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Modeling Maximum-Tent Morality
salvaging universalism with simple heuristics and Schmitt's friend/enemy distinction
I think of philosophical principles like mathematical formulae. There are often long and complex proofs that can boil down to a simple equation. Americans are in desperate need of some such simple moral principles to latch onto to unite us against those who desire to see us permanently subjugated, or worse. I’ve been thinking this over for the past 30 years burning through millions of calories in the process of identifying principles, then testing them against every interaction, every book, every movie, and every geopolitical event I’ve experienced. So far, I’ve converged upon two superficially simple principles by which we can evaluate injunctively moral behavior:
Hypocrisy is immoral
Delusion is immoral
That’s it. Those are the principles. I can’t impart my thousands of hours of experience and reflection that constitutes the “proof” of this, but I can expand a bit. Before I do, I suppose I should start with what morality is anyway.
People hailing from different sets of prior assumptions will define morality very differently. Such definitions range from rigorous objective standards of right and wrong for every conceivable thought and action to considering morality a merely arbitrary and artificial social construct. As an example of the latter, in a recent chat I was having withhe indicated he didn’t believe in morality considering it "discount Judaism for the gullible." I see the most appropriate definition as somewhere between these extremes. I see morality as the primary concept governing social trust. Without social trust, cooperation is impossible, and without cooperation, civilization is impossible. Morality, therefore, can be thought of as the glue that holds civilization together by enabling the development and cultivation of social trust, without which we are not meaningfully different from and other animals.1 Within this framework, morality can take many different shapes. People can internalize wildly different notions regarding the morality of various thoughts and behaviors, but we can evaluate the quality of such notions and the quality of moral systems generally by their ability to generate social trust, for that is their proximal purpose.2
Hypocrisy is Immoral
Sure, nobody likes a hypocrite, but is hypocrisy really immoral? In a word, yes, and I’m afraid there are no exceptions. This principle is important because it integrates an often neglected but key feature of moral values, namely their subjectivity. I know this will ruffle some feathers, but you’re never going to find common ground under a maximum-tent without stipulating that there are unavoidable, de facto, and necessary variations in the values that people hold. If you’re tempted to squabble about how morality is ultimately objective because it has a divine metaphysical source, you’ll need to contain yourself in order to glorify your God. We are at war in the realm of the political. The rules of the cosmic realm we exist within apply, but there won’t be accountability for transgressing against those rules until judgement day, so reserve your judgement in that respect for the Lord. In the meantime, feel free to be very aggressive in holding people accountable to their own purported values, and fulfill your spiritual obligations by staying true to yours. People who are forthcoming with their values and behave consistently become worthy of trust as they develop this pattern over time. The better you understand their position, and the more consistent their behavior is over time, the better sense you get of the extent to which you can rely on them for cooperative endeavors. It is for this reason that hypocrisy has an inverse relationship with social trust. There is no better predictor of inconsistent behavior in the future than inconsistent behavior in the past.
Delusion is Immoral
This principle is really just logically necessary to support the first. Delusion facilitates efficient self-deception. The role of efficient self-deception in a social fitness context is to allow one to believe inconsistent absurdities to elevate social status without causing concomitant cognitive dissonance. It is also inextricably linked with the first principle because nobody enjoys being confronted by someone who’s delusion allows them to profit at the expense of others without guilt or remorse. A human resources manager whose personal animus against white heterosexual men who gleefully excludes job applicants based on this criteria doesn’t justify this behavior based on her internalized misandry. No, she justifies this behavior based on elaborate and delusional social justice narratives. A delusional leader in a hierarchical organization might casually abuse subordinates under the notion that this is part and parcel of the work culture while enjoying a high degree of dignity and respect from their own supervisor. That such an archetypical individual is so universally reviled demonstrates some innate degree of universality to these principles. Applications of this principle in the context of utilitarian consequentialism will be explored further below.
The Universalist Angle
These principles are something that everyone notionally has access to. Intelligence, affluence, beauty, race, and sex don’t predestine anyone to hypocrisy and delusion. Given human biological diversity, I’m sure trends can be found if sought, but this only shrinks the size of our tent dramatically, and for what? To satisfy ego, envy, jealousy, narcissism, and insecurity. Sure, other arguments can be made, but they’re all contingent upon the assumption that government policy has any place in measuring, let alone taking discreet actions to further the hypocritical and delusional assumptions inherent to the woke religion (as but one example). Adopting this model, everyone has an equal opportunity to eliminate hypocrisy and delusion within themselves without any need for government or corporate policy to intervene. The concerns of ethno-nationalists that other groups won’t play by these rules is rendered irrelevant by the framing. If other groups grant other members of their group special favors, then they must expect and endorse as much from other groups, including the majority group, else they are unworthy of respect, and ought to be treated accordingly. Given the harsh unfairness of the natural world, this is far and away the best we can do while maintaining balance. The alternative ultimately descends rapidly into a war of all-against-all that satisfies the predilections of the worst of us, destroying trust, cooperation, and civilization in turn.
Universalism with an Enemy Exception
So far I’ve tried to establish a heuristic we can use to evaluate the moral quality of conspecifics to create a maximum-tent coalition, but for what? To defend ourselves against our political enemies, of course! So now that we have these handy rules we need another heuristic to apply to our overt enemies. This isn’t because we can’t apply the same standard to them, we absolutely can, and this would work, but it just isn’t particularly efficient. At the end of the day, our enemies are unconcerned with our evaluation of their hypocrisy and delusion. To them, getting away with hypocrisy and delusion at our expense is a delight that gives them neural energy. Additionally this has implications when it comes to things like lawfare that I won’t expand on for now, but will be important in the future if we begin to enjoy any degree of political success.
When assessing friend vs. enemy, the distinction isn’t about morality, it is about compatibility of values. Because of this, every individual will have a different set of friends and enemies in the world of the political. This framing is critical as it implicitly conveys the importance of moving towards a system with more distributed power. With properly distributed power (a la Federalism in the US), there can be greater compatibility of values facilitating the generation of larger political coalitions to overturn the establishment. Put another way, you might expect your neighbor to have more closely aligned values than someone who lives 100 miles away, and you might not care at all what someone values 10,000 miles away. Fortunately we already have the structure in place to accommodate this. Different sets of laws apply at varying levels of government.3
Morality and Status
The real need for these heuristics is to generate an alternative status hierarchy to that used by the current elite. The status hierarchy they use is what coordinates the behavior elites engage in that disgusts the sensibilities of the innate moral sense of the common man. By applying the principles of non-hypocrisy and non-delusion, we have the basis for an alternative status hierarchy that is better aligned with the natural egalitarian impulses the elite have hijacked to serve their malign self-interest. Alternate hierarchies have always existed, but in their descent into abject madness the elite have accelerated and expanded their emergence. As long as these alternatives remain splintered and based loosely around different figures that can be controlled, targeted, and pitted against one another, they don’t pose a threat to the established order. If, however, these alternatives can be unified into a single maximum-tent alternative independent of individual influencers, the real magic can start to happen. High status and highly intelligent individuals currently aligned with the regime, but internally discontent, will sense that adopting beliefs that are coded as low status in their current environment will earn them higher status in broad-based viable alternative hierarchy. Right now, this includes everything from distrust of institutions to disgust with the DEI agenda. Again, this is already happening, but the alternative hierarchies are fractured, and I suspect regime agents are actively facilitating this fracturing. Basing status around morality, and morality around the two simple principles of non-hypocrisy and non-delusion has the potential to overcome this.
The biggest challenge to implementing this is that many people are psychologically broken. Most of us are deeply hypocritical and delusional on some level. When we speak of self-improvement, abolishing these character flaws should be a priority. Not only will doing so improve cognitive function by diminishing dissonance, it will provide a degree of confidence in action that bolsters will across all domains. When people like Yarvin speak of being worthy, this is exactly how we can become worthy. With these attributes internalized, resisting the corrupting influence of power becomes more feasible. There are certain types of power and privilege that must be rejected outright absent hypocrisy and delusion, and these are the types that are most corrupting. Becoming a consistent, candid, and genuine person in the modern age is difficult. There are powerful forces that recognize the threat such individuals pose to the system. An entire unified organic hierarchy of individuals is foundation of a new populism that the regime races to suppress. Narratives that expose the lack of accountability, rampant hypocrisy, and the ubiquitous self-serving delusion of our leaders pose an existential threat to a regime that depends on these attributes for its very survival. If we want the elites to circulate to something meaningfully better, we have to become better. We have to become worthy of trust. We have to become moral, but not in a way that is hyper-specific and exclusive to any particular faith tradition. We have to become moral in a way that is deeply connected to our humanity and compatible with the widest possible range of faith traditions within America, while also excluding our enemies.
Building Trust while Battling Liars
There is a temptation to use the enemy’s weapons in any battle, especially when they seem so effective. In the case of fraud, lies, and deceit, this would be a terrible mistake. Why do we hate our enemies so? Is it not because they are liars? Is it not because they are so full of shit? Why bother fighting if you become the thing you hate in the process? There are limitations when you don’t employ outright fraud and deception, but there are also advantages. It is these advantages that hold the key to overturning to current order. Our enemies will always be better liars than us. They will always be more ruthless. Competing on these terms all but guarantees defeat practically, and ensures defeat spiritually.had a great article recently that outlined the nature of propaganda among other insightful observations. He makes points about the importance of elevating explanatory narratives above mundane “facts” that is apt, but goes so far to say that it might be “ok to lie and use deception.” The question about whether or not such means are acceptable is tied directly to the outcome, which we can’t predict. To say that God will judge us based on the outcome might be true, and this might be sufficient to keep a devout theist accountable for using such means judiciously, but the willingness to engage in such means can’t avoid undermining social trust under the maximum-tent. There are ways to engage in propaganda and building persuasive narratives without outright lies and deception. If we’re confident that we’re aligned with truth and reality, it doesn’t matter that human cognition isn’t necessarily oriented to see reality as it is, we can adjust messaging to leverage psychological disposition without resorting to underhanded means. We won’t find the most effective means of doing this if we compromise that difficult work for the easy lie, however.
The Ends are Factored into the Second Principle
When considering morality people often want to consider the ends of actions. The most extreme version of this is utilitarian consequentialism, which is the source of much evil in the managerial technocracy currently strangling the life out of our civilization. I wanted to take a moment to apply these principles to positions of people who I believe to be under the same maximum tent. Kruptos above referenced the judgement of God, which is an ultimate accounting of the ends wrought by one’s deeds throughout their life. Another reader, Gabriel, left this comment on another one of my articles focusing on morality:
What makes an action evil is a specific combination of intent and effect, the means are secondary, but nonetheless relevant. Different means lend themselves more or less towards different ends, but are neither exclusive nor deterministic towards them. Coercion has a tendency towards evil, but neither a monopoly nor no utility for good. When it comes to intent, that is something, we can not observe. We have to infer it from peoples actions. Regarding those, actions with consistent, persistent, intentional and needless infliction of harm, are the essence of evil.
This framing only allows those with high verbal IQ to justify hypocritical and delusional moralization of their self-interest at scale. The mechanism by which this is accomplished is by reducing the legibility of accountability. We can hold people accountable for their actions. We have a very difficult time holding anyone accountable for the outcomes of their actions. Who’s to say that the actions produced the outcome? Would the outcome have been better if not for the action, or worse? All that said, ends do matter, but the second principle of non-delusion accounts for ends. An individual who engages in actions that consistently produce ends they would describe as unfavorable can be said to be delusional. This describes the bureaucrats that run virtually every social program the world over. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development created to make housing more affordable/available has only seen increases in the costs of housing. The Department of Energy tasked with achieving energy independence has overseen ever increasing dependence on foreign energy. The Department of Education is tasked with improving the quality and reducing the cost of education and has overseen the exact opposite result. This is evidence of the delusion of these bureaucrats and their advocates. That their means can also be said to be hypocritical is beside the point. Even if you believe that it is possible to use coercion to achieve some net “good” without a robust means of holding the perpetrator accountable for such an outcome then you would be foolish to accept such means as potentially moral. Without accountability, there is no potential that means with a “tendency towards evil” will not ultimately produce evil. Delusion is the principle mechanism by which those who employ evil means avoid recognizing the true fruits of their indefensible endeavors (and work to ensure you can’t recognize it either).
Testing the Model
What do you think? Are there scenarios you’ve encountered in the real world that these heuristics don’t apply to? Where are the flaws in the Maximum-Tent Morality Model? It is, after all, only a model. As I said at the start, I’ve been testing it for awhile, but that is only from my perspective, given my values and attributes. Are the heuristics simple enough to employ? Do they seem intuitive, or not? Can you trust people who are hypocritical and delusional? If so, how? Are there factors aside from hypocrisy, delusion, and purported values that impact trustworthiness? Let me know in the comments.
I’m telegraphing my naturalist priors here. If you’re Christian don’t sweat it. I still think human beings are special, and even special in a fundamentally spiritual way, but the grand narratives that shape my worldview require that I consider humans to also be animals.
Beliefs as to the ultimate purpose of enabling social trust and cooperation can vary wildly as well. Is it to glorify God, or was this proprensity of humans selected for because it enhanced our fitness in a harsh and unyielding natural world? Either way the point stands. Remember, Maximum-Tent.
And that 10,000 mile reference is a nod towards the benefits of a multipolarity over GAE hegemony.