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Populism is Dope
intro to my thoughts on the OP strat that will lead us to the human singularity (if we use it)
What is Populism?
It has several definitions, but the common thread is that it is an ideology or strategy that pits “The People” against “The Elite.” I’m going to be talking about it as a strategy in the context of American politics, but you’ll see that many of the principles can be extrapolated and applied elsewhere.
One of the historical challenges in defining Populism is how to appropriately and consistently characterize “The People.” In this regard I came across an article that gave me somewhat of an epiphany as to how to describe both “The People” and “The Elite” they are to be juxtaposed against. Keep in mind, there are many ways to describe these two groups and many of these ways can be simultaneously accurate. I’m building a model here, and as everyone with right hemisphere brain (RHB) dominance knows, models don’t ever perfectly map to reality.1
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
This article is something I read on Alex’s ‘stack Tree of Woe. I encourage you to take 5-10min to read it in its entirety, because I’ll be using drawing from it heavily. I’ll include everything needed to make the argument here though so that it is all in one place.
Before I go into the levels, I don’t simply take these to be levels of argument. I think there is something more here. I think people tend to operate generally within these levels at any given time, and that transitioning between levels constitutes major ideological shifts, such as when a Marxist becomes a libertarian. I keep the levels of argument language, just keep in mind as you read through that I’m thinking of them more as plastic levels of cognitive function/belief that govern what types of ideas will be appealing to a given individual at a given time.
The Seven Levels (I added two based on a comment from an anon that Alex shared along with my own thoughts)
Level Zero (“Common Sense”): An argument derived from our intuitive grasp of everyday experience. It relies on the effective, though fallible, heuristics of the human mind, which excels at building models from patterns. “Common Sense” arguments require an IQ of 70+ to understand and 100+ to clearly formulate. Most people operate at this level.
Level One (“Well, Actually”): An intellectual argument that common sense is wrong. “Well, Actually” arguments require an IQ of 100+ to understand and 120+ to formulate.
Level Two (“On Further Review”): An intellectual argument that shows that the Level One intellectual argument is wrong, usually because it ignores second-order effects. “On Further Review” arguments can continue on for some time going into third- and fourth-order events. “On Further Review” arguments require an IQ of 110+ to understand and 130+ to formulate.
Level Three (“Postmodernism”): A postmodern argument that claims that, although the Level Two arguments seems to be justified based on the facts and logic presented, the facts and logic themselves cannot be justified. “Postmodern” arguments require an IQ of 115+ to understand and 140+ to formulate.
Level Four (“Anti-Postmodernism”): An argument that claims to nullify the Level Three postmodernist argument on the basis of the fallacy of the stolen concept, performative contradiction, and other philosophical claims. “Anti-Postmodern” arguments require an IQ of 120+ to understand and 145-150+ to formulate. Only a small percentage of the population can understand such arguments and less than 0.5% can formulate arguments at this level.
Level Five (“Impossibility Theorems and Max Entropy”): A broad level of argument that first proves that you can’t know you’re right with a specific impossibility theorem, then proceeds to show that if you assume max entropy, i.e. the mathematical minimal assumption argument, there is a "best" truth that is also most likely to be true, and assuming anything else is largely a waste of time (unless you can show it's not). This is based on the work of Claude Shannon and John von Neumann with IQs estimated respectively at 180 and 200. Perhaps understandable by those capable of formulating independent level four arguments, but not really by me without getting spun back up on advanced math.
Level Six (“Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe”): An integrated theory of reality that puts human consciousness in the center of the model to account for the complex relationship between thought and reality (thought being a part of reality). Based on my limited understanding, fully grasping this model allows one to perceive the universe as entirely monistic while “knowing” particular things related to values with the absolute certainty traditionally called “faith.” Chris Langan’s IQ is estimated to be up to 210, and while his work resonates with me, I won’t pretend that I fully grasp it. I might some day, for now, it definitely resonates as I expect it would with anyone operating at levels zero, two, and four.
Note: Using IQ isn’t as precise as I would like, but it is a decent proxy indicator as it follows a normal distribution, just like the unknown variable I imagine would be better. I might not have used it if Alex hadn’t. General cognitive ability intersects with personality factors in very profound ways that will ultimately determine what level someone has the capacity/motivation to ascend to. I think “Need For Cognition” is a psychometric variable that allows individuals with relatively lower IQs to essentially outperform due to their intrinsic motivation to think, but that is only one example and probably only the tip of a very large iceberg. There are countless personality variables that will lead people to gravitate towards a particular level and perhaps get stuck at a particular level that suits them due to the intersection of innate cognitive ability and innate personality/preferences.
0+2+4+6 = “The People”
The common thread that aligns these levels is the appreciation of human nature. I say appreciation, and not necessarily understanding. We all agree that man has a nature. What that nature is exactly and the factors that conspired to create it will be explained very differently at each level. That is OK. We all agree there is a nature, and so it easily follows that we will want to act in a way that respects that nature. We are all motivated to work alongside and with nature, not deny and/or overcome it. This has profound political implications and is ultimately what separates us from the current elite. To use Thomas Sowell’s brilliant categorization yet again, “The People” have a constrained vision. Having this vision and a respect for the limitations of reality and nature causes us to yearn for the human singularity.
1+3+5 = “The Elite”
The current elite either deny human nature, or they seek to overcome it. At the lower levels straightforward denial is most common. This comes across as incredibly stupid to all of us in “The People” category, but ironically these folks often do have more cognitive ability than the zeroes. At the highest level you have those that understand human nature very well, but the myopic conclusion that they come to when confronted with this reality is that overcoming these “constraints” with technology and/or social engineering is what will ultimately constitute progress. Yes, the elite are all unified by their unconstrained vision for humanity. Level ones with gender dysphoria might want to have their genitalia removed and think they can call it a day while level fives understand that all of humanity will need to be forced to transfer consciousness to a digital hyper-reality beyond the constraints of biology for such a transition to not require some suspension of disbelief and willful ignorance. In order to truly achieve the unconstrained vision untethered from biology, this group as a whole yearns for the technological singularity, even though most of them will surely be liquidated and/or practically enslaved should that contingency come to pass.
Note: For an excellent introduction to Langan’s human vs. tech singularity concept (and how it relates to the politics of evil), see this article from the always brilliant Harrison Koehli:
Integrating Pathocracy Into The Model
Since I brought up Harrison and Ponerology, I’ll take a moment to describe how I think psychopathology fits into this model. We’re talking about levels of argument and types of beliefs, and as such there is a tendency to assume that people believe the arguments they are making. We understand that sometimes people play devils advocate, but this isn’t what we intuitively expect. I argue that psychopaths will use the highest appropriate level of argument they have cognitive access to that they speculate will confer for themselves the most power, regardless of whether or not they actually believe it. The problem with the 1+3+5’s being dominant among the current elite is that level 3 arguments are very easy to employ in bad faith to control conversation. If you actually believe that shit it is somewhat difficult to keep things straight, but using postmodernism to generate bad faith arguments to control zeroes and twos is a very powerful and effective strategy for the psychopathic cognitive elite. Generally, psychopaths are heavily outnumbered, but there are definitely more psychopaths concentrated in positions of power operating at level three than there are individuals operating at level four that can counteract their bullshit. What is worse, is that in the halls of power these psychopathic threes have natural allies in the highly plentiful level ones who together vastly outnumber the twos and fours in such institutions. I believe this is one way to conceptualize what constitutes pathocracy and conquently helps explain why a circulation of the elite is so urgently needed. We want psychopaths to be rising to level two and level four arguments respectively, if only motivated to do so by Machiavellianism. They don’t have the ability to take pleasure at the thriving of their fellow man, so the only way they can be motivated to exert such an effort is if advancing to these levels confers power/status. Perhaps a happier compromise than pushing them off the ice…
Populism as the Solution
The cognitive elite that we want exerting the most influence over society are fours and sixes. Currently these individuals are marginalized and largely kept silent/insulated from zeroes and twos by the Cathedral. With their understanding of human nature and their ability to fluently dismantle bad faith postmodern arguments formulated to achieve social control, they can provide excellent guidance that will resonate with zeroes and twos (who together constitute a substantial majority), if the walls of the Cathedral can be circumvented or torn down. This is the reason why the idea of free speech is met with such venomous hostility by the current elite and their cheerleaders: They intuitively understand that if this gap is successfully bridged, they are totally fucked. In the American system, the vast numerical superiority of 0+2+4+6's has the potential to overpower the minority 1+3+5, in spite of their control over the money supply and big tech oligopoly. All that is needed is effective communication to allow the 0+2+4+6 levels to intuitively recognize one another and appreciate how they all share a class interest that is diametrically opposed to the interests of the current elite dominated by 1+3+5’s. Developing and deploying this communication and translating it to political success won’t necessarily be easy, but it can definitely be done. This paradigm helps target argument and narrative at the appropriate level for the recipient.2
Populism and The Human Singularity
Breitbart said politics is downstream from culture. McConkey persuasively argues that the relationship between politics and culture is really bidirectional by demonstrating that politics can create an environment that facilitates the growth and dominance of particular cultural features. Politics has effectively granted those that lust and strive for the tech singularity cultural hegemony. In order rectify this, political action is required.3 Populism is the optimal strategy in America to achieve the human singularity because of the compatibility of American ideals with this meta-religion and the overwhelming numerical superiority conferred by the alignment of The People who need this advantage to overcome the wealth inequality that The Elite enjoy secondary to their nefarious control of the financial system via the federal reserve/petrodollar/military industrial complex.
The Human Singularity and Americanism
Building up individual responsibility/self-reliance and ensuring the wide distribution of power is at the heart of both Americanism and the Human Singularity. Federalism, Individualism, the Separation of Powers… hopefully you get the idea. These are highly compatible concepts, and Populism itself is highly integrated as well being both very American and aligned with the distribution of power inherent to the Human Singularity contrasted with the centralization of power pursued by the globohomo elite. There are countless reasons why the Human Singularity/Americanism would be expected to produce a much higher degree of prosperity, but I’ll share one of my favorite observations from praxeology to provide one discrete example: The information required to optimally allocate resources across civilization is sequestered in the minds of individuals. Mises recognized that this information largely makes itself known in the form of prices, and uses this acknoweldgement to demonstrate the impossibility of socialism to function economically. Hayek emphasized the knowledge component, which makes sense, but I think is less precise. The important takeaway is that this information is distributed, and to harness it, the economic freedom of individuals is as important as preventing central authorities from manipulating prices (including interest rates). Threes and Fives no doubt believe that big data will solve this “problem” and finally allow dirigism to work with the help of AI and incredibly vast datasets. They’re wrong, but the only one who will be able to convince a level five of this is probably Chris Langan, and motivated reasoning ensures they won’t listen to him (unless we circulate the elites and achieve cultural hegemony for The People).
Testing The Model
After the Alex Jones verdict that speaks to a profound desire to trample on the 1A rights of all Americans, Robert Barnes had a lot of very interesting things to say. Take a look at some of his thoughts following that miscarriage of justice and tell me if you think my model holds up. I think it does, but I’m on a roll and highly caffeinated:
The genius of Jones is simple: be skeptical of those who succeed in seeking power. That animates his entire vision. The second truth is study what the power-seeking elites want in the world, in their own words, from the probable consequences of their own policy prescriptions, their own think tanks, their own white papers, their own words. The third truth is history is often prologue, so know it and understand it well. See the template of how power operates, and its pernicious tentacles across place and time.
Who is most likely to seek power? Who is most likely to be successful in obtaining it? We all know the answer – psychopaths. The power-avaricious, the control-obsessed, the self-aggrandizers, and their allied souls. This is why we must be skeptical of the power-seekers and those who succeed in obtaining it, but just as important it reminds us every question comes down to – WHO decides? Who has the power.
Populism’s answer is to try as best as practicable to diffuse power – give it to as many individuals as possible, economically, culturally, politically and legally. Populism prefers participatory, small-producer driven economics over corporate monopolists. Populism prefers broadly shared communal narratives over centralized institutions of cultural control. Populism prefers direct participation in policy decisions over elite control. Populism prefers groups of jurors over single jurists from an elevated professional class. Populism prefers broad diffusion of power over concentrated elite control. Why? Because those who succeed in seeking monopolistic power are not to be trusted. Alex Jones Is Right.
Closing Thoughts and Announcement of Hiatus
There are probably an infinite number of ways to describe and model this, I’m just particularly fond of this way at the moment because it pulls a lot of threads together and feels somewhat intuitive. We need to use the right level of argument for the right people and we need to recognize that there is a critical need for us to unify politically. Our mutual appreciation of human nature should facilitate a respect for the differences between individuals who together constitute The People. We must all understand that, as human beings, we will present with a diverse array of values and beliefs. Further, we must appreciate that in spite of these differences we are united by a recognition that we must work with, not against, our fixed natures ordained by God or the cosmos. This is one thing I am confident unites us firmly against globohomo. If we can translate this unity into political success we may achieve the human singularity in our lifetimes. Conversely we face the very real threat of extermination. Since I think this is so important I will be working on developing and writing these ideas related to Populism further until a specfic project I have committed myself to is complete. In that time I will not post here. I hope to be done in 2-3 months at which time I will share information on this project then resume normal weekly posting. Until then, I wish all my readers the very best over the holiday season and look forward to continued engagement upon my return.
Again, this is just a framework that I hope will facilitate communication about this important topic that I can sense is right, but this of course doesn’t capture even what I sense perfectly. I’m shooting for close enough.
The majority of the population who are necessarily at level zero will probably be baffled by level 4 arguments, although they might feel like they want to agree. They might find level one arguments much more persuasive, but will often reject them nonetheless. This is what I conceive of as “based” and explains the general phenomenon when the level above is rejected outright even when unable to formulate effective arguments to the contrary.
There are many level twos that I am sympathetic to in the ancap community that detest/revile politics and seem to believe that ignoring politics is a path to freedom insofar as it robs the state of legitimacy. This strategy is doomed to failure. While the human singularity may end up resulting in a stateless society, the liklihood that it can be achieved by ignoring politics and hoping that the deligitimization of the state’s role in society will inevitably be recognized is not what is predicted by this model. In this model, the zeroes will not be able to grasp the idea that granting an institution a monopoly on force and the ensuing legitimization of coercion at scale that results as a consequence isn’t a required feature of reality. Perhaps if not for over a century of massed forced schooling the culture could support something like this, for now, it won’t. Ceding the political sphere to 1+3+5’s makes pathocracy all but inevitable, and even if the path to the tech singularity is self-terminating and ultimately unachievable, this may only be realized when reality asserts itself in the form of a total collapse of civilization featuring large scale destruction of capital, human and otherwise. This political agnosticism is something Robert Barnes practiced from 1996-2016. In his own words, if he had stayed engaged he might have been in a position to influence DJT in a way that could have saved millions of lives (no operation warp speed, for example). This is just an example argument, there are many that need to be stitched together to turn The People into a unified political movement. Trump apologetics will also be critical, but what types of arguments would be effective are dependent upon a variety of factors. Presence of TDS makes this very difficult, and this is an example of how effective the Cathedral is at keeping The People divided.