Steelmanning Liberalism (I)

I’ve loved the term “steelmanning” ever since I first read it, somewhere in Slate Star Codex. Scott Alexander seems to have used the term many, many times and I don’t know exactly in which piece I first saw it, but credit where credit is due.

I was reminded of it again a few days ago when the estimable Geoffrey Miller pointed out that Conor Frieders… okay, I don’t want to get into that, or him. Let’s just leave it that the tweet inspired me to at last begin a post I’ve been contemplating for some time:

Steelmanning Liberalism

As to what liberalism is, what it is exactly that we’re steelmanning here, let’s refer to La Wik, for its universalism (heh):

Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas and programmes such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, gender equality and international cooperation

I’m sure that my target demographic here experiences a certain distaste, perhaps even physical revulsion to “Liberalism” because for the discerning, the term conjures up images like this:

gp

Or perhaps this:slt

These are the seeming fruits of liberalism, and by their fruits ye shall know them; all of us experiencing sanity feel a natural and healthy revulsion at such things. But let’s be honest. These are the strawmen of liberalism, or, perhaps one could say, merely the products of mental illness. What are the very best arguments for liberalism? What are the Steelmen?

I identify four, in descending order of importance:

  1. Liberalism prevents or makes very unlikely destructive war between nation-states
  2. Liberalism prevents or makes very unlikely civil war within nation-states
  3. Liberalism in general prohibits and discourages the killing of individual humans
  4. Liberalism provides the maximum opportunity for individual humans to develop their “human potential”

Today, we focus on (1). Obviously if this were true,  it would be a powerful argument that everyone, everywhere should adopt a liberal political system. War does not further good “reactionary” values like strong families with a committed father and mother in their complementary roles, like subsidiarity, like voluntarism and local control and craftsmanship. War produces single moms and orphans, national emergency governments running roughshod over all forms of local outlook and control, the involuntary military draft and mass production of material that is not for construction and admiration but for the express purpose of destruction and dealing death.

The notion that “Democracies don’t fight each other” was expressed by George W. Bush in 2004 and by his almost equally liberal predecessor Bill Clinton in 1994, but as helpfully pointed out by the BBC:

Immanuel Kant’s Perpetual Peace, [was] published in 1795. Kant’s theory is that democratic leaders are restrained by the resistance of their people to bearing the costs and deaths of war. And a democratic culture of negotiation and conciliation, plus the hurdles to taking swift action, favours peace.

For simplicity we here use “democracy” and “liberalism” interchangeably. In Current Year, all significant “liberal” regimes are democracies, whether parliamentary or American-style, and all actual “democratic” systems (those with voting and a regular, peaceful transfer of state power) are considered “liberal” under the definition above. The fact that a number ill-liberal nations hold sham elections is, in itself, significant. The fact that many “democracies” still have (powerless) monarchies is irrelevant. Luxembourg is as cute as a button; we will discuss it no further, unless it goes to war.

Now, it’s possible to dispute whether, in fact, liberal regimes or democracies have never, ever, gone to war with each other; the Guardian provides a helpful summary of possible exceptions. The best the good Professor could come up with was the (maybe, possibly) the War of 1812 and the Peloponnesian War.

Athens’s attack on Syracuse refutes the hypothesis, yet it is questionable whether the Athenians knew that Syracuse possessed a democratic polity or whether the rule of democratic peace applies to ancient warlike republics.

Color me unconvinced. One could argue that the US-Mexican War of 1846-8 qualifies, but the Mexican government in 1846 wasn’t liberal, or indeed outside of Mexico City much of anything but a mess. So I’m not buying. Some fools try to claim that Hitler was “elected” (he was appointed Chancellor). Germany was a democracy in 1933. Anyone want to make the case that it was still in 1939?

The American Civil War of 1861-5 belongs to Part II.

Liberalism has, arguably, been around as an important idea since Locke and other thinkers of the 17th century (see Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle for a great fictional treatment of the era). Modern liberal political regimes have been around since 1776. They have steadily increased in numbers since then, and they’ve not gone to war with each other. If all nation-states were liberal in construction, war would be extinct, or very, very rare.

This is the most important fruit of liberalism.

Consider it Steelmanned, Part I.

Advertisements

Observations on the Rio Olympics

The Olympics is a very fertile field for analysis of culture, aesthetics and HBD, amongst other things.

Claire Stevens at Amerika Blog reminds us how beauty in women’s gymnastics has shriveled since Nadia and 1976:

The difference between today’s overly muscled globalist equal person and the relative health and strength of athletes of yore is alarming. The emphasis now is on power and strength, and today’s female gymnast does a mostly masculine performance that lacks any artistry. This shift from Western aesthetics to a rote repetition of stunts reveals how far the Olympics has fallen.

For example, Laurie Hernandez performs more dance moves, and has dutifully memorized and executed all of the “tricks” from the list of successful Olympic wins, but the routine does not hold together as anything more than a demonstration.

I sampled the televised Rio Olympics and noticed the same thing, being old enough to have watched Nadia Comaneci score the “perfect 10” on live television back in 1976.

nadia

(There was nothing live on NBC in this Olympics; they delayed everything to prime time and selected things that would get ratings in the US. No drama, Team USA-centric, and uninspiring. And the ratings still sucked).

The same aesthetic is evident elsewhere, as in “figure” skating at the Winter Olympics. First, they don’t even do “figures” anymore, because it doesn’t make good television, and second, any artistic aspects are minimized; it’s all become merely a test of who can land a number of “triples” without falling down. Blech

What a society most values in sports and entertainment shines a merciless light upon it. The Romans started out with mock battles and hero-gladiators, and generations later went into ecstasy at seeing people torn apart by wild beasts. Americans have loved the intricate planning, strategy and straight-up violence of their football since the Gilded Age; Europeans and South Americans love “The Beautiful Game” featuring almost no scoring and guys fake-writhing on the ground when their foot gets stepped on.

Letting the two hermaphrodites run in the “women’s” 800m (gold and bronze)

sem

Gold (yikes!)

was obviously a huge breakthrough for SJWs and for genderfluidqueers.

NYAIRERA-POSE

Bronze (double yikes!!)

The other “women” in the race were not so enthusiastic, but fuck ’em. they’re just beauty-standard-binary casualties and don’t matter:

Team GB athlete Lynsey Sharp was reduced to tears when asked about multiple intersex athletes in the Olympic women’s 800m final, after Caster Semenya beat her to the gold medal…

Sharp, 26, has addressed the subject before in an interview with the Daily Telegraph when she said “everyone can see” the difference between athletes with the condition and those without it.

“Everyone can see it’s two separate races so there’s nothing I can do,” she said earlier this summer.

If you take away the obvious ones it’s actually really competitive,” she added.

Lynsey Sharp

Skinny, yet actual, woman Lynsey Sharp.

All this was forced upon the track federation by an “International Court.” That’s what International Courts are for, right? If our elites had their way, “International Courts” would doubtless rule that deporting terrorists was a violation of “human rights” if done by the United States. I’m not sure if an “International Court” would forbid “cultural practices” like cutting off little girls’ clitorises, however. That’s a sacred ceremony of brown people, even though it would seem to violate “women’s rights.” Right now the victimology of “intersex” and trannies seem to have been elevated over all other victims, gays/women/blacks/Muslims, and even gay woman black Muslims. But that could change anytime. Fat people could very well make a sudden ascension, as long as they’re women. We’ll have to wait and see.

Speaking of hormones, a few athletes were caught doping and disqualified, but the Olympics can’t shake the perception that many of the winners are dopers, but with better regimes and timing than back in the bad old days. The entire Russian track and field contingent was locked out because the evidence was that doping in Russia was systematic and on a grand scale–but I find it hard to believe there isn’t better run, better concealed systematic doping going on elsewhere.

The Olympics is a Grand Festival of Human Biodiversity. As Steve Sailer points out, all the men’s 100 meter finalists were black, again. In fact, 72 out of 72 finalists over the last nine Olympics have been black. “I don’t think 72 out of 72 can be fully explained away as a social construct.”

Most Olympic events are exhausting to contemplate because of all the training that goes into them. But sprinters don’t have to work very hard, so they tend to have time on their hands. It’s basically a test of having God-given talent and not taking too few or too many PEDs, so it’s a fun lifestyle. That’s why they wear so much gold jewelry. The 100m dash is like the Plunge for Distance, except it’s for real.

Sailer also provides the fruits of his detailed research in to which races/nations/ethnics do well in which events:

2008-track-new

It appears that the 800 meters is where everyone has a pretty fair chance, regardless of who their Mommy and Daddy were.

Though not if they’re women with normal testosterone.

***

The Greeks invented the Olympics and admired the competitors (all men) for their athletic (pseudo-military) prowess, and also for their physiques. Men and women of my acquaintance enjoy watching the Games in part because of the beautiful bodies. Normal, heterosexual men generally aren’t attracted to the female gymnasts (mostly tiny teenagers with little or no breasts).

simone-biles-vacay-435

If 4’9″ girls with ROCK-HARD abs are your thing…

However, some of the gymnasts put on a little weight in their 20s and are quite attractive.

Maroney

McKayla Maroney, post-Olympian

Many of the female athletes have so little body fat that the instinctual part of the male mind thinks, “No way she can get pregnant!” and loses sexual interest. This type of female physique is decidedly “unnatural.”

Olympic swimmers, 1964:

olympic women swimmers 1964

I find these girls delightful and would like to make babies with them.

 

2016:

16_per_team_composite_flat_women-small

Bigger shoulders, smaller breasts, bad ‘tude.

 

A lot of guys like beach volleyball, mainly because of the outfits, or nearly complete lack thereof. Again, most of the women have low bodyfat and small breasts, but they all have great legs and great asses. Well, maybe:

_90726162_doaa_epa976

***

All in all, despite the drugs, the cheating, the drug cheating, the preening, prancing asshole Usain Bolt, the bad judging (DON’T watch Olympic boxing unless you want to get pissed off), the crass commercialism, the multi-culti bullcrap, the shitty NBC television coverage, Bob Costas, and SJW-inspired dopey shit of various kinds, I still really enjoy the Olympics.

In 2020 they’ll be held in Japan, a clean, low-crime, well-run country that my son happens to want to visit more than almost anything. We’re already planning the trip.

Anyone want to join us and celebrate a Neoreactionary appreciation of Human Biodiversity?

Civil War 2.0 Will Be Livestreamed

My latest for The Mitrailleuse:

The events of this summer are a taste of what’s to come in the fall, and even more so, November 9, 2016.

Someone is going to win the Presidential election, and regardless of whether it’s Trump or Clinton, the loser’s supporters are going to feel existential angst about America, and their place in it, far beyond the usual.

More

On Immigration: I’m Sure These Facts Are Taught in Every American High School

Just a brief note. Just a little Dead White Male history:

In the summer and fall of 376, tens of thousands of displaced Goths and other tribes arrived on the Danube River, on the border of the Roman Empire, requesting asylum from the HunsFritigern, a leader of the Thervingi, appealed to the Roman emperor Valens to be allowed to settle with his people on the south bank of the Danube, where they hoped to find refuge from the Huns, who lacked the ability to cross the wide river in force. Valens permitted this, and even helped the Goths cross the river, probably at the fortress of Durostorum (modern Silistra), Bulgaria.

Valens promised the Goths farming land, grain rations, and protection under the Roman armies as foederati. His major reasons for quickly accepting the Goths into Roman territory were to increase the size of his army, and to gain a new tax base to increase his treasury.

To outline what happened over the course of the next six years would be racist (of course), and it is left to the reader to commit that crimethink for himself.

Source

Nationalisms, White and Otherwise

In the comments to my Alaska post there is a link to “Pioneer Little Europe” (PLE) provided by Alan J. Perrick. As promised there, I’d like to expand on why I don’t consider myself a “White Nationalist”; simply linking to Moldbug’s massive essay is not explanation enough. As usual, MM allows his sense of play and irony to run in this piece; it’s not like one could somehow give the sense of it in a tweet. And yet:

I am not a white nationalist because I don’t find white nationalism useful or effective. I don’t feel it helps me accurately perceive reality. In fact, I think it distorts reality. And I believe white nationalism is a very ineffective political device for solving the very real problems about which it complains.(…)

And, more to the point, what is the one ideology least likely to convince them to change their nefarious ways? What is the system of thought that Brahmins are most powerfully inoculated against? White nationalism! It’s a strategy that couldn’t be better designed to fail. It is almost eerie in its profound and incurable ineffectiveness.(…)

At its best, white nationalism offers a sensible description of a general problem. This problem certainly exists, and it falls under the larger category of bad government. (If allowing the old cities of North America to be overrun and rendered largely uninhabitable by murderous racist gangs isn’t bad government, really, I’m not sure what is.)

But white nationalism offers no formula at all for how to transition from bad government to good government. Indeed, to the extent that white nationalism succeeds in anything, it motivates its enemies, keeping everyone stuck in the same old destructive patterns.

So we have the twin points: Whatever its virtues for Whites qua Whites, White Nationalism isn’t effective and it misses the bigger picture. In my view, Black Nationalism misses the point in the same way for Blacks. Etc.

There’s no doubt at all that generally races, tribes, families and other human groupings are most comfortable around their own. If those calling themselves White Nationalists want to form a community in Kalispell, Montana, best of luck to them.

There’s nothing, it seems, that would blow up one’s reputation in the Red Pill/Dark Enlightenment/Neoreactionary community faster than admitting to being some kind of Universalist (The horror. The horror) but here goes nothing.

I’m a Catholic; just two short years ago I was baptized into the Church, and I take very seriously the doctrine that every human being has in him the Imago Dei – The Image of God. That there are bad people, there is no doubt. There are horrible people, instruments of evil; some of them are black gangsters and murderers in Baltimore and Philadelphia. Some are white gangsters and murderers in Moscow and London. One can argue, and plenty have, that black people are statistically more likely to be gangsters and murderers, but that’s not the point, in this context. I surely agree with Derbyshire’s “The Talk” and have and will make these points to my own son, because they are intelligent precautions dealing with realities.

On the other hand, the nation (city-state) I want to live will be smaller than the United States, and much more focused. Whatever kind of government it has will be ruthless in dealing with seriously anti-social behavior and will not subsidize single motherhood and unemployment. In these conditions I, personally, welcome Jewish physicists, Chinese engineers, Japanese cartoonists, Argentinian dance instructors and Black American former Green Berets, if they’re superb contributors to the polis (did I miss any stereotypes? Apologies).

I don’t want these people because of some idiotic commitment to diversity, or, for Christ’s sweet sake, vibrancy. I don’t at all believe that having a rainbow of beautiful colors and sexual orientations is necessary or desirable in a group.

But at heart, I’m an individualist. Take a shot at that, if you like, and tell me where I’m wrong. But I practice discrimination, not prejudice. I draw lines, and if you’re out of bounds because you’re a thief, a thug or a low-impulse-control lout, I’ll deal with you on that basis. But as an individual, I’ll give you a chance to show me who you are, and if you’re good I’ll associate with you to our mutual advantage no matter where your parents are from.

Probably, most of the people who will end up in my kind of place will be White. Certainly, I feel most comfortable around people like me, just like everyone else who isn’t fooling himself because of the mindwashing he’s absorbed from Cultural Marxism. But I’m not a White Nationalist.