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Oct 4, 2023·edited Oct 4, 2023Liked by Richard Hanania

Taking moldbug's cue and turning this into a reasoning-from-first-principles exercise is a mistake. We do not actually have to rely on aristotelian wordcelism in order to compare democracy with autocracy. It should be sufficient to reject authoritarianism because authoritarian countries in practice regularly commit uniquely absurd atrocities and because we have a plethora of natural experiments where the same ethnic groups completely diverge in general prosperity and economic growth (such as East vs. West Germany, SK vs. NK, or Taiwan vs. China). Speculation as to *why* these countries seem to do better is fun, but the last hundred and fifty years of trying out these alternatives in various places and among various peoples has been quite enough for me to reach my initial conclusions.

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How can you say that "we can't" predict what the ultimate political impact of immigration will be, but also that immigration "arguably makes small government more likely"? Saying that immigration makes small government more likely is a prediction.

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The simplest argument for democracy that I’ve encountered comes from Alastair Smith and Bruce Bueno de Mesquita: when the the set of people required to stay in power is small, like in dictatorships, the smarter it is to simply buy them off at the expense of everyone else. Everyone else can suffer and it won’t matter much so long as the army and underlings get paid. Kings don’t worry about long term growth--they worry about staying in power, and will nuke their economic growth to keep their underlings rich.

This argument appears for a general audience in The Dictator’s Handbook.

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" I used to be very bullish on China. Three years ago, I saw a high IQ nation that believed in meritocracy and didn’t have many of the brainworms associated with Europe and America like radical feminism, identity politics, and sympathy for criminals "... "Then the government showed a series of pathologies that could be traced to its authoritarian system."

When you put a cloth over the nose of a European baby he begins fighting for dear life. Do the same with a Chinese baby and he'll open his mouth and lay there passively. I wonder if this has any correlation with masking totalitarianism... I don't know, let's check other Democratic Asian countries and see if they too are masked. Fuck!

Maybe genetics are more important than your political system, and reaching conclusions about the ideal form of government for Europeans from non-suffocation resisters is a bad idea?

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The empirical case for democracy has, though to a lesser extent, the same survivorship bias problem as the case for monarchy (e.g., Ed West's argument that - mostly nominal - monarchies today tend to be wealthier and more stable). When monarchies fail, they generally cease to be monarchies, but the same tends to be true of democracy. Venezuela ceased to be democratic because it democratically elected leaders who then chose authoritarianism; Hitler became dictator of Germany because Article 48 of democratic Germany's constitution gave its democratically elected president overly-broad emergency powers to appoint officials. Neither of these should count as a point in favor of democratic decision-making. Those democracies that survived to the present tend to be the ones that are sufficiently undemocratic to prevent popular dictators from coming into power.

Most prominent critics of democracy actually hobble their own case by wedding their criticism of democracy with their preference for pre-democracic aesthetics, but the most persuasive critics of democratic institutions - Bryan Caplan, Jason Brennan, and Garrett Jones - don't argue for silly things like kings, but rather for privatisation of the public sphere, restriction of franchise, or greater insulation of officials from the electorate. A measure of democracy is probably a good thing, but the sacralization of democracy isn't just bad because it frustrates silly efforts to bring back hereditary monarchies, but also because stifles discussions about how society might be improved by making politics less democratic at the margin.

Minor footnote: Nietzsche wasn't as utilitarian as you think. In fact his view was kind of closer to the opposite of yours in one respect: we don't empower the rarefied minority because they produce most of the value for humanity (which is really just standard elitism); rather, the pauper majority exists to toil so that the rarefied minority of people capable of living worthwhile lives can do so. Hence why he idolized great artists and aristocrats who led lives of adventure and leisure rather than, say, entrepreneurs (whom he generally loathed). People tend to mischaracterize Nietzsche as a cynical utilitarian elitist, but for better or worse, his view wasn't really that the slaves are better off under slavery, but that the slaves exist to aggrandize the masters (he may have believed the former too, but if so it was incidental).

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“In addition to the standard arguments for porous borders, ethnic diversity can be seen as another factor introducing instability and division into society, which make people less likely to unify around shared goals.”

And yet the very reason non-whites move to the West is because of the massive wealth that was created by a homogeneous white culture. The idea that too many whites means inevitable stagnation or runaway bad ideas overlooks the intellectual diversity within white nations. The idea that we have to destroy the white homeland in order to save classical liberalism is silly. Those who constantly stress the economic benefits of immigration overlook the massive externalities caused by destroying whites’ homeland because it’s PC to count these costs. Caplan is an anarchist who favors open borders but if the streets, roads, parks, etc. had been privatized prior to mass non-white immigration and all anti-discrimination laws had never been passed, mass non-white immigration would have been stopped in its tracks. Ironically, one of the ways the open borders crowd sells mass immigration is based on the destruction of social trust (the aforementioned externalities) as a means to slow the growth of the welfare state. But we might end up with a worsening of both.

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I wonder if Hanania reads Brian Leiter - a vocally anti-woke, anti-identity politics Nietzchean Leftist. You should have him on CSPI Podcast to talk about your Nietzschean bullet points and what a Nietzsche-informed politics would look like. https://www.amazon.com/Nietzsche-Morality-Brian-Leiter/dp/0415856809

https://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/

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Oct 5, 2023·edited Oct 5, 2023

Sizable Immigrants population gaining political power , will have deleterious consequences on the political structure and institutions will face severe stress test .

Most of immigrants, especially of the Moslem variety do not share liberal values like free speech , individualism and in many cases paradoxically hate the West . Few of the English cities resemble socially like rural Bangladesh or Pakis

tan . Denmark has come up with a blasphemy law , which is a * serious* regression from the western norm .

Culture is persistent ( Garett jones ) . The West should be more discriminatory of the immigrant it selects - Australia/canada model + assimilation into liberal norms ( free speech) is the only hope

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The biggest problem with Democracy isn't that it's bad (even though it is) but that it isn't actually possible. Within sufficiently complex organisations, there will always be the Iron Law of Oligarchy.

In the west today, true Political power doesn't lie in the hands of elected officials and doesn't change hands when some other party is elected. It is held by the unelected network of institutions called (by Moldbug) the Cathedral.

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What about Singapore?

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You keep claiming immigration has massive positive benefits. It is true that immigration is positive FOR THEM, but it is not positive for people living in good countries to import low skill immigrants. It's a massive social cost, as shown in every study of this. Look at my review of these studies. If you want to argue for open borders type policies, you will have to be more forthright about the underlying moral premise which is that the country should do things that bring massive harm to themselves and their citizens while benefiting foreigners. https://www.emilkirkegaard.com/p/immigration-economics-for-economist

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I find the fertility problem to be the weakest link in your "nietzschean liberalism" vision for society. Even with IVF, surrogacy, artificial wombs, embryo selection etc., someone's gonna have to raise those kids, and this is a lot of work. Who will do this if not for mothers and fathers? Barring the realism of this utopian techno dream (cope?), of which I have serious doubts in the first place, wouldn't it just in the end open up vast opportunities for more government regulation, central planning, social workers and bureaucrats? This seems neither very nietzschean, nor very much like liberalism to me. What happened to the idea of heads of families raising their own offspring and passing down their own acquired wealth (and moral values) to the next generation? I guess it got lost somewhere in the unending American conservative panegyric of the Free Market as the epitome of Freedom. Or maybe it's just the naturalist fallacy?

Secondly, I find it a bit surprising that you so easily pass of the success of the Arab Gulf monarchies down to "luck", especially coming from your pro immigrationist stance. If there's any countries in the world today that has been able to capitalize off of global migration and draw immense economical benefit from it, it's the gulf states. Qatar has almost 90% immigrants, and it's a relatively peaceful and prosperous country. In Europe, a ratio of about 10% immigrants is sufficient for big social problems and political upheavals to start materializing. The reason for the gulf states success is not necessarily because they're monarchies, but rather because of their non (social) democratic approach to immigration, which includes drawing a strict distinction between non-citizen and citizen. This is by the way how classical republics used to govern themselves, until liberalism came along. In the US you have illegals, which is the more democratic way I suppose.

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If nations are but imagined, then a democracy is what? Universal voting can be circumvented by limiting the choices available. That's not necessarily bad, but one possible check and balance on a system. Putting together the right system of checks and balances has vexed Western man for centuries. Ultimately the system stems from the people and must account for their culture and very nature. And those things vary among populations. Race, ethnicity, and nation exist. Ignore them at your peril. The most well intentioned institutions will be subverted if imposed on a alien people, or continued among a changing populace.

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This article is one big straw man . Hoppe is very much against dictatorship. He isn’t even in favour of monarchy , though he thinks it’s much better than either democracy or dictatorship. Hoppe is an anarcho-capitalist.

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"All fair and intelligent observers now understand that “pro-vaxx, anti-NPI” is the correct position."

This is where you lost me. Evidence continues to accumulate that the vaxxes were not just useless, but counter-productive. They certainly did not work as "vaccines" because they did not prevent transmission, illness, hospitalization, or death. They can't even be given credit for "reducing the severity of the disease," because for most people, Covid was no worse than the seasonal flu - the vaccines did not improve these people's outcomes upon infection (that the vaccines should have prevented, but didn't). In children, they almost certainly killed more of them than they prevented from dying.

And those of us who were "anti-vaxx" didn't necessarily believe Covid was "nothing" (although in my personal experience with the original variant, at 64 years old, was extremely mild). It became apparent very early on that it wasn't a serious threat to the vast majority of the population. Because of this, the only possible utility to the vaccination of the entire population (the goal of mandates, in their various iterations) would have been to prevent transmission of the virus to the vulnerable. But it very quickly became apparent that the vaxxes didn't provide such protection. So tens of millions of people for whom Covid would not have been a serious threat were needlessly put at risk for adverse effects, without any benefit to the community in return for the assumption of that risk. (To say nothing of the fact that "vaccination" actually damages the immune system, producing NEGATIVE immunity, i.e., increasing the risk of becoming infected and ill, thus increasing the possibility of transmission to others.)

Consider this: The IFR of Covid was something less than 1% (under 0.5% for people under 65 years of age with no co-morbidities, as low as 0.18% by some metrics). Because of this, even if the vaccines had been 100% effective in preventing death, they could have only improved the IFR by no more than 1%. A vaccine capable of reducing a disease's IFR by 50% is worthwhile when the IFR is high. Even an IFR of 5% would be dropped to 2.5%. But immunizing a population in which the vast majority were never going to die of Covid without the vaccine, in order to improve the IFR by less than 1%, presents an absurd risk to anyone not at particular risk of death (from Covid) even when the chance of adverse effects is extremely low to nearly non-existent. The risk/benefit analysis (vaccination when your chance of dying is statistically zero, when the chance of adverse, debilitating effects from the vaccine is even similarly low) doesn't compute. You COULD die from Covid without the vaccine, but the vaccine COULD kill you. Why get vaccinated when vaccination is the only sure way to expose yourself to the risk of adverse effects? (And, as it quickly became apparent, when the vaccine won't prevent you from becoming ill and dying, and, in fact can increase your chances of becoming infected.)

I could go on. But I'll end with this: Remember when being "vaccinated" was called "immunization"? Now tell me the "vaccines" were a success and that vaccination was the "correct position." Enough said.

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I think you need to distinguish actual monarchies from one-party "democratic republics", particularly if that party is Communist. It's not a coincidence that the actual Gulf monarchies are so much better off than North Korea. Nor that one of the successful one-party republics, Singapore, is not communist but instead like Hong Kong was formed by British colonialism.

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