I Don't Even Know: Gawker's Maureen O'Connor Interviews Mencius Moldbug

7 posts

Found this bit of miscellany the other day . Maureen O'Connor, who now writes for Gawker, interviewed reactionary blogger Mencius Moldbug over his theory that maybe Barack Obama didn't ever attend Columbia.

Personally, I found Moldbug's theory rather silly. His later theory that Bill Ayers may have ghostwritten Dreams of My Father would seem to hold more weight. But this is neither here nor there... I'm more baffled by the idea of a future writer for Gawker, a website I admit to having an unhealthy obsession with due to the way it so acutely consolidates everything terrible about yuppies, liberals and new media, talking to Mencius Moldbug, probably the most well known anti democracy blogger. Of course, Moldbug concedes that his theory doesn't hold much water and then notes that he endorses Obama's candidacy. It's all very strange.

As such, let's just discuss our opinions on Moldbug. IMHO, despite his obnoxious disposition for long winded and pretentious writing, he often has insightful views on democracy, the political state and the origins of progressivism.

I haven't read anything by him.

This MeFi post about him links some of his more interesting pieces which expound his general philosophy. I find the one on Neocameralism to be most interesting. You might like him since he's a proponent of the Austrian School.
Bob Dylan Roof

I rarely stop by his blog. I'm not surprised that a "jewish reactionary" supported Obama's candidacy, though.

The only compelling piece of evidence that Obama didn't go to Columbia is the fact that Occidental isn't very preftigious and consequently a 99% nigga wouldn't need to go there before attending Columbia.

President Camacho

Interesting that a Jewish "conservative" identifies with an Oriental modernist philosopher who dedicated his life, in the manner of Rosseau or Voltaire, to attacking and calling for the "reform" of monarchy, and the elevation of "the people" to the supreme subject of political veneration.


Alright, a bit of shit talk - here we go... :eek: tard:

One thing that strikes me as odd and somewhat disingenuous about Moldbug is the way he tries to square anti Enlightenment conservatism (so called "arch conservatism") with Austrian economics. While he explicitly states that he is not a libertarian , the fact remains that any sort of classical liberal variation is inherently a byproduct of the Enlightenment and the rise of the mercantile class over the aristocracy. Throne and Altar conservatism was always statist and often contained a sort of guild socialism. Of course, Austrian economic theory would in effect create a sort of neo feudalism with even air and ocean space being privatized but this isn't really the same thing.

Bob Dylan Roof
I'm sympathetic to such a synthesis but I don't know enough about Moldbug - I'll try to answer clearly (if possible) but prepare for tl;dr tome.

The only way the two can be reconciled is by employing the rationalism of Austrian Economics (which is just an application of the tools of philosophy to the phenomenon of scarcity) in order to explain the success and perseverance of the ancien regime , which is what Hoppe attempts in his excellent book on democracy. I also like to think of "liberalism" and the concept of "liberty" as residing on a historical continuum that allows the intermingling of "arch-conservatism" and classical liberalism.

A genealogy of "classical liberalism" is instructive here. Liberty is a fundamentally ancient and aristocratic concept stretching back to the bronze age, which was progressively restrained and altered first by the development of Roman law, then by Christian custom and law, and finally by the philosophers of the Enlightenment. The alteration effected by the proponents of "classical liberalism" restricted liberty so that it meant formal, guaranteed liberty for the mercantile and lower classes, which meant in practice that they could employ a new legal system to overcome the natural aristocracy through wealth redistribution and subsidized security. The tradition of thought called "aristocratic liberalism," espoused by 19th- and early 20th-century authors like Jacob Bruckhardt and Bertrand de Jouvenel, is really a return to older traditions of pre-enlightenment "liberalism" or "liberty" that eschewed the turn toward legal formalism and state absolutism favored by classical liberalism. Hoppe, being within this tradition, explicitly calls for the abandonment of classical liberalism because he opposes formal, representative constitutionalism and the federal absolutism of the American Constitution in particular.

Of course the synthesis also depends on how "arch" you want to get with your conservatism and liberty. Even the liberty of the aristocratic liberals mentioned above is constrained by an older and simpler (Christian?) behavioral ethic of independence that abhors the initiation of force against others. This ethic is a slightly less intrusive version of classical liberal morality, but it works toward the same end: to constrain the rule of the stronger or the natural elite. The closer one gets to arch-liberty, however, the less one finds moral or "deontic" restraints on the tendency toward natural aristocracy, until one finally reaches the world of aristocratic self-aggrandizement and ostentatious self-affirmation characteristic of our Indo-European ancestors. Thus, in the end our analysis is actually a genealogy of morals that traces the trajectory of moral ideas and their effect on the tendency of the more physically and psychically fit to impose their will upon the world. The philosophy of liberty can therefore be understood as a spectrum with IE aristocracy on one end and progressive liberalism on the other, where fusions and mixtures of different sections of the spectrum (such as the analysis I mentioned in the first paragraph) can be made so long as one keeps in mind the moral distinctions that separate each part on the spectrum.