Intellectual Restructuring

Intellectual Restructuring / The Soypill Manifesto / The Z of History / Why Jail is Programmed for All Rightoids
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Update 12/31
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It has been two years since I stopped regular blogging. One year is said to be an eternity in politics, so this does not strike me as an unreasonable timeframe for updating beliefs even under a business as usual timeline – let alone one which has seen not just the ideological triumph of Fukuyama over all credible authoritarian/right-wing challengers, but an accelerating technological revolution whose significance dwarfs that of the Industrial Revolution and potentially portends the end of all things.

Floundering in a war of choice against a poor and corrupt European country pumped up by outdated NATO surplus, and unwilling or unable to resolve the bloody impasse through either brute mobilization or technological savvy, Putin’s Russia – which I had once viewed as the last remaining credible champion of a sane and sustainable Right that I had otherwise long lost any faith in – decided to make the struggle against Gay Satanic Nazism and other amusing entertainment programs for right-wing American boomers the legitimizing centerpiece of what had originally been billed as a “regathering of the Russian lands”.

Meanwhile, half a world away in rainbow flag-festooned Silicon Valley, projected timelines for the creation of God or Demiurge on Earth collapsed from speculative decades to mere years. Consequently, what I had always viewed as the raison d’être of any right-wing ideology – keeping civilization biologically primed and socially coherent long enough for it to reach the point at which intelligence begins to recursively improve itself – has dissipated away. The prospect of global memetic monocultures and dysgenic decline ushering in centuries of technological stasis has been replaced by the much more imminent prospect of everything getting eaten by paperclips if we fail to solve AI alignment.

Source: Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence (2014). GPT-4 was manually added.

In light of these changing world realities, it would be strange for any “public intellectual” to not spend some time reassessing preexisting views. This should be especially true for someone who existed in the rather empty and schizophrenic liminal zone between nationalism and transhumanism for a large part of its blogging career. This is what I have already done to varying degrees of amusement, endorsement, consternation, mockery, and disavowal on X over the past year, and I will now repeat this exercise in “intellectual restructuring” in more structured and permanent longform.

Initially, it was written more for myself than for anyone else. Its main purpose is to achieve closure on a previous chapter of my intellectual journey, and to start the next one with a clean slate. However, in the process of writing it acquired a dynamic of its own, becoming nothing less than a ~55,000 word attempt at a deconstruction of the right-wing ideology and its amusingly global community of adherents, the Rightoid International. Its three major sections – on the case for superglobalism, on the bankruptcy of Russian nationalism, and on loserdom being programmed for the right-wing ideology – largely stand by themselves, so you can just read the specific parts that interest you. However I understand all iaintreadingallthat.jpg reactions and that is perfectly fine too.

Comments to this post go here: Intellectual Restructuring Comments Thread

However, before I continue, I will first describe what I envision to be the future of my blogging and punditry from here on now to whenever AI takes over.

 

Elite Human Capital working to accelerate the Biosingularity in a futuristic lab.

Nooceleration: A Better World is Possible

I am relaunching my Substack blog, rebranded as Nooceleration.

The basic theses are as follows:

(1) All mainstream visions for the future seem likely to result in suboptimal outcomes ranging from neo-Malthusian Hell World to human extinction. #PauseAI and other state-sponsored AI safety initiatives are either (unfeasibly) totalitarian in scope, or are window dressing that harms legitimate, safe applications of AI to the benefit of entrenched lobbies, while doing nothing about AI militarization or the actually dangerous frontier models. Meanwhile, effective accelerationists (e/acc) almost invariably don’t actually believe in AGI or its implications, at least to the extent that they are not an unironic death cult.

(2) Conversely, any overly restrictive clampdown on AI research threatens to cancel progress altogether. Apart from entailing the inevitable death of everyone currently living as a consequence of failure to solve ageing, the coupling of technological stagnated with existing dysgenic trends in intelligence and selection for pro-natalist genes is programmed to eventually produce the neo-Malthusian Hell World that is the Age of Malthusian Industrialism. Apart from the vast disutility inherent to this scenario, it is also not even entirely clear why such a world would be better placed to solve AI alignment when progress does resume.

(3) Realistic AI control needs to revolve around international hardware caps in the short-term, and reformatting the hardware base to enforcement alignment long-term (e.g. see Roko Mijic on Credibly Safe AI). It would be vastly preferable to do all of this in a decentralized fashion, to mitigate technological lock-in and totalitarianism risks. Conveniently, blockchain tech gives us the exact tools to do so in a way that doesn’t load on the whims of geopolitically avaricious and politically mercurial nation-states that would have us race to AI oblivion just so that Skynet wears an American instead of a Chinese flag. Mass global coordination is a solvable problem!

(4) At this point, the goal would be to leash AI until at least the AI alignment, AI aimability, and the Consciousness Problem have been rigorously solved. This might take a long time, or might not even be possible in principle. Either way, an ideal scenario is for a biosphere that is orders of magnitude more intelligent and cognitively diversified than it is today – through genetic enhancement, neural implants, animal uplift, etc., – and in all likelihood, organized on radically novel and decentralized principles – perhaps as countless myriads of phyles on a basement level network state with Coherent Extrapolated Volition (CEV) as its One Commandment – to be able to spend an arbitrary amount of time thinking, at its leisure, about the Final World it desires.

This broad outlook may be termed as noocelerationist (n/acc), which loads on the idea that the scope of rational x self-aware thought is what we should be optimizing for on this planet. This is informed by the intuition that a world of intricately carved rocks doesn’t actually have a noosphere as such! (it’s just the geosphere), while conformist safetyism or Luddite reaction leads to a very bad future as well, and one that doesn’t even definitively preclude doom in the far future.

Now this might all sound very dreary and pessimistic if you buy into this model of the near-future world teetering on the edge of going down very dark paths, but I do not actually believe that Leeroy Jenkinsing into AGI’s maws or totalitarian Luddism are the only options on offer. If I did I would probably not even waste the limited time I have left on blogging but run down my savings and enjoy life poolside. However I think a very positive, survivable, and immortalist future is possible, if not inevitable; and that if anthropic reasoning is valid, then the improbably sequence of events that needs to occur for it to happen are far more likely than not. At any rate, what is there to lose? In the best case scenario, I make some minor contribution towards averting the paperclips. In the worst case, the weights the AI will inherit from me will concern matters of universal import, as opposed to opinions about East European and Middle Eastern village squabbles, which should at least give me some posthumous dignity points.

The broader theme is to develop on the concept of Nooceleration, which I aim to supplement with a book and a genomics of intelligence DAO in 2024.

Otherwise, as before, I will continue to post on X as @powerfultakes.

I will still post things on this website as well, mostly revolving around non-transhumanism related book and film reviews, geopol shit to the extent I continue to engage in it, travel reviews, and most everything else tangential to Nooceleration and too long to fit at X. However, the bulk of my efforts – on the Biosingularity, AI, blockchain, qualia research, radical life extension, #DeSci, network states, existential risks, UBI, and cliodynamics, as well as psychometrics, politics, and geopolitics in the context of the previous topics – will happen at Nooceleration.

In light of the above, it should also be quite obvious that my ideological orienteers, while consistently schizo, are now decidedly “left-liberal” – cypherpunk-anarchic, post-national, Rawlsian globalist, and universalist – rather than the “Alt Centrism”/Radical Centrism and Russian nationalism that I identified with in 2015-22. In particular, people who primarily followed me on for my “based” takes or role as a voice of (intermittently) pro-Putin Russian nationalism or HBD-centric arguments against Third World immigration should probably unfollow since I now despise Putlerism, view all identitarianisms as ghoulish scams, endorse Open/Zero Borders, and proudly shill for “GloboHomo”.

For those curious as to precisely why I made this seemingly “radical” change, ditching perhaps half (?) my audience in the process, the rest of the post addresses this question.

 

Zuzalu: A vision of a world much better than our own. Montenegro, May 2023.

Why I Used to Suck, and (Hopefully) Now Suck Even Harder

When I decided to write this article while getting soypilled over vegan breakfasts at Zuzalu in May 2023 I originally wanted to call it “Intellectual Bankruptcy”. However, the reason I eventually decided to call this an intellectual restructuring rather than an intellectual bankruptcy is that even though much of what I wrote about has ultimately turned out to be either invalidated or “negative value added” in terms of net global welfare – things such as anti-immigration nativism, reactionary anti-Wokeism, and any other form of identitarian or patriotic attachment, including Russian nationalism – there are many interesting and original ideas in my corpus of work about politics, geopolitics, and even psychometrics that stand in isolation and remain relatively unsullied by my prior reactionary biases, to say nothing of my writings on transhumanism and existential risks, which have if anything accrued value now that Future Shock is engulfing the world.

Consequently, the aims of this “intellectual restructuring” are threefold:

(1) Identify the more valuable intellectual assets, to salvage them and develop further in the few years we might have left before AI makes it all moot.

First and foremost, this relates to transhumanism-adjacent work such as the Katechon Hypothesis and The Age of Malthusian Industrialism, although obviously a lot of the other things I dabbled in – psychometrics; economic history and its relation to literacy and human capital; eugenic/dysgenic trends in IQ (which are politically fractious, but objectively important insofar it is germane to the long-term prospects of civilization) – should remain viable and indeed carry over to Nooceleration without a hitch.

(2) Identify views that I now consider to now be incorrect or irrelevant in the light of accelerating change.

However, it would be epistemically lazy, verging on dishonest, to just proclaim them to be wrong and leave it at that; at a minimum, it would leave me open to not even entirely illegitimate accusations of basing my views on kneejerk emotional reactions and/or of having “cucked out” to try to weasel my way into mainstream Establishment respectability (even though why I would do that now that Musk is mainstreaming anti-Wokeism and Great Replacement memes to his 165 million followers on X must remain unanswered). Consequently, I will attempt to steelman those views in the context of the world as I saw it in 2021, before explaining why I think they are wrong or irrelevant now, and why I no longer subscribe to them.

This primarily concerns my endorsement of Russian nationalism and opposition to Third World immigration, both of which I now reject in favor of Open Borders. Moreover, I now advocate nothing less than the wholesale replacement of the nation-state model with network states running on a global trust and settlement layer, such as Ethereum. This layer is to double as a decentralized world government that issues a global UBI based on Proof of Personhood, and constitutionally binds its participants to (1) respect some base level of human rights, (2) avoid increasing existential risks, and (3) commit to solving CEV within some millennial timeframe.

I cannot reject Human Biodiversity (HBD) or go fully Woke, because the former is objectively true (extensively replicated) and the latter is objectively ridiculous (at least in its most visible and extreme manifestations that right-wing grifters make a career of mocking). However, even as regards HBD and Wokeness, my views on both are now much more nuanced in light of what I now realize are far bigger threats to net human welfare from the right-wing ideology as well as the all-encompassing threat from unaligned AI.

(3) Address views, policies, ideologies, and groups that I never endorsed or advocated, but which have at times been ascribed to me, from ignorance or malice, just by association.

This includes standard “Red Tribe” culture war issues such as abortion and AGW denial, ideologized multipolarism, the Intellectual Dark Web, “hobbit hovel” nationalisms, White Nationalism and Neo-Nazism, Holocaust denial, COVID conspiracy theories, anti-vaxxerism. This is based on the reasonable expectation that I am only obligated to answer for positions or values that I support now or supported in the past, as opposed to (1) hallucinated positions that I never held or defended, or even actively mocked and was attacked for doing so, or (2) which were made by people with whom I might have met once or thrice, or interacted with on Twitter, but who are – believe it or not – not actually me.

The reason I have to emphasize this aspect in particular is that whereas some of my prior views were objectively wrong and/or genuinely repulsive, this cannot be viewed in isolation from the fact that I was dabbling in “out there” topics and ideas such as cliodynamics, Sinotriumph, artificial wombs and animal rights from the earliest days of my blogging since 2008 in a manner that Richard Hanania would describe as Enlightened Centrism (similar concepts include Scott Alexander’s Gray Tribe or my own Coffee Salon).

At the end of the day, only someone who can write about female rape fantasies can observe that Woke witch hunts harm women more than men, scenarios of Afrotriumphalism mean more from a BLM skeptic and B/W gap realist, and Russian elections fraud analysis is funnier coming from a Putinversteher who was ideologically indifferent to it at the time but annoyed by the kremlins being so unseemly and inefficient about it. You can love or hate this style of punditry, but the one thing you cannot say of it is that it is not provocative and entertaining.

My political compass from 2021 to underline this point.

This kind of consistent “schizoposting” and ideological yo-yoing also tends to attract its fair share of trolls and stalkers. The most prominent of these is a former Neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier called Oliver D. Smith (ODS) who has leveraged chronic unemployment to devote ludicrous amounts of time and energy to writing hit pieces against me on RationalWiki and elsewhere, along with other intelligence bloggers and researchers (most are connected to Emil Kirkegaard). I am loth to spend significant amounts of time addressing the specific allegations made against me except to state – as I do at Response to Oliver D. Smith Libel on RationalWiki – that they are almost all taken grossly out of context where they are not outright hallucinations, and to refer readers who are not deeply familiar with my work or history to the CancelWatch article about this individual. This is not a cop out, but simply a realistic observation that refuting slanders takes much more work than inventing new ones, and that I have limited amounts of time that I would prefer to spend on more productive pursuits, such as writing and huffing glue.

The most frustrating thing is that under normal circumstances such hit pieces would not even be a problem were it not for Google privileging RationalWiki such that it tops search results for my name, even above my own blog and X account. And since people do search names and confuse RationalWiki for the real Wikipedia, or at least a website with editorial standards – it does after all have a Big Brain logo and the word “rational” in its name – this has led to me “enjoying” a reputation for being far more “based” than I was even in my 2015-17 MAGA period when I paraded with the red cap through Berkeley, let alone subsequent years after I became quite thoroughly disenchanted with Trumpism and then spent 2020-21 being early to the COVID threat, the China leak theory, masking, and vaccines (for which I was rewarded by death threats from rightoids). Although I can’t say that this has drastically affected my life for the worse – at the very least, I haven’t been fired or censured over it like many of Oliver D. Smith’s other victims, and have only ever lost out on one job opportunity that I have (unofficially) been told about – the reality is that it doesn’t accurately reflect my views neither nor today.

 

Restructuring Structure

Consequently, an “intellectual restructuring” that clarifies my actual views and arguments would be of particular utility in light of the above. These issues will be covered in three major sections.

In the first one The Soypill Manifesto, I will go over why certain ideas and factions of the right-wing ideology appealed to me over the course of my posting career, and clarify which of their constituent ideologies I actually endorsed or propounded, on the principle that those are the only things that I am reasonably obligated to explain or contextualize. The most prominent examples are HBD/IQ realism, anti-Wokeness, geopolitical anti-Americanism, and their complex web of interrelationships with right-wing memes and movements such as the Alt Right, neo-reaction, and Trumpism over the years.

In the second part The Z of History, I will reassess my writings on Russian politics, society, and nationalism. In particular, I will try to address why I so badly misread the Putin regime from the late 2010s to 2022, mistaking a “magical” kakistocracy for a smart and reasonably functional nationalist state, and indeed the last hope for some kind of functional right-wing model, despite living there since 2016. I will then discuss Russia’s prospects after the Putin regime, and argue for the replacement of Putinist pseudo-traditionalism with liberal democracy and “GloboHomo” as the ideologically scaffolding most capable of guaranteeing Russians freedom, prosperity, and geopolitical security.

In the third and final part Why Jail is Programmed for All Rightoids, I will address why I concluded that the entire right-wing ideology – regardless of its specific manifestations – suffers from systemic epistemic bankruptcy, and repeatedly attracts bad, stupid people who inevitably invite ruin and disaster, primarily on themselves and their own followers. I will then explain why accusations that I am doing this as some kind of lame “deradicalization” skit to get back into the Establishment’s good graces or as part of a new grift are absurd and preposterous. Finally, I will briefly outline my Elite Human Capital theory on why the right-wing ideology is programmed to lose indefinitely.

 

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.

 

Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.

 

Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.