Friday, February 4, 2011 198 Comments

Pictures from the human-rights empire: a prose collage

(Obviously, this is art and not mere indolent piracy. Also, it is more properly described as a text montage. Duh.)

A comment at Foseti's:
As for Egypt, a relative was born in Cairo to a reasonably prosperous Jewish family soon after WWII. This person remembers childhood fondly and speaks often of the greatness of “Old Egypt” as being quite the Liberal, Modern, Strongly Europeanized, and Cosmopolitan paradise. A place tolerant of innumerable intersections of art, commerce, ideas, culture, and even those from different ethnic and religious background.

And then came the war with Israel, and then the Free Officers movement, and then their coup and revolution against “Great King Ali”, and then the die was cast. The family stayed during Naguib’s reign as President, but when Nasser forced him out things began to deteriorate quickly, especially for European Christians and most especially for the formerly tolerated Jews. By the time of the Suez crisis, the writing was on the wall, and 15-year old rural rabble revolutionary conscripts were told they could steal what they wanted, rape who they wanted, and burn down their houses and farms and occupy and seize their lands. That should sound like a familiar pattern to us 21st century folk.

Leniency was being allowed to live and flee with only the shirt on your back to one of the few European countries chartering boat-lifts to save the lives of those in the forced exodus. My relative was a young child at the time, and the experience has never worn off.

And things are so much worse there now than they were in 1956.
A post, January 2011, from a literary surgeon in the new South Africa:
recently i was involved in a discussion with a guy that was explaining how we should understand criminals. the emphasis was on farm murders but we touched on murderers in general, rapists and child molesters. my point of view was that i did not understand them and felt that he was justifying their actions. in the end i was informed that i was smug. apparently that is the word for people that couldn't see the point of view of the poor misunderstood murderers and rapists and molesters.

so smug is what i am, it seems. you see the fact is i can't understand his beloved murderers. i just can't. i also in my smugness wonder how he can, but i think i know.

it has to do with not being in the trenches. it has to do with not being faced with the blood and the tears and the guts and the screams...mostly the screams. it is probably easy to be nice and philosophical sitting snugly (not smugly apparently) in a nice air-conditioned office, philosophizing on the reasons people point a gun at people and pull the trigger. or worse...

the thing is i can't forget. i am scarred. i remember the patient lying in a pool of his own blood, looking up at me and asking, beseeching even to tell him he is going to be ok. i remember wanting to tell him that it would all turn out just fine. i even remember wanting to hold his hand because his mother wasn't there to take care of the emotional side of things. in the end i remember not telling him he would be ok because i wasn't sure he would. i also remember not being the mother he needed in the last moments of his life because that is what it turned out to be. after we had plough through the blood and feces floating around in his abdomen, violated by the bullet fired from the gun of someone my friend feels i must understand, the patient died. he did not die well with his mother or wife holding his hand in love. he died alone in some icu ward with adrenaline being pumped into his veins and oxygen being pumped into his lungs with a scarred doctor who felt that his time may have been better spent holding the patient's hand rather than pouring time and energy into a futile attempt to save his life. you see the reason i can't see the side of the killer is that the killer is still alive and has the sentiments of my learned friend to feel for him. my patient is dead and there was no one next to his bed when he died. there is no one to state his case now.
[...]
the woman raped is difficult to examine. somehow you feel you are violating her again. you feel you are making the whole ordeal worse. they don't resist. they are already broken. anyway, rape in our country is so commonplace, it may be the one area where i understand that my friend mat have sympathy with the perpetrator, but, sorry, i cannot. for me to examine those women tears me apart. it leaves me with a feeling that my own soul has been violated. that i am forced to do something because someone else destroyed a life. i refuse to see the point of that someone else. if that makes me smug, then smug i must be, but again i suspect i might be jaded.

a bullet can do a lot of damage. physically i think i might have been a witness to pretty much all of it, but there is another side to the story. i remember an old man, shot in his home when he tried to defend his wife from the killers that broke into their house in the early hours, people that my friend chooses to understand. we did pull him through, but not without a massive operation and the obligatory icu time. i remember when he came to me for follow up some time later. i was so proud that he had made it. but somehow he was the shell of the man he used to be. he was alive, but broken. his confidence was gone. he lived in fear. he felt helpless because he knew he could do nothing against the lead of the people who i hear from my friend i must understand and sympathize with. but who sympathizes with my patient whose peace has been stolen from him? the smug or the jaded?

recently i enjoyed my christmas eve over the open abdomen of a woman shot in her bed by strangers, strangers whom my friend has endless sympathy for. i did not enjoy my holiday period, but more than that, my patients didn't either. hopefully my friend, while maybe enjoying a beer with the killers he understands so well had a really festive time. i do not understand him.
In comments, the author responds to an obvious question:
anonymous, there is no mayflower for me. i'm here to stay. despite what you think i do make a difference for the good to these people. it is interesting to me you would deprive them of that.
Sunday Times (South Africa), January 30, 2011, "Search for Mandela's gun":
The hunt for Nelson Mandela's legendary lost gun has turned into a desperate plan to buy a suburban home which is "sure" to have it - before opportunists can buy it and hold the historic treasure "to ransom".

However, negotiations to buy and demolish the house are stalled by a lack of cash. A South African pop singer known as JMaxx is the person living contentedly above the treasure.

In late July 1962, Mandela dug a deep "pit" on Liliesleaf farm - the Rivonia property where he often hid, posing as a labourer - where he buried 200 bullets and a Makarov pistol, which had been given to him by his military tutor in Ethiopia.

Nicholas Wolpe, chief executive of the Liliesleaf Trust, revealed that Mandela had led his friend Arthur Goldreich to a remote part of the farm and proudly showed off his gun - before "slapping his wrist" when Goldreich tried to touch it, saying "this is mine!"

Having once tried to pace out the directions from his mental treasure map, Mandela has twice indicated that the pistol now lies beneath one of the private properties which have since been built on the farm.
[...]
He said he believed the gun had "real personal significance" for Madiba, who wrapped it in a bundle of plastic, foil and an army uniform, and placed it beneath a tin plate.
Brown Alumni Magazine, January 2011, "Tyranny Has a Witness":
On a cold night last fall on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the marbled lobby of the American Museum of Natural History had been transformed into the setting for a swanky cocktail party. More than 500 people had paid between $1,000 and $100,000 to attend. The museum's giant barosaurus skeleton was aglow in purple light, and an hors d'oeuvres buffet featured dishes from around the world served up in copper and ceramic tureens. One cocktail waitress carried a bar chime around the room, sweeping it with a stick at regular intervals to wash the crowd with a sound like falling water.

The occasion was the first of fifteen Human Rights Watch "Voices for Justice" dinners, whose purpose is to honor "those who speak out where there is silence." This year the nonprofit organization was honoring Egypt's Hossam Bahgat and China's Liu Xiaobo. It's been something of a dizzying few months for Human Rights Watch, which is in the process of doubling in size after the billionaire philanthropist George Soros in September had given the group his largest single gift yet: $100 million.

For the past thirty years, the purpose of Human Rights Watch has been, according to its website, "to hold oppressors accountable to their population, to the international community, and to their obligations under international law." Although it is based in New York City, Human Rights Watch has offices all over the world and is likely to have more soon, thanks to Soros's gift.
The New York Times, February 3, 2011, "Gangs Hunt Journalists and Rights Workers":
No news organization seemed exempt from the rage, which escalated as the week wore on. Whether from Western or Arab media, television networks or wire services, newspapers or photo syndicates, journalists were chased through the streets and had their equipment stolen or smashed. Some were beaten so badly that they required hospital treatment.

ABC News reported that one of its crews was carjacked on Thursday and threatened with beheading. A Reuters journalist said a “gang of thugs” had stormed the news service’s office and started smashing windows. And four journalists from The Washington Post were detained by forces that they suspected were from the Interior Ministry. All four were released by early Friday. But two of them, the paper’s Cairo bureau chief and a photographer, had been ordered not to leave a local hotel.

“It appears that journalists are being targeted by the Egyptian authorities in a deliberate campaign of intimidation aimed at quashing honest, independent reporting of a transformational event,” said The Post’s foreign editor, Douglas Jehl.
Aesop, trans. George Townsend (1869), Fable LXXVII, "The Trumpeter Taken Prisoner":
A TRUMPETER being taken prisoner in a battle, begged hard for quarter, declaring his innocence, and protesting that he neither had killed nor could kill any man; bearing no arms, but only his trumpet, which he was obliged to sound at the word of command.

"For that reason," replied his enemies, "we are determined not to spare you; for though you yourself never fight, yet with that base instrument of yours, you blow up animosity between other people and so become the occasion of much bloodshed."

MORAL. An accomplice is as guilty as the principal.

APPLICATION. This fable may be illustrated by an amusing episode in English history. Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, accompanied Richard Coeur de Lion to the Crusades. The prelate, taken prisoner in a sally by the Saracens, begged his liberty, and to be sent back to his sovereign, as being a priest, and not a soldier. They showed him the breastplate he had worn in the combat, inquired if that was the dress of a prelate or of a paladin, and held him a fast prisoner till he died a captive at Acre.

The English law acknowledges the same principle. "Qui facit per alium, facit per se." He that makes another the instrument of his evil intentions, is himself guilty of the wrong committed. There is a very slight difference between the man who holds a candle to, or opens the door for, a thief, and the thief himself. He who blows the coals must expect to be scorched. He who prompts another, is equally responsible with him for the deed done, and must bear a like share in the merit or shame in the guilt or goodness of the transaction.
Woodrow Wilson, "War Message to Congress", 1917:
Does not every American feel that assurance has been added to our hope for the future peace of the world by the wonderful and heartening things that have been happening within the last few weeks in Russia? Russia was known by those who knew it best to have been always in fact democratic at heart, in all the vital habits of her thought, in all the intimate relationships of her people that spoke their natural instinct, their habitual attitude towards life.

The autocracy that crowned the summit of her political structure, long as it had stood and terrible as was the reality of its power, was not in fact Russian in origin, character, or purpose; and now it has been shaken off and the great, generous Russian people have been added in all their naive majesty and might to the forces that are fighting for freedom in the world, for justice, and for peace.
New York Times, editorial of February 4, 2011, "Egypt's Agonies":
Mr. Mubarak’s attempt to blame the opposition and foreigners for the mayhem [...] is patently absurd. He has ruled the country with an iron hand for nearly 30 years. Mr. Mubarak has lost the legitimacy to continue governing Egypt, but he has chosen survival over his people. He told ABC that he had to stay in office to avoid chaos. In fact, his continued presence ensures only more chaos and instability.
[...]
The cost of the turmoil is being felt. Tourists are fleeing. The economy is paralyzed. Egypt and its people need a quick transition to an era of greater political and economic freedoms. The violence is making that transition harder.
Rudyard Kipling, Russia to the Pacifists (1919):
God rest you, peaceful gentlemen, but give us leave to pass.
We go to dig a nation's grave as great as England was.

For this Kingdom and this Glory and this Power and this Pride

Three hundred years it flourished--in three hundred days it died.

[...]

God rest you, thoughtful gentlemen, and send your sleep is light!
Remains of this dominion no shadow, sound, or sight,
Except the sound of weeping and the sight of burning fire,

And the shadow of a people that is trampled into mire.
[...]

God rest you, merry gentlemen, and keep you in your mirth!

Was ever kingdom turned so soon to ashes, blood, and earth?
'Twixt the summer and the snow--seeding-time and frost--
Arms and victual, hope and counsel, name and country lost!
[...]
And who shall be next to fall, good sirs,
With your good help to fall?
Philip C. Jessup, paraphrasing a State Department memo of May 6, 1952, excerpted in The Birth of Nations (1973):
The NEA-EUR memorandum stated that our strategic requirements in North Africa demanded political stability in that area. Political stability was currently threatened by the impasse between French colonial policy and the rise of Arab nationalism. As they stood at the moment, French intentions and the ambitions of the Arab nationalists were mutually exclusive. The continuing blandishments of the Communists left open the possibility that the nationalists of North Africa, though basically non-Communist, might as a last resort risk collaboration with the Communists if they felt it was hopeless to fulfill their aspirations by other means. Like considerations held open the possibility that, in the event of war or its apparent imminence, the nationalists might withhold their collaboration or even oppose the West until their demands were met.

Therefore, the memorandum concluded, the passage of time without settlement of the Franco-Tunisian (or Franco-Moroccan) issue, served Communist aims and was contrary to the national interest of the United States. This was clearly the adoption of a realistic rather than idealistic or moralistic policy. Probably no approach which was not realistic would have received Department-wide approval; it would hardly have convinced Secretary Acheson, and certainly would not have persuaded the French.

198 Comments:

Anonymous RS said...

Great reading. An augury of future bliss under Weimar would be a nice addition. Vintage, I don't know, 1922 or so. Considering the democracy motif of the Allied propaganda, I'm sure there was some rather intense triumphalism.

February 4, 2011 at 4:50 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

A place tolerant of innumerable intersections...and even those from different ethnic and religious background...

rural rabble...conscripts were told they could steal what they wanted, rape who they wanted, and burn down their houses and farms and occupy and seize their lands. That should sound like a familiar...


sounds like Palestine.

February 4, 2011 at 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I *love* the fable of the trumpeter! It's the perfect metaphor not only for Ignacio Ellacuria, but Oscar Romero and those miserable nuns. There is nothing quite so damnable and evil as idealism and good intentions.

February 4, 2011 at 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, so Egypt is (was?) kind of a puppet state, which is sort of like a colony, and SA was a colony. So when the insidious press finally topples mubarak's regime (which they aren't, the foreign press is totally marginal here, this was not on the radar), thugs will rule and negros will kill dutchmen, and each other. Fuckin' anarchy, man!

This is grade-a bullshit. Is it because this is happening in the middle east that moldbug's analysis suddenly sucks?

February 4, 2011 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger Anton Tykhyy said...

Russia was known by those who knew it best to have been always in fact democratic at heart, in all the vital habits of her thought, in all the intimate relationships of her people that spoke their natural instinct, their habitual attitude towards life.
This, and the following adage about the Romanovs, made me choke with laughter.
@Anonymous: the foreign press 'not being on the radar' of Egyptians does not matter. It creates popular opinion in the democratic countries and ensures (or tries to ensure) that Mubarak's foreign support is withdrawn. Starting with population growth, the economic situation in Egypt being what it is Mubarak doesn't stand a chance now without that support, and we all know who is likely to take his place. So the world will probably have another object-lesson in anti-colonial policy. Would that Europeans profit from the chance, but there are too few politicians who talk like this yet (notice the liberal lady's reaction).

February 4, 2011 at 10:55 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

It's not supposed to be a tight analysis, and it's not necessarily saying that a puppetish regime is like a colony.

If you don't think the world media is having (and/or has had) a big effect on this little Nile tidal event, well...

He's saying that there have been a lot of very powerful idealists, whose power crosses national lines, who have consistently advocated decolonization, democratization, and de-puppetization -- all three of which are deeply related; they are deeply populist-equalitarian. And the results have been deeply dubious at best. And the advocacy does not really change in response to the results. It stays the same during 100 years. And the advocacy is also curiously casual in a sense; people don't seem to urgently feel like it should take account of the results -- much less take responsibility for them. They don't read Mencius' blog, or any other discourse that probes their sort of utopism. (We see anti-utopian messages in a mainstream rag like The Guardian, such as the one linked to last week, but this is rare in the extreme.) Instead they attend pricey soirees where this utopism is uncritically venerated. They even extend their utopic love towards shooters and knifers -- again, arguably rather causally; they probably haven't seriously marshaled their imaginations to get to the affective crux of the matter, namely the sidewalks and hospitals where the stabbed and shot bleed out, convulse with septicemia, endure other tortures, and variously recover 100%, 50%, or 0% on a permanent basis.

(I'm not saying I fully agree with him. I'm not as decisively anti-populist as he is.)

None of the ideas are new to this blog - but it's always interesting to see them play out in primary texts.

February 4, 2011 at 10:57 PM  
Anonymous Steve Johnson said...

anon @ 10:18 PM

The masses don't need to have any idea about what's going on outside Egypt. They just need to know whether or not they'll be shot for rioting. They've gotten the message: rioting will not be punished. People love to riot, therefore riots we have.

Now, why won't they be shot? Because the police and the military sure as hell do know what's going on outside of Egypt! There's $2 billion per year that goes to pay them coming from the United States. They're going to be be exquisitely sensitive to whether or not they're allowed to maintain order or not.

They're not.

This would all end tomorrow if Obama / Clinton came out and said: "No government that comes to power through mass rioting will be given US aid." All of a sudden the police and the military wouldn't side with the rioters.

Personally, I think this whole thing is a one upsmanship game between the Pentagon and the State Department.

Pentagon showed that they could take out an anti-American middle eastern leader. State battled them for years in the manner that they have - relentless propaganda. Now that they've won they really rub salt in the wound. They'll take out a pro-American middle eastern leader to show the Pentagon who's really boss.

February 4, 2011 at 11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>They've gotten the message: rioting will not be punished. People love to riot, therefore riots we have.

right, people love to riot, everyone knows that. for no reason - for fun really. just looking for an excuse, they are, the rascals!

>Now that [State has] won they really rub salt in the wound. They'll take out a pro-American middle eastern leader to show the Pentagon who's really boss.

oh come on. state did not one up the pentagon; they were clueless.

http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2008/12/08CAIRO2572.html

the us did not issue that statement because it cannot, because in the 21st century, a state that drives its citizens to riot, and then shoots them for it is ipso facto no longer considered legitimate. this is a modern social reality the usg may very well face itself someday soon.

February 5, 2011 at 12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think $2b of US aid is enough to explain Egyptian sensitivity on foreign opinion. Government revenues for 2009 were $51b, so while $2b is not insignificant, it is money they could probably get by without.

February 5, 2011 at 12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shouldn't Mencius support the Muslim Brotherhood since they're reactionary?

February 5, 2011 at 2:22 AM  
Blogger Anton Tykhyy said...

@Anon: probably no. MB may be culturally reactionary, but isn't it a popular movement, like Zanu-PF and ANC were?

February 5, 2011 at 2:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I'm not sure how "popular" it is. Some of the media coverage seems to suggest that it is popular, while others suggest it isn't that popular but is a minority force.

So if it is a minority force, and not very popular, and ends up gaining power somehow, then Mencius would support it?

Also, how "popular" is Islamic fundamentalism ultimately, when it's basically authoritarian rule by sharia law?

February 5, 2011 at 3:06 AM  
Blogger Anton Tykhyy said...

Well I'm not sure how "popular" it is.
Make no mistake about it.

So if it is a minority force, and not very popular, and ends up gaining power somehow, then Mencius would support it?
Moldbug's ideal, if I may caricature it a bit, is Friedrich's Prussia with the king's sovereign authority cryptographically checked by his creditors, and his favourite modern examples are Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore. To me, Egypt under fundamentalists doesn't sound like becoming a big Dubai, much less a big Hong Kong, all over a sudden. Fundamentalism of any sort is not conducive to the application of reason, because (as i.a. American Reconstructionists say) once reason is allowed authority in one sphere it soon claims it in all spheres. And it is difficult to turn much profit as a state (Moldbug's ultimate criterion for success) without mass application of reason by the citizens.

Also, how "popular" is Islamic fundamentalism ultimately, when it's basically authoritarian rule by sharia law?
The question is how its support is structured, not what its tenets are. Soviet Union had democratic tenets (on paper) but authoritarian support structure, here I think we find the reverse.

February 5, 2011 at 3:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The question is how its support is structured, not what its tenets are. Soviet Union had democratic tenets (on paper) but authoritarian support structure

This is what Islamic fundamentalism sounds like.

February 5, 2011 at 4:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol@the muslim brotherhood being reactionary. Go read up on their history. They are just like Christianity, Judaism, and the rest of the insane, prole-friendly, anti-authoritarian, middle eastern millenarian movements that are hell-bent on creating heaven on earth because some cousin-fucking, knuckle-dragging, wise man in the desert once had a schizophrenic vision quest.

February 5, 2011 at 4:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also, this: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Sayyid_Qutb

Yet another example of Moldbug's contention that the American University system is a roach motel for bad ideas.

February 5, 2011 at 4:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol@the muslim brotherhood being reactionary. Go read up on their history. They are just like Christianity, Judaism, and the rest of the insane, prole-friendly, anti-authoritarian, middle eastern millenarian movements that are hell-bent on creating heaven on earth because some cousin-fucking, knuckle-dragging, wise man in the desert once had a schizophrenic vision quest.

I don't see how the fairy tales or political formulas that get used really matter, when Islamic fundamentalism and rule by sharia is clearly authoritarian and reactionary.

February 5, 2011 at 4:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, repeating your assertion and adding the word "clearly" really explains what you mean.

February 5, 2011 at 6:37 AM  
Anonymous Ron Potato said...

The Muslim Brotherhood wants to replace states around the world. They operate through a diffuse network of "mosques, charities, and Islamic organizations." They are to be found with "left-wing protesters and activists". They support immigrant populations of an alien religion and culture, superseding native states. Their means are subversion, democracy, reform, popular uprising.

Even if their faith and hope is for hierarchical rule under strict law, their means are leftist from taqiyya to populism, and their end is a magical utopia that spreads a new way of life across the world.

Calling this reactionary or rule by practical authority misses the point, even if you could describe the movement as a restoration of the old order under the single authority of the Church.

February 5, 2011 at 7:17 AM  
Blogger Anton Tykhyy said...

@Ron: exactly.
They operate through a diffuse network of "mosques, charities, and Islamic organizations." They are to be found with "left-wing protesters and activists".
@Anon, this is part of what I meant by 'support structure'.

February 5, 2011 at 8:51 AM  
Anonymous Brent said...

@Thrasymachus:

Very quotable: "There is nothing quite so damnable and evil as idealism and good intentions."

Reminds me of the Heidelberg Disputation, Thesis 3:
"Although the works of man always seem attractive and good, they are nevertheless likely to be mortal sins."

February 5, 2011 at 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if their faith and hope is for hierarchical rule under strict law, their means are leftist from taqiyya to populism, and their end is a magical utopia that spreads a new way of life across the world.

So you're saying that it's a reactionary authoritarian system, but that its means are non-reactionary.

If its means involved a centralized caliphate hierarchy headed by a unitary sovereign caliph would its means be reactionary?

Why do the means matter anyway? Shouldn't a reactionary authority use any and all means at its disposal to rectify the non-reactionary dispersal of authority?

And they or you can label it as "utopia" but that and any other fairy tales or political formulas are irrelevant here considering that its end is an explicity body of law and system of rule.

February 5, 2011 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger kakon said...

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February 5, 2011 at 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Anon., the Muslim Brotherhood may wish to implement "hierarchical rule under strict law," but so did the old Soviet Union. The left wing around the world deferred to Moscow as absolutely as the Catholic church does to the Pope - yet it would hardly make sense to call the Soviet Union could "reactionary."

The Muslim Brotherhood doesn't seek a reversion to the traditional polity of Egypt, which would mean the restoration of its khedives under the suzerainty of a sultan-caliph in Stamboul. They do seek a utopia, a state organized along lines that never historically existed in Egypt. They wish to "immanentize the eschaton" every bit as much as any other of the movements Eric Voegelin identified, in his own idiosyncratic fashion, as "gnostic."

Although they are Sunni Muslims, probably the closest extant form of government to what they seek is the Shi'ite Islamic Republic in Iran. Khomeini was a sort of Muslim Cromwell, and he made Iran a Muslim version of the puritans' Commonwealth. We cannot call Cromwell a reactionary, nor ought we so to call his Islamic analogs.

February 5, 2011 at 6:24 PM  
Anonymous PA said...

I got no answer to this as I trolled leftie blogs, so maybe here I will: why is GWB so hated by the left? He's indistinguishable from Pelosi and Obama in any way ideologically. His presidency was farther to the left than Clinton's was. He just gave the kind of pro-illegal immigration speech that would have made MS13 proud. His entire presidency was one long, loving fellation of Senator Kennedy.

The war thing? Clinton woudl have done the same thng, and gotten away with it.

And yet Bush is seen as some kind of a right-wing hitler figure.

Is he like Koestler's character Rubashev, happy to play the orchestrated villain for the good of the party? (the party not being the GOP, duh, but simply global oligarcho-socialism)

February 5, 2011 at 7:03 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

> They support immigrant populations of an alien religion and culture, superseding native states.

So, when English people conquered the Iriquois Confederation and replaced its people, driving their population very low... that was leftist? For an ingroup to attack an outgroup is not leftist.


> Their means are subversion, democracy, reform, popular uprising.

That's because it's a good way for them to drive out foreign influence. As they know, a lot of democratic revolutions in non-Anglo societies have lead to authoritarianism - because democrats are wimpy. Weimar. French Rev. Russkie Rev. There's a pattern here.

February 5, 2011 at 7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PA, Bush is hated for one thing - cutting the top marginal personal income tax bracket and attempting to abolish the estate tax.

All one needs to do is to confirm this is to look at the debate in the lame-duck session of the last Congress, and to Obama's statements about the compromise that he reluctantly accepted, which extended current personal tax rates for two years. Instead of having tried to extract some credit for himself from it, he denounced Republicans as "hostage takers" who had forced it on him.

This is partly because the compromise went against Obamna's promise to raise rates on high-income taxpayera, thus disappointing his base as he has done on the closure of Guantanamo, the Iraq and Afghan wars, etc. But is also part of a fixed belief on his part and that of congressional Democrats that taxation is not about raising revenue for the government's necessary operations, nor about maximizing revenues, but about "fairness," which is defined as penalizing "the rich" (whomever they may be).

The establishment Democrats and Republicans may share many goals, but they do differ on the extent of the welfare state and the degree to which government should seek to enforce egalitarianism through wealth redistribution.

The fact is that regardless of what the top marginal personal tax bracket has been - and it has varied from over 94% down to 28% in the years since 1945 - total Federal revenues have varied over that same period by no more than 300 basis points from a baseline average slightly less than 19% of GDP. Moreover, the high and low points of Federal revenues have not shown much correlation with the highs and lows in the top personal tax bracket. This gives the lie to the perennial left-wing hope that raising tax rates will mulct enough money from "the rich" to pay for all the social welfare programs the left desires. It is remarkable how little acknowledgment these facts receive in the news media, even though they can be confirmed by reference to the government's own published data.

February 5, 2011 at 7:41 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

> Also, how "popular" is Islamic fundamentalism ultimately, when it's basically authoritarian rule by sharia law?

The people don't always want to rule. Especially people that aren't biologically Anglo or Francaise. There's not much of a paradox in Russians saying 'this Putin does the job better than we would'.

From a narrow and secure/stable-feeling utilitarian perspective, it's a very striking paradox -- obviously Putin doesn't know what they want better than they themselves know! But that's totally not what their perspective is. Their perspective is that Russian society is not inherently secure or stable, absent effort to make it so. It faces external threats military and economic. Internally it has secessionists, it's threatened by crooked hypercapitalism, by moral dangers, by a non-negligible potential (over the long term - 50 years, 200 years) for major conflict.

Of course America or France is similarly beset by various existential problems. They simply don't recognize it, though, so they stick to the secure utilitarian perspective where it is nonsensical for a mass of people to want a man or class of outstanding virtu to tell them what to do on certain questions.

February 5, 2011 at 7:58 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

> Also, how "popular" is Islamic fundamentalism ultimately, when it's basically authoritarian rule by sharia law?

The people don't always want to rule. Especially people that aren't biologically Anglo or Francaise. There's not much of a paradox in Russians saying 'this Putin does the job better than we would'.

From a narrow and secure/stable-feeling utilitarian perspective, it's a very striking paradox -- obviously Putin doesn't know what they want better than they themselves know! But that's totally not what their perspective is. Their perspective is that Russian society is not inherently secure or stable, absent effort to make it so. It faces external threats military and economic. Internally it has secessionists, it's threatened by crooked hypercapitalism, by moral dangers, by a non-negligible potential (over the long term - 50 years, 200 years) for major conflict.

Of course America or France is similarly beset by various existential problems. They simply don't recognize it, though, so they stick to the secure utilitarian perspective where it is nonsensical for a mass of people to want a man or class of outstanding virtu to tell them what to do on certain questions.

February 5, 2011 at 7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon., the Muslim Brotherhood may wish to implement "hierarchical rule under strict law," but so did the old Soviet Union. The left wing around the world deferred to Moscow as absolutely as the Catholic church does to the Pope - yet it would hardly make sense to call the Soviet Union could "reactionary."

The Soviet Union was arguably reactionary after a certain point, certainly more so than the US. Francis Parker Yockey argued along these lines. The Soviet Union was largely insulated from the Cultural Marxism that infected the US and the West.

They do seek a utopia, a state organized along lines that never historically existed in Egypt. They wish to "immanentize the eschaton" every bit as much as any other of the movements Eric Voegelin identified, in his own idiosyncratic fashion, as "gnostic."

They seek to implement an explicit body of law and system of rule. There's nothing esoteric about it.

February 5, 2011 at 7:58 PM  
Anonymous B said...

I would add this article by Breyten Breytenbach, South African poet and human rights activist, darling of the west and brother to Jan Breytenbach (the founder of the SADF special forces) to your list of primary sources. It's called Mandela's Smile, and shows that, given enough time, any liberal will become a conservative. http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/12/0082308

It's in that moment immediately after the revolution has kicked out the old leadership and before its rule makes itself felt that leftists should cry to the moment, Faustlike, "stay! Thou art so fair!"

February 5, 2011 at 8:42 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

Bushy played classical ingroup-outgroup, anti-utopian with the Axis of Evil thing.

This is pretty easy for me to understand because I was a hippie leftist in 2003. I was in a street protest on the first day of the bombing of Iraq. I was born and raised in SWPL land. I think I was at some meeting or demonstration regarding a 'measured response' or whatever on 9-18-2001.

Bush, having gradually intoxicated himself and a whole nation with hate, then proceeded to smite one of the Axis countries, causing untold suffering.

Perhaps a good deal of the suffering created was dependent on his leftism (insistence on democracy, not shooting looters on sight, etc). But that just doesn't really rate, and nor does his pro-NAM agenda, compared to the fact that he stirred up neanderthalish-nazistic hate in America in order to pursue his ingroup-outgroup agenda of causing mass suffering and death. Well, I guess suffering wasn't literally his goal -- it was to steal oil, make profits for Halliburton and arms manufactors, intimidate the entire world, expand American power and empire, etc. Or maybe even just make our lives like 1% better and safer - when they are already so much better than everyone else's.

Bush was overjoyed by 9-11. His first thought was, 'this is my Reichstag fire!' and he started humming the Ride of the Valkyries. Then Cheney waltzed into the Oval Office with a cowboy sneer and the hard-on of his life: 'Dubya, can I just say one thing? One thing? I LOVE the smell of napalm in the morning!' Then they gave the Skull & Bones secret handshake and invited all the PNAC members in to help them celebrate My Lai, Apartheid, and the death of Rachel Corrie. They were all born normal, like you and me, but they slowly became addicted to hate and racism like a drug, because they failed to turn away from greed and sadism.

February 5, 2011 at 8:51 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

The worst part of all is that without Bush's hate-mongering crack pushing, fueled by lies, 9-11 could easily -- easily -- have been a consciousness-raising event that prompted us to reflect on our imperial exploitation of foreign peoples the world over, in pursuit of our bourgeios existences (which are incidentally narrow, boring, half-numb, and ecologically unsustainable -- we are absolutely terrified of anything new, and of taking moral responsibility). You don't have to love those that attacked us, or forgive them, but you do have to try to understand. As Einstein said our problems will probably destroy the world if they aren't addressed, and they cannot be resolved on the same level of consciousness as they were created on.

If we could rise for ten seconds above the hate that imprisons us, and take a breath of free air, we would enter a new state of awareness and break free from ego-based irrational political and social conflicts. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. If every person used preemptive violence to solve problems, every single person in the world would be dead one hour later.

Obviously, I've changed my worldview. Of course I still consider the Iraq violence horrible and am quite skeptical of the war, but I'm not an absolute 100% opponent of it, I guess. It may have seemed like the best option at the time, at least arguably. Obviously I don't have access to secret intel about al Qaeda and Iraq, etc.

February 5, 2011 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I normally look down on "sampling" in music, seeing it as free-riding on those with actual talent. I have to give a hand to Mencius, this is a nice collage.

MM has already complained about using revolutionary means for reactionary ends, with the paradigmatic example being Hitler (he views a Fabian strategy as completely ineffective in the hands of the right).

PA, politics is not about policy. Liberals hate Bush because he "stole" the election from them, he says "nuke-ya-ler" and most of the time seemed pretty satisfied with himself despite his abject failure to not belong to the Republican party.

In the interest of contrarianism, I figured I'd link to Jesse Walker on the good outcomes of "people power". He does of course assume that we value the "Freedom House" metrics, which rate South Africa now higher than it was before (although come to think of it I've never seen any stats for the crime rate in the apartheid era, just the factoid that a lower portion of the population was incarcerated then than the modern U.S). In other democratist triumphalism, John Quiggin joins Scott Sumner in saying Fukuyama was right all along.

February 5, 2011 at 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

The Soviet Union reactionary? Come on! Yockey liked the fact that Stalin, in his last years, turned against the Jews. That is all that is necessary to explain his "red/brown alliance."

The Soviet Union supported every left-wing cause in the United States from the 1920s until its death rattle. That it did not resemble the utopia that western leftists thought it was, or indeed its own ideologists thought it was, is not enough to make it properly reactionary. Reactionary means de Maistre or Metternich, not Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev or Andropov - and certainly not their American agents or clients such as Henry Wallace, Alger Hiss, Stanley Levison, Staughton Lynd, Howard Zinn, etc.

I am not entirely sure of the apocalyptic views the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood may have, but there is certainly an apocalyptic, immanentizing-the-eschaton ideology amongst the Iranian leadership - they believe that the Hidden Imam, the Mahdi, will return any day, and they seek to prepare the way. These people are to the Islamic Republic what the Fifth-Monarchy-Men were to the Cromwellian Commonwealth.

February 5, 2011 at 9:43 PM  
Anonymous blatantdumbass said...

I'm an assertion robot. I don't provide reasons.

body of law durp system of rule durpa durp. durp durp durp. body of law, system of rule, durppppppppp.

February 5, 2011 at 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Soviet Union supported every left-wing cause in the United States from the 1920s until its death rattle.

The Soviet Union was more reactionary than the US after a certain point, regardless of what it promoted or "supported" in the US for strategic ends.

I am not entirely sure of the apocalyptic views the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood may have, but there is certainly an apocalyptic, immanentizing-the-eschaton ideology amongst the Iranian leadership - they believe that the Hidden Imam, the Mahdi, will return any day, and they seek to prepare the way.

So what? They still have an explicit body of law and system of authoritarian rule. How are these fairy tales and political formulas any different from the divine right of kings or any other nutty ideas that reactionary Catholic monarchs in the past believed in?

You're telling me that I can be a sovereign, authoritarian dictator and supreme leader of a territory that rules with an iron fist but as soon as I believe that, say, the world will end when a giant lizard from Uranus swallows the sun, I cease being "reactionary"?

February 5, 2011 at 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an assertion robot. I don't provide reasons.

body of law durp system of rule durpa durp. durp durp durp. body of law, system of rule, durppppppppp.


LOL. You must be one of the idiots here that thinks Singapore is more reactionary than Iran because it has a higher GDP.

February 5, 2011 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Speaking of Cromwell, Carlyle was a fan.

February 5, 2011 at 11:17 PM  
Anonymous Ron Potato said...

RS: The destruction of the Iroquois would have been leftist, if the English had joined into the Iroquois state, and used its freedoms and charity to destroy it from within. An overt conquest by an external military power is a means more used by authoritative governments.

The result of "authoritarianism" in Weimar, French Rev, and Russian Rev, may be a reaction to the demotic chaos, but it is not responsible rule by an effective practical authority, of the reactionary character under discussion.

The totalitarianism in the above examples is of the chaotic variety, the popular passion variety; under the authority of no rock or every flint.

February 6, 2011 at 7:41 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Wow, that Breytenbach piece was awful. It's like an Old Bolshevik being led to his execution, dreaming that one day True Communism will be achieved.

Also, "eye for an eye" is not pre-emptive violence, but reactive violence. In game theory it is known as "tit-for-tat", among the most successful strategies in repeated games.

February 6, 2011 at 7:55 AM  
Anonymous Ron Potato said...

If the dictator's policy is to create a new kind of state, designed to progress toward a magical future end, it is not reactionary.

If the government is created by popular uprisings, charity networks, modern manipulation of public opinion, and alliances with leftist groups, there is further less reason to believe that the new utopia would escape its own leftism and achieve responsible order under original Islamic law.

Even with the planned success and Islamic law, special groups like the Muslim Brotherhood are as likely to unintentionally create a Fraternity or a Confusion, with liberalized imams, not a strong coherent authority under strict original law.

February 6, 2011 at 10:03 AM  
Anonymous jkr said...

top-notch Buchanan piece on Mubarak

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=41589

February 6, 2011 at 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

TGGP - Carlyle was a fan of Cromwell because Cromwell was a "Great Man" who fit well with his theory of history. Also, Carlyle was a Calvinist by birth, if not a continuing adherent to its theology. His ancestors would have hated Charles I and his attempt to Anglicanize the kirk - they'd have been enthusiastic Commonwealth's-men. People often retain bits of belief or attitude from religions thay have largely discarded. Carlyle's admiration for Cromwell is perhaps analogous to the phenomenon by which the only habits of Judaism retained by many otherwise deracinated Jews are vehement rejection of Christianity and general scorn towards the goyim. I note that MM, though an admirer of Carlyle, does not follow in his admiration of Cromwell.

Anon., to say that the Soviet Union was reactionary at any point in its history is simply to deprive the term of all meaning. Communism is never reactionary. The Soviets would never have used the term to describe themselves. Their totalitarianism was an entirely different sort of phenomenon than (say) the authoritarianism of Franco, which could be properly described as a reactionary.

Motivations make a difference in politics, as they do between murder and justifiable homicide. The Bolshevists believed to their regime's dying day that they were creating the workers' paradise. Franco merely sought to assure that tradition, family, and property were safeguarded against the forces that would destroy them. This, and not some utopian aspiration, is the truly reactionary aim. A reactionary in the Russian context would be someone who wished to restore the Romanovs.

February 6, 2011 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Aaron Davies said...

@brent: the mind boggles....

February 6, 2011 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger Aaron Davies said...

@PA: no enemies to the left, no friends to the right....

February 6, 2011 at 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Cinco Jotas said...

"A simple fit of impatience often soon bridges the distance between utopia and murder." ~ Don Colacho

February 6, 2011 at 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Pals said...

Since Moldbug is a senseless Israel-firster, he cannot possibly think clearly about the Middle East. His thinking is always shaped by 'Israel Good and Arab bad'.

You're totally misreading this, dude. This isn't your international protestant conspiracy in action--this is the latest in the wonderful phenomena of normal people revolting against the international protestant conspiracy and State's empire.

You need to think of these protests as an Egyptian Tea Party. The people just want rid of the regime like Ron Paul wants rid of the federal government. The empire is fighting back with tenacity. They've done everything they can to prop up Mubarak's regime. Mubarak is, of course, toast. He's too old and decrepit and will be dying very soon. America has given up on him, and even he has given up on himself. The real challenge for the empire now is to have Mubarakism without Mubarak: to keep the State Dept's regime in place while only sacrificing a few token scapegoats to the hordes. The CIA's Suleiman has so far succeeded in dividing the demonstrations and protests and bought the regime time. It remains to be seen if this will hold for longer.

Moldbug, if State and the human rights empire really did want to topple Mubarak's regime, why did they not threaten to withhold aid unless 'free and fair elections' are held. They could get their puppets in to draw up an electoral law and have themselves a wonderful new puppet regime in no time. But no, they want THIS puppet regime.

It's pathetic to see how otherwise intelligent people can sometimes turn into such cretins when it comes to anything related to the Middle East.

February 6, 2011 at 3:46 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

They've done everything they can to prop up Mubarak's regime.

Uh, Obama has been encouraging the protesters (though I'm not sure if Obama's pronouncements are making a difference in the fate of Mubarak's regime).

But that aside, I'd like to know why you think propping up Mubarak was/is a bad idea?

The cost of propping his regime up since Anwar Sadat's assassination with diplomatic support and ~$2 billion/year in arms sales seems minuscule to the potential cost of allowing a Muslim Brotherhood party to be elected into power where the MB could use their control over Egypt to cause low level chaos such as giving a covert green light to terrorists to attack Merchant ships and Oil Tankers trying to cross the Suez Canal (~90% of the world's imported goods have to be moved by ship), or trying to undermine pro-US dictators in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Granted, merchant ships have been and are still able to take alternative routes when the Suez has been closed (such as going 'round the Horn of Africa), but circumnavigating the Suez will cost Western nations (especially Western Europeans who are more dependent on the Suez than America) much more than whatever we have been spending to keep Mubarak on his feet.

So how come you think supporting Mubarak for decades is a dumb idea?

February 6, 2011 at 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the dictator's policy is to create a new kind of state, designed to progress toward a magical future end, it is not reactionary.

So I can be a sovereign, authoritarian dictator and supreme leader of a territory that rules with an iron fist but as soon as I believe that, say, the world will end when a giant lizard from Uranus swallows the sun and devote a percentage of taxes to constructing a giant speaker to beam lizard music to Uranus in the hopes of awakening the giant lizard from its slumber so that it goes to swallow the sun and ushers in the eschaton, I cease being reactionary?

If the government is created by popular uprisings, charity networks, modern manipulation of public opinion, and alliances with leftist groups, there is further less reason to believe that the new utopia would escape its own leftism and achieve responsible order under original Islamic law.

So it's simply a matter of the tactics used to change government that defines forever whether the subsequent government is reactionary or not?

Why do you keep calling it a "utopia"? They're trying to install a concrete body of law and system of authoritarian rule.

February 6, 2011 at 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

The encouragement that Obama and Clinton have given to the Egyptian rioters, and the pressure on Mubarak to step down, is exactly parallel to what Jimmy Carter did to the Shah. It will end, as Carter's betrayal of the Shah did, in the replacement of a friendly despot by an implacable enemy.

Israel has less to do with this than many think. Islam would be an enemy to the West regardless of the existence of Israel. Hilaire Belloc, who was no friend to the Jews, and who died before Israel came into existence, predicted that Islam would challenge the West long after Bolshevism was one with Nineveh and Tyre - and such has proven to be the case.

I have sometimes wondered if the common view that Carter did what he did through ineptitude is correct. Perhaps he wanted, as Obama appears to do also, the deliberate humiliation and abasement of the United States. In Carter's case the motivation would have been self-hating white liberal guilt - in Obama's, the explanation is even more straightforward - hatred for whites and their "imperialism." The man after all was a loyal parishioner of the Revd. Jeremiah Wright, and listened for years without complaint to his damning the United States, throwing him over only when his association became a potential obstacle to winning the presidency.

February 6, 2011 at 5:18 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

R. Potato - so reaction is rightism that is good?

These taxonomic debates are not uninteresting, but they will be interminable if there is no explicit definition of rightism, and no explicit way to deal with rightist ends using leftist means.

I would emphasize ends over means. Incorporating Britain into a Caliphate is an imperial end.

Also, someone above has suggested that Islam is leftist because universally proselytic. But, I'm inclined to think that those who carried out the initial Islamic expansion benefited from it. Their empire, I assume, gave them revenues and security. Unity = security and Islam was the binding agent. Absent Islam, we can more easily imagine Europeans colonizing and displacing Arabs, North Africans etc in the crusade era, or at other times. The same is true of European Christendom; without the binding influence of Christianity, Europe might have been conquered and genetically substituted by Arabs and North Africans, to a greater extent than actually took place.

I think one definition of rightist behavior is that it is simply relatively fitness-maximizing behavior. But by no means do I want to assert that this definition will prove unproblematic.

February 6, 2011 at 5:26 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

@Pals:

order > chaos.

February 6, 2011 at 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Motivations make a difference in politics, as they do between murder and justifiable homicide. The Bolshevists believed to their regime's dying day that they were creating the workers' paradise. Franco merely sought to assure that tradition, family, and property were safeguarded against the forces that would destroy them. This, and not some utopian aspiration, is the truly reactionary aim. A reactionary in the Russian context would be someone who wished to restore the Romanovs.

I'm not talking about the Bolshevists. I'm talking about the Soviet Union long after it had become an established state.

Do you read minds? You know for a fact that everyone in the Soviet Union lacked any cynicism at all and to the last man to the last day actually believed that "they were creating the worker's paradise"? And you also know for a fact that Franco "merely sought" those things and wasn't at all motivated to seek those things because he believed they were the good or right things that God wanted him to do? Regardless of what they actually believed, it's ridiculous to think that their thought patterns determine whether the regimes were reactionary or not.

Why would it be reactionary to overturn and dismantle the order and sovereignty of the Soviet Union decades after the revolution and hand it back to the Romanovs? Would it be reactionary for the US government to return New York to the Iroquois?

February 6, 2011 at 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favorite unintentionally funny comment from the South African blog:

"How could the same species that could be so cruel and heartless as the criminals you describe also be so lofty as to create sublime works like Mozart's Mass in C?"

...we forget sometimes that there is a whole world of HBD-ignorance out there.

Gilbert Pinfold.

February 6, 2011 at 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It ends badly there, and frankly here as well.

Don't worry so much Moldbug.
The soldiers have lost faith here, and so have the Cops. The people lost it first. A change is inevitable.

February 6, 2011 at 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>Perhaps he wanted, as Obama appears to do also, the deliberate humiliation and abasement of the United States.

Please, let's not pretend the president is much more than a figurehead. What Obama wants isn't very relevant.

The state department's hands are tied here. You can't brainwash your population into believing in western style popular government, then openly crush it, directly or by proxy, in a middle eastern country without spitting in the face of your own propaganda, and destroying your credibility in the process. They have no room to maneuver.

Mubarak has been reduced to attempting to break up the mob by dressing his thugs as... another mob, only PRO-mubarak:

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-02-02/world/egypt.pro.mubarak_1_pro-mubarak-egypt-s-president-hosni-mubarak-anti-government-protests?_s=PM:WORLD

Despite the existence of stories like the one above, from what I've seen the media has generally presented the "pro-mubarak supporters" entirely without an asterisk. For example:

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/02/05/egypt.unrest.standoff/index.html

Now, why might that be?

February 6, 2011 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I don't spend a lot of time trying to define left vs right, but if we went by methods then the Bolsheviks seized power through what is normally considered a "right wing" means: coup d'etat. The Bolsheviks had been armed by the Provisional government in hopes they would defend it against Kornilov, so like many coups the October Revolution was an instance of a government being overthrown by those who were supposed to be defending it.

If a coup is the most politically incorrect way of changing regimes, an election should be the correct one. And our host has advocated for a "True Election" to give unlimited power to whatever demagogue racks up the most ballots.

Regarding Islam, I made a Straussian reading of UR as advocating it here and explained why I couldn't sign to any such thing (and why I think any sufficiently advanced reaction is revolutionary) here.

Greg Ransom has said John Gray is proof that drugs damage your brain, and while I wouldn't normally rely on his authority in the cases I recall him reacting to, Gray was quite flaky. His "Two Faces of Liberalism" sounds more up this anti-universalist's alley, though it brings down wrath of the conservative Brothers Judd.

February 6, 2011 at 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If your dictator is going for lizards in Uranus, then talking about "reactionary" is as pointless as talking about "biology" and "astronomy".

February 6, 2011 at 9:48 PM  
Anonymous Ron Potato said...

Pals: These protests would be dead and done if they were not allowed and supported by the local military and by USG.

Old man Mubarak was being replaced by his son Gamal and cronies, a corrupt crew distrusted by both the State Department and the Egyptian military.

USG is not going to impotently threaten to cut aid payments, if the demand was already privately rejected, and Mubarak is sticking to his guns even after the protests.

USG is not strong enough to simply rewrite the clear electoral laws of a State as established and sophisticated as Egypt, against entrenched and ruthless local factions, while also forgoing military intervention, popular protest, and lacking direct control over the existing government.

February 6, 2011 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

In the thread before last I linked to someone who thought DoD (rather than State) was calling the shots. I was remiss not include some people who believe something similar, but regard it as a good thing. Andrew Exum aka "Abu Muqawama" is probably familiar to many here. Charli Carpenter probably isn't, unless you read IOZ.

February 6, 2011 at 11:05 PM  
Blogger Hieronymus Goat said...

The words Reactionary and Right are so general and so mixed with historical vagaries over a long time and in many countries, but we can safely compare Right vs. Left as order vs. chaos, aristocracy vs. democracy, overt strong concentrated authority vs. subversive victim decentralized committee, conservative vs. revolutionary, wondrous concrete past vs. wondrous utopian future, male hierarchy vs. female community,...

February 6, 2011 at 11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If your dictator is going for lizards in Uranus, then talking about "reactionary" is as pointless as talking about "biology" and "astronomy".

And Franco believed that crackers and wine could turn into flesh and blood, that a man rose from the dead 2,000 years ago, etc. I guess talking about "reactionary" here is pointless as well.

February 7, 2011 at 1:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/2011/02/twenty_reasons_why_its_kicking.html

February 7, 2011 at 4:42 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Anon. - yes, Franco was an observant and orthodox Catholic. That is, he believed that Christ's kingdom "was not of this earth." Franco didn't believe he was creating a heaven on earth, a utopia. This is in sharp contrast to the Bolshevists, who believed they were fulfilling a prophetic vision (Marx's dialectical materialism) and establishing the worker's paradise. One never heard of an American Catholic returning from Franco's Spain to make fatuous remarks like "I have been over into the future, and it works" - as the American Communist Lincoln Steffens famously did on returning from the Soviet Union.

You seem not to understand what "immanentizing the eschaton" means, and how it differentiates Communism and kindred utopian totalitarianisms (including Islamic radicalism) from plain old garden-variety authoritarianism.

It is true there was a Christian utopianism, as represented by (for example) John of Leyden or Oliver Cromwell, and it led to radical totalitarianisms under the rule of such people. They cannot be compared to the simple reactionary authoritarianism of Franco, or the Bourbon kings of Naples, or any number of similar rulers - any more than the rule of Ahmadinejad in Iran, or that sought by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, could be compared to that of the last Ottoman sultan.

February 7, 2011 at 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Franco can even believe in the lizards on Uranus.

As long as the country is ruled, say, according to a hierarchical authority and traditional public morality, it's still reactionary.

February 7, 2011 at 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Voegelin and his fan club are more than a bit daft. Voegelin's definition of "gnosticism" is the precise opposite of actual, historical Gnosticism. Any actual Gnostics would have known better than to try to change the world through politics. They weren't interested in changing the world at all.

"Immanentizing the eschaton" is precisely what the early, non-gnostic Christian Church was all about. The fact that this Church cut a deal with Emperor Constantine, and became in the following centuries a conservative, reactionary, anti-"immanentizing the eschaton" institution, is precisely analogous to how communism started out as a revolutionary millenarian ideology, but became, once in power in the USSR, a reactionary institution.

The fact that the USSR supported revolutionary causes outside the USSR is immaterial; what they did inside the USSR is what counts, and the USSR did not tolerate cultural subversion within the USSR. Communism inside the USSR (especially after WWII) is/was a very different thing from communism outside the USSR, especially communism as understood by communist subversives in the USA and Western Europe.

Some of you people are so wrapped up in your right/left obsession, and so wrapped up in the anti-communist controversies of last century, and so in thrall to the conservative myths about Christianity, that you fail to understand the functionalism of the whole thing. Watch what they do, not what they say.

To be a reactionary, you have to be in a position of authority or power, or speaking on behalf of same, defending actually existing and actually functioning institutions. Ergo, Communism as a revolutionary Party trying to foment Revolution, is not the same thing as Communism as the State ideology of the USSR. Early Christianity as a subversive sect is not the same thing as the one and only true religion and official Church of the Roman Empire. And so on.

Forget the folderol of official Church or Party ideology and apologetics. What a militant Party or Church does when it is out of power is very different from what it does when in power. The "immanentizing the eschaton" impulse doesn't last forever, once the Party/Church militant is in the seat of power.

Everyone out of power and motivated by a millenarian ideology wants to "immanentize the eschaton" (this was ESPECIALLY true of early Christianity, except for the Gnostics who thought such a thing was impossible - NOT merely undesirable, but literally impossible). Once they get into power and become the establishment, they become reactionary.

Yes, Church and Party may mouth platitudes towards the official magical hocus-pocus they are required to believe in. But, observe what they do, not what they say.

Yes, they may support foreign revolutionaries, but they do so for reasons of State and Realpolitik no different in substance from the ancien regimes that they replaced. Ancien regimes which also supported "revolutionaries" abroad when it suited them to do so.

Now our present situation in the West is different, in that we have a crypto-elite that rules through deception rather than openly, and desires to "immanentize the eschaton" no matter the damage it does to the West. So in that sense the West is still revolutionary whereas the USSR started out revolutionary but became reactionary. This is what Yockey realized; it was not simply a question of "thejoos".

February 7, 2011 at 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Franco can even believe in the lizards on Uranus."

As long as the country is ruled, say, according to a hierarchical authority and traditional public morality, it's still reactionary.


By that definition, the USSR (at least after 1941, and probably much ealier) was reactionary. So too is Iran today.

Ruled according to hierarchical authority? Check.

Ruled according to traditional morality? Check.

Ergo, reactionary.

And, by the SWPL standards of today, the USSR and Iran were/are reactionary on just about any point of traditional morality you could care to name.

February 7, 2011 at 11:53 AM  
Anonymous B said...

C'est plus ca change..."The true nature of the Arabi revolt was misunderstood.1 It was more than a mere military mutiny. It partook in some degree of the nature of a bona fide national movement. It was not solely, or, indeed, mainly directed against Europeans and European interference in Egyptian affairs, although anti-European prejudice exercised a considerable influence on the minds of the leaders of the movement. It was, in a great degree, a movement of the Egyptians against Turkish rule. Although previous to the issue of the Joint Note some hope might have been entertained of guiding the movement, and although I am distinctly of opinion that an effort to guide it should have been made, it must be admitted that the chances of failure predominated over those of success. Leaving out of account questions of detail, and speaking with some knowledge of the various classes of Egyptian society, I ask myself, where were the elements for the formation of any stable government to have been found when, in pursuance of the policy of "Egypt for the Egyptians," there had been eliminated, as would probably have been the case, first, the Europeans, with all their intelligence, wealth, and governing power; secondly, the Khedive in whose place some illiterate Egyptian, of the type of Arabi or Mahmoud Sami, would have been appointed; thirdly, the Syrians and Armenians, with all their industry and capacity for sedentary employment; fourthly, the native aristocracy, largely composed of Turks, who were at that time the principal large landowners in the country, and amongst whom, in spite of many defects, the habits and traditions of a governing class still lingered when in fact the nationalists and mutineers had got rid of all the classes who then governed and who for several centuries had governed the country The residue would have consisted first of the mass of the fellaheen population who were sunk in the deepest ignorance who cared little by whom they were governed provided they were not overtaxed and whose main idea throughout the Arabi movement was to tear up the bonds of the Greek or Syrian usurer secondly of a certain number of small proprietors village Sheikhs Omdehs etc who constituted the squirearchy of the country and who in point of knowledge and governing capacity were but little removed from the fellaheen thirdly of the Copts whose religion would certainly sooner or later have prevented them from acting in complete harmony with the Arabists and who even if tolerated by the Mohammedan population could neither have obtained any influence over the Mohammedans nor even if that influence had been obtained could have used it to the general advantage of the country fourthly of the hierarchy consisting principally of the Ulema of the El Azhar Mosque

February 7, 2011 at 12:22 PM  
Anonymous B said...

The latter though numerically the smallest was by far the most important and influential of the four classes to which allusion is made above The spirit which animated them would in the first instance at all events have been infused into the masses below They would have been the Jacobins of the movement which whether nationalist or military would certainly have been reactionary in so far as it would have tended to destroy whatever germs of civilisation had been implanted into Egypt Like their prototypes in France they would had no strong hand intervened have maintained their supremacy until possibly after an acute and disastrous period of transition their incapacity forgovernment had been clearly demonstrated The corruption misgovernment and oppression which would have prevailed if the influence of this class had become predominant would probably have been greater than any to which Egypt had been exposed at previous periods An attempt would have been made to regulate not only the government but also the social life of the country upon those principles of the Mohammedan faith which are most antiquated obsolete and opposed to the commonplace ideas of modern civilisation Egypt may now almost be said to form part of Europe It is on the high road to the far East It can never cease to be an object of interest to all the Powers of Europe and especially to England A numerous and intelligent body of Europeans and of non Egyptian Orientals have made Egypt their home European capital to a large extent has been sunk in the country The rights and privileges of Europeans are jealously guarded and moreover give rise to complicated questions which it requires no small amount of ingenuity and technical knowledge to solve Exotic institutions have sprung up and have taken root in the country The Capitulations impair those rights of internal sovereignty which are enjoyed by the rulers or legislatures of most States The population is heterogeneous and cosmopolitan to a degree almost unknown elsewhere Although the prevailing faith is that of Islam in no country in the world is a greater variety of religious creeds to be found amongst important sections of the community."

February 7, 2011 at 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you really think the Soviet Union was neither a communist populism nor a bureaucratic/kleptocratic perversion; which unsettled its people and disrupted all existing order, property and ideas, and ultimately failed in a confused sclerotic collapse by the sheer weight of its irresponsibility, then you need to question your understanding of the more basic elements of history and political philosophy.

February 7, 2011 at 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Anon. - You may criticize Voegelin for his choice of the word gnostic to describe the phenomenon of eschaton-immanentizing cults, but you cannot deny that the phenomenon he so described existed, and still exists.

Again, to call the USSR reactionary is to deprive the term of all meaning. It was, in the first place, Godless. To suppose that this was traditional in the context of Russian society, with its long history of Orthodoxy, going back to St. Vladimir, is laughable. In the second place, it was built upon the extermination of Russia's traditional aristocracy. True, it developed its own elite, but a nomenklatura and an aristocracy are two different propositions. Finally, it abolished the institution of private property.

A truly reactionary society reveres Tradition, Family, and Property. Since the end of the ancient world, that Tradition has been one of Catholic or Orthodox Christianity. The Family has been organized on the patriarchal principle, and its Property has been private and heritable. Matrimony and patrimony are its antient landmarks.

None of these institutions was respected under Bolshevism (i.e., Marxism/Leninism), which was the official ideology of the Soviet state until its demise. Religion was suppressed, private property was illegal, and the traditional family was discouraged. Although Stalin retracted some of the most hostile anti-family measures of the early Bolshevik era, in view of what he feared was a dangerous drop in the birth rate, others were retained. For example, women were pressured to place their children in communal nurseries, and return to work, rather than to be traditional wives and mothers. Children were propagandized by the state to inform on their parents. Contraception and abortion were made widely available and their use was encouraged. These characteristics persisted until the very end, as documented in the accounts of many emigrés, e.g., Leopold Tyrmand and Andrei Navrozov.

If it means anything politically, the word reactionary must signify the intention to bolster Tradition, Family, and Property by restoring a pre-existing order. It would probably not do to call the Spanish Bourbons or the Austrian Habsburgs reactionary - for they were the pre-existing order. After they had fallen, politicians who wished to restore that order, or at least as much of it as they could, emerged - Franco and Dollfuss. They could properly be called reactionary.

In contrast to them, there was no status quo ante, no pre-existing order, that the Bolsheviks sought to restore; nor is there a pre-existing order the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to restore (since the form of government it advocates, though it may draw upon an interpretation of Islam, never actually existed under it). It is therefore incorrect to call either of them reactionary.

February 7, 2011 at 1:11 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

> So in that sense the West is still revolutionary whereas the USSR started out revolutionary but became reactionary. This is what Yockey realized; it was not simply a question of "thejoos".

I think there is some significant merit in your stuff.

We should recall that it's all relative. USSR may be left of the Holy Roman Empire -- it could still be right of the USA in 1985.

What they say, not what they do, is a good prescription. 'Nature loves to hide'; 'the hidden meaning is better than the overt meaning'.

February 7, 2011 at 6:16 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

> If you really think the Soviet Union was neither a communist populism nor a bureaucratic/kleptocratic perversion; which

Yes, but in '85 the West was gearing up for earnest race replacement. Revolutionism just doesn't get any more fundamental than that, for me. The only comparable thing in the whole history of the world might be the early USSR which provided incentives for intermarriage of different Soviet ethnies and of course suppressed nationalistic sentiments before the war, especially Russian ones.

In the postwar USSR I don't think there was much of this stuff going on. But I can't say I know for sure when lots of Muslim peoples, e.g., started coming to Moscow and St Petersburg.

Today we have Germany 'doing away with itself', though this is mostly a matter of low ethnic German birth rates and past immigration, not present net immigration. Whatever it's a matter of, the USSR or postwar Soviet Russia would not schaff sich ab in this way.

In Tarkovskij's 'Zerkalo' from the 70s you have a letter of Pushkin's about the nature, past, and future fate of the Russian people. That's the stuff of spiritual nationalism, which I long for.

As for Soviet disorder -- well, Russia has a high potential for disorder and it was not industrialized in 1917. Germany, France, England also experienced a fair degree of disorder and dislocation stemming from industrialization, machine warfare, and intellectual-spiritual modernization, and that's despite these nations having a lower intrinsic tendency to disorder. And while those nations escaped massive political famines, we know of course that one of them did run very much off the rails, with nasty results.

February 7, 2011 at 6:47 PM  
Blogger Studd Beefpile said...

Michael> If you define reaction as traditionalism, then do distinguish it from Burkean conservatism?

February 7, 2011 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Hieronymous Goat, that's a useful list of traits. It reminds me of Robin Hanson's near/far. But that's not his political theory. He reduces left vs right politics to foragers vs farmers (he also thinks there is an international divide on family vs community focus).

"Bureaucratic/kleptocratic" could sound like a revolutionary's critique of the declining period of the ancien regime.

Pushkin was (in his time) a lefty, and beloved by many communists.

February 7, 2011 at 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

@Studd Beefpile - the simple answer to your question is that conservatism seeks to preserve the status quo, whereas reaction seeks to restore the status quo ante.

Burkean conservatism was perhaps conservative in Burke's time, when the traditional was the status quo, and the French revolution was a local infection that all the neighboring states succeeded - though not without great difficulty - in confining and suppressing. Today there is very little of tradition left. The status quo is the New Deal, the Great Society, Roe v. Wade, affirmative action, open borders, and political correctness. In Europe it is the post-WWII welfare state, the development of Eurabia, the imposition of the euro and its deterioration, the oppressive bureaucracy in Brussels, and political correctness. The conservatives are "wets" and neo-cons who have acquiesced in most of this and are content to prevent things from going farther, e.g., Bush and McCain in the U.S., Cameron, Sarkozy, and Merkel in Europe.

Reaction is scarcely perceptible in Europe, and only a little more prominent here, where at least those who (for example) express distaste for the race-replacement agenda implicit in open borders are not stifled and persecuted under "hate crime" laws as they are in Europe - though that is likely to come soon enough here.

February 7, 2011 at 10:46 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Further to the issue of reaction: it need not be centered around throne and altar. It would be a perfectly good and functional reactionary program for the United States to restore the status quo ante as of (say) the Grover Cleveland administration. Think of it! The two most objectionable amendments to the Constitution (the Sixteenth and Twenty-Fourth) would be gone, and with them, the income tax and the enfranchisement of the lumpenproletariat. Gone also, the New Deal, the Great Society, several cabinet departments (especially Education, Health & Human Services, and Energy). The gold standard would be restored.

When the chronicler of high society Lucius Beebe gave his support to Dewey in 1948, one of his journalistic associates animadverted, "That man would set the country back fifty years!" Beebe replied, without missing a beat - "What was wrong with 1898?" What, indeed - though a few years earlier would be even better. Of course I realize it hasn't (dare we say it?) a Chinaman's chance of happening.

February 7, 2011 at 11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.anurbanteacherseducation.com/2011/02/tfa-alumnus-describes-barriers-to.html

February 7, 2011 at 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>It would be a perfectly good and functional reactionary program for the United States to restore the status quo ante as of (say) the Grover Cleveland administration.

Indeed. It is vastly under-appreciated that libertarianism is a reactionary position (minus, perhaps, some of the political correctness).

February 7, 2011 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger Mitchell said...

The Soviet view of ethnicity

February 8, 2011 at 12:24 AM  
Blogger Hieronymus Goat said...

Robin Hanson has already demonstrated limited perspective, like many Professors.

So the farmer/forager analogy is plausible, until you notice it is merely describes two American cultural classes, which don't even fit well before the mid-20th century.

It cannot fail to include some accurate left/right aspects, but it is not an anthropological nor an historical insight.

Do populist peasants eat a "healthier more varied diet" than the nobility, as these "Foragers" pass by the organic supermarket, on their way to the museum, after their "mentally-challenging jobs with few hours", at the farm?

Were the Puritans "more sexually promiscuous, and more accepting of divorce, abortion, etc."

Are established aristocrats, wealthy gentlemen, and military commanders, typically "stressed and suicidal"?

It's so retarded when he says, 'Forager ways are winning out since the Industrial Revolution', when the theory is total nonsense before the Industrial Revolution.

He's merely describing the urban progressive hipster, the intellectual and bureaucratic elite, and the feminist do-gooder, versus the religious Southerner, the wealthy businessman, and the native Joe.

We could twist his words all sorts of ways to make sense out of it, but the best we can get out of his half-baked combinations of well-trod ideas, are clever but inchoate bits of idea stuff.

February 8, 2011 at 1:59 AM  
Blogger Hieronymus Goat said...

Even the basic theme of farmer and forager is bogus.

What farmer is suicidal and what forager is getting enough healthy food? He must like Jared Diamond.

How is scrounging around for food more complex and mentally challenging than running a farm? By complex and mental, he must have meant quick and animal.

Type A reads more like "a vagrant whose difficulties have been removed by technological wealth and state charity".

February 8, 2011 at 2:38 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Anon:

Libertarianism is not a reactionary position. It is a half-reactionary position infested with progressivism and loserism. Moldbug says it better but as long as libertarianism holds anarchy close to its heart, it cannot be reactionary.

February 8, 2011 at 6:27 AM  
Blogger Hieronymus Goat said...

This rabbit hole we are in is so deep, that libertarianism or American constitutionalism looks as almost as reactionary as all the other lights at the end of the tunnel; and would be an infinitely preferable government to the reactionary, if the people had the culture to deserve the responsibility.

February 8, 2011 at 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since the major principle of libertarianism is the natural sovereignty of the citizen for whom the state exists -- l'etat c'est moi, a perfectly noble principle -- the error arises in allowing any devil or dolt to choose his own sovereignty; preferring a mad liberty for all over order for most; and ultimately allowing the backdoor exploit of subverting the education of the citizenry into inculcation and insolent atheist anti-authority pride.

February 8, 2011 at 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A state ruled by responsible ownership and rectified public classes is the important content of correct reactionary government, and the reactionary prefers the form of authority over popularity, as inevitably causing or resulting from that orderly responsible government.

February 8, 2011 at 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Palmer:

>Libertarianism is not a reactionary position.

From the article: "Libertarianism is, more or less, basically, the ideology of the American Revolution."

So far as that is true, libertarianism is reactionary.

February 8, 2011 at 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But yes, when people describe their position as "reactionary," they generally mean a privately owned state, which certainly isn't libertarian.

To call libertarianism reactionary is really just to call attention to the fact that USG4 isn't anything like USG1 and 2.

February 8, 2011 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Anon--the American Revolution was anything but reactionary.

February 8, 2011 at 5:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Everyone has his own view of the American Revolution. If you do not believe the American Revolution was reactionary, try reading my old friend Mel Bradford's "Brief Lives of the Framers" and "A Better Guide than Reason." Mel was a proud reactionary and indeed wrote a book entitled "The Reactionary Imperative."

And if Mel doesn't persuade you, you can read the late commie Howard Zinn, who will tell you the same thing, only from a hostile point of view.

The founders of this country were landed gentlemen and prosperous merchants. They never had the idea of extending the franchise universally. There were property qualifications in every one of the thirteen colonies. In Virginia, they lasted long after Thomas Jefferson's death.

As I observed, throne and altar need not be the cynosure of reaction. A patrician republic, governed by the heads of its propertied families, would suffice completely well. Venice and Poland, with their elective heads of state, were examples that persisted until the eighteenth century. Such models would serve no less well than hereditary feudal monarchy - indeed, perhaps better.

February 8, 2011 at 7:23 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

Better?... well... consider the fate of that government of Poland, and of Poland under that government.

I found that system extremely attractive until I learned about what happened... for those who don't know... bribery of electors by foreign powers, and repeated warfare that often troubled or spilled into neighboring regions. The upshot was that Tsarina Katarina got Friedrich Wilhelm II (I think it was) to join her in partitioning Poland, and Maria Theresa had no choice but to go along with it as well, against her desires.

February 8, 2011 at 7:45 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

The warfare I assume was partly a function of the unclarity of the succession, the non-fait-accompli-ness.

February 8, 2011 at 7:46 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

> But yes, when people describe their position as "reactionary," they generally mean a privately owned state, which certainly isn't libertarian.

Well, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn would disagree with you, as would Moldie -- read Moldie's "why I am not a libertarian". The former considered monarchy to be the preeminent way to safeguard liberty.

Of course, I am not a Moldbuggian myself. I am here presenting those two gentlemen's views and not necessarily my own.

February 8, 2011 at 7:52 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

RS - the problems of Poland resulted from the liberum veto, not because it was an elective monarchy in which the electorate was composed of its patricians. One may learn from history, and avoid similar mistakes.The liberum veto made it possible to buy just one elector to throw a spanner in the works.

The failure of our old republic took place in quite the opposite fashion - competing factions sought to prevail by expanding the electorate to include elements of the lower class whose votes could be bought cheaply and massively. This is a process that continues to the present day, open borders serving as a means to allow the left to import impoverished and illiterate peasants from Latin America with the ultimate aim of adding them to the voter rolls.

All this shows is that electoral government is vulnerable to vote-buying; eighteenth-century Poland provides one example, twentieth-century America another. So, for that matter, was the Roman Republic, the Senate of which Jugurtha was able to corrupt. But this vice can be controlled. Venice managed to survive for a thousand years, and its fall had nothing to do with it.

February 8, 2011 at 10:03 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

Ah, there's a case of my superficial knowledge in action. Thank you for the correction.

February 8, 2011 at 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Ron Potato said...

It's the same word reactionary with a different meaning.

Just like a conservative is someone who wants to conserve the existing stable order, but also represents people and movements from Benjamin Disraeli to Pat Buchanan; the reactionary is both the restorer of the past and the representative of certain pasts.

February 8, 2011 at 10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>Well, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn would disagree with you, as would Moldie -- read Moldie's "why I am not a libertarian". The former considered monarchy to be the preeminent way to safeguard liberty.

I don't understand what you mean. Moldbug's entire point in that essay is that the state should be privately owned and libertarianism fails because it is anti-propertarian in that sense. A monarchy is a private, family owned state.

February 8, 2011 at 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moldbug's entire point in that essay is that the state should be privately owned and libertarianism fails because it is anti-propertarian in that sense. A monarchy is a private, family owned state.

A “property right” is just a limited monopoly (exclusive control of said property) upheld by the state.

A "privately owned" state would mean a monopoly i.e. exclusive control of the state by certain individual(s), upheld by the state.

To be sovereign, the certain individual(s) would have to uphold their monopoly, their exclusive control of the state, by themselves, or be the only individual(s) in the territory.

If they're not the only individual(s) in the territory, and they're unable to uphold their monopoly by themselves, then they're not sovereign. They must rely on other individual(s) to uphold their monopoly and or other individuals to never challenge or attack their monopoly i.e. to consent. So the other individual(s) that uphold the monopoly are sovereign and or there is popular sovereignty.

February 9, 2011 at 2:42 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Michael:

The Patriots

1) threw off an ancient order for trumped up reasons

2) seized property and

3) tortured dissenters.

If it looks like a duck. . .

February 9, 2011 at 4:09 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

Michael,

I think we all agree the Constitution was reactionary; but the Revolution?

Their were some level headed gentlemen in the colonies who supported independence, not because of natural rights, but due to the violation of their Charters. A possibly reactionary position. Their were also many local elite, those allied with the assemblies, who rebelled against the loss of their right control the Governors' factions via the purse. A much less reactionary position. But for the most part, the Rebellion was the result of the left-wing Boston mob (and their left-wing enablers in Britain) committing lawless outrages and spreading their influence largely by committing lawless outrages. Was it not?

February 9, 2011 at 5:05 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

G.M.P - the things the patriots did during the American Revolution are common to civil or social warfare, and neither "left" nor "right." The Revolution was a response - reaction, if you will - to innovations in governance introduced under George III's ministers, who asserted authority over the colonies in ways that no previous government in London had done. The colonists, on their part, did no more than to demand that a centralizing monarch respect the traditional liberties of Englishmen, as their forefathers had done at Runnemede in 1215. And we may note that King John's barons were themselves reactionaries demanding a return to the status quo ante, for those traditional liberties had earlier been guaranteed them by Henry I in 1100.

There are other instances in British history of disagreements between London and British settlers in its colonies. London, for example, acted against the interests of British settlers in Kenya in Lord Delamere's time, and against the interests of British settlers in Rhodesia in Ian Smith's time - in the latter case, provoking a declaration of independence on their part.

There are interesting parallels between these episodes and our own history. Delamere, for example, was denied an expansion of his Kenyan landholdings because the Colonial Office feared it would cause conflict with the Masai. This was analogous to the British prohibition of colonial settlement in North America past the Appalachians. British politicians later in the twentieth century disdained Smith as an oppressor of blacks, even as in the eighteenth century they expressed contempt for American liberties on the grounds that those who called for them were "drivers of negroes."

In both the Kenyan and Rhodesian cases, the interests of the white settlers were, in other words, viewed in London as reactionary and retrograde, just as those of white settlers in North America were in the eighteenth century.

February 9, 2011 at 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:42, I don't know why you've quoted my post. Are you agreeing with me?

February 9, 2011 at 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:42, I don't know why you've quoted my post. Are you agreeing with me?

The private owner(s) of the state can't be sovereign unless the private owner(s) upholds his monopoly, his exclusive control of the state, by himself, or unless he's the only individual(s) in the territory.

If he's not alone and can't uphold his monopoly by himself, then he's not sovereign.

Whomever he relies on, the individual(s) that upholds his monopoly and or the individual(s) to never challenge or attack his monopoly i.e. to consent, is sovereign.

So the private owner(s) isn't sovereign.

The individual(s) that upholds the monopoly is sovereign and or there is popular sovereignty.

February 9, 2011 at 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you realize those (s) are stupid.

February 9, 2011 at 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah well I hope you realize your mom does ass to mouth.

February 9, 2011 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

"a Chinaman's chance"
I have never heard that expression before.

Hieronymous Goat:
"So the farmer/forager analogy is plausible, until you notice it is merely describes two American cultural classes, which don't even fit well before the mid-20th century."
I don't think it's just America. He derived it as an axis from the World Values Survey, which is in part why he associates modern forager values with the "rich" (who within America tend to be on the right). There does seem to be a regularity around the world of a conflict between rural denizens and urbanites. In other countries provincials are sometimes bussed in to bust the heads of uppity students.

I'm a bit confused by your example. Peasants are farmers, they ate the relatively small number of domesticated crops farmers can easily grow which provide enough calories to expand the population to the Malthusian limit. I myself am skeptical about the claims regarding suicide, I haven't heard of much data on it. The Puritans were famously fertile when they became New England farmers, and while the Quakers may deserve more of a reputation for prudery the Puritans did certainly adhere to biblical norms on things like adultery (with abortion not being much of an issue back then).

"the theory is total nonsense before the Industrial Revolution."
He cited a Roissyite (whose account I find dubious) on ancient Rome being "semi-forager". What Mencius calls Universalism, Progressivism, Protestantism, Calvinism etc pre-dates the Industrial Revolution and tends to be found in wealthier urban areas.

"He's merely describing"
You think he's not describing actual foragers? There are very few of them that survived long enough for us to get much detail (primitive agriculturalists like the Yanomamo or New Guinea highlanders are another story), but from what I've read his account is basically in the mainstream of what's known about foragers. Feel free to cite contrary evidence. His dichotomy is a simple one that elides over divisions like plough vs hoe agriculture, but the added detail that adds to me just confirms the utility of the basic distionction.

"what forager is getting enough healthy food?"
We can see from skeletons that morbidity increased with the introduction of agriculture.

"running a farm"
In Mencius' terms, many peasants were "helots" who worked but did not have much discretion, rather than "Vaisya" yeomen farmers.

"Type A reads more like "a vagrant whose difficulties have been removed by technological wealth and state charity"."
That's pretty close to his theory. We are well off enough that (relatively) recently evolved farmer-culture seems less necessary, and so more people act according to forager ways which seem "natural" since we spent so long evolving with them.


Michael:
Speaking of British policy toward native americans, there is an interesting contrast between U.S and Canadian indian policy.

February 9, 2011 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Doh, forgot to give a link regarding Canadian injuns.

February 9, 2011 at 8:59 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

> Pushkin was (in his time) a lefty, and beloved by many communists.

Da, but his 1830s letter is nevertheless nationalist, ending thus:

And, hand on heart, do you not discern something imposing in the present situation in Russia, something that will strike the future historian? ... Devoted though I personally am to our sovereign, I do not by any means admire all that I see around me; as a man of letters, I feel embittered; and as a man of prejudice, I am vexed; -- but I swear to you that not for anything in all the world would I change my country for another, nor have any other history other than that of our ancestors, such as it has been given us by God . . .

I don't know much about him, and have not been able to appreciate much of his poetry. But they say he was a Romantic in large part. In that movement we see a leftist pathos overall, and yet it was passionately nationalist, as seen in this address of Fichte.

February 9, 2011 at 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TGGP:

Peasant populism and the Puritans were significantly LEFT but NOT FORAGER.

You think "are less comfortable with material inequalities" is an anthropological trait of a forager?

You think scavenging vagrants are teaching generosity, trust, and honesty to their children?

Where is this scientific evidence that prehistoric humans were sexually promiscuous yet had fewer kids?

You need to look at what Robin Hanson actually says, and not project your reasonable but independent interpretation of a sensible farmer/forager dichotomy.

The "anthropology" you cite investigates the last extant losers, rare pecularities of the race; comes from the same polluted humanist academia; and the postmodern result is a confused pop science.

February 10, 2011 at 12:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Besides, a leading Professor of Social Anthropology says "the divisions between hunter and herder and between forager and farmer are legacies from the last century, which are generally unhelpful in understanding the evolution of humanity."

Don't you know your Science? It's always changing.

February 10, 2011 at 7:03 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

Egypt's moving.

February 10, 2011 at 2:18 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

There was just a minute-long interview-shot of a man speaking loudly in a shouting crowd, who had gone from hospital to hospital by taxi for days hoping his son was alive, and finally he found him, and he washed and buried him. That showed me the blood and soul of this event, much more than footage of shootings did. It's a tough fight. I'm thinking the brass should take away the president and try to install a new authoritarian government (obviously, not Suleiman). But I'm far from certain. In any case they'll have to decide pretty soon now. Everyone on Al-J is shaking their head in sympathy and deference for the brass who have to take responsibility for a moral conundrum. I guess if they do try to take him away, that may or may not carry some risk of causing a civil war.

February 10, 2011 at 5:28 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

why do you guys all care so much about egypt? serious Q

February 10, 2011 at 5:40 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

It's sad, but I'm not actually gonna lose any sleep, nor do I care who prevails. It's just a great chance to see history and human nature, almost directly. Real-time has a slight extra j'ne sais quois of historical truth... watching all the same footage two years from now, instead of now, would be slightly different.

I'm wavering. I think the arguments are quite strong, in the name of order, for them to just not give an inch in any way. I don't know. Consider me almost opinionless.

February 10, 2011 at 5:53 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

There are two groups of Puritans we can distinguish. There are the original Puritans of England (more specifically, the East Anglia area, near the old "Danelaw". These tended to be urbanites & artisans, and played a major role in the English Civil War. After moving to America, there was plenty of land and they became farmers. Their new communities which spread through "Greater New England" were not suicidal attempts at utopia, but arguably conservative (the Rhode Island colony and the Quakers were more liberal). Some of their descendants in coastal urban areas later adopted Unitarianism or Transcendentalism, but those would have been alien to the pilgrims. A false prediction from Hanson's theory here is that the Quakers were clearly more socially liberal, but came from poorer stock than the Puritans (who deliberately excluded all but the middle class from immigrating to their colonies).

Populists, peasants or otherwise, do have a leftist aspect to them. But they are not generally associated with "social liberalism", which was much of what Hanson was angling at. We may also recall that it was the peasants of the Vendee who opposed the French Revolutionaries and the sans-culotte allied with lawyers (the former being poor is another mark against the theory) who supported the Jacobins. Karl Marx said that the urban proletariat were the revolutionary class, because despite their low economic status farmers were counter-revolutionary by nature. I mentioned miners above, and while they are prone to more leftist activities like union formation and "direct action", as mentioned above they are also a useful tool for beating hippies. West Virginia is among the most reliant of states on mining, and it was also one were the Dems actually did worse in 2008 than the previous presidential election.

Poorer people are more generous relative to their means. As Hanson notes the link, that is a mark against his theory. Forager bands regularly share their food, and while individuals often try to hide some for their hood, it is strongly looked down on by their compatriots.

He has a number of links here on evidence our ancestors were promiscuous (with some more in pdf form here). It is well known that farmers are much more fertile, I believe the conventional wisdom is that staying in one place makes more fertile. Humans are suprisingly infertile, with the majority of pregnancies ending in miscarriage (can't find the gcochran post at gnxp on that at the moment).

Could you give a cite to that leading Professor of Social Anthropology?

February 10, 2011 at 7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TGGP: The nuance you are describing about historical foragers/leftists does not fit Hanson's categories. The "science" is presentist, with unsound methodology, and democratic bias.

If the theory is only applicable to "social liberalism" after 1970, it's a small inapplicable theory.

Even if poor people in 2010 are shown to be more generous, that says nothing about what foragers did in the far past. But since this "evidence" comes from the Department of Sociology, using a popular survey "analyzed using structural equation and multilevel regression methods with multiple imputation of missing data", it is probably not even reliable to know about 2010.

Promiscuity:

If foragers are having widespread sex with various partners with prehistoric or non-existent condoms, they will be pregnant every year and having as many children as anyone. Then they cut the number down by coat-hanger abortions, or their children are always dying.

If this were what Hanson means, it may make sense, but as you said his "forager" is mostly just a late 20th social liberal, mingled with some pseudoscience.

February 11, 2011 at 6:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The divisions between hunter and herder and between forager and farmer are legacies from the last century, which are generally unhelpful in understanding the evolution of humanity."

Companion Encyclopedia of Anthropology, p. 102 (Google Books)

Tim Ingold, Professor with Chair, reared at Cambridge, President of the Anthropology and Archaeology Section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Editor of 'Man', the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Chair, Fellow, Founder, etc. etc.

If the Social Scientists were a valid authority, this one would trump them.

(The Science itself does not meet the standards of empirical science, yet neither is it conducted wisely on the principle of philosophy)

February 11, 2011 at 6:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@RS You have been deceived.

Only about 150 have died, and 2000 injured. In a country of 82 million. Cairo has 6 million.

Over the last two weeks, you were more likely to Die by Accident in the US than in Egypt by protests. (CDC FastStats)

This coup is caused and supported by the Egyptian military, USG, and other establishment elements; using popular demonstrations as a vehicle.

It's showiness with only rare actual suffering and fighting, and the press loves to show the wild adventures.

After all, there is really no one to fight against except the formal law.

February 11, 2011 at 7:14 AM  
Blogger Hieronymus Goat said...

And all they want is to use graduate degrees in a rich American paradise instead of menial work.

The protesters do it because at worst they are allowed under the Anglo-American liberties, and at best they are actively created and assisted by sovereign authority.

"On a bridge, drivers stopped their cars and some joined the protesters, chanting, 'The people want the downfall of the regime.'"

I saw this in Philadelphia on New Years, to watch the fire works, and they wanted the downfall of the Bush regime too.

February 11, 2011 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger Hieronymus Goat said...

The Revolution will not be on Facebook.

February 11, 2011 at 7:27 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

I didn't say anything about how many had died.

The odds of a big battle happening today were maybe exaggerated somewhat last night by Al-J, which is clearly pro-street. But it may be that the White House responded to that threat.

For various reasons, WH essentially rode the fence, with only a modest pro-street tilt -- at least in public. Guests on Al-J were griping about it. Hillary Ramrod has said at one point that things and/or the regime were 'stable'. And Biden had said that Mubarak was 'not a dictator'.

I think maybe WH didn't want to stay in the middle anymore, once there was a bigger threat of a massacre of thousands. If they had, some of that blood would have gotten on them, as it were.

And the WH's move may have been very important in bringing the president to give up. Definitely not because of WH's $1.5 B a year. Rather, because of some sort of power -- cutting them off from military parts and repairs? Some threat of financial aggression? Also, WH simply has a ton of soft power. It is bully pulpit to the world. As much as the Arab street doesn't like it, it's decisions can still have a big moral effect on them. And also on the late regime, and also on the army.

Unfortunately I wasn't watching during the big moment.

February 11, 2011 at 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Ron Potato said...

I wonder if keeping a large unemployed population around is intentional, as a permanent revolution in reserve.

February 11, 2011 at 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jkr said...

why do you guys all care so much about egypt? serious Q


Why do you care so much about the Jews? How come you haven't managed to work in your usual Jew-hating diatribes into the comments in this thread? Surely there is some sort of anti-Jew angle you could apply to the situation in Egypt!

February 14, 2011 at 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Anon., I believe jkr's inquiry "why do you huys all care so much about Egypt?" is a sort of leading question designed to introduce a claim that this is, after all, all about Israel and the putative threat to it.

There is plenty of cause to be worried about the Middle East quite apart from the fate of Israel. Egypt's control of the Suez canal, for instance, is a concern. While Egypt is not a big oil producer like Saudia Arabia or the gulf emirates, it could seriously disrupt world oil markets if a militant Islamist government denied use of the Suez canal to oil shipments. Egypt is one of the world's major buyers of wheat and one of the world's major producers of cotton. It is foolish to believe that political unrest there will not have worldwide ramifications in the markets for food and fibre. Finally, if Egypt falls into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, it will prove an important base from which such politics can be spread into the oil-producing states of the Arabian peninsula. The rise in oil prices in recent weeks will seem minor compared to what will happen then.

February 14, 2011 at 11:43 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

How much does anyone care relative to the actual amount of suffering that may occur? Egypt is going to become an even shittier probably quite violent shit hole. For this, hundreds have already died. My own response is a fairly mild irritation at how nobody sees the completely obvious coming. I feel empathy when I try, but I was certainly more upset about my favorite hockey team's defeat in last year's playoffs.

Is that too much?

February 14, 2011 at 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Human suffering probably operates somewhat like the gravitation of a heavenly body, according to an inverse-square proportion. The farther away it is from you, the much less significant its effect on you.

My concerns about Egypt are limited to what circumstances there may do to impose costs on me, my family, or my business.

February 14, 2011 at 12:58 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

michael don't feed the trolls please.

February 14, 2011 at 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like it to be known that, as an American, I am very unconcerned by the Muslim Brotherhood.

>Egypt is going to become an even shittier probably quite violent shit hole.

Are you worried it'll become more islamic, or more socialist, or both, or what?

February 14, 2011 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger James A. Donald said...

Anonymous said...
So I can be a sovereign, authoritarian dictator and supreme leader of a territory that rules with an iron fist but as soon as I believe that, say, the world will end when a giant lizard from Uranus swallows the sun and devote a percentage of taxes to constructing a giant speaker to beam lizard music to Uranus in the hopes of awakening the giant lizard from its slumber so that it goes to swallow the sun and ushers in the eschaton, I cease being reactionary?

Exactly so - unless, of course,fairly bland lizard worship is a long established tradition, and the great lizard is routinely invoked in support of property, propriety, the sanctity of marriage, and living a quiet, peaceful, and productive life, in which case the worshippers of the great lizard are reactionaries, or, at least, conservatives.

If, however, the great lizard is going to immanentize the eschaton, and create immediate paradise on earth, then the worshippers of great lizard are a progressives, or scarcely distinguishable from them - look how Code Pink loves the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and the Muslim brotherhood. Progressives know progressives when they see them.

February 14, 2011 at 10:00 PM  
Anonymous josh said...

"Are you worried it'll become more islamic, or more socialist, or both, or what?"

Yes, but also. More anarchic. More dilapidated. More dangerous. More third worldy.

February 15, 2011 at 5:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jkr said...

michael don't feed the trolls please.


Does that include the Jew-hating trolls?

February 15, 2011 at 7:40 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

In what sense am I a troll?

February 15, 2011 at 8:38 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

Is Nazism then progressive, seeing that it sought to eugenically engender a class of supermen who would transcend the human existence known so far, reaching toward a semi-divine status as replacements for Nietzsche's 'dead' Abrahamic god?

I should say not.

Yet Wik explicitly applies 'immanentizing the eschaton' to transhumanism in general. Right at the top of the article. And if you read on a little, it implies that Voegelin explicitly applied the idea to Nazism, ie considered Nazism to be gnostic-eschatological.

I would re-emphasize... Code Pink doesn't want to ultimately serve any Code Pink in-group.

In contrast the Nazi eschaton serves the Germanic in-group, as well as serving a transcendent (namely, transhuman) goal. (Though that goal is extremely non-universalist.)

I have speculated above, without knowing much of the history, that the initial imperial spread of Islam served Arabs. The Ottoman empire served Turks. E.g., each empire helped preserve its members -- above all its core -- from conquest by foreign powers. Is this untrue? Simultaneous with the transcendent-universalist goal of making all mankind pleasing, or maximally pleasing, to the one God, Islam -- both then and now -- arguably features major benefits to an in-group.

Code Pink members, or Yglesias readers, have friends; they have family. But they don't seek to perpetuate these bonds or this loosely-defined in-group, vis-a-vis any outgroup. They are explicitly comfortable with a universalist dissolution of these bonds. They obviously wouldn't accept the labels ethno-masochistic or socio-masochistic. We can just call them auto-bond-dissolving, ingroup-less, or whatever.

February 15, 2011 at 8:42 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

When the left sings the praises of radical Islamists, they're just flying the flag of their anti-White, anti-Israel, and anti-neocon feelings.

They have to pick a side. So, too bad for gay people and women in Islamic lands. The Christian and/or patriotic masses in America are mad at Islam, and USG-right made war on Muslim lands -- that's determinative for the left; they have to fight those arch-enemies.

Resultingly, they get outflanked by the neos on the universalize-the-Enlightenment side. Well, that's the cost of doing business. They didn't get to choose, or control the situation. Middle American anger over 9-11 was spontaneous and active -- and energetic. So was the USG-right scheming that drew massive political capital from the spontaneous anger. And the left was simply forced to react.

February 15, 2011 at 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>When the left sings the praises of radical Islamists

The left mostly just ignores or "tolerates" islam.

>So, too bad for gay people and women in Islamic lands.

You realize that Islamic women approve of and support their culture's religion, and the repression it justifies. Right?

>And the left was simply forced to react.

When Obama was elected, the anti-war movement died. What does that tell you?

February 15, 2011 at 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

RS - I believe Voegelin rightly classified both Communism and Fascism as 'gnostic' in his sense, and that both wished to immanentize the eschaton. The identification of Fascism and Nazism as "right wing" is purely a matter of relative position - they are to the right of Bolshevism, but all are considerably to the left of the old aristocratic/haut-bourgeois order of pre-1914 Europe.

Let's remember that Mussolini was an ex-socialist. Fascism was simply a modification; instead of the state expropriating the means of production outright, as under socialism, it just expropriated the lion's share of profits through taxation, and the lion's share of control through regulation. while leaving ownership (and all the liability, should things go south) in private hands. Similarly, the Nazi party began as a party of the left, and followed a similar economic policy. Sir Oswald Mosley, the British fascist, was an ex-Labour politician.

Fascism and Nazism did not begin to appeal to the traditional supporters of right-wing politics (the old aristocracy and the new plutocracy) until they had established solid bases of support amongst the working and lower-middle classes. They were then able to present themselves to the historic right as a lesser evil, an acceptable alternative, compared to Bolshevism. In the Nazis' case this entailed the elimination of the Strasserite faction and Röhm's SA; in the Italian Fascists', the suppression of the 'arditi.' But even after this was done, a left-wing flavor persisted. Walther Darré's speech in "Triumph of the Will" is exemplary.

The portrayal of Nazis and Fascists as right-wing or reactionary seems to me mostly the result of Soviet influence on the writing of this period's history after the war. Witness the effort of many Communists in the U.S. and western Europe to portray themselves as "premature anti-fascists." Well and good, except where was their anti-fascism during the 19 months of Nazi-Soviet alliance under the Ribbentrop/Molotov pact?

What was later purported to be a polar opposition between Marxism/Leninism and "fascism" is much better viewed as exemplary of the sort of internecine strife between competing collectivisms which began during Marx's own life (cf. Engels's"Anti-Dühring"), continued into the early Soviet era with the rivalry between Stalin and Trotsky, through the Cold War period when Mao denounced the "deviationism" and "revisionism" of Stalin's successors. The characteristic of all these ideological spats was that one side accused the other of reactionary tendencies, wandering from true socialist orthodoxy.

Now, no one but a keeper of Mao's ideological flame could be expected to say today that Khrushchev was a rightist, nor could anyone other than a simon-pure, old-fashioned Trotskyite be found to argue that Stalin was reactionary. The dispassionate observer would recognize such claims as the eccentric tics of narrow ideologues. However, the claim that the Nazis and Fascists were somehow paragons of reaction has been repeated so often since the end of WWII, either by the Soviets or by their sizeable claque in the American and western European academic community that it is still widely believed.

February 15, 2011 at 3:44 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

A few links for your consumption.
In recent years coups have tended to take a "guardian" form in which elections follow shortly afterward rather than creating an enduring military junta. And elsewhere at the Monkey Cage, presidents don't have that much of a decision-making role, their staff/advisors decide what options are available to them and which ones they are supposed to take.

Over at Less Wrong, Vladimir cites Moldbug on bogus academic fields. The commenters there do not seem terribly receptive.

February 15, 2011 at 6:40 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

What does it mean to protect family, as in the formula, property, family, tradition? Does that mean barring or significantly penalizing divorce? Abortion?

I don't see collectivism as leftist, even a little bit, but rather as neutral.

I also find lots of other traits in fascism-nazism that I intuit as rightist. Imperialism, extreme ingroup-outgroupism, extreme slant toward virtue ethics and away from narrow utilitarian ethics, etc. The Reds showed terrifying self-sacrificing virtue in fighting off the Nazis, but seemed to hold up a somewhat more utilitarian world as the telos of the entire struggle for worldwide communism. Nietzsche adhered strongly to virtue ethics and the Nazis followed, often using his works.

It was in my home town of Weimar, more than sixty years ago, and in the years before the end of the war I encountered him again and again: at school appeals or in the University during recess, through the flag salutes of the Hitler Youth, later during community service, and at length in my military days, as well. The effect of Nietzsche's sentence, first heard when I was but a thirteen- or fourteen-year-old pupil at recess (and would hear many more times) was unforgettable: "Praised be what makes hard!" That seemed an appropriate motto for what Adolf Hitler had announced to German youth as the "education of a new man": he must be "agile as a greyhound, rough like leather, hard as steel." Over the next several years all young people would be bullied by this motto...

February 15, 2011 at 7:27 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

Despite their cool relationship with the ancien regime, I suspect the Nazi leaders considered themselves aristocratists in a more abstract and perhaps more salient sense. Namely, they wanted to create a eugenically souped-up Herrenvolk, who would be more aristocratic than any previously existing persons.

This tallies with Nietzsche's Zarathustra's dramatization of evolution before a crowd of strangers:

I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?

All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the overman: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. You have made your way from worm to man, and much in you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even now, too, man is more ape than any ape.


I think this is a common problem with political taxonomy -- some group can be against aristocracy on the concrete plane and for it on some other plane. Similarly, often you can take a precept and apply it at an individual level, but the results are contradictory if you apply it to a group level -- and applying it at the universal level might conflict with both of those.

February 15, 2011 at 7:38 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

'Going back to the beasts', by the way, might refer also to dysgenesis (which I'm not sure he thought about very clearly), but more importantly refers to the rise of a narrowly utilitarian ethics of indulgence -- ie, TV and donuts, what Nietzsche calls 'last Man'.

February 15, 2011 at 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-curse-of-the-vanishing-mummies-2216110.html

February 15, 2011 at 8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@tggp, re: the less wrong crowd. I wouldn't worry about them not being receptive.

The less wrong crowd is filled to the brim with aspies, who react to every bit of internet stimulus as a chance to analyse it/rip it apart (rather than building on and creating knowledge, which people who 'sperg out seem to be incapable of doing).

I remember witnessing a comment thread over there where someone brought up the idea of studying written/spoken Islamic works (and religion texts in general) as a form of rhetoric (as in their persuasive appeal). Some of the commentators there couldn't even fathom a world beyond two-valued logic and probability and completely wrote it off.

February 15, 2011 at 9:11 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

RS - utopians typically express distaste for the instinctual preference most people feel for their own flesh and blood over strangers, and have wished somehow to transfer or sublimate this natural loyalty to something larger and more abstract, be it a nation-state, a race, a religion, or humanity at large.

This theme is first found in Plato's "Republic," where private homes were abolished for the Archons (Guardians), and they were required to hold their wives and children in common. We find the same phenomenon in the heterodox, eschaton-immanentizing Christianity of John of Leyden and like religious figures. Marriage and the patriarchal family were deprecated alike by the Nazis, who set up the Lebensborn program, and by Engels and Marcuse. Both Nazis and Bolshevists encouraged children to inform on their parents if the latter expressed opinions disloyal to the state. Only minor details separate the Nietzschean Übermensch the Nazis wished to breed from the New Socialist Man that Bolshevists expected to arise as a result of economic restructuring.

These common features of utopian collectivism are of course opposed to the traditional order of an organic civil society, in which people feel loyalty first to their immediate families, then to their extended families, to their clans, and their tribe/ethnos/nation respectively; and in which children inherit the properties of their parents according to an orderly law of succession. The traditional state is not one organized along the lines of Nazism or Bolshevism, but rather along those outlined by Filmer in his "Patriarcha." Filmer was perhaps not a great political philosopher, but he was an observant anthropologist - he described the actual organization of the monarchical/aristocratic society of Europe as it had existed since the time of Charlemagne.

We may see how stubbornly the human race has failed (or refused) to respond to utopian social engineering. It has resulted uniformly in different manifestations of Hell, rather than Heaven on earth. As respects the family, it has only served to weaken natural loyalties amongst the lower classes, who perhaps need them more desperately than any other segment of society - deprived of fathers, the loyalty of lumpenprole youths is transferred in their stead not to altruistic collectives, but to criminal gangs, with the results we see in every central city. In the mean time, the wealthy and educated continue to marry and bring up children in a more-or-less traditional fashion, giving them every advantage they can in spite of levelling policies ranging from affirmative action to the estate tax. And one generation of wealthy and educated people is succeeded by another in due course. Filmerism persists in practice even as it is officially despised in principle.

The traditionalist/reactionary is one who says, there's nothing wrong with the development of social and economic inequality, hierarchy, or of hereditary classes - we might as well give up the hypocrisy and pretense of egalitarianism and universal-franchise democracy. They swim against the tide of nature, and only give rise to stunted, malformed elites like the Soviet nomenklatura or the American brahminate, which come into existence despite the egalitarianism of the dominant ideologies - as a plant shows tropism even towards the faintest rays of sunlight. Let us open the blinds, let the light of nature shine in, and raise a proper aristocracy in place of these venal oligarchies.

February 15, 2011 at 9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://original.antiwar.com/srichman/2011/02/15/the-us-versus-the-egyptian-people/

The problem for America’s policy elite is that Arabs like neither foreign interference nor the brutal treatment of the Palestinians. That’s why they had to be denied a say in their own governance. Look up what happened when the “wrong” parties won elections in Algeria and Gaza. If the winner in a free Egyptian election is a party that sides with the long-suffering Palestinians, don’t expect the U.S. government to stand by.

February 16, 2011 at 12:02 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

Point taken, about encouragement to inform on one's parents. Certainly anti-family.

The effort to encourage promiscuous-polygynous reproduction seems to have supervened -- with the regime rather reluctant, and citing exigent circumstances -- upon a pro-traditional-family background. One can see pp 64-65 of this thesis. The encouragement had limited effect. Some pages later we read that "scarcely 200 SS men had children outside of marriage". This is negligible since the maximum size of the SS approached one million.

Why they wanted to increase fertility during the war, I don;t understand. It seems like you would calculate, in a total war, that creating more children costs you labor, and does not pay off very well (in labor) until the children are at least 12 years old or so. There is some suggestion in that text that some thought that men would fight more fiercely if they had left (more) children.

As for property, I'm not sure it was tampered with that much. There was the land reform, of course -- but it stemmed not only from redistributionist impulses. There was also the feeling on the part of agrarian idealogues that rural families would bear more children, which was held to be a major state concern from the beginning.

I may be forgetting some programs -- but if I am, they too might have had additional, pro-natalist aims.

February 16, 2011 at 12:40 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

> Only minor details separate the Nietzschean Übermensch the Nazis wished to breed from the New Socialist Man that Bolshevists expected to arise as a result of economic restructuring.

I think they can bear some amount of comparison.

The Nietzschean supermen is explicitly superhuman -- superior to all humans to date. Presumably, significant positive eugenics repeated over several generations would result in individuals at least moderately superhuman. Or, at least mildly. At the very least you can produce people like Newton, or Heraclitus, or the Song of Songs author, by the hundred. But it's pretty likely you can make superhuman geniuses.

But obviously you won't see very many such supergeniuses in the early generations. Setting them aside, the program is largely one of widespread improvement in intelligence, health, discipline, etc. That part of the results is rather comparable to the New Soviet Man. One main difference is that it would take at least 100 years to create a really palpable difference, while the timeline for the New Soviet Man was probably much shorter. The other big difference is that it would obviously work (should be perfectly obvious even to a scientist of 1900), while it's painfully obvious that the New Soviet Man idea would not work at all. We know from human heredity, and animal breeding, that breeding works. Whereas, we know that giving an average person a higher standard of living and encouraging him to communitarian virtue causes him to act like a bourgeoise, not a New Soviet or even so much as a New Pinko.

February 16, 2011 at 1:09 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

Anyway... I understand something of the traditionalist picture, and its opposition to social engineering. And I generally agree with this.

But, considering that the evidence for dysgenesis is rather strong, though it may have been countered by the now-exhausted Flynn Effect, up through 1980... what does one propose to do about it?

If we do nothing, the average genotype degrades until people are dying in the streets (including most children, before they reach the age of majority). This constant death, once it is rapid enough, will clear out mutated alleles fast enough to bring genetic quality into dynamic equilibrium. So, things are then back at where they were in 1750.

Note, I'm not saying these things will happen rapidly. But they will happen within ~400 years. Even in just 80-150 years, it's pretty likely that society will be palpably worse in intelligence and conscientiousness due to this effect.

Long, long before we are back to dying in the streets, dysgenics will start to push up, and up, the odds of nasty regimes, of nasty wars, of atrocities.

So that's where I start having to back a certain kind of social engineering, namely positive and negative eugenics based on money incentives.

February 16, 2011 at 1:31 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

RS - property was not "tampered with that much" under the Nazis? How about property belonging to Jews?

Whereas for the Bolshevists, it was the capitalist who was the class enemy, for the Nazis, it was the Jewish capitalist. The assets of Jews were expropriated and redistributed wholesale. Marx's "On the Jewish Question" equated "practical Judaism" with archetypal capitalism. He, a deracinated Jew himself, would have understood the Nazis well. The only difference between them and his followers was that whereas Nazis were satisfied with stealing the private property of Jews, Communists wanted to steal the private property of non-Jews as well.

Why were there so many Jewish communists? Because, despite the stereotype of the "Finanzjuden," there were many Jews (particularly in Russia) who had no wealth and were perfectly willing to loot their richer co-religionists along with everybody else. Marx himself is an example of such thinking - he was the poor relation of a prosperous Jewish banking family, envious of his rich relatives.

February 16, 2011 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger James A. Donald said...

RS said...

But, considering that the evidence for dysgenesis is rather strong, though it may have been countered by the now-exhausted Flynn Effect, up through 1980... what does one propose to do about it?

Individual parents, not the state, are already doing something about it. People that the elite would regard as hillbilly hicks that discover genetic diseases in their family, get themselves tested, eradicate those genes by selective abortion.

Upper class dark haired brown eyed Israelis are showing a fashionable propensity to blond blue eyed children.

At present gene tests are not very useful, cannot predict much, so not that much used - but their usefulness is increasing, so will be increasingly used.

A gene test can predict perhaps five or six percent of the variance in IQ. When it can predict seventy to eighty percent, everyone is going to use them.

Genetics is important. Observe that subsaharan Africans have never had cities. (Gene testing reveals fifty percent Hebrew genes in the descendents of the inhabitants of Great Zimbabwe) But social institutions are also important. We stopped building tall buildings forty years ago. In Dubai they recently built a building taller than we could build even forty years ago, even though our genes are better than theirs.

Genetically, today's Americans are almost the same as forty years ago, but it seems highly improbable that today's Americans could get to the moon, no matter how money we threw at NASA.

Technology will take care of dysgenesis, and if the state tries to limit gene testing and selective abortion, as it is already doing, people will get their gene tests on the black market, but remedying social institutions will take revolution.

February 16, 2011 at 1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>So that's where I start having to back a certain kind of social engineering, namely positive and negative eugenics based on money incentives.

In the absence of state welfare, the market and private society provides those incentives. See: the history of western civ, before welfare. Private charities could indeed provide additional eugenic incentives, but if by "back" you mean "support a state program," you need to grab a clue.

February 16, 2011 at 1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael - this is absurd, you can't measure belief in private property by treatment of out-group. if you do, what can you say about colonization? red & brown indians had private properties among themselves which colonizers didn't care for; was colonization leftist? or are jews somehow exception?

difference of soviets and nazis is about how they treated in in-group. in soviet russia very few people had homes of their own or could choose who they worked for; everyone had to live in state housing and work in factories that state ordered. you can't find such things among nazis.

progressives know progressives when they see them, and while many of them praised soviets none took reich for a progressive state in spite of all progressive-looking propaganda. MM's analysis seems very convincing: nazis used progressive means to achieve reactionary end.

February 16, 2011 at 9:49 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

Care to elaborate? I don't follow you, exactly. There's no private interest in having less reproduction on the part of low-IQ low-conscientiousness people. Rather, it's more of a tragedy of the commons situation. So I don't see how there can be any non-state program giving incentives that effect negative eugenics.

There certainly is, or could be, by contract, a private interest in what talented people produce. You could (were it legal) pay a talented couple $70,000 in exchange for having a kid -- if you could, by contract, get a cut of that kid's income. For the duration of his life, or for 20 years starting after age 25 -- whatever. I have seen such a scheme discussed. The thing is, this scheme is a fairly bad fit for human psychology and seems fairly unlikely to ever come to be. After all it's partial indenture, or partial slavery. Suppose I am born in this sort of partial indenture. You are just as talented as me, but your parents (different from mine) created you out of sheer desire to reproduce. So I'm under indenture and you aren't -- it seems very arbitrary. Of course, being born with talent, or courage, is also arbitrary -- but still. It just doesn't tend to raise people's "unfairness detector" hackles in the same way most things do.

To me you come across as a little bit of a liber-dolator. I would like to see some agent/group incent not just profitable traits, but others as well. Handsomeness. Courage. Taste, and lack of resentment. Artistic ability. Love of fortitude and of all the virtues. Innate tendency to well-being rather than ill-being. In brief, it would be good if people became more noble. These traits are just as important to the good life and the good society as profitable traits like IQ and conscientiousness. Obviously, you cannot make a profit by incenting them. It's no aspersion upon the profit motive, to say that it doesn't fill the bill everywhere & always. Charities, as you say, could do the job. But, looking at the history of such incentives, they may not be able to provide enough dough. In that case, yes, I would turn to the state. What exactly is the state going to do wrong, in this situation? Waste 40% of the money? That's not a huge price to pay, considering what we get in return, and I don't see a better option.

February 16, 2011 at 10:01 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

> nazis used progressive means to achieve reactionary end.

Yeah. And a lot of reactionary means too -- they used both. Musso too. From what I've read, his public works projects and other stuff aiming at helping the lower middle classes economically, were not hugely effective. They were more... for show. Didn't he try to reclaim some vast marshes or something?

And, too, it's pretty often repeated that a great lesson of fascism is that workers are gratified by a sort of state-mandated and partially state-operated regime of respect and praise for workers, just about as much as they're gratified by receiving wealth -- tangible, buy-n-sell wealth -- from the state.

Not that the commies gave them wealth.

The Nazis did stuff like build a few big super-deluxe resorts for workers to spend a week at for free. I guess they chose the workers at random, I'm not sure. Anyway, there weren't enough of these, I'm sure, for most workers to get to go. So it did not amount to a whole lot, per capita, as a gift of wealth to the workers. Rather, it made a statement to the effect of 'you and your pals at work deserve extremely ritzy accommodations just as much as anyone else does -- you are high status'... 'our totalitarian state loves and values you', etc.

February 16, 2011 at 10:16 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

Embryo selection... I'm guessing it will probably work. I had forgotten about embryo selection, last night! But, I may not be fully up to speed, but I'm not sure it is widely agreed that the genetic architecture of IQ is /definitely/ such that most of the alleles causing the variance can be discovered. If an allele has an arbitrarily small effect, or is arbitrarily low in frequency, then it's arbitrarily expensive to discover it.

And another hitch -- most of the babies born over the next X years will not be born from embryo selection. Unless the state pays for the in vitro /and/ pays some further incentive to use embryo selection. No matter what you pay as an incentive, there are likely to be a certain fairly significant % of babies created without using it. More to the point, if certain high-class lineages use it for 60% of births, and certain low-class lineages use it for only 20%, then those lineages will diverge in talent over the generations. Jacking up the variance in overall talent is not too desirable, though it might not be totally intolerable.

If the state bans embryo selection for desirable traits -- it's a tragedy. Sure, some will go overseas to do it. But, rather few!

February 16, 2011 at 10:38 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

Of course, the Reds attempted to dignify the worker in non-material ways, no less than the fascists did. Only, the Reds exacted a cost, taking away religion and patria. So that kind of all canceled out.

The war against the Nazis is when the Sovs really softened their stance on patriotism -- they had precious little choice.

February 16, 2011 at 11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>What exactly is the state going to do wrong, in this situation? Waste 40% of the money?

Well, it could institute reckless and violent negative eugenic policies, tarnishing all eugenics for all time by association. Which it did. But assuming it gets a second chance, where else could it go wrong? Well, that depends on the state. It doesn't strike me as wise, in general, to put the freaking genetic integrity of private society in the hands of an institution devoted to farming you.

>I would like to see some agent/group incent not just profitable traits, but others as well.[...]In brief, it would be good if people became more noble.

This astounds me. You expect the state to ennoble people?? PARENTS care about that shit, the state cares exclusively about narrow economic profit, because that is all it can tax. You have it exactly backwards.

>Obviously, you cannot make a profit by incenting them.

What you miss is that profit is not the main interest of private society, it is a means to the satisfaction of its wants. Most other avenues of social concern have been shanghaied by the state, and the results have been disastrous. Profit is all that has been left in private hands; the state would take that over as well, but historically it hasn't ever worked out.

>I don't see a better option.

The elites marry assortively, as always, and private charities require norplants of any potential beneficiaries. You could also set up a charity that would regularly pay a certain sum of money in exchange for retaining a norplant; this would most appeal to the poorest and least desirable elements.

In general everyone will know that there will be no big sugar daddy to bail your ass out if you get knocked up, and will endeavor to avoid it, the poor most of all.

There you go.

February 16, 2011 at 11:46 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

The rich are always an out-group to the left. Look at our own United States, in which liberal democrats constantly harp on the theme that the top 1 or 2 per cent should have more taken from them by the state. It doesn't really matter whether international socialism expropriates the fortunes of the rich because they are rich, or national socialism expropriates the fortunes of some of the rich because they are rich Jews. The rhetoric is the same - members of this scapegoat group are exploiters of the common folk, and the common folk should get even. And the action is the same - the overthrow of the previously existing social order in order to establish some sort of utopian state. Respect for the institution of private property, a traditional virtue, is thrown to the winds in either event.

I don't see how Mussolini can be called a proper reactionary. Frances Perkins, FDR's labor secretary, was the one who gushed that Mussolini made the trains run on time. There was a mutual admiration society between New Dealers and Fascists - see Schivelbusch's "Three New Deals." All this history was handily swept under the rug during WWII, just Stalin's previous alliance with Hitler was. Certainly Mussolini's policies under the Social Republic had a much more strongly leftist character than his previous governance under the Savoy monarchy.

Mussolini's earlier concessions to Italian conservatism have to be viewed as tactical measures designed to market Fascism as a palatable alternative to Bolshevism, even though it was much farther to the left than the old laissez-faire order of the nineteenth century. In the same way, you may recall, American liberals used (at least) to think it clever to respond to critics of the welfare state by claiming that FDR had "saved capitalism." Implicit in this is the suggestion that New Deal was the only possible alternative to Stalinism - exactly parallel to the way in which Nazis and Fascists appealed (once they had assembled their mobs of lower-class thugs) to the historically conservative German and Italian aristocracy and haute-bourgeoisie.

February 17, 2011 at 12:07 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

> What you miss is that profit is not the main interest of private society, it is a means to the satisfaction of its wants. Most other avenues of social concern have been shanghaied by the state, and the results have been disastrous. Profit is all that has been left in private hands

Point taken. Of course, you too are depending on the state -- to un-shanghai civil society. But maybe it would be easier for you to get them to do that, than it would be for me to get them to do what I think they should do.


> Well, it could institute reckless and violent negative eugenic policies, tarnishing all eugenics for all time by association. Which it did.

Nazism also had other reckless and violent policies that were worse than Operation T4 (as did other genocidal regimes). So I could say it's more a Nazism-being-generally-wicked problem than a state-doing-eugenics problem. And I think I'd mostly be right -- maybe not 100%.


> You could also set up a charity that would regularly pay a certain sum of money in exchange for retaining a norplant; this would most appeal to the poorest and least desirable elements.

That's been discussed, and I think it may have actually been attempted with crack addicts or something. PCers can accept that many junkies are hopeless, because they don't really have to think about genes in the process.


> This astounds me. You expect the state to ennoble people?? PARENTS care about that shit, the state cares exclusively about narrow economic profit, because that is all it can tax. You have it exactly backwards.

Yes, the traits the parents want will probably be fine. And yeah, maybe they will face less moral hazard than the state, as you say. But the whole parents thing only applies to embryo selection. If the latter turns out not to be a complete solution (see my post above), then we are back to the other modality -- namely trying to make sure people above the 50th %ile are doing the majority of the spawning. That cannot be effected by un-incented free choice of the parents -- so we kind of go back to square one.

> private charities [should/will] require norplants of any potential beneficiaries

What if they don't want to? Will you have the state force them to, even if it means some people starve on the street?

I'm not convinced that the measures you propose will necessarily be enough. Consider the extreme difficulty ol' Himmler had in trying to get the SS men to lay a nice single girl on the side, no condom (see my post above). I think both + and - eugenics may require really vast sums of dough. What if the amount of charity available is not enough?

February 17, 2011 at 12:57 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

> The rich are always an out-group to the left

I was afraid you might take that line! Because in its way it seems pretty hard to disagree with.

February 17, 2011 at 1:15 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

Were the Southern planters an out-group to the left?

February 17, 2011 at 4:50 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Josh - they certainly were. Abolitionist tracts emphasized the evils of the "slavocracy" and their luxurious and otiose lives as much or more than they did the purported misery of the slaves. In truth, as Fitzhugh and others pointed out, slaves were typically better fed, clothed, and housed by their owners than the nominally free laboring class of the North, and this was a contrast to which abolitionists did not care to draw too much attention.

The freeing of the slaves was a pretext for the general looting of Southern wealth. It is often forgotten that the antebellum South was the richest part of the United States, and that its great magnates (e.g., Wade Hampton) were landholders on a scale comparable to the British nobility. All of this wealth was destroyed in the orgy of expropriation called (in Orwellian style, avant la lettre) Reconstruction.

February 17, 2011 at 8:32 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

Interesting.

Regardless of food and shelter quality and all that, what about forced separation of families? That's a cruelty even in the midst of decent material conditions. I can't say that I know how common it was.

How about concubinage, from semi-unwilling to very unwilling? Must have happened a lot. I'm sure some poor women faced semi-unwilling concubinage or whoredom in the North... but, was it as bad, per capita?

Finally, human beings being what they are, there must have been a certain proportion of sadists among slave-owners, who enjoyed administering gratuitous and severe beatings. (There must be a big difference between experiencing light torment/torture, and experiencing heavy and/or protracted stuff.) There are sadistic employers of free men, too, and you're not always in a great position to quit your job. But it's a lot easier to get a different gig, in time, than it is to escape slavery.

February 17, 2011 at 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

The separation of families was certainly one of the worst aspects of slavery. John Randolph of Roanoke, who although a slaveholder and defender of slavery was deeply conscious of the institution's moral defects, once responded to some Congressional colleague who praised a speech someone had made, asking Randolph if he had ever heard anything more eloquent. Randolph replied that he had - delivered by a slave woman at the auction block, about to be sold away from her children.

Yet it must be remembered that the condition of free labor in the early nineteenth century was not conducive to familial integrity, or to the upbringing of poor children in stable households. It was a time at which such children were often abandoned by parents, if not literally as foundlings, then effectively by being 'bound out' to strangers, nominally as apprentices, but in practice nearly as slaves.

Randolph brought one of his slaves, named Johnny, as a personal servant with him on his tours of the British Isles, and is recorded as having told Jacob Harvey, "Much as I was prepared to see misery in the South of Ireland, I was utterly shocked at the condition of the poor peasantry between Limerick and Dublin. Why, sir, John never felt so proud of being a _Virginia slave_. He looked with horror upon the mud hovels and miserable food of the _white slaves_ , and I had no fear of _his_ running away." On the same trip, Randolph informed some Irish gentlemen that "if any of you should visit old Virginia, I shall promise you a fair hearing, at all events; and you may compare _our_ system of slavery with yours - aye, and be the judges yourselves!"

February 17, 2011 at 3:25 PM  
Anonymous jkr said...

RS takes the gold.

josh, wasn't referring to you.

February 17, 2011 at 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Further, re: concubinage - surely there was some sexual misbehavior between masters and slaves, and there was an economic rationale for it, since slave children were assets, and light-skinned slaves were considered desirable household servants. Yet this has to be evaluated against the general pattern of hanky-panky that has historically gone on between upstairs gentlemen and downstairs housemaids. Even Karl Marx fathered a bastard on one of his domestics. Was such behavior any more common when the domestics were slaves than when they were free?

As for sadism, I think the reports of heavy beatings were exaggerated. Slaves were valuable assets. A prime field hand could be worth $2000 in gold, a skilled household servant or craftsman such as a cook or farrier perhaps twice that. In terms of today's currency, the price of a slave would be in the low six figures. A sensible owner had every incentive to take care of such assets, rather than to abuse them in such a way as to wound them and unfit them for work. John Taylor of Caroline's "Arator" was a standard reference on Southern agriculture and contained much advice on the management of slave labor. It was hard-headed rather than hard-hearted; disciplines such as placing miscreants on short rations were more usual than whipping. And, again, grueling conditions and physical brutality were normal at the time even with nominally free laborers, such as those working in mines or shipping before the mast.

February 17, 2011 at 5:48 PM  
Blogger Mitchell said...

Belgium has had no government for 249 days. How the country has been functioning - who has been in charge, who has been administering - might make an interesting case study. It must be that the civil service are still running things even though the party political government is not.

February 17, 2011 at 6:28 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

That link didn't contain Domar's paper. This does.

February 17, 2011 at 6:51 PM  
Anonymous josh said...

I misunderstood the phrase. If I understand you now, I still don't think I agree. What about the foundations, skull and bones, the American Friends service committee, Charles Crane, etc. circa 1900s-50s. There was a time when the left was centered around the independently wealthy and actually thought of themselves as the enlightened ruling class.

If you read Lippow's book that MM has recommended several times, he describes this as the difference between American "Authoritarian Socialism" from the top down, and "real" socialism which has to come from a mass movement by the proletariat. Essentially, the intellectual elite saw themselves as the officers is Bellamy's "industrial army". It may have been a movement in response to the corrupt rule of the robber barons, but the children of the robber barons became instrumental in the movement via the foundations. By the 10s the benefits of centralization, which is what the early progressive movement was all about, to the business elite was obvious. There are reactions against this later as the movement became more populist in the 30s (see Citizen Kane). Perhaps this is an inevitable result of democratic sclerosis, but there was certainly a time when the national wealthy elite was the in-group, though the local wealthy elites were the out-group.

From my perspective, the better predictor of the left's behavior is Moldbug's theory that it tries to destroy any power that it does not control. Simultaneously, its democratic nature leads to a continuing dilution of power within.

February 18, 2011 at 5:31 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Josh, Lippow's book is good in its description of authoritarian socialism as directed by an elite intellectual vanguard - but is rather naive in contrasting it with "real" socialism originating in a mass movement of the proletariat. When has there ever been a socialist government founded on such a basis?

Surely not in the Soviet Union, where the Communist party coalesced from the beginning around a tight-knit intelligentsia - nor in any country (including the U.S.) where a Soviet-dominated Communist party and a much larger crowd of fellow travellers effectively called the tune on the left. The British Labour party? Dominated from the start by the Fabian Society and its intellectual cynosures the Webbs, supported by a chorus from Bloomsbury. Attlee, Cripps, and Gaitskill were all public-school boys and Oxford graduates. French or Italian Socialism? Simply a newer vehicle for those countries' historic anti-clerical intelligentsia, drawn from bourgeois Protestants, Jews, and Grand-Orient freemasons.

I have employed and known many skilled tradesmen - members of the real proletariat. I do not recall meeting a single one who was a socialist. What passes for socialism - "liberalism" in current American usage - is a political faction led by an upper-middle class intelligentsia, supported not by the working class but by the welfare-recipient class. James Piereson has an interesting article, "The Liberal Vanguard," about these aspects of American liberalism, in the February 2011 issue of the "New Criterion." Such support that this faction enjoys from blue- or white-collar workers comes mostly from government employees, like the schoolteachers' union members in Wisconsin who are now bleating that they may be put off the tax-financed gravy train.

I do not think it is telling the whole story to say that "the left was centered around the independently wealthy." It is more appropriate to say that both left and right factions centered around wealthy people, because politics is always about competition between elites - as Pareto illustrates. One elite faction derives its wealth and status from success in economic activity independent of the state's favor; the other derives its from using the state's favor to obtain economic rents and beggar its neighbors. Sir Peregrine Worsthorne, in his book "In Defence of Aristocracy," remarks on the division within the American elite and says it dates from the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. This seems a correct observation to me.

February 18, 2011 at 12:58 PM  
Anonymous josh said...

"but is rather naive in contrasting it with "real" socialism originating in a mass movement of the proletariat."

Agreed. That is why I use scare quotes.

February 18, 2011 at 3:53 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

> Simultaneously, its democratic nature leads to a continuing dilution of power within.

You really mean its bureau-democratic nature, right? Namely the state with an army of un-fireable apparatchiks, who share power with the people and its agents. (Guns looks like one issue where the American people have some power.)

As opposed to true democracy -- with its spoils system executive branch employees.

I know MM says that FDR is the one who replaced democracy proper with bureau-democracy. However, that's not when Wik says the spoils system ended; it ended earlier.

So, maybe the FDR revolution is spoillessness, + an activist executive, + an executive wiling to use welfare spending as a form of political patronage (as Foseti has pointed out, it's entirely possible to create a Social Security program that is not a form of patronage).

Wik on spoils:
Presidents after President Andrew Jackson continued the use of the spoils system to encourage others to vote for them. But by the late 1860s, reformers began demanding a civil service system. Running under the Liberal Republican Party in 1872, they were harshly defeated by patronage-hungry Ulysses S. Grant.

After the assassination of James A. Garfield by a rejected office-seeker in 1881, the calls for civil service reform intensified. The end of the spoils system at the federal level came with the passage of the Pendleton Act in 1883, which created a bipartisan Civil Service Commission to evaluate job candidates on a nonpartisan merit basis. While few jobs were covered under the law initially, the law allowed the President to transfer jobs and their current holders into the system, thus giving the holder a permanent job. The Pendleton Act's reach was expanded as the two main political parties alternated control of the White House every election between 1884 and 1896. After each election the outgoing President applied the Pendleton Act to jobs held by his political supporters. By 1900, most federal jobs were handled through civil service and the spoils system was limited only to very senior positions.

February 19, 2011 at 2:39 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

We know of course that very (very very?) senior positions are still 'political' today.

February 19, 2011 at 2:41 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

Looking around a bit -- Mold-man may not be strongly committed to a totally precipitous change under FDR.

Worst of all, this system [the Cathedral] is not a new one. It dates at least to FDR. Nor was the pre-FDR system of government in the United States particularly savory. Nor was the one before that - etc.

February 19, 2011 at 9:18 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

Emphasis added

February 19, 2011 at 9:19 PM  
Anonymous jqhart said...

The creation of the permanent bureaucracy by 1900 created the incentive for federal (and state, as parallel civil service reforms took place there) bureaucrats to lobby for greater permanent government powers. The first generation under such incentives took the form of the Progressive Movement (income taxes, regulation of food and drug safety, Prohibition, wage & hour laws, etc. 1900-20s), the second took the form of the New Deal (1930s-40s), the third HUD, OSHA, EPA, Department of Education, etc. (1960s-70s). It took nearly a century for the cancer to grow into that latter most monstrous form but the incentives were already in place by the 1890s.

February 19, 2011 at 11:56 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

When Mencius laid out the books of a "reactionary history", the first one not to be publicly available was Edgar Lee Masters' "Lincoln the Man" from 1931. I was looking into when books get released in the public domain, and that seems to have been right after the cutoff. However, the time when copyright got renewed/extended was in the 70s and people forgot to do so for some material (I think Night of the Living Dead is most well known for that). Sites recommended looking at the publication history. This book actually was republished in 1997, by the Foundation for American Education. It was hard to find any info on them and they may be defunct. They are or were publishers of what most would consider neo-confederate propaganda. I think they're a non-profit interested in getting the message out, so maybe they could be persuaded to release it into the public domain.

February 20, 2011 at 11:22 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

TGGP,

Have you read that one? I just finished it two weeks ago. Great stuff.

February 20, 2011 at 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

The 1997 edition of "Lincoln the Man" is still available from Amazon.com at $29.95. Used copies can also be had at various prices from Amazon affiliates.

February 20, 2011 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

My library has a copy, but it's from 1931 and so old I thought the pages would tear. I also don't find it that interesting. I've read enough Lincoln-bashing from folks at Lew Rockwell/LvMI, I don't think some poet who did no original research is going to add much. I'm more interested in making it publicly available.

February 21, 2011 at 6:57 AM  
Anonymous michae said...

How is Amazon.com offering for sale an in-print edition of the book not "publicly available"?

February 21, 2011 at 9:00 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

His value added is not as a poet, but as a lawyer.

Also, not having read Beveridge, I get the feeling I don't need to now.

February 21, 2011 at 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.swans.com/library/art16/barker47.html

February 21, 2011 at 7:01 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

"How is Amazon.com offering for sale an in-print edition of the book not "publicly available"?"
I suppose "more publicly available" would be more accurate. And if it's in print then I suppose the Foundation for American Education is probably not defunct.

February 21, 2011 at 11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moldbug's view that a unitary sovereign executive can easily quell any uprising with violence is naive and silly. There are many variables and calculations operating that confound such situations. Physical violence can invite more popular resistance, the military may hold back somewhat, refuse to cooperate, turn on the sovereign, plot coups, etc. And the sovereign also has to consider fleeing with tons of money and living comfortably elsewhere, against possibly being overthrown and executed gruesomely in a public square. Even if it's very unlikely the sovereign would be overthrown, he has to weigh relaxing in comfort with tons of money after fleeing vs risking gruesome execution just in order to play sovereign for longer.

It's not surprising Moldbug would be naive about this though since he's a computer nerd with no real experience in the world.

February 22, 2011 at 3:01 AM  
Blogger Aaron Davies said...

Belgium has had no government for 249 days. How the country has been functioning - who has been in charge, who has been administering - might make an interesting case study. It must be that the civil service are still running things even though the party political government is not.

the king appears to be getting involved

February 22, 2011 at 5:56 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Glenn Greenwald mocks those who think there's a difference between State and DoD. The State/CIA relationship is also discussed. "Then there's the delusional notion -- heard mostly from progressives with romanticized images of the State Department -- that WikiLeaks' release of diplomatic cables was terrible because it's wrong to undermine "diplomacy" with leaks, since the State Department (unlike the Big, Bad Pentagon) is devoted to Good, Humane causes of facilitating peace. As this episode illustrates, there's no separation among the various arms of the U.S. Government; they all are devoted to the same end and simply use different means to accomplish it". Elsewhere he discusses the difference between the establishment press (NYT) and Wikileaks.

February 22, 2011 at 7:03 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

His argument is merely an assertion. So it doesn't mean much - unless he has a really distinguished record of being right about stuff, in which case it means a little bit.

February 22, 2011 at 9:44 AM  
Anonymous RS said...

Y'all should have just seen former US ambassador Nicholas Burns on al-J. He was in quite sharp debate with the host over whether USG had backed these protests early on, or rather had 'hedged its bets' in Egypt until late in the game. You now what I think and you know who Al-J backs.

February 22, 2011 at 4:40 PM  
Anonymous RS said...

Tunisians in Libya are uncomfortable and getting the heck out. If I heard right, Tunisian mil/police are relieving them of their cash and phones as they come through the crossing. USG wants to sanction Gadaffi and freeze his cash - probably, I'd say, so they can act like they were firmly populist on North Africa since three weeks ago.

February 22, 2011 at 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Ron Potato said...

@Anonymous: The sovereign already owns the state. The power base calculations and revolutions have already resolved into a sovereignty. This is true of any stable state.

The difference is the left diffuses the sovereign power among irresponsible and careless non-authority, creating and promoting disorder, crime, and revolution.

February 22, 2011 at 6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Anonymous: The sovereign already owns the state. The power base calculations and revolutions have already resolved into a sovereignty. This is true of any stable state.

No, it's true in your Asperger's afflicted brain. Not in the real world.

A "stable state" is stable.....until it's not.

The sovereign "owns" the state.....until someone slips him a mickey.

February 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sovereign already owns the state.

A “property right” is just a limited monopoly (exclusive control of said property) upheld by the state.

A "privately owned" state owned by a single individual would mean a monopoly i.e. exclusive control of the state by the individual, upheld by the state.

To be sovereign, the individual would have to uphold his monopoly, his exclusive control of the state, by himself, or be the only individual in the territory.

If he's not the only individual in the territory, and he's unable to uphold his monopoly by himself, then he's not sovereign. He must rely on others to uphold his monopoly and or other individuals to never challenge or attack his monopoly i.e. to consent. So the others that uphold the monopoly are sovereign and or there is popular sovereignty.

February 22, 2011 at 8:10 PM  
Anonymous josh said...

Sovereignty is state-ownership tautologically with ownership and the state broadly defined.

An organization can have a monopoly, no only an individual. John D. Rockefeller did not personally pump you gas.

February 23, 2011 at 2:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An organization can have a monopoly, no only an individual.

Right. Let me amend it:

A “property right” is just a limited monopoly (exclusive control of said property) upheld by the state.

A "privately owned" state would mean a monopoly i.e. exclusive control of the state by certain individual(s), upheld by the state.

To be sovereign, the certain individual(s) would have to uphold their monopoly, their exclusive control of the state, by themselves, or be the only individual(s) in the territory.

If they're not the only individual(s) in the territory, and they're unable to uphold their monopoly by themselves, then they're not sovereign. They must rely on other individual(s) to uphold their monopoly and or other individuals to never challenge or attack their monopoly i.e. to consent. So the other individual(s) that uphold the monopoly are sovereign and or there is popular sovereignty.

February 23, 2011 at 12:57 PM  
Anonymous josh said...

and if those individuals who are relied on to uphold the monopoly are part of a singular sovereign organization wherein failure to uphold ones duties as an individual is not an effective way of challenging sovereign authority and collective action is impeded by forces within the organization?

Do you not think it makes sense to view this organization as a singular sovereign entity? Organizations exist in reality as a consequence of natural law. They can be effectively studied at this level with regard to their emergent properties.

February 23, 2011 at 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*Ahem*

Asperger's enhanced brain.

Carry on.

February 23, 2011 at 8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>A “property right” is just a etc, etc

What is this series of vague definitional statements supposed to illustrate? You keep posting it.

February 24, 2011 at 12:14 PM  

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