Below is some Moldbug inspired thinking. These are in a sense conversation starters to help the open minded progressive reconsider his position. None of these alone, and probably not even all of these together, will convince a die-hard progressive to change sides. But, for the person who has only imbibed blue pills on accident and never sought them out, these red-pills might get them thinking. At the very least, by pointing out incoherence or cracks in the progressive reality dome, you make room for an alternative story. If those cracks can’t be sealed, it means there is something in reality itself that progressivism is constitutionally incapable of accounting for.
At any rate, this list is not comprehensive or exhaustive, but it is hopefully at least fun to think about. The point is, in each case, PC Principal wants both A and B, but these things are logically incompatible and undermine each other. And this isn’t even to say that one of A or B is correct or choiceworthy or possible; the clear pilled thinker asks: is any of this true?
1. World State vs. Democracy
Let’s consider things from a global perspective for a moment. Today, many tend to say or take for granted that democracy or some kind of representative government is good, and worthy of spreading far and wide. Many also hope, at least in the future, that the human family so to speak, can become one large political community in the future, that is, a world state or at least a souped up United Nations. But, are democracy and a world state compatible with one another? The larger a political community is, the quieter your political voice becomes. If you think money is a problem in American politics now, one can only imagine how bad that problem will become when you are fighting to be heard by billions of humans. Furthermore, imagine the mega-bureaucracy that will be required to run a world state or even a more robust United Nations. Do you care about participating in political life or would you rather be taken care of by administrators? Would you rather be a child or man?
2. Multiculturalism vs. Universal Human Rights
Consider as well whether our principal modes of speaking about the requirements of justice in international relations fit together. On one hand, we talk about sovereignty and multiculturalism. We say that every nation should be able to enjoy and pursue its own unique way of life within its own borders. Sovereignty is a way of protecting deep forms of diversity within the world. On these grounds, we say that one nation is unjust for meddling in the affairs of another nation. BUT, on the other hand, we also say that protecting international or universal human rights is also a requirement of justice. However, insofar as human rights are UNIVERSAL, don’t they decisively place a limit on sovereignty and therefore on diverse ways of life? Are universal human rights merely a tool for powerful nations to bully and push around the less powerful nations—for indeed, it was powerful Western nations who were the principal architects of these rights. Don’t we have to choose between these competing goods—between universal justice and the toleration of local or particular concerns?
3. Social construction vs. Objective Moral Claims
On one hand, many say that everything is socially constructed and on the other hand, we say with unironic certainty that the Holocaust is wrong, as if we have nature and/or God in agreement with us. That is to say, at different times of day, we both affirm and deny that there are objective standards of justice. You can’t have both. If you stick with social construction, you are compelled to admit that your condemnation of the Nazi’s is merely historically contingent, and that future genocidal groups have the go ahead, as long as enough people agree on it.
4. Perspectivism vs. Objective Moral Claims
On one hand we say that our perception of things is embodied, subjective, hopelessly partial and perspectival. On the other hand, when we see injustice, whether done to us, those we love, or to other human beings in general, our blood boils as if we KNOW for sure, objectively, that we are in possession of the correct answer. One crucial example right now is the “believe all women” slogan. Woman are humans; humans sometimes lie. Therefore women sometimes lie. How are women embodied with a partial perspective and in possession of objective knowledge?
5. Systemic Thinking vs. Personal Responsibility
On one hand, many think that societal “systems” are determinative causes of our social status. Nonetheless, on the other hand, the same people who say this, often say, out of the other side of their mouth, that they want their children to be responsible and to try hard, as if they are in control of their future social status. This claim says that humans are both free and not free; that we deserve what we have and that we do not. Even atheist advocates of a different kind of determinism like Sam Harris still tell us that we cannot just lie in bed all day even though free will doesn’t exist.
6. Technology is Good vs. Technology is Bad
We are deeply grateful for the comfort, efficiency, connections, entertainment, and greater access of information that technology has granted us. Yet, we also sense that we are not living well when we have spent an entire day on social media and Netflix. Is anyone proud of spending more time on their smartphone than a peer? And, many are concerned with climate change as an existential threat to humanity, and yet this was caused precisely by our use the technology we think we are so fortunate to have. One wonders: is it not technology that is the problem, but rather the proliferation of technology to untold millions of human beings across the world? Is democracy the problem?
7. Transgenderism: Nature and Social Construction?
This one is too easy! Its so easy that anyone should be able to see it; transgender ideology is easily one of the most powerful examples of ideology at work in throwing a wrench into the machinery of our brains. Oh, you are waiting for nice contradiction! How is it possible for gender to be socially constructed, and yet I discover that there is a “woman” in me? Is that woman a woman by nature with distinctively feminine taste and insight? Then, one is in big trouble if one wants to insist upon gender as social construction.
8. The Problem of Happiness
Now, perhaps we could live easily, side by side with all of the above and MANY other contradictions, if only we had made progress in figuring out how to be happier. But are Americans happier today than in the past?
- A 2019 “World Happiness Report, finds that a separate measure of overall life satisfaction fell by 6% in the United States between 2007 and 2018.”
- According to Time Magazine, suicide rates have gone up every year since 2000. Youth suicide is becoming an especially pressing problem, with rates rising more rapidly among boys and girls ages 10 to 14 than in any other age group.
- Yet of all age groups, Generation Z — anyone ranging in age from 18 to 22 — seems to be particularly impacted. According to a recent study conducted by Cigna, Gen Z is significantly more likely than any other age group to say that they experience feelings that are associated with loneliness; 68 percent said they feel like “no one really knows them well.”
- Approximately 40 million American adults — roughly 18% of the population — have an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. AND 40% of Americans feel more anxious this year than a year ago.
This is not a doom pill (studies like these aren’t decisive). Besides I haven’t done any work to show a tight causal link between the confusions about justice listed above and declining rates of psychic and physiological well-being. All that is intended in this last point is to convey this: progressives have gained a tighter and tighter hold on culture, politics, and speech, and we don’t seem to be moving any closer to the promised land. Aren’t there enough cracks in the dome to warrant hearing another story? Or at least to consider that people with good hearts and intentions believe a different story?