A Thousand Words (plus)

Radish has earned a lot of appreciation for his Basic Guide to the Political Spectrum graphic. It is indeed superb.

(In fact, it’s so good I’ll put off quibbling for another occasion, and just steal the damn thing.)

 

BasicGuide Click to enlarge.

November 12, 2013admin 29 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction

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29 Responses to this entry

  • Menippus Says:

    I kept waiting for the foreshadowed attack on Chomsky in “Stage 4”, but it never came.

    Still a great resource.

    [Reply]

    KFB Reply:

    It is still in the works, I swear. (You may have noticed that other sections than that one have gotten significantly longer.) And it will be epic.

    And to our most gracious host: why thank you! ^_^ steal steal steal

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 12th, 2013 at 3:45 am Reply | Quote
  • Handle Says:

    I’m still trying to write a post so perfect it gets me one of the coveted Radish Trading Cards.

    A boy can dream …

    [Reply]

    KFB Reply:

    o u mean like diss

    diss

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 12th, 2013 at 12:18 pm Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    Can I be first to make the ‘pan-Handling’ joke?

    [Reply]

    Handle Reply:

    Sure, but careful, you’re assuming it would be for free.

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 12th, 2013 at 12:48 pm Reply | Quote
  • Patton Says:

    Everything at Radish is well worth the wait. Even when, as in this issue, there are “…I’ll get to that later”s.

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 12th, 2013 at 5:23 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    I looked up the Slovenian Singularity.

    He forgot cannibalism.

    No doubt forthcoming.

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 12th, 2013 at 9:56 pm Reply | Quote
  • Grotto Says:

    I apologize in advance for a potential derailment of the discussion, but is the figure presented above a settled opinion within neoreaction? I’m genuinely curious. I certainly understand the Moldbuggian origins for such a graph, but I wonder what is the average level of agreement self-identified neoreactionaries have with Moldbug’s particular brand of monarchist revivalism.

    As for myself, I consider the monarchist platform the weakest and least developed element, and certainly the favored point of attack from people like Scott Alexander, who attacks the part to discredit the whole. Do we really consider hereditary monarchy the ideal form of government?

    As a rhetorical shock tactic, I understand the value of advocating monarchy, to shake people out of their lazy thinking about sovereignty and democracy. Hereditary monarchies certainly have some attractive qualities, particularly in the European Christian tradition. Noblesse oblige, long-term investment and ownership of the state by the ruler, among others.

    Neoreaction has provided a great deal of intellectual innovation in the attack of the liberal world order, including the conceptualization of the Cathedral. Race-realism and gender-realism are essentially unassailable positions. The monarchist position strikes me as the weakest, and I do not necessarily agree with it. And if I have read Outside In correctly, neither does Land.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I’d filed this under ‘quibbles‘ — but I agree that it’s a colossal quibble.

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    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    I’m not sure if I even count as a neoreactionary rather than a libertarian. I resent libertarianism, which is committed to property rights to a fault, being lumped in with the left, which seems to have no consistent characteristics at all other than contempt for property rights. Friedrich Hayek viewed “conservatives” as having more in common with socialists than with “an unrepentant old Whig” like Hayek. I think the tendency to collapse everything down to a single axis is an artifact of the logic of coalition forming, not a sign of any logical coherence. And we don’t agree on what being a “Whig” means.

    As for monarchy, it depends. In a society with a high-functioning system of moral education, democracy is probably better, especially if the franchise is relatively limited. In a society without such a system of moral education, monarchy probably sucks less. But this is a secondary issue. The real problem, as Spandrell says, is that we need a new religion.

    [Reply]

    Jack Crassus Reply:

    There is more to a thriving society than property rights alone. Though yes, strong property rights are a good start.

    I used to be a libertarian. Now I don’t disagree with it so much as consider it incomplete.

    Have you read Moldbug’s “Why I am not a libertarian”? You can skip to the part that starts with “And this is the third reason I’m not a libertarian” for the best argument.

    Libertarian principles sketch out an idealized system of property rights (basically 18th century British common law) as a moral optimum, but they lack convincing mechanisms as to how those rights will be enforced without the power of the crown behind them. Furthermore, they consider the power of sovereigns to be illegitimate/immoral.

    Absolute property rights without sovereign force is the libertarian ideal. A unicorn. While I agree that property rights are attractive, the zero aggression principle has to go if libertarianism is going to travel from an abstraction to a reality.

    [Reply]

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    @Jack Crassus:

    Well put and succinct. Stolen!

    http://home.earthlink.net/~peter.a.taylor/autopsy.htm

    admin Reply:

    If we wanted to move the ‘new religion’ discussion forward, what would be the last important ports of call?

    [Reply]

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    This may not be what you had in mind, but Rasputin quoted something from Moldbug’s comments a while back that makes me want to go back and pick the scabs off of the crypto-Calvinism arguments.

    http://www.xenosystems.net/questions/#comment-26712

    I started writing something, but I’m hung up on this “communal ecstatic fraternity” business. I would like to be able to compare different religions on this basis, but I don’t know whom to ask or how to articulate the question.

    I’m currently reading Stephen Prothero’s _God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World — and Why their Differences Matter_.

    James Reply:

    Peter A. Taylor,

    You might be interested in Andrei Tarkovsky’s films (and book). He was a student of religious history and ethics, and these are major themes of his work. ‘Offret’ would be particularly relevant, although it is his least accessible film.

    ‘Solaris’, although less apropos, is another interesting one from the perspective of political philosophy. I think it has a lot to say about distributed order, the relationship between intellectuals and the masses, and other problems that lie in our future and past. (It strikes me as a dark satire of 1920s Russia, although reviewers don’t seem to see it that way.)

    Regarding libertarianism, protection of property rights is a high abstraction that only rules out extreme and primitive types of oppressive polity. Attempts by economists such as Ronald Coase to reduce the concept of property rights to a determinate formula have not been sound.

    Libertarianism is just one of the better memes of mass politics. Anyone with half a brain can grasp the basic idea–private property good, other stuff bad–but politics and law evidently are not simple problems, otherwise we would already have excellent solutions. Lots of careful thought is necessary in order to sharpen and adjust a nebulous libertarian idea into something that creates real positive change.

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    Intellectual discussion is not how new religions form and grow. It’s like trying to get a new kid via informed debate.

    Konkvistador Reply:

    “Do we really consider hereditary monarchy the ideal form of government?”

    No. But nearly all consider it superior to democracy. Misunderstanding this position as claiming hereditary monarchy is ideal, usually implies the person hasn’t understood just how terrible democracy is.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Yes — which is why neoreactionaries, even those of quite ardent republican inclination, are not anti-reactionaries (whatever Bruce Charlton may think). Hoppe is the gold standard here. The equilibrium to be held onto is precisely: democracy makes monarchy look good.

    [Reply]

    Thales Reply:

    Monarchism suffers from neuro-linquistic path dependence: from bicameral man to god/man to man with god down the block in another building and perhaps just to man because bloodline or shut up. If a step passes out of living memory along with the step before it, there’s no way to jump-start the process.

    I get the logic: make new prophet with new religion to lend credence to new monarch. We got Hubbard and Scientology — how did that turn out? The problem with the new religion approach is that there are simply no more gods to lend prophets credence in the first place.

    [Reply]

    spandrell Reply:

    If you define God as a plausible authority source, I’d think there’s still plenty of them.

    Religions are synthetic tribes, all we need is a tribe so cool it makes people want to ditch theirs.

    [Reply]

    Thales Reply:

    I retain my skepticism

    Jack Crassus Reply:

    As Bruce Charlton says, in neoreaction, the “neo-” signifies “not”.

    Monarchy is reaction. Recognizing that monarchy has an unfairly negative reputation and using those insights to build something better out of the clay we have is neoreaction.

    I’m of the belief currently that Tianming can and should belong to the techno-plutocrats. The guys who made Obama’s campaign platform are better at understanding and molding reality than the guys that work for his administration.

    Monarchy teaches the virtues of the organic state, inequality, authority, and accountability.

    [Reply]

    Handle Reply:

    It depends what you mean by ‘monarchist’. I’m not in favor of hereditary monarchy because the leadership selection mechanism is unreliable. But I am in favor of Chief Executives and Commanders.

    The best way to run the 82nd Airborne, for example, is not by democracy or committee, but by appointing a single military commander over them with near-totalitarian authority. How is this individual selected, and how long does he serve in his position? Good militaries with long histories have had to develop and refine successful commander-selection mechanisms, processes and institutions.

    The same goes for corporations which could, theoretically, organize their governance in almost any way they saw fit. It turns out that the institution which evolved and which has been most widely adopted (because recognized as efficient, effective, and competitive) is the Joint Stock Corporation, with a Board of Directors and a (replaceable) CEO accountable for performance and incentivized in a manner consistent with the organization’s priorities. That’s usually economic profits, but there are well-managed non-profit corporations run this way as well.

    Neither of these individuals is an Absolute, Permanent, Hereditary Monarch, though, while they are in charge, they typically enjoy much more authority and flexibility (and thus effectiveness and rationality) than what exists in modern governments.

    One of Moldbug’s insights was that a lot of the frustrating craziness you see in modern governments of all kinds is the result of desperate attempts to acquire and maintain a weak hold on power in the short-term in ways uncorrelated with actual effective governing with an eye on the long-term. Abusing one’s power to distribute spoils to your supporters and repression on your opponents (usually including taxing them to pay for the spoils), is the classic tactic.

    The only way around this problem is to make any executive either completely and permanently secure in his authority (like a monarch), or, preferably in my opinion, to make that security contingent on his performance, competence, and effectiveness at delivering on the organization’s mission. In other words, you solve the principal-agent problem by creating an incentive structure that aligns interests.

    Again, organizations that have had to survive competitive pressures (institutions like profitable corporations and the military) modified their own internal governance regimes as part of that struggle to survive and they have tended to agree and converge upon an understanding of the necessity of unity of command, plenary authorities, and security and compensation aligned with rational measures of performance.

    That’s governance that actually works well. Not perfect, but well, with the better kinds tending to take over the market-space, because customers and investors with options will ‘exit’ the inferior. Our national government does not work well. But there is no real competition or exit. If we want national governance that works well, then it will need to have those features, and also the kind of structure and leadership selection mechanisms above.

    [Reply]

    Grotto Reply:

    You’ve described my own position almost perfectly (to the extent that I have a settled opinion).

    Free exit is a core concept for me, and seems to be the primary safeguard individuals have against an the absolutely sovereign state.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Excellent, but perhaps excessively nonchalant about the slippage from ‘royalism’ in the ironical, critical, and abstracted sense into full-blown paleoreactionary dynastic nostalgia. The latter, being far simpler, is the sense that will spread and take.

    [Reply]

    Handle Reply:

    I see what your saying, but I humbly request you expand this notion into a full blown post. I truly believe it will help spawn a discussion which will clarify some of the core aspects of neoreaction and illuminate the convergence and divergences therein.

    Posted on November 13th, 2013 at 1:38 am Reply | Quote
  • The Reluctant Apostate Says:

    I thought spandrell had a good take on monarchy here. Clearly, though, it establishes a path dependence for the type of monarchy that the forms of government in vogue in the Western world replaced, making it difficult to reëstablish. A better question would be what neoreactionaries want in place of either system. Hopefully the answer does not involve cryptographically locked weapons.

    A small point in favor of Radish’s graphic: I like the use of a quasi-sepia toned image of Notre-Dame de Paris at night, both for the look and because of the role of that Cathedral in the coronation of the Jacobin-affiliated Napoleon, replacing the historical site of the French monarchy’s coronation: Notre-Dame de Reims.

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 13th, 2013 at 11:49 am Reply | Quote
  • Alex Says:

    Ecce advenit dominator Dominus: et regnum in manu eius, et potestas, et imperium.

    [Reply]

    Posted on November 13th, 2013 at 7:01 pm Reply | Quote

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