Moloch's Wars, Part III
“The world nowadays is so perverted. Some people think I'm insane only because they don't understand my point of view.” -Mario Fingarov
It is time to define Moloch for those who are unaware of the concept, and also for RTE readers who want to know what I am writing about when I refer to Moloch.
I needed to do this a very long time ago, and here I am trying to drop this entirely as a single-stream post-midnight essay. This is the problem with having a thousand pages of essays and analyses going at any one moment in time. So be it.
Moloch (a.k.a. Molech, Molek, and the Clinton Foundation in some parts of the world) traditionally refers to a Canaanite god or demon associated with fire and child sacrifice. Readers may be interested in looking up references to Moloch in the Hebrew Bible or watching some guy talk about Moloch and Baal for half an hour, but I'm going to skip past religious imagery and ancient texts and go straight for the modern jugular.
First, let us begin with the economic notion of the "invisible hand" made popular by Adam Smith (sure, these references were merely offhand comments, but I'm making a point). The notion of the invisible hand is a sort of analogy where words fail to fully describe the organic complexity of the economy. The economy is itself hard to define, but let us call it the sum of the forces manifest in the wills of people participating in markets (of any kind). A similar (poetical) analogy might raise this phenomenal collection of technological power into something like a god.
No, this god is not Moloch!
This economic god is beautiful and exists wherever sentient beings exist. It is of us and it is for us. And if we give this god a name, let us call it Gaia.
If this description of Gaia bothers monotheistic readers, I get it. We can reserve God for "the all", leap past Greek pantheon, and call Gaia a "spirit", which is also more accurate since Gaia as I have described her is in fact an apparition. The Greek Gaia represents Earth, and what is special about Earth is that it's full of people who do technological stuff, so to the extent that I'm stealing and diverging, I may be diverging by less than the average modern text relative to the Greeks.
And what my description of Gaia, the economic spirit, has in common with the Greek Gaia is that she births.
What does Gaia have to do with Moloch?
I'm getting there. Perversions are hard to define without the ideal of purity.
Moloch is the perversion of Gaia
"Fear is cruel and mean. The political reigns of terror have been reigns of madness and malignity,--a total perversion of opinion;society is upside down, and its best men are thought too bad to live." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Gaia is the economy in its natural, and mostly cooperative state. Gaia is productive. Gaia creates, including life itself. Gaia has a thriving ecology that tends toward stability.
Moloch is the taint of corporatism and the influence of shadowy centralized hierarchy. Moloch replaces cooperation and formless defection without equilibrium. Moloch promotes the Philanthropathic Kunlangeta to power by suppressing those who feel pain from defecting against their neighbor or family. Moloch is Gaia brainwashed and poisoned to insanity, yearning for illusory immortality.
Gaia values everyone. Moloch uses everyone, caging them by their own actions.
Where Gaia is the sum expressions of the interests of all, Moloch minimizes and abuses people, twists and distorts perceptions so that the Kunlangeta gain so much control that everyone who wants to participate in that economy chases the interests of the Kunlangeta.
Gaia is truth. Moloch is the totalitarian Matrix.
Gaia is achievement. Moloch is a patronizing pat on the head.
Gaia may be an ideal, but Moloch is the demon of dystopia.
Pfuck Scott Alexander
"A basic principle unites all of the multipolar traps above. In some competition optimizing for X, the opportunity arises to throw some other value under the bus for improved X. Those who take it prosper. Those who don’t take it die out. Eventually, everyone’s relative status is about the same as before, but everyone’s absolute status is worse than before. The process continues until all other values that can be traded off have been – in other words, until human ingenuity cannot possibly figure out a way to make things any worse." -Scott Alexander
I needed to get that out, and it sounds worse than it is intended. Let me explain.
Scott Alexander is the [somewhat] pseudonym of a previously productive rationalist blogger who deleted most of his work (which I usually appreciated and sometimes loved) after being tracked down and doxxed by the New York Times. I feel for him on that level, and sometimes wonder if I should have continued writing under pseudonyms myself. Scott's Meditations on Moloch stands out as one of the best essays to hit the internet in the past decade. It's almost as good as what this article would be if I took the time (wink). It was cool enough to be sold as an NFT (shiney!).
But now (and even prior to the NYT's nasty attacks) Scott's writing often looks like that of every other influencer you (hopefully) suspect is likely battered between the stick and the carrot during the plandemonium. It often sucks—particularly on pandemic related topics. If you cannot detect the change since the pandemic began or the NYT went after him, I can't help you.
But on the subject of early treatment medicine, Scott failed hard.
Alexandros Marinos has been taking Scott to task over Scott's distinctly awful coverage of ivermectin efficacy evidence. Scott attacks Flavio Cadegiani over his looks while giving the Superfriends (failed dunk artist included) a bizarre degree of undeserved respect. But Scott has really gotten away scott-free (pardon the something) over his absurd opinion on hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). If I understand his dismissive take correctly, he basically said that HCQ should be considered merely a shot in the dark because repurposed drugs generally fail. While true, that dismisses the conditional in Bayes' identity, which is that there was a pile of prior research pointing to HCQ as the answer to coronaviruses.
Somebody who takes himself seriously as an expert in evaluating the evidence of drug efficacy should at least muster an answer to this:
Is Scott eating Moloch's carrot now? Or is there a sinister stick aimed at him as I suspect is the case with the suddenly statistically inept John Ioannidis?
As I said, "Pfuck Scott Alexander" may be overly harsh, as I admitted. It's harsh partially because Scott himself shined a light on Peak Moloch. I hope that I can hate the game, not the player. But it's up to the player to send a signal that the game has owned them.
Moloch is the Manifestation of Fear
"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." -Frank Herbert, Dune, Litany Against Fear
Fear is one of Moloch's greatest tools. Fear is what keeps people from devoting themselves to Gaia from new seeds. The Plandemonium is the induced state of Peak Fear, which is why I assume we're at Peak Moloch.
When everyone fears not following the signals that Moloch lays out, they latch onto Daddy Moloch in the unhealthiest of ways: "Save me from the instability, Maestro!" Moloch's over-bloated body then gets weaker until it collapses. Moloch has no sense of profit sharing, so the gains of technology are consumed in Moloch until the economy shrinks. That is destiny insofar as it is character. In the meantime, a great deal of damage is done during the Death Spiral.
Remind yourself, every day, that it's a choice. Fear is a choice. Blood sacrifice is a choice. Where you will be when Moloch falls is a choice.