Why Non-Liberals Are Stupid And Crazy

The strongest argument for liberalism in practice ends up being that non-liberals are stupid and crazy. Conservatives tend to be cretins, and if liberalism is the heights of high-society fashion, conservatism is like donning a pair of ripped carpenter jeans. Signalling conservatism is signalling low status. And that’s because conservatives more often than not are low-status.

It takes psychological resolve and resilience to give the finger to all the glorious and respectable and reputable institutions of the Cathedral. Everything societally good and respectable on the highest level stems from the Cathedral. To step outside is to face ostracism and exclusion.

So who exactly would willingly step outside?

Willingness to place oneself firmly outside the Cathedral selects for a very particular kind of person: slightly masochistic, risk-taking, eccentric, disagreeable (understatement), perhaps a degree of instability, an unquenchable sense of individualism, etc.

But again, it’s a very fair question to ask: what Bright would voluntarily place himself in a doomed thede full of doomed people with doomed prospects? That’d be a complete and total dissipation of personal potential. And it’d be pretty miserable, too. Leaping far ahead of myself, what this seems to indicate is that there’s nothing intrinsically crazy about the ideologies as such which are outside the Cathedral (in the American context), but rather it says something about the thedes. Ideologies are proxies for thedes. And the ideologies are viewed as dumb because the thedes have poor reputability, and thedes have poor reputability because the Brights have been sucked out of those thedes by the vacuum of liberalism.

When liberals laugh at ideologies outside the mainstream, they’re laughing at thedes outside of the mainstream. They’re looking down on the misfits who couldn’t or don’t want to signal for inclusion in elite institutions. Ideologies are just proxies for thedes. There isn’t anything intrinsically stupid, horrible, or evil with white nationalism (U.S. elites have been and many are fans of communism, remember), it’s just that white nationalism is composed of low-status individuals, who have zero access to power, and who are the sort of folks attracted to extremely fringe ideologies. Now, white nationalism can and does (usually at the top) include right-Brahmins, but mostly it’s just composed of hordes of well-meaning but mouth-breathing proles who know that something is wrong but don’t have the verbal facility to express their concerns in ways acceptable to the Cathedral. Not published in an academic journal? Garbage. Failure to use liberal thedeish linguistic expression? Garbage.

I can think of dumber ideologies than “Shrug, I just want to live around other white people.” In fact, a better example of a dumb ideology might be one in which humans are held to be intrinsically equal, coupled with a belief in the triumph and historical inevitability of capital-P Progress.

Does vanilla liberalism attract the best and the brightest because vanilla liberalism as an ideology is the best and the brightest, or does it attract the best and the brightest because its members happen to be bester and brighter than other ideologies and because vanilla liberalism is hegemonic? And would it be a shocker to point out that liberalism is not the infinite ideology?–that it contingently captured institutions and now guarantees its survival through attaining homage from all those who seek to enter through the gates via signalling?

This is the case with every ideology which captures elite institutions. Mainstream institutions select for mainstream people, and fringe ideologies, surprise, select for fringe people.

Since we posit a deep irrationalism, the focus on thedes over ideology would seem to make sense. Few people choose ideology based on careful consideration. People choose ideology for thedeish reasons. With rare exceptions, high IQers don’t choose white nationalism, the ideology—they choose an ideology composed of other Brights because Brights select themselves into thedes with lots of other Brights.

Brights attract Brights. And since Brights control societal and material resources, Brights have to prove to other Brights that they’re Bright. And that currently and contingently means vanilla liberalism. Emphasis on currently and contingently, 1990s Francis Fukuyama, notwithstanding.

I know, I know. You’d like to point out the incredibly-difficult-to-root-out assumption that to be educated and Bright is to be liberal, and you’d be correct. For some reason, being good at differential calculus is supposed to logically imply a liberal conception of tolerance and concern for the poor. To think that high IQ could lead to an alternative set of values is just baffling to most. But the stereotype linking Bright and liberal is actually true, and that’s why it’s so insidious–people just take the stereotype too far, insisting that the number of Brights hovering around the flame of an insane ideology is ipso facto proof that the ideology is actually capital-T True. Instead, it’s more like liberalism captured elite institutions, which then set off a domino effect of signalling compliance and affiliation. Once elite institutions are in the bag, the elite castes toe the line. Every time.

Ideologies are proxies for thedes. Neoreaction is the first example in the modern American context of a far right-wing ideology attached to a healthy and high-status thede. When you think of neoreaction unsympathetically, you think evil, wicked, and smart, not mouth-breathing proles who hoist the flag of the Constitution chanting Obummer, NoBAMA, It’s Time To GO, Bama, etc. etc.

The health of an ideology depends on the health of its internal thede, which is a factor of social dynamics and thede composition. And this is precisely how liberalism maintains its power. Unstable, eccentric psychologies have to conduct frontal assault on the gates of the Cathedral. Not only is there a power differential  from the onset, but liberalism benefits from the aggregate of psychological stability and fortitude. This helps to explain the failure of right-wing movements and why they splinter. I have to be careful when I say ‘stability’ and ‘fortitude’ perhaps because it isn’t really that. But it’s _something_. The Cathedral has a certain aggregate ability to survive past internal splintering or disagreement, and the fact that it’s large enough and has enough resources means that it can better absorb shocks.

More simply, it might also be the lack of a disagreeableness attribute, or the tendency to allow oneself to be herded this way and that. Rabbityness. It might also be that Cathedralites can rest on their laurels and don’t have to engage in collective action much at all. The Cathedral already exists and has a perpetuating logic of its own. Elites, especially in the State Department, surely are very stupid given their track record, so stability might be best explained by a combination of : (1) herd-like attributes and low disagreeability, (2) the fact that institution-capturing is already done and the Cathedral is already instantiated, and (3) Vaisyas being dedicated to feeding the Cathedral through the sacrifice of their Bright sons and daughters. Stability from herdness is the trade-off for getting everything wrong and slowly sinking into insanity, but the good and dedicated Vaisyas ensure that the economy continues to churn, in order to make up the slack. There is some incredible compensation coming from a caste that is slowly being boiled to death in a pot by the very masters Vaisyas intend to serve.

I’ll note here that the reason why I’ve survived thus far without being thrown into the fires of Moloch is a combination of clever signalling and ironic edginess.

So why do Right groups fail? The Cathedral is a jealous master and doesn’t allow any of its own to play in the Right sandbox. Rightist groups have to accomplish so much with so little: paltry power and fragmented, broken, eccentric, disagreeable psychology, in the sense that organization for a full frontal assault is almost a write-off from inception because of internal social dynamics of divisiveness and general craziness and eccentricity and hyper, hyper-individualism, and a bucking of any organization at all.

To recap:

If I haven’t beaten it into your head enough, ideologies are proxies for thedes.

Brights choose liberalism because it has lots of other Brights, and that’s the best way for Brights to advance socially and economically.

That liberalism is composed of Brights is a historical contingency, not a necessity. Yes, that’s correct; the Eternal Kingdom Of Liberalism isn’t actually eternal.

This means non-vanilla-liberal ideologies will appear intrinsically wrong and stupid because their thedes are bereft of Brights and full of folks possessing eccentric psychologies banished from the mainstream.

This means that a full frontal assault on the Cathedral lacks the sophistication of Brights and fights a steep, uphill battle, falling apart due to internal psychological fragmentation.

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  1. I wonder what percentage of NRx readers are ex-Left. I know I was reading Crimethinc (and buying it) just three years ago (Occupy!!!).

    I think there is a spillover effect on the far Left. The ends of the political spectrum connect and then catapult you into no-man’s land with the freaks.

    If you’re a curious young person with an IQ approaching 130 and a lack of History in your head, you lean Left and/or Left-Libertarian. But then you start hitting inconsistencies. You start meeting the kind of people who hang around anarchist book stores — to trade obscure anarchist trivia for social capital. Wow, you stole printer paper from work? Hell yeah bro.

    Or maybe you go to Occupy and you realize it’s really more of a mating ritual/mass social-posturing than a movement. Huh, a complete stranger is holding my hand and pressing her body against me while we stand around chanting at cops, because umm, solidarity? Hey, wanna smoke pot ? What a coincidence, you love homemade sauerkraut, old steel bikes, and pretending you’re not middle class too! How about we start a relationship and destroy it with foolish attempt at polyamory? Sounds more fun than punching in at the office. Yes. This is *truly* living.

    For me it just took one little thought to lead me to NRx. It could be lite-HBD, a casual visit to /pol/, or going so far Left you encounter guys like pentti linkola. I think anyone who has the curiosity, intellect, and internet access will eventually end up here. I’m 6 years late to the party but it’s like coming home.

    NRx gives me hope. Genetic engineering of fetuses gives me hope. Project Prevention gives me hope. The dissolution of the UK gives me hope. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and a purpose for humanity. There’s an exit plan. A reason to get out of bed.

    NRx is a service to humanity. The ones who cannot live a life without purpose and insist upon finding one. Something more than *just* family, *just* friends, *just* a job. There needs to be a real reason to keep living in a universe that we’re continuous told will destroy itself one day.

    NRx cares more about humanity’s future than any Green, Fundamentalist zealot, or Anarchist would ever understand. It’s about pragmatically saving humanity and Life itself from death by its own hand.

  2. NRx will remain a fringe ideology/thede for awhile, but it’s clear that it’s becoming (if not already become) the intellectual powerhouse of the Right. NRx is essentially the negative of progressivism. NRx refutes every single thing liberalism has ever postulated. Even Nazism and white nationalism are less-than-total refutations of progressivism/liberalism. NRx is a 110% reaction.

  3. Being bright (or “Bright™”) may be great and all, but without courage it is valueless or worse. If all you use your high IQ for is to fit in and get invited to the right cocktail parties, then you’ve wasted a gift, which is worse than not having it at all. I may snicker sometimes at the people out at Tea Party rallies with tricorner hats on too, but I have a whole lot more respect for them than I do for supposed Brights™ who let their core beliefs and values be handed to them by someone else in order to fit in with an in-group. Maybe the guy with the “Get a brain, morans” sign doesn’t have the raw CPU brainpower of a Washington lawyer, but all that means is that the lawyer has way less of an excuse for being a mark for some plainly idiotic ideology just because it’s fashionable in the right cliques.

    Maybe the truth is that intelligence actively requires a certain degree of courage in order to function. Without it, how can anyone effectively challenge prevailing ideas? Or even challenge ideas internally? Without courage, maybe you just end up letting yourself get talked into the stupidest of shit even when you ought to know better – which seems way objectively dumber to me than wearing a hat that’s 200 years out of fashion.

    “Here’s to the crazy ones” indeed.

    Or maybe neoreactionaries are high-IQ, antisocial people who had a bad time of it in high school, saw how fundamentally stupid the whole idea of fitting in with cliques is, and decided not to waste their time with such things in the future. This explains a lot, methinks. The scars of high school social trauma are all over modern leftism, as plain as the tribal scars on an African bushman’s face. You can handle things like that two ways – a lifelong, desperate desire to fit in with the “right crowd”, or a lifelong tendency to flip the bird at the whole shebang and take pride in being in the outgroup. I see a strong streak of the latter in neoreactionaries. It explains why they can do what they do, and also why any attempt to impose structure on them ends up being an exercise in cat herding.

    There’s a reason why Watamote struck a deep chord among Twitter neoreactionaries, after all.

    It seems that to be in the alt-right/New Right/Dark Enlightenment/neoreaction, then, does indeed take a certain personality type, which is something like 50% G. K. Chesterton at his writing desk, and 50% Wyatt and Billy on the open highway.

    Which pretty much reflects my experience with them.

    Anyhow, as Steve Jobs would say, one more thing:

    “Bright and liberal is actual true, and that’s why it’s so insidious…”


    “More simply, it might also be the lack of disagreeableness attribute”

    …of a disagreeableness…

    Sorry, that just grated on me. 😉

    1. I’m going to knit-pick on this one. While the NRx and Far Left contain their share of social outcasts

      1. NRx has a steep intellectual requirement.

      2. Far Left welcomes the dysfunctional and dumb. Everything is relative and therefore all voices are relevant. Dumb are useful for mass movements (meat in the room)

      In my high school, there were the Bright nerds, and the Dumb nerds. Both outcast groups, but there was a distinction between the two. The Bright nerds were incapable of fitting in completely due to their intelligence, and kept to themselves. They were usually the children of successful but less attractive + more introverted parents.

      This was a special group, because everyone knew they were smart which awards some respect (it’s true). They were also saved from much abuse by have segregated advanced placement courses, ones where the louder and more violent average students spent their time.

      But the Dumb nerds were usually not attractive or intelligent, came from poorer backgrounds, and were forced into classes with “normal” kids.

      Of course the group interacted, but there was a divide

      Anyways, my obvious next point is that NRx is full of the Bright nerds, and very few Dumb ones.

      On the other hand, the Far Left will take anybody. It’s part of their doctrine.

      Compare the attendees at next month’s H.L. Mencken conference to OWS and you’ll see the distinction.

      If we could end bullying, or segregate on some other level to protect the Dumb nerds, the Left would be hurting in 20 years when they have no disaffected young folks to recruit. This is where vanilla conservative values of “bullying is part of life be a man” are short-sighted.

    2. Fixed the spelling/grammar stuff. Thanks for picking up on that.

      I think I could live with guys doing cocktail party bullshit, so long as they actually did something with their lives. I’m more upset about talent fully going to waste than anything. IQ without ambition/other virtues really sucks. I’ve seen it a lot. It’s definitely unfortunate. Moving forward with ‘wrong’ ideas requires a certain iconoclasm coupled with social skills, because otherwise you’re not let into the right circles in the first place. And that combo is very rare, which slows done much-needed paradigm-shifts.

      I definitely had to Google Wyatt and Billy.

  4. “Why Non-Catholics are Stupid and Crazy” published in Bologna, the Year of Our LORD 1350.

  5. “If we could end bullying, or segregate on some other level to protect the Dumb nerds, the Left would be hurting in 20 years when they have no disaffected young folks to recruit. This is where vanilla conservative values of “bullying is part of life be a man” are short-sighted.” where to begin? some poor dumb slob who missed spelling lessons? an IQ test designed to segregate him from the snob cliques in high school? a prig who thinks we could end bullying? oops – your lefttard is showing. this oh so intellectual movement is going nowhere without some pragmatic and humble realization that even dumb nerds can see the problems with the dark monster moving always to the left- a civilization built on manly and womanly virtue rots on the vine, and you better pray that some redneck might save your wimpy ass from the coming darkness- rest assured the true elite (who are getting good laughs from reading how the “intellectuals” are going to change everything with some neo- reaction “movement”) will throw all their children and true believers into the fires of moloch to insure they remain in charge. “violence is golden”- and you might start reading how alpha males use it to remain alpha- and their “IQ” is probably of a different kind altogether than some ivory tower pedants like to cite. the way we see der fatherland security apparatus gearing up, 20 years might a bit longish in their calculations.

  6. Good article. Thank you for writing this. Here’s a few modest suggestions:

    1. Link to definitions for the words “thede”, “cathedral”, and “neoreaction” to make the piece more accessible.

    2. Consider using an list for those (1), (2), etc. things.

    3. Further expand upon the strategic implications for your thought. Like I would mention that neoreaction should therefore strive to reject being a subculture, purge low-status individuals (or compel them to hide their low status), and demand all members present an image of being normal productive upstanding citizens. One of the things I told a lot of people at the beginning of Occupy (even though nobody really listened) is let’s wear suits to protests! The same point applies here. Signalling as a subculture thede of misfits and degenerates means people won’t take you seriously.

  7. William Frisby (@wjfrisby) September 12, 2014 at 7:38 am

    Perhaps this is the wrong place to do it, and perhaps there’s no point by now anyway, but I must say I think NRx has made a mistake adopting the specific term “cathedral”. I saw a Twitter exchange recently where this term was explained to an intelligent, well-educated outsider. He said he agreed with the concept, he just thought the name was silly.

    To describe your enemy’s apparatus as a ‘cathedral’ is surely to set yourself up as anti-religious in a way you really don’t want. I would say it is a vital aspect of intelligent modern reactionary thought, that even if we can’t now take seriously a lot of (Christian) religious doctrine, we do still recognize it encodes deep truths necessary for building a workable society, tried and tested over a long period. If you say you want to ‘pull down the cathedral’, you align yourself with the fatuous Marxist vandals currently throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    To put it more viscerally: cathedrals are beautiful and awe-inspiring. You don’t want to portray your enemy as the builder of cathedrals, and yourself as the disaffected teenager spray-painting graffiti on the walls.

    1. The Cathedral is unlikely to be mistaken (by intelligent people) for cathedrals (plural). Whatever term you use to denote the Polygon must imply its essentially religious nature. With that your options are necessarily constrained. The closest historical analogy to the current Cathedral is, in fact, the late medieval Catholic Church, the principle difference being the latter was not criminally insane. The Synagogue is a possibility, but conveys almost precisely the wrong thing: i.e., that it was built by Jews. It wasn’t. It was built by Christians–low church . The Jews have, of course, found this structure entry-able and subvert-able. And this is no surprise to neoreaction.

      The other line of argumentation is status: Hi-status never justifies itself to low-status. If people don’t like the name, fuck em.

  8. >> Conservatives tend to be cretins

    Cretins as in … ? Rural folks? Laborers? Politicians with badly fitting suits that show up on MSNBC as “opposition”? All said groups?

    1. Should clarify. By conservative, I meant conservative intellectuals and conservatives who manage to vault themselves into the public sphere. And by cretin, I meant ‘stupid.’

      But this often applies more broadly, which was the point of the article. The Cathedral *often* sucks up all the best talent and forces people to signal progressivism to stay in good graces. The rest are spat out and marginalized.

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