Thursday, November 19, 2009 104 Comments

A gentle introduction to Unqualified Reservations (part 9d)

Today, we're going to step boldly forward in the Procedure and look at how to capture America.

This essay should be of interest to anyone seeking instructions for any kind of fascist coup. However, this coup design (which is not fascist, but reactionary) depends on the information weapon we've just designed - the Antiversity. If you don't have an Antiversity or anything like it, I'm afraid you'll need a different recipe.

Note that no one now has an Antiversity or anything like it, and they don't exactly grow on trees. So, if you'd rather not have a fascist coup at all, there is no need to fear. Really!

That said, I will take the liberty of speaking of the First Step in the past tense. In the First Step, we built the Antiversity - a new intellectual power supply for USG. In the Second Step, patriotic Americans peacefully exercise their democratic rights to disconnect the present power supply, the University, and plug in the Antiversity. Once the Antiversity holds full sovereignty, it continues the Procedure, dissolving USG and replacing it with a New Structure of its own design. America under the New Structure is the Third Step - to be considered later.

First, let's tackle this interesting word: patriotic. Can a patriotic American support a reactionary coup whose ultimate goal is to terminate democracy? Absolutely! He is patriotic because he genuinely loves America, his great country, and its good people.

He is patriotic not because he attaches his unreasoning affection to any particular acronym, rulebook, or personnel force. Or to any name, flag, slogan, or religion. He takes those things as he finds them. He need not find them good. If he has to choose between America and USG, he will always choose America. In short: he is a patriot, not a moron.

Can democracy terminate democracy? Isn't this a contradiction in terms? Not at all. Here is one straightforward way by which Americans can terminate democracy: elect a President who has promised to cancel the Constitution. Once he is inaugurated, he can cancel the Constitution. Of course, the military must also support this autogolpe. This given, the operation is trivial and entirely safe. Self-coups are the best, safest and most reliable kind. Unfortunately, they are not always the most practical, but they at least set the standard we must strive for.

The basic question facing any potential supporter of a coup is: do you prefer this government, or would you rather take your chances with that government? Do you want to stick with the serviceable old Modern Structure, or go wild with the high-tech New Structure? Since sovereignty is irreversible, this is never an easy decision. The New Structure is designed to last forever. Of course, so was the Modern Structure. Do you think it will? That would be pretty good for 1789. Or even 1933.

You support a coup if you would like to see this change, assuming it can be made instantly and nonviolently. This is a much lower bar than joining a coup, which is something you should do only if you think it actually will succeed. Otherwise, your efforts are a waste of time - at best. Governments don't like to be existentially threatened.

The coup planner faces three basic tasks. First, he must design the new regime - yes, before the coup. (Poor attention to this task is perhaps the most common cause of coups gone wrong.) Second, he must recruit enough supporters to complete the operation. Third, he must coordinate his supporters to perform it.

In the Internet era, coups - especially democratic coups - are much easier. Why? Because, once enough people have stopped supporting the present government, a coup is simply a matter of communication and coordination. The Internet is very good at these things.

Still, without the Antiversity, I'm just not sure it can be done. The problem, in a coup, is not getting people to oppose their present government. There is never any shortage of potential supporters. The coup planner's problem is getting people to support his coup. This, as so often here on UR, is a coordination problem. The Left is spontaneously coordinated; the Right, alas, must coordinate itself. (If there is one reason why the Left tends to win, this is it.)

This coordination problem, along with many of the coup planner's other tasks, is no longer solvable by an individual - or even a conspiracy. The job can be done only by an institution - such as the Antiversity. Again, for an individual or conspiracy, you need a different recipe. Sorry. Also, no one can use this formula now, because there is no Antiversity. Sorry if I repeat myself - I would just hate to scare anyone out there in the viewing audience.

To begin the Second Step, the First Step must be complete. When the First Step is complete, the Antiversity exists, and it is not a baby either. It has come together as a genuine institution. It is a substantial institution - perhaps not with as many contributors as Wikipedia has today, but in that ballpark. It is a prestigious institution, widely respected for the excellence of its collective judgment - if not always agreed with. And it has some central decision-making body which can make it act, more or less, as a unit. I would be shocked if any such thing existed before 2019.

That said, 2019 will happen sooner or later, and so will 2029. The future exists - it is just uncertain. And history is by no means over! So let's take this bad boy out for a spin and see what she can do.

First, the Antiversity challenges USG by just existing. The University is a comprehensive Ministry of Truth. It provides a complete and accurate official truth service. So who are these asshats, who claim to have their own truth? Some bureaucrat, charged to look into it, finds that the asshats do have their own truth. He grows disheartened. He does not complete his report.

Simply put, the Antiversity is the root of a belief system which is to USG as Protestantism is to the Catholic Church. Everyone who has even heard of it knows it is possible to stop believing in the University, and this alone is a serious problem. USG is not a military despotism. It is a democratic government. It is and will always be existentially dependent on popular support. Since USG is guided by the University, if you don't believe in the University, you don't believe in USG. You think the Pope is just some guy in a funny hat. You're a problem, buddy.

But the Antiversity is not just limited to just existing. It can attack. It should attack. It will attack. How does it attack? The Antiversity attacks USG by studying it.

USG has never received anything like an independent historical audit, let alone the brutal proctoscopy to which the Antiversity will subject it. USG is, of course, part of history; the Antiversity cannot study history without it. So it will eventually be asking the questions: what the hell happened? And why? How, for instance, did Washington take over the world? And why?

At least in the first volume, the Antiversity's consensus is likely to pay a heavy debt to the 19th-century British perspective - such as that of Lecky. Up through the middle of the 20th century, the London view tends to produce the most independent, learned, and distanced interpretations of America: for obvious reasons. Duh. Therefore, if you have to start somewhere, start with the Victorians. Today's Americans are entirely innocent of the Victorian narrative - and especially innocent of what that bad boy looks like when projected forward to 2009. Kimbo Slice is in the cage, wearing full lawn-tennis attire.

But history is only a start. Most Americans do not care about history - except recent history, which they call "the present." One can regard the study of USG present as a case of history, but this approaches the pedantic. It probably deserves its own department: Washingtology.

Washingtology is an applied discipline, like archaeology. Its mission is simply to study the real Washington. This mission requires no engagement with any of USG's PR arms. Washingtology is not journalism. It is the study of what Washington is and does - never what it says. Unless that speech is in some sense an action.

(One of the few systematic mendacities that I see across the entire spectrum of American punditry is the convention of writing as if political actors personally wrote, or believed, their lines. Of course, all these pundits know that the speeches are composed by teams of professional writers. Nonetheless, they invariably report these speeches as if they were actually personal productions. They never say: "Today in St. Louis, President Obama read a White House speech which called for..." They never say: "Today in St. Louis, the White House called for..." They say: "Today in St. Louis, President Obama called for..." This is a classic Orwellian abuse of English. The Founders would have considered the institution of professional speechwriting, and the resulting cardboard television presidents, one of the stranger and more contemptible features of our contemptible and very strange Modern Structure, which somehow masquerades as their own invention.)

What does the Antiversity do when it proctoscopes USG? For every agency, unit, or acronym within USG, it creates a knowledge base. It knows, more or less, what the acronym does, who works for it, what its budget is, etc. It understands the acronym's bureaucratic purpose, decodes its public emissions, identifies its friends in Congress, etc, etc, etc.

More daringly, the Antiversity can (within the bounds of law) develop a way to verify the identity of USG employees. This allows Washingtologists to develop secure, reliable and anonymous inside sources within the Beltway. It can even create communities for them - for instance, host a conversation in which employees of agency X, and agency X alone, can communicate safely and anonymously. Not only does this compromise the loyalty of the agency X, it ensures that the Antiversity can understand it better than its own management. More on these custom communities later...

Moreover, the Antiversity is not at all limited to the study of USG proper. It can study the entire EUSG - University, Press, NGOs, contractors, and all others controlling or controlled by USG. This opens up a remarkable number of tempting targets. For instance, every working journalist and every working professor deserves his or her own dossier at the Antiversity. No, this is not even slightly creepy. When you accept the responsibility of informing the public, you accept the public's right to study you and your work.

USG is a huge creature. Almost no one knows anything about it. Washingtology is a vast task of collecting, assimilating, and selecting information about this beast. As always in history, the end product is a story: what is it? What is it doing? What has it done in the past? What is it likely to do in the future?

I actually know something about seeing governments in this way, because my father was a Foreign Service officer, and he used to let me proofread his (unclassified) cables. Essentially, Washingtologists will study USG the way USG studies its satellites. Since the assessments in State Department reporting are not meant for public consumption, they are reports on the reality of the satellite government - with which Foggy Bottom (purportedly) concerns itself. This reporting style is not generally available to the public, and no one reports on Washington itself this way. At least not since Dupuy de Lôme. Nonetheless, it can be done.

Comparing Washingtology with journalism is like comparing a discussion of some issue in the cable traffic from US Embassy Lisbon, to the same issue on the front page of the Jornal de Notícias. It's not just that the two are written in a different language, although there is that too. It is not even that the former has more facts, though perhaps it does. It's that one is designed to inform the natives, and the other is designed to inform the desk officer.

America - and America alone - has no desk officer. But the truth is out there. The Antiversity must thirst like a viper for this unknown knowledge, and extract it from the sand's very dew.

There is a little bit of Washingtology in the world today. The British site fakecharities.org is an excellent bit of work on the other side of the pond. Righty-o, chaps! David Horowitz has produced a decent prosopography of the broader Left at discoverthenetworks.org. Most amusingly, the Washington Post itself has come forward with the hilariously named, and hilariously peppy, whorunsgov.com. I cannot avoid rhyming the first syllable with "door." Compare this site with the Post itself; see the difference between Washingtology and journalism.

Once the Washingtologists understand Washington, they can report on it. Ie, write short narratives describing its latest doings. This, too, is not journalism. At least, it is qualitatively distinct from the present profession. Perhaps the word should just be retired. "Blogging" sounds a lot better.

(Under the New Structure, having been a Modern Structure journalist will be a nontrivial point of personal ignominy - like having worked as an officer in the Wehrmacht, or a DP for Girls Gone Wild, or a trader for Madoff. Not something you want on your resume. Solution: learn to surf, then claim you were surfing. To get your name off the public list, you'll also need to file a full disclosure, and sign some forms. Really not a big deal. Certainly nothing like some other fascist coups I could imagine. Why fly with the rest? If you need to fly, fly with the best.)

The Antiversity, of course, is not a propaganda device. It is a truth machine. Its efforts are devoted to obtaining the truth for itself, not spreading the good news to others. The latter is a relatively trivial task given the former, and confusing the two greatly interferes with the former.

Nonetheless, once the Antiversity learns the truth, anyone can blog about it. Or produce an audio segment. Or a video segment. Certainly, by 2019, the Antiversity will have no trouble in communicating its truths to the People, through any medium which can stimulate their senses.

Public communication, originating entirely outside the Antiversity, cannot and should not be controlled. However, outlets within the general idea sphere of the Antiversity, and responsible to it rather than the University, can easily identify themselves as such. If they do not, or if their communications are inaccurate, it is obviously not the Antiversity's fault.

The trick with public communication is to move down the IQ ladder very cautiously and steadily. It's important that distorted versions of the Antiversity's vision not circulate among morons, as of course they will. However, the effect must be minimized. When propagandizing on behalf of the truth, always try to bring the audience up to your level; never descend to its.

As this slowly descending inverse waterline creeps down to the meat of the bell curve, that population - accustomed to seeing USG, including of course its local arms, through authorized eyes, will suddenly have the chance to see it through unauthorized eyes. Unauthorized and very critical eyes, with no interest whatsoever in illusions. The reality of USG needs no exaggeration.

But it is not that difficult to persuade Americans to despise USG. Americans already despise USG, although they don't generally put it that way. As an institution of propaganda, the Antiversity can whip them into a white rage with the artfully-presented truth. (Did I say a white rage? Sorry - poetic diction. A diverse rage, surely. Just white with righteous justification.) They are already remarkably annoyed and disappointed, however.

And they do nothing. Politically, the Americans are the victim of a vicious cycle: they are apathetic because they are powerless, and powerless because they are apathetic. The political apathy of the modern American voter would amaze and terrify his great-grandfathers.

Have you ever seen a contemporary description, perhaps by a European observer, of a 19th-century American election? It's like a college football game. Human madness unleashed upon the earth. Indeed, the fundamental human passion for tribal conflict has been transferred largely to harmless megasports - one of the real political achievements of the 20th century. (And indeed one bound to last. Which will outlast the other? Ohio State proper, or the Buckeyes?)

This change can be reversed. The gene pool has not changed much at all. Real political lightning is surely still hidden in the American heart - indeed the human heart. If not the chimp heart. If the hominid does not struggle for power, it can only be that he is powerless. Take your foot off him, and he springs up! But he is the opposite of a spring; the more he is compressed, the less he presses. He knows how to submit, as well as how to challenge and rule. This creature has quite a hunk of brain on the top of its spine. He didn't evolve yesterday.

This, for instance, is why there were few rebellions against the Soviet Union: the State had pressed its people to the floor. In general, weakness is the cause of all rebellion. Strength is the cure for all rebellion. You have heard the opposite, but you have heard wrong. Sorry.

Multiple-equilibrium games work like this. They are hyperbolic. They exhibit a Matthew effect. They have - if I can bear to cite Malcolm Gladwell - tipping points. Populists and conservatives - ie, enemies of socialism - have been largely barred from the levers of power in USG since the Hoover administration. The longer they remain out of power, the more their power decreases. Thus, the level to which an actual grass-roots movement (such as the tea parties) can influence public policy is almost zero.

Conventional democratic politics can stall public policy, but cannot change its direction. The mob is notoriously absent-minded; it forgets itself, and worries about something else; the policy goes through. This is the natural result of civil service reform. Either the People control the government, or they don't. If they control the government, they can fire the bureaucrats. If they can't fire the bureaucrats, they don't control the government. It really is that simple.

But our plan is not a plan to elect a political party, or to implement some policy, or to stall some policy, or etc. It is a plan for a democratic coup - a complete regime change. This cannot be done without actually capturing the government. Clearly, it is anything but a case of conventional democratic politics. However, until the regime change, it works entirely by lawful methods. After the regime change, of course, its word is law. The coup is a political singularity.

For instance, the rule in conventional democratic politics - followed rigorously for centuries - is to be as broad and vague about your ideals and desires as possible, so as to attract the largest possible base. Consider the tea parties. What were they about? Their namesake - a thoroughly left-wing phenomenon, a mob of vandals who masked their faces like Hamas to ransack a private business whose only crime was obeying the law? A mood, a feeling, a thought? Maybe an agenda, if a negative agenda counts? No to healthcare reform? But not just no to healthcare reform...

It was, and is, nowhere near clear. No surprise. The more people you get, the more powerful you feel. Unfortunately, if those people are milling about randomly in a "big tent" the size of Nebraska, you have accomplished very little in terms of coordinating support. You have not coordinated anything. All you have is a feeling. If you could get a million people behind some defined objective, you might be able to get that objective to happen.

But if the tea parties were promoting an actual manifesto, they would have had a much harder time recruiting. This would just have been weird. When you involve yourself in something like a tea party, you feel that you are contributing your thoughts, your ideas, your dreams, to a collective movement. This is the experience of conventional democratic politics. The last thing a democratic party wants to do is to crush those dreams, brutally, with its own.

Thus, conventional democratic politics cannot bring about a coup. No big surprise there. Only unconventional democratic politics can succeed. An unconventional party can only be organized along lines that will be familiar to any student of the revolutionary movements of the early 20th century, including both parties of the Right and Left. We can describe this as an existential party; it demands a fundamental and complete change of government. Such a party cannot, of course, be anything but upfront about this goal. It cannot mind being called anti-democratic. It is anti-democratic.

Power is what works; it can be used for good or evil. All significant existential movements, from the Bolsheviks to the Nazis, the Sandinistas to the Legion of the Archangel Michael, share these five design features:

One, the Party is exclusive, rather than inclusive. A democratic party is like a church: anyone can walk in, sit down, and listen to the sermon. An anti-democratic party is like a club: if you want to be a member, you have to apply. Moreover, if you want to stay a member, you have to keep paying your dues. Both metaphorically and financially.

Two, the Party enforces an ideological standard. The Party leadership decides on the Party line. You are, of course, free to have your own opinions. You are just not free to confuse them with the Party's opinions. As a Party member, you know the Party line and can spout it like a tape recorder. You can also rant on your own account. And you know the difference - that's all. The Party is most certainly not a soul-enslaving totalitarian cult.

Three, the Party proposes a concrete program. If you vote to transfer power to the Party, you know exactly what you're voting for. You are not voting for the box labeled "Surprise." If everyone else puts their votes in that same box, you know exactly what's going to happen.

Four, the Party eschews and despises partial authority. The question of what a responsible statesman would do with an existing pseudo-executive position under the Modern Structure - mayor, governor, even President - is only theoretically interesting. A responsible statesman would never accept any such position. His work would be sabotaged by those who retain the rest of said authority. Therefore, it would visibly appear to have failed. Moreover, even if it managed to succeed, it might well be reported otherwise. Better to hold back. The Party is organized to transcend democracy, not to repair it.

Fifth, the Party is inherently a shadow government. It is perfectly possible for the Party to build the new government under the laws of the old government. It just can't be activated (no, not even a little bit!) under the laws of the old government. (It can give demos, however.)

This mechanism is not known to the American political tradition. What do I mean by a shadow government? As so often at UR, we'll use as our example... National Socialism. Remember, a Nazi pistol is just a pistol.

The distinguished Australian historian Stephen Roberts, who lived in Nazi Germany between 1935 and 1937 and produced the essential prewar source The House That Hitler Built, wrote:
The machine, it is true, carried much dead weight, and organization in certain provinces was notoriously lax; but, on the whole, the Party came to provide a definite shadow State.

When I was admitted to the Party archives at Munich and shown some of the earliest documents, I was struck by the breadth of the point of view behind the system, even in the infancy of the Party. Here were no hasty pencillings and fugitive scraps of paper. Even when the Party had but a single stenographer, its files were handled as if they were the archives of a great nation, and the most insignificant details of meetings were minuted and checked and counter-checked. They were treated as State papers, and it is quite clear from the documents themselves that there has been no retrospective building up of a system that did not exist at a time. It is beyond doubt that the men who organized the Secretariat of the Party in the first few years acted as if they were managing a nation. The inculcation of such an outlook over a decade made the ultimate transference of power much easier than it otherwise would have been.
Lenin's thugs, of course, played it the same way. Does this shock you? You knew we were talking about seizing power. Power, of course, can be used for good or for evil. By the Nazis, by the Communists, or by you and I.

You see the process of seizing power the anti-democratic way. First, you build a government outside the government. That government already has a mind: the Antiversity. All it needs is a body. The Party. The Party! Embrace it. Embrace the vision. Embrace the edge.

And all one must do, to join that Party, is switch one's intellectual allegiance - from the University, to the Antiversity. The convert must follow the latter as he once followed the former: absolutely and unconditionally. The client submission module is already in place. We're just changing the server address. Moreover, the doctrines of the Antiversity, because they actually make sense, are much more compact - they consume fewer neurons and demand far less background processing. Your very skull will sigh with relief.

You start to see the difference between this and the Nazis. For the Nazis, the equivalent of the Antiversity was... Hitler. Have you read Hitler? I have. (The Table Talk is the Hitler to read.) Frankly, Hitler reads a lot like me, if I lost 25 IQ points from drinking lead soda, and also had a nasty case of tertiary syphilis. I may have some of Hitler's talents - I will be the first to admit it. But I have no intention of applying for his job.

I would never be able to do it, anyway. I don't think anyone could. Again, a true collective intelligence is essential. The Antiversity must not only be much smarter than me, but also much wiser. (And better at answering its email.)

So, beyond the mere spreading of seditious truths - which is really First Step material - let's look at how the Antiversity organizes a coup. In the First Step, the Antiversity assembled itself. In the Second Step, the Antiversity has three action items:

First, the Antiversity must design a Program. The Program says: if we receive formal sovereign authority, this is what we expect to do with it. The Program includes both a decision architecture for the New Structure, and a policy roadmap for the transitional administration.

I see no point in discussing the policies of the Program. Again, I am not Hitler. The Antiversity must be built first, and that will take at least ten years. Who knows what the world will be like in ten years? Cogitation on the Third Step should be left to one's own private heart. Frankly, I have been rash in even mentioning these matters.

However, it's clear how the Program starts: the Party seizes power, and executes its policy roadmap. Or... actually, no. This is not how the Program starts. This is how Brand X starts. This, for instance, is how Hitler started. And how Mussolini started. Needless to say, the Program has to be much more subtle, elegant and advanced.

There are many differences between the Program and the Nazi path to power. They both have one thing in common, of course: they produce an absolute dictatorship. However, this shocking resemblance can easily overshadow some critical engineering changes - notably the following.

The key safety change is that the Party is designed to seize power, but not hold power. The typical revolutionary party becomes an appendage of the revolutionary state - a permanent placenta. The placenta is a specialized organ for a specialized environment: the womb. Once the baby is born, it's useless. She'd never learn to crawl with this beef pancake hanging on her belly. If the Party must be preserved after its victory, it must at least be severed from power.

So here is how the Program starts: the Party holds power for only as long as it takes to hire a qualified administrator - an experienced corporate CEO, perhaps. It then presents that administrator with (a) a conflict-free responsibility structure; and (b) absolute sovereign authority. (b) will come first; (a) remains merely the Party for longer. (In the Program, there is never an administrator who is both absolute and irresponsible.)

But the entire transition should be complete within a year. After this, the Party has no more reason to exist; and, indeed, it should dissolve. Its central structure disbands. It continues to exist in a certain sense as a social network, but its organizational life is over. The Party is a temporary organism - designed to win and die. Its career is its larval stage.

Thus, though UR is completely attached to the theory that not only does power corrupt, but potential power corrupts, the Party can become as corrupt as it wants. Because it will never exercise actual authority in government - unlike the Nazis and the Bolsheviks.

Second, given this clever design, the Antiversity must actually organize the Party. Without actually prejudging the design, let us call the set of patriotic and responsible citizens who support the Program the Plinth.

The Plinth must (a) obey the principles of existential politics as described above; (b) conduct all operations in a perfectly democratic, transparent and responsible way; and (c) place its absolute confidence in the Antiversity and the Program.

As with any existential party, the goal of the Plinth is to capture absolute sovereign authority. If Americans do not have the power to entirely oust and replace their government by entirely democratic means, whatever proportion of the population they need to do so, they are simply the autocratic servants of those parts of state that they cannot so oust. Popular government is a corpse; that corpse, by its own principles, must be discarded by any means necessary. So it's six of one, half a dozen of the other. If you can't have the Plinth - you need the Plinth.

And indeed, although the Plinth is not an inherently covert organization, it is certainly designed to operate covertly if for some ridiculous reason this ever becomes necessary. In much the same way that an A320 is designed for a water landing. Even in covert mode, the Plinth is not designed to commit any actual crime or injustice; but unjust laws can prevent it from operating at all, if it is required to operate according to these laws. Because it is designed along basically Leninist lines, it has at least the theoretical option of going underground.

Third, the Antiversity must continue to exist, so that it can advise the Plinth and its successor, the New Structure. It is intended to be a permanent design - which means it is intended to be a nonsovereign design. This one-time event should be its only brush with power. For the rest of the future, it produces advice. Which the advised are quite free to disregard. This is the honest relationship of a legitimate consultant - not the creepy hypnotic grip of an intellectual Svengali.

At this premature date, I feel this is about as far as a coup design can be sketched. Certainly the first and third parts above can stand little examination. The Plinth, however, is another matter. It is the thing that has to be built. But how can it possibly be built? Let us delve deeper.

First, I want to examine two trends that I think will advance over the next decade, making it easier to both assemble and install the Plinth. Here at UR, we skate to where the puck will be. Second, I want to look at two processes: the process of assembling the Plinth, and the process of seizing power once it is built.

The first trend is spontaneous deprogramming. Here is the problem: the Modern Structure is complete. The ancien regime is no more. Therefore, it is simply impossible for the progressive movement to generate anything like the energy it generated in the '60s. The whole Obama experience, in particular, is a major downer. But this apathy would be growing anyway. It is just increasingly obvious that the '60s will never be repeated. The logs it burned are ash.

What this means in practice: in practice, for a young person, it is very hard to squeeze any power or status out of the Left. All the institutions of the Left are bureaucratically stable. If you join them, you join them as an intern. If you want to achieve any status through them, you have to suck your way up a very long, greasy pole. It is just not exciting to be a mainstream left-wing activist. The lifestyle is grim and boring. You can be an extreme left-wing activist, like an Earth Firster, which is a little more exciting; but still exudes an ugly flavor of desire and futility.

Young people seek power and status. This is natural. It will always be the case. However, they are young; so they seek not the things that will bring them power now, but the things that will bring them power when they are of age to rule. Not, of course, that this is a conscious strategy; it is more a matter of evolutionary biology. But it still works. The number of former '60s radicals in positions of power today is remarkable.

Thus, it is better to say that young people seek potential power and status. If an elite is open to new talent, they will seek it in that elite. If an elite is not open to new talent, or if the process of entering it excludes much of that talent...

In this case, we see a prerevolutionary condition. The classic case is late 19th-century Russia. Young elites, instead of being attracted to careers in the administrative or clerical arms of the Czarist state, were attracted to revolutionary activism - plotting to replace that regime. They seek a different path to power - not an existing path, but a potential and hypothetical path.

Why? I imagine that, to work and rise in the late Czarist bureaucracy, one had to both swallow and regurgitate some rather stale bagels of the mind. Certainly the literature of the period gives one that impression. Also, Jews were disliked. Rather actively disliked, as a matter of fact. Some of my ancestors left Imperial Russia on account of this nonsense.

The alternative? Communism. Out of the fire, into the frying pan. Or rather - out of the sauna, into the crematorium. Nonetheless, a prerevolutionary condition is a prerevolutionary condition. Better the good should take advantage of it, than the evil.

Let me show you a tiny, microscopic, little prerevolutionary condition, right here in 2009. This is the hot new phenomenon of Tweed Rides. Look at the gallery. What's going on here, Mr. Jones? Who in the bloody hell are these bloody chaps?

More to the point: why are ultra-British Victorian and Edwardian fashions fashionable, suddenly, in 2009? Does it have anything to do with Barack Obama? And will it last? Who the hell knows. I am anything but a trendologist. Here, however, is my theory.

My theory is that these eras are in fashion because they are edgy. They are dangerous. Every man and woman in the pictures you see is under 40 and went to an American or European college. In this so-called place of education, they were instructed that the eras which produced these clothing styles were evil.

Moreover, the most evil people in this era were rich white people - the people who wore tweed. People such as Edward VII. That's quite a difference, n'est ce pas? Barack Obama, and Edward VII? Nobody thinks this, I'm sure. The subconscious is quite sufficient.

Thus, the tweed craze is that most commonplace of youth phenomena - symbolic rebellion. Tweed culture is a lot like the swing movement in Nazi Germany - a relatively subtle denial of authority, delivered as a coded fashion message. Just as there could not possibly be any respect between the Hitler Youth thug and the Swing Kid, there cannot possibly be any respect between the Tweed Rider and the granola-munching hippie with whitey dreads. Culturally, this is war.

Of course, tweed is a harmless fashion statement. But you know: if a nigga has spent his entire Saturday trying to look like Sir Henry Maine, dress like Sir Henry Maine, talk like Sir Henry Maine, and act like Sir Henry Maine, how hard can it be to get him to read Sir Henry Maine? That's what I'm saying: a prerevolutionary condition. (Or rather, a prereactionary one.)

There's no reason at all that reactionary ideology can't hitch a ride on reactionary fashion. The two should flourish for exactly the same reasons, under exactly the same conditions, in exactly the same kinds of minds.

Moreover, if I am correct in my somewhat optimistic reading of this microtrend, with its obvious potential to be as ephemeral as any other fad, it will not be ephemeral (though it may evolve). My reasoning: if the tweed life is a subtle protest, it is an exercise of collective power. If it is an exercise of collective power, this fashion statement in some form is likely to be enduring, for the same reason that ghetto thugs will never stop wearing baggy clothes: you can hide a piece under them. When fashion confers power, fashion sticks around. On the other hand, this whole Tweed Movement could be complete bullshit - the thing could disappear in a few months. UR does not make financial recommendations or confer fashion advice.

The second trend is what, for lack of a better word, I call recorporatization. Unfortunately, this requires using the word corporation in its unusual second meaning - that of corporatism. Someone needs to invent a catchier locution. Unfortunately, I am fresh out today.

America was once renowned for its voluntary and independent community organizations. Tocqueville expends countless pages on lavish praise for the American passion of voluntarism. For various reasons, these were almost entirely atomized in the 20th century. For a modern American, your tribe is your employer, your university, or perhaps your church. Perhaps you volunteer at one of the many official charities. (Any charity which accepts grants is an official charity.) These are extremely cold, impersonal, and soulless forms of engagement. This is by no means a coincidence; basically, you are interacting with others through the Post Office.

Reactionaries adore the natural corporative structures of society, and diagnose a sick society by their disappearance and/or coordination. All 20th-century regimes destroyed or suborned the voluntary structures in their societies, producing the usual gray, totalitarian anomie. Why? To any inherently unstable regime, such as a democracy, guilds and orders and brotherhoods and lodges and the like are dangerous institutions; they are easily assembled into threatening combinations. The simple, atomized state of mere individuals is much safer.

The trend that we are seeing is the reconstruction, thanks to teh Internets, of private voluntary peer communities. A good example is Sermo, a private discussion board only for doctors. What do doctors talk about on Sermo? I have no idea. I'm not a doctor. I can't read the board.

However, I discovered Sermo because I read some news story that mentioned this press release. See this document. Frankly: crap like this is the reason society was decorporatized in the first place. Who the hell do these people think they are? The AMA? The AMA supports President Obama's health-care reform. Now there's the legitimate voice of American medicine.

Well... no. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if at some point Sermo just assimilates the AMA, more or less the way the Soviet Union assimilated Latvia. What is the AMA? A bunch of guys in an office with a fancy name. What is Sermo? Actual, legitimate democratic power. Or more precisely, aristocratic power. Or even more precisely: corporative power.

For instance: there's really nothing stopping someone from recreating Sermo for... the police. Or... the military. In fact, if you read the comments on police blogs, you'll see another prerevolutionary condition! And this is in public! (Albeit anonymously. Verified anonymity, as in "anonymous Marine captain in Texas," is an especially potent device.)

This is the art of the reactionary agitator. He is always persuading the little chips of uranium to cuddle up and get more comfortable with each other. Society has more than enough uranium for a Reaction. It is not shaped like a Reaction, but it is getting more so. Atomized, the doctors are nothing. Organized...

Another interesting and important class of corporative institutions is local institutions. For example: Sermo for San Francisco homeowners. If San Francisco homeowners develop a collective consciousness, their relationship to the government of San Francisco is not unlike Sermo's relationship to the AMA. Hm.

If homeowners think X, and supervisors do Y, how do homeowners respond? Homeowners think: this is our city. This is our government. We're the ones that pay for it. And it's slapping us in the face every day. This is simply unacceptable. (Check out the comments on that last link - including the votes. Votes like 500 to 3 - for the reactionary position. In San Francisco.) Now, if we can have a meeting of the minds with Sermo for San Francisco policemen...

Once corporative institutions exist, they can think as communities. They can publish manifestos, like the Sermo appeal. They can develop party lines. They can liaise with other communities. They can perform all kinds of incredibly powerful and dangerous political stunts. No, there was very much a reason why 20th-century liberalism was so anticorporatist - just like the Nazis and the Bolsheviks. The corporatives must be assimilated, coordinated or destroyed. "As you wish, Lord Vader."

Worst of all, corporatives can consider and disseminate alternative narratives of anything - or everything. They can be infiltrated. The Antiversity is a dream and the Plinth is a dream squared; but it's never too soon to start infiltrating. (In fact, just the fact that you're reading this pretty much makes you a sleeper agent. Perhaps I should consider disseminating some sort of patches or cards, like Steve Zissou.)

It is the combination of rebellious reactionary exuberance, driven by the irresistible energy of youth and talent, combined with the rise of new voluntary community structures, that over the next ten or twenty years will begin to create a general prerevolutionary condition. But how do we exploit that condition?

All right. We're in 2019. Even given deprogramming and recorporatization, given an Antiversity - how do we do it? How do we build the Party? The modern world, in 2019, will still be the modern world. How, in the modern world, do you recruit a Leninist party of pure Carlylean reaction, dedicated implacably to the downfall of the Constitution and its replacement with an iron-hard corporate dictatorship?

Actually, history has a precise example of what needs to happen to America. America needs to be colonized. It needs to be reorganized under imperial rule. Unfortunately, America is the world's greatest country already - no one is available to colonize it. Therefore, Americans will have to do the job themselves.

For instance, the acknowledged master of colonial government is Lord Cromer, who found Egypt in chaos and bankruptcy and instituted a European standard of government. We, too, would like a European standard of government. To achieve this goal, we have joined our efforts in the Colonialist Party.

Or possibly the Imperialist Party. Or, perhaps not now but at some more daring day, the Racist Party. (Whose platform could only demand absolutely race-blind government.) Many other names of this general valence, utterly defiant yet somehow nonthreatening, completely serious but vaguely ironic, are available.

But let us eschew all these big, flashy banners, and call the project by its internal codename. This is what cool people who know it will actually call it. It's an unusual word, of no particular metaphorical definition: the Plinth. Again, I want to emphasize the fact that not only does the Plinth not exist, it cannot exist until the Antiversity exists; and the Antiversity does not exist.

The Plinth, quite simply, is the existential party of responsible thought. It appeals to responsible and intelligent people - parents, homeowners, schoolteachers. Doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Students at top-level universities. Republicans and Democrats, of course. Ice People, Chinamen, Hindoos; Boers, steers, and queers; mulattos, Hispanics, and Jews. Everyone intelligent, mature and open-minded, regardless of race, color, creed, or sexual preference. Of course, in practice everyone will be white, just like at Burning Man.

The Plinth can recruit new members in only one way: educating them. To join the Plinth, you need to educate yourself at least superficially in the doctrines of the Plinth. These simple instructional materials, prepared of course by the Antiversity, contain a brief general reorientation, and a short overview of actual history, economics, and political science. Basically, you need to read a little book and take a little test. It's like getting your political driver's license. Not difficult at all.

How is the Plinth structured? Much like any revolutionary party of the early 20th century. All instructions come to you from the headquarters - Reaction Control. This is a small office of professional reactionaries, whose role is entirely administrative (not ideological) in nature. The Antiversity dreams its dreams; it floats its castles in the air; Reaction Control executes them.

Is this at all creepy? Let's stop, for a moment, and consider whether what we're proposing is creepy. I hold that it is not, in fact, creepy. And here is why.

To the extent that Reaction Control is the administrative creation of the Antiversity, it is indeed the case that the Antiversity is plotting to take over the world. If the Antiversity is plotting to take over the world, it can and will be corrupted by power in just the same way as the University. It might even be worse - before it achieves power. And after that, it will degrade quite rapidly. So, yes, this would be creepy.

Let's look at the safety interlocks on this baby. First, as we saw earlier, the Antiversity creates Reaction Control, but Reaction Control is not in any way responsible to or governed by the Antiversity. At least formally, this missile is fire-and-forget.

Once Reaction Control is born, the administrative tie is severed; the relationship is advisory alone. Thus, the Antiversity is not intellectually contaminated by the activism and raw power lust of the Plinth. Or at least, it is contaminated temporarily and as little as possible. Moreover, the fact that the Plinth can only win by speaking the truth is a major barrier to any kind of power distortion.

And then, of course, there is another Morgul-condom: once the Plinth wins, it forms the New Structure and ceases to exist. Furthermore, it is a conflict of interest to hold or have held any formal responsibility in of any two of these organizations: Antiversity, Plinth, New Structure. At every step, the people have to change. Otherwise, we could expect contamination. There will surely be some bad eggs anyway, but there's no reason to invite them.

And please don't misunderstand: this is not a James Bond operation. Until it actually seizes power, everything the Plinth does is legal. The Plinth is not a violent existential party. Ie, it is not a terrorist organization. Quite the converse! The Plinth is a nonviolent existential party. It is merely conducting a campaign of information terrorism. This is not just legal - it's encouraged. Plinthers are merely activists. (In fact, volunteering for the Plinth next summer would look great on your college application. It's not like we don't have a plan to end world poverty.)

Reaction Control does three things. One: it assigns Plinthers to cells. Two: it publishes the Update. Three: it coordinates any distributed actions.

The general pattern of 20th-century revolutionary parties is a cellular structure. While this was originally designed for illegal, underground activity, in which the Plinth does not engage, it is also a perfect way to use the Internet to organize a social network.

Simply put: here's how you join the Plinth. Either (a) you are recruited by a friend, who is already in a cell; you study the Short Course, pass the test, join your friend's cell. Or (b) you find the Plinth on the Internet, study the Short Course, pass the test, and are assigned to a local cell by Reaction Control. Either way, you spend three months as a candidate member, than are confirmed or rejected by the cell. If confirmed, you are a full member and must pay dues.

Cells meet - in person - at least once a month to maintain their active status. At a cell meeting, members can be expected to discuss the latest issue or issues of the Update, which is issued once a week and tells Plinthers what happened this week. There may also be reading assignments, etc. It's easy to assign reading when you're not particularly interested in reading anything post 1922. The fundamental goal of a cell is to maintain the Plinth as a social network with a well-informed, reactionary collective consciousness - this requires intellectual awareness. Note that this is more or less how the CPUSA, for instance, operated in its heyday.

(And note what Reaction Control, in practice, does for your life. It goes out and finds you like-minded friends. It creates a social life. Many, of course, already have a perfectly adequate social life - but not all. This effect has been of tremendous advantage to revolutionary parties of the past.)

Cells also elect leaders, and these leaders form cells of their own. This is the traditional structure of a revolutionary party - why mess with what works? At the top is Reaction Control, whose leaders (while initially appointed by the Antiversity) are of course elected by the Plinth.

The Plinth, proper, is not designed to contain an electoral majority of citizens. Even once they had achieved power, the revolutionary parties of the early 20th century never made members of all citizens. The Party was designed to be a revolutionary elite, and an elite it remained, even in power. (The Plinth, of course, is dissolved once it wins - it is a sort of political placenta, not at all useful to the actual New Structure.)

Therefore, the Plinth will not prevail through the mere votes of Plinthers. It needs to recruit an outer core of sympathizers - supporters, but not members. To do so, it must propagate its message outside the actual Plinth. There are several ways to do so.

One is mass public action - demonstrations. These, of course, must be (a) entirely legal; and (b) extremely successful and impressive. Any demonstration of less than 100 people is a failure by definition. Also, all demonstrations must include fiery public speeches, preferably not by Hitler impersonators. Tweed or some other stylish, quasi-formal uniform is highly recommended. Colored shirts are most definitely out. Ties are good - cravats and bowties are better. Red, yellow, gold or orange are always good colors for male neckwear.

Two is Gramscian infiltration. Everything that can be infiltrated should be infiltrated, of course, but reactionaries should focus especially on the least politicized and least official networks in society - the workplace, and the new voluntary institutions. (Including, of course, Facebook.)

One simple, fun infiltration game is a subtle dress code, to recognize fellow reactionaries at work or play. For example, if your acquaintance or coworker wears orange, gold, or yellow shirts only on prime-numbered days of the month, he or she is almost certainly a reactionary. These are attractive colors on prime days, but very unattractive on non-prime days. If you note a coworker following this pattern, you may have a comrade in the office. Approach in private and give the password: "Pumpkins." If the answer is "Carlyle," the connection is made. You can watch each other's back in work and play. Teams or groups of reactionaries may exhibit a visually striking, yet plausibly deniable, appearance.

Obviously, as the Plinth and Antiversity gain prominence and legitimacy, these tricks become less necessary. But they are still fun. Frankly, Americans have simply never experienced the excitement of political organization. This is because they have no meaningful politics. The idea that they could organize democratically to seize power is entirely foreign to them, simply because nothing of the sort has been practical for quite some time. It is teh Internets, of course, that have changed the rules.

What is the end of all this? The end is power. Let's end our discussion by looking at how to seize power. The Plinth, after all this organizing and stuff, is going to have to seize power. D'oh!

There are two ways for an existential party to seize power in a democracy. One is the direct way: it can create new institutions of government, to which the people and/or security forces spontaneously redirect their allegiance. This was the method chosen by the Founders in 1787. The Constitutional Convention was authorized by the Congress of the Confederation, but it never returned to that Congress for approval. Rather, it solicited direct approval from the states.

The direct coup is harder and more dangerous. It really is technically illegal. It is essential to ensure the complete and undivided loyalty of the security forces. Nonetheless, once done, it's done. The obvious rule of power applies: the Plinth never fails. If it would fail, it doesn't try. If it opts for civil disobedience - ie, nonviolent lawbreaking - it does it once, for the stake of full sovereignty. And when it dares, it wins.

In the direct coup, the body that requests the loyalty of the security forces must represent the public opinion of responsible society. It is Sermo for all responsible people. It says, without shame or bashfulness: for responsible government, the responsible must rule. The rights of the irresponsible must be respected, but not their voices. The existing regime is irresponsible because it was selected by irresponsible people acting through irresponsible institutions. It supposedly exists to serve our purposes; it is not serving them. It had sat long enough.

An indirect or self-coup, in which a democratically-elected executive tears up the lawbook and instead executes the Program, is much safer and more straightforward. It requires a real majority, however, which is hard - and can be made arbitrarily harder by the Modern Structure, which is intent on securing itself by importing an arbitrary number of new citizens. This, like many of its other tricks, is quite familiar to the student of the late Roman Republic.

Finally, it's important to note that either of these paths can be practiced at any political level. The ideal level is the national level - the Program is a national plan. The Antiversity can also develop Programs for states and even cities that wish to secede and become sovereign, however. Any coastal or border state or city should find this relatively straightforward.

One of the things you learn when you read about 19th-century USG is that its 20th-century successor simply does not exhibit the same level of political cohesion. Apathy again. The 19th-century American was an incredibly politicized, democratically engaged, and - not least - macho and violent creature. It is not surprising that in 1861, when a bunch of states tried to secede, the rest broke out in a paroxysm of enthusiasm for a war to save the Union. (It was certainly not a war to free the slaves - not in 1861, anyway.) If you were teleported into that mania, you would speak the language, but you would feel no other cultural connection to the people. You'd feel more or less as if you'd been sent to an insane asylum.

In 2009, or at any later date, what will happen if a state government tries to secede? So long as it has strong internal public support and the support of the state security forces, it will - secede. Nothing at all will happen. The state will simply become an independent country. Washington simply does not have anything like the political energy to coerce a seceding state. It barely has the political energy to coerce a seceding city. Americans simply are not going to shoot at other Americans for this reason. If this assertion is true, as I believe it is, state police with shotguns can easily thwart the entire US military in a secession situation. The latter simply won't attack. They will not be ordered to. The hate just isn't there.

The idea that any national force could prevent a state from seceding strikes me as rather like the idea that the US will guarantee Israel against Iran's nuclear weapons, by promising nuclear retaliation against Iran if Iran nukes Tel Aviv. Frankly, I don't think the America of today - the America that prohibits its own soldiers from shooting back at the Taliban, if the Taliban are shooting from a house - has the stones to nuke Russia if Russia nukes America (not that it will). The proposition that Washington could or would incinerate millions of Iranians, whatever the Iranian government did to Israel, is ridiculous. It is simply reverse presentism - anachronistic translation of past assumptions to the present. Washington once had an ideology that allowed it to nuke cities for reasons of state, but not now.

Similarly, Washington once had an ideology that allowed it to coerce states, or combinations of states, or even cities, that wanted to be independent. But not now. I would not say the thing is trivial, but any state, or even major coastal city, can almost certainly succeed if it plays its cards right.

In short: the only proposition on which the Reaction depends is the proposition that history is not over. Historically, the political problem faced by the Antiversity and Plinth seems relatively solvable. It seems impossible in terms of conventional American politics, but the whole point of the Reaction is a return to historical standards.

By historical standards, there is arguably no meaningful democratic politics in America today. There is certainly no meaningful democratic politics in most of Europe. Thus the Plinth is doing what any dissidents in a totalitarian state must: working to restore democracy, in a state whose constitutional belief is that it already is a democracy. The Plinth differs only in that it does not believe pure democracy is a valid description of any stable sovereign decision structure - and therefore proposes its own structure, which is designed to be stable, responsible, and effective, but emphatically not democratic. In short, the Plinth is just like an anti-Communist dissident organization, such as Solidarity, except that it sees democracy as a means, not an end. To reach that end, it may be necessary to restore democracy. It cannot be necessary to retain democracy.

The fundamental question is: can it be done? Most, I'm sure, would say no. Most might well be right. For another answer to the question, however, I leave you with Hilaire Belloc:
There is a triumph of influence which all of us have known and against which many of us have struggled. It is certainly not a force which one can resist, still less is it effected by (though it often accompanies) the success of armies.

It is the pressure and at last the conquest of ideas when they have this three-fold power: first, that they are novel and attack those parts of the mind still sensitive; secondly, that they are expounded with conviction (conviction necessary to the conveyance of doctrine); and, thirdly, that they form a system and are final.
Obviously, this profile fits UR to a T. In particular, observe the importance of focus. The tea parties, as a right-wing imitation of a left-wing phenomenon, are completely without focus; they are diffuse and distributed, as any leftist movement must be if it wishes to remain leftist. Therefore, they are weak despite their large numbers - they cannot think or act collectively. They will certainly never out-left the Left!

The essence of Right is effective structural and intellectual coordination. Operating a right-wing movement by left-wing techniques is an excellent way to fail. The Left spontaneously coordinates itself; the Right must be coordinated by actual leadership. In the Reaction, structural and intellectual leadership are supplied by the Plinth and the Antiversity, respectively. In the National Socialist German Workers' Party, they were supplied by Hitler and Goebbels, respectively. Hopefully the difference will be easy to observe.

Actually, Belloc (who was a bit of a Nazi himself) is not writing about the Nazis. He is writing (in 1906) about 7th-century Islam. With a century more hindsight, I'd actually venture to disagree with him on one point: I think armies are pretty effective in effecting the conquest of ideas. Nonetheless, his analysis is excellent and not at all restricted to the soldiers of Allah.

History buffs will note that contemporary commenters on the rise of National Socialism also often compared Hitler to Mohammed and Nazism to Islam. They were liberals, of course, not neocons, and they meant real 7th-century Islam, not its modern imitation. (Our "Islamism" is just another strain of Third World nationalism, a bug that has been kicking around the planet for at least a century. It is best seen as an opportunistic infection of democracy.)

Therefore, my own designs are inspired by the experience of Hitler, Muhammad, and Jesus. As well as Octavian, Franco, and William I. Also important to my thinking are Frederick the Great, Mussolini, and Napoleon. And we can't forget a few American luminaries, such as Ben Hill, J. Edgar Hoover, and Harry Hopkins. History is largely the study of political force, which is an extension of military force. Generals must study generalship by studying battles - any battles, all battles, without regard to the character or merits of the participants. Those who aim to design any system of political force must likewise learn from any and all parties, leaders and movements of the past, American or foreign, vicious or virtuous.

(And specifically, if the question is whether patriotic Americans are allowed to learn from the Nazis, I think that question was more or less answered when NASA shipped the German ICBM program to Alabama. When SS-Sturmbannführer von Braun's spaceship landed on the moon, did patriotic Americans applaud? Or did they shout: "Boo! Hiss! Nazis!" Apollo 11, of course, was not made in underground caves by starving slave laborers. Therefore, it seems that one can copy the things the Nazis did right, and discard the things they did wrong. One can fail in this; one can fail in anything.)

Above all, then, the Reaction depends on one question. Will good people undertake it? No - will great people undertake it? If so, it will happen, and I think succeed. The most important thing about this entire project: at every step, in every thing it does, it must attract the best, it must repel, defeat or confine the worst, and it must be entirely and in the deepest sense of the word fun. If it is not possible to achieve these qualities, it is probably impossible to implement the Reaction. And of course, it may be impossible anyway. The required effort and achievement may just exceed human powers - even with the full power of teh Internets.

If so, there is no reason to despair. History has been a lot worse. It is getting worse; but not, by historical standards, that fast. (Unless you have the misfortune to live in South Africa.) And even if barbarism does steepen its pace, the consolations of Boethius remain available.

Better Boethius than Claudian, I say. Better truth in a cage than lies in purple. Truth will not remain in a cage, nor lies in purple. Not gently does this inversion revert. The force is not ours; the force is Clio's. Heck - God's. But
"Nay, by God, Donald, we must help him to mend it!"

Mencius Moldbug
San Francisco; November 2009

104 Comments:

Blogger James said...

Wow.

November 19, 2009 at 6:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YEAH! I'm looking forward to read this

November 19, 2009 at 6:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No part 9c?

November 19, 2009 at 6:10 AM  
Blogger Betoca said...

When I started reading this, the comments number was zero.

I am sure that in 40 years, that will be something to brag about.

November 19, 2009 at 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Pals said...

"In the Reaction, structural and intellectual leadership are supplied by the Plinth and the Antiversity, respectively. In the National Socialist German Workers' Party, they were supplied by Hitler and Goebbels, respectively. Hopefully the difference will be easy to observe."

--Of course it is easy to observe the difference: One is led by a crazed megalomaniac with a terrorizing murderous, racist and enslaving motivation. The other spoke German.

Mencius, it is REALLY very hard to observe the difference. What you're suggesting is just nuts.

I, again, urge you to consider the alternative hypothesis that the problem is not in irresponsible government, but in government itself. More responsible government is just a recipe for more violently and morbidly effective government. Not a good thing.

Start by reading Rothbard.

November 19, 2009 at 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Pals said...

Anonymous,

I presume part 9.c is the part where Mencius finally lays the momentous egg of the design of the Antiversity. I was looking forward to that, but he seems stuck.

A quick note: for me, the internet itself is the greatest and most effective Antiversity. You don't need to centralize or institutionalize it for it to be effective. On the contrary, its decentralization and spontaneity is what guarantees its effectiveness.

An example: Mises.org has put out a ton of writing on economics. All it takes for a serious adult is to spend a week or so reading through it to realize without a shadow of a doubt that everything taught in the University on economics is unadulterated garbage. And that is an irreversible conclusion. Once you realize Paul Krugman is full of shit, there is simply nothing he could ever write that will make you believe in "fiscal stimulus". You are like the 9-year-old who has just seen his dad place the gift under the Christmas tree; nothing will ever bring you back to believing in Santa Claus.

The same is true of Climate Audit, and perhaps even Wikipedia in general. Once one catches the fake Santa Clauses, they are doomed.

So, the spontaneous Antiversities do not need to be institutionalized and given a modern Hitler-Youth-like army of devoted nuts to spread their message. They win slowly, incrementally, and through the power of the irreversibility of discovering bullshit.

I hope that the result will be a steady erosion of the conviction of the governed that they should indeed be governed. And that is the best and most effective force to destroy the University and the current disaster-regime.

November 19, 2009 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger newt0311 said...

I would criticize this post but this comment is all that it warrants. This post is not worthy of this blog. "[U]njust laws"! Seriously? How the mighty have fallen!

MM, get over your aversion to force and your optimism, they are clouding your judgment.

@Pals

Force cannot be decentralized. Not coherently and predictably in any case.

November 19, 2009 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger Thrasymachus said...

I'm not so sure that the current state of things would be so disturbing to the Founders. They were elitists who designed a system to be run by the elite, with a great deal of discretion. Maybe John Adams would be proud that Harvard lawyers of a Puritanical sensibility.

There is wide belief amongst those of a reactionary bent- although I hesitate to compare Moldbug to the readers of "Southern Partisan"- that the elite used the excess power of the Constitution to crush the South. But it was clearly the opposite- the elite, by way of Dred Scott, pushed slavery to places were it- and blacks- were not wanted. The Civil War as purely a defensive effort by the South is arguable only in retrospect. Had they won they would have brought slave agriculture any place they thought profitable- with the concomitant social disaster. I'm no fan of Kansas but at least it's not Mississippi.

I've never seen a Girls Gone Wild video, but are you sure they have a director of photography?

November 19, 2009 at 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'The Plinth', translated into Arabic: 'Al Qaeda' :-)

November 19, 2009 at 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he has to choose between America and USG, he will always choose America. In short: he is a patriot, not a moron.

Maybe I'm a moron, but there is no "America" that is cleanly separable from the USG. This is not a nation that has a single shared history with deep roots in the past. Most people's ancestors got here within the last hundred years; what shared culture we have is either commercial crap or too strongly tied to the USG to be separated from it (ie, democratic values).

Your entire project fails here. Hitler had a treasure trove of Teutonic myths to build upon, what does "America" have? America without its government is nothing more than a real-estate development, and nobody fights and dies for their subdivison.

November 19, 2009 at 9:51 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

9c will have to actually explain what the hell the Antiversity is. I'll save my questions until this is posted.

By the way, I've been thinking for quite some time that Mencius is Ignacious Reilly, but now he actually cites Boethius.

November 19, 2009 at 10:18 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

"the internet itself is the greatest and most effective Antiversity"

Try citing the internet on your next term paper or getting a decent job without a few years handing in such papers.

November 19, 2009 at 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Leonard said...

Pals: MM has read Rothbard, and has frequently recommended reading him. You really need to stick around here for a while. Read back in the archives. Live a while. I expect you'll be joining us red-pill types sooner or later.

As for the internet being the antiversity, I have proposed that before. In fact I emailed MM about it, in 9b, and posted the results. There are two emails from MM there.

November 19, 2009 at 11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the internet itself is the greatest and most effective Antiversity.

Heh. Teh internet is many things, but it is not a "truth machine" that is "devoted to obtaining the truth for itself".

there is no "America" that is cleanly separable from the USG.

Of course there is. The USG is the political elite, the Establishment, that is utterly unresponsive to the American people, who are the real "America". Get rid of the current political elite - which despises the people it supposedly serves - and there will still be an America. This much should be obvious to anyone who isn't a moron...

November 19, 2009 at 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Stirner said...

Another Pro-Reactionary microtrend is the emergence of "Game" seduction theory. Roissy in DC, and other related blogs in the Gameophere somehow manage to expand beyond picking up women to comment on a wider range of topics such as HBD, and stone cold Traditionalist conservatism.

Traditonalists like Auster may complain that the Roissy and the like are kicking open the door to nihilism, but on the other hand they are making very reactionary modes of thought seem cool.

I can think of no better recruitment tool for young reactionary men than: "Learn our Sith ways, and you can get laid by hotties on demand."

In MM terms, this is perhaps the most potent tool of spontaneous deprogramming. Once Game open the door to reactionary/Antiversity modes of thought, then it is down the rabbit hole you go.

November 19, 2009 at 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Cassandra Goldman said...

It appeals to responsible and intelligent people - parents, homeowners, schoolteachers.

This one sentence is enough to destroy the entire penetrating essay. Schoolteachers? You consider Marxist pedophiles with well below average IQs to be "responsible and intelligent people"?

November 19, 2009 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Some good quotables, I think. If I am not off base, I'd speculate that the Antiversity is going to be itself reverse engineered; see the problem, imagine the solution to the problem, come up with a plan for the mechanism to implement the solution.

If the problem is not properly understood, the machine is not properly built. This is the key problem with designing web sites for instance, as the Client rarely has a clear definition of what problem the site is to solve, much less a clear picture of how that problem will be solved, and thus we apply various methods to attain to either a clear picture of the problem, the solution, or we just give them something they like and get paid.

The last is profoundly unsatisfying but it keeps food on the table.

November 19, 2009 at 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The USG is the political elite, the Establishment, that is utterly unresponsive to the American people, who are the real "America". Get rid of the current political elite - which despises the people it supposedly serves - and there will still be an America.

You are proposing a populist, demotic revolution. This is quite contrary to the spirit of this blog, which is unabashedly elitist. Somehow there's supposed to be a different elite taking over, one that doesn't have any of the problems of the current class. Good luck with that.

November 19, 2009 at 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shifting gears slightly: Here'
s a discussion on lesswrong
about prestige. The sad truth is that despite the flaws in prestige institutions like Harvard or academia in general, they still serve up better quality information than some random website.

Quality coagulates around known centers because that's what the dynamics of prestige produces. Producing an alternative that is both high-quality, high-prestige, and resistant to co-optation is very tough. You could only do it if the mainstream institutions were so corrupt as to actively repel quality. Despite Mencius' extreme views, most people do not feel this way so it won't happen.

November 19, 2009 at 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Pope said...

They never say: "Today in St. Louis, the White House called for..." They say: "Today in St. Louis, President Obama called for..." This is a classic Orwellian abuse of English.

Just a quibble, but they actually do say the former quite frequently, along with the latter. They use "the White House" pretty often.

November 19, 2009 at 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Norad said...

"like having worked as an officer in the Wehrmacht, or a DP for Girls Gone Wild, or a trader for Madoff."

What's DP mean here? Double penetration?

November 19, 2009 at 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There already is an "Antiversity."

It's called Stormfront.

November 19, 2009 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

At 22 comments (like Betoca, I read this early but couldn't comment until now) there are a few things to address.

In order of interest.

Cassandra, darling, I love you but you've got to remember that I'm a schoolteacher. While there are a great many schoolteachers who are Marxist, a frightening number who are pedophiles (or more accurately hebephiles), and a damnable pile that are stupid, there are also clever and erudite folks who are tired of the system. More importantly, the students who would be receptive to "recruitment" know this.

Pals, at the risk of rehashing why AC is delightful but fantasy, I would encourage you to read Ecclesiastes.

Newt:
An aversion to force/violence is the entire point of this blog. MM's assertion is that only by a vigorous, powerful state can relative peace be achieved.

Moreover the reboot cannot be achieved through violent ends. The armed arm of USG is far too powerful to defeat. It can, however, be persuaded. The same goes with the rest of the damn country. That's the point of the Antiversity (Bazaar or Tavern is still a better term, Menc).

Thrasymacarpetbagger:

You need to read some writings from the 1840s-1860s. What is clear is that the progressives (abolitionists) funded by business interests exploited the power of the masses to shove the country into a destructive and bloody war that killed the productivity of the South and ensured the dependency of the nation on the mid-atlantic, mid-west, and New England states.

Anonymoron,

Get out of the megolopolis and in to the country.

Anonycorrect (and Josh):

The Antiversity needs to be centralized so that it can create a power plan. Teh Int3rw3bz are a road, not a vehicle.

Stirner,

Yes, exactly. Even as annoying (and generally wrong) as Roissy is, the myth and the message are appealing to the "right sort" of orange cravat.

Anonyprestige:

Duh. The Antiversity is the opposite of a "random website."

Anonypopulist:

Well, yes. The only non-military way (do you have control over the military? didn't think so) to reboot USG is popular revolt at the ballot box.

But this can only be done once. It's not by voting in Ron Paul that USG is "saved," it's by voting in a plan for transfer of power to a more stable and able government.

For the post in general, I think newt's quite incorrect. If governance is based on coercion and lies (you outta like that, Pals) then the best way to eliminate that governance is through the truth.

MM is right to refer to the protestant revolution and the Catholic church, though as any "reformer" one must be aware that Luther (like Lucifer) is one of those who got us here in the first place.

November 19, 2009 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Studd Beefpile said...

I cannot imagine a victorious revolutionary party taking over, setting up a system, and then going home. The only historical precedents I can think of are George Washington and Sulla. Men of great merit who also have sufficient virtue to overcome the will to power that evolution has driven into us are so rare as to be almost legendary.

MM admits that the party must rule, even if only for a short time, but as he admits power corrupts. I am not sure why he is so certain that the party will lay down power once the dictatorship of the proletariat is firmly established. Err, I mean once there is a king in California.

November 19, 2009 at 2:46 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

An Antiversity is unnecessary.

Just defund the humanities departments and/or allow undergraduates to skip the GenEd, which is mostly libart/postmodernist propaganda.

Even aside from the politics of the humanities departments, there is no need for non libart majors to take any humanities courses because the professors are merely going over subjects like English literature and US History that should already have been mastered in High School (if not grade school).

Plenty of science and business majors would be delighted to focus all their energies on their majors.

Skipping the Gen-Ed would also reduce the time it take to get a degree from 4-6 years to 2-4 years depending on the major.

November 19, 2009 at 3:07 PM  
Blogger newt0311 said...

@GM Palmer

An aversion to force/violence is the entire point of this blog. MM's assertion is that only by a vigorous, powerful state can relative peace be achieved.

There is a very big difference between calculated rational dislike and emotional sentimental aversion. I have a calculated rational dislike towards damaging my own property. Breaking a glass doesn't have any emotional effect on me. Rather, I recognize that it is a foolish idea to do so. In contrast, I have a sentimental aversion to breaking my word. Thus, even when it is rational to do so, I may not break my word. This makes violation of contract a very unwieldy strategy for me as emotions get in the way.

A government must rule either with physical coercion or psychological coercion (as MM himself said) and therefore if one wants a government based on the former principle, a sentimental aversion to force in its thinking, methods, and strategies is fatal and would lead to eventual collapse. Likewise, a sentimental aversion to force in its designer would be similarly harmful. Yet, that is exactly what I observed in this post. It seems almost as if the primary design criterion of the antiversity and the Plinth was avoidance of violence. Much of the essay is devoted to "demonstrating" why the Plinth and the transition would involve minimal, if any at all, violence. The primary design criterion of the antiversity and Plinth should be complete and irreversible transfer of power.

This is not a good characteristic of a designer of authoritarian government. Such a designer must, above all, realize that while force and violence have a cost, a high one even, this cost is finite and bounded. That there are degrees to violence and that some consequences are worse than some degrees of violence.

A good contrast is MM's post on occupying and governing a foreign country. It too gives a design that would minimize the use of force. However, minimization of violence is a secondary characteristic to establishment of a coherent and efficient sovereign. When force can reasonably be considered the best option, use of force is advocated.

Moreover the reboot cannot be achieved through violent ends. The armed arm of USG is far too powerful to defeat.

All that means is that the potential coup/change of government will

a) Have to originate from inside the military, or

b) Will get lucky, use force, and the people in charge of the military would be too stupid to use them (the military), or finally

c) Will originate outside USG's sphere of influence and will acquire sufficient means to defeat the military before hitting the coast.

Note that historically, most coups fall within categories a and b. Virtually all coups fall within these three categories. Note that all of these categories involve the use of force on the part of the people initiating the coup without support of the military beforehand.

November 19, 2009 at 3:17 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Newt,

Military coup by senior generals seems to have the best results and much better government.

Pinochet, Salazar, Franco, the generals in Greece, Chaing Kai Sheck, etc were all vastly preferable to the leftist alternatives.

History would be much different and better if the leaders of the Weimar Republic had handed off power to the pro-Ancien Regime German/Prussian military high command before the elections of 1933.

November 19, 2009 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger newt0311 said...

@Undiscovered Jew

Thanks for the vote of confidence.

November 19, 2009 at 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right, the kleptocrat torturer Pinochet is really a model of good governance.

Your list is a list of thugs, and fortunately the ability of thugs to form thugocracies seems to have diminished in recent decades. But there are still a few left, so if you like that form of government perhaps you should emigrate to Turkmenistan.

November 19, 2009 at 4:12 PM  
Anonymous The Undsicovered Jew said...

Right, the kleptocrat torturer Pinochet is really a model of good governance.

I'm pretty sure Marcus Aurelius, Caesar Augustus and Trajan tortured even more people than Pinochet. But just because they were absolute rulers does not mean they were not good rulers.

November 19, 2009 at 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are proposing a populist, demotic revolution.

Firstly, I wasn't proposing any kind of revolution, I was responding to the claim that "there is no "America" that is cleanly separable from the USG." The proles (who are "America") are unlikely to lead a revolution, but they clearly exist and are clearly different from the USG, which defiantly resists prole influence.

This is quite contrary to the spirit of this blog, which is unabashedly elitist. Somehow there's supposed to be a different elite taking over, one that doesn't have any of the problems of the current class. Good luck with that.

Yet even MM acknowledges the requirement, if the USG is to be replaced, to communicate with the proles and whip them into a rage:

"As this slowly descending inverse waterline creeps down to the meat of the bell curve, that population - accustomed to seeing USG, including of course its local arms, through authorized eyes, will suddenly have the chance to see it through unauthorized eyes. Unauthorized and very critical eyes, with no interest whatsoever in illusions. The reality of USG needs no exaggeration.

But it is not that difficult to persuade Americans to despise USG. Americans already despise USG, although they don't generally put it that way. As an institution of propaganda, the Antiversity can whip them into a white rage with the artfully-presented truth. (Did I say a white rage? Sorry - poetic diction. A diverse rage, surely. Just white with righteous justification.) They are already remarkably annoyed and disappointed, however.

And they do nothing. Politically, the Americans are the victim of a vicious cycle: they are apathetic because they are powerless, and powerless because they are apathetic. The political apathy of the modern American voter would amaze and terrify his great-grandfathers."

You can't succeed at a coup without an elite, but you can't succeed without the mob either.

November 19, 2009 at 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

History would be much different and better if the leaders of the Weimar Republic had handed off power to the pro-Ancien Regime German/Prussian military high command before the elections of 1933.

History would have been better had Germany won WWII, or had the Allies never waged war against Germany in the first place and allowed Germany to consolidate power in Central Europe and expand to the East and destroy the Bolsheviks.

November 19, 2009 at 5:06 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

and allowed Germany to consolidate power in Central Europe and expand to the East and destroy the Bolsheviks.

Even if Hitler (or Himmler if he succeeded Hitler as leader) enslaved/exterminated 100 million Poles, Ukrainians, Russians and Belarussians?

November 19, 2009 at 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if Hitler (or Himmler if he succeeded Hitler as leader) enslaved/exterminated 100 million Poles, Ukrainians, Russians and Belarussians?

Why don't you ask your real question - even if the Germans expelled/enslaved/exterminated the Jews?

November 19, 2009 at 5:29 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Why don't you ask your real question - even if the Germans expelled/enslaved/exterminated the Jews?

It's not an either/or question. There is no scenario where a victorious Hitler and Himmler exterminate the Jews but DON'T enslave/deport/exterminate 100 million Slavs.

I'm asking YOU if a German victory would have been worth the lives of 100 million non-Jewish ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Belarussians and whatever European ethnic group a victorious Hitler and Himmler wanted to kill off.

Yes or no...

November 19, 2009 at 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The answer to your real question is yes - hell yes.

I'm asking YOU if a German victory would have been worth the lives of 100 million non-Jewish ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Belarussians and whatever European ethnic group a victorious Hitler and Himmler wanted to kill off.

First of all, it would have likely been mostly displacement and some form of enslavement/serfdom, rather than "kill off." And the answer is yes.

November 19, 2009 at 5:42 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

And the answer is yes.

Thank you for answering the question directly.

November 19, 2009 at 5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for answering the question directly.

And thank you for your sophistry.

November 19, 2009 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Stalin did anyway, so what's the point? History would have been better if men of character had stood up and shot the fuckers when they first opened their mouths.

November 19, 2009 at 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it would have likely been mostly displacement and some form of enslavement/serfdom, rather than "kill off."

Nah, it would have been "kill off", either sooner or later. Germans were pretty clear on this.

November 19, 2009 at 7:14 PM  
Blogger newt0311 said...

@GM Palmer

Stalin did anyway, so what's the point? History would have been better if men of character had stood up and shot the fuckers when they first opened their mouths.

Germany's military commanders tried to stage a coup against Hitler but the UK refused to back them up. As for Stalin, there was no hope. I wouldn't mind if somebody had shot Hitler. However, shooting Stalin would have been a futile gesture. He would simply have been replaced by another.

November 19, 2009 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Yes, Russia lacked men of character and enough bullets.

November 19, 2009 at 7:28 PM  
Blogger newt0311 said...

Correction. The communist party lacked men of character. Russia as a whole was once one of the great European powers with the population and elite to back it up. The command structure of the communist party excluded men of character.

November 19, 2009 at 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nah, it would have been "kill off", either sooner or later. Germans were pretty clear on this.

No, this was by no means "pretty clear." Hitler wouldn't have really minded had the Slavs died off, but this is different from a "kill off."

Like Mencius himself recommends, read Hitler's Table Talk.

Anyway, German natalism would have more than made up for the reduction in population. And there certainly wouldn't be the kind of demographic collapse we see in Europe/Russia that we see today.

November 19, 2009 at 7:32 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

John Robb seems to be suggesting something similar to an Antiversity.

patriotic Americans peacefully exercise their democratic rights to disconnect the present power supply, the University, and plug in the Antiversity.
They never exercised their democratic rights to plug in the University in the first place. Nowhere in the constitution are they given any such right. The analogous process would instead be people in government replacing one light bulb with another.

First, let's tackle this interesting word: patriotic
Let's not. Arguments over word meaning tend to be pointless, which is why technical fields (and UR!) come up with defined jargon.

He is patriotic not because he attaches his unreasoning affection to any particular acronym, rulebook, or personnel force
Bryan Caplan made a similar point.

Here is one straightforward way by which Americans can terminate democracy: elect a President who has promised to cancel the Constitution
The Constitution is quite a different thing from democracy.

would you rather take your chances
No, I would not. Change is a hazard to be avoided and minimized.

Since sovereignty is irreversible
Bullshit, plenty of coups have faltered, resulting in the reversal of sovereingty back to the old regime.

Poor attention to this task is perhaps the most common cause of coups gone wrong.
I think most failed coups never get far off for that to matter.

In the Internet era, coups [...] are much easier
I don't think that's accurate, I believe the number of coups has gone down.

The Left is spontaneously coordinated; the Right, alas, must coordinate itself.
You have never really explained that. You said that the left is characterized by splitting, while the right is unified, so the latter should be more coordinated. You once tried to explain the coordinated movement to the left by saying "leftward direction is, itself, the principle of organization", but that's just begging the question.

The University is a comprehensive Ministry of Truth. It provides a complete and accurate official truth service.
Wikipedia is already less contradictory (due to the no-forking rule, which Uberfact was supposed to abandon) and more accessible.

Some bureaucrat, charged to look into it
My imagined bureaucrat is so beyond truth he is as disinterested in that claim as someone claiming they saw Jesus' face on their tortilla.

The Antiversity attacks USG by studying it.
How is that different from Wikipedia?

This is a classic Orwellian abuse of English
No it isn't, it is literally true and requires no stretch to write. Also, as others have noted, newspapers refer to "the White House" taking actions all the time. Though they don't write such lines, it is not ignorant to think they believe them. If Obama was handed a printout from UR, would he agree to speak it? There's always the possibility of disingenuousness, but that applies to everyone rather than just the President.

November 19, 2009 at 10:04 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

The Founders
President Washington requested that Alexander Hamilton prepare the first draft of his farewell address. I don't begrudge him it. The Federalist and anti-Federalist papers were written under pseudonyms, politicians as public figures just assented to the ideas.

It knows, more or less, what the acronym does, who works for it, what its budget is, etc.
That part at least sounds like something the government is already doing.

As always in history, the end product is a story
Washingtology is the present, a snapshot rather than a story. A narrative is imposed on a set of events by an author, the army of davids behind Antiversity would not be as coherent.

Since the assessments in State Department reporting are not meant for public consumption, they are reports on the reality of the satellite government
Aren't you giving State too much credit?

I'm surprised David Horowitz got a mention but not sourcewatch or opensecrets.org.

This, too, is not journalism. At least, it is qualitatively distinct from the present profession
How so?

It is a truth machine
A shadow Ministry of Truth!

not spreading the good news to others
Maybe you could borrow from Eliezer Yudkowsky's "Bayesian Conspiracy" world and exclude people from reading it unless they know the secret handshake so as to ensure that everyone wants in.

However, the effect must be minimized.
How would that be done?

unauthorized eyes
Orwell warned against passive verbs that disguise the active party. Who authorized?

with no interest whatsoever in illusions
Sounds like you need a different species.

This, for instance, is why there were few rebellions against the Soviet Union
That reminds me, you called the mujahedin in Afghanistan a "suspicious exception" to the rule of insurgencies against communist governments. You should grasp that nettle.

Populists and conservatives - ie, enemies of socialism
Populists are in no way the enemies of socialism. The Populist Party was the closest thing America had to a European-style socialist movement. Narodnichestvo is commonly rendered as "populism". Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales are populists.

Bolsheviks to the Nazis, the Sandinistas to the Legion of the Archangel Michael
Not good company to be in.

If you vote to transfer power to the Party, you know exactly what you're voting for
Unless of course the Party is full of liars.

the Party holds power for only as long as it takes to hire a qualified administrator
You are saying it will hold power for some period of time, contradicting your claim that we don't have to worry about it holding power. As other have pointed out, this promise of dissolution sounds quite similar to Marx' take on the state.

UR is completely attached to the theory that not only does power corrupt
Wouldn't whoever received power from the Party also be corrupted?

by its own principles
To hell with its principles.

If you can't have the Plinth - you need the Plinth.
But if you can't have it your need is moot.

November 19, 2009 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

This one-time event should be its only brush with power. For the rest of the future, it produces advice. Which the advised are quite free to disregard.
Isn't that how you just defined leftism a little while ago, while rightism is hierarchical coercion?

This is the honest relationship of a legitimate consultant - not the creepy hypnotic grip of an intellectual Svengali.
You're saying things with different connotations but not explaining the difference in denotation.

The ancien regime is no more. Therefore, it is simply impossible for the progressive movement to generate anything like the energy it generated in the '60s.
The 60s was the end of the era of dominant liberalism in the U.S (which is not to say that conservatives accomplished much afterward). If we were alive on Johnson's election you would likely be claiming then that the Modern Structure was complete.

You can be an extreme left-wing activist, like an Earth Firster, which is a little more exciting; but still exudes an ugly flavor of desire and futility.
Couldn't the same be said of "extreme left-wing" movements of the past, which the center moved toward as time and the Overton window shifted?

The number of former '60s radicals in positions of power today is remarkable.
Like the "elder statesman" Tom Hayden, former member of the California legislature? SI Hayakawa at least became a U.S senator.

This is the hot new phenomenon
Sounds like the sort of bogus trend Jack Schafer usually writes about. You're not alone though, Jack Ross thinks the future of conservatism was with the "New Victorians".

My theory is that these eras are in fashion because they are edgy. They are dangerous.
No more than hipster glasses, trucker hats and t-shirts are dangerous. But as much as I prefer the most loutish oi bands to any twee, I have to acknowledge the latter is admirably pronomian in its inoffensiveness.

the thing could disappear in a few months
That's my prediction, although I should say I'm not persuaded it exists in any significant sense today.

To any inherently unstable regime, such as a democracy, guilds and orders and brotherhoods and lodges and the like are dangerous institutions
Aren't you forgetting how much the reactionary monarchists of the past hated the Freemasons? Even that was something of a repeat of the Jesuit scare.

Actual, legitimate democratic power
What the hell are you talking about? None of us grants democratic power legitimacy, and there's nothing special about Sermo. Doctor's are just a privileged case of the university educated elite extracting massive amounts of money from the populace through the government, without even generating the flack unions have. It's H.M.Os which restricted doctoral discretion and brought down costs that were hated by We the Sheeple.

This is the art of the reactionary agitator. He is always persuading the little chips of uranium to cuddle up and get more comfortable with each other.
That sounds very antinomian, unless there is a well designed system of control rods to make sure the uranium doesn't go out of control.

No, there was very much a reason why 20th-century liberalism was so anticorporatist - just like the Nazis
Ironic, because the political doctrine of corporatism is most closely associated with the fascists. In pracictes they of course subordinated the "little platoons".

November 19, 2009 at 10:06 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Unfortunately, America is the world's greatest country already - no one is available to colonize it.
Yes, that would make the reference to colonization quite inapt. You can't really colonize yourself.

Once Reaction Control is born, the administrative tie is severed; the relationship is advisory alone.
I don't see the actual mechanism to prevent the same relationship between the University and Modern Structure.

Moreover, the fact that the Plinth can only win by speaking the truth
Lies have been quite succesful in the past, the Plinth could work with those as well. I would even go so far as to say victory will never be achieved without lies.

once the Plinth wins, it forms the New Structure and ceases to exist
Just like the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Two is Gramscian infiltration
I thought you explicitly rejected that. Not that I have a problem with you endorsing it.

n 2009, or at any later date, what will happen if a state government tries to secede? So long as it has strong internal public support and the support of the state security forces, it will - secede. Nothing at all will happen.
I absolutely agree. That's why I thought seasteading would be viable even near the United States. So why not put your energy into that or a free state/secessionist project? Taking over the entire government will necessarily involve changing things for a lot of people who aren't your supporters. Smaller scale voluntary communities can succeed and inspire imitators through example without coming into direct conflict.

the idea that the US will guarantee Israel against Iran's nuclear weapons
Not really any need to do that since Israel has nukes and Iran doesn't.

the stones to nuke Russia if Russia nukes America
Compare the casualties America dishes out to what it receives. Ridiculously in our favor. We invaded Iraq without them doing jack shit to us, and before that attacked a number of countries on equally whimsical grounds. We got demented following 9/11 and were so unsatisfied with merely invading Afghanistan that we went for Iraq (that's my and Michael Neumann's view of the reason). We're the only country that has ever nuked anyone and we still retain the largest arsenal. We spent decades creating a system designed for instant nuclear retaliation. Everyone else knows we could turn them to glass, which is why you're right that we won't get nuked.

Thus the Plinth is doing what any dissidents in a totalitarian state must: working to restore democracy
We're supposed to be against democracy. This is like saying you want to bring back WashCorp3 because you're upset with WashCorp4. Why not skip democracy for monarchy, a la King Hussein of Jordan, Constantine of Greece and Laika of Albania against Enver Hoxha?

the whole point of the Reaction is a return to historical standards.
Which history? Not the failed history of American democracy, surely.

They will certainly never out-left the Left!
Leave that for Sam Dolgoff!

Truth will not remain in a cage, nor lies in purple
That claim should be backed by some evidence. Truth is preferrable to lies and wishful thinking, but there is no guarantee it will thrive.

November 19, 2009 at 10:06 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Pals, Mencius has definitely read Rothbard. You just overestimate how persuasive he is. I spent an inordinate amount of time on the Mises blog before I was banned, but I am not now now have I ever adhered to Austrian economics rather than neoclassical (though I don't hate them). I also think Climate Audit is a good site, but it doesn't refute AGW (nor has it even claimed anything like that)

November 19, 2009 at 10:12 PM  
Anonymous Patung said...

Great post!

""Blogging" sounds a lot better."

Just a little thing, to pick something, but I don't think it sounds better. One of the banes of my blogging life is that an awful lot of people just will not take a blog seriously. It's really annoying when somebody removes a link to your site on wikipedia and gives the reason 'a blog-like site'.

The great god Google, watch what they do in this area - they still don't really make a distinction between 'serious site' (ie newspaper) and blog, except in google news (altho it is possible to get a blog into google news (but they recently started marking blogs as 'blog' in the results, altho they've backtracked a bit on that)) but their trend is to try and find quality and blogs aren't it - see Eric Schmidt recently -

"It's a sewer out there."

http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=101&aid=161441

November 19, 2009 at 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Pals said...

Newt, Leonard and TGGP,

Yes, I do know that Mencius has read Rothbard, but all he's ever read or mentioned is his economics. As I mentioned a thousand times, when discussing libertarian thought, Mencius seems completely oblivious to any of Rothbard's ideas, and instead concentrates on discussing the Beltway-friendly libertarianism of Nozick, Cato and Will Wilkinson.

Now anyone who's read Rothbard knows that these kids are just clowns. Nothing they say is worthwhile, and Mencius ripping Wilkinson a new one, while entertaining, does nothing to discuss libertarianism.

So, check out Rothbard's For a New Liberty and his The Ethics of Liberty for a good understanding of his Anarcho-Capitalism ideas. Tell Mencius to do the same. Then we can talk about libertarianism.

November 19, 2009 at 11:44 PM  
Anonymous Stirner said...

Your proto-Antiversity at work:
http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7806

Yeah, if this sort of energy was harnessed and directed...

November 20, 2009 at 12:12 AM  
Blogger Leonard said...

Pals: "Why I am not a libertarian":

Rejecting the American Revolution is especially problematic for a libertarian, because the great libertarian writers of the twentieth century - Rothbard, Rand and Nozick - all defined libertarianism as an ethical ideal. Probably the best rigorous one-book definition of the mainstream libertarian (or "anarcho-capitalist," a term which has always struck me as utterly dorky) perspective is Rothbard's Ethics of Liberty.

EOL works very hard to define the moral principles that make libertarianism philosophically ineluctable. Needless to say, these principles are none other than the Lockean natural rights of the American Revolution. The theological roots of these "rights" are obvious (Rothbard may not have been a Christian, but Locke certainly was), and any suggestion that they are in some sense philosophically universal violates Hume's is-ought principle.

November 20, 2009 at 7:29 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

The theological roots of these "rights" are obvious (Rothbard may not have been a Christian, but Locke certainly was), and any suggestion that they are in some sense philosophically universal violates Hume's is-ought principle.

That article was part of my intro to Mencius. The above sentence is perfect except for that damned adverb. "philosophically" doesn't have anything to do with it.

The entire notion that "rights" have an a priori existence is a dream.

November 20, 2009 at 7:33 AM  
Blogger Leonard said...

TGGP: to understand the right/left coordination thing, consider MM's definition of right and left from last week. (Right is "compulsion", by which MM means a imperial hierarchy; left is persuasion, i.e., a committee for every decision.

The Left is spontaneously coordinated because it aims towards destruction of hierarchy. Any existing hierarchy is unequal, unfair, and socially unjust. Thus, the existing order, whatever it may be, coordinates the left by offering targets of opportunity. Whenever there is a problem, it is clear how to respond: propose democratizing the process. I.e., if there are problems with the health care market, they are caused by unaccountable corporations, and can be solved by socializing the market (making more regulations and laws democratically, adding a "public option", etc.).

The Right, by contrast, is concerned with maintaining order (hierarchy and imperium), or sometimes building it. But order is no specific thing; there are many ways one can order things. Thus, it requires coordination to get people to agree on which particular thing to do.

November 20, 2009 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Leonard, Palmer, et al:

What is your knowledge of Byzantium? There is some renewed study which has overturned some assumptions about the East Romans which probably rooted themselves in Progressive zeal.

November 20, 2009 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

RC:

Do tell. I've been thinking of USG as the Byzantium of the UK for a while now.

November 20, 2009 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Unfortunately, it is largely anecdotal at the present.

There are a few things I've collected, but I don't have the books. They are links to mostly Orthodox (as they'd have the most interest) bloggers commenting on books they've been reading:

Romanus Lecapenus

Theodore and Cleofe

Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Byzantine Court Culture and Byzantium: The Empire of the New Rome

There are others as I collect them, and I'm sure if you dug you could find more. I think Eighth Day Books might have some stuff as well:

Byzantium: Three Volume Set

You can hit their search and do 'Byzantium' - you're as likely to find Ortho-religious stuff as political and cultural history.

November 20, 2009 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Just an ephemera of what I speak, the fork.

I know.. anecdotes. I'm good at finding them; I'll let someone else do the deductive work, like, TGGP?

November 20, 2009 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

RC:

Which assumptions do you mean?

November 20, 2009 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

G.M: Here - to just quote:

At the hands of such prejudice many historical epochs have suffered, and most of all the epoch known as the Later Roman or Byzantine Empire. Ever since our rough crusading forefathers first saw Constantinople and met, to their contemptuous disgust, a society where everyone read and wrote, ate food with forks and preferred diplomacy to war, it has been fashionable to pass the Byzantines by with scorn and to use their name as synonymous with decadence....All the historians in chorus treated of a thousand years of empire as a short sinister unbroken decline.

As well as :

Writing in the Handbook’s summary chapter, Cyril Mango catalogs the achievements of Byzantium but also adds that historians have not "credited [the empire] with any advance in science, philosophy, political theory, or having produced a great literature."

It seems to be that it may be the case that Byzantium did produce things, but that we know not of them, or absorbed them and forgot about them. Greek fire was an example of something they had which we do not know how they made. We can now make Napalm which is better, but the point is that ignorance and a particular viewpoint / narrative created this explanation, not the facts.

As for an exhaustive treatise, you will have to look to the authors and the books mentioned - I am not a historical scholar.

The elephant in the room usually is that the West was Roman Catholic and the East Orthodox. There was an agenda until the Reformation; after it there was ignorance and no Byzantium left to really study.

November 20, 2009 at 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Michael S. said...

The "Tweed Rides" seem to me to involve mainly just a sampling of the people who have made Ralph Lauren's fortune. Still, I understand the concept that the embrace of reactionary fashion may presage the embrace of reactionary sentiments. MM just has to refine his survey a bit.

How about "The Order of Edwardian Gunners" (www.vintagers.org)? Not only do they dress in Edwardian clothes, but they shoot Edwardian guns (expensive ones at that). They have moved beyond the embrace of reactionary fashion to that of a reactionary pastime, unlike the bicyclists. I somehow doubt that very many shooters of vintage Purdey or Holland & Holland side-by-sides march in lockstep conformity with the views expressed on the editorial page of the New York Times.

Another reasonable prospect for a move from reactionary fashion to reactionary belief may be found amongst cigar smokers. Not, mind you, those who buy Hav-a-Tampa five-packs - rather those who smoke Arturo Fuentes, La Auroras, Cohibas, or Davidoffs. These are affluent folks who have been chivied and harrassed by the secular puritans in charge of our society for at least a decade. I suspect a good number are (to borrow a phrase) mad as hell and aren't going to take it any more, or at least, much longer.

Finally, one could do worse than to inquire into the lineage societies - at least some of them - and the old, white-tie lodges within the masonic fraternity. Any younger person who has joined such an organization (I speak from personal acquaintance) has already cast his lot with an institution regarded by the bien-pensant as highly politically incorrect, and is therefore swimming against the prevalent left-wing tide. Such people have already embraced not just reactionary fashion, but (at least embryonically) reactionary ideas.

November 20, 2009 at 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Van Doren said...

The coup thing is a great idea, and it is the answer to resolving the JQ.

The coup thing solves the Jew thing.

November 21, 2009 at 12:50 AM  
Blogger Mitchell said...

Here's a Zizekian anarchist who supports Palin and writes about reactionary progressivism.

November 21, 2009 at 1:13 AM  
Anonymous Pseudothyrum said...

MM:"Have you read Hitler? I have. (The Table Talk is the Hitler to read.)"

Hitler's TABLE TALK can be downloaded for free @ http://www.nazi.org.uk/political%20pdfs/HitlersTableTalk.pdf

November 21, 2009 at 4:22 AM  
Anonymous Pseudothyrum said...

MM:"Frankly, Hitler reads a lot like me, if I lost 25 IQ points..."

Don't kid yourself, Mencius...you aren't close to the same level as Hitler. Reading the TABLE TALK, Hitler's knowledge of history alone puts yours to utter shame, and not to mention military affairs, race, geography, economics, ecology, and so on.

Not to mention his oratorical skills (can YOU speak like that in public?), his sociopolitical organizational abilities, his ability to demand fanatical loyalty and respect, and so on.

A mere anonymous blogger comparing himself to Hitler, claiming that he is smarter than him? The amount of hubris alone betrays utterly blind stupidity.

November 21, 2009 at 4:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GMPalmer:"Newt:An aversion to force/violence is the entire point of this blog. MM's assertion is that only by a vigorous, powerful state can relative peace be achieved."

SPENGLER SAYS:

"Life is a struggle involving plants, animals, and humans. It is a struggle between individuals, social classes, peoples, and nations, and it can take the form of economic, social, political, and military competition. It is a struggle for the power to make one’s will prevail, to exploit one’s advantage, or to advance one’s opinion of what is just or expedient. When other means fail, recourse will be taken time and again to the ultimate means: violence...

Talk of world peace is heard today only among the white peoples, and not among the much more numerous colored races. This is a perilous state of affairs. When individual thinkers and idealists talk of peace, as they have done since time immemorial, the effect is always negligible. But when whole peoples become pacifistic it is a symptom of senility. Strong and unspent races are not pacifistic. To adopt such a position is to abandon the future, for the pacifist ideal is a static, terminal condition that is contrary to the basic facts of existence.

As long as man continues to evolve there will be wars. Should the white peoples ever become so tired of war that their governments can no longer incite them to wage it, the earth will inevitably fall a victim to the colored men, just as the Roman Empire succumbed to the Teutons. Pacifism means yielding power to the inveterate nonpacifists. Among the latter there will always be white men — adventurers, conquerors, leader-types — whose following increases with every success. If a revolt against the whites were to occur today in Asia, countless whites would join the rebels simply because they are tired of peaceful living.

Pacifism will remain an ideal, war a fact. If the white races are resolved never to wage war again, the colored will act differently and be rulers of the world."

- http://www.toqonline.com/2009/07/spengler-on-world-peace/

November 21, 2009 at 4:47 AM  
Anonymous Pseudothyrum said...

All potential Jewish 'revolutionaries' here, before they attempt to foment any revolutions, should first thoroughly familiarize themselves with the information contained within E. Michael Jones' recent book THE JEWISH REVOLUTIONARY SPIRIT: AND ITS IMPACT ON WORLD HISTORY; here are some excerpts - http://www.archive.org/details/TheJewishRevolutionarySpiritAndItsImpactOnWorldHistoryselections_857

November 21, 2009 at 5:14 AM  
Blogger johannajamerson0719 said...

good article....................................................................................................

November 21, 2009 at 6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MM:"I may have some of Hitler's talents - I will be the first to admit it."

Despite the fact that Mencius seems to compare himself favorably to Hitler in this post, back in 2007 Mencius wrote: "Why does white nationalism strike us as evil? Because Hitler was a white nationalist, and Hitler was evil. Neither of these statements is remotely controvertible. There is exactly one degree of separation between white nationalism and evil. And that degree is Hitler. Let me repeat: Hitler." - http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/11/why-i-am-not-white-nationalist.html

November 21, 2009 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Pals:
Mencius has read more than his economics. He has recommended Rothbard's book on the American war of independence (I don't). He has basically Rothbard's take on the Protestant pietists (contrasted with the liturgical tradition of high church Catholics and Lutherans). Mencius agrees with Hume that the is-ought gap cannot be bridged by any ethical babble. I agree as well, which I why I wrote the intro to this book. Mencius has explicitly rejected anarcho-capitalism, as it has never existed and not because the idea didn't occur to anybody for centuries.

Regarding Nozick, I don't think Mencius has actually read him (neither have I), nor has he addressed his writing. Nozick's writing is mostly normative theory, not of interest to Mencius or Beltway policymakers.


Leonard:
Mencius poses the question of how the leftists are able to stay on the same page and move at a drift that doesn't go too far. Evangelizing for Pol Pot would definitely not be popular. That is a coordination problem whose solution he never explained.

The Left is spontaneously coordinated because it aims towards destruction of hierarchy
Even the hierarchy of leftist governments? Do they aim toward the destruction of the dominant paradigm in evolution or global warming? If they were really as thoroughly devoted to chaos as you think, they could not manage to ever hold power.

Whenever there is a problem, it is clear how to respond: propose democratizing the process
Right, they are always asking for the voice of creationists to be included when creating a curriculum, they welcome the contributions of white supremacists in their diversity councils.

But order is no specific thing; there are many ways one can order things.
It is precisely because the opposite is the case that we have the second law of thermodynamics! It has often been noted that the GOP is more organized than the Dems. One reason is that the GOP has a more homogenous base of supporters, but another is that all they have to say if "no" or "slower" to Dem proposals. The Dems different constituents have many different priorities they push for.


Regarding Byzantium, I'm with Razib. Ask Daniel Larison. Keith Preston is a fan of Matthew Raphael Johnson, but I think he be may be more into Russian history.

November 21, 2009 at 5:08 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Michael S:
I think my dad is a member of the vintagers. Personally, I'm a philistine happy with whatever shoots good. I agree that smokers are the last acceptable minority to demean (possibly even after fat people). Politically though, they lean Dem (that is for all smokers, cigar smokers are probably to the right). Smoking is the one exception to the rule of self-interested voting: non-smokers vote for tax increases, smokers vote against.


Mitchell:
I don't think Prof. Crispy is a Zizekian (he's a fan of Barry Goldwater, after all), though he is an anarchist. The Telos blog had an interesting piece on reactionary progressives a little while back. I think I would have to side with Larison against Sartwell in considering Sarah Palin to be fairly close to the status quo.


Pseudothyrum:
He actually did claim to have some of Hitler's oratorical skills. Unfortunately we will never get to hear him demonstrate that since he was disinvited from the Seasteading conference (I'm puzzled why someone who thinks Seasteading is a bad idea was invited in the first place).

Furthermore, why are you endorsing Michael Hoffman? My impression of him is that his anti-semitism is based on religion and he deplores racism as a characteristically Jewish trait. The man is also just plain wacky with that occult twilight language stuff.


Anonymous:
Get a handle.

There is no contradiction in Mencius thinking that Hitler was both evil and talented.

November 21, 2009 at 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous Jew blogger claims he is smarter than Hitler.

November 21, 2009 at 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Michael S. said...

TGGP - in your reply to Pseudothyrum you have confused E. Michael Jones with Michael Hoffman.

Hoffman is an occultist nut. Jones is an ultramontane Catholic who was born 400 years to late to participate in the Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve or the Netherlands campaigns of the Duke of Alba. About all they share is a forename and an antipathy to Jews. Jones is much the better scholar of the two, and when he isn't flogging his Jewish obsession, voices some valid apercus about modernity.

November 21, 2009 at 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Leonard said...

Mencius poses the question of how the leftists are able to stay on the same page and move at a drift that doesn't go too far.

This is a different question than what you originally asked.

This one is easily answered, I think, and indeed I think I more or less fully understood this from MM, so I would think he gets it too. Anyway, the explanation is that "left" is only general direction. How fast to push is, in fact, a matter of huge contention among the left. In fact infra-left sniping is the sink of much of their energy; and also the source of an illusion on the left that they are hyper-fractious. And they are fractious, as you suggest, by comparison to Republicans, aka the socialism-is-OK-but-go-slower party.

Do not mistake the Republicans for a party of order. They are not. But to agree with you: there are two relatively self-organizing politics. One: find existing heirarchy and tear it down. Two: oppose the people doing one.

Back to the left: the question of "how fast" is a big deal; and there the coordination, if it exists at all, is achieved only by painful debate. But the left are stabilized in this by the mass of relatively amoral power seekers. (It is this latter group that MM has been most enlightening to me on.) They are always willing to cut a deal, and so will tend to place themselves just slightly left of center, but will move continually with the center, always keeping just ahead. Think of the Clintons, both. The most amoral climbers you can imagine, so far as I can tell.

As for what heirarchies count: dude, of course socialist states don't count. Is this an unprincipled exception? I think so! But I'm not left. I suppose I should have said "heirarchies not controlled by the left". No enemies on the left. It is true that there are occasionally leftists with enough principle to denounce left domination, but these are rare. And they, unlike the center left, have no mass of amoral power-freaks to stabilize them and to sell them as reasonable or moderate.

And the 2nd law of thermodynamics is, at best, analogical here. (As you may know, human politics is not an energetically closed system.) But even by analogy I don't get what you're saying. "Entropy increases" is the left in a nutshell.

November 21, 2009 at 9:33 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Leo+

Also, it's easy to be the king of a trashheap, even one as nice as the current USG.

Anonspengler (and by extension Newt?) aversion to violence != pacifism. MM thought up the Ring of Fnargl for Chrissake. Perhaps aversion to casual/pointless/random violence? Including an aversion to war?

Will neither of these be increased by a vigorous state whose sole job is to make money?

One could argue that jingoistic wars are profitable but really only if you do a fine job of conquering the new territory (Rome and Egypt, the US and Europe as MM would have it).

Jewhaters: get a life, y'all.

November 21, 2009 at 10:45 PM  
Blogger newt0311 said...

@GM Palmer,

If I understand your post correctly, I have already addressed your point.

As to MM's previous posts, people change. Rarely, but they do change.

As to the profitability of wars, it seems related to how good a sovereign the conquered territory has. A good sovereign would be able to raise a powerful army and put up a large resistance. A weak/incompetent sovereign would not have the funds for a large military force. Of course, this is only part of the picture as we are dealing with people.

That would explain why the wars fought by Rome and the colonial powers were so profitable (Rome at least): Rome was vastly better governed than much of Europe at that time.

+1 on the jewhaters. They are an annoying distraction.

November 21, 2009 at 11:02 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Anonymous:
Get a handle.

I read your post. If Hitler is so brilliant, why did he fail so disastrously, causing his country to be divided in two and militarily occupied?


Michael S:
No, I'm not confused. I know Jones is Catholic and Mencius recommended his "Slaughter of the Cities", but that's about it. For further evidence of my interpretation of Hoffman, see this post by him and the post linked in the comments. He tries to disassociate himself (and Holocaust denial) from von Brunn, and likens von Brunn to a rabbi due to his racism, also calling him anti-Christian. Hoffman's book "Judaism Discovered" includes in its subtitle an accusation of racism. He also frequently refers in a derogatory manner to the Talmud, accusing rabbinic Judaism of even being "anti-Biblical". It screams of projection, but that appears to be what he believes.


Leonard:
You've acknowledged that the left is fractious compared to the right and that this takes up a lot of their energy. That would seem to nullify the claim that they have the advantage because they are coordinated around one thing while the right is scattered. Your claim that politics is not a closed system does absolutely nothing to refute my point about entropy. An input of energy can allow one to create some order (producing waste heat in the process), but there are still more ways to be disordered than ordered, not the reverse.

By MM's standard EVERY regime is leftist. Nationalism and republicanism were radical leftist ideologies at one time. The campus uprisings of the 60s were directed against establishment liberals. The hated LBJ ran an unprecedentedly liberal administration. Deciding which regimes are acceptably leftist (which works in the opposite direction for cold war liberals) is again a coordination problem.

November 22, 2009 at 12:17 AM  
Blogger Deogolwulf said...

TGGP,

I thought you were under the impression that all philosophy is rubbish. If that is still the case, then what is this talk of an is-ought distinction? Shouldn’t you regard it --- and any defence you might make in favour thereof --- as rubbish by your own lights? Or do you possess some special keepable-eatable cake unavailable to the rest of us?

November 22, 2009 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger juantblanco said...

Deogolwulf:

Don't you realize TGGP has a direct connection to the Secret Masters?

I guess it could be called scientific philistinism (or philistine scientism which makes me think of Goliath as a nuclear physicist) instead which can be held by the right or the left depending on what form of aesthetics or religious beliefs the sci-phi finds odious.

A right-ish technocrat would purge the disciplines that he finds to be soft (or "unscientific") while a left-ish technocrat could use whatever fashionable "scientific" ideology to assault those same disciplines to promote whatever it is they believe.

The right-ish technocrat can't be bothered to realize that this is what has happened to the liberal arts in much of the West and instead of redeeming the arts he'd burn the culture down the rest of the way and replace it with, I don't know, a bunch of numbers?

The Holy Empirical Empire of the Integers would be about as horrid and soulless as what we have now -- but at least there are still university music programs.

November 22, 2009 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger Deogolwulf said...

Juantblanco,

Ah, that'll be it. I suppose philistine-scientism gives a man the license to be utterly careless about rationality, truth, morality, aesthetics, etc, so long as he is able to signal the appearance of hard-headed and no-nonsense rationality to his similarly-affected fellows. I have noticed that there are quite a few websites devoted to this sort of thing.

November 22, 2009 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Deogul & Juant

A++++ would read again

So Sci-Phi. This is a nice way to frame a certain sort of debater. Thanks for that.

Back to the missing 9c:

Assuming MM is correct,
What's a better proto-bazaar to work on:

Anonymous, professional-only discussion servers

Revipedia

Reactionary Historical Model

?


I say assuming MM is correct because that's the delight of this thought-experiment blog.

November 22, 2009 at 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, this was by no means "pretty clear." Hitler wouldn't have really minded had the Slavs died off, but this is different from a "kill off."

No, it was absolutely clear. The Germans specifically planned to starve tens of millions of them to death.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunger_Plan

German natalism would have more than made up for the reduction in population.

From the Aryan perspective, anyway, not from that of the tens of millions of untermensch who got starved to death.

We invaded Iraq without them doing jack shit to us, and before that attacked a number of countries on equally whimsical grounds. We got demented following 9/11 and were so unsatisfied with merely invading Afghanistan that we went for Iraq (that's my and Michael Neumann's view of the reason).

You are both infantile thumb-suckers.

November 22, 2009 at 1:30 PM  
Blogger juantblanco said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 22, 2009 at 1:59 PM  
Blogger juantblanco said...

Deogolwulf + G.M. Palmer:

I know that both of you understand that I *don't* mean that irrationality and Traditionalism are the Only Things. Science and being hard-headed have their place in the... Σmperium.

Not sure if that's a good name or not -- its kind of a pun. Sigma for all sorts of fun reasons (my first inspiration was something that was math and computer science related). Emporium (a bazaar, a marketplace) and Imperium are merged as well.

Altogether, a dynamic new language (or whatever) marketplace of power.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperium
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emporium
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigma

November 22, 2009 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Alrenous said...

Nuclear Goliath hungry. Nuclear Goliath MUST FEED!

November 22, 2009 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

As for naming, I would suggest something that attaches to a historical - whether it be sentimental, nostalgic, visceral - reality.

You could simply call it 'Deep Manhattan' or something like that to evoke the right sense of the thing, instead of (if you don't mind my criticism) smashing a few words together.

The latter is worthy of a club like the Inklings, a great group of fellows but not a giant project, but hardly worthy of the notion of a kind of Manhattan Project - an intellectual nuclear option.

I know it's all water under the bridge but hey...

November 23, 2009 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I'd also recommend 'Notion Club' if you want great irony.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Notion_Club_Papers

November 23, 2009 at 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of Climate Audit and the great Anthropogenic Global Warming Scam:

http://www.eastangliaemails.com/index.php

For those wondering what this is about, we have here thirteen years of indexed emails in which "climate experts" discuss the finer points of cooking the books, at great length and in exhausting detail.

Download it and burn it to a CD now, before MINITRU can drop it down the Memory Hole.

November 23, 2009 at 5:12 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

The San Franciscans? Everyone would think we were lefties ;)

November 23, 2009 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger juantblanco said...

River C.

I know what you mean, but the best names are event related.

November 23, 2009 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger juantblanco said...

Hey kids...

...being hard core against the american left is what we need right NOW -- more than just some tweed and feeling superior.

November 24, 2009 at 12:05 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Cad would reference computer assisted design, which the antiversity is; control+alt+delete, which the reboot is; and cad, which has a nice victorian ring and would draw in the roissy crowd.

JB: certainly being against the left is important -- one, however, must build the base so that one is not merely "against the left" but "able to eliminate the left."

November 24, 2009 at 4:14 AM  
Blogger Leonard said...

Some criticisms of 9d:

First, you've previously called for passivism as the certified right-wing strategy. Now you are proposing the creation of an activist party. These seem to contradict. Are some reactionaries to be active, and others passive? Who? Whom?

Second: you say that "Antiversity creates Reaction Control", but you give no reason why that is necessary. Could you not start it right now, yourself? (Indeed: have you not already started it? What is UR but the once-a-week virtual meeting of the Plinth?) I just don't see what Antiversity has to do with a political party.

Note that forming the Plinth completely independently from Antiversity has the advantage that there is no contamination at all.

Regarding this "contamination": first, I am not sure what you are trying to avoid by avoiding it. Presumably Antiversity is engineered to resist attack, no? Certainly if it has the same failure modes as the Cathedral has, I don't see why it could ever win. (Exhibit a: conservapedia.)

Third: you say that "it is a conflict of interest to hold or have held any formal responsibility in of any two of these organizations: Antiversity, Plinth, New Structure". Perhaps this revolves around what "formal responsibility" is, but: I don't think we can possibly hold that line. I see that you have come around to the idea of a shadow government. (I suggested it was necessary back in OL8; did you read that?) As I said then: "what you are resetting to matters fundamentally to the matter of a proposed democratic reset. So you need to have a system in hand, preferably already running, to vote for. Not just something to vote against."

I still agree with that. That is, there must be continuity from the shadow government to the New Structure. Put another way, what people are voting for is contamination.

Finally, regarding your ideas on secession. I have thought about this for some time and come to radically differing conclusions. I am conflicted. On the one hand, it does seem like the progressive state is far too pussified to initiate a unionist war again. (10 years ago I was more progressive and thus thought secession would now work, about the same as you argue in 9d.) On the other hand, we have your own analysis of "enemies to the right", viz. that they are ruthlessly crushed, while enemies on the left are coddled. Certainly any seceding state that goes neocameral is a huge honking enemy on the right. Obviously in OL9d you are feeling the pussification trumps progressive aggression, but I am not sure why that should be.

November 24, 2009 at 8:12 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Leonard, the state could secede. However, it could be subject to attack later (like with a seastead).

Also, MM is saying passivity is important now but that at one point the reboot will have to happen which is by definition action. But don't forget the intervening decade or so.

November 24, 2009 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Right. It is a quintessentially water element to the strategy; you are clear, supple and passive until the moment you are a tidal wave. It has a disadvantage of lacking overpower, which means that in a time of overt hostility it will almost always lose. Water strategy fails 90% of the time in Risk, since the game begins with overt hostilities (usually.)

I like Cad, which can also be pronounced 'Cod' if you shift the vowel slightly downward in your mouth.

Perhaps Cad will simply be a prefix to a set of things; as though a new information age is being built with its locations: Cad Peoria, Cad London, Cad Amsterdam, Cad York, Cad Potomac, Cad Angeles, etc. Each represents a branch of the new infrastructure, with place names rather than abstractions to ground the mind -- each chosen with a bit of allusion and double entendre for effect. I know there is a bit of an over-representation among my programming colleagues of rationalistic thinkers, but believe me that each 'place' has a 'flavor' and a 'color' which makes the 'world' or 'age' a 'bouquet'.

Create a three dimensional space through the names; like real cities have low and high areas.

Again, these are merely musings of a more poetically minded soul. Besides, I'm sure my religious devotion itself makes me ineligible for the reaction. Know though, that I am a supporter. While I don't think we can make a perfect state (ever in this age) I do think that a better one can be made if we put our heads together. It is arguable that this is precisely what the Founders did, and Jefferson, if he is among those who can hear us, would be delighted if we scrapped it and rebuilt it even better.

It is quite impossible! But, so are many things.

November 24, 2009 at 8:42 AM  
Anonymous 999 said...

Condensed Moldbug:

9.a: Do Nothing.

9.b: Do Nothing. Renounce will to ever do anything.

9.c. ____

9.d. Fascism with a less-human face. WIN!

November 24, 2009 at 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Menk said...

Anybody else been following gold lately?

Aren't we near the point where Mencius argued that gold would skyrocket or something?

November 24, 2009 at 6:31 PM  
Blogger newt0311 said...

@Menk

It has been skyrocketing.

November 24, 2009 at 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Menk said...

It has been skyrocketing.

Yeah. I guess I was thinking in terms of what Mencius talks about here:

http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2009/02/puffs-of-smoke-from-gold-volcano.html

November 24, 2009 at 7:13 PM  
Blogger Mitchell said...

A Chinese analysis of why the USSR failed. One of the errors of the CPSU is said to be the ideological one of moving from party rule to "rule by the people".

November 25, 2009 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

What exactly would Sermo and its social-network brethren do to undermine the AMA? Folk activism?

November 26, 2009 at 1:30 PM  
Anonymous SKW said...

Do seeds of the A. already exist? Thoughts about Bob Jones U, SMU, Liberty U?
Also, I was reminded of the Antiversity concept when I stumbled onto this:
http://www.exclassics.com/

December 9, 2009 at 7:37 PM  
Blogger jsabotta said...

Chesteron on Carlyle:

The defence which Carlyle and all its thoughtful defenders have made for aristocracy was that a few persons could more rapidly and firmly decide public affairs in the interests of the people. But slavery is not even supposed to be a government for the good of the governed. It is a possession of the governed avowedly for the good of the governors. Aristocracy uses the strong for the service of the weak; slavery uses the weak for the service of the strong. It is no derogation to man as a spiritual being, as Carlyle firmly believed he was, that he should be ruled and guided for his own good like a child--for a child who is always ruled and guided we regard as the very type of spiritual existence. But it is a derogation and an absolute contradiction to that human spirituality in which Carlyle believed that a man should be owned like a tool for someone else's good, as if he had no personal destiny in the Cosmos. We draw attention to this particular error of Carlyle's because we think that it is a curious example of the waste and unclean places into which that remarkable animal, 'the whole hog,' more than once led him.

In this respect Carlyle has had unquestionably long and an unquestionably bad influence. The whole of that recent political ethic which conceives that if we only go far enough we may finish a thing for once and all, that being strong consists chiefly in being deliberately deaf and blind, owes a great deal of its complete sway to his example.

February 4, 2010 at 6:33 PM  

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