Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Maniac Calls Maniac Maniac

Trump on Cruz, blah blah blah. Hard to believe, but I actually prefer grading papers over paying sustained attention to the killer clowns of the Republican Primary.


jimf said...

> Trump on Cruz, blah blah blah. . .

There was an entertaining article in today's New York Times
All Politicians Lie. Some Lie More Than Others.
DEC. 11, 2015

. . .

Falsehood Face-Off

Statements since 2007 by presidential candidates (and some current
and former officeholders) ranked from most dishonest over all
to least dishonest, as fact-checked by PolitiFact. “Pants on Fire”
refers to the most egregious falsehoods.

Considering all the screaming about Bill Clinton's dishonesty
back during L'Affaire Lewinsky, it actually surprised me
to see him rated as "least dishonest" in this group.
Re: Truth machines
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Mon, 21 Dec 1998

. . .

Basically the question is "Do you prefer Bill Clinton, a slimebucket
who's too busy compromising to be a real communist, or do you prefer
Al Gore, a reasonably intelligent person who's an environmentalist?"
On the whole, I'd poison Clinton any day. Slimebuckets do more damage
to a democracy than honest fanatics. I serve intelligence, and there
is basically no circumstance under which I prefer stupidity to
intelligence. Unless the other guy is, not just the loyal opposition,
but actually sighting down a rifle at me.

I suppose some people might well think Clinton was a "slimebucket" on
other grounds. He's been accused of being our first majorly
neoliberal president -- selling the Democratic Party to
corporations. And he presided over DADT and DOMA. And NAFTA and


Dale Carrico said...

"I serve intelligence."

Too hilarious.

jimf said...

> > "I serve intelligence."
> Too hilarious.

Would a society with an average iq of 140 function well?

absolutely not. iq 140 people are completely delusional about
what it takes to survive. many of them can't complete mundane
tasks and have man boobs.

-- Michael Anissimov, in a rolling Q&A at

I suspect Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have man boobs.

Dale Carrico said...

Anissimov, more sadness than madness.

jimf said...

in response to )
[Dale said:] I discern strong structural tendencies in "movement transhumanism" . . .
to anti-democratic and authoritarian politics, whatever the professed
politics of its advocates.

Michael Anissimov responded:

. . .Obama's triumph is a triumph for the *centrist* (center-left, really)
politics that I adhere to.

Donald Trump and Neoreaction: Why what he represents must be buried permanently
By MrAnon
Tuesday Sep 08, 2015

. . .

Trump's rhetoric, policy, and base of support have much in common
with the ideology of neoreaction, also known as the
"Dark Enlightenment". In the words of RationalWiki,

> Hostility to modernity and democracy is the main point of agreement
> among neoreactionaries. Moldbug writes that "a reactionary is a
> believer in order, stability, and security. All of which he treats
> as synonyms ... Thus, the order that the rational reactionary seeks
> to preserve and/or restore is arbitrary. Perhaps it can be justified
> on some moral basis. But probably not. It is good simply because
> it is order, and the alternative to order is violence a
> worst and politics at best. If the Bourbons do not rule
> France, someone will – Robespierre, or Napoleon, or Corner Man."

Now, this isn't to say Trump is a true neoreactionary. There's no evidence
of him intending to overthrow the American political system, or return
to a feudal style of governance. Yet, something about him certainly
seems to catch the eye of prominent neoreactionaries. This is from
the blog "More Right", by Michael Anissimov, considered an "intellectual leader"
in the neoreactionary movement.

Branches of the neoreactionaries also seem to enjoy him quite a bit.
The "Red Pill" movement, a misogynistic belief in engaging women through
manipulation and domination, describes Trump in very nice terms.
This YouTube video is of a popular Redpiller channel, describing him
in positive terms as "intellectually raping" a female reporter.

Readers so far might find this to be rather disgusting. That's how
most normal people should react. Trump's candidacy is not seen as
a joke or entertainment for the neoreaction end of the spectrum.
It's seen as a vindication for what they believe. A lone billionaire
seizing the power of the executive branch for himself, and
proceeding to run the government like they would a private
corporation is the embodiment of their goal. His specific
policies don't even matter - it's the idea that his candidacy
represents. He is a man who seeks to reverse modern standards
for decency and respect.

Don't know what that More Right link in the Daily Kos article was;
the blog went off-line not that long ago and the
Wayback Machine's coverage is spotty. It might have been this
(via Google's cache), or it might have been something more
Posted on June 19, 2015 by Michael Anissimov

Fantastic piece of writing by Pat Buchanan:

(quote from
Out With the Old Parties and Politicians
By Patrick J. Buchanan
June 19, 2015 )
Who is the bravest person you know?

Donald Trump

jimf said...
Cathedral Foreign Policy: My NRx Podcast with Surviving Babel and Nick B. Steves
Anatoly Karlin
July 11, 2015

. . .

A Gentle Introduction to NRx

Kickstarted by the Jewish Silicon Valley-based programmer
Mencius Moldbug in the late 2000s, neoreaction – or NRx, as
it is commonly abbreviated – is a radically new look at our social
and political systems through the prism of Human Biodiversity,
the theory of private government, and the writings of
dead white male reactionaries such as Thomas Carlyle and Julius Evola.
This set of theories and ways of thinking has been termed the
“Dark Enlightenment” by the British philosopher Nick Land.
Since the days of Moldbug, NRx has branched off into three
distinct directions: The (original) elitist, philo-Semitic,
technophilic, and cognitively elitist wing,
basically disillusioned libertarians who realized that the
average person is a 100 IQ idiot who shouldn’t be trusted
with democracy; the more populistic, Semitic-neutral traditionalists,
ethnonationalists, thede-preservers, and old-school Christian
conservatives who will never have any truck with gay marriage
(I believe my interlocutors in this podcast largely belong
to this category); and the wave of nationalists, Internet trolls,
anti-Semites, and overt Nazis who have been making their way
into the movement in more recent months. The entrance of
the latter has been especially traumatic, producing a lot
of drama and hysterics. Many of the Nazis wanted to overthrow
NRx outright – some of them call it JRx, you can guess what that
stands for – and sweep up the fragments into White Nationalism.
But they haven’t met with success, since by and large the
NRx OG’s – the techno-commercialists and the traditionalists –
have resisted the assaults of the stormfags. And despite the
recent political jitters, a lot of quality work continues to be
written under the NRx umbrella.

. . .

Michael Anissimov is a controversial figure in NRx, but various
personalistic conflicts aside, in my opinion his writing is second
to none in terms of explaining NRx in concise, easily understandable
language. Some of his better articles:
Capturing Gnon; Neocameralism is Autism. My favorite though is
Reconciling Transhumanism and Neoreaction.
Anissimov makes a brave if somewhat strained argument that NRx
is the best defense against existential risks.

You can, after all, follow the logic in this.

KHAN NOONIEN SINGH: We offered the world **order**!
Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2013
From: "Hughes, James J."

I had not realized how wacky things were getting on the right wing
of H+/S^ thought. This is startling to me, and it shouldn't have been.
If folks out there want to write about this odious ideological
phenomenon please send your missive to Kris . - J.

Dale Carrico said...

From: "Hughes, James J." I had not realized how wacky things were getting on the right wing of H+/S^ thought. This is startling to me, and it shouldn't have been.

Indeed it shouldn't have been "startling" given my own repeated, insistent and loud exposures and warnings and critiques on the subject, many of them unquestionably in James Hughes' hearing. Of course, I always contended that "left"-transhumanisms were suffused with eugenic, technocratic, reductionist tendencies that structurally conduced to right-wing politics whatever the professed intentions of its advocates and I chastised "left"-transhumanists for sanewashing, apologizing, and enabling reactionary precincts of their sub(cult)ure via identity politics and "pro-tech" (an anti-intellectualism also conducive to right-wing politics)alliance building. All that is as true as it ever was, and I doubt Hughes is any more willing to face of to that critique now than he ever was before. More "shocks" to come, no doubt. For the eventual "what have I done!" scene I futurologically predict that I will not be moved to tears.

jimf said...

> ...traditionalists, ethnonationalists, thede-preservers...

What the hell is a "thede"?

Oh, it's a term they made up:
The formulation of this concept was a building-block moment for NRx,
but the trend in its usage has been dismally regressive. Apparently
devised as a tool for the analysis of social identities, it is
increasingly invoked as a rallying-cry for neo–tribalism. From
the perspective of Outside in, it will soon become entirely toxic
unless it is dramatically clarified.

Nydwracu initially employs the word ‘thede’ to designate the
substance of group identity, “a superindividual grouping that
its constituent individuals feel affiliation with and (therefore?)
positive estimates of.” Thedes are multiple, overlapping,
sometimes concentric, and honed by antagonistic in-group/out-group
determinations. They are seen as following from the understanding
that “Man is a social animal.” Ideological arguments disguise
thede conflicts. At this level of abstraction, there is little
to find objectionable.

Sounds vaguely like what Neal Stephenson, in _The Diamond Age_,
called a "phyle". In that book, if you didn't belong
to a phyle, you were a "thete". I wonder if that's a coincidental


jimf said...

I stumbled on this remarkable article among the Wayback Machine's
fossilized remnants of Anissimov's More Right blog:
On Saving the World and Other Delusions
Posted on March 8, 2015
by Athrelon

. . .

It’s a standard narrative in the startup world: “the world is broken;
I have a really ambitious plan to fix it.” But what I told him was
that this is a totally crazy way of measuring both impact and
a meaningful life. Most of the people who make a big impact in
the world are doing paperwork, publishing research, working
with the constraints of the system. They’re closer to a
paper-pushing bureaucrat than a bold maverick. . .

But then nerds have to come in and ruin everything by measuring
in terms of real world impact. And by that metric, nobody
measures up to our brain’s expectation of impactfulness.
Measured in terms of a civilization of billions, even the
most successful career is going to feel like a drop in
the bucket, and narrative-based dreams of world-changing
are cartoonish. . .

I think this demand is related to our dysfunctional sense of
meaningfulness. . .

There’s a phenomenon in psychiatry where people with two different
psychiatric disorders – narcissistic personality disorder and
borderline personality disorder – are frequently found in pairs. . .
a (usually) male narcissist in a relationship with a (usually)
female borderline.

Narcissism is exactly what it sounds like: someone who for
whatever reason has a deeply held need to be admired and considers
his life story the most important thing in the world. . .

You can see where this is going. The need for, and premium on,
vision-based leadership sort of looks like a widespread, subclinical
version of borderline personality disorder – maybe we could rebrand
it as “chronic questlessness.” . . .

For a long time I regarded the save-the-world thing as a
basically harmless motivating delusion, the nerd equivalent of
the coach’s pre-game pep talk. . . But seeing my friend having
his motivational system semi-permanently warped was something
of a wake-up call, and got me thinking about how to avoid being
sucked into that attractor. . .

Holy Singularity, Batman, that's pretty close to the bone given
the blog owner's prior associations and enthusiasms! Was he
deep into an anime when he inadvertently let that one through?

jimf said...

> For a long time I regarded the save-the-world thing as
> a basically harmless motivating delusion. . . But seeing my
> friend. . . got me thinking about how to avoid being
> sucked into that attractor. . .
Narcissists Make You Feel Like a Special Sidekick
Understanding Narcissists
Scott Bassett

. . .

If you're someone who. . . [is] drawn to them. . . to
be this enabling emotional slave that does what a narcissist
wants, then. . . one of the pieces of bait that you're
going to experience is uniqueness. And a reward of "You're
special because you follow me." This... [is common among]
brainwashing, cult psychology. . . people who manipulate. , ,

There is always a feeling that because you are a part of
their special club and you were chosen by them. . .
All the activities and behaviors that you engage in in order
to support them. . . make you feel like you're special and
cool for doing so. . . It kind of rubs off
on you emotionally, that this is something very productive,
they kind of get that moral feed to you where whatever
your sense of doing good is, you think you're fulfilling
that by doing what they want. So they appeal to all
these good intentions, these desires in you to do good. . .
almost out of the public good, that you're really achieving
something, that you're being selfless and helping somebody. . .
It's a strange feeling. . . [not that] you feel obedient
or conformist; it's like you guys are really unique, you're
kind of these stylish rogues who've broken off the mainstream,
going your own way, charting your own course. But it's not. . .,
[it's] an illusion. . .
You forget the bit while EY goes 'every brainfart is true'
about himself first, with the AI crap and other stuff of
this kind. I have no sympathy for that. The cult is no random
coincidence, it starts with being your own cultist first. People
want to feel good about themselves, some are 'strong' narcissists,
they can form delusions of own importance, some are 'weak'
narcissists (that could be the majority!), they want to join a
cause where they'll feel more important.

Dmytry (talk) 13:50, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
Yudkowsky hates hates hates RW's guts

Someone mentioned Roko's basilisk. . . on reddit,
resulting in Yudkowsky venting some... criticism of RW. . .
Choice snippets:

> RationalWiki hates hates hates LessWrong because they think
> we think we're better than they are on account of being all
> snooty and mathematical and knowing how to do probability
> theory. . . so they lie about us and have
> indeed managed to trash our reputation on large parts of the
> Internet; apparently a lot of people are expecting lies
> like this to be true and no documentation is necessary. . .

30 June 2014

YMMV. ;->

jimf said...
Reconciling Transhumanism and Neoreaction
Posted on May 23, 2013 by Michael Anissimov

. . .

The standards of Transhumanism have fallen in the last decade
as well. In the late 90s and the early 00s, when the primary
transhumanist venues were the Extropians and SL4 mailing lists,
the technical understanding of the average transhumanist was
excellent. Today, it is quite poor. There’s an emergent brilliance
produced when you put Spike Jones, Robin Hanson, Anders Sandberg,
Chris Phoenix, Eliezer Yudkowsky, and Robert Bradbury on the
same mailing list, which simply has no modern-day analogue.
This environment was the forge that crafted the most capable
Transhumanist leaders of today. Second-generation students
of transhumanism are simply not the same. . .

[Ah, the good old days.]

When people understand the true extent of the feasibility and
power of molecular manufacturing, a grim attitude tends to set
in due to all the palpable risks. . . I’m pleased that
the 3D-printed gun exists, because this is
the first visceral, public example of the phenomenon I’ve
been writing about and fearing since 2001. Unrestrained
technological power in the hands of the masses. . .

The benefit of conferring responsibility on a comparatively
small set of elite individuals is that these individuals can
be educated for their responsibilities far in advance, groomed
and cultivated for their important roles. They can be instilled
with good morals, broad understanding, supportive familial
and organizational structures, and mutual expectations worthy
of their station. Common people tend to think only for themselves
[Would that it were so! presumably read: "...only of themselves..."]. . .

The key concept is that molecular manufacturing and transhumanism
are guaranteed to highly empower **someone**. . .

Speaking for myself personally, my key motivation is not having
to witness or experience global nanowar. . .

Handing someone a nanofactory automatically gives them the
power to influence affairs on a worldwide scale. Is this a
power we really want being handed to those educated by
reality television? . . .

Head for the hills. Here comes Honey Goo Goo.

jimf said...

> Speaking for myself personally, my key motivation is not having
> to witness or experience global nanowar. . .

You know, I wouldn't call this a "key motivation" of anything.
It might be the key **rationalization** -- but it sounds
to me like post hoc rationalization.

The key **motivation** is narcissism. Narcissism, narcissism,
narcissism. Ugly elitism and a sense of superiority.
Are you familiar with ?
It is a pattern of behaviors expressing the belief that one is superior.
The article provides insightful material you can reflect your own mind
against, enabling a more accurate assessment of yourself vs others
and the world.

I'll never stop being impressed at the effort armchair psychologists
have gone to psychopathologize normal human expressions of personality
or confidence.


You're such a eugenicist; why? Don't you know that eugenics is shown
to disrupt humanity's natural tendency toward the average where
things are optimal? Too many too intelligent and too beautiful
people is going to be DISASTROUS for our species. Pro-intelligence
pro-beauty eugenics is anti-human.

kindness to the weed is cruelty to the rose

Heaven help you if you're one of the "weeds".

In the movie version of Barbara Branden's _The Passion of Ayn Rand_
(with Helen Mirren as a suitably terrifying La Rand),
there's a scene where Barbara (Julie Delpy) and Ayn's
husband Frank O'Connor (Peter Fonda) go to a Manhattan diner
across the street from Rand's New York City apartment to consider
a proposal made by Rand and Barbara's husband Nathaniel
Branden that they want to have an affair (with the spouses'
permission, of course). "Ordinary people couldn't handle
such a request," says Rand, "but we are not ordinary people."

Sitting in the diner, Frank admits to Barbara that at this
stage in his life, Ayn is his sole means of support -- he
has no real choice in the matter. He says "I always felt
like a fool when Ayn called me 'her ideal man.' But I thought
at least she loved me." Then Barbara, looking around
at the other customers in the diner, admits to herself
that she can't bear the thought of "being like everybody
else." At that moment, the scene cuts to Barbara, back
in Rand's apartment, saying "We agree."

In Oliver Stone's _Wild Palms_, a collage of early-90s
transhumanism, cultism, and California ideology, psychopath
Angie Dickinson says to young psychopath-in-training
Ben Savage, "You’re not afraid are you, darling monkey?
If you’re afraid of the rhino, the dream goes away and
then you’ll be like everyone else and that’s the most
terrifying thing in the world."

To be "like everyone else" **is** "the most terrifying
thing in the world" -- to a narcissist.

And attempting to leverage **fear** -- in this case, a
wildly overblown fear of "global nanowar" -- to bolster
one's guru-status with the rubes, while simultaneously
disguising the naked power-grab as altruism, well. . .
That's a page right out of Donald Trump's playbook, isn't