26 Comments

There is one thing Bryan needs to provide evidence for: that being on the left is a result of being anti-market rather than a cause of it. The Lewis brothers' theory would suggest that people first become liberals/progressives for social reasons then adopt anti-market views once they join the tribe. I would like to see Bryan write a post where he refutes this notion and explains his own position of anti-market views being downstream from philosophical leftism which is independent of any social factors.

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This is a great point. Something that supports it and which I'd love Bryan to read (or re-read...he's probably read it!) is Curtis Yarvin on how the Cathedral (the current Leftist gov't/media/academia/etc constellation of power) always selects for (in a Darwinian way) ideas that justify increased power for the powerful. "An Oligarchy inherently converges on ideas that justify the use of power."

In a competitive free-market system, it's hard for anyone to become a dominant full-spectrum power. So the Left, which HAS, craves, and reinforces power, naturally supports centralized NON-MARKET power.

So there's sort of a chicken/egg problem. Bryan would say (I think) that the anti-market sentiment comes first. You and the Lewises are saying that it's just tribal and the tribe comes first then the philosophy.

Yarvin's essay suggests to me that the Left's anti-market preferences come second. The Left is IN POWER and wants to be more so. If they were out of power, living under a religious monarchy, they would be ALL ABOUT the free market as a way to undermine the centralized control of the rival tribe. And indeed, this is kind of what we have seen. As a semi-related example, the Left was all about free speech (free market of ideas) when they were trying to undermine Rightist power, and they are all about censorship (centralized control of ideas) now that they are in power themselves. There is no consistent or coherent philosophy--that is downstream from only tribalism and power.

Here's the link...check it out

https://graymirror.substack.com/p/a-brief-explanation-of-the-cathedral

"An Oligarchy inherently converges on ideas that justify the use of power."

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Bingo bango

Several leftist people ive hanged out with have had a inconsistent notions of markets and moneys, where some specific markets (like farmers markets, local markets, second hand shops, art markets, etc) dont trigger their anti capitalism slogans

I think its more acosiations where big companies and big markets trigger their inequality sensibilities and then they point to markets for it

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Thomas Sowell didn't say that the constrained and unconstrained visions are the visions of the political right and left, respectively, he said that they were opposite ends of a continuum and that various traditions of political thought fall somewhere on that continuum. He also said that political ideologies need not be static, for example he said with Marxism the idea is to start out more constrained but slowly shift toward less constraint.

Any position on a topic can seem ridiculous if you misunderstand it hard enough. If your interpretation of Sowell's idea is so far off the mark from what one would get by actually reading "A Conflict of Visions" then I'm not sure why one should believe that you're being any more accurate in your claims about other theories.

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The left sees equality as an ultimate end state goal for humanity.

The right does not have the same end state goal.

The left hates markets because they cause and/or reveal inequality. Some people are rewarded more in the market than others.

The kind of inequality that the left focuses on is contextual in time and place, but its end state goal would be universal equality.

I dunno, I think these cross time and space things kind of useless and its all coalition building, but when people tell me that say the Spartans are right wing and the Athenians are left wing I think they are getting into something about relative equality rather then markets (Spartans outlawed money, Athenians trading empire).

I think this also maps somewhat onto this idea of masculine = right wing and feminine = left wing.

To be a man is to be born into inequality, male reproduction is highly unequal.

To be female is a lived experience of relative equality, the vast majority of women reproduce.

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I have a suspicioun that being right wing is being anti social difference, and being left wing is being anti economic difference

Both parts wants there to be as little difference as possible on some aspects.

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I think one test for the markets theory is to think of markets that leftists like. Here are some:

1) Farmers Markets

2) Craft Fairs

3) Local owner operated businesses (most)

4) Co-op groceries

Any other ideas?

It seems to me that many leftist are fine with markets so long as they don't create significant inequality.

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Art markets, auctions and markets specificly for charity, and that redistributes the profits and in which no one in the chain can be seen as poor or living poorly

Plenty of leftists ive meet have said that they are fine with markets and companies but against inequality and capitalism, and think it just inevetably leads to inequality and created poverty

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I would disagree on 3, as they make it very hard for those businesses to start up.

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Bryan's summary has the benefit of taking each party fairly well at their word; i.e. their self conscious self expression of what they're about.

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Bryan, thanks for pointing me to the Lewis' brothers book!

Here's my simplistic theory of left and right:

1. The left is consistently altruist/collectivist/statist

2. The right is inconsistently altruist/collectivist/statist (inconsistent as it has an element of respect for individualism, individual rights and capitalism)

When push comes to shove, consistent beats inconsistent, hence the last 100 years' slow but steady erosion of individualism, individual rights and capitalism.

"The left is anti-market" doesn't go deep enough. Neither does "the right is anti-left", although I certainly agree that the right is mostly "anti" everything, not "pro" anything.

Illustration here: https://thinkrightorwrong.com/home-2/the-morally-right-to-wrong-spectrum/

Cheers!

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One of the essential beliefs of leftism is the existence of oppressors and oppressed groups. According to this view, the rich oppress the poor, whites oppress blacks, men oppress women, employers oppress employees, and so on. The solution is for the government to intervene and balance the scales by enacting laws or imposing taxes. Therefore, leftists favor a large and powerful government. I have presented this idea to many liberals and none of them has disagreed.

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Sounds Hegelian.

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Curious of Haidt would agree with you theory.

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A number of people have commented that the political space requires two dimensions, not just one.

Political Space

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/

Pournelle Chart

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

Political Compass

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

Nolan Chart

https://isaacmorehouse.com/

The choice of qualities we assign to the axes is somewhat arbitrary.

The left-right paradigm is simple. It makes it easy to define “us” versus “them”. It’s still misleading.

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I think that was true until 2014 or so, and now they're more anti-cishetwhiteman.

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Both the left and the right are like two hands guided by the same Hegelian philosophy, appearing different yet fundamentally serving the same system. Likewise, whether it's Bush, Obama, Trump, or Biden, their policies may have different labels, but the end results often appear similar, as if they were orchestrated by a single governing philosophy.

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The terms left and right go back to the National Assembly during the French revolution. The right were monarchist and aristocrats, and the left were mostly educated professionals and capitalists. At that time it would be accurate to say the left were pro-market and the right were anti left.

Is this not the same divide as now then? Robespierre etc. strike me as typical leftist and the ancient regime as very much right. If this theory is true it means the left's position must have flipped 180 degrees.

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Was the left "pro-market" because it liked markets or was it "pro-market" because it was pro-equality?

The salient issue at that time and place was whether everyone should have equal rights or not. The capitalist meritocrats wanted a meritocracy, and the blue bloods wanted unearned privilege. Obviously the meritocrats were more in favor of "equality" on that issue.

Once the left won that argument the salient "equality" argument started to be over worker rights.

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Right and Left have different metaphysics. Left believes in simple determinism, Right believes in simple free will.

Left: "Don't punish crime--it's nobody's fault--and don't reward outperformance for the same reason."

Right: "Don't be poor--it's a choice--and, don't be gay for the same reason."

This leads to very different ideas about what fair public policy looks like. Anti-market sentiment on the Left is downstream of their idea of fairness. Ditto the Right's hatred of the Left. The reason that the Left has historically been more forgiving of the Right is that the Left's deterministic metaphysics lends itself to pity: "Those rednecks on the Right. It's not their fault that they're ignorant." The Right's metaphysics lends itself to aggrieved resentment at the "injustice" of the Left's preferred policies and hatred of those who pursue them.

Recently, the Left has been adopting a more identity-based theory of determinism. All those who are not white, cis, male, etc. are at the whims of society and should not be held accountable for their actions. Those who are white, cis, male, etc. are, at the very least, under suspicion of having free will, and some control over their life outcomes.

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In answer to your question of who could predict transgender stuff ten years ago, Steve Sailer predicted World War Trans in 2013, two years before gay marriage even became a national law.

At the same time he also predicted that Putin being anti-gay would bring him into conflict with the west and this would have a strong culture war component. This was all before the Ukraine crisis.

So there's your guy that predicted this a long time ago. His own word on how he predicted it:

----

This is not to say I made my World War T prediction purely in the abstract from my understanding of the underlying mechanisms of the zeitgeist. Instead, it’s a combination of how pattern recognition and abstracting reasoning should work together in a virtuous circle, making you better able to notice what’s going on.

In contrast, elite culture at present encourages Americans to not think critically about current trends. Don’t ask cui bono about whatever is the current media fixation. Instead, you should over certain the sins of an increasingly distant past.

---

I guess the one saving grace is Steve doesn't think World War pedophilia will replace trans, though I would say some of this trans kids stuff is close.

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Who cares what/who the Left and Right are. Best to focus on substantive issues imo.

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The only substantive issue in politics is the personality of the candidates. It's the one thing they can't change. Everything else is irrelevant in comparison.

Hitch was right on the money with that.

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Huh? Almost nothing is less important than the personality of the candidates. Even assuming they could change their policy views (in reality, one’s political opinions past middle age are probably about as immutable as personality traits), they have no incentive to do so. ‘Elect a nice guy no matter how wrong he is and trust he’ll somehow move to the right ideology’ is an amazingly naive approach to politics.

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Political positions change every election cycle and you know it. They're also lateral variables compared to what candidates genuinely believe. Personality is the one thing that can't be changed. If someone's a scumbag at fourteen, they'll almost assuredly remain one at forty-eight or eighty-four.

And who says "nice" is what's valuable? I could give a fuck about nice. I'd rather a camdidate had courage, charisma, intelligence, and was willing to let qualified people do their jobs unless there was legitimate reason to think they had no business in such position. And that they weren't blinded by ideological brainstorms to the point where they ignored the blindingly obvious.

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I really liked your talk with the Lewis brothers on the Myth of Left and Right. However, if you think that left and right are 85% social and only 15% essential (with which I agree?), isn't their theory that it is meaningless the true "simplistic theory of Left and Right"?

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