My priomary anti-formalist objection is purely ethical, non-utilitarian. Freedom is a top-level value, along with wealth. Attempting to skip the ethics part is like attempting to understand why religious HBD'ers aren't advocating mandatory abortion for the stupid classes.
However, my practical objection goes like this:
There are no spherical cows.
MM misunderstands state power. While fnargl might make for a decent wealth-maximizing path to a near an-cap state (with a tax)...no human autocrat can ever reach this, and more importantly can't even approximate it. MM's assumption of safe, non-power-jockeying rule is (a) unknown in all of human history, and (b) against human nature. Once you remove the assumption that we CAN approach this using a monarchy (or near), it seems to me that the whole edifice crumbles.
So...Two questions of the formalists:
- Does Moldbug's (non-techno-fantasy weapon locks) solution rely on non-power-jockeying? No pretenders usurping the throne in Monarchies. No kings suppressing the power-jockeying among subordinates. No coalitional structure that ACTUALLY determines the rulership, despite the pretense of monarchy (See Shogunate Japan)
- If not...what are the impacts of removing the (false) assumption of no power-jockeying from the Moldbuggian model? How do you address the research of Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, who (a) has a game theoretic model on how power maintenance works that is substantially better supported than the pop-evo-psych models of game/PUA, and (b) has an awfully good real track record as a political predictor, both in autocracies (Iran, Russia) and democracies (India).
- Furthermore, how do we address the BBdM model that says, summarized in 11 words: "For an autocrat to maintain power, he MUST screw the population."
As far as I can personally tell...once you remove the fake fnargl...most of the problems Moldbug attributes to democracy turn out to be problems with government.
Note...this is NOT an argument for AnCap. This is an argument that the Moldbuggian position of autocracy in order to solve the problems of democracy fails badly. If Moldbug has answered this question, I'd take a link...or an analysis from my formalist readers.
I see 2 avenues for attack, neither of them promising:
- Yes, we CAN get fnargl-like non-jockeying behavior.
- BBdM's model is bad.
But indubitably, my formalist readers have looked at this problem harder than I have...and have responses.