Re: poly: Libertarians as reactionary liberals?

From: CurtAdams <>
Date: Tue Apr 21 1998 - 21:35:15 PDT

In a message dated 4/21/98 2:35:56 PM, wrote:

>Is there a reactionary mindset abstractable from any specific political

I've been stewing on this idea for a bit, although I was thinking in terms
of "left" vs. "right" (your "liberal" and "reactionary", more or less). I
was wondering, basically, how fundamentalists, Nazis, and communists in
post-Soviet Russia are all so effortlessly pegged as "rightist". I
have an idea, although not well worked out.

My idea is to approach this as a memetic competition. Suppose there are
two basic ways for people to compete memetically. One is by allying into
large memetically homogenous groups and attempting to displace
competing memes. The other is to pick up the best available memes
for yourself. I would hypothesize that people
pursuing the displacement strategy would adapt relatively closed minds
in order to keep their alliances stable ("rightists" or "reactionaries"
or "revolutionaries"). The alternative learning strategy would require
its practicioners to keep open minds and have a high level of tolerance,
to increase the chance of picking up nifty new memes ("leftists" or

I am phrasing the choice of strategy as primarily by the people, not
the memes. People would, by my theories, switch back and forth between
strategies based on anticipated gains. When people think they can form
the alliances to take over or eliminate competition, they do. When
people think they can't take over, they pursue the "liberal" approach.
So when groups previously pursuing "liberal" goals, such as Jacobins
or the political correctness folks, think they can win and beat everybody
else out, they try. Respectively, those two groups became murderous
and insufferable.

>This idea as such has probably been had before, but I wonder if there's a
>difference in the mindsets of forward-looking radicals and reactionaries
>suffering a sense of 'paradise lost'. I also don't know of past radical
>liberals; this could be a selection effect, or a perception effect from being
>one myself, but perhaps liberalism doesn't lend itself to dogma without a
>reactionary origin or a different supporting philosophy such as Objectivism.

See above. Democracies, also, do tend to become dogmatic about
patriotism and hatred of enemy-associated ethnic group during war.
"Liberals" can indeed shift gears, although I think it's somewhat unusual.
Pursuit of liberal strategies only rarely creates the opportunity for
large or powerful agglomerations of highly like-minded people.
Received on Wed Apr 22 04:51:17 1998

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Mar 07 2006 - 14:45:30 PST