Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Things.  §

© Aron Hsiao / 2004
  • The monotheists have it right. I am not talking about the theology; I don’t have any opinion on the theology. But on the sociology, they have it right. A functioning human society, such as we prefer it to be, requires bonds.
  • Classical liberalism dislikes bonds. As a general rule, it rejects them as tyrannical and illiberal. Of course, classical liberals will argue that they argue merely for bonds that are chosen, rather than imposed.
  • This is, of course, something of a shell game. There is a word for “bonds” that are chosen: “preferences.” In classical liberalism, all ontology becomes preference. Or: Unsolid bonds are not, after all, bonds.
  • Game theory can only come to exist and be validated in a world such as the one prescribed by classical liberalism, in which all ontology is preference. It is at that point that parties must begin to guess at and calculate the preferences of others—because the very solidity of the world—the very solidity of solidity itself, in fact—now depends on the mere preferences of others.
  • Freedom is, in other words, no way to live. At least not as we currently conceive of it.
  • My life and personal philosophy have long been spaces in which freedom and authoritarianism are in tension. This is proper. Each must be made to temper the other; both are evil on their own.
  • The pendulum has swung too far at this point. Trump is a correction to the campus madness and the activist madness and the full-on social-structural assault. Those who still have to live in reality are intuitively protecting it, because basic ontological predictability is all that you have left once you are at the bottom fo the ladder. If that goes, too, you are in free-fal into the metaphysical void.
  • I used to doubt saws about “the wisdom of the crowd” and so on. Now I don’t.
  • The road to hell is paved with good intentions. So it is with ours. And at some point, once a critical surplus of good intentions is achieved, there is no path back from hell along the road; the road isn’t static, after all—it is emergent. Collect enough good intentions and it folds back on itself. At that point, all roads lead to hell, and all intentions are good intentions. We’re there now.
  • This is another way of saying that at some point beyond the bounds of moderation, good and evil become identical. This is why moderation was invented. It is also why people these days don’t believe in good and evil as distinct quantities that are different from one another—because they no longer are. There have been too many good intentions.
  • The admonitions against utopianism are sound, but also doomed to forever be ineffective. This is the human condition—in a search for ontological, metaphysical, and material security that can never, in fact, be achieved, humans invariably and unwittingly collaborate—by pursing, always, more of these—to destroy their own collective ontological, metaphysical, and material security.
  • It is a circle. It is not linear. These were right; those were wrong.