Man in the High Castle

The TV series trailer.

Could it be that people are beginning to understand that fascism won the 20th century? (With no sign of a major reverse so far in the 21st.)

Since ‘fascism’ tweaks people’s Godwin nerves, it might be better to talk about ‘pragmatic populism’ — so long as it is initially understood that no substantial semantic revision is thereby taking place. Whatever we call it, it’s what has ruled the earth for close to a century, as the culmination of democracy, and the way classical liberalism is actually destroyed. It plays on basic human traits in a way that leaves every other ideology in the dust — tribalism, resentment, vicarious identification with authority, extreme susceptibility to simple propaganda, and all of the remaining highly-predictable, easily manipulable, aspects of hominid social emotion. Ultimately, it’s what humanity deserves, strictly speaking, since it is nothing other than the cynical exploitation of what people are like. The fact that the most insultingly trivial redecorations of this mode of social organization suffice to convince even articulate intellectuals that something else is taking place serves as an ample demonstration of its tidal historic momentum. Fascists Pragmatic populists think that people, as a general political phenomenon, are irredeemably moronic tools, and they’re right.

The more politics we get, the deeper pragmatic populism digs in.

ADDED: Background to the Times Square shot. “The more familiar it is, the more terrifying it is.” (Quite.)

September 25, 2015admin 28 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy


28 Responses to this entry

  • Man in the High Castle | Neoreactive Says:

    […] By admin […]

    Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 5:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    Grim, but not overly grim.


    Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 6:10 pm Reply | Quote
  • Ryan Says:

    I prefer this take:

    The Western myth of universality and China’s moment in history

    The myth of universality is ahistorical, pretentious and parochial.

    It is ahistorical because it ignores the inconvenient fact that every Western country was capitalist long before it was either liberal or democratic as those terms are today understood; it is ahistorical also because the fundamental basis of democracy resides in the 18th century western political philosophy that holds that sovereignty derives from the will of the people, rather than divine right, bloodline or some other principle. In the 20th century three major political forms based on mass politics evolved from that 18th century political philosophy: fascism, communism and liberal democracy.

    One may have a preference for one form or another, but it cannot be denied that all share the same intellectual roots and all are thus legitimate heirs of that political philosophy.

    The myth of universality is pretentious and parochial because it generalises as universal the highly contingent historical processes that led, quite late in the 20th century, to the current form of Western liberal democracy; processes that there is no reason to believe will be replicated anywhere else.

    The empirical evidence of our senses tells us that diversity is the most evident characteristic of the world we live in. Democracy, as practised in Japan, is very different from American democracy and rests on a foundation of different values and traditions. And Japanese democracy is very different from the practices of other Asian polities that it today pleases America to consider “democratic” – for example, South Korea, Indonesia or India. For that matter, democracy as was practised in mid-20th century America was very different from contemporary American democracy.

    Still, universality as a mode of thought has its origins in teleological and monotheistic Christian traditions and is today deeply embedded in the subconscious of even the most secular of Western societies. It lies at the very heart of the Western sense of self. It will not go away and cannot be refuted by something as mundane as empirical evidence.


    My takeaway is to just say that popular government has won in most of the Western world. Squabbles over whether to call it liberal democracy, pragmatic populism, or something else are of little value.


    Curt Doolitlte Reply:

    Science is universal.
    Truth is universal.
    Social orders are not universal.
    Because competitive pressures differ by region.
    And human groups vary in demographic properties.


    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    “Science is universal.”

    “Social orders are not universal.
    Because competitive pressures differ by region.
    And human groups vary in demographic properties.”

    If you declare a priori that knowledge must be universal it’s going to be terribly difficult for us to get to know anything about social orders. I don’t think this is a useful point of view.


    Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 8:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • Man in the High Castle | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 9:13 pm Reply | Quote
  • JumpinJackFash Says:

    I always thought fascism had a racial/ethnic component to it. It seems to me that racial universalism and fascist economics has won, but not the fascism of Mussollini, Franco, and certainly not He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.


    admin Reply:

    It’s just taken the leisurely route to the same goal.


    Jefferson Reply:

    It does have the racial component, just stretched to the entire human race (and some animals, as appropriate). I’ve been banging this drum since AIACC, but with the neck beard and poor grammar, nobody took me seriously…


    Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 9:18 pm Reply | Quote
  • Scharlach Says:

    Cue the Japanese American protests over the disgusting racist stereotypes portrayed in this white-supremacist nonsense. (The same ones who just got a production of “The Mikado” canceled in NYC.)


    Frog Do Reply:


    Don’t keep contributing to the narrative that they are Japanese American. They are neither.


    Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 10:00 pm Reply | Quote
  • epicleses Says:

    The problem with this loop is that it eats itself. ‘People are moronic tools’ – this is almost axiomatic to any given realpolitic. The question is to what end such tools are put. By this definition any good politics falls under the rainbow umbrella of fascism. An understanding of human nature is the baseline for any meaningful action in the world. Humans being highly manipulable is only a problem for a social system based on the assumption of the inverse – that each sanctified individual has inherent goals and desires and that the fulfilment of these will result in something good. Launch us out of nihilism and i will listen. Until then, my hopes are in elon musk, as the only one with decent rockets (and therefore the only one with power). Even as a Nietzschean i am willing to see a god put back on the empty throne – that I cannot myself be a kingmaker is a personal failing, not a signifier of the physical impossibility of such.


    Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 10:31 pm Reply | Quote
  • michael Says:

    its one way of looking at it, but since some of the bloodiest wars in human history have been fought between the three its kind of hard to argue they are the same. Classical liberal republicanism as conceived and practiced in the 18 century US was not so bad theres a pretty clear picture of it being attacked undermined distorted tortured and finally propped up in front of a camera to confess. perhaps it was inevitable that the populists and communists would be able to pimp it out. But it was only the last of every other form of government to be destroyed, kings,popes merchent bankers even warlords fared no better.Humans want power they find a way civilization be damned.


    vxxc2014 Reply:


    Remember the Sassenach have never forgiven the Americans for taking away the Empire that they sacrificed themselves to keep the Germans down aka Balance of Power.

    Democracy for them means America=H8.

    The Hate of the guilty for we didn’t destroy the Empire and Empires they did in their foolish pursuit of Balance of Power=Continent remains under Britain. They should have learned the lesson with Napoleon that it took the Kaiser then Hitler to prove: Balance of Power works well until it fails and then it fails with Cascading Catastrophes. Bismarck himself failed first to prevent the alliance of France and Russia and then when the man was blessedly long dead [for his own sake] World War I.

    In America of course we are idiotically pursuing the same failed policies, not just with Balance of Power [Iran gets the Bomb and so does rest of Mid-East] but Interdependent Trade and Economic indeed very money. It sets up Cascading systems failure when something and at this point anything goes wrong. In electrical terms the entire apparatus is wired in series instead of parallel [separately]. 1 burnt out bulb takes down the entire grid.


    Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 11:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • Ossipago Says:

    That trailer is the trailer we deserve, too. Trope-laden pig slop.

    Very probably, the show will be the PKD adaptation we deserve.


    Posted on September 26th, 2015 at 12:04 am Reply | Quote
  • Thrasymachus Says:

    Not sure you understand the message of “The Man in the High Castle”. People’s interpretations differ, of course.

    What we have now is definitely not fascism. I would call it a progressive authoritarian oligarchy, capitalist or socialist as it finds convenient. It has most abandoned pseudo-nationalism.

    But then I’m an actual fascist, so I would see things differently.


    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    You need to learn more about NRx. If you were really savvy you’d understand that the United States is fascist (Land), Communist (Moldbug) and democratic (take your pick of NRx bloggers) all at the same time.


    Dark Psy-Ops Reply:

    Moldbug’s ‘demotism’ covers fascism, communism, and democracy as a Jacobin trifecta (depending on how much of the economy has been captured by the People’s State).


    Lucian of Samosata Reply:

    That’s exactly what I’m saying. Fascism, Communism and democracy are pretty much the same when you get right down to it (also @admin below)

    admin Reply:

    Fascism is the equilibrium state for demotic government. We’ve seen every type of populist regime evolve into it.


    michael Reply:

    yeah but thats not much different than saying anarchy or tribal warfare are the default systems of human government. Fascism as used if i understand you as a kind of populist low brow ad hoc socialism or corporatism is really no more than the bare minimum of governance a developed world can maintain, what is mistaken for an excess of governance is really parasite growth on a dying carcass of government.But this is not the same of say the nazis who may have been misguided on economics or race were never the less quite visionary and efficient executers of their vision. which is also true of many communist regimes that had fascist elements. The cathedrals soft approach disperses power and with it motivation and direction mostly through inertia it can drift in a general direction but lacks focus the internet has increased its intelligence though it can more quickly signal.

    Thrasymachus Reply:

    The US is not communist, I explained this to Moldbug once in a comment (which he deleted, while claiming to not even read comments.)

    The US (or the English-speaking world, actually) is a progressive capitalist entity that uses communism when convenient to wipe out traditionalist societies resistant to capitalist exploitation. Communists take over, kill the native elite, and steal all the stuff. They then realize they need, or want money so they do deals with capitalists.

    No former English colony, and almost no Protestant country, has ever gone communist. Areas the English control don’t need the complete burning-over Catholic, Orthodox, or eastern countries have received.

    The US has lots of government, NGO, and QUANGO spending to support political constituencies of progressives, but this is not really socialist. It’s a very capitalist country for a white man.


    Posted on September 26th, 2015 at 3:05 am Reply | Quote
  • Mark Citadel Says:

    *sigh* How I long for the aristocracy of the true elite rather than gorillas good at getting the masses riled up about something or other. A politician makes a speech and the whole population erupts like chimpanzees, either in roaring approval or hoot and hollers of racism.


    michael Reply:

    While not endorsing democracy when did kings ever do any better? , its a fantasy, kings sucked


    jay Reply:

    Not really. More statesman came as a result of monarchy than democracy.


    Posted on September 26th, 2015 at 4:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • vimothy Says:

    “Could it be that people are beginning to understand that fascism won the 20th century?”

    I thought communism won in the 20th century?


    admin Reply:

    Communism fails into fascism (everywhere).


    Posted on September 27th, 2015 at 1:24 pm Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    @ Admin,

    I’m just going to counter your post with: Politics is a bad substitute for Religion and “Science” failed substitution for Faith.

    One more thing: it was Intellectuals who bought us to this pass, which in terms of functionality and success within separate spheres of duties of Politics [Power], Religion [Religio=Bonds], and Faith [essential spiritual sustenance] takes us back to pre-2d Bronze Age.

    Thanks oh smarty sillies.


    Posted on September 29th, 2015 at 1:13 pm Reply | Quote

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