Mencius Moldbug is having a bit of a moment lately. Or he was, until a moment ago. He kept popping up on YouTube this summer, very openly panhandling. After a riveting half-podcast the word-count smoke seemed to dissipate, and I remembered what a one-trick pony he is. He never gets to the point. He just leads you around by the nose.
What I liked about Moldbug was the very thorough way he diagnosed liberalism as a kind of mania, using primary sources. What I disliked about him was his dismissal—by turns high-handed and skittish—of conspiracy theories. Drug addiction isn’t treated by diagnosis alone. Sometimes you have to kill a drug dealer.
Moldbug’s most black-pilling feat by far is his critique of the American Revolution. Supposing he’s right that the founders were rabble-rousing charlatans, and that King George did nothing wrong. So what? You don’t have to tell me things are bad. But I’m armed to the teeth over here in America, I can own land, and can’t be prosecuted for what I write on Twitter. Contrast this with life under the British monarchy, where the government can literally murder your kid.
So I fail to see the need for this huge blackpill. Power is always diffuse, even under an absolute monarchy. Rome began as a republic, and degenerated into a monarchy. Like any system, the problem with America is not form, but function. Personnel is policy. In the last installment of his “Gentle Introduction,” Moldbug essentially says that a worthy alternative only needs to exist, and when America implodes, this alternative will fill the vacuum, because people will just roll over and accept it. Call me cuckoo for conspiracy puffs, but that’s exactly what Klaus Schwab thinks.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I think there’s a much simpler way. A republic and an aristocracy are basically the same thing. In The Republic, Socrates used the allegory of the ship’s captain to suggest that only the wise should participate in politics. But the unwise (both the shrewd and the misguidedly fervent) are fully capable of overthrowing the wise. Might I suggest an alternative criterion? Only those who have a real investment in the future have the right to decide the future course of state, and determining who they are is far easier than determining who is wise. Obviously, they are people with biological children, who have treated their investment (their kids) with the consideration and care it deserves, i.e., by maintaining a functional marriage to the other biological parent.
I know it’s a long-shot. Solutions to big problems always are. But if we could limit the franchise to couples married and cohabiting continuously at least ten years, with at least one biological child together, we could strike those whose interests are selfish, decadent and fleeting from the voter rolls without discriminating by race, sex, or property ownership. Narrow interest groups would still have their proxies, but the proxies would have as much in common with the rest of the electorate as they do with their separate identity groups.
Understand: I’m not saying every non-voter should effectively be a non-person. Every provision in the Bill of Rights would still apply to all citizens, but the criteria I’ve outlined would have to be met in order to participate in civic policymaking, i.e., to vote. Make that ironclad, and it wouldn’t take too many other reforms to make things real nice for normal, decent people. Normal, decent people are the only ones who have a shot at happiness anyway, because deviants will always be miserable.
That is a worthy alternative. If you will it, it is no dream.