Qualified Reservations

Mentis Yardbug is back!

God-damned neofascist hate blogger.

He has been back for a while, to be fair, having, I guess, decided that Urbit is very nicely poised to slaughter the surveillance capitalists in their sleep and that the project no longer needs his input.

Although, I believe that part of the reason is that Urbit had become so successful that the power-hungry postmodernists scurrying around the Valley had both heard of it and heard of him, and that, therefore, the association was holding Urbit back. As my good friend DMX once said, if you love something, let it go.

This is big, by the way. Curtius Moldvin wasn’t supposed to be allowed to return in the ’45 — ’13 NYT-NPR-Harvard era, and definitely not in the ‘13-present big tech era, but back he is. The tide is turning. A new age dawns!

Now these might seem like strange things to say about both a founder/CEO and a San Francisco-based tech project non-sarcastically poised to slaughter the surveillance capitalists in their sleep. But if you are at all confused, you clearly haven’t taken the red pill on any of this. What about Brendan Eich? What about Andrew Torba? What about Palmer Luckey? People with principles are only welcome in the Valley so long as they don’t throw wrenches into the Cantillon Insidermatron of Everything-as-as-Service. If they do, it’s over. Scorched earth.

And so Urbit is unprojected, just like Unqualified Reservations was unblogged, just like Curtius Moldvin was unpersoned. Again, you might think this is paranoid, but I know for a fact that swathes of techy folk will not touch Urbit with a barge pole purely because of Yarvin, who isn’t even involved any longer. Some of these people are — allegedly — crypto folk. Can you believe that? Pond scum shills of the Cantillon machine, each and every one of them. It’s a good litmus test, by the way, if you run in these circles. Pretty soon, everybody will know what Urbit is. Do they like it?

Sorry, do they like it?, is the wrong question. Of course they like it. It’s awesome. What I meant was, are they willing to say, in public, that they like it? Now there’s a question and a half. The true juice here, to which they will be completely oblivious as daily downers of the blue pill coated with Red #5, is that Yarvin described their situation in meticulous detail ten years ago. In blogs far longer than mine I might add. You think I like tangents? Imagine if The Talebenning was entirely about seventeenth-century England and also was not a joke …

What the Internet Hath Wrought

photo by Benjamin Sow, via Unaplash

It is becoming increasingly obvious to me that The Sovereign Individual will simply be a must-read to understand the coming century and beyond — or at least until the next tectonic technological shift causes cultural shifts, which cause political shifts. It may well be the next 1984, which was always great, but didn’t become indispensable until possibly 50 years after it was written. And I should stress I don’t agree with everything in TSI. I think probably half of it is nonsense, but I am willing to give Rees-Mogg and Davidson the benefit of the doubt because it may as well have been a good guess. The non-nonsensical (sensical?) half has either come true or probably will come true, despite the chattering classes calling it all moronic and reactionary, even after it started happening.

TANGENT ALERT: you should always be intrigued when the chattering classes call something “reactionary” when its realisation would clearly be fantastic progress for humankind. What they likely mean is that it is a reaction against them. Against their accrual of power, capital, or influence, at everybody’s expense but for everybody’s own good. Which is all a long-winded way of saying: Bitcoin. But I digress …

To loosely paraphrase Davidson and Rees-Mogg, very few people really understand what the Internet hath wrought. Almost everybody understands it at a surface level. Unless you have been social distancing this entire time, the Internet hits you in the face every few minutes. MEMES! INFINITE MEMES! But very few understand what this means for l’ancien régime.

What the Internet hath wrought is the slow, painful end of centralized cultural power, which obviously therefore means the slow, painful end of centralized political power as well. Which is the tragic side effect of red-dyed blue pills: the continued delusion that, as an aspirant to the chattering classes, you can un-anything anything. OK, Boomer. That’s so 1980. You can’t stop Urbit, you can’t stop Yarvin, you can’t stop Unqualified Reservations, and you can’t stop Bitcoin. The people will decide, or rather, the market will decide, because, shock horror, capitalism has lifted billions out of poverty in spite of “democracy”, not because of it.

But of course, what I mean by this is actually that the people will decide, hence my putting “democracy” in scare quotes. This is what the chattering classes are so afraid of. Their political formula, as Gaetano Mosca would have put it, via Mencius Moldbug, is to mould the perception of participation and involvement in governance by controlling the chokepoints of media and capital, and Eiching, Torbaing, or Luckeying anybody who became a problem. But as Nakamoto.comist-in-chief, Balaji Srinivasan, is well known for saying, we don’t need to fight this. We don’t have guns. Now we have something even better. We have the money that pays for the guns, and even if you have guns, it’s not the kind of money you can use the guns to take. Carrots only, please. Sticks not accepted here.

Even when I make fun of Balaji for saying this, I still think he is basically right. My disagreement with Balaji is ecumenical, not religious. Our religious alignment is predicated on understanding the money and the guns and the everything better than you, so just leave us alone, please. The “please” at the end there is just manners, it’s not a request. Don Corleone said “please” too because he was a swell guy.

Raping Children is Bad

But the future is not Yarvin’s specialty, much as I am sure he would have to say on the subject. His specialty is history, and, in particular, the history of now. Which leads us to the pièce de résistance of his return from the decentralized wilderness. Very probably the best essay written so far in 2020, RIP Globalism, Dead Of Coronavirus:

Yarvin’s thesis is simple, while the essay is masterful, so I will summarise concisely and aim to build on it:

“Globalism” is a slur and not what anybody calls themselves. So let’s call them “internationalists”. Internationalism rules the world, and while it has many merits, it has several fatal flaws if taken too seriously. Unfortunately, it is taken far more than simply too seriously: it is the predominant religion in the Anglosphere, and since the Anglosphere won the war of 39–45, it has been colonially imposed on most of the world.

Of course, we have all sorts of euphemisms to describe why the most potent colonialism in history is really leadership and progress and SWIFT, but, ultimately, this particular flavour of colonialism is a terrifyingly efficient American distillation of an originally wacky and dysfunctional German idea, funded by capitalism, and employed by the State Department with the Defence Department as their morally compromised goons. The Defence Department is particularly tragic in all of this, because they naturally resist this societal menace, but their hands are tied given they value duty, loyalty, and hierarchy over power. And good for them. But, sadly, when stupid presidents give stupid orders, the ethnic minorities and the hinterland whites obey said stupid orders to the death.

Anyway, none of this is the end of history. It is just what happens when history’s brake pads fail. But now history has crashed into a tree called the coronavirus. We have the chance to pause and consider that maybe this truly nightmarish global regime could — and maybe should — come to an end. And, better yet, making the red pill awfully good lookin’ these days, is that had it ended 6 months ago (or 1 month prior to Yarvin publishing), this global disaster never would have happened.

Most tastily of all, notes Yarvin, is that open-borders-ism is essentially an invention of this batshit crazy religion. It is not progressive and brotherly and universal. It is American and furthermore it is stupid. It was imposed on Japan by previous State and Defence departments: a civilisation far more ancient and noble than that of the descendants of treasonous colonials from New Amsterdam, it must be said, who were doing just fine for thousands of years without DEMOCRACY and FREEDOM. The good old boys across the pond, keen not to be shown up following their underwhelming earlier efforts to bring modernity to the Orient, then one-upped the Yanks in China, more noble and ancient even than Japan, although less zealously isolationist.

Ready for some serious, event-horizon red-pilling? The literal original sin of internationalism — “racism” — is true of internationalism. Do you like open borders? THEN YOU ARE A COLONIALIST! Oopsie doopsie. That’s exactly what The White Man would say, right before “opening Japan to the world”.

So, if you want to blame one single individual in the grand sweep of history for the First Sino-Japanese War, the Chinese Civil War, the invasion of Manchuria, the Second Sino-Japanese War, Pearl Harbour, the rape of Nanking, the Battle of Okinawa, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Korean War, and The Great Leap Backward, blame Commodore Perry. In fact, you may as well blame him for the coronavirus while you are at it. The Great Qing would have taken care of business, unlike these CCP clowns.

And open-borders-ism is but one of the many pillars of the secular religion under which we all live as model atheists, believing in nothing but F***ING LOVING SCIENCE, with propaganda blasted daily to effect that we have never been freer, wiser, or better.

Let’s make this a little more concrete. I am an open-borders-ist, but am so practically, not religiously. I quite like science too. I would like my government to be able to take appropriately extreme measures in a genuine public health emergency. But I would like this practically, not religiously. Religious scientism just destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people all over the world and took us all on a giant leap towards neo-feudalism, all while the clueless, “expert” elites — who f***ing love science — coordinating the lockdown while comfortably working from home bailed themselves out by stealing the masses’ savings. I’m against all of this. Scientism, mass destruction of livelihood, state pilfering, and neo-feudalism are bad.

Similarly, I am a soft multiculturalist, pending proper definition of the term. But I am so practically, not religiously. Religious multiculturalism got thousands of children repeatedly gang-raped in the North of England, and similar stories have very likely been covered up elsewhere that would bring the count into the tens of thousands, if not higher. I’m against that too. Raping children is bad.

The great thing about multiculturalism is that it pretends to be proposing nothing in particular beyond niceness. This is probably more accessible than any similar trait of “internationalism” or “public health,” because it relates to personal behaviour rather than geopolitics or science. But, “I embrace all cultures,” is not an agnostic position. It’s an alarmingly strong and oppressive position to be put forward so blithely. It is not open, nor embracing, nor welcoming, nor any such stereotypical progressive euphemism: it is a very specific ideology that excludes many others.

Edo period Japanese would have found multiculturalism to be highly offensive and threatening, and indeed it was. GOD DAMNED RACIST WHITE MEN WITH THEIR MULTICULTURALISM AND THEIR WARSHIPS!

“Internationalism” is stupid for much the same reasons, which is why Yarvin takes aim as he does. You know the “this is water” joke? In the West, today, multiculturalism is on its way out, given the social more against raping children is just a tad more engrained. I am openly and coherently against raping children. But it’s hard to be openly and coherently against internationalism. Internationalism is water.

Shills for Raw Power

So sure, Yarvin is a neofascist hate blogger, a eugenicist, a neonazi, an alt-right übermensch, whatever other juvenile taunt you heard your boss say at the water cooler right before the lockdown and figure might get you a promotion if you say it enough times too. Or at least get you brownie points to keep you safe during the downsizing.

It’s interesting that Yarvin refers to Urbit as “land,” considering his feudal aspirations. Everyone being able to own their own digital land seems at odds with Yarvin’s belief that only the worthy, high IQ CEO-kings should rule. On the contrary, Urbit is described on its website consistently as a “republic,” where “property rights are contingent and accidental, not moral or meritorious.”

(No, they actually said that. I think you were supposed to be confused — confused at how it could be true, just to be clear, not confused as to how they could be so imbecilic as to think it …)

But Yarvin also happens to have been absolutely right about several things that the chattering classes thought were so implausible as to be signs of mental illness. Has there been a Brown Scare? Yes. Has Bitcoin been important? Yes. Would it have been wise to cut ties with China? Yes. You wonder if there is really any pending threat to their own lives or the lives of their families at which aspirants to the chattering classes will consider taking the red pill? Or nibbling it, alone in the bathroom, just to see what it tastes like?

Is the cool kids club really worth your life? Sure, it might be worth some chav’s kid getting raped a few times, and maybe the olds did have it coming. But if you are literally about to die, would you consider dropping the façade for the ten minutes required to avoid it? You don’t even need to tell the truth, you can just stop relentlessly lying. It’s like that moron who suggested he would die for the economy, except actually it is worse, because “the economy” does keep us alive in a roundabout way. This just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Pandemic, child rape, and neo-feudalism is the price of progress, paid only by the deplorables.

George Orwell’s second-best work after Politics and the English Language, is a review he wrote of James Burnham’s, The Managerial Revolution, titled, Second Thoughts on James Burnham. This may sound oddly familiar to readers, as Shoshana Zuboff spends the final few pages of her brilliant, The Age Of Surveillance Capitalism, referencing it, making a very similar point to the one I am making now. Zuboff channels Orwell’s criticism of Burnham in order to criticize her opponents, the apologists for the surveillance capitalists. I second that, but defer to her absolutely on that topic. I channel it here in order to criticize the apologists for the internationalists.

This is the most stinging critique:

“Although he reiterates that he is merely setting forth the facts and not stating his own preferences, it is clear that Burnham is fascinated by the spectacle of power, and that his sympathies were with Germany so long as Germany appeared to be winning the war. A more recent essay, ‘Lenin’s Heir’, published in the Partisan Review about the beginning of 1945, suggests that this sympathy has since been transferred to the USSR. ‘Lenin’s Heir’, which provoked violent controversy in the American left-wing press, has not yet been reprinted in England, and I must return to it later.”

In other words, Burnham is a shill for raw power. That is the conclusion of his argument, with the premises and the reasoning filled in afterwards. Like all good Keynesians, when the facts change, he changes his mind … about why he is right. But, of course, this can barely rise above superficial plausibility if you track his output at all prior to right this second, because it becomes both universally wrong and contradictory.

That sounds a lot like the mainstream internationalists to me. In fact, you can see them right this moment manoeuvring to wriggle away from their previously deeply held bullshit to newer, even more insidious, even more communist bullshit. Maybe the cultural colonialism of the State Department isn’t so great after all. Maybe the CCP is where it’s at. Why? Well, because it looks like they might win in the long run. It’s early days, but it’s usually good advice to try to get in on Communist upheavals as early as possible, if you want to keep your kidneys at least. It’s like Rosko’s Basilisk, with the coward’s way out barely changed, even if the imminent omnipotence is quite different. If they get their NYT editorials in now, maybe in twenty years they can get a sweet gig in a basement somewhere, while all their old friends have been unpersoned to the Gulag in Xinjiang or the old Wuhan wet market.

So, history is rhyming and Orwell predicted it all, eh? What else is new?

Quite simply, the Internet. The Internet is still pretty new. Samizdata are nice and all, but I mean, goodness gracious, it took Grossman twenty years for his masterpiece to get published, while it took maybe a month for Li Wenliang to become a household name. Imagine if that could be sped along with uncensorable data transmission and uncensorable money. We could have an Internet TV channel run by a smart contract which turns itself on to stream live political censorship and bills in satoshis per second. We are entering the age of the sovereign individual. It’s gonna be lit, fam.

Before getting back to Yarvin and using Elon Musk as a plaything to tie up loose ends, I really can’t help myself but quote the following excerpt from Orwell with no context or message whatsoever — really just a plea that our public intellectuals today were but a tenth as well-read, as erudite, and as uncompromised as he:

Peter Drucker and F.A. Voigt have argued that Fascism and Communism are substantially the same thing. And indeed, it has always been obvious that a planned and centralised society is liable to develop into an oligarchy or a dictatorship. Orthodox Conservatives were unable to see this, because it comforted them to assume that Socialism ‘wouldn’t work’, and that the disappearance of capitalism would mean chaos and anarchy. Orthodox Socialists could not see it, because they wished to think that they themselves would soon be in power, and therefore assumed that when capitalism disappears, Socialism takes its place. As a result they were unable to foresee the rise of Fascism, or to make correct predictions about it after it had appeared. Later, the need to justify the Russian dictatorship and to explain away the obvious resemblances between Communism and Nazism clouded the issue still more. But the notion that industrialism must end in monopoly, and that monopoly must imply tyranny, is not a startling one.”

We are still unable to see all these features, some forty years after most of them happened. And I believe that, if we follow what seems to be Yarvin’s plan, it will remain a tiny minority who do so, with no worthwhile change to speak of or to ever expect.

Qualified Reservations

Fawning praise aside, I think there is one glaring defect with Yarvin 2.0. And unfortunately, I think I have to tackle it. It is at the very heart of his approach. Yarvin is not like Andreessen or Srinivasan in that I agree wholeheartedly with the gist but feel I need to quibble with the particulars. I think Yarvin’s entire raison d’être is self-sabotaging because of a single fatal flaw in his attitude.

He makes a big deal of not wanting to call people things they don’t call themselves. And I respect that. It’s very Defence Department. But one might notice, by his very own analysis of the history of now, Defence has been consistently pwned by the actual establishment for going on 100 years. This isn’t deep state tin-hattage. It’s as much a Bernie bro line as a Trumpian one. It’s practically written in the Wall Street Journal if you know what you are looking at. If Wall Street or Big Oil wants a war, they get a war. Defence never wants wars. Defence wants defence. Defence wants wars, the military-industrial complex, Bush is a war criminal, muh muh muh, is the blue pill coated in Red #5.

So why would Yarvin adopt the morality he knows will lose? Is he martyring himself in the name of transcendent goodness? Is he the zen master who smiles during his decapitation-by-Dao? I think he is just a little naïve. He has been personally free of the internationalist jungle for so long that he is out of touch with how godawful it really is. And so he misunderestimates his enemies.

Here is the problem with calling these people what they call themselves: their modus operandi is to make language their weapon. Everything they say is a euphemism, and everything they mean they are ashamed of. What they call themselves changes every month. What they call others follows suit. Beyond simple misdirection, the meta-goal is to make it impossible for the average person to articulate an objection to their agenda because, as far as she is concerned, there isn’t a word for that. There may not even be a concept …

Now that is some straight-up 1984 shit. War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength. Think I’m kidding? Let’s return to the best essay of 2020. What is international leadership, really? Is it perhaps, cultural colonialism by The West at large, but primarily the State Department, enforced by the Department of Defence, the IRS, and FINRA? Have you heard of FATCA, by the way? Did you know that revoking it was in Trump’s original presidential platform, before the swamp creatures got their slimy little hands on it? Why don’t you know these things? Are you an idiot?

What is, democracy, really? Is it perhaps, kangaroo elections following which career bureaucrats veto the will of the people, except very, very occasionally, in which they constitutionally cannot and so the people must be openly smeared as racist, sexist, populist bigots who shouldn’t be allowed to vote in the first place because that’s not how democracy works?

What is, opening Japan to the world, really? Is it perhaps, the decimation of the beautiful Tokugawa Shogunate by capitalist warmongers with the biggest ships and the biggest guns the world had ever seen?

What is, a coordinated global response, really? Is it perhaps, a response led by people who all look different and have funny names, but who all went to the following x American universities and worked for the following y American investment banks, communicate exclusively in French and dress exclusively like Manhattanites? “French” was a trick to see if you were paying attention. Obviously, they communicate in English because the State Department has culturally colonized most of the world. Once you see one glitch in the matrix, you start to see them all.

Now how, dear reader, do you go about articulating such ideas to a denizen of the Matrix? Why, of course, you say a whole bunch of things that they have been conditioned since preschool to regard as the ravings of an alt-right and/or alt-left lunatic! Which is so sad it’s funny because “alt-right” and “alt-left” are actually only around 5 or 6 years old as potentially useful expressions, but have already been through the establishment euphemizer, so the average person has no idea what they originally meant. There isn’t a word for that. There isn’t even a concept, I’m afraid. Oopsie doopsie.

But here’s the thing — the wonderfully Moldbuggian thing — the euphemizer is old tech. It is creaking at the joints. There’s a storm coming, Mr Wayne. Trump’s nights and weekends meme machine OWNED THE LIBS almost as hard as it OWNED THE CONS in 2016. The Democrats’ only response in kind has been Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who, I shit you not, might be the politician most phenomenally attuned to her media environment I have ever seen.

And look what has happened to her. She has been industrially sabotaged at every step and is still winning because the actual people are voting, and not the party. As Bernie knows well, I’m sure that loophole will be closed soon enough. Only the Republican Party can stomach actual democracy, which is how we ended up with Trump. If only the Democratic Party cared about republicanism in kind. Or, as Bertolt Brecht put it,

“Some party hack decreed that the people had lost the government’s confidence and could only regain it with redoubled effort. If that is the case, would it not be simpler, if the government simply dissolved the people and elected another?

But, but, but populism! OK, Boomer. I think you mispronounced, democracy I don’t like and can’t control.

Learn to Meme, Bro

Politics aside (meh, politics, boooooooooring) what matters here is that changes in technology have allowed for changes in culture. That these obvious truths are getting easier and easier to articulate is the change in culture to which more awaken every day. But technology is the root, as Davidson and Ress-Mogg knew well. The Internet has given gloriously powerful, ironically peaceful, weapons to the 99%. We have two options that have never previously existed. Fight or flight. Or, in Balajiese (i.e. Hirschmanese), voice or exit.

Exit is easy, and doesn’t concern Yarvin much. It concerns me a great deal, but veers too much every other rambling blog post I’ve ever written besides this one. If you want to exit, learn about Bitcoin. From Bitcoiners.

But if you want to fight, learn to meme, bro. And if you want to meme, bro, you have to call people things they don’t call themselves. You aren’t going to red pill anybody by saying that progress and brotherhood and peace are awful and horrifying and A GOD-DAMNED INTERNATIONALIST CONSPIRACY!

And actually, there are two viable options for fighting. I may aspire to be a mememaster supreme, what with pretending to be Rocky the Squirrel, and my sneaky, alienating references to Pewdiepie, rap, dubstep, Justified, Burn Notice, Game of Thrones, The Wire, and whatever else I’ve forgotten about already. But, really, like Yarvin, I far prefer really, really obscure books and essays.

I offer one as a last hurrah here. Liberal Democracy vs. Transnational Progressivism: The Future of the Ideological Civil War Within the West, by John Fonte. It is excellent. It even frames this issue perfectly: there is a war going on. I am a liberal democrat. My enemies are the transnational progressives. The gloves are off because, more or less, now we have Bitcoin and we don’t actually need them anymore.

Again, I won’t summarise the whole essay, or even discuss it much at all. I highlight it only to say that it is excellent, it is pertinent here, and it gives us a great name to use to fight these people: Transnational Progressives.

Progress is good. Transnationalism is at best neutral. It has too many syllables and too many unusual phonemes to be obviously good or bad. It sounds scientific. It sounds Latin. But it at least lacks the invective of “globalist”. Filthy globalist! Yuk. Filthy transnational progressive! Um … what?

But … in memeland, both are suspicious if not outright negative. How the tables have turned. We can do this semiological bullshit far better than you can, provided you don’t deplatform us (or even can, but those days are numbered too) because you have to beg the Federal Government for funding in green shitcoins. We don’t even have to use our real names.

The Board is Set, The Pieces are Moving

Fonte’s civil war is well and truly here. You are either on Team Gates or Team Musk.

Bill Gates is clearly a genius, but in an alarmingly textbookish sort of way. He has learned life purely from reading books about it, but he is so smart and has read so many books that he still understands it more than almost everybody else. But he is gullible. He is inclined to respect authority because it is authoritative. He is inclined to covet power because it is powerful. He is inclined to believe Wall Street believe Microsoft is a blue-chip stock. He is inclined to believe the WHO because it has a very nice office and it’s full of lovely people with stellar CVs, and plenty of gratuitous nonprofit work and “activism”, who read the same books, watch the same TED talks, and who make sure to quote tweet each other with, “this ↓”. Even if he doesn’t much respect the individual boilerplate white people who comprise these institutions, he still thinks it is worth his time trying to exact his influence through them because … well … he thinks they matter. Worst of all, he doesn’t get the Internet.

Elon Musk is an immigrant vagabond with almost as many ex-wives as children. He has no credentials and I’m honestly not sure if he reads much either. But why read about things when you are so brilliant that you can learn them by doing them? He is kinda nuts, and is constantly running afoul of all the same people who adore Gates: the government, the regulators, his investors, my mum. He doesn’t believe the WHO because they have never had real jobs and are clearly CCP shills. He doesn’t believe Wall Street because they only care about the next quarter, not the next century. He wants to go to Mars because that’s what real men do. He also wants to stop climate change with a fleet of artificially intelligent sports cars because everybody needs a side hustle. Best of all, he gets the Internet. He gets it so hard it hurts.

Gates is the Witch King of Angmar, Musk is Gandalf the White. The battle for The Internet is over. The battle for (actual) Earth is about to begin.

Gates is the end of history and the last man. Musk is the start of history and the first man, because, as we know, transnational progressivism is dead.

RIP transnational progressivism, dead of Coronavirus.

And Yarvin. And the Internet.

… and Bitcoin.

Follow me on Twitter @allenf32

thanks to Basile Genève for edits and contributions




I’m an investor. I think about things. I write some of it down.

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allen farrington

allen farrington

I’m an investor. I think about things. I write some of it down.

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