I have been familiar, probably even obsessed, with the Modern Love column for years. As far as essayists are concerned, there is no bigger platform. One former contributor to the column called it the literary equivalent of landing a spot on American Idol.
Posted on March 3, by Scott Alexander I have heard the following from a bunch of people, one of whom was me six months ago: They seem to be saying things that are either morally repugnant or utterly ridiculous.
And just as well try to give a quick summary of the sweeping elegaic paeans to a bygone age of high culture and Nyt modern love essay virtues that is Reaction. But there is some content, and some of it is disconcerting. I started reading a little about Reaction after incessantly being sent links to various Mencius Moldbug posts, and then started hanging out in an IRC channel with a few Reactionaries including the infamous Konkvistador whom I could question about it.
Obviously this makes me the world expert who is completely qualified to embark on the hitherto unattempted project of explaining it to everyone else.
Trying to sum up their ideas seems like a good way to first of all get a reference point for what their ideas are, and second of all to make it clearer why I think they deserve a rebuttal. I have tried to be charitable towards these ideas, which means this post will be pushing politically incorrect and offensive positions.
If you do not want to read it, especially the middle parts which are about race, I would totally understand that.
But if you do read it and accuse me of holding these ideas myself and get really angry, then you fail at reading comprehension forever. I originally planned to follow this up tomorrow with the post containing my arguments against these positions, but this argument took longer than I thought to write and I expect the counterargument will as well.
Expect a post critiquing reactionary ideas sometime in the next…week? This is the post where I argue that modern society is rotten to the core, and that the only reasonable solution is to dig up King James II, clone him, and give the clone absolute control over everything.
The imperial Chinese thought nothing could beat imperial China, the medieval Spaniards thought medieval Spain was a singularly impressive example of perfection, and Communist Soviets were pretty big on Soviet Communism.
Meanwhile, we think 21st-century Western civilization, with its democracy, secularism, and ethnic tolerance is pretty neat. Since the first three examples now seem laughably wrong, we should be suspicious of the hypothesis that we finally live in the one era whose claim to have gotten political philosophy right is totally justified.
Speak out against the Chinese Empire and you lose your head. Speak out against the King of Spain and you face the Inquisition. Speak out against Comrade Stalin and you get sent to Siberia. The great thing about western liberal democracy is that it has a free marketplace of ideas.
Everybody criticizes some aspect of our society. Noam Chomsky made a career of criticizing our society and became rich and famous and got a cushy professorship. I say we need two Stalins!
You have found a way to criticize the government in Stalinist Russia and totally get away with it. Who knows, you might even get that cushy professorship. Western society has been moving gradually further to the left for the past several hundred years at least.
It went from divine right of kings to constutitional monarchy to libertarian democracy to federal democracy to New Deal democracy through the civil rights movement to social democracy to???.
No, fifty times faster! If you start suggesting maybe it should switch directions and move the direction opposite the one the engine is pointed, then you might have a bad time. Go back to sterilizing the disabled and feeble-minded. If you really need convincing, suggest re-implementing segregation, or how about slavery?
See how far freedom of speech gets you.
In America, it will get you fired from your job and ostracized by nearly everyone. Depending on how loudly you do it, people may picket your house, or throw things at you, or commit violence against you which is then excused by the judiciary because obviously they were provoked.Both columnists’ essays led to book deals, and the writers have been featured on the popular “ Modern Love” Podcast, a radio show produced by WBUR NPR that’s based on selected Modern Love essays.
Mar 03, · Note: Amy Krouse Rosenthal died on March 13, , 10 days after this essay was published. You can read her obituary here.
In June, , her husband published this response. I . But before you send your essay to Modern Love in the New York Times, check these tips from the editor.
Jan 11, · Credit Brian Rea. More than 20 years ago, the psychologist Arthur Aron succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory. Last summer, I applied his . Feb 09, · We’re inviting college students nationwide to open their hearts and laptops and write an essay that tells the truth about what love is like for them today.
Jan 11, · Credit Brian Rea. More than 20 years ago, the psychologist Arthur Aron succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory. Last summer, I applied his .