LW mentioned in influential 2016 Milo article on the Alt-Right

post by James_Miller · 2017-03-18T19:30:03.381Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 19 comments

This is a link post for http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/03/29/an-establishment-conservatives-guide-to-the-alt-right/

19 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Vaniver · 2017-03-19T03:53:26.203Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Quoting myself from Facebook:

I think identifying the neoreactionaries with LessWrong is mostly incorrect. I know NRxers who found each other on LW and made side blogs, but that's because I know many more LWers than NRxers.

In the 2014 survey, only 2% of LWers called themselves neoreactionary, and I think that's dropped as they've mostly moved off LW to other explicitly neoreactionary sites that they set up. LW had a ban on discussing politics that meant there weren't any serious debates of NRx ideas. To the best of my knowledge, Moldbug didn't post on LW. It probably is the case that debiasing pushed some people in the alt-right direction, but it's still silly to claim it's the normal result.

comment by TheAncientGeek · 2017-03-19T20:47:14.523Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

2% of LWers called themselves neoreactionary,

That's compatible with a lot of neoreactionaries being lesswrongers.

To the best of my knowledge, Moldbug didn't post on LW.

I believe he posted on OB when EY was posting there.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2017-03-19T21:16:26.534Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I believe he posted on OB when EY was posting there.

Yes but it's not like there was a lot of love lost between MM and EY (or RH).

comment by komponisto · 2017-03-20T03:44:00.083Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The first link is MM saying what EY would later say in No Safe Defense, Not Even Science.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2017-03-20T18:24:47.521Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Really? There seems a little overlap to me, but plenty of mismatch as well. Like, MM says Bayesians are on crack, as one of the main points of the article.

comment by James_Miller · 2017-03-18T19:31:27.163Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Elsewhere on the internet, another fearsomely intelligent group of thinkers prepared to assault the secular religions of the establishment: the neoreactionaries, also known as #NRx."

"Neoreactionaries appeared quite by accident, growing from debates on LessWrong.com, a community blog set up by Silicon Valley machine intelligence researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky. The purpose of the blog was to explore ways to apply the latest research on cognitive science to overcome human bias, including bias in political thought and philosophy."

"LessWrong urged its community members to think like machines rather than humans. Contributors were encouraged to strip away self-censorship, concern for one’s social standing, concern for other people’s feelings, and any other inhibitors to rational thought. It’s not hard to see how a group of heretical, piety-destroying thinkers emerged from this environment — nor how their rational approach might clash with the feelings-first mentality of much contemporary journalism and even academic writing."

This article currently has 32,760 Facebook shares.

comment by Zack_M_Davis · 2017-03-18T21:00:05.048Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But, but, this is not historically accurate! I'm sure there's a much greater overlap between Less Wrong readers and Unqualified Reservations readers than you would expect between an arbitrary pairing of blogs, but the explanation for that has to look something like "Yudkowsky and Moldbug both attract a certain type of contrarian nerd, and so you get some links from one community to the other from the few contrarian nerds that are part of both." The causality doesn't flow from us!

comment by Elo · 2017-03-18T21:20:47.593Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

history is written by the people who write it down. if you want to change history; write something different down.

comment by James_Miller · 2017-03-18T22:25:23.297Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Because of Trump's surprise victory, hundreds of books are destine to be written on the alt-right and any future scholar of such will certainly read the linked article so here would be a good place to correct the record.

comment by Zack_M_Davis · 2017-03-18T21:26:19.056Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree! Indeed, your comment is a response to the something different that I wrote down! If I cared more about correcting this particular historical error, I would do more research and write something more down in a place that would get more views than this Less Wrong Discussion thread. Unfortunately, I'm kind of busy, so the grandparent is all that I bothered with!

comment by Viliam · 2017-03-21T17:05:35.547Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sigh.

It makes sense for NRs to associate themselves with rationalists. For a fringe movement, any (fiction of) support is good support, and "rationality" seems like a reasonable applause light.

It makes sense for SJWs to associate NRs with rationalists. It supports the homogeneity-of-outgroup narrative about evil white nerdy males.

No one gives a fuck about what LW says, or what actually happened.

Welcome to the future of journalism!

Later, this article will probably be used as a "reliable source" by Wikipedia. Explanations that LW didn't actually "urge its members to think like machines and strip away concern for other people's feelings" will be dismissed as "original research", and people who made such arguments will be banned. Less Wrong will be officially known as a website promoting white supremacism, Roko's Basilisk, and removing female characters from computer games. This Wikipedia article will be quoted by all journals, and your families will be horrified by what kind of a monster you have become. All LW members will be fired from their jobs.

comment by Lumifer · 2017-03-21T17:22:46.619Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Less Wrong will be officially known as a website promoting white supremacism, Roko's Basilisk, and removing female characters from computer games. This Wikipedia article will be quoted by all journals, and your families will be horrified by what kind of a monster you have become. All LW members will be fired from their jobs.

REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

comment by CellBioGuy · 2017-04-17T13:51:18.801Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

...Sometimes I REALLY wish downvoting still happened.

comment by eternal_neophyte · 2017-03-24T06:54:43.690Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

the future of journalism future

This has been journalism since forever.

comment by bogus · 2017-03-19T05:40:08.978Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"LessWrong urged its community members to think like machines rather than humans. Contributors were encouraged to strip away self-censorship, concern for one’s social standing, concern for other people’s feelings, and any other inhibitors to rational thought. It’s not hard to see how a group of heretical, piety-destroying thinkers emerged from this environment — nor how their rational approach might clash with the feelings-first mentality of much contemporary journalism and even academic writing."

Yeah, that seems backwards to me. Contemporary mainstream politics, influenced by centralized institutional arrangements like journalism or academia (what NRx call 'The Cathedral'), is much closer to a general idea of "Rationalism in Politics" (to use Michael Oakshott's term) than anything from the NRx camp. Of course one could argue that these institutions aren't being very rational after all, but more to the point, their overall stance is one that values the results of formalized, logical (and thus, 'rational') deliberation and of ambitious "social engineering" efforts - as opposed to, say, preserving or reviving those enduring traditions that have "stood the test of time" and thus proven some kind of inherent worth or sustainability.

comment by Douglas_Knight · 2017-03-18T22:02:48.975Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

FWIW, this was posted at the time.

comment by James_Miller · 2017-03-18T22:21:41.920Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You are right. Sorry I missed it. Given how prominent Milo and the alt-right are, however, I do think the link deserves a top level post.

comment by Douglas_Knight · 2017-03-18T22:45:51.793Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

No problem! FWIW is a disclaimer that I'm just a completest and not saying anything in particular!

comment by eternal_neophyte · 2017-03-24T07:05:45.552Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

From the article:

Are they actually bigots? No more than death metal devotees in the 80s were actually Satanists. For them, it’s simply a means to fluster their grandparents.

Whatever your definition of "bigot" is, the alt-right is without any question a haven for people who believe in race-realism. "Haven" isn't even precisely the right word. It's more of a haven for people who don't subscribe to race realism but want to think of themselves as right-wing. For people who do subscribe to it, it's more like their natural habitat.

When you have race-realism sitting next to ethno-nationalist politics and flippant racism, it's a little facile to call it ironic.