Edit – July 3, 2022: I no longer think the grand schemer is China, but this post reflects my understanding in January 2021. To understand who the grand schemer is, listen to Bill Cooper, Aaron Russo and Myron Fagan. I also suggest Dr. Richard Day's remarks. My current views are in Linchpin failing.
In a nutshell: rationalists do not use their intellect to understand the world, or to take actions at decisive times, when knowing the correct action is necessary. Instead, they use it to "explain" things in hindsight.
The rationalist use of intellect is intellectual masturbation. It is used because it feels good, not because it does good. It does not effectively predict the future, even in the short-term. It does not even help understand the present. It's used to intellectualize the past; it turns out being just-so stories, convenient narratives developed with full benefit of hindsight, which do not explain as much as explain away. It lacks the power to predict anything but the most humdrum outcomes.
In a word, rationalism is useless.
Case in point: current events. If rationalism had value, then rationalists should understand, in a way so there's no doubt:
The major social and political threat that has been unfolding for the past 20 years.
The major actors promoting and opposing that threat.
The significance of current events as a climax.
Who's the good guy and the bad guy in these events.
What is instead happening is that rationalists are doing worse than rednecks on all four of the above, and categorically so.
In the late 1990s, the US administration under Bill Clinton decided to normalize trade with China, even though China was and remains run by a tyrannical, totalitarian Communist Party that has known, blunt disregard for human rights.
The reasoning was that trade will bring increased prosperity to the Chinese. As they prosper, they will become educated and will gain appreciation for civilized things. As they gain appreciation for civilized things, they will grow dislike for life in a totalitarian regime. They will then overthrow the Communist Party, or it will transform into something much better.
This reasoning was well-known in Western media at the time. The CCP was therefore well aware that their long-term overthrow was the plan. So why did they want and agree to normalization of trade?
Because their plan has been, and is, to overthrow the West. To do to us what we wanted to do to them.
To achieve this, they've relied on our weaknesses, or what they think of as weaknesses. Corruptibility of individuals in our corporate and political leadership is certainly one which they have exploited in spades. Our willingness to allow our technologies to be stolen, our industries to be taken over, is certainly a weakness, and they have used it.
Moreover, China believes freedom of thought and speech is a weakness. At home, they crush political dissent. In the West, they've gained influence in the media and academia, and they have used it to promote movements which would stay fringe because most people consider them insane. These movements are being promoted not only despite, but because of their dysfunctional elements. The intent is to aid China by promoting an economic and cultural destruction of the West.
These movements include BLM, where founders describe themselves as trained marxists. It includes the 2020-era "woke" movement where everyone who disagrees is a "fascist" and a "racist". It includes the "antifa" and "critical race theory". It includes making it illegal to "misgender" people, i.e. to call someone a "he" when she prefers to identify as "she".
None of these things fly in China. China is:
Racist without shame. Minorities that are not Han Chinese are openly oppressed. Black people who stay there or visit are wildly stereotyped and discriminated against, in ways that are unthinkable in the US.
Gender-traditional. Gay and trans rights in China exist, but as a media narrative, they are silent.
Media-controlled. Victimization narratives are simply not allowed air-time, the opposite of media in the West.
Rationalists appear to think the disturbing social trends in the US in the past 20 years are entirely emergent and coincidental. These trends would have nothing to do with normalization of trade with China, their investments in Hollywood and entertainment industries, or their remarkable financial influence in US higher education.
The fact that strange people have strange opinions is not truly weird, of course. What's weird is that the strange people get power and influence, and their opinions have become "mainstream". We have been told, from all of the media and Hollywood, that "all good people believe" in victimhood narratives and white guilt. But when it comes to an actual election, it turns out decisively that voters don't believe these things, and are in fact appalled by what is happening.
Even according to tampered election results in corrupt media, at least 75 million people voted against the woke bullshit. Those of us who follow the evidence know there were certainly more, and that "woke" voters are a very loud minority.
Yet "rationalists" do not recognize this. "Rationalists" live in a fake universe where what the media say is true. They will continue to live in it until the untruths are demolished. And the untruths will need to be demolished by someone other than rationalists. Truth must be brought back by people who are more practical, useful, and reasoned. This is to say, rednecks!
The major actors
The major actors in the threat are the Chinese Communist Party, which has corrupted Western corporations, politicians and the media; and then, an informal alignment of powerful people in these institutions. This alignment is commonly nicknamed the "deep state". The alignment is informal, in the sense that everyone involved are greedy little rats, involved in their own personal pursuits of fame, influence, money and power. But there is nevertheless an alignment.
A common thread seems to be that most have skeletons in the closet. These are not coincidental, but instrumental to them being where they are. Indeed, it seems that having skeletons is a precondition to being helped into power, and being accepted as an insider. The skeletons are used for blackmail: if we need you to vote a certain way, and you don't, we spill the information about your misdeeds to media we control, and the media rip you apart.
And if you do not heed warnings, you might get whacked. Like Seth Rich, or Harrison Deal, or Beranton Whisenant, or Michael Hastings, a journalist who dared investigate CIA head John Brenner. All clearly suicides and "accidents".
Rationalists do not believe in any such sort of alignment. In 2014, the pseudonymous rationalist psychiatrist writing as Scott Alexander – also known on Less Wrong as Yvain – wrote one of his most influential articles, Meditations on Moloch. This is a long and meandering article which boils down to "Bad things happen, and no one is at fault."
Not to disparage Scott, I liked his blog and loved several of his articles, just maybe not quite this one. To his credit, he appears to be too young to have personally witnessed any part of actual Communism, before it collapsed in the early 1990s. He is too innocent to have witnessed what it is like when a small portion of society's most corrupt individuals; people who took power and who call themselves "the state"; dictate bad things that are going to happen to everyone, and these bad things happen not because of some emergent phenomenon, but because that is what The Party decided.
The younger rationalists – those born recently and in very nice countries – also do not have this experience, and so don't believe there's a coordinated threat. The very media that are the threat have been telling us for decades we are the threat. So now a generation of smart people seeks explanations for our troubles in our "built-in biases". They doom and gloom about this intangible "Moloch", and can't believe that much of what is wrong is actually a coordinated campaign.
Trump has not stepped down. The number of his supporters is increasing, and their passions are fiery. His right-hand man is posting ominous pictures of Trump with presidents like Lincoln in the background. The President has called his supporters into a massive rally in DC on January 6. He has announced overwhelming evidence will be shown. If you've followed sources other than the liars, you know the evidence is great, and it is just a matter of time before it's known.
If you have any clue whatsoever, you would know that the firearms of 75 million actual patriots count for more than the personal corruption of Justice Roberts. You know that at a historical time like this, the outcomes for the nation as a whole will not depend simply on that Roberts has likely illegally adopted his children, and that his presence was noted on Epstein's island more than once, and that he's most likely being blackmailed to prevent evidence coming into court – to either dismiss election cases, or to schedule them for after the inauguration, which is what his Supreme Court has done.
You know that on January 6, the American people are going to take back the country from a corrupt clique that has been mismanaging it for decades. You know that after the BLM bullshit and the Covid bullshit of 2020, there is no way back. The people have had enough and this is no longer going to stand. You know Biden will not be President, and that he can either decide to resign, or hang. You know that federal and state governments will be revolutionized. You know that the escalating, brazen disinformation in the media are hopeless, final death throes of a corporate state that is facing its end.
Unless you are a rationalist.
If you are a rationalist, you are educated. If you are educated, you are standing on the shoulders of giants. If you are standing on the shoulders of giants, it helps you none that the giants brought you to the wrong place, and that standing on their shoulders faces you in the opposite direction of where the important things are currently happening.
By and large, don't even understand that January 6 is coming.
If they suspect it, they think the side that needs to win should not.
They think the patriotic moderates, who are coming to uphold the Constitution, are far-right.
They think the corrupt far-left, who are demolishing the Constitution, are reasonable.
They think "rule of law" means to accept an illegitimate, brazenly fraudulent election.
They think the "authorities" are telling them the truth, and any lies are minor and not on purpose.
In a time that is outrageous, they think people who defend the status quo with eloquence speak truth.
And most importantly of all: if they have doubts, they are cowards. They are too cowardly even to upvote. In a time when standing up for what is right is decisive, they either don't know what is right, or they are too afraid to stand.
Who's the good guy?
The good guy is Trump. There is no longer any question about it.
I doubted Trump in 2016. Still, I was ecstatic to see him elected. On a visceral level that can't be explained, I knew Hillary would be a disaster for the US and the world. Trump's "surprise" victory felt like everyone being saved from a grim fate, even despite him being an "obvious jack-ass". I told myself, we can handle Trump for the next 4 years, even if he is a "moron". Surely, they will impeach him. Or at least, the people certainly won't elect him again.
I knew the media were lying, and I still believed them. I believed their characterization of Trump. I believed the carefully selected clips and framing of his appearances. I knew the endless hatchet job articles against him were just propaganda. I knew he was "not actually that bad". But I thought at least there must be some substance to the mass hate campaign.
I realize now there wasn't any. Trump has been, hands-down, the best US President in decades. I did not see this, all the way up to the 2020 election! I knew the media were lying, but I thought the allegations of his corruption must be true. After all, he became President, so he must have at least as much dirt on his hands as the rest of them. Right?
Trump is the first President in my living memory who is opposing the systematic corruption of the corporate state, and he is paying a dear price for it. Every time he called out the "fake news", that wasn't him being hyperbolic. He was being real.
He's sexist? He has a largely female legal and press team at a time when the Biden/Harris campaign was lying that their administration would be the first to have one.
He's anti-gay? Trump nominated openly gay Richard Grenell as Acting Director of National Intelligence. For this, The Guardian attacked Grenell for being a "pink-washer" who is "setting-back LGBT+ equality".
He's racist? Everyone is racist, and you too should be. In the clown world we still live in at this time, being "racist" means failing to ignore events that actually exist. Such ignoring of reality is to the detriment of everyone, including minorities.
In policies that matter, Trump is not racist. His policies have helped black people in particular. Meanwhile, career politician Biden was instrumental in the 1994 "tough on crime" legislation that put millions of black people in prison.
He's authoritarian? His very handling of outrageous election fraud shows the opposite. His actions have been understated at every turn! If it was me in his place, I would have declared martial law on November 5th! I would have sent marines to confiscate Google, Twitter, YouTube, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, all the media outlets within a week of the election.
There is a good chance that Trump's opponents were counting on him to do that – and he didn't. Instead, he's played it by the law every step of the way, and has exposed corruption at each level of the political process.
On January 6, this will become undeniable. It is already undeniable to the patriots who are going to DC.
Throughout this time, two outlets have reported reliably. One is OAN. The other is The Epoch Times: an outlet closely affiliated with Falun Gong, a religion that is persecuted in China, mainly for the crimes of practicing Tai Chi and opposing the Communist Party. The Epoch Times is openly biased in favor of certain things, but they seem to be decent things. Their tag line is "truth and tradition", which is cringey, but it also isn't very wrong. They call Covid-19 "the CCP virus", which is also cringey, but also not wrong. They are rabidly against the CCP and against communism, and again not wrong.
I'm not saying, "Trust The Epoch Times until 2030!" I'm saying now was the time to have read them. You don't have to now, but you still have time to be part of the solution. Your support is needed: not everything will wrap up on January 6.
But if you're a rationalist...
If you're a rationalist, you might wonder whether the CCP are in fact so bad. After all, you would like to dictate your will benevolently to the world, so what's wrong with people who do? Perhaps they're like-minded good folks, like you are!
You might think they're better than the Falun Gong, because the latter are a religion and therefore "irrational". The CCP is "rational", and therefore share your values in that regard. So you might prefer the CCP, even though the Falun Gong are being persecuted and have no power, and the CCP has successfully infiltrated most of our institutions, launched Covid against us as a psy-op, and they're this close to turning all of the West into totalitarian, post-truth Chinese vassal states.
I've known a well-known rationalist for 20 years. His main motivation is to save the world from existential threats; primarily, from rogue AI. Yet time and time again, he has been on the wrong side of each threat that's faced us.
In 2000, George W. was clearly the dark ominous development that shouldn't win, while Al Gore was the reasonable alternative. My friend at that time supported George W. – he preferred his policies on economics.
In 2003, the entire world protested against the US invasion of Iraq. Half the people in the US, and 90% of everyone abroad, knew the invasion was on false pretexts. There were massive, million-strong protests in cities all over the world.
My friend, the rationalist, favored the Iraq invasion, on the premise that "Maybe the world needs a policeman."
In 2020, my friend is wrong again. Between blanket denial in the media and massive evidence outside it, he has believed the media. Surely, not all of the authorities are compromised. "Even Mitch McConell is against Trump!" I tell him about The Epoch Times, and he sides with the CCP because a totalitarian regime that actively oppresses tens of millions is less scary to him than one of the religions they're persecuting. My friend downplays the crimes against humanity committed by the CCP against the Uyghurs and in Tibet. He thinks the CCP today are "just after money" and are "not such a threat".
The irony is that my friend is strongly against the "woke" movements which the CCP has been encouraging and enabling. He recognizes we already almost live in a post-truth society, that "wokeness" has almost completely compromised the integrity of our institutions. He recognizes, if this isn't fixed, our entire civilization is at stake.
But he hasn't connected the dots. Trump bad. He might be authoritarian. CCP doesn't seem bad. Religion is suspicious.
Disclaimer added on request: My friend says he does not believe these statements accurately reflect his actions and views.
I ask you now;
What is the value of rationalism:
If you have not noticed a threat that has been unfolding for the past 20 years?
If you are not seeing the climax of this threat when it's 3 days away?
If you not only don't stand up, but cheer for the wrong side, when time has come to know and do what's right?
How is rationalism going to save the world, if it consistently puts you on the wrong side of bad? Including now?
I'm telling you: rationalism is intellectual onanism. To fix it – to go a way that isn't a dead end – I suggest read Seth.
No, seriously. Rationalism, if it is practiced alone, is a dead end. You need the inner self. It's explained by Seth.