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Reaction! and other links

"Scott Alexander" is more or less liberal/progressive but likes to "steelman" (the opposite of strawman) opposing ideas; also to try to pass the Ideological Turing Test, of describing such ideas in terms their proponents would recognize. (A task frequently failed by conservatives or libertarians talking about liberals, or liberals talking about libertarians. And probably about conservatives, but I don't have an insider view.) Recently he made a post about Reactionary ideas:

It's interesting, and many of the comments are interesting. Many of the *other* comments are unreconstructed reactionaries of a sort you probably haven't seen in one place before or at all, types who'd make much of the modern Republican party blanch and squirm, at least in public. For my money, Scott did a better job of portraying their ideas attractively than they do; one can read his words and think "wow, there might be something to this, but" and then read their words and go "wow, you're a bunch of morons in denial."

He then did a "rebuttal" http://slatestarcodex.com/2013/03/04/a-thrivesurvive-theory-of-the-political-spectrum/
except it isn't at all a point by point takedown of the ideas he presented first. Instead it's a model where conservative values are adapted to surviving under duress, progressive ones to thriving in safety, and he basically says, though not explicitly enough for some to grasp, "so conservative values might have value somewhere but not in the society we actually live in or the direction we're going in." There's some debate about his definitions and presentation, which you can see in the comments, stuff like "if Athens was more democratic and nicer to slaves but Sparta treated its women much better and was egalitarian among the Spartan male adults, which is more left?"

From the same author, elsewhere, a signaling theory idea of why lots of middle class people seem to vote against their economic interests. Poor peopel vote for benefits, lower middle class opposes them to not be like poor people, upper middle class (who'll never be mistaken for poor) support benefits to be nice or to not be like lower middle class people...


Liberals should be proud of "sewer liberalism", the belief that some things could be provided by markets but are better off as public or regulated utilities. With borderline examples of not just healthcare but basic finance.

"That fault line involves the very nature of the economy itself. If we set aside the nonprofit and household realms, then it is a crude but fair generalization to say that conservatives believe in an economy with two sectors — the market and the government — while liberals believe in an economy with three sectors — the market, the government and the utility sector."

"Liberals, as I have noted, acknowledge the value of competitive markets in addition to the government sector and the utility sector. But the reverse is not true. Free-market conservatives usually do not acknowledge the need for a public utility sector in addition to competitive markets and government. Instead, they tend to equate the very idea of a publicly regulated utility sector of the economy with “socialism.”"


Swiss vote to curb executive pay and banker bonuses, largely by mandating that shareholders actually get to vote. Shows how empty corporate democracy usually is.


Nazi aviatrix http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanna_Reitsch


Oldest written down music http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seikilos_epitaph

"Feminists" who hate prostitutes:
"Indeed, when asked about her justification for the collateral damage
her legislative changes would cause, she suggested that damage to
individual sex workers was a price worth paying for the settlement to be

Luke's life sucked: everyone he'd known for more than a few days was dead. Well, apart from that friend in the Academy and any other Tatooine friends. But 'parents' and Obi-wan? Dead.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/354234.html#comments


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 7th, 2013 09:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks for a series of fascinating links. Reactionary philosophy in an enormous planet sized nutshell was interesting, but also contained some serious factual errors (I pointed two of the most obvious in the comments, and others have pointed out the difference between colonialism where one side has guns and the other does not and similar ventures when both sides have pretty darn deadly weapons).

I was most struck by the point in his next article about reactionary politics being most suited to a zombie apocalypse - I'd never thought of that before, and it fits remarkably well.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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