Moldbug Instructs Auster

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

I don’t read Lawrence Auster’s View from the Right, but he recently posted an exchange with Mencius Moldbug, whom he characterizes as friendly, witty, and engaging — and a bit more:

But the fact is that he is an extreme paleocon nihilist who, in the midst of a leftist revolution aimed at destroying our Constitution and reducing us to slavery, would, from the vantage point of his supposedly superior knowledge of history, undermine any effort on our part to stop it.

Mencius Moldbug writes:

It is not necessary for Americans to transform their civilization, only their government! If that civilization has decayed, it has decayed under long and continuous pressure from a corrosive form of government inimical to it.

Government can heal a society as well as corrode it; but without the infection, it will also heal itself. Government has broken society. Your parody of my remedy is: to repair government, first heal society. My remedy is: to heal society, first repair government.

The natural order of government is not a secret. Aristotle knew it. It is natural for children to respect and obey their parents. It is natural for parents to guide and support their children. It is natural for the poor, weak, and ignorant to respect and obey the wealthy, strong and powerful. It is natural for the wealthy, strong and powerful to guide and support the poor, weak and ignorant.

Why do ghetto blacks vote for Kennedys? Why do Kennedys repay them for these votes with government welfare? Because they are recapitulating this natural feudal structure, albeit through a broken political system that perverts its every good to evil.

Why did “healthcare reform” experience a burst of support when it prevailed? Because, pace Osama, people like a strong horse. This too is natural. They flock to winners, however perverse, and abandon losers, however noble.

Because your conservative vision of the defeat of liberalism is in fact modeled on historical events in which liberalism prevailed over conservatism, it is a fantasy that can never succeed. Decay is an entropic, progressive process that feeds on itself. A little decay leads to a lot of decay. A little fire leads to a lot of fire.

Restoration is an anti-entropic process. A little restoration does not lead to a lot of restoration. It is an intrinsically futile act — a candle that soon goes out. Rather, if order is to be restored, it must be restored entirely in one step. A house can be ruined incrementally. It cannot be renovated incrementally.

Is this one step more difficult than the little, incremental steps you encourage? Yet to other conservatives, your little, incremental steps (ending Muslim immigration! Repatriating Muslims!) seem grandiose, incredible, impossible.

And they are. Not, though, because they are too big; because they are too small. In the ruined house (picture America as an old mansion in Detroit), Powerline wants to start by cleaning and sanding one floorboard. This inspiring act will spread to the next floorboard, and so on, and eventually the house will be clean and new. Destruction works in this way. Renovation does not.

You would like to remodel the kitchen. The whole kitchen! And the result will be — a ruined house in the slums. With a state-of-the-art kitchen.

Who would sign up for this task? Who would volunteer? No one, because the task is obviously futile. For one thing, the rest of the house is still full of the same old squatters. They can ruin your lovely kitchen in a week. Sooner or later, they will.

It is this futility, both of your approach and of Powerline’s, that creates the deep apathy of the discontented American population — the people who give Congress a 14% approval rating. The 86% could sweep away this body with a tap of its finger — if only they could agree on an alternative to replace it with. They have no such alternative. So it rules, forever.

There’s much more to the exchange. Read the whole thing.

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