What does a serious society look like? What does a serious movement look like?

The Case for American Seriousness is a great work that explains what’s wrong with many currents in American society, including the abortion discourse right now. As of June 2022, abortion is the current thing, replacing Ukraine, which was the current thing a few months ago. Last year, the current thing might’ve been the Jan. 6 attempted coup event. Before that, the election. Before that, the “defund the police” and “black lives matter” protests/riots. Before that, it was “immigrants welcome here.” I don’t entirely remember what else happened, but in 2016 it was an election.

Each event was greeted in the media, and parts of social media, with shrill hysteria about how “this thing cannot stand.” The tone and tenor tended towards how This Thing is Unacceptable, but almost no one looked at second-order consequences, what should be done to improve the situation at the margins, etc. The current thing is abortion… as intellectual badass and polyamorist Eliezer Yudkowsky put it,

If I were running this war, my opening counterstrike would be to legalize housing construction in blue states so women could afford to move out of red states.

Blue, pro-abortion states and counties can, right now, make abortion access easier for women, simply by constructing far more housing. High prices show high demand to live in those areas. So are all those voters and elected officials serious about expanding abortion access… or are they posturing? I’ve seen pictures of lawn signs saying “immigrants welcome here” but also “no to [new housing project].” People apparently don’t realize the contradiction. Not realizing the contradiction is a sign of frivolity. Frivolity has a place in life (a big place in mine), but it shouldn’t be totalizing.

A few months ago, Russia’s invasion was the Current Thing. Russia depends wholly on oil and gas exports. Anyone serious about changing Russia should be working hard to support new nuclear power plants, new power transmission lines, and new solar and wind fields. California is a leader in goodness, so California is doing those things, right? Oh wait, you mean California opposes offshore wind? So-called “conservationists” are fighting it too? Do they not support Ukraine? California is building out new nuclear, right? (Hint: California isn’t, just like Germany). What power source will the many megawatts of new electric car batteries use? Energy markets are highly fungible, so oil and gas not used in California will be re-deployed to other parts of the world.

On abortion, on Ukraine, on “defund the police” (even San Francisco is now increasing its police budget), there’s a real lack of seriousness around the rhetoric and the reality and the follow-through. On abortion, the right has been playing the long game. The Federalist Society and many other legal efforts to ban abortion have existed for decades. They’ve kept abortion foregrounded for 50 years. While I think their view is wrong, and hypocritical at times (who is going to take care of the babies born who would have been otherwise aborted? Are we seeing public, social, and cultural supports for them consistent with abortion opposition?), it is also long lasting. It is institutional. It is consistent across many years. It hasn’t gotten lost in the news-cycle shuffle, like most things do.

People who are serious about abortion are going to be building institutions and focusing on elections. Those who aren’t, are going to be on social media, until the next Current Thing hits. SpaceX is serious about lowering the cost of going into space. Every day, SpaceX is working to lower the cost of getting into space and going to Mars, while the Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) and the woke are complaining about whatever they’re complaining about today. Maybe abortion will be different; someone like Dave Portnoy coming out to support abortion rights is unusual and surprising.

I see a lot of bullshit and posturing. It’s like a fat friend who says he’s going to lose weight, and then you see him at McDonald’s. We all have hypocrisy, we all have moments of weakness, but when we’re more hypocritical than not, when what we say and what we do are diametrically opposed, it’s time to think more seriously about the amount of bullshit we’re creating and tolerating.

Changing a social media profile and putting up superficial signs is easy. Doing anything substantial is hard. A person can’t run, rabbit-like, from thing to thing, and expect to get anywhere. The current thing is here, then forgotten. Some thing is the end of the world today; what about the thing that was the end of the world yesterday? Eliezer Yudkowsky does the kind of thinking someone with some level of seriousness should expect: he looks at second-order consequences and second-order reactions. A lot of people protesting about the current thing don’t even vote. Don’t vote? Then don’t complain, because you’re telling the system you don’t count. Democracy is in danger, but also, LOL, I have a party to go to and can’t bother to vote.

There are right-wing versions of this too… everyone on the right HATED the Affordable Care Act (ACA), up to the moment the right controlled both parts of Congress and the Oval Office, at which point it could have been repealed, or amended, or the fabled alternative passed into law. Instead, the right let it stand. Many stridently asserted opinions disappear down the memory hole.

Opposition is easy, building new things is hard. In the ’00s, everyone on the right thought democracy is sacrosanct and worth spreading around the world. In the late ’10s and early ’20s, the right favors authoritarianism and authoritarians. What happened? Why has there been no reckoning about this reversal? In the late ’90s, the right thought sexual character was paramount. Today, the right thinks that sexual character is LOL. In the 90s, liberals were tolerant, pro-free speech, pro-woman, pro-personal rights, and had a colorblind approach to race. Now they’re in favor of racism against white people and, increasingly, Asians.

If it matters, I favor freedom, I oppose authoritarianism, I favor peak experiences, I’m sex positive, I favor abundance, I favor crypto, I favor knowledge, I favor colonizing Mars, I favor Balaji Srinivasan and the network state, I favor understanding the world. Win and help win. Some of these map cleanly onto the current things I’ve been talking here about, some don’t.

George Orwell wrote, “The first thing that we ask of a writer is that he shan’t tell lies, that he shall say what he really thinks, what he really feels.” Not too many did that then, it seems, and not too many do that now. I would add that he should also explain why he thinks what he thinks and why he feels what he feels. Many people today will tell you what they think they think, at the length of a Tweet, but that is not terribly useful. Lots of yelling and little thought… which is one reason I encourage guys to do better.

I think we have complacency bias. Whatever is, right now, is mostly what we favor. What would consistency look like? What would seriousness look like? (Besides Elon Musk?)

 

They look serious to me.

Author: The Red Quest

How can we live and be in society?

7 thoughts on “What does a serious society look like? What does a serious movement look like?”

  1. Good post to hear. I’ll be sure to recommend this post (or send excerpts) to anyone asking my opinion on “the hot new thing”.

    And as always, nothing is as bad or as good as people make it out to be, especially by the news media. Literally, I want to repeat your article on “The most stridently asserted opinions…”.

    Oh no! This Bad Thing will be the end of the world as we know it! People are anti-change and too worried about dystopias, and it shows by the number of dystopic fiction novels being published or in the works. But humans are resilient. We will survive this change, we will survive the next, we will find ways to work around the law if necessary (just take the American Prohibition as an example). “[We] will not surely die” as the Bible assured us/Adam and Eve, and these countrywide and global changes cannot have a worse impact than in that biblical story.

    If more people played the long game, particularly men, instead of getting swept up in the political intrigue of SJW/Hyper-“Conservative” movements, I feel like the general direction of the U.S. would be in a place the majority of citizens would be more proud of.

    Like

    1. I do think some of these things are bad, but, the important question is, if they are bad, what should a person do? Crying and screeching and saying “someone should make this right!” and saying “this is the end of the world” (the kinds of things children and ineffective women are prone to doing) are ineffective. What things are effective? What things can be done to improve the situation? That is why the Eliezer Yudkowsky quote is so good… if a person, or a group of people (like… a sate of them) can’t do straightforward things to make some improvements in a given situation, are they serious?

      Obviously, they are not serious. So why should we take the complaining of someone not serious, seriously? Action > talk. People fucking LOVE Elon because he’s 99% action. He gets shit done. He sees a problem that can be solved, and he fucking works it until it is, if not totally solved, then at least on the way to solution… for example, everyone and their brother is whining, bitching, and moaning about high gas prices right now. This, after 12 years of everyone buying dumbass vanity pickup trucks and SUVs. Elon is working to solve high gas prices.

      Most people create problems or complain about them… Elon works to solve them.

      Like

  2. Agree with much of the above. The culture we now inhabit is a consumption culture–I want what I want and I want it NOW! The lesson to me here for players is that if you’re serious about doing better with women, and by the way, becoming a better man, you need to employ a long term strategy.

    For example, fitness isn’t something that happens overnight: it takes many months, sometimes even a full year of consistently good diet and exercise to get the kind of body the opposite sex is going to find attractive. This is true of building a remunerative/fulfilling career, mastering any sort of hobby or skill, etc. For example, yesterday I took m GF to play tennis. She’s never really played before, so we kept it pretty basic: I showed her how to grip the racket, how to hit a forehand, a backhand, and then we spent most of the time–not more than about 30 minutes or so overall–hitting it back and forth on the middle white line close to the net. She’s not going to be Serena Williams overnight. If she gets decent, or proficient, it will take at least 30-40 sessions.

    Guys in game need to lay the groundwork, a subject I’ll write more about on redpilldad.blog here in a day or two.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. >>Guys in game need to lay the groundwork, a subject I’ll write more about on redpilldad.blog here in a day or two.

      We are waiting for you, dude, like the Israelites waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain and spit game about where to go next. Don’t send us back into the land of Pharaoh (ignorance).

      Like

  3. It’s interesting that almost every intellectual eventually finds rationalist-adjacent spaces (for me, it started in 2014).

    They are the only sane places left on the internet.

    Like

    1. “Rationalists” are among the few people deliberately trying to get past cognitive biases, past tribal politics, and out of echo chambers and into really understanding the world.

      No process is perfect but by comparison to the many people repeating incorrect claims and slogans (https://theredquest.wordpress.com/2021/01/09/the-most-stridently-asserted-opinions-will-disappear-down-the-memory-hole/) for team-sport purposes, they’re pretty good.

      Like

  4. Fascinating material RQ.

    Our politics & mainstream media got corrupt because they became avenues for conformist mediocrities to acquire wealth and high social status — rather than being just a way to do something beneficial for many other people.
    Our consumer culture promotes instant gratification, self-pity, self-indulgence, and giving top priority to being comfortable at all times. This mentality approves of staying childish all your life; not aspiring to maturity (or ‘respectable adulthood’). That’s part of the problems/symptoms you cite.

    Asking ‘What can Joe Average do about the problems?’ is a great question, to be pondered again & again over time.
    Just like after 9-11, I think a good answer would include this: ‘Be a good neighbor. Know your neighbors. Support your community. Participate in politics at least by voting on all levels of elections. Be an informed voter by getting your info from many different sources.’

    Keep up the good work RQ!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: