Wednesday, November 3, 2010 40 Comments

Democracy, cis and trans; Maine's law

One of the many divine paradoxes in our political formula is the double valence of democracy. This word, its declensions, its synonyms, carry positive associations well up in the sacred range. Deep in your medulla, warmth glows from everything democratic. Yet at the same time, we have a related family of words, such as politics and its declensions, which seem to mean exactly the same thing - yet reek of heinous brimstone.

How is it possible to have democracy but not politics, or vice versa? What can the two be, but the same thing? Yet anything democratized is made good, and anything politicized is made bad.

Of course, to the hardened UR reader, this is just one more sign that we are dealing with an essentially magical belief system. I will defy any Republican or Democrat to explain this paradox. He can only fall on his knees and worship it. In short, his political loyalty is instantly recognized as a religious affiliation.

Not that there's anything wrong with that - or anything unusual. But it's quite beside the point. Suppose you are an actual philosopher, dear reader - a student of history. Your interest in transmitted religions, whether they worship God, man or the Devil, is strictly clinical. Your interest is in reality - and somewhere behind the democratic cornpone must be some of that. Even a matte painting demands some boards.

When the average believer, a normal, healthy human being not in any sense a psychopath, contemplates democracy and feels his glow, he must be contemplating some phenomenon which is actually, in some actual cases, good. And when he considers politics and belches bile, there must be something genuinely foul in his bag. His understanding of both patterns is extremely poor - hence the paradox - but the patterns are real.

We should be able to level the paradox and build a structure of clear thinking on it. Since one thing cannot be both bad and good, we must be looking at two things in one. We need to adjust our lens until democracy splits in half. One of these halves will be good, the other bad.

So that we can make this judgment fairly, let's code-name our samples. Borrowing some neutral prefixes from chemistry, we will speak of cis-democracy and trans-democracy. These prefixes have no definite meaning or moral connotation, so we can assign them arbitrarily. The analysis should show that one is inherently good and the other is inherently evil.

Let's say that democracy, cis or trans, is the division of authority across a large group. As Maine reminds us, democracy (mystical reveries aside) is a form of government - a political structure. Any such structure which is very wide, and not very tall, can be broadly categorized as democratic. The adjective is not a boolean, but a continuum - not yes or no, but more or less.

Cis-democracy and trans-democracy differ in their political formula - their explanation of why power is distributed across the collective. By what right is political power exercised? If you have the right to vote in the election, why?

In cis-democracy, the right to vote (really the power to vote) is an instrumental right - one assigned for an ulterior purpose. The purpose of cis-democracy is to achieve good government. The method of cis-democracy is the wisdom of crowds. An individual ruler can go insane; a crowd... well, okay. A crowd can go insane, too. But there is no denying that the wisdom of crowds, the accuracy of consensus, exists. In some cases. These cases are what the democrat's medulla is looking at, when it glows so.

Under cis-democracy, voting is a duty and a trust. One American thinker explains the concept:
Lastly, in every society or government there are trusts to be discharged. Offices are to be filled; laws are to be made, executed, and administered, else there could be no rules or process for protection; and agents are to be selected for all these purposes. The whole business of selecting agents to discharge duties, as well as the discharge of the duties themselves, comes under the head of trusts.

They are called trusts because they are powers exercised not for one's own good but for the good of others - for the public. The authority to vote is, therefore, a trust reposed and the exercise of the authority is the exercise of a trust - the trust of selecting agents to provide and execute the laws by which rights are to be protected.
Who is this guy, Ben Hill? Clearly the old codger had received some sort of legal education. The voter as trustee - this is the peculiar conceit of cis-democracy. A concept which appears familiar, yet unfamiliar. We are used to it, but not in this concentration. We generally take a drop of the cis in a cocktail glass of the trans. Reading Sen. Hill is like drinking straight vermouth.

As for trans-democracy, it is the converse: democracy as a natural or at least contingent right. If you believe in popular sovereignty and the consent of the governed, you are a trans-democrat. Why does every adult human have the right to vote? Because he does; because, in Hume's word, he ought to. The matter neither requires nor admits any justification. Democracy is a moral imperative in itself, not a mere means to the end of good government.

One of the beautiful ironies of trans-democracy is its tendency to recapitulate its royal ancestry. Consider an absolute monarch. He lives in a sort of degenerate democracy, in which there is only one vote - his. Why does he, and no one else, have the right to vote? Because that's the way it is. Or, if you believe in God, because that's the way God wants it. After all, if God didn't want it, it wouldn't be that way, would it? The divine right of kings, a natural right, is also the sovereign property of the royal family, an arbitrary or contingent right.

And a hereditary right. Suppose the king has three sons, and gives each an equal right to vote. In the next generation, the realm is now a democracy of three citizens, or mini-kings. Kings are good at spreading their Y chromosomes across the land, so you can see how after enough generations, the entire population is descended from the king. Hence they all have the right to vote; they are all nano-kings. Thus we establish a perfectly plausible continuum between the divine right of kings and the consent of the governed.

Are you a nano-king? Suppose you're an American citizen. Why? Because your father, too, was a nano-king of America. Your right to vote is a hereditary political power, just like that of Henry VIII. It clearly does not derive from mere residency in the United States, because you can live in Singapore and vote in Vermont. USG, in its great crowd wisdom, chooses to bequeath citizenship to some immigrants (most countries do not). But this is exactly how Marcus Aurelius got his job - he was adopted. And so on. So, yes: you're a nano-king.

This is the difference between cis-democracy and trans-democracy. Are you a nano-trustee, or a nano-king? In our wonderful system of government, you are a bit of both.

But do the two conflict? Well, it is hard to argue with Ben Hill. Who continues:
All men are born to rights - which are personal - affecting each person only; but no man is born to a trust - to a power which affects all other members of society. You had as well say a man is born to an office as to say he is born to a vote for that office. So, again, all trusts imply capacity and integrity. No man has a right to be intrusted to discharge a duty affecting others who does not understand that duty, or who has not integrity to be trusted with its faithful exercise.

How can the rights of the members of society be safe if the protection for those rights is to be provided or applied by ignorant or vicious agents? And how can ignorant and vicious agents be avoided if ignorant and vicious persons are born to the right to select them?
Senator Hill being a fellow of the old school, by "vicious" he means not "sadistic," but "possessed by vice." But still. To Ben Hill, the right to vote is like the right to sit in the exit row. You sit in the exit row because you can help in an emergency, not because you deserve the leg room.

Whereas over a century later, the New York Times takes a different view:
The more people who have access to the ballot, the better the country will be.
No argument is offered; none is necessary. Here is the pure imperial blare of trans-democracy. If you see a conflict between cis and trans - if you believe that enlarging the franchise may produce worse government - you have already lost your simple, decent American faith. Will you ever get it back?

Because, really: if voters are trustees, why do we need so many trustees? Crowds, we grant, are in many cases wise. Wiser, perhaps, than emperors. But such a large crowd? Does America, to achieve good government, really need a hundred million random trustees - each of extremely variable quality? Would it not do better with, say, a thousand well-trained and well-selected statesmen? Or even a small board of responsible directors - ten or fifteen people?

The student of history sees immediately that pure cis-democracy is at least a reasonable description of the English system of government at its zenith - the 18th and 19th centuries. Parliament was the board of trustees, and these trustees were not in any sense delegates. The franchise that elected the pre-1832 Parliaments was nothing we would recognize as democracy. It is almost comically corrupt and inequitable. But the hundreds it put forward, save an occasional Wilkes, were aristocrats and professional statesmen. And among these men, the sovereignty of Britain was one man, one vote. This machine did not last, but its competence is hard to question. At least, it competed quite successfully against its contemporaries.

Of course, this is the system of government that America revolted against - on the principle of one man, one vote, and no taxation without representation. A principle shared by many on the other side of the pond, which is perhaps why the rebel-wrangling methods of General Howe were so different from those of the Duke of Cumberland. Thus, the American Revolution appears as a war of cis-democracy against trans-democracy, the latter prevailing, the former appearing suspiciously short on violent energy.

Indeed, the golden age of the aristocratic Whig, preceded by royalism and succeeded by socialism, appears inherently evanescent. Division of sovereignty is entropic. The more you divide it, the more it wants to divide more. The high Whiggery of the 18th century was a product of the political settlement of the 17th, itself produced by no small dose of mob violence. Especially with the knowledge that aristocratic oligarchy would end in bureaucratic socialism, it is easy for the responsible student of history to prefer Charles I:
And truly I desire their Liberty and Freedom as much as anybody whomsoever. But I must tell you, that their Liberty and Freedom, consists in having of Government, those Laws, by which their Life and their Gods may be most their own. It is not for having a share in government, that is nothing pertaining to them. A subject and a sovereign are clean different things.
We thus reduce cis-democracy to the democracy of one - the King as sole Trustee. Which is no democracy at all. But as Deng Xiaoping said: if the cat catches mice, who cares if it is black or white? Having found herself with a sovereign Parliament, the sceptred isle made the best of it. For a couple of centuries, anyway. Not much left of that sceptre now. What's next?

So is cis-democracy a valuable innovation, or simply a rationalization of historical disaster? Opinions may vary. Certainly, the key to harnessing the cis form without letting it get out of hand is to avoid conflicts of interest among the trustees. If the Board lacks internal conflicts of interest, a faction cannot be tempted to reinforce itself by expanding the suffrage - an entropic cascade that ends up exactly where we are now.

People on average being both good and bad, the most trans of democracies will reveal occasional flashes of cis - the hereditary herd as capable trustee. Even in very low concentrations, it seems clear that this admixture of cis, often no more than an impurity, is responsible for the positive connotation of democracy. The trans form, of course, would be your politics.

So let us abandon, with regret, Ben Hill and Deng Xiaoping and Charles I, and turn to the curious case of trans-democracy in the early 21st century.

The curious paradox is that the cause of trans-democracy, today, seems to be the cause of the elite - eg, the New York Times editorial board. Presumably they don't let just everyone in the Editorial Room, so it has to be 31337 in some sense. But they don't let just everyone become a Senator from Georgia, either, or at least they didn't back then. Why, therefore, do we see one set of sophisticated aristocrats favoring cis-democracy, and another preferring trans-democracy?

My hypothesis is that your average aristocrat will follow the structure of power, wherever it is. If the structure is such that only Louis XIV has the vote, the aristocrat will be a courtier. Instead of praising the democratic People, the Times editorial board will flatter the Sun King - and feel just as sincere in doing it.

Since in our present system government, political power is held to be a natural right, the Times upholds the system by supporting the masses who hold that power. If the kings of old returned, and disenfranchised the masses, the same people (or at least, the same kind of people), would be just as comfortable, and just as talented, in fellating their local Stuart or Bourbon.

But said Stuart or Bourbon, to feel the Gray Lady's expert tongue caress his figs, would have to actually finish the job and leave it done. He would have to disenfranchise the masses not just partially and conditionally, but permanently and irrevocably. Otherwise, while they might not hold actual power, the masses would hold potential power. As under Charles II, they would be out, but might come back. And that eternal race of whores, the intellectuals, would gravitate to them still.

What is the attraction, to the intellectuals (a tiny minority in any society), of trans-democracy? Surely the intellectual, an aristocrat by definition, would prefer a system of government in which only intellectuals voted? In which a BA, or even a PhD, was required for the franchise? Consider, if you dare, an America in which only PhDs could vote.

America's PhDs would presumably be quite fond of this. It is neither a reality nor a possibility, however, so it does not appear on their political radar screen. But perhaps some substitute can be found...

The attraction of trans-democracy for the aristocrat is the fact that the incompetent trustee is, often if not always, not simply incapable of discharging his function responsibly. Rather, he is incapable of discharging it at all. He is not in any sense a philosopher - even a bad philosopher. Philosophy is as far above him as poker above a dog. He does not have dangerous political ideas; he has no political ideas.

He remains human, however - the genetic heir of countless kings. The exercise of power still appeals viscerally to him, as of course do its rewards. He may thus serve as a vessel, adding his vacant vote to the power of some PhD's political chemistry. Which, if powerful enough, can easily pay good rent for the property of his mind. And the vessel gets to vote, and feel good about it, and probably pay himself some bribes as well. In short, this is politics - but in a good way. Sauron's Ring, captured and cured, as a tool for the greater good.

Naturally, the less of a philosopher your vessel is, the better. Ideally, he is not tempted to contaminate the message with the random ravings of his own political mind. Ideally, there is no such thing in his skull. Wikipedia has an excellent term for this person: meatpuppet.

This is trans-democracy in a word: meatpuppet democracy. Astroturf democracy. When a trans-demonstration opposes a cis-demonstration, the trans-demonstrators will be seen with preprinted signs; the cis-demonstrators, with handwritten signs. Messages on the latter will be jejune, puerile, fatuous and ungrammatical. Messages on the latter will convey nothing at all, for all they express is sheer numerical power. The physical weight of human tissue, its human rights written in every base of its inarguably human DNA. "Tons of flesh," the blaring purple signs assert. "We have tons of human flesh. Will you resist us? Our meat and bone and hair and tooth will fall, and crush you."

Furthermore, as a Jedi master of trans-democracy, the progressive must of course oppose any manifestations of genuine, grass-roots cis-democracy. With handwritten signs, and so on. He cannot help but be extremely troubled by the fact, subconscious or conscious, that he is practicing the despised art of politics, and across enemy lines he sees... handwritten signs.

So what is his natural response? His natural response is to project, and accuse the tea partiers of being Astroturf organizations coordinated by secret billionaires. Of being... in short... political. He recognizes the moral offense of trans-democracy immediately, whether or not it exists at all, because he is so enthusiastic in practicing it. He is not at all enthusiastic about having it practiced against him. So reality on both sides must become its inverse.

Here we begin to observe the capacity of trans-democracy for evil. Not that cis-democracy lacks that capacity. If the evil of trans-democracy is the evil of Stalin and Mao, whose popularity was enforced by terror, the evil of cis-democracy is the evil of Hitler - whose popularity was for the most part authentic. Because of this authenticity, the German nation is responsible for Hitler's crimes, in a way that the Russian nation is not responsible for Stalin's. Stalin's ideology was, more or less, imported; Hitler's was almost entirely indigenous.

Evil is the work of Satan; Satan is the father of lies. And the intellectual who aims to rule by trans-democracy must start by lying, because he must start by asserting that his chimeric machine of chemist and vessel, philosopher and worker, is about them and not him. Thus classical Communism, which if its actors or its ideas are observed directly appears as a global movement of the intellectuals (against the nobility and/or bourgeoisie), must present itself as one of the workers and peasants (against the nobility and/or bourgeoisie).

The heterogeneity of this structure is obvious, and at a certain level cannot be denied. But the nature of the relationship is dissembled, both internally and externally. The intellectual Communist is never exploiting the worker or peasant as a tool to auger out his juicy gobbet of kingship. Rather, he is helping and uplifting that worker or peasant, for the benefit of the latter. He is not indulging his human lust for power; he is expressing his human love for humanity. Frequently, the worker or peasant will become financially dependent on the Communist regime; this is not in any sense clientism, much less slavery, but rather a case of philanthropy.

History, of course, demonstrates what great things Communism did for the workers and peasants. We also see the marvelous results of decolonialization for the decolonialized. And American minorities have made remarkable cultural advances since the civil-rights movement - black neighborhoods, for instance, are thriving as never before. And so on. I jest, of course, if grimly. Naturally, we would expect any such combined action to benefit the chemists, not the vessels. And the chemists have certainly done quite well for themselves. Washington, fat with jobs, grows day and night.

Here we see, in cis-democracy and trans-democracy, the late Joe Sobran's dichotomy:
There are two possible basic attitudes toward social reality. One of these, as I say, has many names, but I will call, it, for convenience, Nativism: a prejudice in favor of the native, the normal, and so forth, reaching an extreme in lynchings and pogroms. Its most ghastly form was German National Socialism.

The other attitude I am forced, for lack of a better word--or any word at all--to call Alienism: a prejudice in favor of the alien, the marginal, the dispossesed, the eccentric, reaching an extreme in the attempt to "build a new society" by destroying the basic institutions of the native. The most terrible fulfillment of this principle is Communism.
Again we see the opposites: Hitler and Stalin. Any cis-democracy must be nativist - for if its trustees exist to benefit the nation, they must benefit their own nation and not any other. And it is lunacy to assert that the interests of nations never conflict.

Whereas trans-democracy, in its eternal search for meatpuppets, is essentially alienist. This is the fundamental flaw in the alliance of intellectuals and proletarians that was Communism. For the intellectuals, a tiny minority, to build a working majority with the tools of trans-democracy, they must discover and diligently exploit a vast pool of empty heads.

And these people, who are human beings, but not in any sense philosophers, will be alien to the intellectual. Friendship will be asserted - but the relationship is not friendship, for friendship is a relation of peers based on human affinity and human sympathy. The aristocrat has no genuine human connection to the coal miner, the ghetto criminal, the illegal day-laborer. They are, at best, his clients - his peons, his pets. This reality, sordid on its face, cannot be revealed. The aristocrat cannot accept it; the client cannot accept it; the bourgeois cannot be allowed to see it.

Thus the passion of the late 20th-century trans-democrat for, in Brecht's word, electing a new people. Liberal aristocrats spent the 19th century making sure every native adult with a pulse could vote. Expanding the suffrage to five-year-olds, however laudable a politics it would produce (consider the effect on global warming alone), would expose the entire machine to ridicule - and how many five-year-olds are there, anyway?

But there are only 300 million Americans, which leaves 19 out of every 20 tons of human flesh as a potential American voting bloc. Indeed, it seems inevitable that if the American empire lasts - which should not be ruled out - within a century, everyone on earth will get to vote for President. On what grounds do we deny any human being the right to vote in American elections? These grounds, examined thoroughly, will be found to be entirely incompatible with the basic principles of trans-democracy. In fact, they're probably racist.

If our grandchildren invest considerable amounts of conscience on our doomed attempt to keep North America the "whitopia" it broadly remains, an effort we are in fact engaged in however half-heartedly, this would be only consistent with the manner in which we have castigated our grandparents for their own unprincipled exceptions. How dare we insist that we have a right to live in First World conditions, ie, without a favela full of Guatemalans somewhere on the slopes of Mt. Tam? Surely, no one in Guatemala has any such right. And are we not both human?

There is indeed a suicidal quality to alienism in all its manifestations. For the alien, though his vote may leave nothing to be desired, remains what he is: an alien, and a human being. As such, he can be rented but not owned. When the whip is put in his hand, he may well wield it himself, for his own dark needs.

The Russian intelligentsia of a century ago destroyed itself, root and branch, with this most brutal of scourges. The French aristocracy of the 18th century did exactly the same. Even the Christian intellectuals of the late Roman Empire, whose barbarophilia is remarkable considering subsequent events, may have suffered exactly this fate. And the collapse of civilized government is hardly more fun for the average barbarian, who is probably not the barbarian on top, whose back feels no less the hard hand of his fellow thug.

Indeed this process is moving fast in a civilized country as I write: South Africa. A recent story from that land conveys the extent to which the true philosopher can embrace alienism:
Pretoria - It was like a scene from the "Wild West" when a woman and a robber opened fire on one another during an attack on a smallholding in Boschkop, in the east of Pretoria over the weekend.

Madi Ditmars, 50, was hit once in the shoulder during the attack on Friday night. The body of an attacker was found about 300 metres from her house.

"This was no racially-motivated incident. It was robbery," her husband, Jan Ditmars, 59, said on Sunday.

He had been part of the pre-1994 struggle against apartheid, and emigrated from the Netherlands to South Africa because he felt he could make a positive contribution to the country. Both he and Madi also helped with the 1994 election.

"In one way, the robbery was justified because of the poverty and the many inequalities in the country. These are just some of the reasons behind crime in South Africa, I think. But simply walking into someone's house and opening fire is not completely justified," he said.
Not completely justified. This attitude is not at all unusual among sophisticated citizens of the world - who, when victimized by an alien, are often found feeling that they have in some sense deserved it, taking consolation in the fact that a disadvantaged person of color now has their mountain bike, etc, etc. To Rubashov, to suffer unjustly for the Party was the highest form of loyalty. Needless to say, any emotion of rage, revenge, or even resentment is entirely absent.

Moreover, this attitude endangers not only the philosopher's life, but worse - his soul. The professional alienist, the puppet-master of Astroturf democracy, is forced into an essentially conspiratorial mindset. Because by himself he is a minority, his mastery of the State cannot possibly be in any sense legitimate. In Pareto's language, he is a fox, not a lion. He rules by the tongue; if he runs out of tricks, he is done. This unfortunate situation does not promote an attitude toward government which could be described as in any sense honorable.

Consider, for instance, the wonderful and authentic letter from Professor Tribe to President Obama, just leaked by some angelic whistleblower. Of course, it is lovely to see the progressive professor acknowledge that one of our nine pillars of the law has the mental talents of a DMV shift supervisor - her alien heredity, of course, making her an irreplaceable asset. But even more glaring is the frankness of Professor Tribe's passion for pure power under the name of law:
... it has been all too easy for Scalia to make his rigid and unrealistic formalism seem synonymous with the rule of law and to make Breyer's pragmatism seem mushy and unconstrained by comparison. It's important, I think, for the simultaneously progressive and yet principled, pragmatic and yet constrained, approach to law and justice that you have espoused....
Simultaneously progressive and yet principled! As I observed to Mrs. Moldbug, she is simultaneously beautiful and yet pretty. She gave me a dirty look.

This, of course, is nothing but the old Communist contempt (in case you've spent the last 75 years in a cave, "progressive" is nothing more or less than Communist code for "Communist") for "bourgeois morality." Similarly, being "pragmatic," in the lexicon of American politics, means no one can call you a hypocrite. "Pragma" means "thing" and every thing is different, so no general principle can be enforced - can it? And the cynic who hears "gradually move the Court in a pragmatically progressive direction" can think of nothing but the fine art of frog-boiling.

It is simply impossible to simultaneously conspire, and be principled. Or rather, a single principle must be adopted: all principles are sacrificed to the cause, whose victory will repay any and all moral debts. Since the worldwide failure of socialism, this casuistry cannot hardly stand serious examination. But the likes of Professor Tribe are no more able to question their need for power than a heroin addict can question his need for heroin. There is certainly nothing even slightly fresh about shooting up, for Laurence Tribe. Nonetheless he soldiers on.

So we see the darkness at the heart of trans-democracy. But it is not a darkness we, who grew up in the world of trans-democracy, are used to detecting. Certainly we have a very large and accurate Hitler detector; anything nativist sets it off. If only by dint of public education, even high-school students in our society can imagine exactly how a country slides down the slippery slope that starts with fencing the border, and ends with gassing the Jews.

But as for Stalin? Well, certainly, no one in America today - "progressive" or otherwise - would vote for President Stalin. For one thing, he's dead, and for another thing there are some serious problems with his birth certificate. But how can we recognize the likes of Stalin?

First and foremost, we have to recognize Stalin as an effect rather than a cause. The regime of Stalin, though a core pillar of the global progressive movement, was anything but progressive. In form it was progressive; in reality it was fascist. Stalin could exist not because an affection for fascist dictatorship is essential to progressivism. Stalin (who would not have lasted five seconds without his international fan club) could exist because an absence of principle is essential to progressivism. The American progressive alienist could convince himself that Stalin was an acceptable tool, for much the same reason he could convince himself that Huey Newton was an acceptable tool. Had he been principled rather than pragmatic, he would have had to observe that Stalin's was a fascist dictatorship just like Hitler's, and apply the same rhetoric to both.

Stalin could exist because the American aristocrats who supported him, men like Frederick Vanderbilt Field, were alienists. Wanting powerful clients, lacking any principle, they had no objection to the deployment of murderous Georgian bandits. To Stalin, of course, he was the master and his foreign friends were the fools. It is still not quite clear who was right - both, perhaps. Certainly, if the world escaped global Stalinism, it was not through any effort of Frederick Vanderbilt Field's.

But Stalin, as alien dictator, is the exception. The rule of modern trans-democracy is alienism; and the rule of modern alienism is not hierarchical tyranny, like Stalin's, but distributed anarcho-tyranny. Not one big thug; many little thugs. Not the NKVD; MS-13.

It is MS-13 that is the rule, the NKVD that is the exception. There will never be another NKVD, for it could exist only by inheriting the traditions of organized Tsarism. There is always room for another MS-13; and as long as trans-democracy prospers, so will the gangster; and so will gangster politics. Quite simply, there is no way to crush the gangs that would not inadvertently crush, or at least seriously disable, the Democrats. Both are manifestations of alien privilege - a phenomenon fundamental to our present system of government.

But, since democracy is our intellectual tradition, we simply have no way to react emotionally to the grave and general wrongness of alienism and anarcho-tyranny. We know how to hate and fear fascist dictators and their allies. We can hate Stalin by calling him a fascist dictator, which is what he was. In doing so, however, we capture evil only in the narrowest sense. Every criminal is in a sense a fascist dictator in the moment of his crime, but comparing him to Hitler does not really help us understand a mugger.

Here we find a wonderful observation of Sir Henry Maine, which might well deserve to go down as Maine's Law (not to be confused with the Maine Law). Maine wrote:
There is indeed one kind of praise which Democracy has received, and continues to receive, in the greatest abundance. This is praise addressed to the governing Demos by those who fear it, or desire to conciliate it, or hope to use it. When it has once become clear that Democracy is a form of government, it will be easily understood what panegyrics of the multitude amount to.

Democracy is Monarchy inverted, and the modes of addressing the multitude are the same as the modes of addressing kings. "O King, live for ever," was the ordinary formula of beginning an address to the Babylonian or Median king, drunk or sober. "Your ascent to power proceeded as uniformly and majestically as the laws of being and was as certain as the decrees of eternity," says Mr. Bancroft to the American people.
Maine's law: democracy is monarchy inverted. We lack the political language to describe the experience of being tyrannized by a mass. We have no shortage of such language for individuals - kings and dictators.

To plumb our present predicament, we must apply Maine's law, translating the trans-democratic tyranny of peoples into the language of individual tyrants. Let's work through a quick example to see how this is done.

For instance, one common feature of monarchies and despotisms is a law of lèse-majesté - a legal penalty for mocking, criticizing, or otherwise offending the ruler. The importance of this law in generally well-governed Thailand, for instance, remains almost hilariously significant. Moreover, when we look at dictators rather than true monarchs, tyranny really takes off, and the stakes of lèse-majesté go up and up and up. Professor Volokh shares his Soviet memories:
I remember very little about my childhood in the Soviet Union; I was only seven when I left. But one memory I have is being on a bus with one of my parents, and asking something about a conversation we had had at home, in which Stalin and possibly Lenin were mentioned as examples of dictators. My parent took me off the bus at the next stop, even though it wasn’t the place we were originally going.

Perhaps I have some of the details wrong (was it just Stalin, or also Lenin?); childhood memories remembered 35 years later are like that. I’m telling this to explain why I feel so strongly about it, based on my memories; my personal account does not affect the soundness (or unsoundness) of my arguments. But my sense from all I’ve heard is that this is exactly how life was like there, and that no-one who lived there in the 1970s would think the scenario at all improbable.

What’s more, this is so even though most people, including most Communists, knew that Stalin was of course a dictator. The government itself had acknowledged as much. Even Lenin was widely understood to have been a dictator in the sense of someone who didn’t govern through democratic means.

But it’s not the sort of thing that you’d want to say in public, or even to your friends in private. Sssh! — people might hear! Those who hear might draw deeper inferences about what else you might believe. This might get back to the place you work. You might be fired, or blacklisted. By the 1970s, you probably didn’t have to worry much about being shot, or being sent to Siberia; these were not the 1930s. But lost jobs, ruined careers — sure. And a forced public apology: well, of course, that might help a bit.
Now, consider this for a minute. Stalin is a person who may not be insulted - an individual legally protected from disrespect. If the Leader's elementary-school nickname is "Smallnuts," it is worth your life (in the Leader's heyday) or your career (30 years later) to make the wrong peanut joke in the wrong context. Who thumbs his nose at the Leader, thumbs his nose at the State; who thumbs his nose at the State, may one day rebel against it. Thus this type of regulation is, broadly speaking, universal across human history.

And in our trans-democratic society? Are there any individuals who must be legally protected from disrespect? Is there any crime of lèse-majesté, per se? The answer is: no. America is not a dictatorship; the load-bearing pillar of political power is not a single human being; therefore, legally and in fact, Americans are free to laugh at anyone.

But are we free to laugh at everyone? There are no protected individuals. A search for protected class, however, produces quite a number of hits. Consider the penalties for disrespecting, singly or en masse, a member of a protected class. Do they not bear a strange resemblance to those for offending Stalin, in Kiev in the '70s? Professor Volokh certainly thinks so.

Thus, Maine's law. There is no crime of lèse-majesté in America; there never has been. Every day, however, Americans are prosecuted and/or persecuted for the crime of lèse-peuple.

Naturally, it is not a crime to disrespect the entire People. Not that anyone bothers - because, quite frankly, in 2010 it is almost comical to consider America as a single political community. No; it is only a crime to disrespect the sacred vessels of trans-democracy - the aliens among us. The workers and peasants, or such as we have these days; the human fuel of progressive government. By disrespecting the vessels, of course, we threaten the chemists, just as by disrespecting Stalin the young Professor Volokh threatened the entire Soviet state.

Is this a coincidence? How could it possibly be a coincidence? Hence, Maine's law. Try it yourself. You'll find it works all over the place.

For instance, we find that the worse the crimes of the dictator, the worse the penalty for disrespect. Stalin is a mass murderer of colossal scale, so constant adulation is required. Brezhnev is a mere corrupt bureaucrat, so no one is executed for muttering about him.

Through the prism of Maine's law, we extend this principle, and what do we derive? Where are the American gulags, the mass graves, of lèse-peuple? Well, for instance, one could look on Wikipedia. Normally, when people flee, it means someone else chased them out. More broadly, we find that we have derived... Auster's First Law.

Every day in every university in America, all injustices committed by Americans of tribe A against tribe B are wrapped into a ball, monstrously exaggerated, and thrust as a burden of guilt onto all members of tribe A. Who shudder at the load, but sigh and carry it. As for injustices (ie, crimes) committed by Americans of tribe B against those of tribe A, it is almost taboo to mention them, and certainly taboo to connect them. Each is its own random and inexplicable event - the responsibility of the criminal alone, and no one else. After all, it's not like he was following orders - like some NKVD officer. And it's purely coincidental that he's so well-informed about the enormous crimes of tribe A.

And when we contemplate this strange and hideous spectacle, are we surprised that tribe A is the native, cis-democratic electorate, and tribe B the alien, trans-democratic votebank? We are not. And hence, the fundamentally suicidal nature of democracy unfolds itself to us. Well, it never hurts to know your fate.

40 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is more along the lines of what i was hoping you'd post today. i always wish you would be more brief, but this one holds together quite well, i've made it halfway through and it's pretty easy to follow.

November 3, 2010 at 6:36 PM  
Anonymous josh said...

Why does everyone wish he'd be brief? Were you not enjoying yourself?

November 3, 2010 at 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the evil of trans-democracy is the evil of Stalin and Mao, whose popularity was enforced by terror, the evil of cis-democracy is the evil of Hitler - whose popularity was for the most part authentic. Because of this authenticity, the German nation is responsible for Hitler's crimes, in a way that the Russian nation is not responsible for Stalin's. Stalin's ideology was, more or less, imported; Hitler's was almost entirely indigenous.

Meh. There is sufficient reason to believe that Stalin was genuinely popular in the USSR. Therefore the Soviet people are responsible for Stalin's crimes.

I never wish MM would be brief. I wish he would post more often, at any length he desires!

November 3, 2010 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger Kalim Kassam said...

"Borrowing some neutral prefixes from chemistry, we will speak of cis-democracy and trans-democracy."

I see through your tricks Moldbug! Hardly neutral, you are consciously evoking tranzism.

November 3, 2010 at 11:14 PM  
Blogger sconzey said...

I think MM stews; ferments; improving with age. It seems the longer he goes between posting, the better the post when it eventually comes.

I can honestly say this is the best I've read in quite a while.

November 4, 2010 at 5:31 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

I agree. This one was especially broad in a good way. The prose was a bit sloppy at times, though.

Strangely, I just read Benjamin Hill last week. And did I count three references to Auster? Nice to see somebody like Auster mentioned in such semi-auspicious company. Despite the fact that he is despised and is close-minded on certain issues, he has moments where he is a cut above the rest of the reactionary daily politics bloggers.

November 4, 2010 at 7:52 AM  
Anonymous DMZ said...

Reading this post was like having a conjugal visit with a hottie while serving out a life sentence in jail.
A very pleasurable twenty minutes indeed!

As a descendant of 17th century Virginia and Maryland tobacco planters turned Mississippi cotton planters by early 19th century, infantry and partisan ranger officers during the war returning to ruined plantations, sending their sons to New Orleans and Houston to practice law - their daughters also educated; these respected judges, civic leaders, county doctors, members of the board!! The next generation spent years apart from their families during WW2, taxed beyond belief, sacrificing not by choice, winning and coming home to prosper and multiply. Their children, the Baby Boomers, fleeing the cities of their birth, they were instructed in the 1960s university what their parents taught them in 1950s was bullshit. Settle in a suburb, don't quite fit in, crisis of religion! Southern Baptistry in the 80s, non-denominational by the 90s, full on Bible Church for the new millenium. They long for heaven - reality is too heartbreaking. They've become the slaves their great-grandparents once owned - without privilege - the new white privilege. Of course my parents rejoyced in the Tea Party victories, but perhaps only their son knows the real reason why.

November 4, 2010 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Your problem is with equating "politics" with "democracy". They only appear effectively synonymous to you because you live under a democratic system. In fact, the common word that's effectively a synonym of "politics" is "government".

ALL government is driven by politics. Always has been, always will be. The different forms of government, "democracy" among them, differ primarily in how much of the population is invited or compelled to participate.

A person can legitimately be a fan of democracy and disgusted by politics, simply by sincerely believing, as Churchill is said to have said, that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. _You_ manifestly do not believe this, and it happens that I do not either, but for those who do believe it, the emotional dichotomy that seems incongruous to you is quite reasonable.

Government, under any system, is even at its very best a distasteful business. Government under a system in which it is only done by the sort of people who voluntarily choose to make a career out of it (such as democracy), is even worse.

The main explanation, I think, for why kings were sometimes good people is that one didn't become a king by choice, but by accident of birth. Therefore, the sort of inverse-selection that operates in a democracy did not apply.

November 4, 2010 at 8:43 AM  
Anonymous PA said...

To Rubashov, to suffer unjustly for the Party was the highest form of loyalty.

Amy Biehl's parents had amiable dinner with the killers of their daughter.

Professor Volokh shares his Soviet memories: I remember very little about my childhood in the Soviet Union; I was only seven when I left. But one memory I have is being on a bus with one of my parents, and asking something about a conversation we had had at home [...]. My parent took me off the bus at the next stop, even though it wasn't the place we were originally going.

LOL, I have similar memories from 70s Warsaw, though I was a bit older than Prof. Volokh at the time. In one of his autobiographies, Czeslaw Milosz contemplates his early childhood memories of pre-revolutionary Russia. He has vague recollections of czarist officers making friendly visits to his father's house. He then remarks on how it's mind-blowing that an entire world is gone without a trace. It is, indeed, a crazy feeling.

If the Leader's elementary-school nickname is "Smallnuts," it is worth your life (in the Leader's heyday) or your career (30 years later) to make the wrong peanut joke in the wrong context.

Possible pedantry alert: though I only have basic knowledge of Russian slang, I believe that the metaphor for testes is "eggs", not "nuts," pronounced YAhY-tsa.

Where are the American gulags, the mass graves, of lese-peuple? Well, for instance, one could look on Wikipedia.

This article is one of your best to date. One pattern I notice in your posts is that they begin with long abstract stuff I just skim over besause it's mostly lubricant for liberals. And then things take shape and get interesting toward the end.

November 4, 2010 at 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Devin Finbarr said...

Politics is a social conflict over who gets what. It's fundamentally about how the pie is dividing.

Statesmanship is about growing the pie for everyone.

Democracy is a form of government in which mass suffrage elections play a large role in decision making.

Politics and Democracy are not synonyms. You can have an oligarchy with nasty politics. And in theory, you can a democracy without politics. ( I brainstorm a few designs for non-political democracy here.

But Moldbug is quite correct that the design of our current democratic system encourages politics over statesmanship. It is also true, that when progressives talk of "limiting politics" they are often talking about limiting democracy (by putting more power in the courts or civil service). It is also true that progressives often falsely blame conservative figures of "playing politics" when the conservatives are sincere in their beliefs and are in their own mind working for the greater good of the country.

November 5, 2010 at 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A more eloquent and entertaining justification of the rightness of one person or group to oppress another I have seldom enjoyed. Yes, yes, let's have the paternalistic cis pat us on our collective heads and guide us. Yes, yes, what evils there are in the trans, what with man acknowledging his filthy, debased commonality with other men. Lead us, oh wise... while we pray you make the best decisions on our behalf that we, too ignorant and small, cannot possibly make for ourselves!

A delicious read. Tasting of almonds...

November 5, 2010 at 3:11 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

Excellent stuff. I love when Moldbug creates new words.

"What is originality? To see something that does not yet bear a name, that cannot yet be named, although it is before everybody's eyes. As people are usually constituted, it is the
name that first makes a thing generally visible to them. Original persons have also for the most
part been the namers of things." - Nietzsche

November 5, 2010 at 4:22 PM  
Anonymous P.M.Lawrence said...

In instalments...

"Deep in your medulla, warmth glows from everything democratic".

Speak for yourself, sunshine. That simply isn't the case for people outside US culture, even in Europe and here in Australia, apart from those in certain groups.

"And a hereditary right. Suppose the king has three sons, and gives each an equal right to vote. In the next generation, the realm is now a democracy of three citizens, or mini-kings. Kings are good at spreading their Y chromosomes across the land, so you can see how after enough generations, the entire population is descended from the king. Hence they all have the right to vote; they are all nano-kings. Thus we establish a perfectly plausible continuum between the divine right of kings and the consent of the governed."

Compare and contrast the Polish inheritance of nobility with, say, the Russian (in most cases, by default, a one level drop per generation unless promoted individually, but all children qualified) and the English (mostly, unless particularly specified otherwise, primogeniture in the male line). It was thus that Poland became a "Royal Republic".

"Division of sovereignty is entropic. The more you divide it, the more it wants to divide more".

Wrong. This is a feature of indirect or representative democracy, driven by the same agency costs that give corporate managers an incentive to dilute shareholders' equity: politicians have an incentive to dilute the franchise and - incrementally - elect a new people, favouring the politicians who do it (this applies both to broadening the qualifications to vote, and to actually bringing in new people as immigrants). With direct democracy, on the other hand, there is an incentive to divide the cake into larger pieces over time even when that makes the cake smaller and less viable - as in both Athens (which cut back on naturalisation) and Sparta (with ever fewer Spartiates).

November 5, 2010 at 9:04 PM  
Anonymous P.M.Lawrence said...

"Government, those Laws, by which their Life and their Gods [sic] may be most their own".

That should be "goods". Compare and contrast remarks George I - not a native English speaker - made in a speech shortly after coming the British throne: "I have come for your good. I have come for all your goods." (His audience laughed, and thought he was a splendid fellow.)

"Having found herself with a sovereign Parliament, the sceptred isle made the best of it".

That is not now, and never has been, the case; even the worst days of the Commonwealth did not have that as established theory but sought a distinct legitimising basis. It is the "Crown in Parliament" that is sovereign.

"... the intellectual, an aristocrat by definition ...".

Tosh.

"If the evil of trans-democracy is the evil of Stalin and Mao, whose popularity was enforced by terror, the evil of cis-democracy is the evil of Hitler - whose popularity was for the most part authentic. Because of this authenticity, the German nation is responsible for Hitler's crimes, in a way that the Russian nation is not responsible for Stalin's. Stalin's ideology was, more or less, imported; Hitler's was almost entirely indigenous."

See the Jupiter figure in Grimmelshausen's 17th century work Simplicius Simplicissimus (book 3, chapter 4); this is the idea of Hitler already present in German culture in the 17th century.

"It is simply impossible to simultaneously conspire, and be principled".

Wrong. It is quite possible to simultaneously conspire; also, it is quite possible to be principled. However, at least arguably, it is simply impossible simultaneously to conspire, and be principled. (Do you begin to see why you shouldn't split infinitives?)

November 5, 2010 at 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Speak for yourself, sunshine. That simply isn't the case for people outside US culture, even in Europe and here in Australia, apart from those in certain groups."

Uh speak for yourself maybe? I'm Australian too and I'd say we love patting ourselves on the back for how democratic we are. I'd love if it were otherwise but...

November 5, 2010 at 11:51 PM  
Anonymous josh said...

My brother lives in Sydney. I know that some of the workers that he manages headed off to Moscow for the international last year. A good friend of my brother nearly came to blows with his other (British) friend when I was visiting for his insufficient condemnation of Margaret Thatcher.

A girl at a bar also sought me out based on my accent in order to yell at me for living in a country where we don't force everyone to vote. She was pretty drunk.

"What has America ever done that is good?!"
"Um? The light bulb."

Apparently that doesn't count.

November 6, 2010 at 4:50 AM  
Anonymous Ron Potato said...

Hey sunshine, your willfully obtuse misinterpretation to demonstrate how low-complexity robots could misunderstand a split infinitive does not recommend that you recognize the Crown is powerless against Parliament.

But I should have stopped reading at instalments.

November 6, 2010 at 10:29 AM  
OpenID davidncl said...

"
"What has America ever done that is good?!"
"Um? The light bulb."

Apparently that doesn't count
"
No it doesn't count because it's not true. Swan?

November 6, 2010 at 11:01 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

josh,

Yeah, we copied the light bulb. That isn't good?

November 6, 2010 at 5:32 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I had previously associated "cis" and "trans" with LBGQTwhatevers, who refer to normal people as "cis-gendered" (the autistic phrase "neurotypical" is used similarly).

Americans did not fight for the principle of "one man, one vote". They had property restrictions and enacted a timocracy. It wasn't until the 60s that your principle was declared part of the constitution.

You've never seen hand-written signs at a lefty demonstration? Haven't you heard of zombietime? Don't you live in San Francisco?

Adrian Goldsworthy says the Christian emperors behaved the same as the pagans. I don't know if he includes the Byzantines there.

I have some admiration for the South African woman for killing the robber. She should throw her husband's possessions out the window once she recovers.

I'm going to have to echo The Undiscovered Jew again and complain about you conflating Progressivism with communism. Teddy Roosevelt was a bastard, but he was not a communist. The first "red scare" occurred under Woodrow Wilson. And please, stop using the boiling frog analogy since real frogs don't behave that way.

"It is simply impossible to simultaneously conspire, and be principled"
I don't think you really believe that. Not just in the sense of throwing a surprise birthday party or bamboozling the defensive line, but also the unlawful production and distribution of samizdata. Depending on your preferences, you may believe Brutus, John Wilkes Booth or von Stauffenberg to be principled.

I forget if I've posted it here before, but there are still some who argue that communism did not harm economic growth.

"Stalin (who would not have lasted five seconds without his international fan club)"
Would you say the same of Kim Jong-Il? And Field regarded Stalin as infallible. It's usually the person with that perspective who is the manipulable fool. And speaking of those missionaries you love to hate, I found this informative.

"There will never be another NKVD, for it could exist only by inheriting the traditions of organized Tsarism"
Every communist country had analogous intelligence services. And crime in those Los Angeles (and some even more heavily hispanic cities) is at early 60s levels.

November 7, 2010 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

"Quite simply, there is no way to crush the gangs that would not inadvertently crush, or at least seriously disable, the Democrats"
My guess is that there's a negative correlation between an increase in crime rates in one year and Democratic political fortunes in the next. Crime rates dropped like a rock when FDR came into power (repeal of prohbition likely played a big part) and stayed down during his tenure. The Great Sixties Freakout helped elect (and re-elect) Nixon and Reagan. "godless capitalist" praised Clinton as the great jailer of blacks, and he's still regarded as among the most capable Dem politicians (whose terminally boring vice-president nearly coasted on his coat-tails).

"We lack the political language to describe the experience of being tyrannized by a mass"
"Mob-rule" and "tyranny of the majority" are common terms. There are also takeoffs like tyranny of the market, which is not best explained in the book by that name (more accurately titled "the tyranny of fixed costs") but No one makes you shop at Wal-Mart. John Stuart Mill also bemoaned the "tyranny of prevailing opinion and feeling" (which we might now associate with political correctness, though he presumably had in mind more conservative attitudes).

Academic research supports your view that non-monarchical autocrats are worse than monarchs. But you're wrong that nobody criticizes We the People in a democracy. Bryan Caplan seems to have done just fine with "The Myth of the Rational Voter", another GMU prof released "How Stupid Are We?" on the ignorance of the American voter around the same time. And every time one side loses an election countless supporters will demoan how sheeplike the voters are. It is really POLITICIANS who must keep up appearances. And regarding criticism of aliens, you might have noticed the NYT highlighting the revival of "culture of poverty" theories. And while she's a weak vessel (law professor) BloggingHeads repeatedly had on Amy Wax to tout her book arguing that today's black dysfunction is caused by blacks rather than white racism (and while I don't think she's a conservative, she really drove liberals there nuts). Stuart Buck's book "Acting White: The Ironic Legacy of Desegregation" has a similar message and has been fairly well received.

"And it's purely coincidental that he's so well-informed about the enormous crimes of tribe A"
Criminals tend to be dropouts and uneducable at any rate. But they may be competent at rationalizing.

"tribe B the alien, trans-democratic votebank"
There are a number of groups which vote Dem. The most criminal groups have the lowest voting rate. When a politician defends himself from accusations of racism, it's not because he's worried minorities will turn against him but that whites will.

November 7, 2010 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Via reason I came across some FBI files on cartoonist Al Capp, who was if not a communist at least a fellow-traveler in the 30s. He apparently shifted rightward as he got older. Ctrl+F to "Capp reprimands Harvard", which is fairly entertaining.

November 7, 2010 at 11:05 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

TGGP,

Crime rates, schmime rates. Would I (and my property) be safer in Los Angeles today or in the early 1960s? What do you think?

November 7, 2010 at 5:53 PM  
Anonymous PA said...

Crime rates, schmime rates. Would I see prettier girls in Los Angeles today or in the early 1960s? What do you think

November 7, 2010 at 6:06 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

Moldbug says:

"And there would be a lot more Jews in the world. This is the bottom line on democracy: it's been bad for the Jews. I'm aware that others have other criteria, but this is mine and I like it just fine."

Interesting. Discuss.

http://js-kit.com/api/static/pop_comments?ref=http://gnxp.com&path=%2F4148274575786727351#3564026

Since when was MM openly judeocentric? I'm surprised he'd write this. Of course the suspicion has crossed my and others' minds before. At least it's out in the open now.

November 7, 2010 at 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Stalin (who would not have lasted five seconds without his international fan club)"
Would you say the same of Kim Jong-Il?


Yeah. Kim would not last five seconds without his two international fans Russia and China, who find him useful.

November 7, 2010 at 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jkr, it is YOU who is judeocentric, not MM. Everything you write reflects your obsession with them.

November 8, 2010 at 3:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, we can all (like Freud, Joseph Roth and many other Jews) mourn the loss of the Hapsburg monarchy. One of Woodrow Wilson's greatest crimes. Germany and Russia also would obviously been better off if their monarchies had been retained.

November 8, 2010 at 3:57 AM  
Anonymous Leonard said...

jkr: you have to read the context. That line reads to me as a joke. MM is using that line to prod at elite democracy-worshippers, who are assuredly used to thinking in terms of "what's good for the Jews". He is inverting their narrative. It is not Hitler here and democracy there, with Hitler bad-for and democracy good-for. It is Hitler and democracy together, with both bad-for.

Which is not to say MM is at all antisemitic -- clearly he likes Jews just fine. He is, after all, a Jew by Nazi reckoning. But I think, if you have read him as you claim, you'll find he has articulated many deeper criticisms of democracy than bad-for. The criticism is that democracy is irresponsible and ineffective, and also over the long run, insecure.

November 8, 2010 at 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual anyone who notices a pattern of ethnic nepotism among Jews and talks about it will be a conspiracy theorist. I mean such patterns, if they aren't mere hallucinations of guys who secretly masturbate to pictures of Hitler, have to be the result of a conspiracy. I mean, let's be reasonable: Jews, unlike the rest of us collectivist scum, would never use the positions of power and influence to which their IQs destine them, with unconsciously ethnic bias. I mean that would result in thinking that genetics might have something to do with behavioral biases toward ingroups or something and, of course, although that is no longer ridiculous to conceive for other groups, it is a mere canard that it might apply to Jews.

I mean, let's be reasonable here...

November 8, 2010 at 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual, anyone who is utterly bored with those who obsessively find patterns of "Jewish nepotism" and "Jewish influence" everywhere is accused of lacking clarity of thought and of being secretly in league with the Jews. Whatever.

The Jew thing... BORING.

November 8, 2010 at 6:16 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

leonard,

his criticisms of democracy are excellent. his criticism of left wing movements leaves much to be desired. i was just surprised he'd write that. it wasn't clearly a joke. he's my favorite blogger, but he's clearly not accurate or honest on the J-question, which is why i was surprised he'd write that. unless he was being tongue in cheek. i mean it's obvious he is deeply biased on the issue, but that's why you'd expect him to always pretend objectivity. i always assumed he just avoided learning anything on the subject so he wouldn't have to deal with it. it's not a fun subject.

November 8, 2010 at 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt:

"Government, under any system, is even at its very best a distasteful business. Government under a system in which it is only done by the sort of people who voluntarily choose to make a career out of it (such as democracy), is even worse. "

perfect.
I chewed on that thought for a while, and it's really a good feeling to see it has also been conceived elsewhere.

November 8, 2010 at 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Professor's Tribe letter astounded me.

Ironical that the very judicial system which was born as a conservative force turns out to be the main progressive arena.

November 8, 2010 at 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Leonard said...

jkr, you think MM has avoiding learning anything on the subject of the Jews and the left? That's... strange. He seems to know quite a bit. He's frequently joked about this and that prominent leftist being a Jew. Three times he's deployed the Orwell quote about trusting a snake before a Jew.

There is just one that instance of MM claiming "good-for" as his criteria, and many, many instances of him:
(1) criticizing various forms of government, but mostly democracy, for being insecure, ineffective, and irresponsible
(2) propounding neocameralism based on an analysis that it will be secure, effective, and responsible.

That is why I think he is joking. Again, recall the context there, and also the forum.

November 9, 2010 at 6:42 AM  
Anonymous jkr said...

leonard, he probably is joking, even of there's a tiny bit of truth to it. i think of it like this. suppose that kevin macdonald's analysis is basically correct. just for the sake of argument. would MM accept it as correct, or would he resist that conclusion in favor of one not jew-negative? that's what i think MM does. it doesn't devalue the rest of his work, it's just a blind spot. that doesn't mean kMac is precisely correct, but I think he's closer to the mark than moldbug. and he'll debate anyone all day long on his facts. mencius will dance around the issue, take random swipes and make jokes, but never engage the subject seriously. he's good on almost everything else, but when it comes to jews he argues like a progressive.

November 9, 2010 at 3:22 PM  
Blogger Ilíon said...

'Votebank' is good, but how about 'votefarm'?

November 9, 2010 at 3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Kalim Kassam ::

also I noticed that he chose 'cis-democracy' because all the rational people have ended precisely inside a cistern.

November 12, 2010 at 4:58 PM  
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November 12, 2010 at 10:11 PM  
Blogger James A. Donald said...

"As usual anyone who notices a pattern of ethnic nepotism among Jews and talks about it will be a conspiracy theorist."

If there was a pattern of ethnic nepotism, the disproportionately Jewish left would be disproportionately pro Israel. Instead, we see a lot of self hatred going on.

The left is mostly white, and hates whites. The left is disproportionately Jewish, and hates Jews. The left is composed entirely of humans, and hates humanity in favor of trees and "the earth"

The Khmer Rouge was disproportionately composed of foreign educated intellectuals, and its leadership was entirely composed of foreign educated intellectuals. They also hated intellectuals, especially foreign educated intellectuals, and murdered them all, mostly by extraordinarily brutal tortures.

The old bolsheviks were mostly Jewish, and proceeded to purge the Jews out of the bolshevik party.

What is distinctive about leftists is not Jewishness, but self hatred.

Right wing Jews, like Mencius, do tend to favor Jews. And right wing White Anglo Saxon Protestants tend to favor White Anglo Saxon Protestants. But left wing Jews hate Jews, and left wing White Anglo Saxon Protestants hate whites, Anglo Saxons, and Protestants.

November 15, 2010 at 7:40 PM  

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