Whither Techno-Commercialism?

For the earlier half of my college years, I identified as a libertarian of sorts. In hindsight, I think a lot of my libertarian sympathies were largely emotive. Then again, my libertarian days feel like such a long time ago and I’ve gone through so many ideological changes over the years that I hardly remember what many of my motivations for pursuing liberty were. Eventually, I stumbled on radical traditionalist thought and HBD, which led me to identify as a neoreactionary. For the most part, I’ve left all but two libertarian-esque beliefs behind; I prefer liberty over equality and I just can’t help but advocate for those pesky free markets. As a result, I’ve found myself sympathizing most with the techno-commercialist wing of neoreaction.

Libertarians are some neoreactionaries’ favorite whipping boys, and rightfully so. Far too many libertarians concern themselves with progressive notions of “social justice.” The libertarian economist Bryan Caplan is notorious for advocating an open borders policy for its potential humanitarian benefits. Too bad that if such a policy were implemented in America, libertarian principles would have no hope of surviving its demographic impacts. Murray Rothbard, an otherwise brilliant economist, has an infamous piece on ownership of children that illustrates just how abhorrent the logical conclusions of libertarian ethics can be. Indeed, the libertarian idea of reducing the basic social unit of civilization down to the individual does not make for a stable society because the relationship between society and an individual is nearly always adversarial. Traditionalists generally have no problem with liberty so long as it’s reserved for a select few and not granted to everyone at the expense of tradition. Hence their hostility to libertarianism.

Nevertheless, neoreaction’s ideological origins are essentially libertarian. Mencius Moldbug was heavily influenced by the Austrian School and Hans Herman Hoppe’s Democracy: The God That Failed has been instrumental in providing neoreactionaries a framework to critique democracy. In short, some of the best critiques of democracy and egalitarianism have come from libertarians. If anything libertarianism has served as an ideological ladder that we kick down once we reach a certain point of neoreaction.

Ever since joining in on the Dark Enlightenment discussions on Twitter, it seems that most of the people involved in neoreaction are primarily traditionalists, while those of a more capitalistic ideological bent are in the minority. Of all the techno-commercialists I know of I can count most of them on one hand. The number of traditionalists however, is innumerable. To an outside observer, it may appear the techno-commercialists have no place among neoreactionaries since they seem so inextricably tied to libertarianism.

This has led me to wonder, what is it that separates the techno-commercialist from the run of the mill libertarian? Perhaps I’m being too bold here, but I would say that the only two things the commercialists have in common with libertarians is their advocacy of capitalism and their preference for natural hierarchies emerging from market forces. What separates them is what they consider to be the higher (or dare I say, moral) end of capitalism.  Libertarians like capitalism because they believe it is the only economic system that allows for individuals to maximize their own preferences without interference from a coercive state. They advocate absolute liberty for all people, whether they are hard workers or degenerates. The techno-commercialist looks at the capitalistic system and all of the innovations in its wake of creative destruction and says that there may be an end to capitalism other than individual flourishing. All of the technological advances we’ve seen through capitalism have made our lives better, our customs more efficient: more intelligent. As such, intelligence optimization is the end of capitalism itself.

Libertarians may rejoice at the idea that all people being given the freedom to pursue libertine sins of the flesh, even if they themselves don’t wish to. But techno-commercialists place a greater emphasis on intelligence optimization. Sure, we may have more orgasm machines available to us when we let the free market do its thing and the traditionalists might get their underoos in a bunch about that, but either the potential for experimental politics or the possibility of a technological singularity is just too good to pass up. Let the libertines wallow with pleasure in their perverse, degenerate sewage dump they call a society. And if libertarians want to enable the libertines and promote open border policies, then let them. If they get swept up by the tides of demographic displacement, then they brought it on themselves. The techno-commercialists will explore space, mine asteroids and build an AI which may or may not destroy humanity. As the planet becomes desolate with degeneracy, we will provide rapture for those with the resources and thereby the liberty to pursue it.

This is what I gather separates techno-commercialism from libertarianism. I can honestly say I prefer the former over the latter.

Addendum (3/18): Thanks to Nick B. Steves and B.E. Curtis for correcting my grammar.

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10 Responses to Whither Techno-Commercialism?

  1. Dale Rooster says:

    A fine analysis. And what would our dear techno-commercialists or the traditionalists do without us degenerate, libertine libertarians? Look, you’re all trying to fill a hole, a canyon, a cave, to fill a void–a black hole–in order to deposit a mineral of substance you slavishly desire and at the same time detest and lack: testicles. Neither Aimless Gromar nor Moldbug nor the Mises Institute will discover that cherished mineral missing from Neoreaction, because you all keep digging. For nothing.

    Kurtagic might help here on the mixed metaphors. Or not. Good luck typing your anti-revolutionary revolution while dismissing, if not entirely discarding, those cards in your hand that need the most: your wild jokers.

    • Perhaps I overstated my intellectual distancing from libertarianism here. And I’ll freely admit that within my own psychology, there is a tension between my capitalist and traditionalist sympathies. In spite of this, I think you and I agree on far more than you might think.

      After reading some of your blog posts, I can’t say I disagree with a lot of your critiques of neoreaction. For one thing, I think you’re right in pointing out that in many respects neoreaction has lost sight of its neocameralist/libertarian roots. I’d personally hate to see it become nothing more than mere Evolan traditionalism.

      As an olive branch, I’ll admit it’s not good to throw out the wild cards. But I think we can both agree that a handful of Jokers doesn’t get you a Royal Flush.

  2. cyder534 says:

    @CNF I really haven’t been writing at all – and I don’t consider lyself to be a TC, just deeply sympathetic of the position. There are one or two other TCers, they just are yet to start up a blog of their own. Good summary though.

    @Dale I personally find the hostility towards the Libertarians over-the-top. Yet their social liberality and indifference to the dangers of free-flowing human capital has on genuine diversity/particularity – and not its multicultural variant – draws plenty of (understandable) ire from Neo-reaction. They have a point, but I think it’s hasty to mock them and treat them as all-out-enemies.

  3. nickbsteves says:

    And if libertarians want to enable the libertines and promote open border policies, then let them. If they get swept up by the tides of demographic displacement, then they brought it on themselves. The techno-commercialists will explore space, mine asteroids and build an AI which may or may not destroy humanity.

    Would you consider social traditionalism as a Plan B?

  4. Dale Rooster says:

    I appreciate your reply and the time you took to read a couple of my rambling posts on The Cantankerous Mustache. I sincerely hope that Count Nothingface, Nick Land and other dark angels of this glorious, subversive counter-Enlightenment movement will one day emphasize (or perhaps realize) the importance of personal, economic and individual liberty. It’s not just all about transhumanism, AI and materialistic efficiency. Contrary to what many in Neoreaction argue, there are substantive artistic and spiritual values linked to freedom: like the liberty to command oneself, for starters. Yo, it’s not like our present-day, intolerant, fascistic Progressive Overlords value freedom. I hope the Dark Enlightenment doesn’t lose all sight of that pesky little fact. Mr. Aimless Gromar, though certainly one of the most intelligent writers of Nrx, is perhaps the most hostile to the few libertarians and anarchists who value individual liberty, cheap thrills, fast woman and general debauchery. It’s an unfortunate development, like discovering your five-year-old child has just been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer.

    One thing Annisomov gets right: despite the apparent futility in creating a bunker pocket in a city for the Trads, at least it’s something–a Traditionalist Free State Project. Exit within the Empire. For those of us who can’t choose Exit, something must be done besides implementing Moldbug’s Taoist art of war theory: do nothing (and win over the intellectual elites). Libertarians have been trying that for decades now to no avail (obviously). The Dark Enlightenment has about as much chance converting the Iron Triangle into a vehicle for Nrx as the Libertarian Party has winning the next presidential election. Here’s a much more useful way to burn dark energy and spend time rather than hacking away the branches of weak, potential allies–libertarians–with the double-bladed Nrx axe: discuss strategies for resistance to the United States Empire (or, as Moldbug calls it, the Vampire of the World).

    Allow me to present the work of another libertine-loving anarchist: Mr. Keith Preston at Attack the System.com. Pan-archy. Secession. Disorder. Chaos. Lions. Tigers. Bears. Oh, my! Also, for another writing topic Count Nothingface might consider engaging: Nrx presumes that a state has to exist because of the nature-abhors-a-vacuum problem concluded by Moldbug. But, Moldbug (and Nrx generally) fails to consider the vast historical accounts of societies and tribes that have existed (and escaped from) parasitical nation-states. Je vous present: the works of anarchist James C. Scott! Don’t dismiss him for being a Leftist, for as a leftist, he’s not a modernist and hardly a Progressive.

    As I mentioned in a post to Aimless Gromar, Traditionalism and Personal Liberty or Property Rights need not be antithetical concepts or cultural enemies. Bali, Indonesia, for example, is one lovely place I lived for four months that is both far more free and far more traditional than “the land of the free”. Thus, the attacks on libertarianism are neither sufficient nor necessary. But they are quite superfluous.

    Please continue the good work!

  5. Pingback: Whither Techno-Commercialism? | Neoreactive

  6. Pingback: Climbing and Tumbling | Liberty+

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