Saturday, February 14, 2015

Neoreaction, Redux

After reading some more about Curtis Guy Yarvin's (a.k.a "Mencius Moldbug") political philosophy, it seems my previous post on this topic may have contained some errors of interpretation. Specifically, I am no longer sure that Yarvin's argument against democratic republicanism is based on the Platonist view that a wise elite should rule over the foolish underclass. In fact, he argues for what he calls formalist neocameralism, which is basically the view that governments should be for-profit corporations which are accountable to their shareholders, but which do not make decisions based on popular elections or votes by representative bodies (such as parliaments or assemblies). This view does not obviously depend on the assumption that the rulers are or must be members of a wise elite. It seems to be a view about the most effective way of designing a political system to meet the goals of maximizing wealth and happiness of the members of society (or something to that effect).

The issues of interpretation are complicated by the fact that Yarvin's neoreactionary philosophy is really a bundle of views, each of which (or at least several of which) are logically independent of the others. For example, Yarvin does sometimes put forth elitist propositions as well as the propositions in defense of 'formalist neocameralism', even though it is not clear what the logical relationship between these propositions is supposed to be. I have heard tell that Yarvin has also asserted various racist and sexist propositions, although I have not yet found any of these (perhaps it's for want of searching; now, many of the commentators on his blog do frequently wallow in the racist/sexist/classist sewer, but it would be fallacious to accuse Yarvin of racism, sexism, or classism solely on the basis of the statements of his commentators).

In any event, the definitive guide and rebuttal to the neoreactionaries has already been written by blogosphere wunderkind Scott Alexander.
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