nostalgebraist:

youzicha:

So Moldbug is in the news again.

Lots of people compare this with Brendan Eich, but I think there is an important difference. Eich kept his professional role quite separate from the Prop 8 donation. But Moldbug first became known for his blog, then revealed his actual name to shill for Urbit (shorting “Curtis” to an initial, but that doesn’t actually provide much anonymity), and then posted a call for VC funding on his political blog. And then Peter Thiel funded him!

If Moldbug had not already been (in)famous for his political opinions, it seems unlikely that anyone would have heard of, or cared about, Urbit. So he successfully used the years he spent writing edgy racist bullshit to bootstrap himself into tech-industry fame, and now he gets to go around giving talks at tech conferences? This seems unfortunate.

I’m a little unclear on the details of this – I heard that LambdaConf had a blind selection process, so they didn’t choose the Urbit talk because it was by a well-known guy.  OTOH, would he have been selected if he hadn’t gotten VC funding?  I don’t know.

In any case, Moldbug basically invited this kind of controversy – he wrote an extensive blog presenting himself as so right-wing he’s not even categorizable in present-day terms, and as a defender of ideas even the current mainstream right thinks are horrible and inhumane.  Even when he was being ambiguous about what he actually thought, he clearly enjoyed writing a way that permitted racist, etc. readings, as though teasing the reader (see my post here).

Like, sometimes I do object to the way people will dig up dirt on others they want to discredit, given that you can find some bad stuff in most people’s lives if you dig hard enough, but this Moldbug case is really not that.  No one had to dig up any dirt – Moldbug deliberately left a gigantic mountain of dirt lying there in plain sight.  There’s no dangerous precedent or slippery slope here because it’s really easy to not be Moldbug.

I do think it may be good to have some conferences that will take Moldbug and some that won’t, given that there seems to be substantial interest in both.  There are plenty of people on twitter who are very angry at the anti-Moldbug faction, despite not being neo-reactionaries themselves as far as I can tell.  I’m an outsider to this particular tech community, but it looks to me like a big cultural gulf it in is becoming clear, and while I don’t know how that will resolve itself, I don’t think things like that can just be slipped under the rug.  (I’m not sure what I mean by that.  This whole paragraph should be taken with a grain of salt because my opinions are very unformed and vague)

I do think it may be good to have some conferences that will take Moldbug and some that won’t, given that there seems to be substantial interest in both.  There are plenty of people on twitter who are very angry at the anti-Moldbug faction, despite not being neo-reactionaries themselves as far as I can tell.  I’m an outsider to this particular tech community, but it looks to me like a big cultural gulf it in is becoming clear, and while I don’t know how that will resolve itself, I don’t think things like that can just be slipped under the rug.  (I’m not sure what I mean by that.  This whole paragraph should be taken with a grain of salt because my opinions are very unformed and vague)

Yup.

The argument, and I am not going to claim to endorse it but I definitely understand it, goes something like this: These people are ruining civilization.

It is one big self-reinforcing problem so there’s not really any particular point to start the list with, each feeds into the next that in turn feeds into the first point on this list. It is seen as a general attack on Enlightenment Values for the specific purpose of advancing a political narrative that cannot sustain itself and even now only works because the proponents can cannibalize the wealth built by the very values they are undermining. Once they, in the name of “justice,” have finally destroyed the last bit of value found in the Enlightenment, once they have ruined all the important freedoms – Speech, Association, Privacy, Property – the entirety of Western Civilization will fall, because the “justice” they are creating will not sustain civilization, it is a justice that creates no value – and they cannot see this because they do not believe the current system creates value.

“They,” this “Other” that is being accused, are understood to believe that Diversity is a terminal value. That Equality is a terminal value in an Average-Utility Utilitarianism.

I had a hard time formulating this next paragraph, I’ve rewritten it three times now, so feel free to ask questions, but:

It is a problem, primarily, in credentialism. STEM is where the wheat and the chaff are sharply separated. STEM is the place to go if you don’t feel like handling bullshit status games because STEM is the meritocracy, and the meritocracy on which all of western value is built (Forget philosophy and democracy, I guess?) And now this “other” is coming into STEM with bullshit status games. Codes of conduct to promote diversity? What? STEM is the one place where those are the least necessary – the GNU C Compiler is free and you can get a laptop for $100. Everybody is welcome. And the Other is breaking that amazing value-generating system by taking out the meritocracy, by imposing a system of status that you must game in order to be allowed to play. Is Yarvin a good programmer? Is he bad? Who cares! He’s a racist programmer so even if he could create enough value to float the entire US economy, he’s out. Is [$TokenMinority] skilled? Who cares! We’re low on our quota so they’re in!

The “Silicon Vally Brogrammer” stereotype is harmful exactly because it is both false and true. True in that they exist. False in that STEM is one of the most diverse fields you can get into, exactly because it is a meritocracy and nobody can afford to let skin color turn them away from the next Facebook – but STEM refuses to play the game, so STEM must be broken to the Diversity Lash like every other field has been. It is required that stop seeing our black colleagues as programmers hired for their skill, we must now see them as parts of the Game – were they hired for skill, or because we needed two more black faces for our Company Diversity Program?

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