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Tuesday
Oct052010

Reading a Reactionary

Haven’t posted in a while, but my intellectual fare from the past few weeks has been quite hard to digest.  I’ve been pulled into a fascinating blog written by one Mencius Moldbug.  (Edit: Not “Moldburg”.  Why the misreading?  Must have struck me as more Continental.)

There’s probably no brief way to describe Moldbug’s political views.  Short of a ten-thousand word essay, I could say that he’s a royalist or a formalist or a follower of Thomas Carlyle who sympathizes with Robert Filmer (who is, to quote Moldbug himself, “so right-wing, you need special equipment just to observe him”) and considers Hobbes to be relatively left-wing.

Moldbug distinguishes himself from the typical libertarian fare in a few key ways:

  1. He seems to recognize the obvious problems with libertarianism.
  2. His hypothesis has more to do with decentralized coordination within an extended political structure (including organizations outside of government proper) as opposed to the actions of a monolithic political class
  3. He takes more of a “come to the dark side, we have cookies” approach, as opposed to painting himself as holier-than-thou.
  4. He cites his sources and is damned interesting.
  5. He skips the “wouldn’t anarchist capitalism effectively outsource all the tyrannical aspects of government to businesses?” criticism by suggesting that the government should be turned into a corporation outright.
  6. His endorsement of “passivism” is far more soundly argued than Molyneux’s “just don’t vote” argument, which I criticized earlier.  He doesn’t think that enough people “walking away” will create political change.  Rather, he suggests creating an institution to understand the existing structure of government and create an alternate structure (essentially a shadow government) that is so obviously superior that handing control to the new structure becomes a popular option.  This proposal has two advantages:  It would be extraordinarily interesting to see such a thing attempted, and while I still doubt it’s practicality, I’m not sure I could see myself opposing it in any situation so dire that it actually had a chance of success.
  7. He has a sense of humor.

In short, Moldbug has excellent rhetoric and is an (artillery shell sized1) bullet biter extraordinaire.  Not to say that I’m persuaded, I’m sure he’d still place me firmly among the supporters of Chaos.  But if you like interesting political writing, you’ll find plenty2 to be fascinated, challenged, and quite probably shocked and appalled by.  Start here, probably.

1. Fired with confidence, presumably, by a Carlylean Artillerist.

2. This post probably exceeds my previous “number of words in posts linked to” count by orders of magnitude.

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