold within some foul despotism?

. . . Or that the planting of a few sneaker footsteps and a plaque on the lunar surface was small consolation after all, in light of the decades-long jingoistic build-up to the event? That the invention of Tang and a number of real engineering accomplishments could not have been as easily attained had the billions of research dollars been spent on almost ANY other field of basic research?

Brin’s superficial and smug comments proceed as he himself comes down somewhere in a mushy middle ground of a dozen concepts raised and superficially judged.

Was anyone else as amazed as I am at Brin’s claim that the USA voters and citizens have democratically directed and originated the outflowing of our industrial base and millions of desirable jobs & careers to wage-slave nations without traditional, rational economic consequence? Mr. Brin fails to consider that it is self-serving corporations who continue to rent enough politicians and regulators to allow that to conspire, with very little, if any, endorsement flowing from the population.

Brin confuses calamity with bromide while neglecting obvious truth and leaves me wondering why he continues to embarrass himself with his attempts to write political articles.

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