This is my fourth article for Hoppean.org and before I got in on this project, I had been averse to political discourse and lacked diligence towards my writing for about two or three years. Three articles in, I have been reminded of why said aversion existed – and it came back in a flash.
While all of my previous pieces have been well received by the whole team, of course they would find themselves in front of those in disagreement with them, who would go on to counter-argue all over my Twitter notifications. I don’t really have a problem with answering questions or criticism, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise if I say none of those arguments were productive – at all. All of this just served as a well-needed reminder to why I am so into writing and so not into debating. Looking back at some of the pieces that got me started into neoreactionary thought also helped cement that, so hopefully I won’t be forgetting it again.
Anyway, that’s exactly what I would like to talk about in this piece: why writing page-long dissertations for an obscure outlet or your personal WordPress blog is more productive than debating other people. It’s a pretty simple answer actually, though not particularly obvious – at least not for me – and can be boiled down to a single word: trust.
“At present, most Plainlanders (commoners) feel that Washcorp (the US Government) is a productive institution which serves their interests, and whose occasional errors are correctable. They believe this not because they have thought the question through themselves, but because they have (quite sensibly) delegated it to credible information sources, whom they trust.” – Mencius Moldbug
That excerpt from Moldbug’s most-excellent summary on “How to Defeat the US Government”, originally published in 2008 as an open letter to Ron Paul supporters, perfectly encompasses the sole reason all of our seemingly irrefutable statistics and well-constructed arguments fall flat when faced with a reaction image, buzzword or Twitter block, which is obviously because it’s foolish to expect people who don’t trust you (and through disagreement gain a natural incentive to dislike you) to trust the information you provide them with, “It’s perfectly normal and healthy”, as Moldbug says in the same article, and we practice it as well by rightfully distrusting the information handed to us by the likes of China or the United Nations.
So how exactly is preaching to a brick wall – or low-traffic website– any more productive? The answer is also fairly simple, and it’s that your message stays there archived, to be read (regardless if tomorrow or 10 years from now) by an audience who actively searched or at least deliberately clicked on it, and are thus much more eager to take you seriously and trust you.
Come to think of it, that’s how I ended up where I am and how I suspect most of you ended up reading this. The bad personal experiences naturally springing from our forcefully egalitarian order are a bigger reality check than any bar graph or research paper will ever be. The recent riots in response to George Floyd’s death speak for themselves in that regard.
Getting the short end of that stick is exactly what makes people lose their trust in the state, the media and the pseudo-intellectuals who lied to them for over a decade in school. Once that trust is shattered – the chains have been broken and the cave has been exited – the search for new ideals begins, as all the information and knowledge previously handed to you by the order begins to be questioned, most of which reveals itself to be completely nonsensical after a bit of pondering, and that’s why our job as ideologues is to make sure the people who are actually looking for the truth are able to find it.
This is perhaps my most personal piece to date, an open letter to myself even, because I’m admittedly unsure of who needs to hear this, but I still think it’s a point worth getting across. I suppose debating can still be productive in some ways, especially if you enjoy it, but it’s just not for me. Wasting your time and energy on people who evidently have no interest in believing you – but rather in shutting you down in order to further their own agenda – is just about one of the least productive things you could do if furthering your ideals is your ultimate goal. You won’t be able to get your point across or convince anyone, and that’s because no one gets into a debate they want to lose, they’re just there to prove themselves right.
What’s important to me is reaching those in search of a new truth, and that requires me to be unapologetic about what I write, because at the end of the day our well-constructed arguments are worth as much to those who hate our ideals as the constitution is to those who sit in congress. That being said, factuality and eloquence are still important: the newly-awakened who stumble upon your work will more than likely have a skeptical mindset due to their recent realizations, and being able to surpass that is important.
Lastly, I would like to mention the importance of well-constructed premises over well-constructed arguments. I am not encouraging you commit fallacies or write sloppily, but when no one’s going be writing back to you, there’s not much of a reason to worry about how easy to cherry pick your arguments are. Instead, you should be focusing on interesting and thought-provoking premises that will make readers think for themselves about the issue at hand, even if they don’t make it to the end of your piece. Asking good questions is the best way to get good answers.