Bloody Shovel 3

We will drown and nobody shall save us

Posts tagged as: monarchy

On Absolutism

AnomalyUK was so kind as to write a response to my last post. I was commenting on his post at his blog, but it got too long, so I'd better post it over here.

He talks about the problem about organizations having a nominal and a real agenda is basically what it's called the agency problem. Which it is.  The problem is that for any organization to be efficient, by definition, it needs to have goal orientation. And the goal must be shared by all. And that is pretty much impossible, as individuals tend to have their own individual goal. That's biology. The old way of solving that problem is by absolutism: only one man gets power, so his goal prevails, and he has power to enforce that the people working for him actually do his work.

Of course absolutism solves the agency problem, as there is no agent, or the agents get no power. Absolutism, also makes administration way more efficient, the market shows that, corporations work when a man has absolute power, and he has drive. Absolutism has two problems, one is that not all monarchs are driven by any purpose, preferring hedonistic idleness. That historically has set their countries into chaos as other people driven to power fight between themselves to occupy the power vacuum that the idle kin...


After refusing for years, I finally yielded to a friends's insistence that I watch Game of Thrones. And it's actually pretty good. Quite oversexed, you might say, but not comically so, as the infamous Rome series, which had Augustus fucking his elder sister, out of the blue. I have no trouble believing that a quarter or so of the medieval elite were oversexed whoremongers. We do have an unrealistic image of the Middle Ages as a time of piety and boredom and sheer peasant stagnation. Then again it does nag me to read that the author of the series, George R. R. Martin is an Obama supporter, and a Carter worshiper. Of all people. I wonder what Jimmy Carter would think if he watched the series, with all those naked women and guts spilling out of soldiers.

The fun point of the series is to see how power is grabbed, lost, used and fought about. It's mostly about petty disputes, personal dislikes and other middle-schoolish personal relations. Revenge as the ultimate human emotion. And if you know something about how Feudalism worked, it all does ring a bell somehow. You read in a book how this lord had this lover, or killed this man or whatever, and well that's just something you read. Seeing it on a movie though, and quite vividly, gives another impression. Which makes it all so much real. I've said before I am a great believer in the dictum that all politics are local. But local not as in town, but as in house. Or castle, or palace, or whatever it is. Politics is about...

The Chinese Bureaucracy, 1

Don't believe the hype: learning Chinese is hard. Very hard. It's not for every one. Pronunciation is hard, grammar isn't as easy as often said, characters are insane,  and every city has its own dialect or outright different language which makes it very hard to understand anything unless people actually want you to understand.

And what makes it harder of all is that there's just so little interesting content in Mandarin. I know people who learned German to read Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer himself is said to have learned Spanish in his old age to be able to read Calderón de la Barca's plays. Manga and videogames have motivated many to learn Japanese.

But what do you learn Mandarin with? Mandarin prose itself is quite recent, with 18th century Dream of the Red Chamber becoming an unofficial standard, which saw an explosion of creativity in the Republican era. But the Communists killed that movement right after assuming power in 1949, so the only decent literature in Mandarin is all compressed in about 30 years. Taiwan and Hong Kong have not picked up the slack, so decent content in Mandarin pretty much died. And it can barely be said to have recovered by now, even after 30 years of opening.

I eventually found my killer app (TV soap operas and Wang Shuo), and through them developed a deep appreciation towards the Beijing dialect. It has a bad rep with Chinese intellectuals for having a Manchu superstrate and being a language of idle vagrants and swindlers...

Chinese Bureaucracy, 2

So in talking about how all states end up surrendering real power to the permanent bureaucracy, I thought it interesting to look at the example of China, which has the oldest and most well structured permanent bureaucracy of all. The previous post was on how the Chinese Empire started as a mostly hands-off affair where the Emperors let most daily decisions of government to their ministers, but little by little they assumed more power, until by the Ming Dynasty they assumed personal rule.

Next clip is about the lower levels of government. Who got to be a bureaucrat?

In Ancient China, if you wanted to enter the state bureaucracy, well at the beginning it was all hereditary succession. Which in common parlance means, dragon breeds dragon, phoenix breeds phoenix, and the children of rats dig holes. So that's how it was, the position was inherited every generation. The ruler was like that, and all officials were also like that. Get to the Spring and Autumn period, especially in the Qin state, they had this incentive system to motivate the commoners. If you tilled your land well, you could become an official. At war, those who killed more people could become officials. Those who cut the head of an enemy in the battlefield, would rise one level in the bureaucracy by every head they cut. One head, one level up. Another head, anot...

Chinese Monarchy

The international Jewish conspiracy asks for more lectures from Yuan Tengfei, and more they shall have.

I started this series with the lecture on Chancellors, and followed with bureaucrats, because I thought it interesting to show how different the dynamics in China were from the West. China is *the* monarchy, they've had deified supreme emperors ruling over tens and hundreds of millions for millennia. Compared to that the monarchies of Europe are pretty much a sham. The Roman Emperors kept their pretenses of being Republican officers for centuries, until the Empire wasn't even in Rome and didn't even speak Latin. Later Medieval and Modern monarchs all had to constantly fight and appease their nobles, only to get their head axed, and those fortunate enough to win that battle would soon lose power to the bourgeoisie.

And that's another funny one, municipal corporations with autonomy rights against the court.  The first Chinese to study European history must have scratched their head hard about that. Nothing of the sort ever existed in China. Nobles weren't much of a problem even back in the First Empire, and when the Han Dynasty founder, Liu Bang did give noble rights to his brothers, it didn't take much for his successors to kill them all and stop the experiment. And so the landholding nobility was never an important polit...

Chinese Monarchy, 2

So we've seen that in the eternal conflict between the Chinese Emperor and his Bureaucracy, slowly the Emperor took power from the bureaucrats and into his own hands. As a result the Emperors ended up being extremely busy, having to handle all imperial business by themselves.

But the Chinese Emperors had quite extensive harems, and many of them sired dozens of children. All of which was necessary for the continuity of the dynasty of course. So what happened with all those Imperial Princes? Did the Monarch use his family to control the bureaucrats? Did he enlist their help to run the business of government? Let's see Yuan Tengfei's take on the issue:

[I translate 王 as prince, following common practice. For more details see Wikipedia.]

Princes are Miserable

In Ancient China, the Emperor is boss. So the princes must be second in command. In today's soap operas, it's sorta the same way. If an actor can't get to play an emperor, well he can get to play a prince and enjoy it. All those Imperial Princes, very cool.

But being a Prince was actually quite miserable. First I must correct an idea that most people have. Who get to be prince? In my classes I always asked my students: who gets to receive the title of Prince? And they always say: "the Emperor's relatives". Wrong. His uncle-in law can? His sister's son?...

Monarchy and Monarchs

After all the praise that my Monarchy post got, I started to suspect that people hadn't really got the point. And while I am quite proud of it as a piece of storytelling, I wasn't praising monarchy as a system or anything like that. My suspicion was confirmed when Habsburgian transhumanist monarchist Michael Anissimov linked to the post in Twitter. Well if he liked it I'm sure I didn't make my point clear.

The point of the story was that the Japanese monarchy is a sham, and has been so for 13/14 of its history. Actual imperial rule lasted, at most, 100 years, after which it was co-opted by the Fujiwaras, the Heikes, the Genjis, and so on. The fact that the Imperial family was never actually deposed Chinese style has more to do with the ineptitude of the early shoguns and sheer inertia later.

Now one might make the point that even if the official monarchy was a sham, to the extent that the shoguns exerted personal rule they were running a monarchy themselves. Which is quite true. What's amusing is that the pattern of takeover of political power by the father in law not only happened to the Emperor himself, many shoguns also fell into it. So the Emperor loses actual rule to the Genji shogun, who is himself a puppet of his Hojo father in law. This puppetry chain never went further than two links though. But anyway, yes of course the shoguns were monarchs too, and the Tokugawas run a very real monarchy for 250 years.


The Informed Position on Tibet

Years ago I used to read a lot View from the Right, the blog of Lawrence Auster. Auster was a very peculiar guy. A Jew convert to Christianity, chanting the joys of social conservatism when being single (and most likely gay), he spent half his time criticizing progressive ideology, and half his time criticizing fellow critics of progressive ideology. His criticism was vivid, sharp and often accurate. Some of his criticism of rightist pundits was very good (Auster's law of race relations is brilliant and more relevant than ever), in many ways anticipating what today is called cuckservatism. Much of his material wasn't that good though, especially his awkward attacks of Steve Sailer for not defending Israel. The best part of his blog was how often he updated it (I was bored at college and appreciated the entertainment), and the comments by Jim Kalb. I wonder what Auster would've thought of Trump.

Auster was also quite obviously a man of the right, but he wasn't part of anything. He wasn't a paleocon, he wasn't a white nationalist. He was his own man. Being your own man is underappreciated. See this blog. It started as a neoreaction blog. At times I wrote quite actively about the "movement". Then the Eternal September happened and hordes of retards fell into neoreaction, driving the level of discussion down to the left half of the bell curve. Is this still a neoreaction blog?

See, I studied linguistics, and this sort of questions always interested me t...

The Will To Not Power

I've written extensively about monarchy. And for good reason. We're all here in great part because we share our criticism, or at least disillusion about democracy. Some critics of democracy come from the long reactionary tradition, going back to the De Maistre and the opponents and the French Revolution. But most of it today, at least on this corners of the internet, derives from libertarians figuring it out that democracy isn't quite conducive to liberty. Certainly not in a theoretical way. Hans Herman Hoppe put it best, wrote a whole book about it, saying that if economic theory made any sense, monarchy was the best system of government. Moldbug run his whole blog on that. He used to troll Larry Auster in that the modern world suffers from "chronic kinglessness", then went away praising Henry VII Tudor.

My answer to that is that if you know your history you know that monarchy doesn't work like Filmer or Hobbes said it did. The theory was good; but an absolute ruler is just that, a theory. In practice power gets exercised by the people who seek power. And a king won't necessarily seek power. He may be a shy man; or a dissolute hedonist. Or have a strong mother who won't let him. Or have powerful ministers who craftly dodge his attempts at exercising him his royal prerogative. Modern governments ...

The Fall of Singapore's Monarchy

It's been a while since I last wrote about Singapore. Now that the old man is gone it's seldom on anybody's radar anymore. But that has changed recently. Singapore is in the news. First there's this article by Nick Land on Jacobite, where he quotes my coinage of Singapore Singapore as an IQ Shredder, and notes how we don't yet have a fix to perhaps the biggest problem we have.

But there's a pretty big piece of news going on in Singapore. Big enough that the Prime Minister, Harry Lee's son Lee Hsien Loong, is out on a charm offensive to defend his honor. Hear him speak.

Now, I intend no offense. But man, this guy is goofy. Compare him to his father's speeches. Man, Lee Kuan Yew had an iron fist and a steel tongue. He could talk a crowd like he was Sulla on horseback. But then look at his firstbon son. Who by all accounts has a genius IQ, is tall, athletic and a very fine specimen. But he's just goofy. Look at his inaugural smile, the lame bow with the head. And his English. How the hell does he speak worse English than his father? The accent is pretty standard Singaporean English, not that he's bad at it or anything. But English is this guy's first language. And he's lived for years in the US. And yet look at him. This shows again my personal theory that la...