Eight-Point Neo-Cam

A reminder of where NRx came from:

Let me quickly explain my reactionary theory of history, which comes from reading weird old forgotten books such as the above. Note that this theory is quite simple. Depending on your inclinations, you may regard this as a good thing or a bad thing.

In order to get to the reactionary theory of history, we need a reactionary theory of government. History, again, is interpretation, and interpretation requires theory. I’ve described this theory before under the name of neocameralism, but on a blog it never hurts to be a little repetitive.

First: government is not a mystical or mysterious institution. A government is simply a group of people working together for a common aim, ie, a corporation. Whether a government is good or bad is not determined by who its employees are or how they are selected. It is determined by whether the actions of the government are good or bad.

Second: the only difference between a government and a “private corporation” is that the former is sovereign: it has no higher authority to which it can appeal to protect its property. A sovereign corporation owns its territory, and maintains that ownership by demonstrating unchallenged control. It is stable if no other party, internal or external, has any incentive to attack it. Especially in the nuclear age, it is not difficult to deter prospective attackers.

Third: a good government is a well-managed sovereign corporation. Good government is efficient management. Efficient management is profitable management. A profitable government has no incentive to break its promises, abuse its citizens (who are its capital), or attack its neighbors.

Fourth: efficient management can be implemented by the same techniques in sovereign corporations as in nonsovereign ones. The company’s profit is distributed equally to holders of negotiable shares. The shareholders elect a board, which selects a CEO.

Fifth: although the full neocameralist approach has never been tried, its closest historical equivalents to this approach are the 18th-century tradition of enlightened absolutism as represented by Frederick the Great, and the 21st-century nondemocratic tradition as seen in lost fragments of the British Empire such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. These states appear to provide a very high quality of service to their citizens, with no meaningful democracy at all. They have minimal crime and high levels of personal and economic freedom. They tend to be quite prosperous. They are weak only in political freedom, and political freedom is unimportant by definition when government is stable and effective.

Sixth: the comparative success of the American and European postwar systems appears to be due to their abandonment of democratic politics as a practical mechanism of government, in favor of a civil-service Beamtenstaat in which democratic politicians are increasingly symbolic. The post-communist civil-service states, China and Russia, appear to be converging on the same system, although their stability is ensured primarily by direct military authority, rather than by a system of managed public opinion.

Seventh: the post-democratic civil-service state, while not utterly disastrous, is not the end of history. It has two problems. One, the size and complexity of its regulatory system tends to increase without bound, resulting in economic stagnation and general apathy. Two, more critically, it can neither abolish democratic politics formally, nor defend itself against changes in information flow that may destabilize public opinion. Notably, the rise of the Internet disrupts the feedback loop between public education and political power, allowing noncanonical ideas to flourish. If these ideas are both rationally compelling and politically delegitimating, the state is threatened.

Eighth: therefore, productive political efforts should focus on peacefully terminating, restructuring and decentralizing the 20th-century civil-service state along neocameralist lines. The ideal result is a planet of thousands, even tens of thousands, of independent city-states, each managed for profit by its shareholders.

Note that this perspective has nothing at all in common with the Universalist theory of government. Note also the simplicity of the transition that it suggests should have happened, from monarchy as a family business to a modern corporate structure with separate board and CEO, eliminating the vagaries of the hereditary principle.

Now let’s look – from this reactionary perspective – at what actually did happen. …

March 11, 2015admin 83 Comments »
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83 Responses to this entry

  • Eight-Point Neo-Cam | Neoreactive Says:

    […] Eight-Point Neo-Cam […]

    Posted on March 11th, 2015 at 3:10 pm Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    Fair enough this is where neo-reaction began. He admits its’ never been tried esp as above perhaps because none thought it profitable.

    Here he begins to leave reality: 3d sentence “Whether a government is good or bad is not determined by who its employees are or how they are selected.” This is vitiated by our present predicament and all of history, I’m standing it on it’s head because History and present day has it backwards from where he thinks it should be.

    Yes it does make a difference whether the people in government are good or bad, turn on the television or read any book.

    Again there is no systems solution to our present people problem nor any system ever devised that stops evil without other men confronting evil or harm, which they don’t do automatically because of the system. Given the present United States Government only fear of the citizens, their own failures in being cowards personally and the incredible task of subordinating all 89K entities of Jeffersonian Democracy in 2015 that holds them back from God knows what genocides and crimes.

    “Third: a good government is a well-managed sovereign corporation. Good government is efficient management. Efficient management is profitable management. A profitable government has no incentive to break its promises, abuse its citizens (who are its capital), or attack its neighbors.”

    Third rebutted: and yet History happens the way it did to right now in any way, for every government has abused it’s citizens and attacked it’s neighbors.

    “Note also the simplicity of the transition that it suggests should have happened, from monarchy as a family business to a modern corporate structure with separate board and CEO, eliminating the vagaries of the hereditary principle.”

    But that’s not what happened. For there is no bridge from this theory to reality.

    “Now let’s look – from this reactionary perspective – at what actually did happen. ” YES. DO.

    Do look at what happened from any perspective because it will happen again.

    However it’s indeed helpful to go back to the roots.

    Perhaps it’s most useful – UR – as analysis? Not prescriptions?

    [Reply]

    vimothy Reply:

    “Fair enough this is where neo-reaction began.”

    Is this really where neo-reaction began?

    [Reply]

    Michael Reply:

    well give or take a few dozen blog posts from the same author yeah its where a lot of the current bloggers left behind leftism I think those of us always somewhere on the right or at least there in the past couple decades we would disagree. like all youngsters the nrx think they discovered the world. and this all would also largely depend on what aspect of the reaction appeals. HBD which undermines liberalism at its egalitarian roots but can appeal to logicians haters pickup artists and techies for different reasons, techno futurists or whatever they call themselves are alleged to be a third leg somehow they claim capitalism which i would say is based on evolution not technology but it is a sort of scientific economy and the techies dont love the money so much as want to experiment on humans or sacrifice them to the future robot gods or something and see free markets as a proxy for this. the rest of us hope they will get past this and just hack the NSA and invent an APP to make govt irrelevant, third group which you will quickly notice is at major conflict with the other two are the trads thats code for religious yeah trans humanist racist Christians makes sense to me . well we are supposed to hope they dont really believe what the new testament says about self sacrifice but really mean to keep the chicks barefoot pregnant and in the kitchen and like the republicans we think we need all the help we can get even if its from this 2000 year old jewish socialist society thats destroyed every western civilization.Now you know why we never hammer anything down about what we stand for. now this mencius moldbug a former lefty jew techie hipster that made it ok for these same types to say funny racist sexist shit has this idea that nobody has a clue how it would work or even WTF it really is ,its called neo cameralism its vaguely appealing, some kind of network of galts gulchs but the devils in the details now might be a good time to approach putin about the crimea but we prefer talk here and droid sex.

    [Reply]

    neovictorian23 Reply:

    More. Periods. Please.

    Alrenous Reply:

    I’ll be blunt.
    You are not smart enough to get away with formatting like that.

    Lucian Reply:

    I thought we already decided we like Jews?

    Hegemonizing Swarm Reply:

    > but it is a sort of scientific economy and the techies dont love the money so much as want to experiment on humans or sacrifice them to the future robot gods or something and see free markets as a proxy for this

    Wow, you figured me out. While reading this I’m sacrificing a barrel of new-borns to the cyborg gods.

    Thales Reply:

    Wow, you figured me out. While reading this I’m sacrificing a barrel of new-borns to the cyborg gods.

    You’re doing what?!

    I thought we only did that on the weekends…

    Posted on March 11th, 2015 at 3:19 pm Reply | Quote
  • Nick B. Steves Says:

    Nine: While thousands, nay tens of thousands of independent city states each managed for profit by its shareholders sounds absolutely awesome, ideal really, the existence of such a structure presumes the existence of a Referee of Sovereigns to minimize transaction costs (like war) between competing city states, the capture of which by any city state or alliance of city states could and probably would tip overwhelmingly the competitive balance toward itself.

    [Reply]

    Stirner (@heresiologist) Reply:

    This is why the admin goes on about blockchains and Distributed Autonomous Organizations. It is the blockchain successor technologies that would serve the role of the Referee of Soverigns, and remain independent of capture by various political entities.

    Once governance/law/money/ownership/identify all get formalized and recognized in software, is is the algorithms of that software that becomes the ultimate referee.

    The patchwork will not be governed by law or constitution, it will instead have a common Operating System for federalism.

    Moldbug is not doing this with Urbit. Instead, Urbit is a necessary preliminary development stage where the wild commons of the Internet is enclosed into bounded digital properties and identitites. Once that is established, that provides a stable foundation for grounding new structures of algorithmic governance outside of the digital realm.

    [Reply]

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    That takes a lot of faith to believe.

    In the meantime, anyone got an HRE laying around?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Thanks. Eliminating “third party” oversight authorities is indeed the whole point of a Patchwork. Spontaneous Order is final sovereignty — I’d imagine that’s fairly basic to the Tech-Comm constituency.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    Absolutely true, which is why the neo-cameralist patchwork is probably best seen as a kind of Coasian thought experiment. For Coase, it was about what would happen in the absence of transaction barriers, which focused attention on transaction barriers. For Moldbug, its about what would happen in the absence of war and revolt, which focuses attention on them.

    Incidentally, the late Spenglerian scholar John Reilly thought the destiny of the west was to end in a new HRE.

    [Reply]

    Wade McKenzie Reply:

    Nick B. Steves: I think you’re pointing to a serious problem with the idea of a “patchwork” system of states–at least insofar as it is conceived to be a stable world order. The milieu of Mediterranean classical antiquity closely corresponds to the patchwork ideal–particularly its focus on the city-state or polis–albeit at a corresponding tech level. In that environment powerful, talented and/or aggressive poleis over time cultivated hegemonies and empires: e.g. Sparta, Athens, Carthage, Rome. A similar process of conquest and aggregation would likely occur in any future recurrence of the classical system of city-states along neoreactionary lines.

    The “patchwork” notion of city-states has great appeal to me personally–though my own attraction to the idea has everything to do with the cultivation of fully sovereign political orders (which I see as the necessary condition for a fully realized humanity) and nothing at all to do with the cultivation of ostensibly superior economic arrangements. But it needs to be understood by anyone interested, for whatever reason, in the patchwork state system that it would prove inherently unstable and ephemeral. Large aggregate states will soon rise out of the soil of the patchwork. In course of time, I suppose, the cycle will repeat itself.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    I haven’t actually read it, but I’m assured it includes one. The referee of sovereigns would, of course, be a global Fnargl government, the very opposite of patchwork.

    Luckily patchwork doesn’t actually require that. It turns out war is expensive.
    Read your Sun Tzu: when a city takes a second city, rather than becoming stronger, they both are so weakened by the fight that any neighbour who stays out of it can take them both with one hand tied behind their back. Any competent CEO would refrain from aggressive war out of pure self-preservation.

    So, it may turn out that peace is high-tech. The only real wealth in, say, warring states China was land, and they couldn’t destroy land. No matter how much they warred, they couldn’t really become poorer. They could make the anti-Tzu mistake over and over without fundamentally changing the game. Indeed eventually one of them lucked out somehow or another and it snowballed.

    In modern times, maybe 5% of the wealth is in land, the rest is in very destroyable social relationships, heavy machinery, knowledge, and so on. Two modern city states having a real war would instantly reduce them both to Afghanistan. Not only will they not tip the balance in their favour, it’s better than 50% odds they wouldn’t even be worth taking in the aftermath. Won’t even need to take the valuable people, they will have likely abandoned ship already.

    Similarly, communication was not the best in 300BC China. If a baron-equivalent two states over got himself whacked over delusions of grandeur, you wouldn’t necessarily hear about it. Now, even if one otherwise-competent CEO makes a mistake, every single other one will learn about it instantly, and as it will involve death, won’t go anywhere near it. Warriors may be good at courage but kings are not known for risking themselves, let alone hybrid merchant-kings.

    The only reason modern states have wars is it allows the leaders to confiscate wealth they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. It’s not their loss, it’s pure gain on their balance sheet. If states were instead for-profit, the loss would show up.

    Finally you can deter any rational actor extremely easily with explosives. Buy enough to level your holdings – this will be a few percentage points of your total stored capital. If anyone attacks you, use these bombs on the attackers. It will be physically impossible for them to turn a profit. (This is another case where rationality is amplified by communication.) Contrast the mainly-melee armies of Zhànguó Shídài, where to destroy the army you needed an equivalent army of at least twice the size, quite possibly representing all of your agricultural surplus for many years. And, as above, even retaliatory destruction – BC MAD – can’t destroy the land, the ultimate wealth you’re fighting over.

    Ironically it seems Nobel’s original obsession with dynamite was correct, but he quit early due to having a faulty model of other dire apes. It’s not horror or pity that will stop war, but raw cost-benefit analysis by literal accountants.

    P.S. we could destroy significant amounts of land now if we wanted to. Luckily cities are worth more, thus act as meat shields against permanent carrying capacity decreases.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    P.P.S.
    Reading SA’s archipelago, and it’s hilariously tyrannical. All in the name of freedom. I realized I can even define tyrannical: thinks their will trumps Gnon’s will. The pious ignorance of public choice is also a thing of beauty. You don’t craft something like that by accident.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    “War is expensive”

    And yet, somehow, warring states periods keep involving wars and leading to consolidation. The classical Med was a genuine patchwork. Cities went to war all the time without getting instantly gobbled by a third city. One city, Rome, gobbled all.

    Your entire argument here is so utopian that it would make progs blush.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    You might want to try reading the rest of it, as I already addressed that exact criticism.

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    No, you didn’t. Do I really have to go through the details of explaining why wealth won’t prevent wars, subversion attempts, assasinations, and all the other goodies that can amalgamate states? Hint: this statement–“The only reason modern states have wars is it allows the leaders to confiscate wealth they otherwise wouldn’t be able to” is bizarre fantasy nonsense.

    Alrenous Reply:

    Wealth doesn’t prevent wars. Cheap destruction prevents rational actors from initiating wars. Ironically it’s when battle is very imbalanced toward offence that war is least likely.

    Assassination won’t work. It doesn’t happen any more for a reason, though admittedly I don’t know the specifics. E.g. if I assassinate a CEO it’s annoying but they just hire a new one, and if I assassinate the majority shareholder the CEO stays put. I don’t know how significant this factor is, but there’s a lot of options, one of them will be very significant.

    Subversion attempt only works if it doesn’t damage the capital stock, else it reduces to normal warfare. Thus it reduces to hostile buyout.
    Logically patchworks must settle on the correct size for economies of scale. We predict this is roughly city-state size, but in any case much less than 300 million. Hostile buyouts will decay slower than outright conquest, but still decay. It will always be more profitable to spin off the subverted polity but retain proportional shares. Different location, different needs, different management – thus diversity, thus patchwork even if they share an owner. Attempting to keep two cities will merely make it easy for a third party to perform a hostile buyout on both of them. (Eventually.)

    In Roman times, peace was not stable. Even if they tried not to spend all their cash on armies, they had no idea about investment, nor any institutions to support it. The destruction they wrought was almost entirely on people, who were too abundant anyway.
    In modern times, peace is very stable, running on multiple negative feedbacks. Indeed this is likely a core reason the Cathedral needs to chain together holy wars. If they let the army subside – the only part of government ever to show the possibility of real cutbacks – it won’t likely be possible to restart the engine. The Cathedral, like any cancer, must grow or die. If it allows one part to stop growing, it will necrotize and take the rest with it.

    Aeroguy Reply:

    I concur with Lesser Bull. City-States will have vastly different values, organizations, and varied motivations for war. The point of patchwork is that each of the trikes are going to want to live in separate city-states not to mention the countless other permutations of city-state. Humans aren’t perfect little utility maximizers, we’re relative status maximizers, making us spiteful to the extreme and more than happy to roll in the mud just to get our enemies dirty. You have to consider a balence of power and coalitions. If there are three cities and one of them is more successful than the other two that is all the reason the other two cities need to ally and destroy the successful city.

    The impulse for Empire is powerful, the top of a hierarchy is going to be filled with ambition, boundless ambition. Such men think nothing of loss in the pursuit of their ambition, they aren’t the least bit risk adverse, often leaving elements of their lives in taters so as to pursue their ambitions. If they think they have a 5% chance of gaining a higher level of power and 95% chance of total destruction, they’ll pull the trigger every time. How else do you think they get to the top except by climbing on top of everyone else who failed or decided to stand still. The only way to avert this sort of thing is if you can keep power in the hands of a pile of risk adverse shareholders, however the iron law of oligarchy thwarts you since once again the ambitious rise to the top of the shareholder pile.

    Competition makes things fit, competition makes things die, competition makes room for new growth. However every competitor has an incentive to undermine and short circuit competition, like how humanity has been short circuiting Malthusian pressure. Destroying competitors is it’s own reward, colluding with competitors is it’s own reward. So much depends on the metagame. Does the tallest blade of grass get cut or does it attract followers? What resentments exist, what are the greater causes that some support and others fear? Who wants to compete for Emperor, who wants to anoint the victor, and who will join the coalition against coalition building?

    The cost/benefit balance of war depends not only on the metagame of players, but on ever changing technology. When cheap but highly effective attacks can be sent anonymously, there is nothing to hold them back. Chess is a formalist game, poker an antiformalist game. Technology affects the extent that power can be concealed. Technically concealed power is a violation of formalism, so formalist technology will attempt to make power structures more transparent. Populists depend on the power of bodies, bluffing by exaggerating an army’s size with more camp fires is an ancient trick. In contrast a wealthy man will do well to conceal his wealth, avoid fame, and use intermediaries to effect his will from behind the scenes.

    Even in a multipolar formalist system, it becomes akin to 4-way chess. Sure you have to take 3 points for every point lost to break even, so you work hard to give your opponents opportunities against each other. City-states can’t stand still, they’re dynamic systems, in competition, and thus unable to ignore each other. I defer to Clausewitz, war isn’t a duel but a high stakes continuation of the ongoing complex interplay of factors between states. True formalism would clear away the fog of war, something I doubt Gnon will allow. Wars exist on a continuum and enemies can pose as a friends.

    Alrenous Reply:

    @Aeroguy

    Humans aren’t perfect little utility maximizers, we’re relative status maximizers, making us spiteful to the extreme and more than happy to roll in the mud just to get our enemies dirty.

    Such men think nothing of loss in the pursuit of their ambition, they aren’t the least bit risk adverse

    Which is why plausibly deniable violent corporate sabotage is commonplace. Why, even Walmart has a secret militia which…

    Oh wait.

    Aeroguy Reply:

    It’s a matter of scaling. When you scale up corporations to states where force is part of the equation, it’s to be expected. States hold back corporations from force but have no qualms about employing force themselves. You seriously think making states corporations will mean pink slips for violent men and kumbaya sung by all? Corporations do sabotage each other regularly and have never been observed to play fair if they can help it (which incidentally is exactly how warfare and interstate craft is practiced). What’s the closest thing to a corporation that operates independently of state force and utilizes force of it’s own? A mafia, just because they don’t have state approval doesn’t mean they’re not businessmen. Do you actually think having shareholders and a board means that a mafia isn’t going to “make him an offer he can’t refuse”?

    Did you forget that there’s a difference between a world dominated by an empire that keeps the seas safe and trade flowing, and a world with many competing small polis where pirate ships have a competitive ROI and bribing the local highwayman guild is part of doing business.

    an inanimate aluminum tube Reply:

    “war is expensive”

    War is expensive for some, but profitable for others.

    ISIS is getting rich through oil smuggling, resource extraction, money from wealthy donors, organized crime within the territories it controls, protection money, taxes, involuntary donations.

    Also looting the central bank of Mosul

    Google for the article “Self-funded and deep-rooted: How ISIS makes its millions”

    Somebody would find a way to make war worthwhile, even if it was only asymmetric warfare, like funding insurgents in your opponent’s territory, just to wreck up the place.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    “protection money, taxes, involuntary donations.”

    Eating the seed corn.
    It’s not their seed corn, though, so tragedy of the commons. Solution: enclosure.
    Or formalism. Through war, ISIS justifies confiscating others’ seed corn. Just formalize the ownership already.

    an inanimate aluminum tube Reply:

    Eating Iraq and Syria’s seed corn while Saudi and Qatar (or whoever you want to claim is funding ISIS) are sitting back and laughing at the predicament of their former rivals.

    admin Reply:

    “The referee of sovereigns would, of course, be a global Fnargl government, the very opposite of patchwork.” — Just had to repeat that. Scott Alexander’s thought experiment could hardly have demonstrated it more clearly.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 11th, 2015 at 3:47 pm Reply | Quote
  • Mr. Archenemy Says:

    “Eighth: therefore” could of course quite rationally be followed by “suppress or seize control of de-legitimizing technologies”

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 11th, 2015 at 3:48 pm Reply | Quote
  • Mr. Archenemy Says:

    I’m going to try that again, this time with HTML entities:

    “Eighth: therefore” could of course quite rationally be followed by “suppress or seize control of de-legitimizing technologies”

    < cough > obamanet < cough >

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 11th, 2015 at 3:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • Shenpen Says:

    I am worried that it is too much based on overly simplistic libertarian ideas like too strong a belief in markets and corporations. I am more of a Chestertonian Distributist. A market of corporations driven by profit-maximizing shareholders does not actually work that well: what we see working really well in capitalism is actually the exceptions, the Steve Jobs, Henry Ford types who are not driven by a profit motive but by a vision to create and make, a certain professional pride.

    The reason I have less trust in the market and corporations is numerous, but assymetrical information is one obvious one, we need the Steve Jobses who WANT to make good products just for the sake of wanting to do so, because customers suck at telling bad ones from good ones.

    Another issue is the fucked-upness of the whole concept of employment, which is suitable for an assembly line but not for intellectual work.

    A third issue is that property is power. Owning stuff you work with means liberty. Owning stuff others work with makes them less than ideally free.

    American libertarianism comes from the frontier experience where people did not really work as employees, work with things other people owned, they could strike out on their own. They don’t admit it openly, but many libertarians e.g. Heinlein types like it more than being corporate employees.

    Anyway, I could go on, but pointless: the point is, the solution to corporations is obviously not socialism but back to the small family business, mom and pop shop era, homesteader, farmer era, where the the market forces are tempered by human considerations because choices are made by people who know each other face to face.

    In short, markets are humane only if transactions happen inside the Dunbar number where profit motives are often overridden by other considerations.

    As for states, this only works if you make them really small.

    Also you need to consider a feudal chain. The king has 80 counts, each are inside his Dunbar number, treated as humans, not statistics. Each count 80-150 barons. Each baron 80-150 smaller nobles etc.

    The point in feudalism is that nobody makes a decision about faceless masses perceived only in statistics: they only make decisions about 80-150 subordinates they personally know and can treat like humans.

    [Reply]

    nydwracu Reply:

    But how do we get from here to there? And how do you deal with economies of scale?

    [Reply]

    Orthodox Laissez-fairist Reply:

    Do not romanticize too much about past; mom’n’pop shops were, as a matter of fact, horrible! I know many people (myself included) that despise mom’n’pop shops and the like, because we still remember them, and it’s a sort of thing where you get a small selection of goods, sometimes long past expiration date, for high prices. I will take Walmart over that any day, thank you very much. Greedy corporate money-making machine that’s in it just for profit would never dare to be so brazen and just plain nasty to it’s costumers as your average small family-run business. While I understand opposition to corporations from the Left, I never understood opposition from Distributists. Isn’t church a corporation?

    [Reply]

    Wade McKenzie Reply:

    Shenpen: Interesting comment. I think your emphasis on “humaneness” is a much needed corrective to the tone and spirit of some neoreactionary sentiments. Neoreactionists sometimes seem to delight in sheer amorality or evil. But the point of “dark enlightenment” ought not to be evil for evil’s sake, but rather said enlightenment only *appears* to be “evil” from the standpoint of contemporary Western liberal progressivism–itself a highly disordered moral perspective, as we all know. Some neoreactionary future scenarios, were they ever to be realized, might simply result in the worst features of modernity being preserved without mitigation–an outright dystopia.

    Neoreaction–or any alternative theory against present-day progressivism–ought to be concerned with shaping a better, more humane future, albeit on an explicitly inegalitarian basis. Naturally, that last bit is enough to condemn neoreaction, et al. as evil by the lights of contemporary Western morality. But though we disdain (or even proudly embrace) the characterization of ourselves as evil by our progressivist enemies, we ought not to lose sight of the twin canons of justice and goodness–justice and goodness as we understand them, which understanding we reckon to be superior to that of our enemies.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    That’s not how it works, though. The King has to make decisions that affect the peasants. The peasants complain to the knights, who complain to the barons, who complain to the counts, who complain to the king. But by then the complaint is so attenuated that he tells his counts to lump it, back down the line. And since the counts don’t care that much, they are OK with it.

    [Reply]

    Hurlock Reply:

    No.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 11th, 2015 at 5:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • Chris B Says:

    @Shenpen “A third issue is that property is power. Owning stuff you work with means liberty. Owning stuff others work with makes them less than ideally free.” – this is Marx through and through. I reckon most traditionalist hanging around NRx would actually like Marx if they read him properly – make of that what you will. Plus, It’s all direct from Lockean ownership which permeates libertarianism/ classical liberalism as well.
    Also, your dunbar point is interesting.

    [Reply]

    Orthodox Laissez-fairist Reply:

    Marx not so much, but it’s pretty much Lysander Spooner.

    [Reply]

    Wade McKenzie Reply:

    Chris B: Though not a Marxist myself, I too am inclined to think that there would be much to like in Marx if, as you say, we would only read him properly. My own disagreement with Marx would center on the internationalist, egalitarian character of his thought and not his economic theory per se.

    I’d be interested in hearing any further thoughts of yours on the possibility and prospect of a Marxian influence on neoreaction.

    [Reply]

    Lucian Reply:

    Insofar as there are common elements between Exit and acceleration; the latter has Marxian origins.

    [Reply]

    Hurlock Reply:

    I’ve been saying for a long time that distributism is simply communism-lite in catholic clothing.

    [Reply]

    Shenpen Reply:

    Look, a small portion of every popular idea is true. Such as the portion of “here is how to sell something to human beings, this is what human beings like and dislike”

    The core idea here is humans don’t feel very free if they feel like they need someone else to give them a job instead of easily going their own way. And yes, this is a problem in corporate capitalism. How it makes anyone a communist-lite beats me, corporate capitalism is in itself a liberal innovation over the former, traditional economy, by taking of communitarian limitations of business. It makes one just more reactionary to wish to go back to guildsmen.

    Medieval guilds realized that if you do only one market intervention, namely price floors, there is no need for any other. Price floors fix the problem of customers easily comparing prices but having no clue about quality. This means business having to compete on quality anyway, and that scales less, thus more small business, less large corporations, more artistic way of working. Higher chance to not need a job, but start your own biz, hence more likely for people to feel free and thus not support big government. Admittedly, there is a problem with discouraging cost-cutting technological innovation though.

    [Reply]

    Orthodox Laissezfairist Reply:

    Now, I’m obviously a Burke/Maistre/Kuehnelt-Leddihn/Ilyin/Hoppe, and not a Belloc/Chesterton/Carlyle/Evola/Guenon kind of guy. The thing is that Capitalism is in many ways like life itself – it sucks when you think about it, but it has no real alternative; alternative economic systems are suicide. What’s wrong with corporations anyway? Are you aware that many of the things we have today are only possible because of existence of corporations? Do you know how much does one, for example, Semiconductor Fabrication Facility cost? Of course, you can claim that we don’t need electronics or anything invented after XV century but that’s either foolishness or malice. And why would we even care about ‘muh feels’ at all? I had thought that reactionary thesis was to teach people to accept their position in society (whatever it may be) and be content with their lot in life, and not ‘muh feels’. But anyway Laissez-faire doesn’t prevent anyone from forming a small and/or family owned business, it’s only the Uncapitalism of today that prevents small businesses from flourishing because of all the State regulations (regulations assure complacency of Big Business by preventing competition from new enterprises). And about Consumerism, the problem is not Capitalism, Capitalism is just a tool, not an end unto itself (and that’s where Neoreaction differs from Anarcho-Capitalism), market only provides what its customers buy. Consumerism is a cultural issue more than anything, it’s got to do with mentality, and not with economic system.

    Hurlock Reply:

    I refuse to promote sheer stupidity simply because it would make me “more reactionary”.

    The moment when we value ideological purity above reason is the moment we’ve degenerated into the Bolshevik party.
    But maybe we are past that point already.

    Shenpen Reply:

    Obviously enough, if something gets as insanely popular and influential as Marxism, some part of it must be right – either right in the “accurately depicting reality” sense or “meshes really well with some ingrained human psychological bias”. Even if a popular thing is entirely wrong, it is still right about how to sell an idea, which in turn teaches something true about the human mind. And yes, I would defend that to Godwin, too.

    I don’t really know it is which one in this case, but something along the lines of “people don’t feel very free if they feel they need someone else to give them a job just to be able to work”.

    Of course that is like 0.1% of Marxism, so the the rest can still be very wrong.

    Recommened Distributist reading: http://www.amazon.com/Toward-Truly-Free-Market-Distributist/dp/161017027X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426154826&sr=8-1&keywords=john+medaille

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 11th, 2015 at 5:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • SanguineEmpiricist Says:

    Replace profits with empirical metric that accurately reflects performance. This is something we already discussed but probably has been forgotten.

    Also I read his corpus through a printed binder and he has ten books for required reading in his dawkins got pwned(#3?) series oddly enough. Every one should be forced to read those minimally.

    Also I’m of the opinion that every one forgot to actually read Burnhams books or the start of Pareto’s Mind and Society considering it makes significant methodological advancements that I have yet to see spoken of.

    [Reply]

    Erebus Reply:

    Is there anything — even from among non-implementable concepts which only exist theoretically — which would adequately reflect performance as well as profits do?
    (I think that it’s important to look at this sort of question from a point of view which only sees the top of the structure — with the runoff, the unnamed vital organs, the sewers all hidden from view and left unconsidered — i.e. a strictly corporatist perspective.)

    [Reply]

    SanguineEmpiricist Reply:

    You are right in that we probably don’t have anything better but it’s important for our detractors to know that by profit we mean “best metric we have so far” and not material wealth necessarily. Probably the most productive avenue would be decoupling this little confusion for those who don’t understand that we want the abstract accurate empirical measure and not necessarily dollar bills.

    However the lifespan of large corporations is too much on the short side to completely model off the model of corporations. We want long term existence & profits.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 11th, 2015 at 6:00 pm Reply | Quote
  • Eight-Point Neo-Cam | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on March 11th, 2015 at 6:49 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    although their stability is ensured primarily by direct military authority, rather than by a system of managed public opinion.

    Untrue.
    The military is made of people. They won’t obey the sovereign unless the feel the sovereign is just. Ergo the state must always be justified.
    Like, you can try to use psychopaths? They’ll have a suitably predatory mindset. Only they make terrible soldiers, poor obedience and courage. You can also try using a straight-up different tribe so the civilians aren’t viewed as people, but then the civilians will realize they’re being oppressed, which is surprisingly expensive.

    This is why it’s better to have a real justification instead of a fake one, that is, actual consent.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    I ripped you upstream, so I’ll applaud you here. Asabiya doesn’t come from bribery.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    If Asabiya can’t be replaced by robots, Neo-Cam is probably unworkable. The confidence that it can’t is sheer groundless romanticism in my book, but I understand that many disagree (or think groundless romanticism is actually a pretty good basis to build upon).

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    *If Asabiya can’t be replaced by robots, Neo-Cam is probably unworkable. *

    Too right.

    Most any government can be made to work if you first get rid of all the people.

    admin Reply:

    I thought the whole point here was that Asabiya was already over (except among pockets of inbred savages). No depopulation necessary.

    Posted on March 11th, 2015 at 8:58 pm Reply | Quote
  • Michael Says:

    @vxxc2014
    actually im just too dumb to do any better

    [Reply]

    vxxc2014 Reply:

    @michael,

    That wasn’t me that said you weren’t smart Michael.

    I’m really not a big fan of smart, and especially smart rule.
    ———————-

    I love this one though…

    “Most any government can be made to work if you first get rid of all the people.”

    This seems to be the relentless end conclusions of technocracy whether it’s Nazi, Communist or Neo-Liberal.

    Or NeoCam.

    Smart people always seem to come to the conclusion the problem with governing people are the people, if you just get rid of them…

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 11th, 2015 at 9:13 pm Reply | Quote
  • an inanimate aluminum tube Says:

    Good summary.

    But if this is the essence of neoreaction, then the trichotomy never really made any sense.

    Neoreaction could have been like “ex-libertarians have this cool new scheme for a shareholder republic, it’s totally not racist or cis-sexist or homophobic, it’s like seasteading on steroids”.

    And then you guys could have discussed it with libertarians for a while until they eventually purged you. Or maybe you could have avoided getting purged, Hans Herman Hoppe seems to have barely avoided getting purged?

    So how did this cool new scheme for a shareholder republic come to be associated with racism and traditionalism? Was it just through a poorly chosen name? If so, that was one hell of a screw up. You could have had tenure!

    [Reply]

    Wade McKenzie Reply:

    “So how did this cool new scheme for a shareholder republic come to be associated with racism and traditionalism?”

    Though you seem to be somewhat in jest, it might all the same be worth pointing out that the common denominator between “shareholder republicanism” and racist or traditionalist regimes is discriminatory inegalitarianism. The first discriminates on the basis of class, the second on the basis of race, and the last on the basis of culture and/or religion.

    While strict libertarianism would necessarily eventuate in an inegaliatrian social order, it would be a non-discriminatory social order. “Dark enlightenment” has much to do with the desirability of discrimination.

    [Reply]

    Hurlock Reply:

    “While strict libertarianism would necessarily eventuate in an inegaliatrian social order, it would be a non-discriminatory social order.”

    Non-discriminatory? Who gave you that idea? Freedom of association has always been a big thing for libertarians (I mean actual libertarians, not some of the contemporary progressive entryists).

    [Reply]

    Wade McKenzie Reply:

    When I say “discrimination”, I don’t mean private discrimination–I mean politico-legal discrimination. If “freedom of association” is a positive right of a given sociopolitical order, then that will naturally result in a host of discriminatory private behaviors, but the politico-legal system itself would be non-discriminatory.

    Wade McKenzie Reply:

    If I might be permitted to follow up a bit, I think that political-legal orders that feature “freedoms of X” of any kind, will tend to become emphatically non-discriminatory–which is why I myself would favor those orders that do not feature “freedoms of X”.

    I’m thinking here of the United States, which for the better part of its history coupled several “freedoms of/from X” with a number of discriminatory practices, most famously of course discrimination based on race. But the immanent logic of a legal regime of “freedoms of/from X” has since been made wholly explicit. I suspect that such is the fate of any liberal/libertarian political-legal order.

    The ground of any liberal/libertarian political order, it seems to me, is the right of self-preservation. From this right, in my view, flows everything that we neoreactionaries, et al. despise in the present-day moral and political order–whether we realize it or not. Those of us who oppose ourselves to the progressive regime of ever-unfolding rights and entitlements ought to consider getting to the root of the problem, by reconsidering the validity of a right to self preservation.

    Lucian Reply:

    You’re overemphasising MM’s positive proposals at the expense of his interpretation of history. It isn’t hard to see the connections between rehabilitation of race realism and tradition on the one hand and M’s account of progressivism as a centuries old Anglo Protestant conspiracy on the other.

    [Reply]

    an inanimate aluminum tube Reply:

    “You’re overemphasising MM’s positive proposals at the expense of his interpretation of history.”

    No. I’m a charitable guy, I would never emphasize his positive proposals.

    What I remember about Moldbug is his interpretation of history, his critique of democracy and the old books. Not coincidentally, these topics fit the theme of dark enlightenment, in the sense that secret and edgy truths were being revealed. And he had some good ones.

    His positive proposals (or thought experiments) on the other hand, are not a form of dark enlightenment, they’re just some theorizing about a potential system of government. It might work or it might end up clever silly, we’ll probably never know.

    Seems to me that Moldbug got his audience mostly through his interpretation of history, his critique of democracy and the old books. And it seems to me that he also primarily wrote about those themes, and that his positive proposals were more of an afterthought, or even just a thought experiment.

    But I haven’t gone through and re-read him, so maybe I have a bad memory.

    [Reply]

    Lucian Reply:

    You say this, but you act as if “ex-libertarians have this cool new scheme for a shareholder republic, it’s totally not racist or cis-sexist or homophobic, it’s like seasteading on steroids” would be a plausible path for NRx to take in any possible universe. I’m only going by what you yourself have said.

    If MM’s historiography meant as much to you as it does to me you’d see that the trichotomy makes perfect sense.

    an inanimate aluminum tube Reply:

    I don’t know what a neoreactionary is. But that would have been the most plausible path for *neo-cameralists* to have taken.

    Racism and sexism / endorsement of patriarchy are far more taboo than the idea that democracy has failed. It’s pretty widely acknowledged that democracy has done something very close to failing, they’ll teach you as much in mid level college political science and they have pretty good explanations why. Many leftists will agree that democracy has failed, although their reasons will sometimes be dumb. But nobody takes any alternatives seriously and people are strongly biased against all the alternatives.

    Libertarians are always coming up with theoretical ideas for intentional communities that hope to solve the government problem through careful design. See Hoppe on “covenant communities”, etc., etc. There are likely a nearly infinite number of practical barriers to creating such communities, but talking about them is again, not particularly taboo, it’s looked upon more as a harmless eccentricity, because it is understood that nobody actually gets to put their ideal system of government into practice.

    It totally seems like neocameralists did themselves a great disservice by associating their theoretical form of government with racists and sexists and making it sound like a scary kind of internet fascism. It could totally have been a harmless libertarian pie in the sky idea instead. And remember, the whole point was supposed to have been to court existing elites of the tech savvy / nerdy kind. Elites that are turned off by racism and sexism.

    The funny thing is that many existing neocameralists aren’t really that racist, sexist or homophobic to begin with, so they’re not even really getting anything out of the association. Sure, neocameralists probably don’t like NAMs, but it’s generally assumed that NAMs will starve to death in the libertarian future, so there is little need for specific racism against them. And neocameralists seem to be fine with more economically productive races and with multiculturalism, as long as it doesn’t become bad for business.

    Similarly, I recall reading explicit statements indicating that existing neocameralists are meritocratic and tolerant enough to want to employ Alan Turing and Justine Tunney, assuming they’re the best people for the job.

    So, I’m not really getting why neocameralism ended up being sold as scary fascist far right idea instead of a fun and smart libertarian idea. Bad marketing IMHO.

    Lucian Reply:

    The problem is that race realism isn’t racism, and tradition isn’t the same thing as muh patriarchy. Tradition actually exists, for one thing.

    I don’t know where you expect to get by using these progressive categories.

    an inanimate aluminum tube Reply:

    I’m racist and I support patriarchy, so those words were not intended as bogeyman. The point is that it is currently really, really taboo to be associated with those things. Which makes it difficult to appeal to existing elites, the stated goal of some in NRX.

    But neo-cameralism will supposedly create incentives for good government, so it doesn’t need to resort to openly and explicitly affirming racism or traditionalism in the way that other kinds of reactionaries do. Neo-cameralists affirm racism and traditionalism not for their own sake to but to the extent that they work and only to the extent that they work. So they are ok with some stuff that seems totally awful to other reactionaries.

    And neocameralists believe that they have a mechanism to eventually figure out exactly how much of those things is needed; the most profitable regimes will be the ones that use the right amount of racism and traditionalism, not too much, not too little.

    So neocameralists can accomplish their goals without ever explicitly endorsing the taboo subjects of racism and traditionalism.

    If I wanted neocameralism to happen (and I don’t) I would quietly disengage from the scary internet fascist-o-sphere, come up with a new name and market it as a totally not racist or sexist form of libertarianism.

    Lucian Reply:

    That’s nice, but nobody claimed anywhere that neocameralism is the ‘essence’ of NRx.

    Izak Reply:

    Actually, Lucian, the admin went ahead and declared precisely that a while back.

    http://www.xenosystems.net/quote-notes-63/

    See?

    By the way, I fully endorse everything the aluminum tube is saying in this thread. He’s basically doing my job for me, with better mastery over the English language to boot.

    Lucian Reply:

    What was stated was that NRx is neocameralism. This doesn’t even touch upon the problem of the essence of NRx as such.

    Izak Reply:

    ??????????????????????????????

    Having no idea what the difference is, I pause to fart.

    vimothy Reply:

    “I’m racist and I support patriarchy”

    But you’re not a libertarian–in other words, you’re a communist.

    Izak Reply:

    Vimothy, that was a great parody of some of the people who comment on this blog, good job man.

    spandrell Reply:

    Moldbug used to write a lot about old books, monarchy being a cool system, and the American founders being traitors to the crown. He also liked to debate with Larry Auster. There you got the traditionalists.

    Nationalists were just the natural audience for any smart dissenter; Moldbug and Sailer shared a lot of their readers.

    Moldbug’s project never made much sense, so nationalists, traditionalists and libertarians just found themselves imbued with a lot of skepticism and fun ideas about the past and why we’ve gotten this bad; and the certainty that all we’ve been told by the mainstream is bs. Which is the only thing we got in common.

    [Reply]

    neovictorian23 Reply:

    …the certainty that all we’ve been told by the mainstream is bs. Which is the only thing we got in common.

    Men have charged across open fields under exploding shells with less in common. What they did have was unit cohesion and a fear of dishonor greater than fear of death. Thankfully, I expect our challenges and problems to be somewhat less (physically) dangerous.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “So how did this cool new scheme for a shareholder republic come to be associated with racism and traditionalism?” — Those are defaults that emerge spontaneously once the positive ideology of egalitarian universalism is set aside.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    How frustrating it must be for the poor libertarians to realize that their vacuous ideology has no substance except as a facilitation of white-racist patriarchal corporate-militarism!”

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 11th, 2015 at 10:53 pm Reply | Quote
  • SanguineEmpiricist Says:

    I’m gonna paste this here

    Edmund Burke – Reflections on the Revolution in France.
    Henry Maine – Popular Government.
    W.E.H. Lecky – Democracy and Liberty.
    Walter Lippmann – Public Opinion.
    Edgar Lee Masters – Lincoln the Man.
    Albert Jay Nock – Memoirs of a Superfluous Man.
    John T. Flynn – As We Go Marching.
    Bertrand de Jouvenel – On Power.
    Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn – Liberty or Equality.
    James Burnham – Suicide of the West.

    These are the books he says at the start of his blog that he would pick to have people read. He progresses in an interesting direction that I would like to eventually discuss but this is sufficient.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 12th, 2015 at 12:46 am Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    CEOs and the like are extremely risk-tolerant with other‘s assets. With their own person and core capital they’re comically cowardly.
    Further they have high IQ almost by definition, strongly tilting the field away from envy and toward rationality.
    What does this add up to?

    Assassination is a force for stability and peace, not conquest. It’s another form of imbalanced offence.
    Assassination cannot seriously destabilize a properly designed institution. Assassination can, however, deter declaration of war by offering to assassinate the declarer.

    Imagine Saddam had gotten Bush assassinated. What’s USG gonna do, hang Saddam harder? He has nothing to lose. With rational material considerations gone, this is where residual envy kicks in. He will, if he can, go through with the assassination even though if the threat doesn’t work, the execution will only make war more inevitable. However, if the Ba’athist managed to assassinate everyone trying to authorize more troops, the war would grind to a halt in weeks. In this case, both countries would have benefited enormously…and USG would think far more than twice about going to war again.

    HIlariously, it’s not like USG’s operation would be noticeably affected by lacking a president. Rather, the damage is all in prestige and personal paranoia. Obama is pretty pliable, but do you think he’s so pliable his handlers could make him risk his life to declare war?

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 12th, 2015 at 10:55 am Reply | Quote
  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:

    Just wanted to remark that this is a brilliant symbolic root reconstruction of a concept:

    Democracy, which had deep roots in the English Dissenter sects to which early Euro-Plainlanders subscribed, is best seen in terms of the system of ritual legitimacy it replaced, divine-right monarchy. The older divine-right sovcorps legitimized their ownership – that is, persuaded their subjects not to rebel – by attributing it to divine intervention. Democracy arrived with the advent of new religious systems which stressed the divine nature of humanity. This inner light, of which all adult males (and later females) had exactly one, could be counted and summed. If Washcorp was directed by this arithmetic, its actions could not fail to be righteous.

    The brilliance is where you count the ‘inner lights’ – a ‘divine arithmetic’, indeed.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 13th, 2015 at 7:29 pm Reply | Quote
  • Wade McKenzie Says:

    Interesting quote from John Dahbishah:

    “In all Western countries, wellnigh everyone wants a welfare state, and wellnigh everyone wants a thriving capitalist economy. Those things aren’t controversial. What’s controversial is the idea of a nation as being the home of some one particular people of mostly common ancestry and common culture.”

    http://www.johnderbyshire.com/Opinions/RadioDerb/2015-03-07.html

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 13th, 2015 at 8:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • Exit Neoreaction | Reflections and Disquisitions Says:

    […] is no longer even centered around the same ideas. From 2013 to the present day, what used to be the core of neoreaction – the ideas of Moldbug, i.e. formalism, patchwork, neocameralism, austrian […]

    Posted on March 14th, 2015 at 2:10 am Reply | Quote
  • N. Land nota def neo-cam | oversight Says:

    […] government is not a mystical or mysterious institution. A government is simply a group of people wor… […]

    Posted on November 9th, 2016 at 4:13 am Reply | Quote

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