Bloody Shovel 3

We will drown and nobody shall save us

Posts tagged as: power

On Sovereignty

Anomaly UK wrote a couple of weeks ago the kind of post I always want to write, but never do. It's really good, and it touches many points that should be obvious to any interested in public policy. For example, on employment:

That isn't wrong — within the libertarian framework it's completely true. But I've left the framework behind. Political power will be gained and held by people who believe that gaining and holding power are always a first-order consideration. I hope for a government whose hold on power is so solid that it does not depend on interfering in the market for labour, but that is not relevant to any present government or any feasible near-future one. Welfare is here to stay (even if based on private charity rather than the state, it would still have market-distorting effects), and unemployment will therefore always need to be addressed.

This is so true it's painful. It should be branded on steel on every libertarian's thigh. Politics is not about policy, it's about power. And power is about patronage. It has been so since at least Roman times, who gaves us the words Patron and Client. Well it happens that the powers that be today have the widest and deepest clientela of human history, one that goes starts in government, goes through the civil service, big business, the ...

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...

In praise of Draco

Most Honorable commenter Handle said in a recent comment on how he finds Japanese culture superior:

The near-universal level of courtesy, honesty, politeness, pleasantness, efficiency, work-ethic, competence, intelligence, self-motivation, willingness to, “go above and beyond the call of duty,” and genuine consideration for the customer, even for a foreigner to whom they show considerable patience, has been an extremely agreeable experience for me.

This is a very common feeling for all those who stay or live in Japan for any period of time. It happens also to a lesser degree in other Asian countries, such as Taiwan, Singapore, and  South Korea. The reasons for the courtesy, pleasantness, and the simple prevailing sense of order that one feels in Japan are varied. Some are genetic, some are based on long rooted tradition. But some are pretty simple and straightforward.

Perhaps the best time spent while on college was when I went to the library and rented Lee Kuan Yew's memoirs. It's a huge book, hefty and dense too. I skipped class for a week to read the whole thing. Fascinating stuff, I learned a lot. Much of it is about the history of the Chinese community in Malaya, how they fought the Malays and each other. But the most interesting part was the bits where Lee Kuan Yew confesses his political influences.

Lee had just got into college when Japan invades Singapore in 1942. The invasion was a shock for everyone, Singapore ...

She really just said that

A while ago I had the mother of all chats with Nick Land in our local classy bar in Shanghai.

It felt like we just reached the singularity just by ourselves. Might have been the whisky though. Yeah it probably was that.

Perhaps because I'm shy, but I tend to overcompensate the awkwardness of meeting strangers by talking too much. And the usual reaction to someone who just doesn't shut up is agreeing and letting me talk. I guess it's also me being the junior partner, i.e. I talk more mundane stuff that he can relate to. It's easier for the conversation to go on by me talking about China, than not Nick Land talking about Deleuze and Gattari, or the nature of time.

Still today we had a pretty even-handed debate, on tribalism and the singularity and expat life and all that. We actually reach several end points where no further debate was possible. When you start talking on macroeconomics you know there's little real data to throw around, and although speculating with scotch is fun, it's seldom productive.

There's tons of posts to be written to elaborate all we talked about, but it was all quite abstract and can wait really.

He did ask me to write about one of our most salient disagreements, which is about the political theory of Moldbug, i.e. Neocameralism. Or Formalism, or whatever.

Now I was a late comer to the Moldbug party, and forgive me if I'm wrong, but the idea of Neocameralism is to abolish democratic politics, and actually polit...

Bureaucracy

Isegoria linked to an interview of Frank Herbert, author of the Dune series. I don't need to explain how great the books are, and how amazing a writer Frank Herbert is. You could feel that the man is Darkly Enlightened just by reading his fiction, in the same way you can feel that Isaac Asimov is an establishment technocrat when reading Foundation. This interview confirms my feeling.

JMS: In the Dune books, you seem to question a number of other cultural assumptions.  One of them is the belief that the establishment of a democracy necessarily addresses all of humankind's problems and needs.

HERBERT:  One of the things I noticed as a reporter -- I was a journalist longer than I've been on this side of the table -- is that in all the marching in the streets in the '60s, the people who were shouting "Power to -the People" didn't mean power to the people.  They meant "power to me and I'll tell the people what to do."  When you questioned them it was confirmed at every turn.

This channels Foseti very nicely:

I don't think there's a fucking bit of difference between a bureaucracy that is instituted by a democratic regime, a state; socialist regime, a communist regime or a capitalist regime.  Take a look at us right now.  We ...

Pork and hamsters

Steve Sailer has been posting on the NYC universal pre-K, which is the stereotypical stupid progressive policy, which everybody knows it doesn't make any real sense. But progressives arguments are those of faith, faith who nobody (besides us) dares contradict, lest the demons of HBD appear and Hitler returns to Earth to execute the Gay Holocaust. Or something.

I could go on repeating all the arguments against spending public resources on trying to make stupid toddlers stop being stupid, but Sailer has done that very well already. Of course the question remains, are NYC public officials really that stupid? Or so devote to their progressive faith? Well perhaps they are but that can't be the whole story. Religion is a powerful force in human society, but a skeptical attitude towards the real power of religion in peoples motives has always done me good. A commenter in Sailer's post expresses my attitude very nicely:

Universal Pre-K is nothing but a pork project. They use it to create jobs and contracts to reward their friends. The politicians who argue that universal Pre-K will bring about racial equality do not care in the least if that claim is true.

The stuff about racial equality is equivalent to the low-pitched grunting noises that gorillas make when they don't want other gorillas messing with their food.

"Don't mess with my pork or I'll call you a racist an...

The purpose of absurdity

Ron Unz had an interesting comment at Sailer's blog a while ago:

Actually, another suspicion I’ve often had is that much of that massively-promoted total nonsense like transexualism and Gay Marriage is meant to flush out and expose potential troublemakers potentially lurking within ranks of the elite before they can rise high enough to become a serious problem. In support of this hypothesis, the leading purge victims are usually found within the fields of popular culture, entertainment, celebrity, and the media, which constitute a crucial chokepoint in controlling our society. It’s obviously much easier and safer to detect and purge a future Mel Gibson while he’s just a rising young actor than after he’s spent a dozen years as Hollywood’s #1 star.

the reason the King walks down the street naked in his imaginary suit is to draw out and catch those people unwilling to say they see what isn’t there.

In an actual historical example, the Emperor Caligula appointed his favorite horse to the highest official government position in the Roman State. How better to break the spirit of potentially disloyal Senators and military commanders, and determine which of them might have independent thoughts.

Well put. But personally what struck me is that he had to come up with this by his own. A very intelligent man in his 50s had to personally realize this. When...

The cause of absurdity

My previous post has been understandably interpreted as an endorsement of the Dalrymple (echoed by Unz) theory that absurd ideas are made up on purpose to humiliate people and check who is really loyal to the power holders.

I should clarify that my point was not an endorsement, just an observation that absurdity as power-trip is a very ancient trick. The Chinese noticed 2200 years ago. I'm sure it's happened a lot, in all countries on earth. Even in middle sized organizations it happens to a lesser degree.

But Western culture never noticed. Andersen got close, but didn't get the actual point. Dalrymple, and now Unz, did notice by themselves, but it's still not a common observation. The fact is Western culture has its own conception of power, a very naive construct that prevents us from noticing how things actually work. We seem to think people have ideas, and act because they believe those ideas, and power just comes out of the strength of those ideas. Call it faith in Christ, or Protestantism, or liberalism. Our conception of history is the history of ideas. Never we stop to think who comes up with this ideas, how they change, why some spread and others don't.

Dalrymple and Unz seem to think that absurdities such as Communism or WWT are made up on purpose by a cabal of evil conspirators in order to show who's boss, and check who's on board with the program. Vladimir in last post had this to say:

While I agree that such stories provid...

Giving the handle

My last posts were very well received. I guess there's a market for the intersection between Chinese history and Ron Unz, so here's another one.

Steve Sailer writes:

As you may have noticed, Ron has this wacky theory that a surprising percentage of our political leaders have, shall we say, compromising incidents in their past. He even speculates that perhaps having something to hide from the public might make a rising politico more attractive to those who make it their business to decide which of the ambitious to help climb the greasy pole of political power.

And he just had a new post on what he's named the Unz Suspicion.

Mr. Unz is very right to suspect that much. But again Unz had to use all his powers of insight to come up with his idea. Which given his upbringing is quite impressive. And yet this has been common wisdom in China for thousands of years. A 10 year old in Kaifeng could have told you as much in 1034.

There's plenty of examples of great leaders of bureaucratic factions, imperial prime ministers who purposefully surrounded themselves with crooks in order to be able to crack down on any defector with ease. It may sound counterintuitive, but the group is much stronger if everybody is a crook with something to hide.

None of this is surprising...

It's your fault for resisting

In my last post I mentioned that Western countries are signaling themselves into annihilation due to the spill over effect of upwardly mobile people wanting to show themselves as being upper class, i.e. not proles. Others have called that Goodwhites signaling they are not Badwhites. Same thing.

There's a recent article in the New York Times that unintendedly makes the same point. It's about how Sweden has run out of means to actually accept more refugees, but it can't stop signaling virtue so they just can't stop getting more. If you're in a charitable mood, you might think sounds like a reactionary is very skillfully trying to use progressive rhetoric to make the case for closing the borders. But note this part:

The government’s slow response to all of this seems baffling. But the seeds of the current debacle were sown earlier, when immigration became an untouchable centerpiece of Sweden’s politics. For the past five years, the nationalist Sweden Democrats party has been the only force opposing the country’s refugee policies. Born in the late 1980s through the fusion of an anti-tax populist party and a neo-Nazi activist group, the Sweden Democrats have grown exponentially since entering Parliament in 2010. Their rise has nonetheless been condemned and hotly contested by a mainstream weary of seeing the country’s reputation for tolerance tarn...

Conspiracies

I've been writing for so time now the idea that bad things happen not necessarily because bad people are out there conspiring to do them, but because humans are, well, just a species of highly social monkeys, cooperation is difficult, large scale societies are weird, and sometimes bad things happen even when nobody really wants it that way.

In 1966 probably nobody wanted to end up worshiping mangoes as Mao's holy fruit. And Mao himself didn't want that to happen. But it did, because of bad incentives feeding into human's SP cognitive process. And there are plenty of examples of the same thing happening all over our thousands of years of history. This includes of course the collapse of Western Civilization occurring just as I write this.

But you know the saying. The fact that you're paranoid doesn't mean that they're not really out there to get you. Take a look at this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqIdghXyOP8

 

Insane, right? Apparently Merkel has not had enough with the Afghan teenagers ravaging the German countryside. A million Muslims is not enough, she wants more. And she wants to not just open the doors; she wants to go out there to tell them to come! To Africa! To be fair the word "propaganda" means just advertising, it's not necessarily associated with Goebbels alone in German, but still. Look at the faces of her audience. ...

What to do about Censorship

I sometimes get asked if learning foreign languages is worth it, especially if you don't make money from them, or actually have a need for them. It's a though question. Learning Chinese was hard. I don't live there now, I did for a while, but most likely will never do again. Chinese upper-middle class people are leaving the country in droves, especially people with children. It certainly isn't a very comfortable place to live with a family.

Was it a waste then? I personally don't think so. There's always books and movies to make it worthwhile. And China in particular is a very interesting place, which is very worth knowing about. First of all it was the first modern state in many ways. Centralized government, meritocratic bureaucracy, universal education, state-run economy. All of that was invented in China, they run it for thousands of years, and it's not that different from what modern liberal democracies have become. I strongly think that understanding the political dynamics of ancient China is very useful to understand how Western states work today, even more so than understanding the history of the West itself. Our bureaucracies in many ways have more in common with the mandarinate in the Song Dynasty that they have to a 17th century European kingdom.

And this convergence is actually increasing. Look at this:

Continue Reading →

Power

In 1927, the young Chinese Communist Party was having a meeting, and all those young Chinese Communists were doing their thing, discussing stuff using arcane Marxist jargon. Mao Zedong cut the discussion short, telling them: “People, cut the crap. We gotta focus on the military stuff. Governments are born out of the barrel of a gun.”

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History proved him right, and his comrades know it. They know it so well that even after the Cultural Revolution killed and maimed most of his old comrades, his successors never disowned Mao or tarnished his legacy, the way Kruschov publicly said Stalin was an evil bastard. During the Cultural Revolution Deng was purged three times, his whole family imprisoned, sent away. His brother was forced to commit suicide. His son was thrown out of the window of his college dorm and became a paraplegic for life. Even then, after Mao was dead, Deng Xiaoping refused to criticize him. Why? "The only reason all of us are here is because Mao won the war". Damn straight.

Now of course Mao's quote isn't completely correct. He didn't grab a gun and win the war by being the best shot in the country. No, he won the war by having the best army. That means having a lot of guns, and having people willing the guns under your orders. So more precisely, pow...

The Law

A while ago I wrote some posts on the classical Chinese novel, the 14th century Water Margin 水滸傳. The Water Margin is the story of 108 outlaws, in the original 英雄好漢, which literally translates as hero 英雄 yīngxióng and ... 好漢 hǎohàn is very hard to translate. 好 means good, that one's easy, but 漢 means, well, Han, the Han Dynasty, the Han race we know today. It also means man, today normally expressed as 漢子 hànzi. But not just man, that's 男 nán. A 漢 is a real man, a strong, manly man, respected by his peers. You call someone a 漢子 hànzi as a compliment, to mean he's a real man. Add 好 to that, and you have a good+real man. I'd translate it as dude, for lack of a better fit, and also because it fits with the whole LARPing atmosphere of the men in the Water Margin.

They're just a bunch of outlaws, some with good reason, fleeing from the injustice of tyrannical government, some who lost their families to evil but connected people. Others though are just punks and hooligans; small time robbers, mountain bandits, drunkards, smugglers, that kind of people. That they spend the time calling each other great heroes is quite hilarious. Still, China has a long tradition of vagrancy and men doing their own thing, i.e. learning martial arts and forming gangs of bandits. Not everyone could pass the mandarin exam, you know. And those mandarins in the government didn't have the resources to police the whole country, so there was a...

The distribution of power

Another Chinese story.

Royal absolutism was invented by Shang Yang in the Chinese state of Qin, 360 BC. Of course absolute rulers had existed before, in the Middle East obviously you had plenty of god-kings; but Shang Yang's governance was recognizably modern. It was planned on secular terms, it had a central bureaucracy, and it explicitly took power from the nobility in order to strengthen the authority of the central government. The way it was framed is that the King deserves to have all the power, that's why he's the king; and that the king having all the power will result in more Order and better government, as the people will have no power to resist and create Chaos. Later Chinese political thought changed a lot: Confucianism was explicitly against Shang Yang's ideas (what came to be known as Legalism). In fact one could think of Confucianism as the revolt of the upper middle class against the centralizing legalists. A sort of English or French revolution dynamic. Happens they lost; Confucianism only somewhat won in a very, very diluted way 300 later under emperor Wu of Han.

But the idea that the power of the Ruler should be absolute absolutely carried the day in Chinese political thought. That contrasts a lot with the Western tradition which since the Greeks is obsessed with Tyranny and Despotism and basically makes it hell to run a cohesive government. Power has to be shared or else Tyranny! Much of that was the spillover from the propaganda war on th...

The Song Dynasty's Decline

So we left the story at Song Huizong. Huizong was as I wrote a consummate artist and a famous bon vivant. He knew how to enjoy himself. That means he generally wasn't interested in politics. Politics is generally very boring, pushing paper around, taking decisions about stuff you know nothing about. However Huizong was very willing to do politics if the topic at hand was interesting enough; interesting enough for such a consummate artist, that is.

There is one topic he did like to discuss, which was war. Artists tend to like war. The glory of fighting, thousands of men armed to the teeth and killing each other in mass pitched battles. There's something aesthetically very striking about that and artists across the world tend to be very attracted to it. Huizong was no exception, he was very much into war.

The thing is the Song dynasty had been founded explicitly as a peaceful state. The Song founder had decided the army was more trouble than it was worth, so he instituted a meritocratic bureaucracy and let it run the state more or less unimpeded for 100 years. That results in unprecedented prosperity, the reign of the 4th emperor Renzong being regarded as the historical peak of Chinese government. That produced its own set of problems, though. While you may not be interested in war, war is interested in you. While the Khitans in the Northeast were quite honorable, the Tanguts caught notice that the Song had no army to speak of, so they starte...

The Song Dynasty's Fall

So let's continue the rise and fall of the Song Dynasty. Let me digress a bit and let me talk about the capital of the Song.

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The borders of this map are contemporary China, but look at the topography. The Song Dynasty's capital was in Kaifeng. Kaifeng is probably the most retardedly located capital of all 3,000 years of Chinese history. Up until the Song, the capital of China had been alternating between Xi'an and Luoyang. Xi'an is in the Wei river valley, which is fairly narrow and easily defended if you control the mountain passes that surround the valley. Luoyang is just east of the mountains from Xi'an, in the North China plain proper, surrounded by mountains and a large river. Southern Dynasties had their capital at Nanjing, which is just south of the Yangtze river which is huge and completely impassable without a navy. And of course Beijing has been the capital for long due to its strategic location at the northern edge of the central plains.

But Kaifeng? It's in the middle of the damn plain! It has no natural defenses whatsoever. The only reason the Song capital is there is because the warlord who destroyed the Tang Dynasty 100 years later had his base there. Kaifeng is close to Jiangnan, the Nanjing-Shanghai area which is by far the wealthiest of the country, and the Grand Canal goes through there, so Kaifeng...

The Song Dynasty's Surrender

So we left as the Jurchens conquer the Song capital of Kaifeng, empty the city of all its valuables, butcher most of the population, taking around 100,000 people as slaves. Among them the whole imperial family, 5,000 people in all, plus all their servants. The wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of the emperor and all the nobility were taken as wives, concubines, or put to work as whores in the Jurchen official brothel. Those who made it alive to the Jurchen homeland, that is. Many died on their way.

Once the Jurchen destroyed the city of Kaifeng, they grabbed one Song minister, Zhang Bangchang, gave him some of the imperial regalia they had grabbed from the Song palace, and put him as emperor of the Great Chu. Zhang was supposed to set a court at Nanjing and rule as the puppet of the Jurchens, who annexed all land north of the Yellow River, but left most Chinese territory to this puppet court. The Jurchens had no intention of ruling China at all. They had invaded to punish the Song court for its treachery and to extract some booty to share between the Jurchen generals. They achieved those goals, and then some. Setting a government in China and finding a way to rule the peasants sounded like a lot of trouble, trouble the Jurchens weren't interested in taking at all. The destruction of the Song Dynasty had also erased all public order in north China. Gangs of bandits roamed the countryside, killing landlords, public officials, Jurchen detachments and anything the...

Lies

Moldbug was about formalism. Which is funny because I associate "formalism" with Chomskyian linguistics. The idea that language can be modeled in a quasi mathematical form. Let's say that didn't really work out.

Moldbug's was political Formalism. Give everyone an official title of what he already owns. Let us say it how it is and not lie anymore. Good idea. I wonder how you formalize this?

Sailer writes how New York City is not actually run by its mayor; there's a sleazy bunch of "consultants" with a pipe to rich donors, who force any political candidate to hire this consultants in exchange for their donations. This includes the mayor, attorneys, and everybody who needs money to run a campaign in NYC. Guys like this.

monicasimoes_221

 

Officially there's a mayor, who's supposed to run things, but he's not very smart, at any rate he needed money for his campaign and he wasn't very good at getting it. So he outsourced that to the free market, and the free market provided. Now there's a bunch of sleazy middlemen trafficking with influences from here to there.

How do you formalize this? Who's in charge? Who will be in charge tomorrow?

Not that this is somewhat particular to NYC, but not necessarily so...

Shifting Right

Just in case anybody was concerned, no, I wasn't killed at any of the recent Islamic murders in Europe in the last few weeks. And I really didn't have much to say about it. My last post stood as an almost miraculous oracle of why Islamic murders happen, and why they will continue to do so. And voila, they continued to do so. And of course, as I said, European governments did nothing of importance to address the problem. Because they can't.

But now some days have gone on without further incidents, so it's time to change topics. I could write about Japan, which has gone through two very important elections, elections for the Senate in July 10th, and elections for the governorship of Tokyo in July 31st. The Senate elections gave a large 2/3 majority to the right, which in Japan it's defined as nationalists who want to change the constitution, apparently to, among other changes, delete the clause that "The Emperor has the responsibility to uphold the constitution". So they want nominally absolute monarchy. Nominally, of course, Japan's emperors haven't counted for shit for thousands of years, and the next emperor in line is known to be a wimpy liberal whose wife spends more time shopping in Paris than attending Shinto rituals.

Some say that Japan will go bankrupt before any constitutional change can be decided on; but financial crises do not stop political change: they accelerate...

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 ...

Nobody rules alone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rStL7niR7gs

So this video has been doing the rounds. You should watch it. It’s very well done. And the book it refers to, The Dictator’s Handbook, is also a great book. I read it a while ago. Hell, I should have done a book review. It’s a really good book. It’s analysis of government in general, and how dictatorships work, is brilliant.

Alas, the book flounders when it talks about democracy. Which it basically posits as the Great Solution, the final End of History where everyone is happy because the selectorate is big and blablabla. Well of course you’d expect a book by an American academic to say that democracy is awesome and magical and sacred. How else would he have a job? But it’s quite a shame, as the book is really good. And he could have analyzed democracy quite well using the very same theory he created. He just needed to get his hands a bit dirty. Talk about ruling classes, political factions, networks of connections, pork barrel and all that stuff. But of course he didn’t. He couldn’t. He has an academic job and he’d rather keep it.

Well I don’t have an academic job, so I’ll do it myself. And I have a blog somewhat focused on East Asia, so let me refer to this piece of recent news. The finding that the President of South Korea, Ms. Park Gyun-Hye (pronounced Pak Kune), Continue Reading →

Trump needs Friends

Say Trump wins. Trump may very well end up winning next week.

So say he wins. He'll then be at the top of the Federal Government. A lair of snakes if there ever was one. Every single agency of government, and every single unofficial agency of government (Academia, the Press, all those QUANGOs, basically every organization which belongs to the Cathedral but is not technically part of USG) is against him; against him to the point of willing his assassination.

This is going to be tough. Trump needs friends. Lots of friends. He needs to purge the whole establishment and put people he can trust on their place.

But who can he trust? Who are his friends? It's not that he has no friends. He has plenty of supporters and sympathizers. Even inside USG. But how can he find them? Of course he could ask them to stand up; but plenty of evil entryists would stand up too and try to destroy his projects from within.

So Trump has a big problem here. He needs to find loyal people and he needs a good way to identify them. How can he do that?

If you've been reading this blog for some time, you may have some hint at the answer. But let me do some historical analogy. Of China, of course. It's not a very good one; but it's what I'm reading right now so I might as well write about it anyway.

The Mongols conquered China in two stages; In 1234 they destroyed the Jurchen-ruled Jin dynasty, which controlled North China, and in 1279 they conquered the Southern Song...

Schadenfraude and Reflection

https://twitter.com/arthur_affect/status/796420056544641028

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNi1hKi9Z5c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXUaQe3ziEY

You might remember that I called leftists "psychopathic status maximizers". Look at these people. Look carefully. Do you think they "believe" in some set of values?

No. It's all crap. We know since David Hume. We humans don't really know anything. You can't. You only get to be quite certain after a lot of trial and error about a very narrow area that you are good at. Everything else is signaling. And signaling is done to gain social status. Everything is crap that people say to get at you, to gain some advantage and fuck over others.

Moldbug said it well too: journalists love power. Journalists in Elizabethan England didn't care about human rights, they cared about the Great Virgin Queen. Who was widely hated, by the way. But you'd never know because those psychopathic status maximizers just did what they had to. And all these upset leftists who are uploading their narcissist signaling to Youtube will come around if the state religion ever changes. If Trump stays in power; they will adapt. And soon enough you'd be seeing the very same people, often the same individuals saying the complete opposite things, but in the same tone of voice and with the same insufferable attitude.

No enemies to the...

So this:

zz25e5fc11

Led to this:

https://twitter.com/ramzpaul/status/801531616816496640

 

While Fidel Castro, murderer of tens of thousands, communist dictator which forever ruined what was a pretty nice country dies:

Fidel Castro

And a fucking ruling prime minister has this to say:

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-1-52-46-am

Yes, of course, I know, it's not the same. They have power, they get to say what they want, we are not in power and gotta be careful. But the left has always been like this. They weren't always in power. Maybe they know something about power that we don't. Just sayin'.

 

Epistocracy and Moral Intellectualism

Ever since it became obvious that Trump had a chance of winning, the junior minions of the Cathedral, those mediocre status-seekers waiting for breaks on the status hierarchy so they could scavenge some point for themselves, started to come up with some long-winded arguments against democracy. Which was a lot of fun to watch.

Less fun to watch was the particular argument that they came up with. We need "epistocracy". The rule of those who know. That's mean to exclude those Trump voters. Those are ignorant. Shouldn't vote. Only those who know, those who are not ignorant, should vote. Hence epistocracy.

This is a fairly old idea, obviously, and it reflects a very old and basic misunderstanding that the Western philosophical tradition has about knowledge. We tend to think that knowing more stuff makes you a good person. Socrates used to say that evil people were just ignorant of the good. If we only could teach them, have them understand, they will quickly and resolutely change their evil ways.

But that's bogus. Knowing a lot doesn't mean shit. If you can even measure that properly. The question is what you do with your knowledge. Of course ceteris paribus it's better to know stuff than to be ignorant. But we're talking politics here. The wise guy isn't necessarily the good one. Evil is not about ignorance, evil is about evil. Lack of empathy, selfishness, impulse control, whatever. Evil is a personality trait, most likely inborn or socialized in early in...

The Economics of Democracy have Stopped Working

Everybody reading this blog may have noticed that I was ecstatic about Trump's election. I was really happy. I went out that night and spent days giggling with a MAGA hat on watching the progressives melt down.

That was of course a tribal feeling. I used to look down on people who behaved like that when their soccer team won. "It's not your team, dumbass, it's just a bunch of overpaid foreigner jocks". But the same way that most middle class men in the West put their identity in sports, I've always put mine in politics, and having Trump, the closest thing in decades to be close to my thinking, win the election to the highest office in the world, was a huge, huge piece of validation. Progressives say that all politics are identity politics. And it's true. Human is a social animal, said Aristotle. And the core of human social behavior is forming identity groups (i.e. tribes) and fight each other. And a guy who appeared to be of my own tribe had won. So of course I was happy.

I was also kinda confused. The core part of neoreaction's theory is that the contemporary political game is rigged so that our tribe just can't win. The game is set up so that the "Cathedral", the power base centered on the US bureaucracy and satellites and it's PR apparatus in the media and universities just control everything. And yet Trump won, with a platform set up by Steve Bannon who is by any accoun...

The Role of Government

So the Role of Government used to be to Establish Order. That's something the Romans and the Chinese could agree on.

The the English parliament stumbled itself into winning the English Civil War. So they decided the role of government was the Protection of Property. Not a bad idea, all things considered.

Now though we know a bit more about how society works. Let's say we become worthy and assume power. What's the role of government now?

Let me propose: to break malignant signaling spirals.

The Role of Government, 2

A few centuries ago people in Europe discovered free trade. The market. They got the state to say: go make money, free of any guilds or regulations.  I won't stop you. Go out there and make money. Compete freely. So people went to make money. Started businesses, factories, mines. In short order we got 2 industrial revolutions, the greatest technological advances in history, and vast, vast, amazing amounts of wealth. Pretty neat.

But. We also found the market isn't perfect. Yeah it produces wealth. A damn lot of it. But leaving people alone to make money also resulted in other outcomes which weren't so desirable. For some people, at least. You see, people compete to make money, and the competition can get ruthless, so people start doing bad stuff. These undesirable outcomes ended up being called "market failures". There's a whole literature about that. Externalities. Monopoly. Sweatshops. There's lots of stuff, it isn't quite clear what is and what isn't a market failure; but the consensus out there is that there are quite a lot. And that the government should use its power to regulate the market in order to prevent and/or fix market failures. Again, it's messy business, as tends to happen with government stuff, but that is how it works today. And it doesn't work that badly. We got clean air and stuff. Which is nice.

So let me do this analogy:

A few centuries ago people in Europe discovered civil rights. Democracy. They got the state to say: g...

Power

There's this stereotype that says that people who apply to join the police force are the kind of people that enjoys having power and using it over others. Power is nice but not everybody is equally driven to it. But some people just love the stuff. To lord over others. Give orders. The right to be nasty. Innate bullies, so to speak. I don't know how accurate that is, but there must be something to it.

Well, take a look at this, hat tip to Handle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clNDUoxzSIc&feature=youtu.be

Before somebody on frog twitter publishes a copy of this video with a rhythmic BGM signing "cuck" all the time (please do it). Take a serious look at that policeman. Look at those closeup shoots. Now that physiognomic analysis is kosher again thanks to AI, take a good look at that guy. That's the face of a man who 200 years ago would have been a priest, a clergyman. A man who gives sermons for a living. Which is a very similar job to a policeman, really. The job comes with legal privileges. It's kinda high status, at least inside a small milieu.

I guess in order to get promoted inside a modern police force you gotta be both. You gotta enjoy bullying people with force, *and* with insufferable sermons. Stronger than you *and*  holier than you. Take that. That's like the ultimate powerlust. The prerequisite for real power in the modern bureaucracy.

Anyway, I hope this guy is enjoying is Policepriest job in Vancouver. For when Chinese imm...

Biological Leninism

This is the first of three essays on the topic of Biological Leninism, the organizational principle of the contemporary left. You can find the second part here, and the third part here. I also gave an interview with some more thoughts on the topic which you can read here.

It's 100 years now since the Russian Revolution. The Soviet Union. Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Leninism. It's been 100 years already, but you realize how present the whole thing remains when you look at the press these days. People are still praising or damning the revolution. As if it mattered anymore. As if it were something more than history. As if the left and right of today had remotely anything in common with the left and right of Lenin's day.

I won't praise Lenin, an evil man. But great men are often quite evil. I'm not very interested in Lenin, the man; but I'm very interested in Leninism. Lenin is very dead (if not yet buried, I wonder what Putin is waiting for); but Leninism is quite alive. And the Western press has just realized that China, the second power in the world, in place to become the first in a few years, is a Leninist state. It's taken 5 years of Xi Jinping shouting every day about the Leninist orthodoxy of the Communist Party of China for people to realize. N...

Bioleninism, the first step

This is the second of three essays on the topic of Biological Leninism, the organizational principle of the contemporary left. You can find the first part here, and the third part here. I also gave an interview with some more thoughts on the topic which you can read here.

Some things I said in Twitter yesterday. Man, 280 characters feel *way* better.

https://twitter.com/thespandrell/status/940732305265610752

Bronze Age warfare used to be about great lords going around in their chariots, shooting arrows here and there, then getting on foot and engaging in Single Combat. Early Samurais also did that. They'd go around on their horses, shouting who they were, their house, their pedigree.

But eventually somebody figured out that winning a war is really profitable. So they'd just raise a big army of common people, give them cheap weapons, a cheap shield, drill them into having rock-tight discipline. And they'd win. A disciplined team always wins against the most talented man.

The theory of democracy was that rich people, with the leisure to educate themselves about public policy, and a financial interest in the government of the nation, would run for individual office, represent their constituency, be reelected if they did their job well, replaced if they didn't. But laws are p...

Leninism and Bioleninism

This is the third of three essays on the topic of Biological Leninism, the organizational principle of the contemporary left. You can find the first part here, and the second part here. I also gave an interview with some more thoughts on the topic which you can read here.

Happy New Year everyone. I left a bit of a cliffhanger on my last post, which I intended to resolve in a few days, but I've been pretty busy, not really in the mood to write long form.

I am sorry about that, but do note, this blog is a free service, so I hope you understand it doesn't quite take the priority of my time. Again, there's a Bitcoin address at the sidebar, so if you want me to write more, I'm sure we can arrange something.

2017 has been a quite eventful year. I guess the overall mood was disappointment. Trump didn't get anything done. Doesn't seem like he'll ever get anything done. Europe slowed down the refugee invasion but not by much. And China has realized that AI makes state control so much easier. It's showing the way in censorship and crowd control. All China is doing will be done on the West in a few years, with the aggravating factor that Western states will use Orwellian tools to ...

Black Swans of Common Knowledge

As I write this, the news are coming out that the 12 boys trapped in 4km inside a cave in northern Thailand have been rescued, after having trapped in a cold, damp and pitch black cave for 10 long days until they were discovered, and another tense week when nobody really knew how to get them out. The rescue operation has been smooth, amazingly so.

The whole thing has been like a perfect movie. The setting is completely absurd. What were the boys doing there? Apparently the coach (apparently it's a soccer team) had a habit of taking the early teen boys hiking and exploring and doing boy-scouts kind of stuff. Which is fine; but why on earth did he get into 4 damn kilometres into an unexplored cave in the beginning of the raining season? What was he thinking? In some other place or time the coach would have been left to rot inside, and his whole family beat to death. In Japan today he would probably have to kill himself after he and his whole family are completely ostracized. The Japanese are quite amazed at how nice the Thais have been in general.

But again, like in a movie, the setting is not important. The drama afterward is, and this cave-rescue story has had all the necessary elements. The long search, eventually finding the kids. The kids being in good health, because their mysterious coach has taught them meditation (to 13 year old boys? come on). The international teams coming in, all rushing to find a solution. Discussing for several days what to do, ...

Interview on Bioleninism

A few weeks ago, a great artist who runs the blog Parallax Optics was kind enough to ask me for an interview on Bioleninism, to follow up on a great piece he published recently where he interviewed the man responsible for the Twitter account Woke Capital. That interview was great, and I had never done an interview before, so I thought it could be a good idea to try this new format. As it happened, the interview went great, and I very much enjoyed the process.

What follows is the whole text of the interview for those who missed it up at Parallax's. Let me use this chance to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and happy year end holidays. 2018 has been a quite eventful year. Hopefully it has been good for you personally as well (unlikely if you're invested in the stock market, but nobody's perfect). A lot has been going on in the reactionary sphere, much of it good. Bioleninism has become a widely known concept. Here's for a great 2019.


Bioleninism has widely been acknowledged as perhaps the most important contribution to reacti...

How far is far enough

A while ago I wrote a post on tax law, proposing some ideas that I thought could plausibly make for a better existence if implemented by a sane government.

Reactions to that were mixed. It was, admittedly, an uncharacteristic post. I am not a "policy wonk", I'm usually more interested in deeper questions of history and human psychology as it applies to our political environment. As such, some people said that that sort of piece, proposing some tweaks to tax policy or this or that law is not just beside the point, it's actively harmful. The problems of modern society are, they would have it, not something that can be fixed through the legal political process. And talking as if the state could just tweak this or that law to make our existence better is to be guilty of cuckservatism, if not something worse.

On the same topic, Chris Nahr posted a translation of an article by some right-wing Austrian writing about this problem. "Full Speed into the Void", it's titled. Reminds one of the "Flight 93 election" essay in 2016. Austria has, by modern White standards, a fairly large and successful far right political party, who has managed to get into the government now and then. That article says that vanity of vanities, all is vanity. Po...